Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, (APG) marked the formal completion of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process and acknowledged the transformation of the installation’s missions with two ceremonies on Sept. 15, the day BRAC law required completion of the required actions.
APG highlighted its new “team” in a BRAC Completion Ceremony at the post’s Fanshaw Field. The event featured a symbolic flag ceremony that showcased the missions of the incoming organizations, as well as the legacy organizations that have built the installation’s reputation for successfully supporting Soldiers. Eleven organizations have arrived at APG as part of the BRAC process.
After the ceremony, the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Materiel Center of Excellence brought closure to its relocation from Fort Monmouth, NJ, and other locations with a C4ISR Center of Excellence dedication ceremony. The ceremony highlighted the largest mission influx for the APG community from BRAC, acknowledged the tradition of C4ISR excellence created at Fort Monmouth, and celebrated the future of C4ISR at APG. The C4ISR team moved 7,260 employee positions, 120 laboratories, and 80,000 pieces of equipment to APG without any interruption to its support for Soldiers. Fort Monmouth held its closure ceremony on Sept. 13.
C4ISR organizations exhibited a variety of Army communications equipment and technology as tangible examples of the world-class systems provided to Soldiers by the new Center of Excellence.
- U.S. ARMY COMMUNICATIONS-ELECTRONICS COMMAND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The mission to defeat one of the enemy’s number one threats—improvised explosive devices (IEDs)—recently received a big boost in terms of the knowledge and capabilities of those assigned to operate and maintain Counter-Radio-Controlled IED Warfare (CREW) devices.
Designed to offer maintainers and operators more realistic training, the new CREW Maintenance University opened its doors to students this spring at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. The course is a five-day, intensive, hands-on program that provides Soldiers, civilians, and contractors who are responsible for CREW systems the opportunity to troubleshoot and actually handle the multiple variations of fielded devices.
The CREW Family of Systems, managed by Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors (PEO IEW&S), provides electronic protection from roadside bombs for vehicles and crew members in mounted, dismounted, and fixed-site operations in forward combat areas during offensive and defensive operations, military operations in urban terrain, rear area logistical support, cantonment area security, and during peacekeeping. Systems are usually maintained by deployed field service representatives (FSRs) and electronic warfare (EW) Soldiers.
“The need for a new training course came out of a requirement from the field based on lessons learned from the FSRs and Soldiers we previously trained,” said Willie Jackson, Training Manager for Product Manager (PM) CREW. “We discovered that following the completion of the previously offered course, the Soldiers and FSRs who deployed had to go through an additional 30 days of training upon arriving in theater because the training we provided wasn’t realistic.”
Before the CREW Maintenance University, students attended a three-day course at Fort Monmouth, NJ, taught strictly through PowerPoint briefings. The current course is 80 percent hands-on instruction, with a lab that features five variations of CREW devices as well as various vehicles where students will install the systems.
The hands-on training includes putting load sets into the system, verifying the firmware, installing the systems on the vehicle, and troubleshooting. “We actually got the recurring areas of deficiency from theater, and we incorporated those into the course,” Jackson noted. “Students will install the system, troubleshoot the system, and retest it to make sure everything checked out.”
Students have an opportunity to install and uninstall CREW devices on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, Abrams tanks, Stryker armored vehicles, and other platforms and train on maintaining fixed-site systems along with the proper procedures for testing devices before leaving the forward operating base.
Student feedback has been extremely positive, especially from those who have attended both the old and new training courses.
“It is completely night and day. Everything was classes and death by PowerPoint, and I don’t remember learning that much,” said Alnaldo Gonzalez, a student attending from the Department of State who previously took the course in 2007 before deploying for the past four years supporting CREW devices. “The hands-on lab is awesome. We can try out a lot of different scenarios, making sure you go to each system and then load the system. Back in 2007, we didn’t touch any systems, and you have to touch something to learn it efficiently to do your job, especially when a Soldier’s life is depending on it.”
Most of the students are FSRs from Tobyhanna Army Depot, PA, or EW students. The program also trains EW instructors from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), as well as the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) CREW Master Gunner Course. CREW Maintenance University is open to all DOD military and federal agencies.
