• Smartphone Application Simplifies Field Data Collection and Analysis

    Megan Holland

    Researchers at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, MS, have created a faster, more efficient way to collect and manage field data, using one of the most common technologies in today’s market: smartphones. With the ERDC-developed Mobile Information Collection Application (MICA) software, data can be captured digitally, saving hours of writing forms and inputting data into spreadsheets.

    A USACE Emergency Operations worker uses the MICA application to capture levee data. (Photo courtesy of USACE.)

    Thanks to the progress of technology, today’s phones do much more than make calls. Most come equipped with cameras, GPS, compasses, wireless capability, and computer processing. ERDC researchers began investigating the use of smartphones as data collection devices in 2009, in hopes of harnessing the all-in-one capability for efficient and cost-effective data collection. The Corps of Engineers was using the technology as an Operation Blue Roof Field Management System following natural disasters when the need for the MICA format arose.

    “In late May, we received a call from a fellow ERDC employee who observed teams reporting field images and notes that were 24-36 hours old in daily briefings while assigned to Mississippi River flood duty with the Corps’ Memphis District. He asked us if there was a better way,” said Robert Walker, Computer Scientist for ERDC’s Information Technology Lab. “Within 48 hours, we had a version of MICA ready to go for flood fighting.”

    Fifty Android phones installed with ERDC’s MICA software were deployed to seven flood-affected cities, resulting in more than 12,000 pictures, videos, and notes that were transmitted from the field directly to command centers along with the latitude and longitude for each piece of information, allowing the critical data to be reviewed immediately. The historic flood data covered everything from sand boils to homeowners digging next to levees, and is now safely stored on ERDC’s servers to be reviewed in the future if needed.

    The technology eliminates the need for field personnel to return to computers during or at the end of a long day to type and organize field notes, a previously necessary precursor to the decision-making process. It also eliminates the need to carry a backpack full of equipment—everything needed for collection can be found on the phone.

    “If someone in the field sees something they need to report back, they pull out their phone, open the MICA software, and begin collecting data,” said Walker. “Once the data has been captured, they hit the sync button and it is sent instantly. MICA provides a new capability that field personnel have never had before.”

    Though many initially were wary of a new technology in the midst of the crisis, Walker said, they welcomed it after demonstrations of what the technology can do.

    COL Robert J. Ruch, Commander of the Corps’ Omaha District, called MICA a great application.

    “It helps us know what’s been done on the ground. It helps us, when we see a boil or something similar, to get people and resources to the right place,” said Ruch. “It’s a great application and great work by the folks at ERDC.”

    Looking ahead, ERDC researchers plan to expand MICA’s use beyond flood fighting. Because the software can be customized with a variety of categories, including recreational area inspection, slope failure, and debris cleanup (an area that is being tested in Joplin, MO), the possibilities are endless. ERDC is also working on a suite of complimentary smartphone applications for use with iPhones, iPads and Android tablets.

    “We took an ERDC technology and joined the fight, helping commanders make decisions to keep citizens safe, and we’ve proven to emergency operations teams around the country that MICA would be a great asset to their mission,” Walker said. “We hope now to make this product available worldwide to our districts and to our Soldiers.”

    For more information on USACE, visit http://www.usace.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx, or for more information on ERDC, visit http://www.erdc.usace.army.mil/.

    • MEGAN HOLLAND is a Contract Writer for the Public Affairs Office at the Engineer Research and Development Center. She has a B.A. in English from Mississippi College and is pursuing a M.A. in marketing from Mississippi State University.

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  • SPIDERS to Weave Web of Cyber, Energy Security

    Dana Finney

    A Joint Capability Technology Demonstration will use a distributed energy circuit, or microgrid, combined with other elements to ensure that critical military missions have a reliable, secure electrical supply after a power outage due to natural disasters or attack.

    Microgrids use a combination of technologies to produce electricity and allow facilities to be “islanded” from the central grid. This microgrid serves the NTT power company’s facility in Tokyo. (Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons, 2006 and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.)

    Called “Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security” (SPIDERS), the project will explore the advanced controls needed for utility-connected and islanded (operating without a connection to an electrical grid) modes of operation, cyber-security risk mitigation, and transition of microgrid technology to standards.

    SPIDERS’ partners include the U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, five U.S. Department of Energy laboratories, the Engineer Research and Development Center of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (as technical manager), the four military services, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, local utility companies, and the States of Hawaii and Colorado. The three-year effort begins this year and will run through 2013.

    A microgrid is a local grouping of electricity generation, energy storage, and loads usually connected to a traditional centralized grid, or macrogrid. This single point of common coupling with the macrogrid can be disconnected. The microgrid can then function autonomously. Microgrid generation resources can include fuel cells, wind, solar, or other energy sources, while storage can include such options as hydrogen storage and advanced batteries. Byproduct heat from generation sources, such as microturbines, can be used for local process heating or space heating, allowing flexible trade-offs between the needs for heat and electric power. Unneeded electricity from a microgrid can be “wheeled” back to the central grid, potentially at a profit to the microgrid owner.

