• Acquisition Education and Training Corner: May 2011 Update

    Upcoming Training Opportunities

    • The Excellence in Government Fellowship (EIGF) announcement is open from July 12 through Aug. 26. The EIGF is a leadership program conducted by the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, DC. The Partnership is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works. The program offers hands-on leadership development for project managers and acquisition professionals. Click on http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/eigf/default.cfm for more on EIGF.
    • The Acquisition Tuition Assistance Program (ATAP) announcement is open July 15 through Aug. 31. ATAP is for civilian Army Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Workforce members who wish to complete a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university or to fulfill the business hour requirement cited in Reference A of the ATAP policy. Master’s funding is also available to those GS Level 11 (or broad/pay band equivalent) AL&T workforce members who are currently certified at their required level (at least Level II) and are interested in pursuing graduate study. To apply for ATAP, AL&T Workforce members must be certified at the level required for their current position. Click on http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/atap/default.cfm for more information.

    Defense Acquisition University Highlights

    • Registration for FY12 classes is open through the Army Training Requirements and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. For more information on DAU training, including step-by-step instructions, training priorities, and FAQs, click on http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/default.cfm.
    • The cancellation timeline has been modified for DAU courses 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 less than 30 days before the class starts or the reservation cutoff date must be approved by the first general officer or Senior Executive Service member in your organization’s chain of command, in accordance with Department of the Army DAU Training Policy and Procedures at http://asc.army.mil/docs/programs/dau/DAU_Training_Policy_&_Procedures.pdf.
    • The Army Director of Acquisition Career Management (DACM) LTG William N. Phillips signed a memorandum on enforcing Army DAU policy and procedures for course cancellation requests. Please view the memo at http://asc.army.mil/docs/programs/dau/ArmyDAUCancellationPolicyPhillips.pdf.
    • On March 28, the Director for Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy released a memorandum on the subject “Upcoming Changes to the Contracting Curriculum in Fiscal Year 2012.” The changes will affect the certification requirements for members of the acquisition workforce who are currently in a contracting-coded position. The Deputy DACM provided supplemental guidance for the FY12 contracting changes. Please view the changes and recommendations on course transition at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/changes.cfm.
    • DAU has successfully procured a commercial-off-the-shelf 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 current DAU and DOD systems, AITAS, and the Career Acquisition Management Portal/Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System. Army workforce members can 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 to students when applying for DAU courses. The initial operating capability date is targeted for June 2012. View ongoing status and team blogs at http://www.dau.mil/sis/default.aspx.
    • To address the shortfall in Level II contracting classes, six commercial vendors and four universities offer CON 215, 217, and 218 equivalent classes. For more information on equivalencies, visit DAU’s website at http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx. Please email the program execution point of contact at usaascweb-ac@conus.army.mil if you are unable to obtain CON 215, 217, and/or 218 classes this fiscal year and would like to use Section 852 funds to pay for an equivalent provider. The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center plans to offer this option to those who need the courses and are unable to get an FY11 reservation. DAU continues to work to provide more offerings of Level II Contracting courses in the current fiscal year.

      The Army is placing only first-priority students into available Level II Business, Cost, and Financial Management (BCFM) classes, to address the shortfall. DAU is well aware of the backlog and is working diligently 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.aspxdf.

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  • DACM Corner: Growing the Acquisition Workforce

    LTG William N. Phillips

    No doubt you’ve been hearing a lot about efficiencies and budget restraint, and about “doing more without more.” But you may not know that a few years before, they were a key topic of discussion in Washington in particular and among some senior leaders in DOD acquisition. The Army was well on its way to implementing a program that not only increases efficiencies, but also continues to ensure that the needs of our warfighters on the battlefield are met, and that we will have a viable and effective acquisition workforce into the future.

    Section 852 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY08 directed the establishment of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund (DAWDF), which permits DOD to recruit, hire, train, and retain its acquisition workforce. On April 6, 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates directed an increase of 10,000 civilian personnel in the DOD-wide acquisition workforce by FY15. The DAWDF was identified as the catalyst to achieve this initiative, and the Section 852 program was born.