Besides providing a more hands-on experience, the CREW Maintenance University serves as an incubator for more permanent training programs that will be established at TRADOC and within USMC.
“The end goal for CREW Maintenance University is to train the trainer until the Army establishes the military occupational specialty to take over the role of CREW maintenance and CREW operator training within TRADOC,” said Jackson. “Once a training course is established in TRADOC, PM CREW will discontinue the program, possibly in FY12.”
“Everything we do in PM CREW has a dramatic impact on saving Soldiers’ lives. We have the Army’s best acquisition and budget specialists, integrators, logisticians, testers, and engineers who ensure that the best products are provided to the Soldiers,” said LTC Bruce Ryba, Product Manager CREW within the Project Management Office Electronic Warfare. “The impact CREW Maintenance University has had on making sure these systems are maintained properly to save lives is unparalleled. Willie Jackson and his team are producing highly trained maintainers and trainers who will continue to protect our Soldiers every day so that they can come home to their loved ones when their mission is complete.”
- BRANDON POLLACHEK is the Public Affairs Officer for PEO IEW&S, 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.
With this article, Access AL&T is introducing a regular column by Dr. Scott Fish, Army Chief Scientist, on activities in the Army science and technology (S&T) community and their potential impact on Army acquisition programs.
Earlier this month, I accompanied the Army Acquisition Executive (AAE), Ms. Heidi Shyu, on a visit to Israel, where we met with senior Israeli military officials. We received briefings on the country’s defense products and technologies that have potential application and significant interest to the U.S. Army and its acquisition programs.
Among our stops was the Merkava Tank Program Management Office (MANTAK), where the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) manufactures both the Merkava Tank and the Namer Armored Personnel Carrier. We toured the manufacturing and assembly facilities, which resulted in good dialogue on the current level of automation, quality control, design strategies, workforce structure, and the plans and implications for manufacturing with U.S. industry partners in the near term. In this case, the Israeli government will be subcontracting major hull structure to General Dynamics Land Systems in the United States.
Ms. Shyu and I also conducted office calls at the American Embassy and with senior military officials in the Israel Ministry of Defense and IDF. The discussions centered on current events and historical drivers for Israel’s national and defense culture that influence the streamlining of its acquisition process. We also participated in a roundtable of presentations on a variety of Israeli systems, including the Iron Dome missile defense system, counter-improvised explosive device technology, Future Soldier System, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other defensive systems.
We also attended the 2011 Latrun Conference, where Ms. Shyu presented U.S. acquisition trends in a rapidly changing environment. The conference featured Israel’s leading defense industries and a wide range of weapon systems, command and control, and logistics support hardware. The theme for the conference was “War’s Changing Environment.” We toured the exhibits and talked with manufacturers between presentations.
The trip was highly successful. It reaffirmed the close partnership and spirit of cooperation that exists between our two countries in Army research and development, and highlighted the possibility for further acquisition collaboration. We expect follow-up discussions to develop when some of these same people come to the United States for the fall Association of the United States Army conference in October.
To orient industry partners with the Army’s new agile acquisition process and how the Network Integrated Evaluation (NIE) supports it, the Army hosted an Industry Day Sept. 8 in El Paso, TX, and at White Sands Missile Range, NM, for defense contractors interested in participating in future NIEs.
More than 150 representatives of 60 companies—both large defense corporations and small businesses—attended to learn more about the Army’s NIE test and evaluation process. The NIEs, semiannual evaluations designed to integrate and mature the Army’s tactical network, are a key element of the Army’s emerging Network Strategy.
The full-day event familiarized industry partners with the NIE process, introduced the Army organizations involved and their missions, and showed how the NIE’s evaluation brigade, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD), is structured and equipped.
“By allowing industry to see how this unique brigade is structured and talk to Soldiers who operate the equipment, in a snapshot industry representatives were able to familiarize themselves with potential integration challenges as they bring capabilities into the NIE process,” said Paul Mehney, Chief of Public Communications for Program Executive Office (PEO) Integration.
