Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. --
The Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing sent a team to compete in Guardian Challenge 2010 April 27 and 28 here at the Space and Missile Systems Center.
Team members were Maj. Michelle Villavaso as program manager; Capt. Grant Spear as the team's systems engineer; 1st Lt. Ashley Housley, team finance officer; and Ms. LaKisha Porter, a warranted contracting officer in the wing.
Among competing teams, MCSW was the last one assembled because Col. William Harding, vice commander, and Ms. Lani Smith, director, wanted to make absolutely sure the wing sent the best team that could be fielded. To that end, an elaborate three-part selection process took place that included a 100-question test created by Defense Acquisition University, personal interviews, and scoring of the candidates' experience and training. Therefore, despite last-minute changes to the format and complexity of the competition, the team was not affected as its members were fully qualified to complete the scenario.
Upon official selection confirmation by Colonel Harding, the team undertook a rigorous training program. Team members met nearly every day for four weeks prior to the competition to master their knowledge and hone their skills in Department of Defense regulations, contracting and finance regulations, Defense Acquisition Guidance, and other necessary areas of acquisition.
They also practiced Defense Acquisition University scenarios to practice working together and build trust among the team. Finally, they studied the entire military space (MILSPACE) portfolio, including national systems, so that they could understand all of the space mission areas and apply that knowledge to any potential scenario DAU could throw at them.
"Our goal is to win it all," said Major Villavaso. "To that end, we train, train, train and have some fun as well."
An advantage the team had was its ability to leverage the wing's diverse portfolio in the commercial derivative (Wideband Global SATCOM), traditional free-flier (Advanced Extremely High Frequency), hosted payload (Enhanced Polar System), and sustainment (MILSTAR and Defense Satellite Communications Systems).
The team competitiveness was high entering the competition, as indicated by team members.
"Failure is not an option," said Lieutenant Housley. "I want to win because I hate losing more than I love winning. Last year, we came up just short, but we're prepared to bring home the 'W' this year."
"I hate to lose," added Captain Spear. "I've played sports my whole life. Competition of any kind excites and helps me bring my 'A' game. Guardian Challenge is no different."
"As MILSATCOM representatives in this competition, our intention is to win it," said Ms. Porter. "I hope this will be the first win that I will get to experience."
For a factsheet, visit http://www.losangeles.af.mil/library/factsheets/index.asp