    In 2009, the Army established a task force specifically to scope out the details of growing the acquisition workforce, and before deploying to Iraq, I was honored to help establish the task force effort in support of Mr. Dean Popps and LTG Thompson. The task force asked Army commands and organizations with acquisition positions to list their hiring requirements. The information was used to finalize a strategic approach for meeting the Secretary of Defense’s initiative. After the gathering of information was complete, the task force put in place the requirements by fiscal year and career field designation.

    The Army is responsible for increasing its acquisition workforce by 1,885 new hires by FY15, with 1,650 of the positions reserved specifically for the contracting acquisition career field. Most of these new hires are interns and journeymen. In FY09, we added 550 new hires; in FY10, 551; and to date, we’ve fulfilled a total of more than 1,370 new hires. As you can see, we are well on our way to reaching the goal of 1,885.

    Recruitment and hiring are highly specialized. Because the leaders of the individual organizations and commands know their needs best, they are tasked with hiring the new interns and journeymen to meet their specific needs. It is a decentralized process designed to find the people with the proper skills and experience that meet the individual commands’ needs.

    When I testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Airland on April 5, a portion of my testimony was dedicated to this program and the caliber of our new hires. I reiterated to the members of the committee that we are looking at candidates coming out of colleges and universities who have the skills necessary to train in specific areas of expertise. With the Army’s high standards for recruiting and hiring interns today, we are finding candidates with incredible talent who, on average, have a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher.

    The acquisition intern program is a two-year program that mimics the Army’s intern program for non-acquisition fields. Section 852 provides the funding for us to train these interns for the entire length of the program. It even provides funding for a third year if necessary. We are developing in these talented and motivated interns the proper specialized skills and experience for FY15 and beyond. We want to ensure we are cost-effective in our acquisition programs, building the right systems and saving the taxpayers’ money. Let me add that we are incredibly proud of our new teammates coming into the Acquisition Corps, and especially the energy and skill that they bring.

    While we are executing our plan to grow the workforce, we have concept plans for placement of these new hires in the future. The Army, along with DOD, has proven itself to be proactive. Thanks to the implementation of this requirement identified by leadership in 2009, the acquisition workforce stands ready to meet future objectives. We are doing the right things at the right time.

    For more information on Section 852 hiring initiatives, please visit


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  • Watervliet Arsenal Makes Room for Better Capabilities

    John Snyder

    As our country struggles with a worldwide recession, a large-caliber weapon manufacturing facility on a small parcel of land in upstate New York is dealing with its own challenges to survive.

    The economic survival of the nearly 200-year-old U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal in Watervliet, NY, hinges on its continuing to do what has made America great—manufacturing high-quality products that last. Nevertheless, the decline of manufacturing in the United States has been well documented. In recent testimony before Congress, Scott N. Paul, Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said that well over 5 million American manufacturing jobs have been eliminated since 2000, and more than 50,000 manufacturing facilities have closed over the past 10 years.

    Once the old machinery has been removed and floor space has been reconfigured, new machinery can be brought in. Here, the foundation for a new $2.3 million, five-axis milling machine is inspected. (U.S. Army photo by John Snyder.)

    The Fight for Survival

    The fact that the arsenal is government-owned and –operated, and is the only large-caliber weapon manufacturer in the country, does not exempt it from having to fight for its survival. Using strategy on the level of a world championship chess match, the Watervliet Arsenal is transforming under-used manufacturing space into state-of-the-art capability. Machine by machine, square foot by square foot, the arsenal is methodically opening up floor space for advanced machining through the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). With this program, the arsenal will significantly improve its capability and capacity to manufacture legacy and future weapon systems.

    According to Bill Dingmon, Industrial Operations Foreman at the arsenal, “There is more than 2 million square feet of floor space at the arsenal, but only about half of that is available for manufacturing.” The rest of the space is for support operations such as supply, procurement, and maintenance.

