• Nominations Invited for 63rd Annual Flemming Awards

    The annual Arthur S. Flemming Awards honor oustanding federal government employees. Here, last year's winners are honored. (Photo by the Arthur S. Flemming Awards Commission.)

    The George Washington University and the Arthur S. Flemming Awards Commission are accepting nominations for the 63rd annual Arthur S. Flemming Awards. Dec. 9 is the deadline to submit nominations.  

    The Flemming Awards honor federal government employees who have made outstanding contributions to public service on either a sustained basis or through a single exceptional accomplishment achieved or completed during 2011.

    Awards are made in five categories:

    • Leadership and/or Management.
    • Legal Achievement.
    • Social Science, Clinical Trials, and Translation Research.
    • Applied Science and Engineering.
    • Basic Science.

    Any career civilian employee of the federal government or member of the uniformed services who has at least three, but no more than 15, years of service as of Dec. 31,2011, is eligible to be nominated for an Arthur S. Flemming Award. A nominee may be an officer or employee in the agency headquarters or field service throughout the world. Each award winner will receive an engraved medal.

    Additional information about the Flemming Awards is available online at http://flemming.gwu.edu. All nominations must be submitted through the appropriate chain of command for endorsement by HQDA principal officials and forwarded to the Human Resources Management Directorate (HRMD) Civilian Awards email address at usarmy.pentagon.hqda.mail.hrmd-civilian-awards@mail.mil. The deadline for submitting nominations to HRMD is Dec. 9.  

    For additional information, contact Joann Anderson, HRMD Incentive Awards Program Manager at 703-545-1187 or joann.f.anderson6.civ@mail.mil.

    Read more »
  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner: November 2011

    Defense Acquisition University offers various training and education programs for the AL&T Workforce. (DoD photo by Lapedra Tolson.)

    DAU Senior Service College Fellowship

    The 2012-13 Defense Acquisition University – Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF) announcement is open from Nov. 15 through March 15, 2012, to all eligible GS-14s and 15s who have met their current position certification requirements. The 2012-13 DAU-SSCF will be offered at Huntsville, AL, Warren, MI, and Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-senior-service-college/announcement/.

    Federal Executive Institute Announcement

    The Federal Executive Institute (FEI) Leadership for a Democratic Society announcement is open through June 13, 2012. Any interested GS-15s who have met their position certification requirement should read the announcement at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/federal-executive-institute-leadership-for-a-democratic-society/ for additional information and details on specific offerings and submission requirements. Starting this fiscal year, any applicant for FEI must have either completed the Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course or received equivalency or constructive credit before submitting an FEI application. Interested applicants should visit the website on CES course credit at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/chrtas/help/CES_Course_Credit.asp.

    Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program

    We are piloting the new Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program (ALCP), a 2 1/2-day course focusing on developing better civilian leadership. FY12 offerings will be available for courses running from January through July. An announcement will be sent out soon to command Acquisition Career Management Advocates to nominate appropriate personnel to participate. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-leadership-challenge-program/. The two levels of ALCP, with areas of focus, are:

    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 and their 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.

    Training with Industry

    This is a 10-to-12-month rotational opportunity for acquisition captains and majors to work side by side with industry. Current participating companies for Army acquisition in FY12 are: Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Coca-Cola Co., Cisco Systems Inc., EADS North America Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Computer Sciences Corp., Intel Corp., General Dynamics Corp., and Boeing Co. For more information, please contact your assignment officer. Contact information is at https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/protect/branches/officer/FS/Acquisition/Acquistion_Contact__Information.htm.

    Future Opportunities

    There are many educational and leadership opportunities available in the near term for acquisition civilian and military workforce members.  Our Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience Catalog provides in-depth information on all training and developmental opportunities. The catalog is available on the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center website at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-education-training-and-experience/. Eligible applicants may apply for all of our programs by using the Army Acquisition Professional Development System tab within the Career Acquisition Management Portal/Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAMP/CAPPMIS) at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp.

    Defense Acquisition University Highlights

    Students should continue to apply for Defense Acquisition University (DAU) training through the Army Training Requirements and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. Waiting times for Army seats and the status of pending applications can be viewed using AITAS.

