LMI Symposium Brings Together Customers Tackling Complex Problems

February 28, 2023

LMI Staff

LMI has been leading innovations in acquisition since its inception in 1961 and for DHS since 2005. During the November 2022 DHS Acquisition Symposium, LMI brought together leaders from government, academia, and industry to discuss the theme of Embracing Digital Agility to Enable Acquisition Modernization. Discussed during the symposium, attendees discussed three key questions:

  • Is technology advancing at the speed of need?
  • Is the acquisition system dependable and reliable?
  • How do we use acquisition to mitigate risk?

The delivery of capability is a force multiplier for the DHS mission. In many ways, mission success depends on the ability to acquire and deploy systems and services to the field quickly, reliably, and dependably while meeting the pace of change. The pace of change and the threats continue to accelerate.

Scott Recinos, senior vice president of LMI’s Homeland Security market, kicked off the symposium. “The challenges facing [DHS] continue to grow exponentially. The need to deliver capabilities is a common focus at every one of its component agencies,” said Scott Recinos. “Streamlining authorities, maturing processes, and developing the workforce are vital elements to delivering capabilities.”

— Scott Recinos, Senior Vice President, Homeland Security

Recinos emphasized LMI’s commitment to DHS, noting the shared history of working together between the two organizations and that more than 350 LMI employees support DHS. LMIers supporting DHS “are passionate about the mission and dedicated to enabling DHS’s success,” he said.

Highly esteemed keynote speaker, Mark Borkowski, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection chief acquisition officer and component acquisition executive, also touched on how requirements change as technology advances. “In the past, the technology advancement curve looked for speed, and progressed to wanting the acquisition system to be dependable and reliable.”

Explaining the intertwined relationships between digital, speed, and reliability, Assistant Commissioner Borkowski said properly dealing with data complexity is the key to connecting the insight, analysis, and future predictions equation pieces. “We want to see the future of our programs, and we want to see how to create the future,” he said. “That’s what strategy is about. Data ought to help us do that.”

The first of two panels, moderated by Jordan Hefferan, LMI principal, included industry and academia members Nirup Menon, George Mason University; Eric Ferraro, Defense Acquisition University; Jonathan Alboum, ServiceNow; and John Sliger, Avian. They discussed streamlining the acquisition and systems engineering framework, robotic process automation, enterprise portfolio management systems, digital engineering, training and education for the acquisition workforce, and adapting acquisition strategies to incorporate Agile principles.

Eric Oettl, LMI’s vice president of the Acquisition and Sustainment market, moderated a government panel that included senior DHS and VA leaders Chris Moman, ICE CAE; David Patrick, CISA CAE; Ackie Jones, CBP Enterprise Services PAE; and Maria Schneider, Veterans Affairs Electronic Health Records program director. Topics that emerged from this panel included lessons learned on streamlining the acquisition and systems engineering framework, aligning acquisition and service programs across the enterprise, adapting acquisition strategies to incorporate agile software development, implementing IT system modernization while maintaining legacy programs, and visualizing acquisition and financial data in a meaningful way to drive decision-making.

In closing, Audra Upchurch, vice president of LMI’s Homeland Security market, highlighted that agencies need to collaborate on innovation and lessons learned and emphasized that a common lexicon is important. She also noted that workforce development is an integral element of modernization, particularly with adoption management. Upchurch remarked that the risk of incorporating new technology can be mitigated via a rapid prototyping process that incorporates the elements of human-centered design. She thanked participants for candid discussions, networking, and collaboration. “LMI has been around for more than 60 years, and we are dedicated to supporting the federal government by providing innovative solutions to complex challenges. and hosting federal leaders to facilitate these conversations across DHS and the federal government.”

From the November Symposium, LMI had several takeaways:

  • Establishing psychological safety and building organizational culture are vital elements in every successful digital transformation. Organizations should prioritize these activities as an integral element of their modernization plans.
  • While digital acquisition tools are not a silver bullet, they are a tremendous force multiplier for acquisition programs because of their ability to provide near real-time data and reduce the transaction costs on the acquisition workforce.
  • Rapid prototyping is a powerful tool for mitigating risk, particularly early in the acquisition lifecycle.
  • Digital Engineering is an emerging technology enabler that enables early risk identification, improves decision-making, and makes requirements traceable.
  • Technical, organizational, and human factors affect an agency’s ability to successfully transform from linear, artifact-based acquisition to a digitally enabled acquisition framework.

Programs are finding innovative ways to streamline their acquisition and systems engineering strategies to compress schedules.

The LMI Homeland Security market, led by Scott Recinos and vice presidents Audra Upchurch and Melissa McLane Wright, is passionate about serving the DHS mission and finding innovative ways to deliver capability at the speed of need. LMI’s Acquisition and Sustainment sub-service line, led by Eric Oettl, sponsored the event. LMI offers symposiums to bring together customers who are tackling complex problems. This symposium encouraged our DHS customers to consider approaches that would be appropriate for their organizations.


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