• Army Security Cooperation Meeting Paints the ‘Big Picture’

    Christopher J. Mewett

    Faced with the challenge of new programs and authorities, support for two wars and several contingency operations, and a dramatic upsurge in case value and visibility, the leaders of the Army Security Assistance Enterprise (ASAE) came together in October for a day-long security cooperation (SC) meeting to discuss major issues, shape expectations, and share information about the impact of developments in the Army and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).

    Keith B. Webster, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation, gave the Army Security Cooperation Meeting audience an outline of the Materiel Enterprise International Engagement Strategy. (U.S. Army photo.)

    Keith B. Webster, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (DASA) for Defense Exports and Cooperation, and BG Christopher Tucker, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC), co-hosted the Oct. 27 meeting in Alexandria, VA, which was timed to coincide with the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, DC, to provide an opportunity for SC personnel from around the Army to attend. Invited guests included staff members from the host organizations as well as Security Cooperation Office (SCO) personnel from around the world, SC planners from the Geographic Combatant Commands and Army Service Component Commands, and representatives of various program executive offices (PEOs) and program management offices (PMOs).

    Foreign Military Sales

    Webster and Tucker described trends in the contemporary operating environment, shifting fiscal and operational realities, and the changing face of security assistance over the past decade. Along with the demands of supporting continuing relationships with more than 140 partner nations, Tucker noted, the enterprise has seen a dramatic increase in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) activity.

    New Army FMS in FY10 totaled $14.6 billion, with 701 new cases, 462 modifications, and 1,017 amendments. This increased operational tempo reflects a trend over the past several years, as evidenced by a total of $62 billion in Army FMS from FY07 to FY10, compared with $18 billion in FMS over the preceding four-year period. This high case volume has put pressure on the enterprise, demanding decisions to direct the allocation of resources and staff time to the most strategically important cases. Webster issued this prioritization guidance at the direction of the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, committing to paper previously verbal guidance to focus efforts first and foremost on support to ongoing operations.

    Security Cooperation Reform

    In response to the evolving demands of the operational environment, OSD directed, through the 2010 Defense Planning and Programming Guidance, the formation of a task force on SC reform, with the mission of conducting a comprehensive review of DOD’s SC processes and examining ways to provide urgently needed capabilities to foreign partners in a more timely manner. COL Guy T. Cosentino, a representative of the Security Cooperation Task Force, gave a briefing on the task force’s mission, objectives, composition, and progress and provided useful context to members of the ASAE on the future of SC, including proposed changes in organizations, authorities, and processes.

    Equipped with this knowledge, SC planners and SCO personnel can better understand how industrial capacity, acquisition processes, and contracting concerns can influence security assistance timelines, which will help them manage the expectations of both foreign partners and U.S. senior leaders.

    Continuing with the meeting’s goal of managing expectations, Joseph M. Jefferson, an acquisition expert with the Office of the Director for Acquisition and Industrial Base Policy in the Office of the DASA for Procurement, familiarized participants with the basics of the acquisition process, helping them to better understand how international activities fit with the broader functions of the PEOs, PMOs, and industrial base. Anthony R. Incorvati, Director of Contracting Operations with the U.S. Army Contracting Command, explained how increased security assistance impacts the contracting community. Equipped with this knowledge, SC planners and SCO personnel can better understand how industrial capacity, acquisition processes, and contracting concerns can influence security assistance timelines, which will help them manage the expectations of both foreign partners and U.S. senior leaders.

    During a working lunch, LTG Mitchell H. Stevenson, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, addressed the audience on a number of subjects, including the integration of logistics policies, programs, and plans with the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model; the future disposition of Army equipment currently in Iraq; opportunities for the transfer of Excess Defense Articles; and the future of the Army’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle fleet. Stevenson outlined the many opportunities for the ASAE to take advantage of developments in the Army logistics community to build partner capacity and capability, again underlining the fundamental importance of coordination and communication between SC organizations and the Army’s equipping community—a relationship that is institutionalized through the nesting of the ASAE in the broader Materiel Enterprise.

