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CHIPS Articles: Interview with Dennis M. Bauman, PEO-C4I and Space

Interview with Dennis M. Bauman, PEO-C4I and Space
By CHIPS Magazine - July-September 2003
Mr. Bauman received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1971. He served as a Lieutenant (j.g.) in the U. S. Navy until 1975, as a Weapons Officer and Qualified Surface Warfare Officer aboard an amphibious warship. Mr. Bauman earned a Master of Science Degree in Computer Science in June 1977 from the University of California at San Diego. From 1997 to 2000, he was the SPAWAR Program Director for Information Warfare, responsible for acquisition of Navy capabilities for IW defense, exploit and attack. In October 2000, he became SPAWAR Program Director for Command, Control and Intelligence (C2I) and Combat Support Applications. He assumed his current position as PEO-C4I & Space in November 2002. He is a member of the Senior Executive Service and the Navy's Acquisitions Professional Community for Program Management. He was a faculty member of the University of California at San Diego, Computer Science and Engineering Department from 1980 through 2000.

CHIPS: Please explain the background and significance of the standup of the PEO-C4I & Space.

Mr. Bauman: There continues to be a great deal of discussion within the Navy acquisition community about how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of acquisition. To put it into historical perspective, prior to November 1, 2002, the majority of the acquisition community, with the exception of SPAWAR, aligned acquisition with PEOs. Traditionally, Program Executive Officers, aligned to acquisition commands such as the Naval Sea Systems Command and Naval Air Systems Command, do most of the acquisition in the Navy. SPAWAR, however was organized differently. Instead of PEO positions, there were sixteen program offices who reported to five program directors. These program directors, in turn, reported to the Commander of SPAWAR.

The Honorable John J. Young, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN (RD&A)) felt that there were benefits to be gained by establishing a PEO-C4I aligning the acquisition of C4I systems and products under this office. There are three very good reasons for this alignment. First, it focuses part of the organization specifically on acquisition, which improves efficiency and effectiveness. Secondly, it increases the interchange among the acquisition professionals at SPAWAR and other acquisition organizations within the Navy and other Services. This is significant because it facilitates a more cohesive joint acquisition community. Lastly, the change clarifies the authorities and reporting structure required by the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 as well as some of the decisions made as a result of the Packard Commission Report of the late 1980s. Goldwater-Nichols and studies like the Packard Commission were part of the genesis and rationale for establishing the PEOs.

The significance of the PEO C4I & Space stand-up is that now there is an organization that exists for the sole purpose of acquiring C4I and space systems and equipment. Again, this realignment provides a unique focus for providing effectiveness and efficiencies in the business of C4I acquisition.

CHIPS: What is the chain of command for the PEO C4I & Space and, if you could, elaborate a little on the organization's responsibilities?

Mr. Bauman: PEO C4I & Space reports to the ASN (RD&A) for acquisition, and is responsible for assigned programs from "cradle to grave." Specifically, the PEO takes full responsibility for the systems and programs that are assigned to it — from conception of the program, through the retirement of the system and eventually, to the removal of the system from the fleet, this includes both acquisition and full life-cycle support for the system. Additionally, the PEO reports through SPAWAR to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and the Commandant of the Marine Corps for execution-year support of fielded equipment.

CHIPS: Which organizations will you be working with as PEO?

Mr. Bauman: I've mentioned ASN (RD&A), who is my reporting senior in the chain of command. However, there are a number of organizations and agencies, both internally in the DON as well as externally in support of the joint community with which we will partner and work. I want to first emphasize the close relationship PEO-C4I & Space will continue to have with SPAWAR. Furthermore, our collective success will hinge on our ability to work together as a C4I team. As the C4I systems engineer for the Navy, SPAWAR establishes the architecture and technical standards that allow the PEO to acquire, integrate and field products for the warfighter, including those that will make ForceNet a reality. SPAWAR also functionally supports the PEO in areas such as contracting, infrastructure and security — all the functions that the PEO is not staffed nor equipped to handle.

I intend to work very closely with all my PEO counterparts in the DON. Most of them are platform PEOs: PEO Carriers, PEO Submarines, PEO Ships, PEO TACAIR, etc. Additionally, there are a couple PEOs who overlap rather closely with the C4I role that we have. For example, PEO Integrated Warfare Systems (IWS) oversees the acquisition and integration of many of the fleet's combat systems, which are closely related to and interface with C4I. Our close relationships with DON PEOs and organizations will also benefit our ability to support the joint warfighter. In terms of a joint focus, PEO-C4I & Space is probably more joint-oriented than other product lines within the Navy's inventory. As a result, I place special emphasis on establishing close working relationships with U.S. Joint Forces Command and the other Services' PEOs in support of DoD's Transformation goals and objectives.

The PEO also works very closely with the OPNAV Resource Sponsors. Our primary sponsor is OPNAV N61, Rear Adm. Thomas Zelibor, Director of Space Information Warfare, Command and Control Division. We also have close interaction with OPNAV N7 platform sponsors, such as N76. It is a PEO priority to maintain constant communication with the warfighters in the fleet and the Marine Corps. Commander, Fleet Forces Command (CFFC), COMLANTFLT and COMPACFLT are the primary users of our systems, and they generate the requirements for the future capabilities that the PEO will need to build.