    Two DOD sites will have microgrids installed for the SPIDERS project: Camp H.M. Smith, HI, and Fort Carson, CO. In essence, the DOD sites provide a testbed for a capability that will have national implications. Successful demonstration and emergence of this technology will allow military installations and cities to take advantage of renewable energy and reduce fossil fuel use while also reducing the carbon footprint and providing a backup electrical supply. Further, it is becoming increasingly difficult for power companies to add generation facilities and transmission lines. Local or regional microgrids could augment the country’s existing electrical infrastructure.

    This year, initial work will begin at Hickam Air Force Base, HI, in support of Camp Smith’s microgrid. The Hickam phase is a circuit-level demonstration to provide building blocks for Camp Smith’s future energy island. Planned activities begin with integrating the base’s existing renewables, diesel generators, and energy storage. A fuel cell will be added to back up critical loads on the installation circuit. The team will then perform an operational evaluation of the microgrid on mission loads to provide redundant power to simulate mission-critical functions.

    Another goal is to validate the cyber-security strategies through a testbed simulation of the utility electric grid management systems with two-way communications, situational awareness, and the ability to safely reconnect with local utility grids. DOD must ensure that enhanced energy capabilities do not create new vulnerabilities to operations or systems’ health. Cyber-security elements of this demonstration will leverage ongoing work in the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security.

    Successful demonstration and emergence of this technology will allow military installations and cities to take advantage of renewable energy and reduce fossil fuel use while also reducing the carbon footprint and providing a backup electrical supply.

    At Camp Smith, the team will install an advanced metering infrastructure, implement demand-side management, and conduct an off-site simulation of the camp’s secure smart microgrid for a complete installation. The final configuration for Camp Smith at the project’s end will be an installation-wide, cyber-secure smart microgrid with battery storage and islanding capability. Successful demonstration will enable future Net Zero energy operations through the planning of investments in energy generation and renewable energy.

    First-year activities at Fort Carson include tying the shared, distributed grid to backup generation, demonstrating the microgrid in the command area, and starting to incorporate photovoltaic (PV) renewable generation. Fort Carson’s completed system will be a large, smart microgrid with cyber defense and vehicle-to-grid storage that leverages 2 megawatts of existing PV generation and $20 million in recent electric upgrades.

    SPIDERS will enter a transition phase with the completion of both demonstrations. It will begin with development of technology transition plans and result in:

    • A template for DOD-wide implementation (i.e., standards).
    • Guidance for insertion into contingency operations and design guides.
    • Training plans, techniques, tactics, and procedures (associated with advanced energy management systems).
    • Specifications added to the General Services Administration schedule for DOD.
    • Transfer to the commercial utility sector.
    • Transition of cyber security to the federal sector and utilities.

    For more information, contact Dana Finney at 217-373-6714 or Dana.Finney@us.army.mil. For more information on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visit http://www.usace.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx, or for more information on ERDC, visit http://www.erdc.usace.army.mil/.

    • DANA FINNEY is a Public Affairs Specialist for the Engineer Research and Development Center. She holds a B.A. degree in science writing and editing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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  • Army Developing New Self-Propelled Howitzer

    Kris Osborn

    The M109 PIM is slated for low-rate initial production by 2013. The 40-ton, next-generation 155mm howitzer artillery cannon can fire precision rounds, accommodate additional armor protections, and power more onboard electrical systems. (U.S. Army photo.)

    The Army is developing a next-generation, 40-ton 155mm howitzer artillery cannon called the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM), with the capability to fire precision rounds, accommodate additional armor protections, and power up more onboard electrical systems.

    The new vehicle, slated to begin low-rate initial production (LRIP) by 2013, features a 600-volt onboard power system designed to accommodate emerging networking technologies as they become available.

    “The PIM is the Army’s modernization program for the 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer fleet. The SWAP [space, weight, and power] buyback that the PIM will provide is huge. It allows us to add additional armor to the platform, and it allows us to add additional capabilities such as automation or electronic packages,” said LTC Dan Furber, Product Manager Self-Propelled Howitzer Systems in Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems.

    The PIM’s onboard power system harnesses technologies developed for the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C), a 155mm howitzer formerly developed for the Future Combat Systems’ Manned Ground Vehicles program, which was canceled in 2009.

    “We’ve also harnessed the electric drives from the NLOS-C, which are faster than the hydraulic drives used in the existing fleet. With the electric drives and rammer, we are finding more consistent ramming of the round, which allows for more consistent muzzle velocities, and we are a little more accurate and responsive with the electric drives,” Furber said.

    While PIM is associated with the heavy brigade combat team, it is a full-spectrum operational platform. For instance, it would allow the artillery crew supporting light infantry on a forward operating base to be protected from indirect fires, something towed artillery pieces are not able to do.

    Prototypes of the vehicle, built by BAE Systems, are undergoing government testing in preparation for an LRIP production decision; the PIM vehicle’s cannon rests on a chassis built with Bradley Fighting Vehicle common components, including engine, transmission, and tracks.

