Many of you in the Army Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Workforce no doubt are wondering what the pending transition from the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) to the Civilian Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project (AcqDemo) will mean for your careers. I would like to assure you that AcqDemo brings with it great potential to recognize and reward your hard work on behalf of our Soldiers.
The transition from NSPS to AcqDemo as the personnel and performance management system for approximately 14,000 employees in the DOD acquisition workforce, including about 6,000 in Army AL&T, is on track to be completed by May 22, as most of you have learned in your transition training sessions.
AcqDemo reaches beyond the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology to other activities in which at least one-third of the workforce is acquisition personnel. For example, certain elements of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, but not all, will transition to AcqDemo. Also transitioning are the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command and the U.S. Army Medical Command’s Health Care Acquisition Activity.
Several organizations are considering converting from the General Schedule to AcqDemo. The DOD AcqDemo Project Director will convene a working group after the May 22 transition date that may add activities to the approved list of AcqDemo participants.
AcqDemo was conceived in the mid-1990s as a personnel management system that would provide managers the authority, control, and flexibility to identify, recognize, and reward the skills that are vital for a high-quality professional workforce in the fields of AL&T. At the same time, AcqDemo is designed to expand the opportunities available to employees for personal and professional growth.
AcqDemo, which covered more than 16,000 DOD employees at its peak, was interrupted in 2007, when all DOD personnel systems, including AcqDemo, were converted to NSPS for purposes of standardization. The FY10 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) repealed NSPS, returning DOD organizations, their employees, and positions to the personnel system they were in before NSPS. The FY11 NDAA then extended AcqDemo to the end of FY17.
If you previously were under AcqDemo before converting to NSPS, you will not see a change in AcqDemo; it will look like it did before NSPS.
If you are currently in NSPS, here’s what will not change under the AcqDemo: your benefits, including retirement and health and life insurance; policies on leave; work schedules; allowances and travel or subsistence payments; veterans’ preference; merit system principles; whistleblower protection; anti-discrimination policies; and fundamental due process.
If you are new to AcqDemo, you’ll find that its processes and procedures are different in many respects from those that govern NSPS. The most visible difference will be AcqDemo’s Contribution-based Compensation and Appraisal System, which is much more like private-sector evaluation practices than NSPS, placing a greater focus on the employee’s contributions to the organization.
The annual cycle of self-assessment, evaluation, and pay pool decisions will operate in much the same way in AcqDemo as in NSPS, but the factors to be considered in your self-assessment and evaluation are distinctly different. Specifically, AcqDemo will look at what you contribute in the areas of problem solving, teamwork and cooperation, customer relations, leadership and supervision, communications, and resource management.
These factors were not chosen randomly. They reflect the very skills and talents the Army needs to attract, cultivate, and reward to build and maintain a top-notch AL&T Workforce.
Your contributions within each of those factors will be scored, which will produce an Overall Contribution Score. That overall score will be measured against your Expected Contribution Range to determine whether you are being compensated appropriately. If not, you are in a good position to receive a Contribution Rating Increase, which is an additional increase to base pay. If you are found to be overcompensated, your pay will not be reduced by the pay pool panel.
Your overall score also is a central consideration in whether you will receive a Contribution Award, or bonus, from the pay pool, and how much. The amount also depends, of course, on available funds, as it does with NSPS.
For AcqDemo transition updates, visit http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/ops/docs/Mar_11_AcqDemo_Contributions_Newsletter.pdf. For transition training information, visit http://asc.army.mil/organization/acqdemo/acqdemo_training.cfm. For answers to additional questions, contact the Army AcqDemo Program Office at Jerold.a.Lee@us.army.mil or the DOD AcqDemo Help Desk at Helpdesk@dau.mil.
Whether you are being evaluated or are evaluating those you supervise, I think you will find AcqDemo to be a more flexible system of recognizing and rewarding excellence in the work we do every day to support our warfighters. Take full advantage of the opportunities it provides, and together we will continue building the Army Acquisition Corps of the future.
