The Army Software Marketplace is formally changing the way the Army defines, develops, tests, certifies, and delivers software applications to Soldiers and the rest of the Army workforce. The Marketplace is part of the Army Software Transformation (AST) initiated by the Army Chief Information Office (CIO)/G-6. By adapting the latest information technology solutions and leveraging industry best practices, the Army is helping to meet Soldiers’ growing demand for capabilities.
Incorporating best-practice collaboration and innovation into the Army is reducing the barriers to entry for innovation. The Marketplace will enhance the user-feedback loop, eliminate redundancy, and promote reuse, ensuring an ongoing, sustainable infrastructure of support for ever-changing mission needs.
The Army Marketplace is a cloud-based Web environment that will provide end users, developers, approvers, and stakeholders the infrastructure to collaborate, develop, search, publish, access, and evaluate software solutions for use on the Army Network. Three key components drive the AST, which collectively enables the Marketplace to transform software development and distribution:
- Standardized end-user computing environments and corresponding software development tool kits.
- A streamlined end-to-end (E2E) enterprise software process.
- An Application Storefront.
The October 2010 release of Common Operating Environment (COE) Guidance, signed by both the CIO/G-6 and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, spearheaded the standardization of the Army’s computing environments and provides the foundation required for a successful software transformation. With standardized computing environments (common servers, clients, platforms, and mobile devices like the iPhone), the Army can more rapidly develop and deploy the secure and interoperable software applications needed in today’s theater of operations. Standardization mitigates redundancies, lowers cost, and increases operational efficiencies and effectiveness.
COE standard configurations also foster the application of automated workflows to streamline E2E processes within the Marketplace. An E2E software development process fuses heterogeneous development and testing activities (for example, security models, policies, and certifications) into a seamless workflow, enabling faster deployment of applications for access via the network.
The Army is using agile practices and “Apps for the Army” (A4A) challenges to drive the software transformation and to establish the Marketplace. The Army’s goal is to incrementally deliver capabilities and reduce the timeline between an application’s inception and its use.
By adapting the latest information technology solutions and leveraging industry best practices, the Army is helping to meet Soldiers’ growing demand for capabilities.
The 2010 A4A challenge demonstrated the innovation and software development acumen of our Soldiers and civilians. Launched March 1, 2010, Apps for the Army was the Army’s first internal application development challenge. It also served as the launchpad for the first iteration of the Marketplace. In 75 days, 141 Soldiers and Army civilians registered in teams or as individuals to participate. By the May 15 deadline, 53 Web and mobile applications were developed and submitted. The developed apps that passed testing and certification were made available on the Army’s Marketplace, which was established via the DOD Storefront (https://storefront.mil/army). The top five winning apps support physical training, mental health, disaster relief, mapping, and recruiting.
The Army is developing the next A4A challenge—A4A-Public, the next increment of the Army Marketplace. A4A-Public will expand participation to public and commercial industry developers, thus requiring a more mature Marketplace (automated E2E workflows and COE Computing Environments) to support agile development. The main focus for this next release of the Marketplace will be the E2E process.
The Marketplace E2E workflow is being developed using a phased approach. It will guide the software developer from requirement definition and validation (inception phase) through software development (construction phase), test and certification, to deployment (transition phase) through ongoing support of the software and any of its subsequent iterations (support phase). By streamlining and automating these disparate functions into a singular automated workflow within the Marketplace, rapidly executable business practices can be established and put into operation.
To develop the E2E workflow, CIO/G-6 is conducting “Table Tops,” a collaborative stakeholder exercise/working session to address transformational change issues as well as to identify necessary actions for follow-on execution and completion.
For more information about Army Software Transformation and the Common Operating Environment, visit the Army CIO/G-6 website at http://ciog6.army.mil.
- CAROL WORTMAN is Chief Architect for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) CIO and is responsible for strategy and architecture for OSD information technology efficiencies. She formerly served as Deputy Director, Army Architecture Integration Center, Army CIO/G-6, leading the development of the Army software transformation strategy and associated pilot initiatives. Wortman holds a B.E. in electrical engineering from Youngstown State University, an M.S. in software engineering from Monmouth College, and an M.S. in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.
The Army’s network email is in the midst of migrating to the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Enterprise Email, an improved system which permits users to have military email access worldwide.
The new email system also allows users to retain their accounts if transferred to a different DOD agency or organization. If users switched organizations under the previous system, their email address would change to reflect that.
