Linking Leaders - Volume I

Message from the CEO

Message from Program Development

Chapter Spotlight

Division Spotlight

New Guidance

Change in Leadership

Message from the CEO

Welcome to the very first edition of National Defense Industrial Association’s new Chapter and Division Newsletter, Linking Leaders.

The past year at NDIA has been one marked by tremendous change. We have realigned our organization based on a strategic review and separated program development from business operations which will allow more growth and focus on both. We have brought fresh and enthusiastic leadership to our executive team with Frank Michael as Senior Vice President for Program Development, Christine Klein as Senior Vice President of Meetings and Business Partnerships, and Alex Zemek as Vice President for Policy. And, we have retired MG Barry Bates, USA (Ret), who has been a steady hand and icon at NDIA for so many years.

And as you know, I recently announced my decision to leave NDIA to spend more time with my family and pursue other professional opportunities. However, I remain committed to ensuring continuity of leadership and a smooth transition of our association to my successor later this Spring. 

Looking to the future, I am excited about this newsletter which is intended to serve several purposes. First and foremost, it will facilitate the exchange of information and communication between our staff at headquarters, our Divisions and our Chapters. Secondly, this newsletter will serve as a conduit for collaboration, both intellectually and in the execution of our many roundtables, workshops, conferences, and symposia. Lastly, we sincerely hope that this emphasis on communication and collaboration will further strengthen us as our Nation’s premier defense industrial association and position us to better serve you - our member-volunteers. 

On behalf of Board Chair Sid Ashworth, Vice-Chair Ellen Lord and the dedicated professional staff at NDIA, I want to wish you all the best for a prosperous and rewarding 2017. 

Craig McKinley
President & CEO

Message from Program Development

Welcome to Volume 1 of our Chapter and Division newsletter. This publication is the product of NDIA’s Program Development and Membership team. Our main purpose in producing this newsletter is to increase communication and collaboration between NDIA’s 55 Chapters, Divisions and Working Groups – the heart and soul of our association. Our future success as the Nation’s premier defense industrial association depends on our ability to leverage our collective strength across the enterprise. 

Our newsletter will be published on a quarterly basis and contain a variety of information. We will provide – on a continuing basis – links to Chapter, Division and Working Group leadership rosters, a quarterly event schedule, and opportunities for collaboration. There will be alternating messages and insight from the President/Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Erica Albrittain and myself will provide a quarterly perspective on Membership and Program Development initiatives and events, respectively. We will also highlight a Division and Chapter in each edition of our newsletter to increase visibility and opportunities for collaboration. 

We have made a number of changes within Program Development and Membership to better serve our member-volunteers. First and foremost was the decision to bring Membership and Chapters into the Program Development Business Center. This new alignment will allow us to leverage the critical relationship between NDIA program activities and the opportunity to retain and attract new membership. Your membership team of Erica, Mike Kibler, Molly Flanagan, and Zoila Martinez remain essential teammates and points of contacts to “National.” 

On the Program Development side, Bruce Roulstone and Dave Chesebrough will work with me to represent the interests of our 30 Divisions and Working Groups. Current portfolio assignments are included in this newsletter. Erica and I will tag team the critical programmatic and membership relationships with our Chapters. 

I am very proud of this Program Development/Membership team and we are excited about our renewed mission to serve the membership. We are looking for any opportunity to personally interact with all of your organizations to both explain our new approach toward supporting you and more importantly, to listen and understand how we can get better. Please let us know when and where we can join you. 

Once again, this newsletter is for you. Tell us what else we can include to ensure we are delivering the information and content that you need. NDIA has made significant changes and improvements to better posture NDIA for the future. The Program Development and Membership team is proud to be a large part of this movement and we are eager to work with you!

Frank Michael
Senior Vice President Program Development


Chapter Spotlight: Wright Brothers Regional Chapter

2016 was a successful year for the Wright Brothers Regional Chapter (WBRC), led by past President Ed Jespersen, as the Chapter embodied the NDIA mission and earned the status “Model Chapter” for the first time since the program was established in 2001.