- LTG WILLIAM N. PHILLIPS
Upcoming Training Opportunities
- We have many educational and leadership opportunities available in the near term. Our updated Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience Catalog provides in-depth information on all training and developmental opportunities. Please view the catalog on the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) website at http://asc.army.mil/career/pubs/aete/default.cfm for information on all training opportunities available to acquisition civilian and military workforce members. Eligible and interested applicants may apply for all of our programs by using the Army Acquisition Professional Development System tab within the Career Acquisition Management Portal/Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAMP/CAPPMIS) at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp.
- The School of Choice (SOC) announcement is open until May 2. SOC is a highly competitive 18- to 24-month full-time degree-granting program that provides civilian Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Workforce members GS-11 through 15, or broad/pay band equivalent, an opportunity to keep their acquisition position while completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree during duty hours. For more information, visit the SOC website at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/soc/default.cfm.
- The Naval Postgraduate School Master of Science in Program Management (NPS-MSPM) (distance learning) announcement runs through June 17. NPS-MSPM is an eight-quarter, 24-month part-time master’s degree program. The program requires students to take two courses per quarter over a 24-month period. For more information, visit the NPS-MSPM website at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/npsmspm/default.cfm.
- The announcement for the Congressional Operations Seminar runs through May 6. This five-day seminar on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, offers civilian AL&T Workforce members a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. Congress as they relate to the performance management of the defense acquisition system and policy. For more information, visit the Congressional Operations Seminar website at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/ConOps/default.cfm.
- The announcement for the Acquisition Tuition Assistance Program (ATAP) will be open July 15 through Aug. 31. ATAP offers an opportunity for civilian AL&T Workforce members to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree or fulfill the certification of U.S. Army Acquisition Corps membership business-hour requirements. For more information, visit the ATAP website at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/atap/default.cfm.
Defense Acquisition University Highlights
- Registration for FY12 Defense Acquisition University (DAU) classes begins May 18. Students may apply through the Army Training Requirements and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas.
- The DAU course cancellations timeframe has changed from five business days to 30 calendar days from the date the student receives a reservation. Cancellations for a confirmed reservation must be received at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier. Cancellations submitted after that deadline must have general officer or Senior Executive Service member approval per Department of the Army DAU Training Policy and Procedures signed April 18, 2011.
- On March 28, the Director for Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy released a memorandum on “Upcoming Changes to the Contracting Curriculum in Fiscal Year 2012.” The changes affect the certification requirements for acquisition workforce members in contracting-coded positions. The Deputy Director for Acquisition Career Management provided supplemental guidance for the FY12 contracting changes. Please view the changes and recommendations at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/changes.cfm.
- DAU has successfully procured a commercial-off-the-shelf New Student Information System to replace the current distinct DAU registration systems for the four services. The system, named PORTICO, is Web-based and will interface with DAU and DOD systems, AITAS, and CAMP/CAPPMIS. Army workforce members will be able to authenticate via a DOD common access card. PORTICO will standardize functionality and capability for all services. It will allow more transparency and up-to-date status information for students when applying for DAU courses. The initial operating capability date is targeted for June 2012.
- To address the shortfall in Level II contracting classes, there are six commercial vendors and four universities that offer CON 215, 217, and 218 equivalent classes. For more information on equivalencies, please visit DAU’s website at http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx. Please email the program execution point of contact at email@example.com if you are unable to obtain CON 215, 217, and/or 218 this fiscal year and would like to use Section 852 funds to pay for an equivalent provider. USAASC plans to offer this to individuals who need these courses and are unable to get an FY11 reservation. DAU continues to work to offer more Level II contracting courses in the current fiscal year.
- To address the shortfall in Level II business, cost, and financial management (BCFM) courses, the Army is placing only first-priority students into available BCFM classes. DAU is well aware of the backlog and is working to expand classroom size for current and additional course offerings. The demand is due to a temporary surge of BCFM certification requirements. For experienced BCFM personnel, fulfillment of the course is recommended. Fulfillment information can be found at http://icatalog.dau.mil/DAUFulfillmentPgm.aspx.
Soldiers now have capabilities to engage the enemy far more effectively during nighttime operations, following the recent full materiel release (FMR) of three infrared (IR) illuminating rounds.