Industry representatives got a firsthand look at the test and evaluation ranges, environmental conditions at White Sands, and various facilities where they would operate before, during, and after an NIE.
The first evaluation, NIE 11.2, was in June and July and involved nearly 3,800 2/1 AD Soldiers and 1,000 of their vehicles. The second iteration in the series, NIE 12.1, is slated for November.
During the inaugural Industry Day, leaders from the Brigade Modernization Command, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, and PEO Integration, a group known as the “TRIAD,” demonstrated how the NIEs support the Army’s overarching Network Strategy to create a mobile, secure, wireless battlefield network for Soldiers.
Keying off lessons learned from NIE 11.2, service leaders repeatedly stressed the Army’s commitment to providing network connectivity and mission command capabilities to the small unit (company and below) of dismounted Soldiers at the tactical edge, who represent the Army’s most challenged and vulnerable network user.
They explained entrance, evaluation, and exit criteria, along with test and evaluation conditions, while Soldiers emphasized the importance of concrete training plans for the systems inducted in the NIEs.
By using the Agile Process, the Army can keep pace with technological advances, accelerating network modernization to a rate unachievable with traditional acquisition strategies. The Agile Process focuses primarily on meeting identified and prioritized capability gaps by integrating emerging technological solutions through iterative, pre-defined, and predictable windows for testing and insertion that are aligned with the Army Force Generation process.
“The Agile Process is truly a new way of doing business, and this first Industry Day provided an important environment for industry and Army collaboration,” said Mehney. “We listened to feedback that industry provided on how we are managing the Agile Process, and we intend to make improvements based on that. As we continue through solidifying the Agile Process, it needs to be a collaborative activity with industry, and events like this are important steps in making that happen.”
Future NIE players left Industry Day with a better understanding of the Army’s new business model.
“This is an incredible industry day,” commented one industry representative. “The Army has set the mark really high by using the panel presentations and motor pool tours to clearly articulate the process and address industry concerns.”
Approximately 50 networked and non-networked technologies will be assessed during NIE 12.1. The primary purpose is to continue required evaluations in support of program-of-record milestones and to advance the integration and understanding of the Army’s objective and bridge network architectures. It will also establish the Objective Integrated Network Baseline, common connectivity across the Brigade Combat Team structure, and introduce industry participation in the NIE evaluation cycle.
This second NIE will build off lessons learned from the June-July NIE evaluation to support the Army’s holistic focus on integrating network components simultaneously in one operational venue.
- KATIE CAIN is a PEO Integration Media Relations Specialist. She holds a B.A. in applied arts in integrative public relations, with a concentration in political science, from Central Michigan University.
Oct. 3 is the deadline to submit nominations for the 2011 Defense Logistics Awards. This is the eighth year the program, affiliated with the annual Defense Logistics conference, has recognized the accomplishments of DOD logistics teams.
This year, there are six categories of award:
- Best Logistics Strategy: A Specific Project or Military-Contractor Partnership Achieving Logistics Excellence.
- Best PBL [Performance-Based Logistics] Implementation.
- Best Technology Implementation.
- Military-Military Collaboration of the Year: Rewarding the Joint Effort.
- Beyond the Call of Duty: Logistician of the Year.
- 2011 Logistician Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 2010 field was competitive. “Each year, this program gets greater and greater recognition,” said Amol Tembe, Defense Logistics Awards Program Director. “It continues to be a great honor to be a part of recognizing the DOD logistics community for their tremendous contributions in supporting the warfighter.”
Finalists will be announced in early November. The winners will be announced at the awards dinner Nov. 30 at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, VA. The dinner will be held in conjunction with the Defense Logistics 2011 conference, which runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 with the theme “Global, Affordable, & Efficient Logistics.”
Anthony Fleming, the new Director of Defense Logistics, will host the awards dinner. “Having been an Aircraft Maintenance Officer for six years, I know how challenging and rewarding logistics, maintenance, and sustainment can be,” he said.
