What challenges does the US Department of Defense’s direct care system face? How can these challenges be overcome? What are five actions to improve military hospital performance? Join host Michael Keegan next week on a Special Edition of The Business of Government Hour as he explores these questions and more with John Whitley, author of the IBM Center report, Five Actions to Improve Military Hospital Performance.

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How do you delivery healthcare anywhere at anytime? What are the strategic priorities for the military health system? How has MHS sought to address some of the critical challenges it faces? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with Dr. Karen Guice, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs within the U.S. Department of Defense.

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What is the U.S. Department of Defense’s “Better Buying Power” initiative? How is DoD promoting competition, providing incentives, reducing bureaucracy, and improving services acquisition? What can federal agencies learn from DoD’s Better Buying Power initiatives? Join us as we explore these questions and more with David Van Slyke & Zach Huitink authors of Beyond Business as Usual: Improving Defense Acquisition through Better Buying Power.

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How is the Defense Health Agency changing the way DoD delivers healthcare? What are some of the key challenges faced in restructuring such a complex system? How is DHA transforming its health information technology portfolio? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with LTG Douglas Robb, Director, Defense Health Agency.

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Mr. Mark E. Krzysko serves as the Deputy Director, Enterprise Information. In this senior leadership position, Mr. Krzysko directs data governance, technical transformation and shared services efforts to make timely, authoritative acquisition information available to support oversight of the Department of Defense’s major programs; a portfolio totaling more than $1.6 trillion of investment funds over the lifecycle of the programs.

Preceding his current position, Mr. Krzysko served as Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (ADUSD) for Business Transformation, providing strategic guidance for re-engineering the Department’s business system investment decision-making processes. He also served as ADUSD for Strategic Sourcing and Acquisition Processes and as Director of the Supply Chain Systems Transformation Directorate, championing innovative uses of information technologies to improve and streamline the supply chain process for the Department. As the focal point for supply chain systems, Mr. Krzysko was responsible for transformation, implementation and oversight of enterprise capabilities for the acquisition, logistics and procurement communities. In addition, Mr. Krzysko served as advisor to the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Business Transformation on supply chain matters and as the functional process proponent to the Department’s Business Transformation efforts, resulting in the establishment of the Business Transformation Agency.

In March of 2002, Mr. Krzysko joined the Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy office as Deputy Director of e-Business. As the focal point for the Acquisition Domain, he was responsible for oversight and transformation of the acquisition community into a strategic business enterprise. This included driving the adoption of e-business practices across the Department, leading the move to modernize processes and systems, and managing the investment review process and portfolio of business systems. Mr. Krzysko served as the Division Director of Electronic Commerce Solutions for the Naval Air Systems Command from June 2000 to March 2002. From April 1991 until March 2000, Mr. Krzysko served in various senior-level acquisition positions at the Naval Air Systems Command, including Contracting Officer of F/A-18 Foreign Military Sales, F/A-18 Developmental Programs, and the F-14. In addition, he served as Program Manager of Partnering, the Acquisition Business Process Re-engineering Effort, and as Acquisition Program Manager for the Program Executive Office for Tactical Aircraft.

Mr. Krzysko began his career in the private sector in various executive and managerial positions including Assistant Managing Director for Lord & Taylor Department Stores and Operations Administrator for Woodward & Lothrop Department Stores. Mr. Krzysko holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from the University of Maryland, University College, College Park, Maryland, and a Master of General Administration, Financial Management from the same institution.

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In the case of Robert Gates, the report focuses on his efforts to transform weapons procurement at DOD. Upon returning to government in 2006 as secretary of defense, Gates concluded that he had an opportunity to rein in the cost of defense weapons procurements and halt the production of unneeded weapons.

In the case of Francis Collins, the report focuses on his efforts to transform NIH by creating a new institute, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, which Collins believed would serve as a catalyst to change the culture of NIH. Collins sought to enhance NIH’s capability to translate its knowledge in addressing what the public needs from drugs and treatment.

Professor Lambright found many similarities in the challenges faced by Gates and Collins, as well as their effective responses to these challenges. Lambright concludes that experience and leadership skills really do matter, and that both leaders set clear goals and offered clarity as to means. The report also describes how both overcame opposition to their transformation initiatives.

As noted above, this report builds upon prior research by the IBM Center for The Business of Government on the crucial topics of leadership and transformation. In 2011, the IBM Center published A Leader’s Guide to Transformation: Developing a Playbook for Successful Change Initiatives by Robert A. F. Reisner.

Forging Governmental Change is the sixth report prepared by Professor Lambright for the IBM Center. In 2002, Professor Lambright chronicled the experience of Francis Collins, then director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, in his report Managing “Big Science:” A Case Study of the Human Genome Project. Lambright’s research for the IBM Center also includes leadership case studies of three recent administrators of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Dan Goldin (2001), Sean O’Keefe (2005), and Michael Griffin (2009).

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In this issue of The Business of Government magazine, we survey the intersection where leadership, complex challenges, and the need for transformation meet. Whether it’s in the response to the global financial crisis, the national deficit, or the myriad of other pressing issues facing us, uncertainty seems boundless while constraints on resources are very real. It is within this context that we’ve assembled a varied group of government executives and thought leaders who are focusing on these problems and working to mitigate their effects. They offer their insights, lessons learned, and recommendations on these topics. It’s about connecting research to practice—crafting smart approaches that tame immediate demands without losing sight of the iterative nature of problem solving. This goes to the core of the Center’s mission: linking theory to practice as a way of shaping the business of government.

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