Wednesday, February 24, 2016

AAQG: Enhancing Government/Industry Collaboration

A combined Space and Defense (S&D) Forum was held on Sept. 15, 2015, in conjunction with the Americas Aerospace Quality Group (AAQG) meetings in Charleston, SC. The Space Forum and Defense Forum are two of the five Relationship Streams established by the AAQG Leadership organization. The other Relationship Streams include: 
·      Civil Authorities,
·      Maintenance and Repair Organizations, and
·      Trade Associations. 
Currently, the S&D Forums are comprised of representatives from 10 industry companies, three government agencies, one academic entity and one certification body.  While many of the representatives support both forums, the customer interfaces, supply chain participants, and products/services provided are sufficiently different to require unique forums for both space and defense. Milt Jacocks of Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, CA, leads the Space Forum and I, Michael Henderson of Bluewater Investments and Management Consulting in Port Huron, MI currently chair the Defense Forum.
The S&D Forums focus on space and defense quality issues while promoting AAQG initiatives within the space and defense industries. We achieve our objectives by supporting the commonly accepted suite of SAE Aerospace Standards (AS9xxx), Aerospace Recommended Practices (ARP 9xxx), and the Industry-Controlled Other Party (ICOP) certification scheme which supports aviation, space, and defense application needs. The S&D Forums also provide a mechanism to gather best space practices and share lesson learned; ensure global acceptance of space and defense practices, and facilitates networking among representatives from elements of the aerospace community.
For 2014, our teams have developed the following tactical objectives for the Space and Defense Forums:
·      We decided to combine the once-separate Space and Defense Forum meetings into a single meeting that will be held concurrently with biannual AAQG meetings. 
·      Support the preparation of the 9100 Quality Management Systems - Requirements for Aviation, Space, and Defense Organizations revision. We also plan to provide consolidated review and feedback in accordance with the 9100 team requirements.
·      Support the finalization of the 9104/3 Requirements for Aerospace Auditor Competency and Training Courses revision, in particular, Annex F, to achieve a satisfactory incorporation of space and defense needs.
·      Support the revision of ARP9162 Aerospace Operator Self-Verification Programs to achieve a satisfactory incorporation of space and defense needs.
·      Design and conduct surveys to identify expectations to fulfill QMS requirements needs for military land and naval products.   
Over the past 18 months, the S&D Forums have sought to enhance the participation of additional Government representatives in various aspects of S&D activities, as well as AAQG participation overall. 
Consistent with our desire to enhance the collaboration between government and industry, the attendees at the Charleston S&D Forum meeting were particularly delighted to have Mr. Michael E. Shields, Executive Director of Quality Assurance for the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), provide his perspective on how he is working to drive affordability, increase efficiency, and improve the quality of space and defense products for his U.S. military customers. Mr. Shields set aside some time to meet with our group and shared his goals in participating with the team:
·      DCMA desires to partner with industry to achieve affordability and acquisition reform objectives.   
·      DCMA would like to explore the alignment of government and industry expectations by improving collaboration of QMS information.
·      DCMA also would like to develop the ability to share audit information between industry (OASIS database) and the DCMA.
Mr. Shields emphasized DCMA’s desire to create a value-added relationship with industry, including the establishment of robust communication channels and the sharing of actionable QMS information. He also demonstrated his commitment to this endeavor by becoming a Liaison Member of the AAQG. We welcome Mr. Shields to the AAQG team and thank him for his support and participation in S&D Forum activities. It should be noted that Craig Bennett of DCMA, Kelvin Coleman of FAA, and Brian Hughitt of NASA also participated in the Charleston S&D Forum.
The S&D Forums will be meeting again on March 8, 2016, at the AAQG meeting in Indianapolis. Please refer to for the most current AAQG meeting registration, conference schedules and hotel information.

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