CIA Procurement Executive Margaret Augustine joined INSA President Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg for a Tuesday morning Coffee + Conversation on May 18. Ms. Augustine opened by describing her various responsibilities as the Senior Procurement Executive, which range from execution, to policy, to workforce development. CIA contracting officers are responsible from “cradle to grave” in the acquisition process, operate as business advisors, and play an integral role in forming acquisition strategies with CIA mission components.
In her specific role, Ms. Augustine aims to formulate and implement policies to streamline acquisitions at the speed of mission. To this end, her office established a strategic framework for acquisitions within the CIA. This innovative framework has five pillars: 1) build and retain a high performing acquisitions workforce; 2) partner with mission components on key acquisition initiatives; 3) build and enhance acquisition infrastructure; 4) drive greater cost and schedule efficiencies in the execution of CIA programs; and 5) expand the agency’s industry base.
The conversation shifted to the pandemic’s impact on the CIA’s acquisition and procurement efforts. Fortunately, the CIA was very forward leaning at the onset of the crisis. When appropriate, Ms. Augustine reduced classifications so that more work could be done outside of the office. Her office also explored work from home options to expand flexibility while staying true to the mission. It was not always easy, but the Procurement Office stayed on track and even succeeded in awarding the C2E cloud contract ahead of schedule.
Regarding ongoing acquisition efforts, Ms. Augustine expressed her excitement about the Acquisition Lifecycle Management system. This will be a paperless, electronic end-to-end data repository for all things acquisition. Additionally, the CIA remains focused on cutting edge technology and supply chain management. Ms. Augustine also spoke about Gray Magic, a CIA initiative that will enable the agency to securely communicate at the secret level with its industry partners. Prior to closing, Ms. Augustine revealed that the greatest challenge facing the Procurement Office is recruiting and retaining the necessary workforce to get the job done. The CIA is doing a good job, but the Procurement Office must continue to be at the forefront of these staffing challenges.
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