    The Oct. 27 meeting was a rare opportunity for members of the ASAE and other Army SC personnel, gathered in one room, to develop a common operating picture and discuss major issues affecting the community, and it offers a template for similarly successful coordination meetings in the future.

    A series of briefings followed, focusing on specific security assistance-related topics including the organization and mission of the Project Management Office Non-Standard Rotary Wing Aviation, conducted by then-BG William T. Crosby, Program Executive Office Aviation; an introduction to the Excess Defense Articles program by COL David Dornblaser, Director of the Intensive Management Office of USASAC’s Washington Field Office; and a rundown of challenges and successes of the 1206 Global Train and Equip program, by Brandon Denecke, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency 1206 Team Leader. Their briefings provided details on three much-discussed, but perhaps poorly understood, topics in the security assistance community.

    LTC Alfred Padden of the HQDA G-35’s Security Cooperation Policy and Concepts Division followed this with a briefing on the Army’s approach to security force assistance, efforts to build partner capacity by aligning modular brigades to security cooperation missions in a specific Geographic Combatant Command’s area of responsibility through the ARFORGEN process.

    Wrapping up the day, Webster gave the audience an outline of the Materiel Enterprise International Engagement Strategy, part of an effort to shift the ASAE to a proactive, anticipatory footing, matching gaps in partner capability with possible materiel solutions in advance of a customer request, to allow for the timely elimination of potential barriers to sale.

    The Oct. 27 meeting was a rare opportunity for members of the ASAE and other Army SC personnel, gathered in one room, to develop a common operating picture and discuss major issues affecting the community, and it offers a template for similarly successful coordination meetings in the future. Those who participated have a better understanding of the broader context into which their work fits and gained knowledge and contacts that will contribute to improved performance of their SC mission.

    The slides from the Army Security Cooperation Meeting are available at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/files/25188558. Army Knowledge Online login is required.


    • CHRISTOPHER J. MEWETT is a support contractor in the strategic planning directorate of the Office of the DASA for Defense Exports and Cooperation. He holds a B.A. in history from Texas A&M University and did graduate work in Central and Eastern European studies at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.

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  • PMT 401 Service Day

    LTG Phillips spoke to the entire class at the last PMT 401 Service Day (24 March), and Mr. Spisak also attended and spoke to the Army students.   The morning session is attended by all the Services at the 3 and 4 star level.  Each Service Senior Leader will participate as part of an SAE/DACM panel.  The topic is:  Senior Acquisition Leadership Expectations of PMs.

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  • DACM Quarterly MAPL Review

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  • U.S. Army Security Assistance Command Facilitates Delivery of Bell 407 Helicopters to Iraq

    Beth E. Clemons

    The U.S. Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC) recently facilitated the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of three Bell 407 training helicopters to the government of Iraq. The helicopters were loaded onto a cargo plane at Huntsville International Airport, AL, Dec. 5 and delivered to Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 11.

    A cargo plane is loaded with one of the three Bell 407 training helicopters for their trip to Iraq Dec. 5. (U.S. Army photo.)

    The new training helicopters will help train qualified Iraqi army pilots to operate and maintain the aircraft, and will rapidly accelerate the fielding and utilization of Iraqi Armed 407 Armed Scout Helicopters, which are scheduled to be fielded by the end of 2011.

    “To receive the aircraft is something like a dream that became a reality,” said LTC Shamkky Abbas, a commander and instructor pilot with the 21st Squadron, Iraqi Army Aviation Command.

    The aircraft were a large part of the package, which included initial spares, ground support equipment and tools, and aircraft maintenance through contractor logistic support.

    “I’d love to see their military have a great capability with these Armed Scout Helicopters so they can establish and maintain stability in their country, which is the overall intent,” said CW4 Jason Glenn, Experimental Test Pilot at Redstone Test Center, AL.

    CW4 Jason Glenn, Experimental Test Pilot at Redstone Test Center, shows an Iraqi pilot the controls on the Bell 407 before test flying the aircraft during a partnership day in Iraq. (U.S. Army photo.)