“Right now the global address list is small for individual users, and for the Army there is no visibility on other services’ addresses. Upon migration to Enterprise, 3.9 million addresses will appear in the [global address book] immediately,” said Mike Krieger, Army Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO)/G-6. “This will also allow us to share calendars with outside entities, and this migration will allow us to have unlimited storage.”
The migration to DISA is part of a larger DOD effort to consolidate information technology services, improve capabilities, and reduce overall costs.
A Phased Approach
The migration covers 1.4 million unclassified network users and 200,000 secret network users.
The first phase in April migrated more than 14,000 Army users, including those at the Army CIO/G-6; U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Signal Command (Army); 7th Signal Command; U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command; 93rd Signal Brigade; Fort Riley, KS.; Fort Monmouth, NJ; Rock Island, IL; and Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD.
The first major, multi-installation migrations began in June; as of mid-July, 87,000 users had migrated.
By the end of March 2012, Army user migration, in addition to migration of DOD personnel assigned to Army-hosted combatant commands, will be complete.
The Army also is looking to move its SharePoint collaboration systems, which currently operate on servers around the world, to the DISA cloud, Krieger said.
“We think it’s the same business case,” he said. “The software’s paid for, but there’s too many people standing up their own SharePoint portals. So what you’re paying for is extra servers and extra people running them.”
While an undertaking of this magnitude does not come without challenges, the project’s cost savings make it worthwhile. Officials believe the migration will generate annual savings exceeding $100 million in years to come, with efficiencies produced as early as FY12.
This year’s cost for the project is $52 million, with the estimated cost per user per year at $39.
“The bill to the Army will go down every year,” said Krieger.
“We are hitting our budget targets. We are on budget for [migrating] NIPR [Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router], and we’re on track to do the same for SIPR [Secure Internet Protocol Router],” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, Vice Director of DISA, referring to the military’s non-classified and classified networks.
Both Krieger and Hawkins indicated that the migration helps DOD realize a considerable cost savings long-term.
- From CIO/G-6 and staff reports
Rarely does a process solve numerous problems at the same time, but the Improved Conventional Munitions Recycle, Recovery, and Reuse (ICM R3) Demilitarization (Demil) process not only helps to preserve and optimize Army Demil ranges, but also returns money to the Demil Enterprise.
The ICM R3 Demil process is the first fully automated R3 capability for the demilitarization of M42, M46, and M77 submunitions. It was developed by the Defense Ammunition Center (DAC) Demil Technology Directorate and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL).
“DOD has more than 750,000 D563 projectiles that contain 88 individual M42 and M46 submunitions, and more than 300,000 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) warheads that contain 644 individual M77 submunitions. This equates to more than a quarter billion individual submunitions slated for demilitarization in the near future.
“Because of this incredible volume of material to be processed, the Demil Enterprise is interested in not only automating the ICM disassembly processes, but also in maximizing the recovery and/or reuse of these valuable recyclable metals and explosive materials,” said Dr. Keith Clift, Senior Physical Scientist, DAC Demil Technology Directorate. “Depending on the markets for these recovered materials, it has been estimated that well over $40 million could be realized from the recovery of material from just the D563 and MLRS.”
Another reason the process is so important to the Demil community is that it helps to eliminate the risks associated with potential range contamination from accidental scattering of submunitions during open detonation (OD) of the ICM rounds.
“Given the sheer number of submunitions associated with these two munition items, there is a good statistical probability that eventually some of these submunitions could end up being inadvertently ‘kicked out’ during OD operations and scattered on our demil ranges, leading to possible restriction or even loss of this valuable demil capability,” Clift explained. “By removing this volume of ICM rounds from the range, it not only protects our ranges from potential ICM contamination, but also helps to free up valuable range capacity for other munition items that currently have no other demil alternative except OD.”
The new ICM R3 process has complied with all preliminary safety assessments conducted by the U.S. Army Technical Center for Explosives Safety and has completed a successful full-scale demonstration and validation test on inert submunitions at SNL. Currently the process is being installed at Hawthorne Army Depot, NV, where it will undergo formal low-rate initial production runs this fall.
- JAIME THOMPSON is a DOD employee with the U.S. Army Defense Ammunition Center. She holds a B.A. in business education from Oklahoma State University and an M.Ed. in educational technology from East Central University. Thompson is a graduate of the Defense Information School Public Affairs Officers Course.