The term FMR signifies that the Army has rigorously tested and evaluated the item and determined that it is completely safe, operationally suitable, and logistically supportable for use by Soldiers.
IR illumination burns longer and significantly increases the area of battlefield illumination, and its performance is less sensitive to temperature and firing conditions compared to the standard visible light illumination.
The M1064 105mm IR Illuminating Cartridge, the M1066 155mm IR Illuminating Projectile, and the M992 40mm IR Illuminant Cartridge were approved for FMR via Program Executive Office Ammunition (PEO Ammo), headquartered at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ.
“PEO Ammo manages and oversees the acquisition and life cycle of all conventional ammunition for U.S. warfighters,” said BG Jonathan A. Maddux, Picatinny Arsenal Commanding General and Program Executive Officer Ammunition. “Products like infrared illuminating cartridges and projectiles are just a few examples of how we strive to be leaders in providing the best conventional, leap-ahead munitions that bring new and more effective capabilities to our joint warfighters.”
Illuminating cartridges, or pyrotechnic flares, have been widely used by militaries for years, but they have previously only provided light in the visible spectrum, which the enemy can use as well. The Army’s new IR illuminating cartridges and projectiles produce IR light that is invisible to the naked eye, but is clearly visible through night vision devices that U.S. Soldiers use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With the FMR of these three cartridges and projectiles, the U.S. Army now has visible light and IR capability for all calibers of mortars, artillery, and 40mm ammunition.
The IR illuminating munitions were developed at Picatinny Arsenal by the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC), which developed and fielded the world’s first-ever IR illuminating munitions in 2002 (the 60mm M766, 81mm M816, and 120mm M983 IR Mortar Illuminating Cartridges).
“IR illumination burns longer and significantly increases the area of battlefield illumination, and its performance is less sensitive to temperature and firing conditions compared to the standard visible light illumination,” said James L. Wejsa, Chief of ARDEC’s Pyrotechnic Technology and Prototyping Division, which led the pyrotechnic formulation, design, and qualification testing of the candle assembly for these mortar and artillery IR illuminating munitions.
Following are profiles of the three new IR illuminating rounds.
M1064 105mm IR Illuminating Cartridge
Approved for FMR in December, this cartridge gives Soldiers enhanced covert capability over the current 105mm M314A3 Illuminating Cartridge.
Fired from an M119 series howitzer, it provides more than 2.5 times the diameter of IR illumination compared with the visible light produced by the M314A3. The new cartridge also allows Soldiers to use both IR light and visible light capabilities without firing adjustments.
“IR illumination increases mobility during night operations, allowing the commander to shape tactical engagements, mass effects, and support maneuverability from disparate locations and lessen overreliance on direct fires,” said William Vogt, Project Officer for Mortars and Artillery Illumination under Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems.
The Army has 2,300 new cartridges in its inventory and plans to procure an additional 5,500 by the end of FY11, followed by approximately 3,000 cartridges every other year.
M1066 155mm IR Illuminating Projectile
Approved for FMR in October, this artillery projectile provides approximately 120 seconds of IR illumination and two times the diameter of effective illumination when compared with the 155mm M485A2 Visible Light projectile currently in the U.S. inventory.
Fired from a 155mm howitzer system, the new projectile gives warfighters the opportunity to use both IR and visible light.
The Army and U.S. Marine Corps have 10,000 of the new projectiles in their inventory, and beginning in FY11, they will procure 10,000 every other year.
M992 40mm IR Illuminant Cartridge
Also approved for FMR in October, this cartridge provides an illumination and signaling capability via an IR candle—a first for the M203 and M320 40mm grenade launchers. The round can also be fired from the legacy M79 40mm grenade launcher.
IR illumination increases mobility during night operations, allowing the commander to shape tactical engagements, mass effects, and support maneuverability from disparate locations and lessen overreliance on direct fires.
“The M992 provides a capability not previously available to the Soldier that takes advantage of U.S. Armed Forces technology to improve nighttime operation success,” said Gregory Bubniak, Project Officer for 40mm Ammunition under Project Manager Maneuver Ammunition Systems, which manages the M992 program. “It enhances night operation capabilities of troops equipped with night vision equipment, while producing minimal visual signature outside of the IR spectrum. This will allow users to access the approximately 90,000 cartridges available in inventory.”