    “Being common with Bradley decreases the logistics footprint that echelons above brigades will have to manage. In the long term, it will decrease the amount of money needed to sustain the Bradley and self-propelled howitzer fleets. We will only have to manage one engine, for example, in the supply chain, so there are economies of scale that are beneficial to the Army,” Furber explained.

    The testing includes reliability, availability, and maintainability mission testing, as well as ballistic hull and turret testing, both designed to prepare the program for a Milestone C production decision by 2013.

    Like other 155mm artillery systems, the Paladin will be configured to fire precision munitions such as Excalibur and Precision Guidance Kit. The PIM is being designed to provide key fire support for a range of potential combat operations to include conventional, hybrid, irregular, and counterinsurgency scenarios.

    “While PIM is associated with the heavy brigade combat team, it is a full-spectrum operational platform. For instance, it would allow the artillery crew supporting light infantry on a forward operating base to be protected from indirect fires, something towed artillery pieces are not able to do,” Furber said.

    The PIM includes a sustained rate of fire of one round per minute and a maximum rate of fire of four rounds per minute, said Ed Murray, Department of the Army Systems Coordinator – Artillery.

    The Army plans to build 580 new Paladin PIM sets, each including a self-propelled howitzer and an ammunition resupply vehicle.

    The existing fleet of M109A6 Howitzers, originally designed in the 1950s and produced in the 1960s, is nearing obsolescence. The current fleet exceeds its weight and power capacity and does not provide for growth in mobility and force protection. The PIM program is necessary to address capability gaps for self-propelled artillery, Furber and Murray said.

    • KRIS OSBORN is a Highly Qualified Expert for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Office of 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.

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  • USAASC Employees Support Charities Through Combined Federal Campaign

    FORT BELVOIR, VA–The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) marks its 50th anniversary this year, and U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) employees already are participating in the campaign’s golden anniversary, pledging donations to a cause of their choice from a list of nearly 4,000 charities.

    “Over the last 50 years, the CFC has raised nearly $7 billion to help combat disease, protect our planet, feed the hungry, and lift up individuals and communities at home and around the world,” wrote President Barack Obama in a message sent on September 13.

    Robert Coultas, USAASC’s CFC point of contact, said that each directorate at USAASC has a book listing the charities eligible for donations.

    “If they want to donate, they have a book in their area.  If not, they can contact me and I will come and bring them a book and bring them a form to fill out.  Also, the book and the form are online at http://www.opm.gov/cfc/.  But you’ve got to remember that if you pledge online, when you print the copy, you’ve got to bring it to me so USAASC gets credit for it,” Coultas explained.

    So far, USAASC employees have pledged $3,000 in donations in support of USAASC’s $25,000 goal.  Coultas will be visiting different areas of USAASC throughout the campaign to ensure everybody has all of the information they need.

    “I’m going to be making periodic visits around the different offices to see how everybody’s doing, see if they have any questions, or if I left them a form earlier that I could pick it up,” he added. “These are hard times for everyone.  If you have a job, think about how you can help others.”

    The CFC was established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and is the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, according to the CFC’s website.  More than 200 CFC campaigns throughout the United States and internationally help raise millions of dollars each year, with $280 million raised in the last two years alone.  Pledges made by Federal civilian, postal, and military donors support eligible nonprofit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world.

    Coultas can be reached at (703) 805-1038 or robert.e.coultas.civ@mail.mil.  The campaign, which began September 1, is open until December 15.

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  • New Analytic Tool Supports Master Planning for Net Zero Installations

    Dana Finney

    The first tool of an integrated virtual model to help installations meet the Army’s ambitious Net Zero goals provides engineering analysis for planners seeking to achieve Net Zero energy at the facilities level. The new tool, which debuted at the GovEnergy conference in Cincinnati, OH in August, will feed a system-level analysis model coming in January 2012.

    Master planners and energy managers can study select buildings’ energy loads using the Net Zero Energy Tool. Here, Vince Guthrie (from left), Fort Carson, CO Utilities Program Manager, Cambrey Torres, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Engineer, and Hal Alguire, Director of Public Works, discuss the LEED features of Fort Carson’s Wilderness Road Complex. (U.S. Army photo by Susan C. Galentine, Fort Carson.)

    “Before you can optimize systems across the installation, you have to know what the loads are for individual buildings and then determine what energy efficiency measures (EEMs) can get the loads as low as possible,” said Dr. Michael Case, Program Manager at the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) of the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). These measures include tried-and-true approaches such as added insulation; daylighting (maximizing the use of natural light); modifications to heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment; better windows; and lighting controls.

    The Net Zero Energy (NZE) Tool, part of the Net Zero Installations (NZI) Planning Tool, allows master planners and energy managers to select clusters of buildings by simply dragging a cursor around those they wish to study. It then retrieves required information for each building type within the cluster. Next, users can run energy simulations to select the best EEM packages, along with costs and savings-to-investment ratios. The tool will use the selected options to optimize facility-level solutions and will provide documentation and justifications to use in preparing DD Form 1391, the Military Construction Project Data Sheet, or to prepare bundles of projects for private financing.

