Defense Threat Reduction Agency Case Study Assignment Help
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Defense Threat Reduction Agency Implements KM
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. It was established in 1998 with headquarters in Ft. Belvoir, Va., and is comprised of some 2000 civilian and military personnel scattered around the world in 14 locations. These people are dedicated to “providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate, and counter the threat of WMD (weapons of mass destruction including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high explosive weapons) and mitigate its effects.
The DTRA has three major areas of responsibility:
1. Prepare U.S. and allied combatants for problems that can occur in fighting an enemy with WMD capability
2. Aid in consequence management to define what is needed for the nation to respond to a WMD attack 3. Work with Russia to secure and dismantle weapons of mass destruction in former Soviet Union states (e.g., Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine) to make sure they do not fall into the wrong hands.
In meeting its challenging mission, the procurement professionals at DTRA award large and complex contracts to organizations to provide worldwide support and services; it also makes many multi-million dollar purchases. Here are a few examples of its recent contracts:
● SRA International, Inc. was awarded a $10 million, two-year contract to provide the logistics, network support, software engineering, and Web services for the research and development operations at DTRA.
● Black & Veatch Holding Company (a global engineering, consulting, and construction company) was awarded a contract to provide services to Ukraine in the area of defenses against bioterrorism and bio-weapons proliferation worth $175 million, this is part of a much larger contract worth up to $4 billion.
● Lockheed Martin Corporation was awarded a $45 million, 5-year contract to modernize the IT systems at DTRA.
● Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is awarding several contracts to find new antiviral compounds that are effective in combating hemorrhagic fever viruses, a class of deadly viruses that includes Ebola.
DTRA is the merged product of five different defense agencies and programs. Because of this, functional and process information about purchasing and contracting was scattered throughout a myriad of DTRA Web sites, shared and private computer disk drives, and on paper documents in file cabinets. Much of the valuable information was tacit in nature and simply was not documented in any form. Finding needed information in a timely and effective manner simply was not possible. Such complications hindered DTRA in fulfilling its mission in a cost-effective manner. Acquisition professionals, program managers, and others needed a faster means of getting to the how-to and reference information needed to fulfill their responsibilities.
DTRA initiated a knowledge management effort to codify, standardize, and streamline its many and sometimes conflicting acquisition guidelines, processes, and procedures. As part of this effort, it developed a Web-based system called Acquisition ToolBook to provide valuable “how to” and reference information to aid DTRA acquisition professionals. The system provides a topdown, comprehensive, well-organized view of the entire acquisition process. ToolBook users log in to the agency’s main Web portal to see an overview of the entire acquisition process summarized into 24 activity boxes of related acquisition information and tasks. Clicking any activity box provides further details, guidelines, forms, and procedures associated with completing that acquisition activity. The information is presented in a multi-level format to better meet the needs of the users. For example, level one provides basic training on concepts, requirements, and responsibilities for completing the chosen activity. Level two provides more detailed information such as guides, tools, manuals, and standard operating procedures. Level three provides actual examples, checklists, tools, and templates to complete a specific activity. It took 12 months to design and implement the Acquisition ToolBook. Much of this effort was directed at defining a common set of practices to be followed and then documenting these practices in a simple, easy to follow manner.
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The valuable acquisition information provided by ToolBook is tailored to meet the information needs of program and project managers. It also benefits others associated with the acquisition process including those people involved in negotiating, reviewing, analyzing, documenting, and monitoring the execution of contracts by assisting them in the performance of their specific acquisition and procurement functions. The ToolBook helps users obtain key information quickly when they need it, reduces the time required to get a new acquisition professional up to speed, and ensures that users follow “best practices” for completing their work. All this reduces the time required to obtain valuable goods and services needed for DTRA to fulfill its critical mission.
1. The DTRA ToolBook has now been in operation for a few years. Imagine that you are assigned to head a special project to identify further improvements to provide procurement professionals with the knowledge they need to be even more effective. The scope of the project includes evaluating the usefulness and completeness of the knowledge that the ToolBook provides to its users. It also has been suggested that more extensive use of Web 2.0 technologies be considered to enhance the system usefulness. How would you evaluate the effectiveness of the current system and identify potential opportunities for improvement? Identify three potential ideas you feel are worthy of further investigation.
2. Find the online article “A Different Kind of Web-Based Knowledge Management” by Dr. Joseph P. Avery in the May–June 2008 issue of Knowledge Management. Read and comment on the Eight Key Principles of Successful KM-Based Systems defined in this article.
3. DTRA strongly advocates relationships with small and minority-owned businesses. Imagine that you are in charge of developing a knowledge management system to provide guidance for such organizations interested in doing business with DTRA. Who would you work with to define the contents of such a system? How might you deliver the knowledge from this system to the end users?
4. Identify three specific acquisition tasks for which there is a high need to document the tacit information of experienced DTRA acquisition professionals.
5. Comment on how well you think other government agencies might be able to reapply the Acquisition ToolBook to support their acquisition activities. What barriers might exist that would make reapplication difficult?
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