"I am honoured and excited to be part of the NCI Agency team," Upton said. "The depth and breadth of experience attributed to this staff is truly impressive and I look forward to joining them in enabling NATO's digital endeavour."
Upton is bringing to the position more than 18 years of experience in acquisition for the United States Department of Defense.
Prior to joining the Agency, Upton served as the Director of Contracting at the United States Naval Special Warfare Command. In that position, Upton planned, organized and directed procurement activities for the command´s entire portfolio of contracted services and supplies. The portfolio included highly specialized training and gear, as well as information technology and software. Prior to that position, she served as the Chief of Contracting for US Special Operations Forces Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics managing procurements supporting the command's 2 billion USD information technology portfolio.
"I am excited to welcome Jennifer Upton to the Agency's leadership team as our new Director of Acquisition. Smarter procurement is at the heart of our Strategic Plan. Jennifer will be playing a leading role modernizing the NCI Agency's acquisition practices, and will be working with our governing bodies to reform acquisition policies for smarter procurement, including software-intensive capabilities," said NCI Agency General Manager Kevin J. Scheid.
COVID-19 was declared a pandemic soon after Upton arrived. Upton and the Acquisition staff quickly adapted to teleworking to ensure full business continuity.
"I was on the job a full week before asking my new staff to work from home. Their ability and willingness to support my introduction into the organization in the midst of the challenges, while continuing their significant workload, was remarkable and shows an organizational resilience of which I'm proud to be a part," Upton said.
The Agency's new acquisitions continue to be executed, as do the contract administration functions. Upcoming solicitations will be released as planned, with necessary adjustments in the schedules where in-person activities such as demonstrations and site visits are required as part of the bidding process.
"We are constantly assessing the impact of COVID-19 on both the current work under contract, and work related to the release of solicitations," Upton said. "We look forward to continued collaboration with our industry partners to collectively adapt and overcome any challenges this pandemic may bring, ensuring NATO's critical work continues."
By the end of 2021, the Agency plans to put on the market more than 500 million EUR worth of business for industry to bid on.
And the Agency plans to release 200 million EUR of those opportunities in the next six months.
In parallel, the Agency is continuing to implement in 2020 a new online procurement tool called Neo. The move to Neo eProcurement is part of a wider Agency effort to boost collaboration with the private sector by promoting visibility into past, current and upcoming business opportunities.
Neo will uplift the NCI Agency's procurement to an efficient, automated and digital bidding and contract management system. Benefits for suppliers include facilitated communication on business opportunities and reduced administrative burden.
Click here for all business opportunities the Agency is planning to put on the market in 2020-2021, and here for current open opportunities, where a Notification of Intent (NOI), Invitation for Bids (IFB) or Request for Quotations (RFQ) has been released.