    Because the Army cannot build more buildings at the arsenal to improve its manufacturing capability, it must transform under-used space, while not hampering existing operations, Dingmon said.

    Retrofit Challenges

    “The retrofit process, from concept to operational testing of new machines, can take years if we allowed it to,” Dingmon said. “Because we have to run the arsenal like a business, we do not have the luxury of time, and so we quickly move through the process.”

    Each time we replace a piece of equipment, it takes the integration and synergy of the entire arsenal to ensure success.

    Dingmon’s “battle buddy” in this retrofit process is Bryan Myers, Industrial Engineer Technician. Myers said that identifying space and then finding the right machinery to not only improve the arsenal’s manufacturing capability but also to fit into the cleared space is a matter of both science and art.

    To remove heavy industrial equipment, some of which dates to World War II, is not as easy as ordering the delivery of a new appliance and having the old one hauled away.

    “The science is identifying a piece of equipment that no longer provides us much utility and then finding a modern machine that will fit into the same space of the old machine while adding capability,” Myers said. “You have got to keep in mind that newer machines actually take up more space because of requirements for such things as computer controls and cooling assemblies.”

    Dingmon and Myers used as an example the recent arrival of two new machines in Building 20, a major components structure built during World War II.

    Once Building 20’s equipment replacement plan was approved by the Director of Industrial Operations and Production, it made its way through a maze of contracting, maintenance, and supply personnel, Myers said.

    This is where the “art” of retrofitting a capability comes in.

    After delivery of new machinery, it can take months of testing before the machine is ready for production. Here, a Hankook lathe, which came from South Korea, is tested before machinists receive operator training. (U.S. Army photo by John Snyder.)

    “Each time we replace a piece of equipment, it takes the integration and synergy of the entire arsenal to ensure success,” Myers explained.

    Beginning in 2008, Dingmon and Myers began coordinating the purchase of two traveling column machines from GBI Cincinnati Inc.

    What that means is that Building 20 now has two state-of-the-art precision engineering machines with swivel heads that can do horizontal and vertical machining on a fixed, long-bed table. In essence, instead of stopping the machine to move the head from one angle to another for boring or milling, the computer-controlled swivel head assembly moves automatically without stopping work.

    The cost of these machines, more than $2.3 million together, is daunting, but this is just one of many CIP projects the arsenal has recently funded. In the past three fiscal years, the arsenal has obligated more than $40 million to capital improvements, and its leadership plans to spend nearly $10 million more this fiscal year to further improve manufacturing capability.

    And so, the arsenal workforce is methodically building capability and capacity to support not only today’s warfighters but also the next generation of warfighters with the highest-quality tank guns, large-caliber cannons, and mortars.

    • JOHN SNYDER is the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal Public Affairs Officer. He is a retired Army colonel who served in the field artillery and public affairs fields. Snyder holds a B.S. in market and management from Siena College and an M.A. in journalism from Marshall University. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and the DOD Joint Senior Public Affairs Officers Course.

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  • Italy-Based Battalion: Uniquely Positioned to Serve

    Jennifer L. King

    The small Army depot is located off a scenic tree-lined Italian highway, seemingly innocuous and quiet. But just behind the front gate stands a battalion with tremendous capability and worldwide reach. The 3rd Battalion, 405th Army Field Support Brigade (AFSB) at Leghorn Army Depot launches international support to Soldiers and other organizations from this small but capable installation.

    One of the unit’s current high-profile missions includes reset and handling of left-behind equipment (LBE) for deploying and redeploying units throughout the European theater of operations. The battalion is currently conducting reset and LBE operations on more than 1,100 pieces of military equipment for the 172nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT), the 170th HBCT, and the 173rd Airborne Combat Team.

    The battalion maintained equipment for the 173rd HBCT through its LBE program while the unit was deployed. (U.S. Army photo by Chiara Mattirolo.)

