ACT-IAC Executive Leadership Conference Recap
Last week’s ACT-IAC Executive Leadership Conference provided a great forum for not only identifying pressing federal IT needs, but in gathering recommendations on how internal and outside stakeholders can best work together to address them. Aside from the expected cyber discussions, good sessions were held on Blockchain technology and its possible use in government. These, and other specific topics, were viewed from the perspective of the event’s main themes: Mission Protection, Mission Transformation, and Mission Engagement.
Executive Leadership Conference Topics
Recognized leaders, such as former Coast Guard leader Thad Allen, government and industry veteran Casey Coleman, and NASA CIO Renee Wynn led many of the discussions. The key now will be to see whether, or which, recommendations for implementation gain traction. The last main session was dedicated to different aspects of how to communicate and gather support for change from internal and external customers. It is not enough to gather the information on what needs to be done and how to do it. There must be an execution plan inside each agency if the themes and recommendations are to mean anything. Government attendees must be able to carry the momentum from the ELC into their organizations, while industry leaders should continue to encourage changes and look for ways to help. There were well over two-dozen plenary and breakout sessions held during the event. Specific topics included networking and security operations and how to overcome the government’s risk-averse approach to the adoption of new solutions.
Who Was Represented at ELC?
Nearly every civilian agency was represented, and even DOD had a presence via the Defense Acquisition University. Their attendance drove home the fact that a major part of federal IT mission success is being able to quickly and properly acquire needed resources. It was no accident too, that DHS Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa was a senior member of ACT-IAC leadership this year. The federal technology and acquisition communities understand that it is more important than ever for the two to come together and devise unified solutions enabling government users to have easier access to cutting edge technology.
The event was an excellent networking opportunity. Communication is an important part of ELC every year and the compact nature of the event made such interactions easy and frequent. Next year’s ELC is moving to Philadelphia with a new format. Federal IT executives and contractors are already looking forward to it.
Larry Allen is President of Allen Federal Business Partners, a consulting firm that works with some of the top government contractors. With over 28 years of experience in the public sector arena, Larry has written or contributed to four books on government contracting, including Multiple Award Schedule Contracting and The Secrets of Schedules Sales Success, as well as numerous articles on federal acquisition in industry-focused periodicals. Larry is currently an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University where he teaches a class in inter-agency contracting.