WIESBADEN, Germany –
As a Defense Contract Management Agency Europe Pricing Team contract price and cost analyst, Richard Stohr works with people in different time zones who speak multiple languages.
At times, it can be challenging, he said, but he and his colleagues enjoy their work.
“Working with people from different countries, cultures and languages is a good learning experience,” said Stohr. “It also adds some unique challenges like translation issues and language barriers, time zone differences, country clearance lead-time requirements, and IT issues like firewalls and file size limits. Some countries do not consider email secure enough and will only send documents via postal service, which need to be accounted for in lead-time deliveries.”
Working with host nations
Stohr has served in his current position for four years. He does a variety of tasks, to include processing pricing and technical requests outside of the continental United States, known as OCONUS, and working with host-nation partners.
The Department of Defense has a Reciprocal Defense Procurement Memoranda of Understanding that provides financial services with four European countries: France, Germany, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Stohr works closely with Andrew Kirkendall, a DCMA Europe Pricing Team’s host nation coordinator, and lead price and cost analyst to resolve issues, implement improvement initiatives, and improve report quality and timeliness from host nations.
“By actively working with our nation’s allied partners, our team enhances relationships, strengthens partnerships abroad, and establishes innovative procedures that benefit both the U.S. and allied warfighters,” said Kirkendall.
Some would think that language would be the biggest obstacle for a contract price and cost analyst working overseas, but according to Stohr, the biggest difficulty is usually the time difference, which requires him to be flexible with his work schedule.
“The 5- to 10-hour time difference can be an issue when conducting business and communicating with CONUS requestors,” he said. “Being able to converse in real time with each of the host nations is extremely valuable. The requests and reviews require a knowledge base unlike that in DCMA’s CONUS contract management offices. A working knowledge of the different countries and programs is important in assessing different requests.”
Support to the US military and allies
The DCMA Europe Pricing Team supports the F-35 Lightning II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, CH-47 Chinook, AH-64 Apache, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, and the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, among other programs.
The group incorporates technical reviews from contract management office engineering teams as well as information from the Defense Contract Audit Agency’s audit reports. The team works closely with DCAA, which is located in the same building, and has monthly meetings with the agency to review the requests.
In addition, the team provides an array of support services to the CMO’s administrative contracting officers, known as ACOs, by coordinating final overhead rates, reviewing forward pricing rate recommendations and agreements, overseeing Business System and Disclosure Statement Reviews, and advising leadership on specific issues pertaining to the OCONUS acquisition environment.
“DCMA personnel may not realize that a little more than a third of our reviews support the Foreign Military Sales program,” said Stohr. “These proposals are a large part of our workload.”
According to Mary Hilton, a contract pricing supervisor, DCMA Europe processes, manages, and issues over 200 audit reports a year with a total value in excess of $4 billion in fiscal year 2020. More than 60 of those audits were generated in–house with a total proposed value over $1 billion and over $220 million in recommended savings.
The DCMA Europe Pricing Team has pricing cognizance over all locations outside of the United States and Canada. During fiscal year 2020, the team provided pricing support for contractors in 17 countries, including those located in the Middle East and Pacific.
The DCMA Europe Pricing Team has analysts located in Wiesbaden, Germany, and Huntingdon, United Kingdom. In addition to Stohr, Jamie Sahagun and Jason Dangler are located in Wiesbaden, and David McMurtry and Ian Henry are located in the Huntingdon office.
Kirkendall, who helps the team as the liaison for host nation interactions and a subject matter expert on international pricing agreements, is based in Wiesbaden. Stohr said the team is committed to doing their jobs well, and the group has learned a lot from each other.
“Rich brings a wealth of knowledge to our team and is central to bringing the DCMA pricing, technical, and DCAA teams to work jointly, as we are all working in partnership toward similar goals,” said McMurtry.
Stohr said working at DCMA Europe has been the highlight of his career. He encouraged other employees to consider applying for an overseas assignment to gain professional knowledge and experience another culture, including learning a new language.
“DCMA Europe is a unique experience, both personally and professionally,” he said. “Personally, everyone has left his or her support network back in the United States, so each of us are more in need of support and assistance. Since we are all going through a similar experience, there is a type of inclusion and camaraderie not experienced in the United States.
“Professionally, there is a lot of variety in the job,” Stohr continued. “We get to perform our own analysis, support ACO activity, work with DCAA on different audits, and work with the host nation coordinator and the host nations in an international capacity to affect change in the way the Reciprocal Defense Procurement Memoranda of Understanding agreements are utilized. There is no other job within DCMA that I know of that allows you to grow professionally and gain experience of this nature.”