The Army plans to field approximately 22,000 M992 cartridges in 2011.
For more information, visit the PEO Ammo website at http://www.pica.army.mil/
peoammo/Home.aspx or the ARDEC website at http://www.pica.army.mil/picatinnypublic/
- TRACY ROBILLARD was a Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs Specialist at the time this article was written. She currently works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District Public Affairs Office. Robillard holds a B.A. in mass communications from the University of West Georgia.
Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) employees recently improved a process to produce burster tubes, ensuring that the products would be made in the U.S. and to a high standard of quality.
CAAA was asked by the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, to take over production of the M54 burster tube, which is a component in a type of M110A2 projectile produced at Pine Bluff Arsenal, AR.
The M54 burster tube has a history of being difficult to produce. Due to a lack of capable suppliers, ARDEC had to pour a small production run of burster tubes to support the M110 program, using equipment in its research and design facility that is used to pour test bursters for product development. Production was difficult for ARDEC, which is not set up for long production runs. The decision was to move the equipment to CAAA.
According to Sal Ghazi, Project Officer with Program Executive Office Ammunition’s Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems at Picatinny, “CAAA successfully transitioned production of the M54 burster tubes in the M110A2 projectile. CAAA Ordnance Division took a prototype facility developed at Picatinny Arsenal and successfully installed, debugged, and produced more than 29,000 bursters with less than one percent of scrap.”
CAAA Ordnance Division took a prototype facility developed at Picatinny Arsenal and successfully installed, debugged, and produced more than 29,000 bursters with less than one percent of scrap.
The initial challenge for CAAA was to adapt the prototype equipment to its facilities. CAAA Ordnance Division Engineer Lucas Allison noted that Crane Army received the primary equipment, such as the kettle, from Picatinny Arsenal. However, Crane Army had to develop all the electrical controls, hot water controls, and finishing equipment to produce the burster tubes.
Allison also said that Crane Army did not have a melt/pour facility ready to handle producing the burster tubes. The originally proposed facility was undergoing renovations and not suitable to meet the needs of burster tube production, so another building was identified for melting. To prepare this building, all of its old equipment had to be removed and utilities turned back on. Air, steam, waste water, washout pits, vacuum system, and other infrastructure had to be reworked.
Once the building was prepared, the equipment was set up and CAAA engineers began to enhance the burster tube production process. As the equipment was validated, CAAA worked to reduce the previously established reject rate. “CAAA set up to mimic the process at ARDEC, knowing that the historical production reject rate would be higher than desired,” Allison said. “During the installation and control design process, alternate pouring methods were developed. During prove-out of the equipment, Crane Army tested the alternate methods and locked them in as the new pouring process for the M54 burster tubes at Crane Army.”
‘Good News Story’
Through more than two years of trials, CAAA Ordnance Division worked to perfect the system and reduce the reject rate. By 2010 the process had significantly reduced the reject rate. The result, Allison said, is a robust process producing at less than one percent reject rate, allowing CAAA to provide a quality product to Pine Bluff Arsenal for its production of the M110A2 projectile. Previous reject rates ranged from 17 to more than 50 percent.
CAAA’s production of the burster tubes had more than one positive effect for the activity. “This is a good news story for CAAA because the burster tubes were being supplied by a foreign company. They also now can be produced domestically,” Allison said.
The result is a robust process producing at less than one percent reject rate, allowing CAAA to provide a quality product to Pine Bluff Arsenal for its production of the M110A2 projectile.
For CAAA, the success has also meant the possibility of increased work. “This has created a good name for Crane with our customers. They are now turning to us with new work. Due to this success, we have been funded numerous new jobs with this customer base,” said Allison.
CAAA, established in Oct. 1977, maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate, and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles, and related components. The Army activity is a subordinate of the Joint Munitions Command and is located on Naval Support Activity Crane, IN.
- TOM PESKE is the Public Affairs Officer for CAAA. He holds a B.A. in mass communication/journalism from Lock Haven University and is a graduate of the Public Affairs Office Qualifying Course from the Defense Information School.
