Defense Forum

Monday, December 4 • 1:30pm–4:30pm • Hyatt Regency Crystal City

Host: Wendy M. Masiello, Lt. Gen., USAF (retired)

This special event during GCMS covers defense-specific acquisition changes and challenges. The forum’s theme, Speed to Need, is centered on in-depth discussions between the contracting and acquisition communities on real solutions to speed up the Department of Defense acquisition process to help warfighters get what they need to accomplish the mission. The acquisition timeline has always been too long, but it’s exacerbated today by the speed at which technology is changing, bringing new capabilities online almost daily. The Department of Defense needs to adjust in order to take advantage of commercial technology.

Runs concurrently with Monday afternoon breakout sessions, which are not defense-related in context. 

Registration Rates

GCMS attendees: $50 add-on fee
Forum only attendees: $250  

Register through the GCMS registration portal, either in addition to your GCMS registration, or as a single event. If you've already registered for GCMS and would like to add on the forum, choose "Make a change to an existing registration." 


The Defense Forum agenda is subject to change.

Opening Remarks


Opening remarks from Wendy M. Masiello, Lt. Gen., U.S. Air Force (retired)

Main Stage Dual Keynote


   A Conversation with Frank Kendall and Robert Hale

Frank Kendall, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L)


Senate Confirmed in May 2012, the Honorable Frank Kendall previously served as the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L). In this capacity, he was responsible to the secretary of defense for all matters pertaining to acquisition; research and engineering; developmental testing; contract administration; logistics and materiel readiness; installations and environment; operational energy; chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons; the acquisition workforce; and the defense industrial base. He led Department of Defense efforts to increase the department’s buying power and improve the performance of the defense acquisition enterprise. Prior to this appointment, from March 2010–May 2012, he served as the principal deputy under secretary and also as the acting under secretary. He has over 40 years of experience in engineering, management, defense acquisition, and national security affairs in private industry, government, and the military. He has been a consultant to defense industry firms, nonprofit research organizations, and the Department of Defense in the areas of strategic planning, engineering management, and technology assessment.

Robert F. Hale, Senior Executive Advisor, Booz Allen Hamilton; Former Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)


The Honorable Robert F. Hale is currently a senior executive advisor at Booz Allen Hamilton and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Previously, he served as comptroller and chief financial officer at the Department of Defense, head of Air Force financial management, and head of the defense group at the Congressional Budget Office. He was the executive director of the American Society of Military Comptrollers and held analytic and management positions at LMI government consulting and the Center for Naval Analyses. Early in his career, he served as a Navy officer. In addition, he served as a commissioner on the National Commission on the Future of the Army and is a past member of the Defense Business Board. Since 2001, he has been a Fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration. He is a recipient of the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award, the Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the GAO/OMB/Treasury award for distinguished lifetime accomplishments in federal financial management.


Main Stage Discussion


The Defense Technology Challenge

Government and industry leaders will discuss acquiring new technology in today’s rapidly changing and highly competitive technology environment. How can DoD maintain state-of-the-art support from new, leading edge technology companies reluctant to become involved with government red-tape and oversight? How can businesses supporting DoD hire the best and brightest technology experts who prefer to work for Google, Amazon, or Apple? Let’s find out how some defense organizations make it happen.

Wendy M. Masiello, Lt. Gen., U.S. Air Force (retired)

Brigadier General Mark A. Baird, Director, Space Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, U.S. Air Force
John Chierichella, Founder/Senior Partner, Government Contract, Investigations & International Trade Practice Group, Sheppard Mullin
Kacy Gerst, Chief of Commercial Strategy, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
Camron Gorguinpour, PhD, Principal for Strategy, Wōden LLC


Refreshments will be served.

Main Stage Discussion


How Acquisition Team Excellence Supports Warfighter Capability

This panel of senior government and industry leaders from the Air Force and Boeing will share their perspectives on how to work together successfully to acquire major weapons systems like the F-15. They will explore what success means in acquisition negotiations from 4 different perspectives: from government, the PEO and director of contracting; and from industry, the program director and vice president of contracts. They will share lessons learned from recent multi-billion dollar acquisitions in the Air Force Fighter/Bomber PEO portfolio—what works and what doesn't work? What motivates government vs. industry? What should government/industry relationships look like? What does a successful deal look like? What’s the balance between speed and ensuring the “good” business deal?

Tom Robinson, SES, Director of Contracting, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Brigadier General Michael J. Schmidt, Program Executive Officer for Fighters and Bombers, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
Bob Lamina, Vice President of Contracts, Estimating & Procurement Financial Analysis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security
Steve Parker, Vice President of F-15 Programs, Boeing



Join fellow Defense Forum and GCMS attendees for a networking reception in the exhibit hall. 

Defense Forum Speakers

Hover over a name to read a short bio.