    “We’ll never get to Net Zero energy on a building-by-building basis,” Case said. “But by making each building as efficient as practical and affordable, we can then evaluate district-level strategies, such as biogas-fired cogeneration solutions, that efficiently generate electricity while using normally wasted energy to heat and cool nearby facilities. We also need to consider centralized versus distributed renewable solutions, such as wind, solar, and other new or emerging technologies. Basically, the tool helps weigh the trade-offs among alternatives and costs, energy saved, fossil fuel eliminated, and greenhouse gases reduced.”

    Research and development of the NZI Planning Tool is funded by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology as part of the Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation Program. During FY12, CERL will begin work on modules for Net Zero water and waste to be integrated with the NZE tool. The research team includes subject-matter experts from the U.S. Department of Energy, academia, and industry. Web demonstrations of the NZE tool are available from Michael Case via email at michael.p.case@usace.army.mil.

    When feasible, cogeneration with biomass can turn building clusters into Net Zero fossil fuel and export “green” energy to existing building stock. (Image courtesy of ERDC-CERL.)

    According to team member Dr. Hany Zaghloul, “Energy, water, solid waste, and greenhouse gas are complex, coupled systems. For example, strategies to achieve Net Zero energy can increase water usage, while processes such as desalination use large amounts of energy.”

    To ensure that the integrated tool will reflect the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas from academia and the private sector, CERL issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) solicitation in July. The goal is to gather a critical mass of expertise to augment the research team and complete the tool at an accelerated pace. Topic N—“Integrating Installation Energy, Water, and Waste Modeling” (CERL-35) —calls for interested parties to bring their good ideas to ERDC for NZI studies and technology demonstrations. Innovators can submit pre-proposals through the BAA to ERDC for review. While no funding has been set aside for any of the topics in this BAA, the lab can seek funding from agencies that might be interested in sponsoring the ideas that have been submitted and evaluated favorably.

    Through the BAA review process, ERDC subject-matter experts will provide technical direction in shaping proposals to obtain the best value for installations. It is expected that agencies would fund ERDC to manage contract execution in partnership with the installation and sponsor. The BAA allows for flexibility to award standard contracts, cooperative agreements, or grants, as appropriate.

    The entire ERDC BAA is available for download at https://acquisition.army.mil/asfi/solicitation_view.cfm?psolicitationnbr=W912HZ11BAA02.  The BAA includes instructions for preparing and submitting pre-proposals.

    Numerous ongoing studies and demonstrations focus on energy, water, and waste technology and greenhouse gas. They will help lay the groundwork for the future modules. For example, regional water studies and conservation strategies will help in building the water model, and a pilot demonstration of a solid waste gasification plant started this year.

    For more information, please contact Dr. Case at 217-373-7259. For more information on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visit http://www.usace.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx, or for more information on ERDC, visit http://www.erdc.usace.army.mil/.

    • DANA FINNEY is a Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. She holds a B.A. in science writing and editing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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  • AQUA PATH: Safe Water for Soldiers and Civilians

    Dr. Clint Smith

    Water supply safety and quality for human use create major challenges for both our deployed forces and homeland security. Current operations in Afghanistan, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Pacific Command, and other worldwide locations need safe water supplies to ensure stability and security for local populations.

    ERDC Research Biologist Dr. Clint Smith prepares the first six prototypes of AQUA PATH wireless geospatial networked biosensors for field testing and evaluation at Belmont Bay of the Potomac River in Woodbridge, VA in the summer of 2008. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.)

    Water for the warfighter in theater is a limited resource and can halt major military operational support through lack of availability, tainted supplies, or ignorance of water resources for infrastructure analysis. The transition of a wireless waterborne pathogen detection system, called AQUA PATH (Autonomous Querying Threat Agent Sensor for Potable Water Handling), focuses on significantly reducing the costs and time associated with potable water monitoring and threat reduction for Soldiers and civilians.

    AQUA PATH consists of a patented optical biosensor that is sensitive and selective. It can operate for extended periods of time using minimal power and is easily tailored in the field to detect a variety of pathogens by swapping modular cartridges. The device is connected to a floating buoy with wireless networking capability, tamper detection sensors, and additional sensor capabilities to monitor water quality parameters such as pH, turbidity, luminescence dissolved oxygen, and conductivity. Wireless communications aggregate data and allow a first tier of data analysis. This allows for the rapid detection and notification of natural or human tainting of the water supply.

    AQUA PATH reflects major improvements over current detection systems, including more rapid testing (within two hours vs. 16 hours), high sensitivity (10 Colony Forming Units per 100 milliliters (CFU/100mL) for detection of the bacterium Escherichia coli), rapid detection of waterborne pathogens and toxins (with a lowest reported time of less than 20 minutes in the field for presence or absence), and 2.5-hour high-sensitivity detection.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed its assessment of the AQUA PATH in-line sensor in August. The assessment showed that the sensor can successfully detect various levels of E. coli within 2.5 hours. The EPA will soon publish results of the test and the evaluation. These sensing limits and built-in communications reporting are not available to the Army or U.S. Department of Homeland Security using current systems.