For more than a year, the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA) has deployed a biomedical equipment specialist in support of the Responsible Reset Task Force (R2TF). Led by the U.S. Army Materiel Command, R2TF is staffed with 25 to 30 individuals from throughout the Materiel Enterprise. SGT Harland Wells, located at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, was part of the team responsible for R2TF’s four main mission goals: property accountability, timely disposition, triage formation, and total asset visibility.
Wells accomplished this mission by bringing the equipment to record, assessing condition, assigning the condition code, and then requesting disposition instructions for shipping. As a biomedical equipment specialist, Wells meticulously inspected and sorted through hundreds of medical equipment items to identify equipment suitable for refurbishment and reintegration into Army inventory.
R2TF’s first priority is to validate the condition of equipment to be redistributed throughout the theater, to include continued use in Iraq or transfer to medical units in Afghanistan. The second priority is to identify the Army’s future equipment requirements. Items ultimately are shipped to USAMMA to be repaired, refurbished, reset, and reissued to units. Equipment not meeting these priorities will be donated to authorized humanitarian aid programs or disposed of in accordance with Defense reutilization regulations.
- From USAMMA Public Affairs
Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience Catalog
Several educational and leadership opportunities are available in the near term through the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC). The updated Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience Catalog provides in-depth information on all training and developmental opportunities. For information on opportunities available to acquisition civilian and military workforce members, view the catalog at http://asc.army.mil/career/pubs/aete/default.cfm. Eligible individuals may apply for 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.
Excellence in Government Fellows Program
Project managers and acquisition professionals can receive hands-on leadership development through Excellence in Government Fellows (EIGF), a leadership program conducted by the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, DC. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization works to revitalize the federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works. The EIGF program announcement is open through Aug. 25. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/eigf/default.cfm.
Acquisition Tuition Assistance Program
The Acquisition Tuition Assistance Program (ATAP) offers an opportunity for civilian Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Workforce members to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree or fulfill the certification of U.S. Army Acquisition Corps membership business-hour requirements. The ATAP announcement is open through Aug. 31. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/atap/default.cfm.
Defense Acquisition University Highlights
Registration is open for FY12 Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses. Students should continue to apply through the Army Training Requirements and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas.
The timeframe for DAU course cancellations 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 by 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. U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) students must cancel at least 45 calendar days from the start of the class. Please view AMC memo and DA DAU training policy & procedures at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/docs.cfm.
On March 25, 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.
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, please visit the DAU website http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx. If you are unable to obtain CON 215, 217, and/or 218 during FY11 and would like to use Section 852 funds to pay for an equivalent provider, USAASC now offers these courses. If approved for training by the command, the Section 852/ Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund program manager for that command will request funding from the USAASC Section 852 manager by submitting a Program Request Form for FY11, found at https://www.usaasc.info/section852_cms. The point of contact is Chandra Evans Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. There is Level II course availability on the FY12 schedule. DAU is well aware of the backlog and is working to expand classroom size from 24 to 30-36 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. For more information, go to http://icatalog.dau.mil/DAUFulfillmentPgm.aspx.
DAU has successfully procured a commercial-off-the-shelf New Student Information System (SIS) 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 applying for DAU courses. The system is in the Business Requirements Review phase, with full operating capability targeted for July 2012. For more information, go to http://www.dau.mil/sis/default.aspx.
For Contingency Contracting Officers, Humanitarian Relief Efforts in Pakistan Yield Valuable Lessons
Contingency contracting officers (CCOs) are supporting American fighting forces worldwide while simultaneously providing global humanitarian assistance relief, as evident in their mission assisting flood victims in Pakistan.
Tasked with command and control (C2) of DOD’s contracting role in last summer’s Pakistan relief efforts, the Office of Defense Representative-Pakistan (ODR-P) developed a plan to create life-support areas at and move supplies through Pano Aqil, Ghazi, and Chaklala airfields. All relief efforts are led by Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority. In lieu of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program or the Defense Logistics Agency, a combination of government-furnished property and direct contracting was used.
By mid-August, the 408th Contracting Support Brigade (CSB), Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, deployed two CCOs from Kuwait to Pakistan within 96 hours of notification of request for aid. MAJ Reese Hauenstein and MAJ Ron Blanch augmented ODR-P’s sole supporting CCO on the ground, MAJ Dave Ware.