    The United States is committed to working with Iraq as a strategic partner to ensure its peace and security.

    “I want to thank all of our friends from the United States, because they are always committed to supporting Iraq’s journey in democracy and helping us keep security and fight terrorism,” said Iraqi Army GEN Babakir Zebari, Commander of Iraq’s Armed Forces and Ministry of Defense Chief of Staff.

    USASAC implements approved U.S. Army security assistance programs, including FMS of defense articles and services to eligible foreign governments. The command manages approximately 4,400 FMS cases valued at more than $103 billion. USASAC also manages the Army’s co-production program. For more information about USASAC, visit www.usasac.army.mil.


    • BETH E. CLEMONS is the Social Media Manager for the U.S. Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL. At the time this article was written, she was a Public Affairs Specialist with USASAC. Clemons holds a B.S. in public relations from the University of Central Arkansas.

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  • M113, M88 Work Begins for Foreign Military Sales to Iraq

    Miranda Myrick

    Mechanics from left, Jonathan McDowell, Gwen Welcher, and Jason Martin inspect an M113 armored personnel carrier Jan. 12 in ANAD’s Nichols Industrial Complex. (U.S. Army photo by John Makamson.)

    Vehicle production began Jan. 12 at Anniston Army Depot (ANAD), AL, on a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case facilitated by the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command to provide refurbished M113 armored personnel carriers and M88 recovery vehicles to the Iraqi government.

    “These vehicles will help the government of Iraq be more self-reliant in the defense of their country, enabling our troops to come home,” said Phillip Dean, Chief of Integrated Logistics Support at ANAD, where plans call for production of 586 M113s of the A2 variant. The FMS calls for 21 M88s.

    The M113A2 work, estimated to be worth $60 million, is to be conducted at ANAD in partnership with defense contractor BAE Systems, said Carol Funderburg, Depot Business Management Specialist. BAE Systems is providing supply chain management under a Federal Acquisition Regulation contract. The vehicles to be repaired are from an excess stock of M113s at Sierra Army Depot, CA.

    These vehicles will help the government of Iraq be more self-reliant in the defense of their country, enabling our troops to come home.

    This isn’t the first time ANAD has done work under an FMS case for Iraq, and more programs are expected, Dean said. Most recently, between November 2009 and December 2010, ANAD refurbished 140 M1 Abrams tanks for Iraq in partnership with General Dynamics Land Systems. ANAD will begin another M1 program in May to provide tanks for Saudi Arabia and is working to develop business with Australia.

    “The benefit of this work to ANAD is the sustainment of our core capabilities,” said Funderburg. “It could serve as a model for additional M113 FMS workload.”

    Workers will be repairing the M113s at a rate of 50 vehicles per month throughout FY11 until all are completed, Dean said. The first delivery of M113s to Iraq is set for July.

    For more information about ANAD, visit www.anad.army.mil. For information about the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, visit www.usasac.army.mil.


    • MIRANDA MYRICK was a Public Affairs Specialist at the ANAD Public Affairs Office at the time this article was written. She no longer works for the Army.

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  • Romanian Armed Forces Employ Latest U.S. Army Training Technologies

    John Daniele

    The Romanian armed forces’ training vision is to prepare leaders, Soldiers, and units for operational missions in support of NATO-International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan and Kosovo, the European Union, United Nations, and Romanian national security interests. The Romanian land forces’ “commander’s intent” is to train to improve readiness and warfighting capabilities through tough, realistic, battle-focused combined arms training that is a combination of live, virtual, constructive, and gaming capabilities. Through the acquisition and integration of advanced training technologies, the Romanian armed forces say they will be better prepared to achieve this vision and improve leader and staff development and unit readiness.

    Through Foreign Military Sales, PEO STRI has delivered the Initial-Homestation Instrumentation Training System to Romania. (U.S. Army photo courtesy of PEO STRI.)

