DAU hires new president, launches services tool

Katrina McFarland takes over for Frank Anderson as the new head of the Defense Acquisition University. DAU also will provide help for all agencies in buying ser...

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

The Defense Acquisition University has a new president.

The Defense Department named Katrina McFarland to head the university, replacing Frank Anderson, who retired in May, according to a Dec. 6 memo from Frank Kendall, the Defense Department’s principal deputy under secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

Anderson led DAU since 2000.

McFarland comes to DAU from the Missile Defense Agency, where she was director for acquisition. She also spent time working for the Marine Corps as an engineer and as a program manager for the Corps’ Acquisition Center of Excellence within the systems command.

As president of DAU, McFarland will oversee the development of new curriculum to implement DoD’s “Better Buying Power” initiatives.

Ashton Carter, DoD’s under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, issued the new strategy in September.

In an effort to improve how DoD and the rest of government buys, DAU launched a Service Acquisition Mall (SAM), which is an online platform to promote collaboration among acquisition workers at all levels of government.

“SAM provides free methodologies, tools, and templates designed with convenience in mind-for example, every resource is downloadable either as a document or an MP4 file,” DAU wrote in a blog item on CIO.gov. “SAM arose from a need to develop a more holistic approach to acquisitions.”

The platform eventually will include a TurboTax-type tool for drafting requirements documents in a logical, systematic way and case studies of successful procurements from any government or non-government organization.

Lyle Eesley, director of DAU’s Learning Center of Excellence for Service Acquisition, said in the blog that the Turbo Tax-like tool will make writing Performance Work Statements (PWS) and Quality Assurance Surveillance Plans (QASP) easier and more standardized.

“Lots of people have never done one, and there aren’t any good tools to tell them how,” Eesley said.

Eesley added that too often acquisition professionals “suffer from cut-and-paste-itis,” repurposing pre-existing language without enough regard for whether stakeholder needs are being met.

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