WBRC hosted an exceptionally impressive fifteen speaker luncheons, bringing together government and industry for key networking and educational events in the Dayton, Ohio area.  Working with other service organizations to regionally de-conflict calendars was a top priority for the chapter, resulting in high attendance and participation numbers.

The Wright Brothers Chapter also held several special events throughout 2016, including a Charity Golf Classic that had an increased number of charitable donations from years past.  For the second time, the Chapter sponsored a $4,000 STEM Fellowship, and they provided four charitable contributions to the Fisher Nightingale House, USO, The Chiefs Group, and Heroes Welcoming Heroes, totaling $6,000.

Chapter leadership actively participated in organizing and developing content for the inaugural 2016 Air Force Life Cycle Industry Days (LCID) event, held in September. LCID brings together government and industry senior leaders and their respective multi-functional teams to share insight into near-term business opportunities, current and projected warfighting requirements, technology, and cost saving, innovative initiatives. After the program, attendees were able to better understand acquisition and sustainment challenges and corresponding business opportunities. This was also an opportunity to engage with senior leadership from both industry and the Air Force.  Mr. Jespersen stated that  in 2017, the chapter will plan to use the LCID opportunity to obtain corporate, individual, and government NDIA WBRC members.

Wright Brothers Regional ended the year with positive financial growth and welcomed a vibrant, ambitious board in early 2017.  New Chapter President, Mr. Michael Evans of Raytheon, stated that “It will be an honor to represent the Wright Brothers Chapter in 2017,” going on to describe how the Chapter is an excellent “Opportunity to foster a closer relationship across the spectrum of Industry colleagues, as well as the local base and civilian community.” The Wright Brothers Chapter has already hosted their first event of 2017, a Speakers Reception and Movie Night to show appreciation for the speakers and volunteers who are so impactful in supporting their community events.

Division Spotlight: Integrated Program Management Division

NDIA’s vision and mission are built on the value and results generated through collaboration.  NDIA’s executives are leading the evolution of these collaborative practices across companies, industry advocacy non-profits, government organizations, functional disciplines, and geographical regions.  The tactical execution of this important collaboration strategy lies within the control and responsibility of the NDIA Divisions, Affiliates, Industrial Committees, Working Groups, and Chapters.

NDIA’s Integrated Program Management (IPM) Division serves as one example of an NDIA entity staying true to its legacy role while implementing new ideas to improve collaboration within NDIA and with strategic partners outside of NDIA.  The IPM Division’s legacy responsibility is as the steward of the Earned Value Management System (EVMS) Standard (EIA-748).  Successful EVMS practices are executed through the effective collaboration of customer and supplier teams across multiple functional domains to plan and deliver programs.  Serving as the steward of the EVMS Standard has established effective collaboration practices as the foundation of how the IPM Division operates.  The IPM Division’s mission has naturally evolved to include a broad diversity of project management practices and to improve the alignment and integration of these management practices with other disciplines. 

To support its mission, the IPM Division has chartered Working Groups and initiatives to continue to build depth in its functional domains while also increasing the breadth of collaboration.  Some examples include:

  • A Working Group co-led by an industry and government representative to share program management practices across the Civilian Agencies. This is a great example of supporting the larger community outside of the traditional Defense environment.  An added byproduct is that these Civilian Agency environments have challenged the IPM Division to emphasize the need to scale traditionally accepted practices to more precisely fit the needs of the program.
  • A Working Group co-led with the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) to define best practices to improve the integration of contracting and program management from the proposal through program delivery.  The IPM Division and NCMA leverage this relationship to cross-train and share expertise at one another’s events.
  • A Working Group publishing best practice guides on how to align and integrate Agile practices with more traditional EVMS practices. This Working Group has published best practice material and is in the early stages of collaborating on ideas with the Agile practitioners of the NDIA Systems Engineering (SE) Division.
  • Teaming with the NDIA SE Division to cross-train and share expertise at one another’s Division meetings and community workshops and conferences.
  • Co-hosting speakers and events with strategic partner organizations with overlapping missions, such as with the Defense Acquisition University (DAU), the College of Performance Management (CPM), and the Project Management Institute (PMI).
  • Coordinating with leaders and members from other NDIA Divisions, Affiliates, and Chapters to foster new ideas, share expertise and support; and to participate in one another’s meetings.

