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Air Force’s Darlene Costello Delivers Keynote Address at Potomac Officers Club’s 2021 AF Acquisition Forum

This past Thursday, Potomac Officers Club (POC), the leading membership organization dedicated to connecting and empowering executives within the government contracting (GovCon) community, hosted its 2021 Air Force Acquisition Forum

Check out the Potomac Officers Club’s Event Page to view on-demand the Air Force Acquisition Forum if you missed it on Thursday, July 8th. 

Darlene Costello, acting assistant secretary of the U.S. Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, delivered the Forum’s keynote address. In her keynote address, Costello gave a firsthand accounting of the most significant challenges and top priorities for the Air Force’s relationship with industry and significant accomplishments of the service branch’s acquisition process and culture.

Potomac Officer Club’s latest interactive virtual event began with an introduction by the forum’s moderator David Stagney, senior director at Pratt & Whitney. In his opening remarks, Stagney provided a comprehensive breakdown of Costello’s federal career before welcoming her to the platform and handing off the Forum to its keynote speaker. 

Costello expressed her excitement for the full panel discussion featuring Preston Dunlap of the Department of the Air and Space Force, Michael Roberts of Space Rapid Capabilities, William Bailey and Kristen Baldwin of the USAF.

To begin her keynote address and set the stage for the full expert panel discussion to follow, Costello opened the conversation with some bigger questions about digital acquisition. 

She described the opening phases of the acquisition process, including the requirements and what you want to buy, how to get your organization onto a contract and then the final phase being execution. 

However, Costello stressed that acquisition is working to become faster and more agile. The problem is that while requirements and getting on contract are easier for mid-tier acquisitions in the federal sector, it’s execution that doesn’t have the help, which is where digital acquisition holds the promise to improve the efficiency of the acquisition process moving forward. 

“We believe that it’s essential for us to make that pivot to a digital architecture and a digital acquisition approach for our program,” Costello explained. “A part of that is driven by the current threat and we’re really trying to leverage other industries to figure out what is out there that we can take advantage of in the current landscape. And digital is where we have found ourselves at the same time.” 

Visit the Potomac Officers Club Event Archive to hear the full keynote address from the Air Force’s Darlene Costello and learn more about the Department of the Air Force’s transformation to “digital acquisition,” which includes embracing digital engineering, agile software development, how open systems architectures will greatly reduce acquisition schedules, increase access to innovative and more. 

Visit Potomac Officers Club, ExecutiveBiz and GovConWire Events to learn more about our upcoming events (both virtual and in-person), and check out the Potomac Officers Club’s Event Page to view on-demand the Air Force Acquisition Forum if you missed it on Thursday, July 8th. 

Mark your calendar for August 10th, when the Potomac Officers Club will host its 2021 Digital Transformation Forum. Do not wait to save your spot for this must-watch Forum. Visit PotomacOfficersClub.com to register for the 2021 Digital Transformation Forum on August 10th.

Danielle Metz, deputy CIO for Information Enterprise at the DOD, will serve as keynote speaker. Metz will discuss how to transform an organization by adopting innovative technology and provide her perspective on critical initiatives and challenges facing the DOD’s digital transformation goals.

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