Coming from as far away as Japan, Alaska, and Hawaii, more than 200 contingency contracting warfighters descended onto Fort Campbell, KY, to participate in the 412th Contracting Support Brigade’s (CSB’s) Operation Joint Dawn 2011 Jan. 24-Feb. 4.
Active Army, Air Force, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard members participated in the two-week exercise, the Army’s largest joint contracting field training exercise. The goal was to provide a contingency contracting force capable and ready to support warfighters and conduct their mission.
Joint Dawn is an evolution from last year’s Operation Bold Impact exercise, according to COL Jeff Morris, Commander of the 412th CSB at Fort Sam Houston, TX. The 412th CSB, with five contingency contracting battalions, sponsored both exercises. The U.S. Army Expeditionary Contracting Command, the 412th’s higher headquarters, provides contracting support to the Army and other DOD organizations operating outside CONUS.
“Last year we trained about 35 Soldiers,” Morris explained. “This year, we opened it up, said ‘Let’s make this joint.’ We brought in the Air Force; we had about 20 Airmen here. We said, ‘Let’s make this multi-component.’ We invited a couple of dozen Soldiers from the National Guard and the Army Reserve. It’s become much more like it is down range because when they go down range they’re not operating in an Army environment. They are operating in an environment with civilians, they are operating in an environment with National Guard and Reserve, and they are operating with a whole lot of Air Force people.”
Mixing Warrior, Contracting Tasks
The exercise kicked off with a week of warrior task training that included combat engagement skills, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle roll-over egress, tactical combat casualty care, and virtual operational environment simulation.
Operation Joint Dawn provided contracting officers and noncommissioned officers some of what combat units gain through pre-deployment training at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA.
Week Two focused on contingency contracting operations. The joint teams were divided into 13 regional contracting centers that were challenged with more than 1,300 master scenario events list (exercise script) actions, including purchase requests and commitments, more than 350 close-out actions, commander’s critical information requirements, contracting ethics issues, and confrontations with disgruntled customers.
Morris said that all administrative paperwork, such as warrant packages that allow contracting officials to write and issue contracts, and forms required for access to the information technology systems, were the same in the exercise as those used in theater.
“So you’re only going to fill it out once,” he explained. “You fill it out here; we’re going to take it and send it to the theater.”
The 900th Contingency Contracting Battalion (CCBn), Fort Bragg, NC, led the planning and execution of the exercise. LTC Carol Tschida, 900th CCBn Commander, said Operation Joint Dawn provided contracting officers and noncommissioned officers some of what combat units gain through pre-deployment training at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA.
“This training is very important for contracting officers because we don’t have the opportunity to get together like this and practice for deployments,” Tschida explained. “This exercise is a culminating event. We trained on 15 warrior tasks and about 28 of more than 36 contracting officer proficiency guide tasks. We’ve put all that together in realistic scenarios of what contingency contracting officers [CCOs] can expect to see in theater so that they are prepared for realistic scenarios and for handling those situations when they happen.”
“I got a lot out of this exercise,” said SFC Joseph Crowell, 900th CCBn, Redstone Arsenal, AL. “The exercise was unpredictable and we had a lot of different scenarios thrown at us.”
The medical training included firefights with aggressors as the contracting teams worked to rescue and treat casualties. Combatants were armed with paintball guns and were cleared to engage the enemy.
SrA George Halley, 18th Contracting Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, particularly appreciated the warrior skills training. “A lot of it is training that I could spend 20 years in the Air Force and maybe not even see,” he said. “I might see something similar, but I wouldn’t see what the Army is doing.”
Halley said the urban assault using paintball guns had a “fun factor, but it really brought to light how confusing things can get, especially if you’re not trained.”
He took a few hits in the paintball exchange, “more than I thought I did until I took my gear off.” He said taking hits made him realize how much more training he would like to have for combat situations.
Tschida said that Operation Joint Dawn captured lessons learned from Operation Bold Impact, its predecessor, as well as input from exercise participants who have since deployed. She said deployed CCOs also provided sample contract actions.