The IPM Division seeks the engagement of other leaders to expanded methods of collaboration to support NDIA’s vision and mission.  The ultimate goal is to better serve the needs of our shared industrial base today and in the future.  Additional information on the IPM Division, the Working Groups, and published best practice guides are available at:

New Guidance

Program Development Advisory Council

Under the leadership of Frank Michael, Senior Vice President of Program Development, NDIA recently established a Program Development Advisory Council. The Council is comprised of select Division chairs and current and past Chapter Presidents, working to leverage the impressive body of work that resides across the association. The mission of the program is to increase communication and collaboration between NDIA National, Chapters, and Divisions to establish an enterprise-wide approach in promoting our programs. The PDAC will hold bi-monthly meetings and council members serve on a two year rotational membership. The first Council meeting was held on Friday, February 17 with 13 of 15 members in attendance. We had a great exchange of ideas for increased collaboration and sharing or best practices, and plan to meet on a monthly basis while we formalize our charter, mission, and first priorities. In the next issue of Linking Leaders you will read about our progress and are encouraged to contribute ideas and feedback to us or to the council for discussion.

Your 2017 Council members are:

  • VADM Joe Dyer
  • Terrance McKearney, San Diego
  • Art Siirlia, Michigan
  • Megan McKinney, Great Lakes
  • Chuck Hunsaker, Georgia (past)
  • Bob Jones, Aberdeen Proving Ground
  • George Rivard, Iowa-Illinois
  • Joe O’Connell, Central Florida (past)
  • Dale Gillam, IPMD
  • Dave Broden, Armaments
  • Wayne Fujito, International
  • Greg Wenzel, AFEI
  • Kenneth Masson, PSA
  • Kelly Laurel, Health Affairs
  • Paul Normand, USW

Mega Directory

Beginning this year, the NDIA Mega Directory will be available exclusively online. All corporate members will now automatically receive an ‘enhanced’ listing, rather than having the option to purchase one as an upgrade. The enhanced listing includes a company logo, direct link to website, company description, contact information, and a features a more polished and streamlined look. Additionally, NDIA is now allowing non-members to purchase a listing in the Mega Directory, which will broaden search results for potential partners and customers, providing additional value to our members. Corporate members will be recognized as such in the Directory, and will have a higher, more prominent placement than any non-member. The change will also result in significant cost savings for NDIA and more accurate, up-to-date corporate member records displayed in the Directory.

New Year, New Gift Rules for the Federal Executive Branch

Election and Political Law

Corporations, trade associations, and others who interact with federal executive branch employees should be aware of the Office of Government Ethics’ (OGE) recent amendments to the executive branch gift rules, which go into effect on January 1, 2017. Seeking to encourage transparency and advance public confidence in the integrity of federal officials, OGE redefined some of the gifts executive branch employees can receive from outside sources and suggested when permissible gifts should be declined because they may create an appearance of impropriety. The new amendments include some of the most detailed changes to the executive branch gift rules in many years. This alert outlines the most significant changes.