    Security Assistance and Foreign Military Sales

    The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, specifically the Program Executive Office Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO STRI), and its defense industry partner Cubic Corp. are helping to bring this vision to reality. PEO STRI is in Phase 3 of a four-phase security assistance and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program that began in 2002. PEO STRI has delivered the Joint Conflict and Tactical Simulation (JCATS) system, Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), and Initial-Homestation Instrumentation Training System (I-HITS). These deliveries are manifested into mobile training systems for homestation and local training areas throughout Romania and fixed systems at three institutional training centers, and are being fully integrated into a state-of-the-art Combat Training Center (CTC) in Cincu.

    The Romanian land forces employ these capabilities through a unit training cycle that begins at homestation and includes a platoon, company, battalion, and brigade leader training program and a JCATS simulation-based Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX). A successful unit will deploy to the CTC at Cincu to conduct a Mission Readiness Exercise (MRE) that uses JCATS, MILES, and I-HITS to conduct full-spectrum command post training that addresses the military decision-making process and information operations, as well as a force-on-force continuous operations field training exercise. At the end of this rigorous training cycle, the unit either returns to its homestation to execute an annual training plan utilizing the after action review, take home package, and training assessment, or is deployed to a theater of operations as a combat ready unit.

    The Romanian land forces’ “commander’s intent” is to train to improve readiness and warfighting capabilities through tough, realistic, battle-focused combined arms training that is a combination of live, virtual, constructive, and gaming capabilities.

    The JCATS capability impacts more than 20 Romanian units per year and 2,500 leaders, while the MILES and I-HITS capabilities at the CTC support a throughput of eight battalions and three brigades per year, impacting more than 5,000 members of the Romanian armed forces. The observer-controllers and mentors for each MRX/MRE are pulled from the last battalion returning from a theater of operations, while the opposing forces and civilians on the battlefield are pulled from the next battalion coming to the CTC. This provides a continuous lessons learned process and is accelerating the training and modernization of the Romanian armed forces.

    Phase 4 of the security assistance and FMS program will deliver to the CTC an exercise control capability, instrumentation capability for approximately 300 additional dismounted Soldiers, and instrumentation for a variety of vehicles employed by the Romanian ground forces. In addition, PEO STRI will deliver the U.S. Army’s current training game capability, Virtual BattleSpace 2, making the Romanian armed forces the first country to acquire a gaming capability through the FMS process. Phase 4 is expected to be complete in 2013.


    • JOHN DANIELE is the Director of International Programs at PEO STRI. He holds a B.S. in management from Kean University and an M.A. in communication from the University of Central Florida. Daniele is Level III certified in program management and is a U.S. Army Acquisition Corps member.

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  • Foreign Military Sales: The Process and Benefits

    LTC Richard L. Williams

    As the Assistant Product Manager (APM) responsible for International Apache Programs, within Program Executive Office Aviation’s Project Manager Apache, I was asked numerous times about the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process: What is FMS and why does the United States participate in the program? Who determines what we can sell and to whom? What is the process to sell equipment to a country? What does FMS do for “me” in the cockpit?

    Through Foreign Military Sales, PEO STRI has delivered the Initial-Homestation Instrumentation Training System to Romania. (U.S. Army photo courtesy of PEO STRI.)

    There are two methods of purchasing military equipment: FMS or Direct Commercial Sales (DCS). Through DCS, a country goes directly to a contractor or original equipment manufacturer to buy a product or service. This article focuses on the FMS process with frequently asked questions.

    What is FMS?

    FMS is the government-to-government method for selling U.S. defense equipment, services, and training. According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the goal of the U.S. FMS program is “responsible arms sales to further national security and foreign policy objectives by strengthening bilateral defense relations, supporting coalition building, and enhancing interoperability between U.S. forces and militaries of friends and allies. These sales also contribute to American prosperity by improving the U.S. balance of trade position, sustaining highly skilled jobs in the defense industrial base, and extending production lines and lowering unit costs for key weapon systems.”

    Who Determines Who Can Buy the Aircraft?

    The U.S. Department of State determines eligibility and decides which major sales will be made either through FMS or DCS.

