Defense industry leaders engage War College students

By Robert Martin USAWC PAO    31 January 2020

left to right Scott Green, Executive VP Lockheed Martin, Kevin Vizzarri, AVT Simulation, VP for Business Development, Maj. Gen. Mitchell Kilgo, Commander, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and Jeffrey White, Principal Deputy Assistant Secr

(Carlisle Barracks, Jan. 29) – Industry leaders descended upon the Army War College yesterday during the School’s annual Industry Day, giving the class of 2020 opportunity to better understand the defense industry, military partnerships with industry, and the path to better outcomes.

The day began by presentations from four speakers, each representing a sector of the military-industry environment.

Scott Green, Executive VP, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control

Green touched on the challenges of defending America on flat budgets and noted requirements on industry to go faster. Ultimately, he suggested, partnering with industry can help shape strategy.He addressed current concepts for partnering to define requirements and sharing costs for development and production, referring to the company’s business in Aeronautics, Missiles and Fire Control, Space and Rotary, and Mission Systems.

Kevin Vizzarri, VP for Business Development, AVT Simulation

Representing small business, Vizzarri discussed the benefits of using small businesses. His is a small, disadvantaged, minority-owned company, characterizing their ways of doing business. He acknowledged that some in the class will transition to commercial industry.

Maj. Gen. Mitchell Kilgo, Commander of U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command

Kilgo quickly dove into the organic industrial base partnership with industry and how both the military and industry can leverage each other’s strengths. He covered the strategic support area, the modernization effort to retool, and maintain the next generation of systems.

He has learned over time, he said, that you have to have conversations with industry, that you cannot be afraid, and that you do not commit the government to anything by having conversations. Create a dialogue with industrial partners to help them understand your perspective and your challenges.

Jeffrey White, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology

White addressed the importance of industry in equipping the Army’s force structure. He noted the flow of industry partners through his office. We can’t do without industry and they can’t do without us, he said.He discussed changing the culture of the acquisition workforce to reduce the timeline of the requirements development process, to improve collaboration with industry and, ultimately, to achieve quicker delivery of modern equipment to Soldiers.

Following the above presentation to the entire student body in Bliss Hall, a cross-section of the nation’s industry representatives split out to join small group discussions in seminar, seeking a deeper understanding of Defense acquisition, requirements development, and associated topics in the Defense Management course.

Always the key to deeper understanding, seminar-based discussions enable candid discussion with the visitors selected to enhance the students’ academic experience.

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle became the focus of follow-on discussions in Army student Lt. Col. Andrew Heymann’s seminar.Craig Glaunert, the vice president for Oshkosh Defense contracts,reinforced the Defense Management class with his thoughts about evaluating requirements, and facilitating transition from engineering and design to production.

Gilbert Diaz joined seminar 12 and provided useful insight about the intricacies of developing defense contracts to get the right product for the government while efficiently engaging the private defense industry, said Air Force student Lt. Col. Selicia Mitchell. Diaz spoke from experience as a former Raytheon employee who now works for the government at the Defense Acquisition University.