Key Changes to the Rules on Gifts from Outside Sources

The rulemaking includes many changes and clarifications to commonly used exceptions, as well as a new exception to the executive branch gift rules. These include:

  • Written authorization is now required for all widely attended gatherings (WAGs). Free attendance at WAGs, one of the most commonly used exceptions to the executive branch gift rules, now requires written authorization. For an executive branch employee to attend a WAG, he or she must obtain a written determination that attendance is appropriate—regardless of whether the employee will be speaking at the event. This rule change does not require any action on the part of the WAG sponsor. WAG sponsors should be aware that any executive branch invitee will need to seek written approval to attend the event and that there will be a written record of this request.
  • “Free attendance” can include meals for speakers outside a group context. Under the updated regulations, the definition of “free attendance” at an event, such as a WAG, now includes meals taken other than in a group setting with all other attendees if the executive branch employee is a presenter at the event and is invited to a separate meal for participating presenters that is hosted by the event sponsor.
  • Alcohol is not a “modest item of food or refreshment.” There is no longer any doubt regarding whether alcohol is a modest item of food or refreshment excluded from the definition of a gift. The amended rules clarify that only “modest items of food and non-alcoholic refreshments” are excluded from the definition of a gift. However, this is not a complete ban on outside sources providing alcohol to executive branch employees. Alcohol may still be offered and accepted under other applicable exceptions to the gift rules (e.g., at WAGs or as a gift valued at $20 or less).
  • Attendance at receptions hosted by former employers is permissible. The new regulations make clear that employees may attend receptions or similar events hosted by a former employer, including a government contractor, when other former employees are invited to attend, the invitation is based on the former employment relationship, and the invitation was not made because of the employee’s official position. An example in the amended regulations shows that a Department of the Army employee may attend an annual holiday dinner party hosted by his or her former employer, an Army contractor, when other former employees, regardless of their current employment activities, are invited.
  • Informational materials may be accepted; approval is required if they exceed $100. Executive branch employees may accept informational materials that are educational or instructive in nature—not primarily created for entertainment, display, or decoration—and related to official duties or a topic of interest to the agency. While there has been an exception to the congressional gift rules for informational materials for some time, there previously was no executive branch corollary. Materials valued at over $100 from the same person in a calendar year will require a written determination from the agency that the gift is permissible.
  • Social media relationships are not necessarily friendships. Facebook friends are not necessarily personal friends for purposes of the gift rules. A new example to the exception for gifts based on a personal relationship clarifies that a social media relationship between a gift giver and recipient does not demonstrate that the gift was clearly motivated by a “personal relationship.”

Considerations for Declining Permissible Gifts

The new rules go beyond amending what constitutes a permissible gift. They also outline considerations for declining otherwise permissible gifts. The purpose of this provision is to encourage executive branch employees to decline permissible gifts when “accepting them would raise concerns about the appearance of impropriety.” Considerations include whether the gift has a high market value; the timing creates the appearance that the donor seeks to influence official action; the donor has interests that may be substantially affected by the recipient’s performance or nonperformance of official duties; and acceptance would give the donor significantly disproportionate access to the government.

However, this standard is non-binding. Whether an otherwise permissible gift should be declined under this standard is determined by an employee’s subjective analysis.

Covington’s Election and Political Law Practice Group includes a multi-disciplinary and bipartisan group of lawyers specializing in campaign finance, lobbying, and government ethics law. Firm lawyers routinely provide advice to clients on the regulation of lobbying and gifts to government officials and staff.

This information is not intended as legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before acting with regard to the subjects mentioned herein.

Change in Leadership

  • Mr. Trevor Huth assumed the Presidency of the Central Florida Chapter from Mr. Joe O’Connell
  • Mr. Brian Smith assumed the Presidency of the Georgia Chapter from Mr. Chuck Hunsaker
  • Mr. Terry McKearney assumed the Presidency of the San Diego Chapter from Ms. Alyx Schmidt
  • Mr. Jeffrey Gronberg assumed the Presidency of the Tennessee Valley Chapter from Ms. Patty Popour
  • Mr. Joe Lissenden assumed the Presidency of the Washington, DC Chapter from Mr. John Schumacher
  • Mr. Michael Evans assumed the Presidency of the Wright Brothers Regional Chapter from Mr. Ed Jespersen
  • Mr. Marc Johansen assumed the role of Chair of the Space Division from Mr. John McGinnis