For more information on this year’s awards program and on submitting a nomination, contact Mr. Amol Tembe at 646-200-7442 or email@example.com, or visit www.defenselog.com.
The U.S. Army Geospatial Center (AGC) has launched a faster, feature-rich version of Common Map Background (CMB) Online. CMB Online is a geospatial data discovery and ordering program that allows customers to search, download, and order geospatial data using a simple, Web-based “shopping cart” interface. A Common Access Card is required to access the data from the AGC’s public key interface web site at https://agcwfs.agc.army.mil/CMB_Online/default.aspx.
“The latest version of CMB Online performs faster than the previous iteration and offers several new features to users, including additional easy-to-change map bases, a scale display, and a coordinate display via latitude/longitude decimal degrees and/or Military Grid Reference System,” said Bob Molnar, AGC Information Technology (IT) Specialist. “CMB dramatically reduces the time and expense required for field users to acquire, manage, and load/import CD-ROMs of geospatial data pertinent to their areas of operations.”
Available products range from map and image data sets of small areas of interest to larger country or command data sets. Customers are able to place requests through the AGC’s website, by email, or by phone. CMB analysts receive requests from a multitude of agencies, including U.S. Army Corps of Engineers district offices, Army topographic units overseas, and troops preparing for deployment. For more information about the AGC’s Common Map Background program, visit http://www.agc.army.mil/fact_sheet/CMB.pdf .
- U.S. ARMY GEOSPATIAL CENTER PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE
As we continue to build a world-class Acquisition Workforce with military and civilian professionals, we are faced with two equally important requirements: accessing the right skill sets to do the job and advancing career opportunities for the people who work diligently to execute the AL&T mission. All while staying focused on our vital mission to support Soldiers by getting the resources they need into their hands as quickly as possible, a mission in which we cannot fail.
This vital mission is not possible without a robust, highly skilled, and professional AL&T Workforce that includes Acquisition Officers, Noncommissioned Officers, and Army Civilian members. The challenge is accessing and promoting talent to continue to grow our workforce.
Acquisition professionals can take great pride in knowing that they are a vital part of the Army workforce that bears the tremendous responsibility of providing warfighers with the very best weapon systems, materiel support, and advanced technology to maintain the decisive edge on the battlefield. For those not already in the acquisition profession, it just may be the change you need to boost your Army career.
The Acquisition Corps is looking for enthusiastic members who live the Army’s core values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. First and foremost, we’re looking for leaders with honesty and integrity. In our line of work, we require transparency and fairness because we are entrusted with public funds and must remain good stewards of taxpayers’ money. We place a high value on teamwork and the willingness to work hard to deliver capability to our Soldiers. Sometimes during negotiations with our industry partners, we must adapt quickly to changing situations and be willing to work with other members of the Army team (e.g., requirements and resourcing) to ensure affordable and executable products meeting Soldier needs. Additionally, we’re looking for a diversity of backgrounds and abilities (military occupational skills, academic degrees, and certifications) to add to the Acquisition Corps, making it more reflective of the Army we serve.
One example of a Soldier who took on the acquisition challenge and brought a new skill set to the Acquisition Corps is SSG Rickie Spivey, a Contracting NCO with the 683rd Contingency Contracting Team in Vicenza, Italy. From 2004 to 2008, Spivey had been serving as an Automated Logistical Specialist. In 2008, she started looking for a bigger challenge, something that would test her not only physically, but also mentally. She found it in the Acquisition Corps, where she applied for military occupational specialty (MOS) reclassification, was accepted, and was subsequently awarded the 51C MOS, Contracting NCO. In just under a year, Spivey has supported more than 30 contracts, as well as two major missions in Uganda and Gambia. “I want to obtain the most contracting knowledge I can and be confident in sharing that information and knowledge with fellow 51Cs,” according to Spivey. “Not only do I continue to live the Soldier and NCO creed, but I strive each day to be better than the day before and to always exceed my own expectations,” she said.
Spivey is just one of the many Acquisition members who rise to the challenge every day to provide our Soldiers with what they need to help them prevail in every confrontation with the enemy.