    Geo-enabled sensors are currently limited by present technology, but the AQUA PATH System has matured quickly within the Army’s TerraProbes and Watchman 6.2 (applied research) work packages. The packages also helped to validate the sensitivity of AQUA PATH to 10 CFU/100mL for detection of E. coli within a 2.5-hour timeframe, which is an order of magnitude better —about 16 hours faster—than current standards set by all 50 states, the EPA, and Standard Methods for the Testing of Water and Wastewater Guidelines, a joint publication of the American Public Health Association, the American Water Works Association, and the Water Environment Federation. Furthermore, it removes the need to take water samples back to a laboratory and thus saves time for the user.

    The transition of … AQUA PATH focuses on significantly reducing the costs and time associated with potable water monitoring and threat reduction for Soldiers and civilians.

    The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) plans to expand the capabilities of AQUA PATH to accomplish detection of additional pathogens of interest, including Vibrio cholera, Enterococcus, E. coli 0157: H7 ,and others. The production of new targets of interest will be investigated and developed by a joint collaboration between the U.S. Army, small business, and Idaho National Laboratory, which collaborated in evaluating the wireless communication units.

    Based upon ERDC studies, the distance between AQUA PATH nodes can range from 1,500 to 3,000 meters. The distance between the gateway interface and the nodes is about 500 meters (line of sight). Further studies are planned on non-line-of-sight distance, with and without vegetation, as well as with variations in topography and stream or reservoir localities.

    The small business Sporian Microsystems Inc. is collaborating with ERDC, as well as with NanoSonic Inc., to improve stability of the biosensor by using flexible, conductive metal rubber-based materials for the thin-filmed construct. The manufacturing of this technology can be ramped up to larger output for further evaluation and use. Potential larger industrial partners for increased production include Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., SRC Inc., Boeing, and Lockheed-Martin Corp.

    In FY12, AQUA PATH continues to transition to commercial efforts via the research and development efforts of an ERDC Center Directed Research program: Watchman. Future test, evaluation, and assessments for the Watchman effort include demonstrations for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Cobra Gold Force protection exercise in Thailand and Exercise Balikatan, a joint U.S.-Philippines military exercise in which AQUA PATH will be demonstrated, as well as used, to track various levels of E. coli and Vibrio cholerain source waters.

    For more information on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visit http://www.usace.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx, or for more information on ERDC, visit http://www.erdc.usace.army.mil/.

    • DR. CLINT SMITH is a Research Biologist at ERDC. He holds a Ph.D. in environmental science and policy from George Mason University (GMU), a M.S. in environmental microbiology from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a B.S. in biochemistry from North Carolina State University. Smith is a Contracting Officer’s Representative and, through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, directs research efforts in geospatial distributed sensors in his laboratory at GMU’s Department of Environmental Science and Policy as part of the specialized Fluorescence Remote Sensing Team.

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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner: October 2011

    New Requirement for Federal Executive Institute and Defense Acquisition University – Senior Service College Fellowship

    Starting this fiscal year, any applicant for the Federal Executive Institute (FEI) or Defense Acquisition University – Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF) must have either completed the Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course or received equivalency or constructive credit before submitting an application. Applicants who apply for the 2011-12 DAU-SSCF program must have completed the CES Advanced course or an approved equivalent, or received constructive credit for it. Interested applicants should visit the Army Management Staff College website https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/chrtas/help/CES_Course_Credit.asp. The DAU-SSCF announcement is open Nov. 15 through March 15, 2012. The FEI announcement is being sent out to the applicable GS-15 workforce in late October.

    Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program

    The new Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program (ALCP), a 2.5-day course focusing on developing better civilian leadership, is currently in the pilot stage. FY12 offerings will be available for courses running from January through July. An announcement will be sent out in November. Eligible groups and program focus areas are as follows:

    ALCP I (GS-12/13, O-3/O-4)

    • Personal leadership strengths and weaknesses.
    • Preferred leadership styles.
    • Modeling leadership challenges.
    • Using power to increase productivity.
    • Cultural traits that affect organizational performance.
    • Practical solutions to personnel issues.
    • Setting and achieving goals.

    ALCP II (GS-14/15, O-5/O-6)

    • Comprehensive look at personal leadership strengths, weaknesses, preferences, styles, and behaviors.
    • Leadership styles’ effects on individual and team performance.
    • Dynamics of conflict—sources, nature, and techniques to influence outcomes.
    • Improving group communication.
    • Collaborative teamwork.
    • Effective enterprise leadership.
    • Supports and barriers to success in the acquisition environment.
    • Setting goals and developing practical strategies to reach them.

    Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellows Program

    The Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellows (CDG/AAF) Program is a three-year program that offers developmental assignments in program executive offices, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) offices, U.S. Army Materiel Command Headquarters, and functional organizations. In addition, the program provides expanded training, leadership, experiential, and other career development opportunities. Applicants must be current Department of the Army AL&T Workforce members; GS-12/13 or an equivalent converted Personnel Demonstration Project broadband/pay-band level (whose pay equals that of a GS-13, Step 1); and certified at Level III in any acquisition career field.