“Operation Bold Impact represented the ‘crawl stage,’ ” Tschida said. “We’ve added all of that to the exercise so now we’re at the walk stage. We hope to add the Navy and the Marine Corps next year, and that’s when we’ll run.”
Voices of Experience
SGM Douglas Adams, 412th CSB Senior Enlisted Advisor, said he wished he had received this training before his deployment to Southwest Asia in 2005.
“When I went into theater there was no expectation management,” he said. “It was, ‘This is the date you need to be in theater; figure out how to get there and we’ll see you on the other end.’ We’re taking our experiences and we’re trying to offer current deployers what we didn’t have.”
This training is very important for contracting officers because we don’t have the opportunity to get together like this and practice for deployments.
Air Force contracting Airmen also benefited from the training. According to Col Roger H. Westermeyer, Director of Contracting at Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill Air Force Base, UT, deploying Airmen train like they will fight when they are deployed to regional contracting centers in the U.S. Central Command theater of operations.
“Our regional contracting centers are joint,” he explained. “That’s Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines—all working together to get the mission done. It’s important that if that’s the way we’re going to operate in theater, then we should train that way now. That way we learn each others’ lingo and how we operate so when we deploy together we’ll be ready from Day One.”
Westermeyer, the Air Force’s senior participant in Operation Joint Dawn, served a one-year tour in Iraq as the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting, making him the senior contracting official. He played a similar role in the exercise and served as a senior mentor.
Westermeyer said Airmen received a lot of exposure to combat skills that they don’t normally experience.
Our regional contracting centers are joint. That’s Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines—all working together to get the mission done. It’s important that if that’s the way we’re going to operate in theater, then we should train that way now.
Westermeyer observed that Soldiers excelled in the combat skills while Airmen brought a wealth of contracting experience to the fight. He said that is primarily because the Air Force brought many Airmen into the contracting career field from Day One of active duty, while Soldiers cross train into the career field later.
“I think this is clearly the premier contracting training exercise that we have anywhere in the services today,” said Morris. “And I say that not because it’s us. I say that because I’ve talked to the people here that have done other exercises. And I just can’t impress upon you enough the motivation that is shown by the Soldiers and Airmen that we have here today. It doesn’t matter if we have three inches of snow on the ground; they’re out there doing their job, digging in and doing the things they need to prepare them for deployment.”
- ED WORLEY is the Public Affairs Team Chief for the U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) in the Office of Public and Congressional Affairs. He served more than 30 years in the U.S. Air Force and 3 years in the private sector before joining the ACC Public Affairs team.
What started as an idea of how to make training more realistic for medics has developed into a commercial product used by numerous military and civilian organizations in the United States and abroad.
Effective training of medics is vital, given that a high percentage of fatalities and disabilities result from delays in effective hemorrhage control. Realistic training helps prepare medics for what may be a shocking sight, allowing them to take appropriate action with minimal delay in the line of duty. Preparation can mean the difference between life and death.
Army medics learn to treat wounded warriors during Combat Medic Training at Fort Sam Houston, TX. Then-SGT Lynn Randall King, who has since left the Army, felt that the training tools didn’t sufficiently recreate the stress and difficulty of real-life hemorrhage control in the field. He developed the Field Expedient Bleeding Simulation System (FEBSS) while he was an Army medic trainer at Brooke Army Medical Center (now San Antonio Military Medical Center) to better prepare medics for treatment emergencies involving blood loss on the battlefield. FEBSS simulates several concurrent wounds, either mild or severe, ranging from a nicked vein to a pulsating, hemorrhaging artery.
FEBSS units are suitable for retrofitting typical mannequins, or the systems can be worn by personnel in a role-playing exercise, during which the device is camouflaged under the uniform. The added element of surprise comes into play when, during training and battle simulations, the person becomes “wounded,” screaming and bleeding unexpectedly.
Realistic training helps prepare medics for what may be a shocking sight, allowing them to take appropriate action with minimal delay in the line of duty. Preparation can mean the difference between life and death.
An exclusive patent license agreement to Skedco Inc. allowed the small U.S. business to commercialize the FEBSS Army technology, which was first enhanced under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) and is now the subject of several U.S. and foreign patents. Both the CRADA and patent agreement were negotiated by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Office of Research and Technology Applications.