Over the next couple of years, the Army will be moving forward to assess a significant number of NCOs and Officers into the Acquisition Corps and in particular, to become Army Contracting Officers. The future of the Army Acquisition Corps is bright, and we’re continuing to look for opportunities to bring into our formations the very best and brightest who are willing to learn acquisition and to work hard to support our Soldiers.
When selecting Acquisition Corps members, the Army uses the “whole person” concept, evaluating each candidate’s leadership positions held, potential for success, education, performance and recommendations, and completion of key developmental assignments.
For officers, members can be accessed through three methods: the annual Career Field Designation Board, which focuses on Army Competitive Category (ACC) captains in their fifth to seventh year of commissioned service; the Voluntary Incentive Transfer Program, which employs a quarterly panel to access ACC officers from multiyear groups; and through branch transfers for non-ACC officers on a case-by-case basis. For more information on the education, training, and experience requirements for Acquisition Corps officers, please visit the U.S. Army Human Resources Command’s Acquisition Management Branch website (AKO user name and password required) at https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/protect/branches/officer/fs/acquisition/index.htm.
Just like the officers, NCO members are selected from many military specialties for reclassification into the 51C MOS. The reclassification boards are made up of contracting professionals: contracting commanders and contracting battalion and brigade sergeants major. The board evaluates the candidates’ NCO Evaluation Reports, military and civilian education, time in service, and recommendations from senior officers. After selection, the NCO attends initial training at either the U.S. Army Acquisition Center of Excellence at the University of Alabama in Huntsville or the U.S. Air Force Mission Ready Airman Course in San Antonio, TX. NCOs are usually assigned to contracting teams in the U.S. Army Contracting Command. There are great opportunities for NCOs within Army’s Contracting. NCOs can visit their career counselor or installation contracting office for more information, or visit the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center website at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/military-nco/reclassification-information.
Civilian acquisition professionals are hired in all the 14 Acquisition Career Fields to include: Program Management; Facilities Engineering; Quality Assurance; Systems Planning, Research, Development and Engineering; Business – Financial Management/Cost Estimating; Life-cycle Logistics; Information Technology; and Test and Evaluation. Civilians desiring an acquisition career or to continue through the career field, can compete for openings across the Army through announcements posted on USA Jobs (http://www.usajobs.opm.gov) for everything from entry-level intern jobs to journeymen positions and even Senior Executive Service leadership.
Whether you are a Civilian, Officer, or NCO, if you believe you have the tenacity and drive to become an acquisition professional, then I encourage you to join us and apply.
- LTG WILLIAM N. PHILLIPS
Dr. Scott Fish was named the Chief Scientist of the U.S. Army last October. He previously served as the Director of the Institute for Advanced Technology at the University of Texas at Austin. As Chief Scientist, he is submitting regular contributions to Army AL&T Magazine and Access AL&T. This is his introductory submission.
Hello members of the acquisition, logistics, and technology (AL&T) community. My name is Dr. Scott Fish, and I have the great honor of serving as the Chief Scientist of the Army. In this role, I provide assessments on a wide range of scientific and technical issues affecting the Army mission for our Senior Leaders. This can include identifying and analyzing technical issues and bringing them to the attention of these leaders. The Chief Scientist also interacts with operational commanders, combatant commands, acquisition, and science and technology (S&T) communities to address cross-organizational technical issues and solutions. Often, the assessments require interaction with other services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and a close collaboration with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, Dr. Marilyn Freeman. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is engaging with the civilian scientific and engineering community and the public on national technical issues, such as education, technical innovation, and long-term strategic planning in the science fields related to defense needs.
I’d also like to introduce my Military Deputy LTC Amanda Greig. She provides crucial support for Chief Scientist activities in the above mentioned assessments. Her military background and connections are vital to insuring we always keep the warfighter needs first in looking at candidate technical approaches.