The Expeditionary Contracting Command (ECC), Fort Belvoir, VA, and its 412th CSB, Fort Sam Houston, TX, directed the 905th Contingency Contracting Battalion (CCB), Fort Bragg, NC, to deploy to Pakistan and provide C2 assistance to the CCOs in Pakistan. This was the ECC’s first battalion headquarters to deploy OCONUS.
The 905th requested a specific mix of officers, noncommissioned officers, and civilians with unique talents to create a C2 package designed to provide oversight to contract operations.
Team Member Duties
LTC Dennis M. McGowan, Regional Contracting Center Chief, provided C2 supervision for contract operations, prepared the risk assessment, and provided contracting specific mentorship to CCOs on the ground in Pakistan. He coordinated staff actions in the absence of an executive officer.
SFC Larry W. Metcalf, Senior Enlisted Advisor, was the personnel officer, logistics officer, and information technology (IT) officer, establishing secured and unsecured Internet access and accounts for team members and ensuring international communications. “Leadership drives the OPTEMPO [operational tempo] and morale of the office,” Metcalf said. “It also serves as the foundation of having a can-do attitude no matter the contracting experience.”
MAJ Scott L. McKee was the Operations Officer responsible for planning, leading mission analysis, preparing all operations orders and fragmentary orders (FRAGOs), and managing the synchronization matrix in conjunction with tracking internal and external taskings.
MAJ Ryan E. Ocampo was the Liaison Officer, vital to operational network and knowledge management. Ocampo integrated with higher-level staff elements to transmit accurate and consistent information for the commander to retain a common operating picture.
To achieve this, Ocampo conducted staff visits with the U.S. Army Central Command logistics and resource management officers and attended the daily battle update brief. In addition, he developed a strategic communications plan, informing the contracting office’s customers—ODR-P and the U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT)—as well as other key decision makers on the what, how, and why of the contingency contracting humanitarian assistance support.
As the 905th synchronized efforts, clear lines of communication internal to ECC and with external staff elements were critical to managing daily information and strategic communications.
Knowledge of the Military Decision Making Process was vital to the team’s successful integration into CENTCOM and ARCENT’s planning process. It allowed the customer to be educated in contract support, which helped the execution of contracts to flow.
Michael L. Shipman was the Quality Assurance Specialist, a role critical to the 905th and, more importantly, to the contingency contracting team supporting Pakistan humanitarian assistance providers. He also provided assistance to units developing Performance Work Statements and Quality Assurance Surveillance Plans for all service contracts. “The key role for a quality assurance specialist is to mitigate risk by clearly defining contract requirements during [the] preaward [phase] and conducting contractor surveillance, either directly or through Contracting Control Management,” Shipman said.
Once on the ground at Camp Arifjan, the 905th immediately received guidance from the 408th CSB, and they began their mission analysis and developed a course of action.
An Executable Plan
With roles and responsibilities clearly defined at the onset of the mission, the team developed the commander’s guidance and intent into an executable plan. This became important when the Pakistani government stopped issuing humanitarian assistance visa waivers and the 905th’s mission changed from onsite C2 in Pakistan to remote C2 from Kuwait.
With the 905th integrated into the 408th and the ARCENT staffs, the team implemented the Military Decision Making Process, developed additional courses of action, sought command approval to adjust the decision, and issued a FRAGO to conduct C2 of Kuwait contract operations. During the process, the 905th identified the need to create standard operating procedures (SOPs) specifically for use in Pakistan.
The 905th established the needed SOPs for field ordering officer, reachback support, file management, contract close-out, contract action report processing (not possible in Pakistan because of information technology issues), customer handbook, and contracting officer’s representative management. The additional contracting tools required were:
- Statement of Work and Performance of Work Statements development tool.
- Service tracking contracting tool.
- Vendor database.
- Past performance tracking tool.
- Simple acquisition plan to document the rationale behind decisions made during the contracting process.
- Formal risk assessment.
The Army Contracting Command-Kuwait contracting office’s SOPs and acquisition instruction from the 408th served as the foundation for the SOPs. Existing tools from the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Integration Office and previous deployments served as the basis for these tools.
As the 905th synchronized efforts, clear lines of communication internal to ECC and with external staff elements were critical to managing daily information and strategic communications. Stakeholder analysis identified the key messages and the communication channel for each stakeholder. This was possible because of integration with and understanding the CCOs’ information needs in Pakistan, key ARCENT staff sections, the 408th commander, and ECC headquarters.
A specifically crafted situational report and weekly telephone conference format ensured a common operating picture among the operational CCOs, the 905th, the 408th, and ECC. Situation reports and teleconferences occurred in a regular and predictable manner.