    Though not directly responsible for the selection, DOD has extensive input on the policy. DOD determines what items can be sold and implements FMS programs. As a part of the process, the Geographic Combatant Commanders may be asked the questions “Why should we do the program?” and “How quickly must the program be executed?” A positive response from these commanders goes a long way in the approval process. Conversely, a negative response or a recommendation for denial weighs heavily on the potential case.

    FMS sales also contribute to American prosperity by improving the U.S. balance of trade position, sustaining highly skilled jobs in the defense industrial base, and extending production lines and lowering unit costs for key weapon systems.

    For most countries and equipment, congressional notification and review is a mandatory last step in the approval process before a country is offered a program. Because of the costs involved in aviation programs, every FMS case for new aircraft or the remanufacture of a current fleet requires congressional notification and review.

    What is the FMS Sale Process?

    For purposes of this discussion, I will use the Apache helicopter FMS as an example. The FMS process is a multi-faceted, multi-level procedure that can take years to mature from when ‘Country X’ expresses the desire for a new attack helicopter to the actual delivery of the selected U.S. platform. The process begins when Country X determines that it has a need for an attack helicopter, either to replace an older attack platform or to purchase a new capability. The replacement could mean upgrading a current platform to a newer version (such as from an A Model Apache to a D Model Longbow) or completely replacing an aged platform (for example, phasing out an AH-1 Cobra fleet). The selection process and final decision can take years because of the financial investment and political complexities involved.

    FMS is a dynamic process that pays big dividends for the U.S. government and our international partners. Here, an AH-64D Apache helicopter from Task Force Spearhead, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade (ACB) fires a rocket during high-altitude gunnery training near Fort Carson, CO, March 5. (U.S. Army photo by CSM Eric Pitkus, 1st ACB).

    Once the country decides on the desired aircraft, it works with the Security Assistance Office within the U.S. Embassy to develop a Letter of Request (LOR). That LOR is submitted to the Army for action to create the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA), a “contract” between Country X’s government and the U.S. government regarding what the manufacturer will build.

    When Congress approves the LOA, it is submitted to Country X for signature. At that point, the program begins in earnest. The LOA, or case, is assigned to the proper Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC). The LCMC is made up of the project manager (PM) and Security Assistance Management Directorate whose responsibility is to work the case through the entire life cycle of that program.

    What Does FMS Do for “Me” in the Cockpit?

    What does the FMS program do for me in the cockpit? It is a method of delivering capabilities earlier than programmed. A couple of the most notable examples of technologies for the Apache that were developed and fielded early because of FMS are the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Modernized Pilot Night Vision System and Common Missile Warning System.

    In the acquisition process, the PMs have funds programmed for future technology enhancements to the aircraft. Through the FMS process, a country can provide money to bring desired enhancements forward.

    In the acquisition process, the PMs have funds programmed for future technology enhancements to the aircraft. Through the FMS process, a country can provide money to bring desired enhancements forward. During LOA development, improvements or enhancements are included in the case. As a side note, approval is required at the DOD and Department of the Army levels to include improvements to the platform. Also, all potential enhancements are coordinated with the PM before they are offered to the international partner, ensuring that the combined efforts support the PM’s overall fielding plan.

    An indirect benefit of the FMS process is that countries have deployed their Apaches in support of joint allied operations around the world, including in Bosnia, Kosovo, Djibouti, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Every hour flown by our international partners is one less hour that a U.S. government crew has to be deployed from home.

    Conclusion

    FMS is a little known yet dynamic process that pays big dividends for the U.S. government and our international partners. From the industrial standpoint, billions of dollars are invested annually in the U.S. economy through the FMS process. From the PM standpoint, it provides a way to accelerate enhancements and capabilities through the infusion of funds. For the pilot in the cockpit, the enhancements on the aircraft directly affect warfighting capabilities.


    • LTC RICHARD L. WILLIAMS was the APM for International Apache Programs at Redstone Arsenal, AL, until April 2010. He is currently the FMS Officer, Non-Standard Rotary Wing Aviation at Redstone Arsenal. Williams holds a B.B.A. in general business from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi and an M.S. in systems acquisition management from the Naval Postgraduate School.

