Sustainment Symposium

DECEMBER 8, 2020 @ 1:00PM EST

Look to the Future

A virtual gathering of obsolescence thought leaders and industry experts who know the best is yet to come

Sustainment Symposium 2020 hosted by GDCA

Electronic component obsolescence is an eventuality that has thrown the long-term life cycle availability of circuit card assemblies (CCAs) into chaos. These assemblies control nearly every major defense system.

The realities of Moore’s law have pushed obsolescence and supply chain assurance issues to the forefront across all industries – routinely throwing DoD programs into disarray while they scramble for Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) resolutions that rarely deliver true life cycle sustainment.

Understandably, teams tasked with solving DMSMS issues have sought to develop tools and resources that are focused on predicting and managing obsolescence events and their impact on readiness.

However, for programs with life cycles that stretch into decades, this approach quickly creates gridlock for teams as DMSMS issues naturally pile up – often beginning during acquisition phase. Even after decades of effort, teams continue struggling to manage obsolescence and have yet to achieve true life cycle sustainment solutions.

But what happens when we shift our focus from obsolescence management to our true goal: life cycle sustainment?

In this symposium, we pull together leading minds across the DoD supply chain highlighting their relevant sustainment experiences and exploring what could happen when we begin to focus on sustainment as the objective. We will explore the following questions:

  • What requirements are necessary in a sustainment solution?
  • What are the challenges preventing us from satisfying these requirements?
  • What ways could we overcome those challenges?

This December, GDCA will be hosting a special virtual symposium focused on the journey from obsolescence management to legacy sustainment. Join us!

Capacity is limited. Registration is open.


1:00 – 1:30 Symposium Welcome & Introductions

1:30 – 3:20 Presentations

  • Sustainment is the Lowest Cost Path - Ethan Plotkin, Chief Executive Officer GDCA
  • Sustainment is Science (and a Culture) - Dr. Peter Sandborn, Director - Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech)/Professor - Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Maryland
  • Sustainment is Rapid Refresh - Dan Christenson, Director of Engineering USAF 748th 
  • Sustainment is Metrics for Programs - Robin Brown, DMSMS & Parts Management Program Manager for the Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • Sustainment is Planning (And Evolving) - Timothy J. Zitkevitz, COTS HW/SW and Material Obsolescence Lead Obsolescence Management & Modeling Group Lockheed Martin RMS Global Sustainment

3:20 – 3:30 Break

3:30 – 4:45 Innovating Sustainment - Panel Discussion

4:45 – 5:30 Extended Day - Networking Rooms

Let’s talk about…

  • DMSMS - DMSMS and government related sustainment issues that plague us all
  • Supply Chain Management - Supply chain aspects of lifecycle sustainment
  • Parts Management - Designing for sustainment...and beyond
  • Sustainment Policy - Popular resources – especially the new DODI 4245.15 and SD-22
  • DMSMS Training – Available landscape of training materials and approaches
  • The Host’s Lounge -Let’s talk about…. Whatever (open session)


Robin Brown

DMSMS and Parts Management Program Manager for the Office of the Secretary of Defense

DMSMS and Parts Management Program Manager for the Office of the Secretary of Defense

Prior to joining the Defense Standardization Program Office (DSPO), Ms. Brown was the NAVAIR DMSMS Lead and established a core centralized Team for NAVAIR which won the DoD DMSMS Team of the Year in 2014 and 2015 and helped NAVAIR avoid spending over $1 billion dollars by managing DMSMS proactively.

While at NAVAIR for 15 years, she provided DMSMS support to all NAVAIR Program Offices, served as co-chair of the DoN DMSMS Working Group, and was awarded the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

She also participated as an active member of DoD DMSMS Working Group for which she won the DoD DMSMS Individual Achievement Award in 2013.

She continues to empower the Services to succeed by being their Champion in DMSMS and Parts Management.

Dan Christenson

Director of Engineering, USAF, 748 SCMG

Director of Engineering, USAF, 748 SCMG

Dan W. Christenson is the founding Director of Engineering of the 748th Supply Chain Management Group, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Through its five Squadrons, Mr. Christenson leads 120 engineers, executes an Air Force Supply Chain Planning and Execution budget of $1.2B and maintains 1/3 of the USAF supply chain including 23,900 spare parts for 34 unique weapon systems including Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, 19 Space & Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence systems, most of the Air Force weapon system’s landing gear, wheels, brakes, secondary power systems and weapon system specific structural and avionics systems for the F-16, A-10, T-38 and other mature and proven aircraft systems. The group is assigned to the 448th Supply Chain Management Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

Ethan Plotkin



Born in Northern California, Ethan Plotkin brings over a decade of international and cross-industry management experience to GDCA’s role as CEO. He is a veteran in business transformation and process engineering with a keen focus on innovation, execution, and the delivery of real and measurable business value. Ethan has held multiple leadership roles with Accenture, centering on CRM Solution Architecture, enterprise-wide project delivery management, and training of top consulting professionals.