By defining each team member’s roles and responsibilities, the team developed a battle rhythm, managed information, and synchronized events early in the deployment. ARCENT update briefings were also part of the battle rhythm. The liaison officer provided critical information regarding threat analysis and weather updates.
The effectiveness of an operation or system is measured in many ways, and customer satisfaction is one such measure. In this case, the C2 customer was the CCO on the ground in Pakistan. “As the staff grew in Kuwait, the C2 of the operation started to transform to a well-organized element,” Ware said. “In the end, the C2 provided by the 905th CCB was highly successful.”
- MAJ SCOTT L. MCKEE, a 51C CCO, is the Team Leader for the 611th Contingency Contracting Team, Fort Stewart, GA. He holds a B.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Tennessee. McKee is certified Level III in contracting and is a U.S. Army Acquisition Corps member.
- MAJ RYAN E. OCAMPO, a 51C CCO, is the S3/Operations Officer for the 904th CCB at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA. He received his commission from New Mexico Military Institute and holds a B.S. in business administration from California State University at San Marcos. He is certified Level II in contracting.
Creating a picture of the battlefield so that commanders can make informed decisions on how to operate encompasses various forms of intelligence. With the delivery of the first Prophet Enhanced (program of record) to the 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (BSB), the realm of ground signals intelligence (SIGINT) received a major boost.
Prophet Enhanced serves as the Army’s premier ground SIGINT platform, building upon the success and lessons learned from preceding Prophet systems including: Prophet Spiral 1, Triton III, and a quick reaction capability (QRC) version of Prophet Enhanced.
With the initial fielding of eight systems to the 504th BSB, military intelligence Soldiers reached a major milestone as they took possession of a more survivable, flexible, and easy-to-use system that greatly enhances ground SIGINT missions.
“Prophet supports the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission, particularly in the areas of persistent area analysis, situational development, and mission overwatch, by providing actionable intelligence to the commander to execute the mission,” said LTC Jim Ross, Product Manager (PM) Prophet.
The effective use of Prophet Enhanced systems will allow Soldiers and teams to provide much-needed situational awareness to Joint Forces and commanders at levels that weren’t achievable just a few years ago. Information obtained using the Prophet systems will be particularly valuable in ongoing operations in Afghanistan.
The main difference between the QRC version of Prophet and the program of record lies in the fact that the latter gives a great deal of flexibility to commanders in terms of modular components. “The QRC version required full integration onto specific platforms, which limited flexibility in using components away from the vehicle or in a dismounted capacity. What we have done with the program-of-record version was modularize the components so that they could be quickly integrated onto, and removed from, the vehicle,” Ross said.
Prophet Enhanced is also equipped with the latest SIGINT enterprise software tools, optimized for the system in what is referred to as the Prophet Software Suite (PS2).
This cutting-edge technology has been eagerly awaited by the Soldiers assigned to use Prophet systems. “As an MI [Military Intelligence] Soldier, the Prophet Enhanced is a very welcome addition, as it offers crucial upgrades and software changes that have improved the overall integration of system components,” said CW2 Shane Harman, 504th BSB SIGINT advisor.
Prophet supports the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission, particularly in the areas of persistent area analysis, situational development, and mission overwatch, by providing actionable intelligence to the commander to execute the mission.
Describing the role that Prophet Enhanced plays in the mission of an MI Soldier, Harman said, “The new Prophet Enhanced gives our forces a more robust operational capability, as it allows for easier movement of the dismount system.” In addition, he said, by increasing the number of communication platforms, the new system gives operators more flexibility to conduct simultaneous split-based, fixed, and mobile operations.
Prophet Enhanced is installed onto Panther variants of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, a large six-wheeled, V-hulled vehicle that offers passengers added protection from improvised explosive devices, as well as greater operating space. Additionally, the Department of the Army provided PM Prophet with one MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) to outfit with Prophet; this configuration had received positive reviews from the 504th due to the additional mobility the vehicle can provide in austere conditions. “Some units have indicated they may submit operational needs statements to move out on M-ATV variants,” Ross said.
Allowing Soldiers to operate away from the Prophet Enhanced sensor has direct benefits for Soldier safety, as well as efficiency. “The sensor can be placed in a location [outside the wire], and the Soldier can have the ability to operate in a safe enclave among other Intel Soldiers from the other intelligence components,” Ross noted.