    This is a developmental leadership opportunity managed by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC). For administrative questions about this action, contact the CDG/AAF Program Manager Chandra Evans-Mitchell at 703-805-1247, DSN 655-1247, or chandra.l.evansmitchell.civ@mail.mil. The announcement is open until Nov. 30. Additional information is at http://asc.army.mil/docs/programs/cdg/YG12_Announcement.pdf.

    Training with Industry

    This is a rotational opportunity (for 10-12 months) for acquisition captains and majors to work side by side with industry. FY12 companies are: Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Coca-Cola Co., EADS North America Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Computer Sciences Corp., General Dynamics Corp., and Boeing Co. Officers interested in this program should contact their assignment officers. For more information, go to https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/protect/branches/officer/FS/Acquisition/Acquistion_Contact__Information.htm (login required).

    Future AETE Opportunities

    Many educational and leadership opportunities are available in the near term. The Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience Catalog, available at the USAASC website http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-education-training-and-experience/, provides in-depth information on all training and developmental opportunities for acquisition civilian and military workforce members. Applicants may apply for any of the 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.

    Defense Acquisition University Training

    Registration is open for FY12 Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses. Students should apply through the Army Training Requirements and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas.

    The DAU Online Learning Management System (LMS) came back online Sept. 19. The LMS is accessible by CAC users only. By January, LMS will reach full capability with security-hardened username and password login. The DAU Virtual Campus website is at https://learn.dau.mil. DAU experienced two bottleneck areas after the LMS came back online because of an abundance of course enrollments. The backlog has since been depleted, and enrollments are available again in real time. DAU has identified an issue with transaction errors between the Army Training Requirements and Resources system (ATRRS) and LMS. The error is tied to unprocessed course registrations made between July 13 and Sept. 30 for the DAU/Federal Acquisition Institute Web and Continuous Learning Courses. Registration for courses made between the identified dates has been canceled; students were notified via email by ATRRS. If you fall in this category, please reapply to the course using AITAS at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. If you are experiencing issues accessing a previously enrolled course or have not received an enrollment notification from DAU to start the course, please email the DAU help desk directly at dauhelp@dau.mil or call 866-568-6924 (toll-free), 703-805-3459, or DSN 655-3459 and choose Option 1.

    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. The AMC memo and DA DAU training policy and procedures are at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training/documents. Please send an email directly to AMC.CourseCancellations@us.army.mil (this is the correct email address, not the one addressed in the memo) for concurrence of a DAU course cancellation before submitting a cancellation request in AITAS.

    Effective Oct. 1, DAU implemented new certification standards for FY12 that apply to Army acquisition civilian and military professionals at all three certification levels. The new standards include significant revisions to the training associated with Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act acquisition career field (ACF) certification. Not all ACFs have implemented changes in FY12, but the changes that have taken effect are significant. The memorandum, FY12 DAU Certification Standards – Army Implementation Plan, signed Oct. 5 by the Deputy Director, Acquisition Career Management, provides guidance on the new certification standards, in addition to relief provided to those who cannot apply for FY11 certification standards because of DAU LMS unavailability. To view the memo and FAQs associated with it, go to http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training/documents/.

    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 changes and recommendations are at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training/fy12-new-contracting-changes/.

    To address the shortfall in Level II contracting classes, six commercial vendors and four universities offer CON 280 and CON 290 equivalent classes. The vendors will continue to teach the FY11 courses in FY12. The courses are valid predecessors to the new FY12 courses until Sept. 30, 2013. For more information on equivalencies, please visit the DAU website http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx. If you are unable to obtain CON 280 or CON 290 during FY12 and would like to use Section 852 funds to pay for an equivalent provider, please request approval from your command to attend training. 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, found at https://www.usaasc.info/section852_cms. The point of contact is Chandra Evans-Mitchell at chandra.l.evansmitchell.civ@mail.mil.

    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 has expanded classroom size from 24 to 28-30 for all FY12 course offerings, specifically in the following courses: BCF 203, BCF 205, BCF 206, BCF 211, and BCF 215. An additional 680 seats were added to the FY12 schedule because of additional offerings and increased class size. The demand is due to a temporary surge of BCFM certification requirements, along with an increase in the BCFM workforce that needs certification. 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 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 CAC. 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 initial operating capability planned for July 2012 and full operating capability targeted for January 2013. For more information, go to http://www.dau.mil/sis/default.aspx.

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  • Modular Protective System Proves Effective for Remote Bases

    Sara Leach

    A series of recent demonstrations conducted by the Geotechnical and Structure Laboratory in the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers validated the protective performance of an overhead cover structure, built with no equipment, using ERDC’s Modular Protective System (MPS).

    The MPS-OHC with segmented beams undergoes bare-charge testing at ERDC’s Big Black Test Site in Vicksburg in July. The test involved a total of five shots placed at different locations on the upper roof layer. The structure and the newly designed beam connection performed well on all tests. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.)