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  • Arizona Proving Ground Works to Make Mortars More Accurate Than Ever

    Mark Schauer

    Afghanistan’s hard-to-traverse terrain and a rapidly moving enemy are two reasons that the mortar is a weapon of choice for the American military there. Here, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment Soldiers SGT Richard Darvial (kneeling) and SPC Corey C. Canterbury fire mortars from a mountain overlooking the Ganjgal Valley in Kunar province, Dec. 10, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by SSG Mark Burrell.)

    The Army has just finished its 10th winter in Afghanistan, a country in which mountainous terrain often means that the only practical method of providing indirect fire support is the mortar. In addition to being easily portable, emplaced, and fired, mortars can be fired with high-arcing trajectories that are invaluable during assaults on insurgents in the mountains. The mortar’s only drawback is its relative lack of accuracy, but that has now changed.

    As DOD’s premier test center for artillery and mortars, U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG), AZ, is at the forefront in developing guided artillery and mortar projectiles. The technology has evolved to such a degree that it is now in advanced mortar testing with the Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative (APMI). The program was accelerated, with the competition phase completed in 2010 and acceptance testing concluded early this year. The weapon was fielded in March.

    “This will give maneuver commanders, for the very first time, a precision-guided mortar to use at their discretion,” said LTC Norman Hilton, Product Manager Guided Precision Munitions and Mortar Systems. “It gives us the ability to pinpoint precision fire and engage the enemy in situations that cannot be done now. Having an indirect fire weapon with the range and accuracy of this round is a valuable capability.”

    It gives us the ability to pinpoint precision fire and engage the enemy in situations that cannot be done now. Having an indirect fire weapon with the range and accuracy of this round is a valuable capability.

    Hard-to-traverse mountain terrain and a rapidly moving enemy are good candidates for the mortar as a weapon of choice. Though well-suited for firing at steep angles, conventional mortars lack the degree of accuracy that allows forces to use them in populated areas or simultaneous to an infantry attack, a fact that APMI hopes to improve.

    “A typical mortar can land anywhere within 100 meters of a target,” said Arturo Anaya, Test Officer at YPG’s Munitions and Weapons Division. “The goal is to get this guided round within 10 meters of the target, circular error probable.”

    A Recent Test

    The test’s objective is to hit a target more than 2½ miles downrange. The gun position is hosting about a dozen additional testers and observers from Program Executive Office Ammunition and Alliant Techsystems Inc., the manufacturer of the guided round. While a typical mortar test is observed with one radar tracker and one high-speed camera, the APMI firing uses two radar trackers and three high-speed cameras at the gun, as well as two high-speed cameras and a television camera at the impact site. The round is tracked in mid-flight by telemetry and a Kineto Tracking Mount, a massive optical tracking system.

    Before firing, testers enter the coordinates of the firing and target locations into the Global Positioning System on the 120mm projectile. To eliminate any chance of a catastrophic injury to personnel, a lanyard is attached to a three-sided plate into which the projectile’s muzzle fits. The plate allows the projectile to be suspended over the bipod-braced tube without falling, and is pulled free by the lanyard when all personnel are behind the reinforced concrete bombproof structure.

    A typical mortar can land anywhere within 100 meters of a target. The goal is to get this guided round within 10 meters of the target, circular error probable.

    More to Come

    The successful test for accuracy is far from the only one to which the guided projectile was subjected before being fielded to troops. There were safety tests that measured the round’s ability to endure the expected logistical and tactical transportation, storage, and handling environments, such as being moved over rough terrain, as well as various tests that simulated accidental drops from a transport vehicle or while the projectile is being dropped into a mortar tube. All of these tests were performed to demonstrate performance, safety, and reliability.


    • MARK SCHAUER is a Public Affairs Specialist at YPG. He holds a B.A. in history from Northern Arizona University where he is also pursuing an M.A. in English.

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  • New Picatinny IDEA Program Fosters Innovation for Future Army Technology

    While reading a ski magazine in 2008, Penn State University engineering student Adam Druga had a flash of inspiration that set him on a path he called “absolutely adventurous.” But it was no snow trail.