“Now, when a Soldier collects SIGINT, it can be in a distributed fashion where they collaborate with one another and they are able to evaluate, collect, and exploit the information collected by the sensors in that enclave, rather than having to be right where the sensor is and having to go back and load the information. We have allowed for distributed operations and have allowed for them to operate in a collaborative and safe environment, dismounted while the mounted piece is still out,” he said.
The PM anticipates fielding up to 50 sensors to the rest of the Army during the next several years.
- BRANDON POLLACHEK is the Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors Public Affairs Officer, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. He holds a B.S. in political science from Cazenovia College and has more than 10 years’ experience in writing about military systems.
The U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) is using technology, innovation, and creativity to achieve its energy security and sustainability goals of reducing consumption and environmental impact, while increasing efficiency and the use of alternative and renewable resources.
Three USAR installations are participating in the Army’s pilot Net Zero program. Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, announced in April that Fort Buchanan, PR, Fort Hunter Liggett, CA, and Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, CA, will participate in one or more of three categories: energy, water, and waste. These bases will strive to achieve “net zero” status, consuming only as much energy or water as they produce, and will endeavor to eliminate the addition of solid waste to landfills.
“In many cases, the Army and Army Reserve are leading the way for our Nation in terms of the green building design and construction projects that we have underway,” said Tad Davis, Command Executive Officer, USAR Command. “We’ve made the deliberate decision to design buildings that are more energy-efficient and use less water.
“The operation and maintenance costs for these buildings are reduced over their life span, which is longer because they’re just built much better than in the past,” Davis said. “All of this increases efficiency and lessens the impact on the environment, so that’s really the linkage we want.”
As part of the Net Zero program, the installations will receive support from one another and guidance from their chain of command and the Army to reach net zero status as quickly as possible, ultimately by 2020. They will share lessons with other Army installations through monthly conference calls, newsletters, and participation in military and industry conferences, according to a DOD news release. Ultimately, Davis said, “we’re also looking at Net Zero as a concept that we would like to implement at our Reserve centers and other facilities throughout the Army Reserve.”
USAR installation management leaders have been incorporating innovations and unique systems since FY08, allowing as much flexibility as possible in new construction, complete renovations, and retrofitting activities.
“We’re looking at a whole spectrum of renewable energy opportunities that we can incorporate into the buildings themselves,” Davis said. “Whether it’s the use of solar energy or wind turbines, there’s a whole host of renewable energy technologies that we’re attempting to integrate into the design and construction.”
For example, the Gallagher Memorial USAR Center in Las Cruces, NM was built this fiscal year using rammed-earth materials, native vegetation, and a unique courtyard setup. Rammed-earth construction uses massive and durable clay and sand compressed into formwork, which serves as an effective thermal barrier. The use of deep-rooted native vegetation eliminates the need for expensive underground piping or the high water maintenance required for typical ground cover.
In Chattanooga, TN, a USAR Center under design will use a geothermal electricity system that will provide half the energy to power the buildings. Geothermal heating and cooling uses the relatively constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool homes and businesses with 40 to 70 percent less energy than conventional systems. While conventional furnaces and boilers burn a fuel to generate heat, geothermal heat pumps use electricity to simply move heat from the earth into buildings, allowing much higher efficiencies. Heater efficiencies are measured by the percentage of heat output against energy output. The most efficient fuel-burning heater can reach efficiencies around 95 percent.
A new USAR Center construction project in Dodge City, KS, will take advantage of local ordinances that allow the installation of a 75-foot wind turbine to generate the power for the entire facility. Such ordinances do not exist in all communities housing Reserve installations.
Construction projects are not the only area where the Army Reserve has sought innovative approaches to achieving sustainability. It has also sought possible alternatives to retrofit its more than 1,100 stand-alone facilities. This plan is strongly influenced by the availability of funding and of possible alternatives when direct funding is not available.
Available current-year funds will first be used to execute approved projects. The priority will be based on current facility conditions and the benefit to the Army community. All approved projects will be funding-neutral, meaning that the total funds invested can be recouped through reduced energy and maintenance costs within 15 years. These projects include the replacement of boilers and chillers, windows, interior and exterior lighting, and water heaters, and installation of new light switches with advanced sensors.
The second effort will focus on projects that can achieve long-term benefits with minimal financial investment. These programs attract vendors willing to cover the cost of the retrofit. In exchange, a portion of the cost savings is contracted to the vendor over a specified period of time. Due to the improved rates of return resulting from continuing technological improvements, solar and wind farms are particularly suitable.