It is an exciting time within the S&T community, as we are seeing such rapid changes inside and outside of DOD in areas as widespread as communications to materials science, and medical treatment to civil engineering applications. I am very proud of our S&T workforce and the incredible work they are doing to contribute in providing our Army with an edge in equipment and training for the future. I plan on submitting short updates and photos to this website on a regular basis in order to highlight significant activities or discussions at various laboratories, organizations, conferences, or meetings as they occur. In doing so, I want to bring an increased awareness and interest about emerging or available technologies and initiatives that are important to the Army and our nation.
I visited Penn State University’s (PSU) Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) in State College, PA on August 24. ARL at PSU is one of the nation’s leaders in materials research and serves as a university center of excellence in defense science and technology. ARL provided information briefings on its Advanced Technology, Materials and Manufacturing, Autonomy, Power and Energy Initiatives, and Fluid and Structural Mechanics offices. Tours of the Composite and Laser Laboratories highlighted advanced geometric modeling and fabrication tools developed for complex, 3-D multi-functional products, innovative laser freeform fabrication, and welding techniques to improve the performance of structural components within ships, aircraft, or vehicles at potentially lower cost. Although ARL is designated a Navy University Affiliated Research Center (UARC), it often performs research for the Army.
Our office also conducted a site visit of the BAE Systems facility at York, PA on August 25 to get first-hand exposure to the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and associated technologies for rapid production line adaptation to design changes for ground vehicles. The York Fabrication Plant produces a wide array of combat service support vehicles, including Bradley variants, Paladin Integrated Management (PIM), Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP), and others. BAE was one of two teams recently awarded a contract to participate in the technology development phase of the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Program. It was a great visit!
In addition to examining BAE’s fabrication and assembly processes and products, seeing how they have modified and optimized their software, logistics, and manufacturing systems to enhance cost, schedule, and performance was insightful. Discussions covered state-of-the-art methods for rapidly changing fabrication workflow to accommodate design evolutions and maintaining a safe work environment to produce world class combat systems for the Army. We also received a briefing on BAE’s strategy for leveraging involvement in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Adaptive Vehicle Make Program, which could bring significant reductions in timeline and cost for future Army products. While there, BAE also showed us its research work in armor fabrication cost reduction, as well as some advanced sensor development activities being conducted at separate sites. We were joined for this opportunity by representatives from the Army Research Lab Manufacturing Technology Team and representatives from the Army’s GCV and Bradley Program Offices.
In September, I will attend the Board on Army Science and Technology meeting in Massachusetts.
The Affordable and Integrated Army Equipment Modernization White Paper describes how the Army will provide relevant capabilities for today’s operations and develop capabilities for the future at best value, given available resources.
As an end state, the Army must develop, field, and sustain the right equipment in an incremental and iterative manner to ensure that Soldiers and units have the capabilities they need to achieve success across the full range of military operations today and into the future.
The Army must change the way it develops and delivers capabilities. This change in approach is necessary to provide the flexibility needed in a rapidly changing operational environment, by embracing ideas that will inform both rapid and deliberate acquisition equipping processes. Key to this effort are clearly defining gaps, validating requirements, disciplining requirements growth, establishing a clear priority of needs, routinely reassessing the value of systems in development and in the field, and taking advantage of technological advances, as well as emerging solutions.
The White Paper embraces the Army Force Generation equipping, incremental equipment modernization, and integrated portfolios to develop, field, and sustain the right equipment, thereby ensuring that Soldiers and units have the capabilities they need. Specifically, the Army will:
- Assess. Weigh current and proposed programs vigorously against key national and defense strategies and conduct these assessments on a predictable, defined schedule.
- Align. Look at ways to fuse and align the modernization community, prevent stovepipes, and ensure integration across the requirements, acquisition, and resourcing communities.
- Innovate. Develop and employ new and innovative ways to equip the Army while saving resources in some areas to allow investments in others.
The Army has an obligation to provide Soldiers with the most effective, high-quality equipment in the most sustainable, cost-effective manner possible. The goal of Army Equipment Modernization is to develop and field a versatile and affordable mix of equipment that will enable Soldiers to succeed in full-spectrum operations today and tomorrow, ensuring that we maintain a decisive advantage over any enemy we face.
For the full White Paper, go to https://www.g8.army.mil.