Since its commercialization in 2008, FEBSS has been purchased and is in use by several military and civilian medic training organizations in the United States and abroad. In 2009, FEBSS was one of 30 products named to the Journal of Emergency Medical Services Hot Products list. Reviewed by emergency medical service providers, the products on the list are deemed to be the most innovative, functional, and potentially life-saving solutions to come to market in the past year.
Since its commercialization in 2008, FEBSS has been purchased and is in use by several military and civilian medic training organizations in the United States and abroad.
While statistics have yet to be compiled on how effective FEBSS is during training, there is a documented case of a Soldier who had received training with FEBSS before deploying and was able to react quickly when a fellow Soldier was hit by sniper fire in Iraq. Despite the fact that the Soldier was not a medic, he stopped the bleeding of a femoral artery in time to save his comrade’s life, and he attributed his quick thinking and actions to his training.
In 2010 the president and vice president of Skedco and Army inventor King traveled to Iraq to provide training to combat Soldiers and medics using FEBSS. A trip to Afghanistan to provide training is slated for this summer.
For more information on Skedco, visit http://www.skedco.com.
- SARA BARAGONA is a GDIT employee providing service to the U.S. Army Medical
Research and Materiel Command’s Office of Research and Technology Applications. She holds a B.A. in communications and an M.B.A. both from Mount St. Mary’s University.
- SARA BARAGONA is a GDIT employee providing service to the U.S. Army Medical
The medic who rushes to a war zone bombing … the ambulance speeding to a major car accident … the surgeons trying to save a shooting victim. Trauma care takes so many different forms that a national research strategy to improve it has yet to become a reality.
The deaths and serious injuries caused by trauma are taking a devastating toll on our Nation. According to the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program, nearly half of those severely wounded in recent wars have not been able to return to duty. In addition, approximately 20 percent of all combat deaths are considered potentially survivable, had advanced, appropriate care been immediately available.
On the civilian side, trauma deaths have reached epidemic numbers. In the United States, according to the National Trauma Institute, someone dies from a traumatic injury every three minutes, and trauma is the leading cause of death of children.
Yet military doctors in the field have the same problems storing blood today that plagued doctors decades ago, and no one yet knows the best way to treat a head injury or whether drugs can stem internal bleeding. Unfortunately, the funds devoted to trauma research, which could find answers to such questions, are a small fraction of the country’s research dollars.
Recognizing the need to develop a national strategy, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s (USAMRMC’s) Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) gathered representatives of several key trauma organizations in January in San Antonio, TX. The panel discussed critical research needs in trauma and how they could leverage each organization’s strengths for a more effective approach.
TATRC Trauma Portfolio Manager retired COL Thomas Knuth, MD, who chaired the meeting, explained, “Over the decades, funding and public awareness of trauma needs have waxed and waned as wars come and go. We need to create an overarching strategy for exactly what to study and how to fund it, so we can continue building on the knowledge we’ve gained.”
According to the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program, nearly half of those severely wounded in recent wars have not been able to return to duty. In addition, approximately 20 percent of all combat deaths are considered potentially survivable, had advanced, appropriate care been immediately available.
Much has been done to reduce death and disability from trauma injury. But gaps remain in areas varied as injury prevention, disaster preparedness, medical treatment, infection control, and the technology used for communication and medical monitoring.
Knuth pointed out that advances in military trauma care during the Vietnam War improved local and state civilian trauma systems. What has been learned during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is helping the country move toward a national trauma system, he said. A national system implies consistent quality care delivered seamlessly across all jurisdictional boundaries with equal access everywhere to pre-hospital, hospital, operating room, intensive care unit, rehab, and long-term care and sharing of resources through mutual aid agreements to maintain services in times of peak needs. A national trauma system implies nationwide consensus on standards, process improvement, research, and other system needs.
“The military actually has a global system now. It’s amazing how many NATO countries are communicating weekly across continents in the care of patients,” Knuth said. “We need to translate that to civilian and future military efforts. That’s a good example of where we could go through the collaborations that may come out of this national meeting.”