John ChierichellaJohn Chierichella is the founder of and senior partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin’s Washington, DC, office. He has a broad range of experience in government contract matters, including claims and appeals, cost and Cost Accounting Standards issues, teaming disputes, prime/subcontractor disputes, compliance reviews and internal investigations, qui tam and other False Claims Act litigation, bid protests, and GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule Program. He has been awarded a “Tier 1 National Ranking” by Chambers & Partners, he is a frequent lecturer and prolific author, and coauthored the leading book on the MAS Program.


Wendy MasielloWendy Masiello is currently an independent consultant, having retired from the U.S. Air Force as a three-star general in July 2017. During her 36-year career with the Air Force, she served as director of the Defense Contract Management Agency; deputy assistant secretary (contracting), Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition; and program executive officer for the Air Force’s $30 billion service acquisition portfolio. Her medals and commendations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, and the Bronze Star. She is a 2017 Distinguished Alum of Texas Tech University, an Executive Mosaic “Wash 100 Award” recipient in 2015 and 2016, and was the 2014 Greater Washington Government Contractor “Public Sector Partner of the Year.”


Kacy GerstAs DARPA’s chief of commercial strategy, Kacy Gerst builds strategic relationships with commercial industry, working to stand up a business accelerator within DARPA to prepare breakthrough technologies to aid national security. Previously, she was a founding member of ARPA-E’s Technology to Market team, as well as a helicopter engineer and business strategist at Sikorsky Aircraft. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in systems engineering, and while pursuing her master’s in engineering and management from MIT, she assisted the Department of Energy headquarters office in helping to craft the President’s Strategic Energy Plan.


Steve Parker Steve Parker is the vice president of F-15 Programs for Boeing’s Strike, Surveillance and Mobility division. He is responsible for customer engagement and satisfaction, quality, cost and schedule performance of the F-15 Strike Eagle multi-role fighter, the Advanced F-15 air superiority fighter currently in development, and the F-15 2040C modernization initiative. Previously, he was vice president of Cargo Helicopter programs and H-47 program manager. He led production and modernization efforts for U.S. Army and Special Operations Forces Chinook programs, which include the CH-47F and MH-47G, along with international Chinook programs in 19 countries. Parker’s career with Boeing spans almost thirty years. His experience in the execution of large complex programs ranges from the maintenance, modification, and upgrade of aircraft and weapon systems, through to the development and fielding of networks, advanced systems and associated support.


Camron Gorguinpour, PhDDr. Camron Gorguinpour is a principal at Wōden, LLC, a management and strategy consulting firm developing large-scale opportunities in new and emerging markets. Previously, he worked in the U.S. Department of Defense as a Senior Executive Service appointee for the Obama administration, where he stood up the U.S. Air Force Office of Transformational Innovation (OTI) and served as its first director. He also previously served as executive director for Scientists & Engineers for America, as co-founder and executive director for Space Science Outreach and Research (SSOAR), and as a lecturer and part-time faculty member in the Bioengineering Department of the University of California, Berkeley.


Tom RobinsonThomas D. Robinson, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the director of contracting, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He guides contracting policy for seven operating locations, ensures workforce development for more than 2,000 contracting professionals, and manages a support and contract execution staff of more than 200. He guides more than $31 billion in annual obligations for 10 program executive officers and two direct report divisions. He is also responsible for more than 550 Air Force, joint, and allied warfighting programs valued at more than $196 billion in active contracts. These programs include F-22 and F-16 fighter aircraft; C-17 and C-5 cargo aircraft; KC-46 tanker aircraft, B-1 and B-2 bomber aircraft; and Predator, Global Hawk and Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. Prior to this assignment, he served as the executive director, Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.


Bob LaminaBob Lamina is vice president of Defense, Space & Security Contracts, Pricing, Estimating, and Procurement Financial Analysis. Named to this position in March 2017, he is responsible for leading functional contracting, pricing and estimating operations. Prior to this role, he served as BDS vice president and chief financial officer for Boeing Military Aircraft. Over a 25-year Boeing career, Lamina has served in a number of leadership roles including chief financial officer for the Vertical Lift program at Boeing’s Ridley Park, Pennsylvania site, where he was responsible for optimizing the financial performance of the company’s portfolio of cargo, tiltrotor and attack rotorcraft programs, and overseeing site-wide business activities and transactions. Prior to joining Boeing, he served as legislative director for U.S. Rep. Joseph R. Skeen and in professional staff positions for the U.S. House of Representatives committees on Science, Space and Technology, and Appropriations.


Brig. Gen Michael SchmidtBrig. Gen. Michael J. Schmidt is the program executive officer for fighters and bombers, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He is responsible for development, production, fielding, sustainment, and modernization of the fighters and bombers portfolio, which includes the A-10, A-29, B-1, B-2, B-52, F-15, F-16, F-22, and special programs. He is also responsible for organizing, training and equipping the F-35 System Program Office. Previously, he served as the program executive officer for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Special Operations Forces at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.

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