    “Our modern, well-equipped maintenance facilities ensure that we have everything available to us to complete all facets of reset and maintenance operations for all ground combat military vehicles,” said LTC Richard Pierce, Commander of the 3rd Battalion. “We can truly execute a ‘start to finish’ mission. These state-of-the-art facilities, combined with a talented and dedicated workforce, ensure that Soldiers receive equipment in far better condition than when they sent it to us.”

    In addition to expansive maintenance and repair facilities, the battalion oversees an extensive warehousing operation. The battalion operates 15 warehouses, encompassing more than 582,000 square feet of humidity-controlled storage capability, larger than an American football field. Controlled humidity provides an optimal storage environment and cuts in half the maintenance requirements for stored equipment, thereby conserving manpower and repair parts.

    In the area of ammunition operations, the battalion maintains 50 earth-covered and 17 above-ground ammunition storage magazines within the Pisa Ammunition Storage Area (ASA), next to the depot. The underused ASA can store several thousand short tons of ammunition for strategic or operational missions, with direct access to the Mediterranean Sea.

    The battalion’s substantial storage capability, combined with logistics experience, led to interagency agreements with nonmilitary organizations including the U.S. State Department and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and DSCA rely on the battalion for the storage, maintenance, and distribution of humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and crisis supplies and equipment. Whenever disaster or crisis strikes, USAID may call upon the battalion to help transport supplies to a disaster zone or to support a combatant commander.

    The 3rd Battalion’s support to this humanitarian mission sets it apart from other Army organizations.

    I truly believe that the unique combination of logistics and transportation capabilities, state-of-the-art facilities, and an experienced and talented workforce give the battalion tremendous strategic importance.

    “In the past, we largely utilized military installations for our warehousing operations,” said Robert Demeranville, Senior Logistician for USAID. “However, that is no longer the case. All of our warehousing operations have been moved to commercial locations, with the exception of the materials at the battalion in Italy. They are the only military unit that handles this sort of work for us now.”

    Pierce considers the USAID mission a source of pride for the battalion, noting that it has supported USAID missions in more than 45 countries over the past 10 years, including recent aid missions in Haiti and Pakistan.

    “We consider ourselves a partner to USAID in their humanitarian relief efforts,” Pierce said. “We take great pride in being able to deliver the materials they need in a timely and efficient manner, doing our part to alleviate people’s suffering as quickly as possible.”

    The battalion’s mission is further enhanced by its location.

    “Our location in Italy gives us a unique logistics capability,” said Alberto Chidini, Host Nation Executive Advisor to the Commander and Battalion Project Manager for the USAID mission. “Because we have access to so many modes of transportation, we can execute loading and transportation missions quickly and efficiently, ensuring that the aid reaches the disaster area as quickly as possible.”

    “I truly believe that the unique combination of logistics and transportation capabilities, state-of-the-art facilities, and an experienced and talented workforce give the battalion tremendous strategic importance,” said COL Ronald Green, Commander of the 405th AFSB, which is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany. “I remain impressed by both the quality of their service to the Soldier and the breadth and scope of their mission.”

    • JENNIFER L. KING is a public affairs officer with the AFSB, Kaiserslautern, Germany. She holds a B.A. in journalism and public relations from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

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  • Logistics Information Warehouse: An Authoritative Source

    Secretary of the Army John McHugh has directed the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) to continue developing the Logistics Information Warehouse (LIW) as the Army’s single authoritative source whereby leaders can maintain situational awareness of equipment across the Army.

    AMC’s Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) manages the LIW, a repository for data that will provide a common location for all Army materiel stakeholders to access, acquire, and deliver data and information for managing Army materiel.

    COL Robert Sullivan, LOGSA Commander, said LIW will provide insight into equipment availability, maintenance reporting, and the overall performance of the Army supply pipeline. Here, Sullivan is pictured with his deputy, Geoffrey Embrey, at LOGSA Headquarters before an assumption-of-command ceremony in July at Redstone Arsenal, AL. (U.S. Army photo by Kari Hawkins, U.S. Army Garrison Redstone.)

