Jessica Kunkle

Paper and Presentation: Strengthening the Nuclear Security Enterprise with Organizational Agility

Abstract: The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is responsible for developing and maintaining the nuclear weapons stockpile and reducing global nuclear risks. NNSA infrastructure promotes national security through unique capabilities found nowhere else in the United States. These capabilities are threatened by deteriorating facilities built during the Manhattan Project and the Cold War eras. Lean agile principles form the core of the NNSA data-driven and risk-informed approach to infrastructure management. The application of lean-agile will help transform the Enterprise from reliance on aged assets to world-class infrastructure that attracts the nation’s greatest experts and serves as the foundation for cutting-edge science, engineering, and production capabilities.
The advancements made in improving NNSA infrastructure demonstrate the value of using organizational agility to transform a large, non-IT organization. The Office of Infrastructure Lifecycle Management is applying the foundations of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) – lean agile core values, mindset, principles, and leadership. Our agilie approach involves the following:

  • Get executive buy-in and engagement
  • Train leaders on the fundamentals of lean-agile leadership
  • Expand lean agile training to all staff
  • Develop a strategic plan to clearly articulate organization’s goals and priorities, set a clear vision of the future, and get everyone moving in the same direction
  • Improve flow by developing repeatable, transparent, efficient, and effective processes
  • Encourage innovation by embracing the concept of Minimum Viable Product
  • Embrace incremental value delivery where possible
  • Undertake continuous improvement using retrospectives
  • Adopt Lean Portfolio Management for budgeting and project prioritization

PMI Talent Triangle: Strategic and Business Management (Business Acumen)

Biography: Jessica Kunkle is the Deputy Associate Administrator for Infrastructure Lifecycle Management at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). She is responsible for leading a team of 50 to sustain and modernize NNSA’s real property portfolio of 5,500 assets valued at over $116.3 billion. She is currently leading a variety of initiatives that are streamlining and enhancing infrastructure delivery for NNSA. Jessica has held a variety of positions throughout her tenure with NNSA, including working in NNSA’s Program Executive Office leading NNSA-wide improvement initiatives and the Office of Global Threat Reduction helping to secure vulnerable nuclear materials around the world. Jessica is originally from Los Alamos, New Mexico and holds degrees in Marketing, Operations, and International Management from the University of New Mexico. Jessica and her husband currently reside in Virginia with their daughter.