- TATRC, headquartered at Fort Detrick, MD, which manages approximately 800 research projects throughout the country. Its trauma portfolio includes 50 to 80 projects at any one time. TATRC explores models of high-risk and innovative research, and puts research findings into the hands of warfighters.
- The Combat Casualty Care Research Area Directorate, known as RAD II, a USAMRMC unit that collaborates closely with Navy and Air Force research efforts. RAD II conducts basic and applied research and advanced technology development to reduce the number of deaths on the battlefield, limit brain damage, improve en route care, and advance the acute care of battle injuries. It invests in related projects at other institutions, including universities, industry, and military medical organizations such as TATRC and the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR).
- The USAISR, which is in a unique position to conduct both laboratory and clinical trauma research. Located at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX, USAISR adjoins Brooke Army Medical Center, a Level I trauma center. It operates the Nation’s only military burn center and is home to the Joint Theater Trauma Registry, which all branches of the military use to electronically compile combat trauma data for use in improving equipment and care. The institute takes the clinical problems identified on the battlefield for further investigation and solutions, and then validates those solutions in the clinical setting before they are returned to the battlefield.
- The National Trauma Institute (NTI), an aftermath of the collaboration between USAISR and civilian trauma centers in San Antonio. NTI, established in 2006, coordinates and funds trauma research nationally and applies it to benefit both the military and civilians. NTI is working to develop a national trauma clinical trials network to coordinate studies at multiple sites. A network is important because no single trauma center admits enough critically injured patients to provide substantiated support for improvements to medical care. NTI also holds an annual trauma symposium for military and civilian trauma researchers and providers, and is beginning a development program to raise private dollars for trauma research.
Hope for the Future
The meeting reaffirmed efforts by the participating organizations to increase coordination among military branches, other federal agencies, and civilian institutions. To-do items from the meeting include shaping a common vision, developing a priority list, and setting a strategy for funding.
TATRC Deputy Director COL Ron Poropatich said, “We are all ready to take it to the next level to meet the challenges and opportunities of today and the future.”
- BARB RUPPERT is a science and technology writer for USAMRMC’s TATRC. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in education from Virginia Tech.
Senior U.S. Army Contracting Command (AAC) leaders and a group of industry representatives came together at ACC headquarters on Fort Belvoir, VA, Feb. 24 for the first meeting of the ACC Industry Executive Council.
The council is a forum to exchange information, identify common issues, build partnerships, and develop solutions to advance ACC’s efforts to improve Army contracting.
“We have been planning this for over a year and now it aligns very nicely with DOD’s recent Better Buying Power Initiatives,” said Jeff Parsons, ACC’s Executive Director. “We’re here to gain a common understanding of how we can work together to face future challenges, including anticipated cutbacks in the Army budget.”
Dr. Ashton B. Carter, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD(AT&L)), announced the Better Buying Power Initiatives last November. They include targeting affordability and controlling cost growth, incentivizing productivity and innovation in industry, promoting real competition, improving tradecraft in the acquisition of services, and reducing non-productive processes and bureaucracy.
In addition to these initiatives, the council discussed an Office of Management and Budget memorandum dated Feb. 2 titled “ ‘Myth-Busting’: Addressing Misconceptions to Improve Communication with Industry During the Acquisition Process,” which recommends that “each agency develop a high-level vendor communication plan.” The establishment of ACC’s Executive Industry Council is a step in that direction.
We’re here to gain a common understanding of how we can work together to face future challenges, including anticipated cutbacks in the Army budget.
The council is made up of senior contracting executives from ACC’s large business partners and the small business community. According to Christopher Evans, Deputy Associate Director, ACC Office of Small Business Program, “It’s imperative that small businesses have a voice, as well as a vote, when decisions are being made.”
One initiative the council will explore at future meetings is the possibility for ACC contracting professionals to train with industry, which would expand their insights into industry’s business processes and further the government-industry relationship.
The council decided to meet three times a year. The next meeting is planned for this summer.
Watch the ACC website, www.acc.army.mil, and the command’s magazine, ACC Today, for updates on the council’s activities.
- Article courtesy of ACC Public Affairs