Ethan has a reputation for concisely summarizing the challenges programs face around legacy and then tailoring the solution accordingly. When working with GDCA’s industry partners and clients, he takes the time to directly address program requirements and implement decisive action modeled on a clear plan and accountability measures. His business philosophy is shaped by the understanding that to solve a problem, one must overcome more than superficial difficulties by addressing the issues at its core.

He is never too far from a whiteboard, and his creativity and resourcefulness can be seen from his collaboration with his entire team. Because of his pointedly inquisitive nature and enthusiastic direct approach, he is always ready to explain his reasoning.

With an eye toward the innovative nature of legacy sustainment, Ethan is always on the ball and rarely off the clock.

Peter Sandborn

Professor in the CALCE Electronic Products and Systems Center and the Director of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute at the University of Maryland

Professor in the CALCE Electronic Products and Systems Center and the Director of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute at the University of Maryland

Dr. Sandborn’s group develops life-cycle cost models and business case support for long field life systems.  This work includes: obsolescence forecasting algorithms, strategic design refresh planning, lifetime buy quantity optimization, and return on investment models for maintenance planning (including the application of PHM to systems).  Dr. Sandborn is the developer of the MOCA refresh planning tool.  MOCA has been used by private and government organizations worldwide to perform optimized refresh planning for systems subject to technology obsolescence.  Dr. Sandborn also performs research in several other life-cycle cost modeling areas including total cost of ownership of electronic parts, transition from tin-lead to lead-free electronics, and general technology tradeoff analysis for electronic systems.

Dr. Sandborn has also developed and implemented electronic part selection and management benchmarking and part obsolescence management benchmarking for Nortel, Schlumberger, Microsoft, Motorola, Honeywell, and others.  Dr. Sandborn has taught industry short courses on electronic systems cost modeling and obsolescence management to Ericsson, Harris, Lockheed Martin, IBM, StorageTek, Motorola, United Defense, FAA, BAE Systems, UK Ministry of Defense, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army and other organizations.  Dr. Sandborn has been the principle investigator on programs for the U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy; the Defense Logistics Agency, Lockheed Martin, National Science Foundation, Northrop Grumman, Motorola, Argon ST, Ericsson, the Naval Surface Warfare Centers, and others.

Dr. Sandborn is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Electronics Packaging Manufacturing and a member of the Board of Directors of the PHM Society.  He is the author of over 200 technical publications and several books on electronic packaging and electronic systems cost analysis and was the winner of the 2004 SOLE Proceedings, 2006 Eugene L. Grant, 2017 ASME Kos Ishii-Toshiba Award, and the 2018 Jacques S. Gansler Excellence in Sustainment Sciences awards.  He has a B.S. degree in engineering physics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1982, and the M.S. degree in electrical science and Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering, both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1983 and 1987, respectively.  He is a Fellow of the IEEE, ASME, and the PHM Society.

Timothy Zitkevitz

Lead Obsolescence Systems Engineer at Lockheed Martin

Lead Obsolescence Systems Engineer at Lockheed Martin

Timothy Zitkevitz is the obsolescence management expert within Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems business area. He has over 19 years of experience in systems engineering, obsolescence management, sustainment engineering, and project management. He is the lead obsolescence management engineer within the Obsolescence Management and Modeling group that actively treats obsolescence management risk on 53 programs across Lockheed Martin. He has pioneered the creation of an in-house obsolescence management tool that integrates a complete system Bill of Material that includes hardware, software, and materials. Mr. Zitkevitz is currently the co-chair for the United States Chapter of IIOM and part of the IEC team that created the international standard for Obsolescence Management, IEC 62402. He has a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia, a Masters of Engineering Management from Old Dominion University, and a Master of Science in Supply Chain Management from Syracuse University.

Sustainment Symposium

DECEMBER 8, 2020, @ 1:00PM EST


GDCA is a recognized leader in legacy embedded sustainment solutions, pioneering some of the earliest proactive obsolescence management tools, such as pre-stocking agreements and bill of materials (BOM) health modeling, and incorporating counterfeit avoidance protocols. GDCA creates innovative approaches to ensure legacy and tackle sustainment for critical systems.

Over its thirty years in business, GDCA has worked with government programs, prime contractors, and supply chain OEMs to optimize the business practices needed to create second sources of supply (SSOS) for obsolete commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS), and custom circuit card assemblies (CCAs).

We firmly believe that collaboration and transparency help us bring together the industry’s best thinkers who are a critical part of tailoring the necessary solutions to meet the challenges of obsolescence.

GDCA is driven by the commitment to make embedded obsolescence a thing of the past. For more information, please contact

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