As the result of rising energy costs and improved capabilities for alternative energy generation, the USAR has received offers from private firms to install these systems on government property. Such agreements call for the installation of a system large enough to cover the needs of the resident facility. During a fixed period, the USAR pays the owner of the system a rate that compares favorably to the local utilities rate. When the contract is concluded, based upon prenegotiated terms, ownership of the system is transferred to the facility owner and the building becomes net zero for energy, as well as cost-free for utilities for the life of the system.
The sustainability initiatives are part of a vision the USAR has for its facilities to be at the forefront of energy sustainability, according to the 2011 USAR Posture Statement; “Continuing to invest in sustainable facilities will enable the Army Reserve to meet or exceed the Department of Defense requirement for a completely net-zero footprint by 2025. More importantly, the Army Reserve will save American tax dollars, return a valuable energy resource to the community, and assure reliable energy for Army Reserve Soldiers and Families.
- IAN M. DONEGAN is an Energy Strategist and Analyst for the USAR Installation Management Directorate. He has been working in energy reduction and energy management since 1997.
- STEVEN A. PATARCITY is a Strategist and Planner for the USAR Installation Management Directorate. He holds a B.A. in psychology from Duquesne University and an M.S.S. from the U.S. Army War College. Patarcity is a retired USAR Colonel.
The U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) has established the first fully accredited unit-level Air Traffic Control (ATC) simulator system in the Army at Fort Rucker, AL, fulfilling a vision for a simulation training strategy that closely replicates real-life air traffic control situations.
The system is just what planners from the USAR Command (USARC) Aviation Directorate had in mind when the 2nd Airfield Operations Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment (2-58) was activated in 2007 to train air traffic controllers. The planners foresaw the unit developing a realistic simulation training strategy, and an accredited ATC simulator system was critical to that strategy.
“Simulation is the future of aviation training. This is a state-of-the-art device that leverages today’s technology to train tomorrow’s air traffic controllers. It is a cost-saving initiative that maximizes standardization while providing a kaleidoscope of training opportunities via real-world scenarios,” said COL Mike Schellinger, Director of USARC Aviation.
Army Training Circular 3-04.81, Air Traffic Control Facility Operations, Training, Maintenance and Standardization, encourages unit leaders to incorporate simulation in their training programs to maximize proficiency and development.
The scenarios used during the simulations test air traffic controllers under high-traffic-density conditions from multiple types of aircraft, thereby eliminating the cost of replicating similar conditions with actual aircraft flight.
An individual requires 80 position hours to get an initial air traffic control specialist tactical rating as a controller, with an additional 40 hours required every six months to remain at the top readiness level. Army ATC directives and regulations allow for half of those hours to be accomplished using accredited simulations. For fixed-base operations, simulation may be used during all training phases except for position qualifications, ratings, and annual skill evaluations.
The accreditation was the result of an exhaustive process that lasted nearly five years. The process began in 2006 when the staffs at USARC and the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve, decided to pursue an ATC simulation strategy for Soldiers in the career field. The staffs incorporated lessons learned from the U.S. Army Air Traffic Control School, the U.S. Air Force, and the National Guard.
The decision was made based in part on assessments such as the one from March 17, 2005, in which the Army Air Traffic Service in Iraq judged ATC personnel proficient in setting up and maintaining ATC systems. The study said, “There is a considerable learning curve encountered when you are used to controlling rotary-wing aircraft and then find yourself responsible for providing a safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of traffic to a multitude of aerial platforms. They [air traffic controllers] are trained to complete their wartime mission as the Army sees it; controlling rotary-wing aircraft at a division airfield/assembly area. However, they are not trained to control scenarios they encounter in theater. The Army has an urgent need for some type of simulation to sustain its controllers’ proficiency and readiness level.”
The U.S. Army Aviation Center’s Directorate of Simulation (DOS) spearheaded a scenario that would adequately test air traffic controllers on accomplishing those tasks designated as critical. The USARC Aviation Directorate created the initial design and refined it over time while consulting with other experts in the field.
Once the scenario was deemed ready, DOS gathered a large group of ATC experts to work through the scenario and grade the system on its testing proficiency on critical tasks. The group included qualified active Army controllers, subject-matter experts, ATC instructors, and U.S. Army Forces Command Aviation Resource Management Survey inspectors with varying levels of experience to provide the perspectives of a representative cross-section of the field. The grades from the group met the requirements for accreditation of the system.
