National IGE Report: May-June 2024

National Industry-Government Engagement Report

Bringing industry and government together to drive partnerships, deliver solutions, and develop people is the cornerstone of how SAME contributes to national security—and that commitment was on display during the IGE Summit at SAME Capital Week, March 25 in Rockville, Md.

The event brought together experts from across the A/E/C industry, along with military and agency representatives and other thought leaders, for discussions and exploratory exercises, which even included building models in a group setting.

Of Engagement, and Empathy

While the three industry-government engagement sessions covered topics ranging from project delivery to long-term installation master planning, the single word that emerged from all the groups was “risk.” Managing risk—whether in delivery schedules, costs, changing mission sets, or evolving geopolitical conditions—can only be completed by greater engagement (and empathy) between groups and participants.

Joint Engineering Challenges & Solutions. Hosted by the JECO COI, this session served as a precursor to a planned forum at the 2024 JETC and focused on challenges and solutions in joint engineering contingency operations, with a specific look at the interdependence of contractors and agencies, and how existing frameworks for acquisition can impact delivery.

As Rick Sloop, the panel’s moderator, remarked during the out-brief, that it all comes down to risk. Who holds that risk, how it is identified, and how it is managed are all challenges to be addressed. He likened the scenario to a Venn diagram, where a government entity develops an understanding of its overlapping risks and then finds the spot between the competing circles where all involved parties can agree on a shared risk—but this often does not include consideration of the contractor’s risk. As a result, the contractor must either move or expand, or otherwise adjust their own risk bubble, leading to inflated costs or lack of bids.

Members split into teams and faced sets of constraints in renovating their mock installations, including building height restrictions, parking requirements, landscaping and walkability, and land use.

Installations of the Future. This hands-on session sought to look “over the horizon” at what installations will need to meet future challenges, on a timeline beyond the next five or even 10 years. Considerations of quickly evolving technologies, digital advancements, new weapon systems, resilience and sustainability, and flexible spaces for future missions were all discussed during the day.

As part of the program, attendees heard from a panel of experts in architecture, innovative technology, cybersecurity, and master planning to prime their mindsets on what the needs of future installations may entail. Then, there was an opportunity to engage in an exercise to plan and then renovate a “mock installation” to simulate a real-world challenge of building an installation of the future with a changed mission set on a currently utilized site. Members split into teams and faced sets of constraints in renovating their mock installations, including building height restrictions, parking requirements, landscaping and walkability, and land use. From the exercise, they gained insights into planning for the missions sets of the future, including the need to consider flexible usages for building systems to have multiple applications, and the importance of focusing on the core of installations.

Collaborative Delivery and Federal Projects. The third session continued the driving themes from last year’s IGE Summit on collaborative or alternative delivery methods for federal projects. A panel of experts, with representatives from USACE and NAVFAC, along with both small businesses and large firms, shared perspectives and engaged in dialogue about current efforts underway to develop and refine alternative delivery methods and where there may be roadblocks or other stumbling points to overcome.

The IGE Working Group under the Construction COI announced it would be engaging in a period of research to study some of the alternative delivery methods being carried out by non-federal organizations that almost exclusively use it as their everyday methodology. From this period of research and discovery, the aim is to see what insights may be gathered and reported out to help advance alternative delivery methods.

Making Steady Progress

Managing and controlling risk remains a constantly moving target, especially in the federal contracting arena. But efforts are underway to make advancements toward that goal. The 2024 IGE Summit offered a unique opportunity for industry and government practitioners to not only collaborate across disciplines on major challenges facing the national engineering community but to get involved with ongoing national-level efforts at SAME.
Through the structure of National IGE Projects, SAME members are helping drive change. Whether the discussions serve as the initial stages or research for further collaboration at events like the Warfighter Seminar at JETC; advance already ongoing national industry-government engagement efforts; or serve as fertile ground to explore whether additional involvement is needed, SAME stands ready to serve as the platform of choice for the necessary partnership to happen.

Bringing Industry and Government Together

As the cornerstone of the Society’s founding in 1920, industry-government engagement remains mission-essential for the organization a century later. By leveraging our unique, inclusive platform that brings together members from across the entire infrastructure lifecycle, public and private, SAME is driving solutions for some of the toughest engineering challenges facing the A/E/C industry and our national security. Learn more about SAME’s IGE efforts.