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2017 CECOP Symposium - Speakers

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Schedule Speakers Hotel and Venue Register Contacts

Department of Energy (DOE) — National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)

Cost Estimating Community of Practice (CECOP) Symposium

March 21 & 22, 2017

Washington, DC

Keynote Speakers

Don Cook
Former Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs

Dr. Cook was appointed to the Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs position by President Obama. Cook was sworn in as NNSA’s 5th Deputy Administrator in June 2010. He is responsible for managing the U.S. nuclear security enterprise of laboratories and manufacturing facilities.

Prior to his appointment to NNSA, Dr. Cook served as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Atomic Weapons Establishment in the United Kingdom from 2006 to 2009. In this capacity, he was accountable for AWE’s performance on the contract with the UK Ministry of Defence, which includes support of the UK Trident warheads and development and sustainment of capability in nuclear weapon design, engineering development, manufacturing, qualification, assembly, transport, support in service, and finally, decommissioning, dismantlement, and disposal. AWE has an annual budget of $1.2 billion and an employee workforce of 5,000.

From 1977-2005, Dr. Cook worked in Pulsed Power Sciences, Microtechnologies, Infrastructure, and Security at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. From 1999-2005, he was Director of the MESA Program Center, accountable for design and construction of the Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) complex. In 2003, he assumed Program Director responsibilities for Sandia’s Infrastructure Program and for Sandia’s Safeguards and Security Technologies Program.

From 1977-1999, Dr. Cook led efforts in pulsed power accelerator design and experimentation, fusion research, hydrodynamics, radiography, diagnostic development, and computational code development. He managed the Sandia Fusion Research Department from 1984-1993 and was Director of Pulsed Power Sciences from 1993-1999. Work during this period included construction and development of a number of accelerators, including the Z-machine.

Dr. Cook is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Institute of Physics (IOP). He is married to the former Margaret Ann Kramer, with two grown daughters, Julia and Cynthia.

Doug Comstock
Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Integration

Doug Comstock is the Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Integration, reporting to the CFO.

Comstock was previously Director of the Cost Analysis Division in the Office of Evaluation at NASA HQ, as part of the Office of the Administrator. He was responsible for cost estimating policy, providing cost analysis capabilities and tools for NASA, developing new and improved methods for cost analysis through research, as well as cost analysis consulting to programs and projects and cost analysis for agency studies.

Comstock was previously the Director of NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP), responsible for directing the IPP portfolio of technology investments and partnering mechanisms including Small Business Innovative Research, Small Business Technology Transfer Research, the Centennial Challenges and the Innovative Partnerships Seed Fund. Additionally, he was responsible for intellectual property management and technology transfer, and for encouraging and facilitating partnerships with the emerging commercial space sector including the agency's purchase of emerging commercial services.

Comstock previously served as the NASA comptroller, responsible for the preparation, tracking, presentation and defense of NASA's budget to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Congress. As the founding director of NASA's Strategic Investments Division, he was responsible for integrating NASA's strategic planning and program analysis supporting budget decisions into a single organization.

Before coming to NASA, Comstock spent four years as a program examiner in OMB, with responsibility for NASA's human space flight activities, biological and physical research and personnel. Prior to his government service, he was Director of Engineering with the Futron Corporation, a Bethesda, Md.-based technology consulting firm, and began his career with General Dynamics Space Systems Division, conducting preliminary design and systems analysis for numerous aerospace systems, from strategic defense to advanced space transportation.

Comstock has undergraduate degrees from the University of Washington in both mechanical engineering and architecture. He did his graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received masters degrees in both aeronautics and astronautics, and technology and policy.

He resides in Ashburn, Va. and is married to the former Susan Louk. They have two children.

A.C. Charania
Manager, Advanced Programs
Blue Origin

Mr. A.C. Charania works on the Business Development and Strategy team for Blue Origin, LLC, a developer of vehicles and technologies to enable human space transportation. At Blue Origin, he is Manager of Advanced Programs.

Mr. A.C. was formerly based in the Los Angeles metropolitan area as Senior Director of Strategy and Business Operations at Virgin Galactic. For over four years, he was involved in developing the entire LauncherOne business plan, maturing Virgin Galacticís roadmap with its advanced concepts team, company financial modeling, capture/ proposal management (including winning a NASA Venture Class Launch Service contract), interfacing with the global space launch insurance community, and supporting multiple C-level technical partnership transactions for Virgin Galactic. He was one of the leaders involved in changing the overall air-launch architecture to one that uses the 747-400 as the carrier aircraft. He helped to negotiate one of the largest commercial procurements of launches in history (OneWebís launch contract with Virgin Galactic). He was also on the core due diligence team for Virgin Groupís investment in the OneWeb global satellite constellation. For the first two years at Virgin Galactic he was based in Washington, D.C. where he also supported corporate lobbying and government agency interaction.

He was a visionary/founder/early employee of three aerospace start-ups (SpaceWorks Enterprises, Generation Orbit and Terminal Velocity Aerospace). Working at SpaceWorks for over twelve years, he was involved in multiple advanced concepts studies that included reusable launch vehicles, in-space transportation systems, human exploration studies, and planetary defense/asteroid missions. At SpaceWorks he helped to incubate Generation Orbit and Terminal Velocity Aerospace, also serving as CEO of Generation Orbit. He has extensive experience in cost and economic modeling of space systems. He also has experience in export compliance, having successfully executed projects with overseas companies from Japan and South Korea. He is a member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee. He earned an M.S. and B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a specialization in systems design and optimization. He also earned a B.A. in Economics/Mathematics from Emory University.

Gary R. Bliss Gary R. Bliss
Director, Performance Assessments and Root Cause Analyses
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition

Mr. Gary R. Bliss is the Director, Performance Assessments and Root Cause Analyses (PARCA), in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition. PARCA carries out performance assessments of Major Defense Acquisitions Programs (MDAPs) and conducts root cause analyses for MDAPs with Nunn-McCurdy breach status or when requested by senior Department of Defense (DoD) officials.

Mr. Bliss previously held the position of Deputy Director, Enterprise Information and Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Studies in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L). His responsibilities included oversight of the five OSD-funded Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, the OSD's university research program, as well as review and development of innovations to overhaul the AT&L enterprise management systems.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Bliss served thirteen years as the Director of Office of the Director, Program Analysis & Evaluation Weapon System Cost Analysis Division (WSCAD). WSCAD's ten staff members constitute one of the two offices dedicated to OSD Cost Analysis Improvement Group (CAIG) functions, and is responsible for the preparation of independent development and procurement cost estimates for major systems that range from munitions (e.g., tactical missiles) through platforms (e.g., helicopters, submarines, fighter aircraft, tanks, etc.). As such, Mr. Bliss has been a key player in DoD's most important system decisions by the Services, OSD and the Congress.

Generally recognized in both industry and government as a leading authority on the economics of defense procurement, Mr. Bliss has an established track record in institutional reform and enterprise reengineering. He is an experienced lecturer, often speaking to varied audiences on such topics as:

  • Management information system governance and reengineering
  • Manufacturing enterprise reengineering
  • Acquisition institutional reform

Owing to this expertise, Mr. Bliss has been hosted by the governments of Australia, Taiwan, Japan, and the United Kingdom to lecture their staffs on matters of defense acquisition.

Mr. Bliss has a BA, Mathematics and Economics (Highest Honors in Economics) from College of William and Mary.


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