The rigors and legitimacy of the accreditation process give real evidence of the capabilities of this system to train Soldiers.
Because of the nature of computer simulations, the 2-58 can now train personnel using the most up-to-date lessons learned and conditions from areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Given enough lead time, the unit can design a scenario tailored for the specific location where a unit will deploy.
The USAR has realized that the simulator can support more than just Army Reserve Soldiers. The system has been placed in the DOS Merryman Building on Fort Rucker, where it will be made available to both active and reserve-component ATC Soldiers for scheduled use.
“We are very excited about the possibilities of this system. Not only will it get both Reserve and active Army air traffic controllers better prepared for the conditions they will face in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, it will also prepare them at less cost with no loss in capability,” said Schellinger.
- WILLIAM G. BALLIEW is the USARC Air Traffic and Airspace Officer, G-3/5/7 Aviation. He is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Certified Air Traffic Controller Specialist and Control Tower Operator. Balliew is a former U.S. Army Air Traffic Controller, Department of the Army Representative to the FAA Headquarters and Army Representative to the FAA ATP-200 Special Operations Branch.
The U.S. Army’s Project Manger Battle Command (PM BC) is working vigorously to “collapse” the boundaries separating various applications from one another and to engineer a consolidated product line aimed at increasing interoperability between capabilities, such as fires, maneuver, sustainment, airspace management, and air defense, service officials said.
“We have a lot of systems in a command post. All of those systems make it very complex for the commander and staff to perform their critical functions,” said COL David Moore, PM BC, within Program Executive Office Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical.
The BC Collapse Strategy consists of ongoing efforts to consolidate the tactical server infrastructure and develop two core software architecture frameworks from which future applications can be built, Moore explained. The two frameworks are BC Workstation, referring to the creation of a common software architecture, and BC Web, an Internet-based solution aimed at enhancing collaboration, interoperability, and analysis for users.
A Simpler Approach
Through BC Web, users will be able to access the operational capabilities of the PM BC systems through a Web-enabled environment.
“Battle Command Collapse is trying to simplify command and control applications. Over time I am looking to migrate each individual system into a common support structure, a common look and feel, and a common presentation for the commander and staff. The goal is to simplify the command post from a user’s perspective and reduce complexity,” Moore said.
For instance, under the current BC system, staff officers in the field often have to manually extract data from one system or application and re-enter it into another. When the BC Collapse Strategy comes to fruition, that will no longer be necessary; staff officers will more easily be able to access a common operating picture that includes a host of key BC applications and capabilities.
Much of the consolidation centers around an application called Command Post of the Future (CPOF), a command and control visualization tool that populates a computer screen with icons representing key combat-relevant information such as troop locations and moving map displays.
With common system approaches we are enhancing interoperability so that each system has a common look and feel, so I don’t have to sit on one application and do my logistics tasks and then worry about how I get that information over to my maneuver application.
CPOF is providing the foundation architecture for the BC Workstation, because it enables users to collaborate and share data in near real time, in turn enabling senior commanders the ability to review shared data with subordinate units. As the “collapse” strategy continues to evolve, Battle Command Workstation will contain even more information including fires, logistics, sustainment, and airspace management, Moore said.
“With common system approaches we are enhancing interoperability so that each system has a common look and feel, so I don’t have to sit on one application and do my logistics tasks and then worry about how I get that information over to my maneuver application,” Moore added.
Some current BC applications will collapse more quickly than others. For example, all of the logistics-related information available through BC Sustainment and Support System may not need to inform BC Workstation screens in the near future, whereas fires capabilities from the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System is expected to migrate to BC Workstation, Moore explained.
Tactical Airspace Integration System, a Battle Command application designed to de-conflict airspace for commanders, is also expected to collapse capabilities into BC Workstation, Moore said.
In addition, Army officials plan to merge BC infrastructure efforts with intelligence data collected by PM Distributed Common Ground Station-Army, an intelligence-gathering computer system. Army program managers and engineers are also consolidating the BC infrastructure with PM Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, a satellite network designed to link static command posts with vehicles on the move in real time.
“The idea is to bring together intel data with ops data as part of a common presentation,” Moore said.
- KRIS OSBORN is a Highly Qualified Expert for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Strategic Communications. He holds a B.A. in English and political science from Kenyon College and an M.A. in comparative literature from Columbia University.