Army civilians earn honors at Naval Postgraduate School
April 13, 2010
Two Army civilians earned top honors at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and are particularly deserving of recognition for their contributions to their field of study and to the Army. Students Kevin P. Puma and Beth A. Scherr both graduated with distinction from the NPS Master of Science in Contract Management (MSCM) curriculum in September 2009. Puma is a recipient of the NPS Graduate School of Business and Public Policy Faculty Award for Excellence in Management (also known as the Louis D. Liskin Award for Excellence in Business and Public Policy) and successfully completed two exams toward the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) certification from the Institute for Supply Management.
In addition to graduating with distinction, both students received the prestigious Outstanding Thesis Award for research work on their Joint Applied Project entitled, "Assessing Contract Management Maturity: U.S. Army Joint Munitions and Lethality [JM&L] Contracting Center, Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal [NJ]." The Joint Applied Project is an NPS hallmark, structured to capitalize on learning events of the entire curriculum, as well as highlight the students' practical experiences in complex business problem solving. The Joint Applied Project offers a twofold benefit to commands-it can take the substance and form of both an academic event and that of a consultancy report, demonstrative of value-added critical thinking and analytical skills required to solve complex real-world command problems.
The Joint Applied Project conducted by Puma and Scherr provided the JM&L Contracting Center, Picatinny, with a method of assessing its contract management processes to determine the processes' capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses, and to provide a road map for contract management process improvement. Their research applied the Contract Management Maturity Model (CMMM)-developed by NPS Associate Professor Dr. Rene G. Rendon-to the JM&L's subcenters. The analysis used a cross-sectional survey consisting of questions related to the key process of contract management and related best-practice activities.
The survey participants included JM&L's warranted Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Level III certified contracting officers. The data collected and the resultant process maturity assessment were then cross-analyzed against previous JM&L procurement management reviews. Although the procurement management reviews focus on compliance, and the CMMM measures contract management process capability, the CMMM assessment results were consistent with previous procurement management reviews. Organizational leaders can benefit on many levels by assessing contract management processes using CMMM results to address any deficiencies identified in the contract process, benchmark best practices, and identify opportunities for knowledge sharing among the organizational units. The CMMM assessment results can also be used as a road map for improving the contract management process capability through continuous monitoring of improvement efforts and by reassessing its process capability at appropriate intervals in the future. CMMM has been previously applied to other Army Contracting Command Contracting Centers, as well as U.S. Air Force (USAF) and U.S. Navy contracting activities.
(Courtesy of ARMY AL&T)