    Druga’s path has been that of an inventor.

    Picatinny engineer Adam Druga is one of many inventors on the arsenal who use the IDEA program to bring ideas for Army technology to fruition. (U.S. Army photo by Todd Mozes.)

    Druga was reading about a new material being used to protect skiers when he fashioned his idea: to combine the new material with another in just the right way and so produce a lightweight yet flexible material that could protect Soldiers from bullets and shrapnel.

    Now a mechanical engineer working on a team that designs gun mounts at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, Druga has discovered the truth behind the words of the iconic American inventor Thomas A. Edison: “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

    The perspiration on Druga’s brow is relieved by the encouragement, training, and hands-on support from an initiative aimed at harvesting the inventive potential in the ARDEC workforce.

    Called IDEA, for Innovative Developments Everyday at ARDEC, the initiative also aims to help ARDEC remain competitive with the best, most innovative labs in government and industry, according to Andrei Cernasov, one of the architects of the IDEA program.

    It all began as a strategic initiative in 2007 after Barbara Machak, now Executive Director of the ARDEC Enterprise and System Engineering Integration Center, commissioned a study that recommended ways to support innovation within ARDEC.

    “We had over 2,000 people solving problems or gaps in warfighter capabilities, meeting requirements, but I didn’t get a sense that they all had an avenue to have their ideas and innovations heard,” Machak said.

    “Some who were truly innovators seemed to be able to push through and get programs started and provide a capability to ARDEC through sheer will. They just didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” she observed. “I wanted to have more of that and allow those voices to be heard.”

    Advice and Collaboration

    The primary components of the program include IDEA Catalysts, who support inventors directly by dispensing advice and arranging collaboration as they strive to build projects; IDEA Champions, who work with catalysts, guiding the ongoing implementation and overseeing various aspects of the initiative; and IDEA Hubs, locations for experimentation, research, collaboration, and inspiration.

    Rather than having to learn how to test an idea, Druga said the IDEA program allowed him to learn from people who conducted tests frequently.

    Rather than having to learn how to test an idea, Druga said the IDEA program allowed him to learn from people who conducted tests frequently.

    Still, Druga works on his innovations mostly at nights and on weekends. Although he can meet with innovation contacts during office hours, his primary responsibilities during duty hours are to his regular job.

    Druga estimates that $2,000 from a sponsor would be required to perform initial developmental engineering tests, which would prove, disprove, or propel his design toward further improvements.

    To improve his case before a sponsor, Druga worked with another IDEA Catalyst, Doug Chesnulovitch, who said that he helps the IDEA “generators” (inventors) to understand that the Army wants “deliverables with quantifiable gains.”

    “They always ask for three things,” said Chesnulovitch. “Does it offer operational improvement or make the Soldier more effective? Is it ‘technically sound’ so that it will perform in field conditions? Is it better and more cost effective than what currently exists?”

    The Power of Patents

    While he said he is not personally interested in obtaining a patent, Druga explained that a patent can be critical to move a project forward, which ultimately could mean better equipment for Soldiers.

    Does it offer operational improvement or make the Soldier more effective? Is it ‘technically sound’ so that it will perform in field conditions? Is it better and more cost effective than what currently exists?

    Private industry is very aggressive in inventing things and obtaining patents, Cernasov explained. With a patent, vendors have substantial leverage in determining prices.

    Sometimes, those patents were solutions to challenges the Army posed to industry.

    Whether or not his project is a success, Druga said he has gained valuable experience and contacts. “I’ve met more people in the last few months than many people have met in ten years here. I love to meet new people. It’s not an opportunity that you get just by sitting behind your desk.”