    LIW integrates legacy systems data with data emerging from modern Army Enterprise Resource Planning systems to provide critical strategic business analytics and business intelligence for the Army’s logistics leaders.

    Previously, warfighters had to coordinate with multiple Army organizations to determine how to fill equipment shortages. As AMC fills the role of Lead Materiel Integrator (LMI) for the Army, LIW will be the single source for equipment information and possible solutions to shortages. (For more on AMC’s designation as LMI, go to http://test.usaasc.info/u-s-army-materiel-command-named-the-army%e2%80%99s-lead-materiel-integrator/.)

    “By integrating and merging the property data from multiple sources into one location, LIW will provide our strategic leaders and item managers visibility of all Army assets and associated readiness,” said COL Robert Sullivan, LOGSA Commander. “This allows Army leaders to make sound decisions for equipment distribution based on accurate life-cycle data. Simply put, when we know what we have on hand, the supply, we can truly optimize demand satisfaction as we distribute equipment.”

    In addition to its role in supporting LMI, LIW will provide insight into equipment availability, maintenance reporting, and the overall performance of the Army supply pipeline. Also, LIW can provide large amounts of data to more than 140 trading partners each day. This facet of LIW’s mission is a being upgraded to further exploit Web-service technology, eliminating many costly databases.

    LIW will foster a broad overview of equipment and logistics, enabling decision making and long-term trend analysis for senior leaders. The logistics community can now more easily monitor, manage, and sustain the efforts that are vital to mission success.

    “As we continue to build out the strategic analytic capability and enhance the ‘look and feel’ by capitalizing on new technologies, LIW will be even more useful to leaders making maintenance, transportation, and funding decisions. Its reach is much broader than just equipment visibility,” Sullivan said.

    Article courtesy of AMC Public Affairs.

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  • U.S. Army Materiel Command Named the Army’s Lead Materiel Integrator

    Secretary of the Army (SecArmy) John McHugh has designated the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) as the Army’s Lead Materiel Integrator (LMI), which changes how the operational Army will receive its equipment in the future.

    With McHugh’s designation of an LMI in his March 22 memorandum, the Army will standardize the process of providing materiel to the warfighter that once was managed by multiple organizations, databases, and people.

    SecArmy John McHugh has designated AMC as the Army’s Lead Materiel Integrator. Here, McHugh speaks to cadets at Lee Chapel on the campus of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA, May 3. (U.S. Army photo by Forrest Berkshire, U.S. Army Cadet Command.)

    “The Army’s new approach for managing materiel is being designed to effectively and efficiently distribute and redistribute materiel to support the generation of trained and ready forces,” McHugh said in the memorandum. “It must represent a different way of doing business that will foster open communication, improve collaboration, and eliminate redundancies in the process.”

    This LMI designation allows AMC to develop a single authoritative materiel data repository for the Army through an initiative called the Logistics Information Warehouse, said GEN Ann E. Dunwoody, AMC Commanding General, during a recent town hall meeting.

    Previously, warfighters needed to coordinate with multiple Army organizations to determine how to fill equipment shortages.

    With its designation as LMI, AMC is now the one point of contact for all materiel through the U.S. Army Sustainment Command (ASC), a subordinate command of AMC. ASC will be the Army’s single materiel readiness synchronization point, receiving materiel requirements from the Army and employing its Distribution Management Center, Army Field Support Brigades, and Directorates of Logistics.

    The benefits of the LMI designation include total asset visibility and transparency, predictive analysis, elimination of redundant capabilities across the Army, and integration and synchronization of multiple efforts, enabling AMC to manage materiel at best value for the entire Army.

    “This is probably one of the most transformational adaptations we have had at the institutional level that is really going to impact ARFORGEN [Army Force Generation] and our ability to sustain and equip forces,” Dunwoody said.

    Article courtesy of AMC Public Affairs.

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  • Plan to Reduce Organizational Growth

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