In July 2002, the CNO created a new operational command, the Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM) led by Vice Adm. Richard W. Mayo. NETWARCOM acts as the Type Commander for networks and C4I equipment for the warfighters. We work very closely with NETWARCOM to develop requirements and provide solutions that, if we were a platform PEO, would be coordinated with the TYCOM.

I also see a very special and significant role with the Marine Corps. During the last All Flag Officers Conference, the CNO outlined two initiatives underway in support of increased Navy-Marine Corps integration. The first is the integration of Navy and Marine tactical air. This means there will be Marine Corps squadrons onboard aircraft carriers and attack aircraft onboard large deck amphibious ships as standard operating routine. There will be close coordination between the Marine Corps and Navy on this, and in particular, I see a great deal of the C4I world coming into play, where we must interface and interoperate, and perhaps even share common equipment with the Marine Corps in the C4I & Space arena.

The CNO also talked about the formation of Expeditionary Strike Groups (ESG), which expands the current composition of our Amphibious Readiness Groups, providing them with increased striking and forcible entry capabilities. Again, this change to our battle force structure is going to require increased emphasis on interoperability between the C4I & Space systems of the Navy and Marine Corps.

CHIPS: How does the stand-up of the PEO-C4I & Space help the Navy's warfighting mission?

Mr. Bauman: PEO-C4I & Space technology is becoming increasingly important to the joint warfighters as the Services move away from platform-oriented warfare and toward the more robust and coordinated network-centric warfare. For instance, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, our forces went into battle as a very network-centric force rather than a platform-centric force. This demonstrated our transformation from a deliberative strike focus to a "time-critical" strike focus. The enabler for this new focus of joint forces is C4I and networking, enhancing the capabilities of traditional platform warfare areas. In essence, C4I is the lubricant that makes the machinery of warfare work in the modern era.

CHIPS: There has been a lot of talk about the need for acquisition reform to more rapidly field warfighting capabilities. Have there been any changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) that will provide more flexibility for the Navy to field C4I capabilities more quickly?

Mr. Bauman: This Administration is committed to removing the bureaucratic obstacles that slow down and hinder the acquisition process. Historically speaking, PEOs were stood up to make the acquisition process more efficient and effective. The primary reason to stand-up PEOs is to reduce the length of the chain of command from the program manager to the milestone authority in the program, and thus allow freer rein to get the job done in a more efficient and effective manner.

In the recent past, DoD cancelled the governing instruction for acquisition, which is the DoD Directive 5000 Series. In light of the cancellation, the Department has issued temporary guidance on how to proceed. Clearly, there is more latitude to do what is smart and efficient while maintaining reasonable oversight and stewardship of taxpayer dollars. This is a very important priority and focus for us.

It is also very apparent that new ideas, and new ways of doing things more efficiently, are very much welcomed by top leadership, both by Mr. Young, the Service Acquisition Executive, and by the chain of command through OSD to Secretary Rumsfeld. The opportunities are here and we still need to maintain appropriate oversight for stewardship of taxpayer dollars, but I think that the system is now open to new innovative ideas. That is going to be a focus for us — to try to generate, advance and test new and innovative ideas on how we can do acquisition more efficiently and effectively. In essence, getting increased capabilities in the hands of our warfighters faster.

CHIPS: I know that your office just stood up November 2002, but can you report any successes since stand-up?

Mr. Bauman: We have made significant progress in determining and organizing the scope and size of our organization. As a result, we have implemented a very flat organizational structure. We have limited layers of management and a limited staff — we are very lean and mean. This is an important accomplishment. Also, the PEO has achieved increased alignment within the goals of the acquisition community and the needs of the warfighter. We can point to some tangible results from this realignment, even in the short period since stand-up. Additionally, our program managers are exercising latitude in proposing new initiatives as a result of the new organization and new focus on acquisition.

CHIPS: Is there anything you would like to add in closing?

Mr. Bauman: Much has happened in a little over a year when discussions began regarding how we can effectively align the acquisition community to support the 21st century joint warfighter. Considering where we are now, we could not have imagined being in such an enviable position from the standpoint of acquiring and fielding the latest C4I capabilities. The stand-up of the PEO is truly a good news story since an increased focus on C4I and space is absolutely critical in realizing the benefits of network-centric warfare.

While PEO C4I & Space has a different reporting chain than SPAWAR, we are intrinsically linked. We are completely linked with SPAWAR for architecture, technical direction, and the augmentation of the PEO staff with acquisition and engineering talent. We can't do our job without SPAWAR. Likewise, in its role of defining the system engineering C4I architecture and the technical standards, SPAWAR relies on the PEO to provide product focus, expertise, and help in executing the architecture. This bodes well for future successes. You will hear more about the SPAWAR and PEO C4I & Space team in the future.

Dennis M. Bauman
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