Understanding the “New Normal” in contract management training

Updated: Jan 19


Last September, the Department of Defense announced a “Back-to-Basics” (BtB) initiative”, the most substantial reform of the defense acquisition management reform in nearly 20 years. This initiative shifts the focus from enterprise-required training to job-specific point-of-need training and credentials that support mission readiness.


What does this mean and what will be the implications? Our colleague Jimm Rich, who joined Dawson & Associates in 2016, is an expert in Federal contracting, having spent more than 30 years overseeing contracts and contract procedures for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Jimm served as Chief of Contracting for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Baltimore, Kansas City and Galveston districts.

Jimm has an article about this issue in the January issue of Contract Management magazine, which focuses on contracting best practices. An excerpt:


Can we successfully address issues we see in the contracting profession by simply overhauling our training model? I think the answer is a qualified “yes, but”—with the “but” requiring strong leadership and the willingness of managers to take risks that may have previously been evaluated and rejected. If asked a year ago what changes I would make to the education and training of contract managers, I would have likely provided a list of recommendations that addressed measurable efficiencies—how can we leverage technology to do what we are currently doing better, faster, and cheaper. Today, I am thinking a hard reset may be the better solution.


For the full article, please click here.


Maj. Gen. (ret) Rick Stevens

Senior Vice President

A member of the Dawson team since 2018, Rick was Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 2014-2017.


The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dawson & Associates.