    The MPS is a rapidly deployable, recoverable system that consists of a lightweight space frame and composite armor panels validated for protection against a wide range of threat munitions.

    “The MPS was originally designed for use as a protective wall system but was recently adapted to also provide overhead protection from indirect fire threats,” said Nick Boone, Research Mechanical Engineer and Work Package Manager for the Defeat of Emerging Adaptive Threats Army Technology Objective.

    A demonstration in March at Fort Polk, LA, simulated direct hits from mortars and rockets, and served as the culminating validation event for an effort that was accelerated to meet the needs of troops in remote, austere bases like those in Afghanistan where construction assets and equipment are not available for building standard overhead cover (OHC).

    “We started designing the overhead cover option for MPS about a year ago,” said Omar Flores, Research Structural Engineer and Work Unit Manager for MPS Spiral Development. “We placed the first prototype structure in our mobility bay to protect a vehicle asset last November with the idea that anything can be substituted for the vehicle, such as a tactical operations center, living trailer, equipment, etc.”

    As part of this project, the team conducted a bare-charge explosive experiment to evaluate the dynamic response of the structure. At the Fort Polk demonstration, the team detonated a fragmenting warhead to see if the occupied space beneath was survivable.

    “We are very pleased with the results,” Flores said. “We designed the MPS-OHC for the expected loads, but until you blow it up, you are not 100 percent convinced it will work. Other than the damaged zone on the upper roof, the structure is completely reusable, and the covered area is completely protected.”

    Boone said there have been numerous requests from theater recently for a capability like this. “The acquisition folks are interested in helping field this system quickly, and we’re trying to do our part to make that happen so that our Soldiers will have an increased level of protection in theater,” he said.

    After the demonstration at Fort Polk, the team demonstrated the system again by participating in the Force Protection Equipment Demonstration VIII in Stafford, VA, in May. The 12-foot-tall, 900-square-foot structure was assembled by personnel from ERDC’s Survivability Branch in nine hours, using approximately 90 man-hours, with no heavy equipment support. During the event, the team briefed COL Brett Barraclough, Joint Project Manager Guardian within Joint Program Executive Office Chemical and Biological Defense, and others from the U.S Navy, the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence at Fort Leonard Wood, MO., and U.S. Africa Command on the system.

    The acquisition folks are interested in helping field this system quickly, and we’re trying to do our part to make that happen so that our Soldiers will have an increased level of protection in theater.

    Researchers for the system noted that the original MPS-OHC design was based on 21-foot- and 31-foot-long beams supporting the layers of roof panels. These beams are odd-sized elements that must be transported using ad hoc methods, especially in airlift scenarios. To facilitate transportation, a segmented beam was designed and tested that fits inside typical shipping containers. With this redesign, the entire structure is now packaged in a series of tricon and quadcon containers. The container weights are configured to be compatible with C-130 air transport, the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) Palletized Load System for tactical road transport, and finally, sling-load helicopter transport.

    “The goal is to use C-130 and HEMTT transport to move the containers as far forward as possible with only the last logistics leg using the helicopter sling-load,” Boone said. “These containers could be flown directly into the remote combat outpost and unpacked by hand when construction begins.”

    The MPS-OHC with segmented joists was evaluated at ERDC’s Big Black Test Site in Vicksburg, MS, in July. The objective of the test series was to evaluate the performance of the segmented joists against blast effects of the design threat. The test involved a total of five shots placed at different locations on the upper roof layer. The structure and the newly designed beam connection performed well on all tests.

    The team traveled to Camp Roberts, CA, in August, where the system was assembled in a simulated forward operating base as a part of Unique Mission Cell-Adaptive Red Team/Technical Support and Operational Analysis Activity. This time, the system was assembled in four hours, using approximately 52 man-hours, with no heavy equipment support over a trailer simulating a tactical operations center.

    Finally, on Sept. 20, the team returned to Fort Polk to conduct the Deployable Force Protection Science and Technology Program Live Fire Testing and Demonstration Event.

    For more information on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visit http://www.usace.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx, or for more information on ERDC, visit http://www.erdc.usace.army.mil/.

    • SARA LEACH is a Public Affairs Specialist for ERDC in Vicksburg. She holds a B.A.  in journalism and public relations from the University of Mississippi.

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  • Tracking Data Through the Storm

    Dr. Jesse McNinch and Kerry Larsen

    The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) is on the cutting edge of mobile mapping systems for coastal areas, using remote sensing to measure depths and land elevation, as well as waves and currents. Dr. Jesse McNinch and Dr. Katie Brodie, researchers in the ERDC Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL), have designed the Coastal LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and Radar Imaging System (CLARIS). Using LIDAR technology coupled with radar, the pair has created a tracked vehicle that can operate in storms, avoiding debris and other obstacles while it gathers information on topography, both of a coastline and the seabed below the waves.