    DAU’s online Learning Management System (LMS) came back online Sept. 19. The LMS is accessible only to Common Access Card (CAC) users. On Nov. 1, LMS reached full operational capability with a new security system hardened to allow login with a username and password. Students using this  functionality will be required to log in and update their passwords per DoD rules. The DAU Virtual Campus portal is at https://learn.dau.mil. For students who may continue to rely on CAC access, a password reset will be required.

    The backlog to enroll in classes has diminished; however, expect enrollments to be established 1 to 3 days from the date of successful course registration. DAU had identified issues with transactions errors between ATRRS and LMS, and 95 percent of those issues have been resolved. For the remaining 5 percent of reported problems that DAU cannot verify as fixed, DAU will remain in contact with the affected students and continue to investigate a solution. If you are experiencing issues accessing a previously enrolled course or have not received an enrollment notification from DAU to start the course, please contact the DAU Help Desk directly at dauhelp@dau.mil or DSN 655-3459 (choose Option 1).

    Because of an abundance of requests for help with new usernames and passwords, account activation, enrollments, and extensions, the DAU Help Desk is requesting patience. Each Help Desk ticket will be addressed in the order it was submitted. If you previously submitted a ticket, please do not send a duplicate one. DAU has applied an extension (until Dec. 30, 2011) to online course or module enrollments initiated during FY11. This action was taken to help reduce the impact of service interruptions to the LMS; it applies only to course or module enrollments before Oct. 1, 2011.

    The timeframe for DAU course cancellations has changed from 5 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 before the start of the class. Please view AMC memo and DA DAU training policy and procedures at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/docs.cfm. 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, 2011, 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. While most of the changes are in the contracting career field, there are also changes in four other fields: logistics; test and evaluation; business, cost estimating, and financial management; and systems planning, research, development, and engineering. A 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 for those who are not able to apply for FY11 certification standards because of the unavailability of DAU’s LMS. The memo and Frequently Asked Questions associated with it are online at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training/documents/.

    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 continue to teach the FY11 courses in FY12, and the courses are valid predecessors to the new FY12 courses until Sept. 30, 2013. More information on equivalencies is at 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 U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Section 852 manager by submitting a Program Request Form for FY11, found at https://www.usaasc.info/section852_cms. The point of contact is Jack Kendall at john.f.kendall.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. Level II courses are available on the FY12 schedule. DAU has expanded classroom size from 24 to 28-30 for current FY11 and all FY12 course offerings, specifically the following courses: BCF 203, BCF 205, BCF 206, BCF 211, and BCF 215. An additional 680 seats were added to the FY12 schedule due to additional offerings and increase in class size. The demand is due to a temporary surge of BCFM certification requirements, along with an increase in BCFM workforce members needing certification. The Army will continue to request that more seats be added to the FY12 schedule. 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 web-based system, named PORTICO, will interface with DAU and DoD systems, AITAS, and CAMP/CAPPMIS. Army workforce members will be able to authenticate with a DoD CAC. PORTICO will standardize functionality and capability, allowing 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 August 2012 and full operating capability targeted for January 2013. For more information, go to http://www.dau.mil/sis/default.aspx.

    Read more »
  • Army Acquisition Support Center Publications Earn Three Awards from International Competition

    Army AL&T Magazine received two MarCom Awards, and Access AL&T received one MarCom award.

    FORT BELVOIR, VAArmy AL&T Magazine and Access AL&T have earned 2011 MarCom Awards in three categories; including one platinum award, the competition’s highest honor.

     “These awards validate the hard work our editorial staff put forth in producing these high-quality publications,” said Mr. Craig Spisak, Director of the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC). “Together, Army AL&T Magazine and Access AL&T have set a new standard of excellence across the Army in telling the Army Acquisition Workforce story and how they support the Soldier.”