    • Article courtesy of Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs Office

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  • U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Conducts CDG/AAF Orientation, Induction, and Graduation

    Robert E. Coultas

    YG11 CDG/AAF selectees, front row from left: Rita M. Tejeda, Monet D. Gray, Randall C. Bunley, Renee H. Kelly, Stephanie S. Gilkes, Ruanda M. Cooper, and Karen M. Burke. Back row from left: Drexie T. Jennings, Stanley Scott, Shelby L. Johnson, Jacques D. Eckles, Stephen M. Eastham, and Michael J. Holthe. (U.S. Army photo by Robert E. Coultas.)

    The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellowship (CDG/AAF) Program graduated six Fellows and inducted 13 at its Orientation, Induction, and Graduation March 7-9, 2011.

    CDG/AAF is a 3-year leadership program that offers board-selected individuals leadership training, developmental assignments, and mentoring to gain experience and knowledge that prepare them to fill future critical acquisition positions and key leadership positions.

    “You personally have to choose what your experience is going to be,” said Craig A. Spisak, Deputy Director, Acquisition Career Management and Director, USAASC, in advising the Fellows on how to succeed. “You have to take experiential opportunities and say, ‘I’m going to learn something. I’m going to do everything they ask me today. I’m going after challenges to prove to people who don’t know me that I am a superstar.’ ”

    At the three-day forum, graduating and mid-term Fellows shared their developmental assignment experiences, while new inductees learned about expectations for their rotation into the program. Year Group (YG) 2008 graduate Todd P. Pesicek began his fellowship program assignment at Program Executive Office Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation. “I’ve made quite a few contacts over the past three years, developed a lot of leadership skills, and got a lot of excellent training from the [University of Virginia] Darden School of Business,” he said.

    YG08 CDG/AAF graduates, from left: Jeffrey B. Hart, Karen M. Arnold, Michael W. Price, Ginette A. Braziel, Horace E. Green, and Todd P. Pesicek. (U.S. Army photo by Robert E. Coultas.)

    Pesicek also completed an Excellence in Government program and was later assigned to the U.S. Army Materiel Command. “I work with the Army Prepositioned Stock [APS]. I had a chance to go overseas to Japan where I was responsible for APS-4, which included areas in Japan, Korea, and Hawaii,” he said, also advising the new YG11 selectees to “take the challenging assignments, build a network of contacts, keep a balance in life, and to work hard, but play hard.”

    The event culminated with a graduation dinner, where honored guest speaker Kevin M. Fahey, Program Executive Officer Combat Support and Combat Service Support, congratulated the Fellows and offered advice on achieving a successful leadership career. “I believe this is the best development plan in the Army because it is perfect for this time in your career to broaden your job skills,” he said.

    Fahey told the Fellows to keep focusing on their job throughout their careers, because circumstances can change from year to year that could change their priorities. “What you thought last year you would be doing next year probably will be different this year. You may have learned something different that is more exciting to you. Your parents may be getting old and have to be taken care of, so then your priority would be at home,” he said.

    You are the future leaders of the Acquisition Corps. If you don’t ask the right questions to the right person now, you won’t be able to lead this Acquisition Corps in the future.

    Fahey emphasized that the Fellows should never focus on getting promoted. “I’ve known people whose only focus was to be a SES [Senior Service Executive], and today they are not because that was their only focus,” he said. “Your focus has to be on the job you want to do and doing a good job.”

    Fahey also recommended that the Fellows always ask questions. “There are no stupid questions. The only stupid one is the one you don’t ask,” he reiterated. “You are the future leaders of the Acquisition Corps. If you don’t ask the right questions to the right person now, you won’t be able to lead this Acquisition Corps in the future.”

    Build a strong core competency, focus daily on future career opportunities, and always keep the warfighter in mind, he said. “It’s pretty easy to get caught up in your organization’s mission and vision, but for me it’s simple. My focus is always on the warfighter. … Work as if your life depends on it, because theirs do,” Fahey concluded.


    • ROBERT E. COULTAS is the Army AL&T Magazine Departments Editor and an Army AL&T Online Editor. He is a retired Army broadcaster with more than 35 years of combined experience in public affairs, journalism, broadcasting, and advertising. Coultas has won numerous Army Keith L. Ware Public Affairs Awards and is a DOD Thomas Jefferson Award recipient.

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