    Researchers test the Coastal LIDAR and Radar Imaging System tracked vehicle at the ERDC Field Research Facility in Duck, NC. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.)

    CLARIS can image a beach and underwater contours from elevations of about 100 feet to depths of 60 feet. The vehicle can cover more than six miles of shoreline in two hours, collecting and transmitting data on surface topography and subsurface bathymetry (the measurement of water depth at various places in a body of water), along with wave motion, speed, and direction data. Applications for this new technology are varied, including military force projection uses. Real-time information on surf conditions for a proposed beach landing,for example, could be supplied to military personnel miles away. Other uses include storm data gathering, such as during Hurricane Earl last year, when CLARIS captured surf zone information for use by meteorologists and other scientists.

    Prior to CLARIS, collecting simultaneous observations of oceanographic conditions and vulnerable coastal areas during storms had been virtually impossible.

    The coastal research community has long recognized the value of “during storm” data because most of the relevant processes (for example, sediment transport, shoreline change, and infrastructure damage) occur during these energetic events. Unfortunately, collecting observations where the signal is strongest necessitates working in the surf zone and over flooded land, one of the most challenging environments on earth.

    The forces of large breaking waves are tremendous, the depths are too shallow for vessel operation, and the scales of change are so large that measurements from just a few locations, such as hardened structures, are inadequate to track such a complex weather process.

    CLARIS represents a significant step forward in coastal observing techniques during storm conditions and over large areas. The system has already yielded scientific breakthroughs in understanding shoreline erosion hotspots, beach overwash (the flow of water and sediment over the crest of the beach that does not directly return to the water), and sediment exchange between the beach and nearby shoals.  As part of collaborative research with the U.S. Geologic Survey, CLARIS was applied to observe and measure sediment exchange between shoals and the beach system at Cape Hatteras, NC. In addition, CLARIS is receiving funding support from the Office of Naval Research and other DOD sources.

    For more information on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visit http://www.usace.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx, or for more information on ERDC, visit http://www.erdc.usace.army.mil/.

      • DR. JESSE MCNINCH is Director of the ERDC Field Research Facility’s Field Data Collection and Analysis Branch in Duck, NC. McNinch holds a Ph.D. in marine science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a tenured associate professor at the College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
      • KERRY LARSEN is a Public Affairs Specialist at ERDC. He is a graduate of the Public Affairs Officer Course and the Joint Intermediate Public Affairs Course at the Defense Information School.

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  • Acquisition Career Counselors Kept Busy at AUSA Annual Meeting

    WASHINGTON, DC—Hundreds of military and civilian acquisition workforce personnel received career counseling and advice at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) booth at the 2011 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition Oct. 10-12 in Washington, D.C.  Career counselors answered questions covering a wide spectrum of topics, from entering the acquisition workforce to improving the chances of commanding.

    Yves Jackson, USAASC Acquisition Career Manager, offered career advice at the USAASC booth during the 2011 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition. (Photo by McArthur Newell, BRTRC/USAASC.)

    “We are covering the gambit,” said LTC David Hosna, Chief, Acquisition Management Branch and Human Resources Command, Fort Knox, Ky.  “By the end of the expo, we will have personally interviewed around 120 officers, which is phenomenal.”

    The civilian counselors were also meeting with several workforce members.

    “I’m thinking we’ve seen probably 40 or 50 people.  Today [October 12] has been about 15 or more,” said Yves Jackson, Acquisition Career Manager for USAASC.

    In addition to offering the advice to current members of the Army Acquisition Corps (AAC), counselors had the opportunity to speak to those outside of the acquisition workforce interested in joining.

    “I brought assignment officers from the Majors, Lieutenant Colonel, and Colonel assignment desks to ensure that we have 100 percent coverage, given that we know how many people are here at AUSA.  We wanted to maximize this as a target of opportunity,” said Hosna.

    Hosna advised those interested in joining the acquisition career field to regularly read the Military Personnel Messages, which are quarterly messages providing the most up-to-date information to the military community.  Personnel interested in transferring to the acquisition corps should also become familiar with the Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program, which is the Army’s primary branch transfer mechanism.

    For those who were not able to attend the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition and want career counseling and advice, both the military and civilian counselors are available at any time.

    “We have a very aggressive travel and engagement plans within the regions that assignment officers cover.  If any officer was unable to be here at AUSA, we will be throughout the regions doing a branch brief and then interviewing the officers.  And they are always available for one-on-one counseling and mentorship by the phone,” said Hosna.

    “We offer page on the website called ‘Ask an ACM.’ So, at any time at any point when they have questions that they need to ask, they can go there and we will answer them or email them back.  We also have a help desk phone line that they can call for the same reason,” said Jackson.

    The acquisition workforce management points of contact, including the “Ask an ACM” information, can be found at USAASC’s website at http://asc.army.mil/web/contact/poc/acquisition-workforce-management-pocs/.

      • USAASC supports Army warfighter readiness by developing a world-class professional acquisition workforce, effectively acquiring and stewarding resources and providing customers with the best possible products and services. For more information about USAASC, visit http://asc.army.mil.

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