    The awards earned by the publications were as follows: 

    • Platinum Award: Army AL&T Magazine in the Magazine/Government category
    • Gold Award: Army AL&T Magazine in the Design (Print)/Magazine Cover category
    • Honorable Mention: Access AL&T in the External Newsletter/Government category

    The MarCom Awards is an international competition recognizing outstanding creative achievement by marketing and communication professionals. More than 6,000 entries from across the world were submitted this year, with winners being selected from over 200 categories in seven forms of media.  

    Army AL&T Magazine is USAASC’s quarterly professional journal, comprising in-depth, analytically focused articles. The magazine’s mission is to instruct members of the Army AL&T community relative to AL&T processes, procedures, techniques, and management philosophy and to disseminate other information pertinent to the professional development of workforce members and others engaged in AL&T activities. The magazine is available in both hard copy and on the USAASC website at http://asc.army.mil.

    Access AL&T is the premier online news source for the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Workforce. Its blog format enables active engagement with readers, allowing them to comment and offer suggestions on articles, as well as share them via social media. Updated information and articles are available on Access AL&T at http://asc.army.mil/web/.

    The MarCom Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

      • USAASC supports Army Soldier 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.

    Read more »
  • Army Rolls Out First Apache Block III

    Sofia Bledsoe

    COL Shane Openshaw, Apache Helicopters Project Manager, accepts the keys from David Koopersmith, Boeing Vice President for Attack Helicopter Programs, during the Apache Block III Roll Out Ceremony Nov. 2 at the Boeing Apache production facility in Mesa, AZ. (Photos by Sofia Bledsoe.)

    The world’s most lethal attack helicopter just got even better.

    Inside a hangar against a backdrop of lights and fog, looking as intimidating as ever, the first AH-64D Longbow Apache Block III (AB3) was revealed to the public for the first time during a Roll Out ceremony Nov. 2 at the Boeing Apache production plant in Mesa, AZ.

    “To say that I’m proud would be a tremendous understatement,” said COL Shane Openshaw, Project Manager Apache Helicopters. “This first step took a tremendous amount of teamwork and is a reflection of great accomplishment with the combined efforts of this team.”

    That teamwork was evidenced by the attendance of approximately 500 at the ceremony, including several dignitaries such as former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army GEN Richard A. Cody, now retired, who flew the first AB3 prototype; retired GEN Thomas Allen Schwartz, former Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command; plus various congressional representatives, other retired general officers, several international defense military representatives, current and former Apache project managers, and some members of the Boeing workforce.

    “They’re here to say thank you to this entire team for your hard work and dedication to deliver this aircraft,” said MG Tim Crosby, Program Executive Officer Aviation. Directing his attention to the workforce, he added, “What we’re talking about today is the achievement of that vision (Army Modernization). Every one of you who have worked on this aircraft is part of that success. Don’t take this lightly. You will save lives of our American Soldiers by what you have done. You have reduced the burden on that Soldier.”

    The Apache Block III, the next step in the evolution of the Army’s premier attack helicopter, is the only rotorcraft in the Army inventory that can operate at 6,000 feet and 95 degrees at an out-of-ground effect hover with a full mission payload. The new Apaches will be stronger, faster, and less constrained in extreme combat conditions. Besides the increase in top speed, it will turn faster and tighter, making it almost impossible for the enemy to hide. It will have a combat speed of approximately 164 knots, about 20 knots faster than the Apaches currently in service.

    Some of the key upgrades to the Apache Block III include a more powerful engine and drivetrain, and composite rotor blades that provide more lift and will allow the aircraft to fly over any mountain in austere places like Afghanistan. “The Block III brings back the power margins that crews had at roughly 3,000 or 4,000 pounds lighter gross weight than the Block II model,” said LTC Dan Bailey, Apache Block III Product Manager.

    White Mountain Apache Tribe Chairman Ronnie Lupe (center), a Korean War veteran, gives the Apache tribal blessing to the Army’s first Apache Block III aircraft Nov. 2 during a private ceremony on the flight line at Boeing’s Apache product facility. The blessing included the traditional “smudging” around the aircraft. With Lupe is Ramon Riley (left), the spiritual leader, and Jerry Gloshay Jr. (right), Lupe’s Executive Assistant. At right are MG Tim Crosby, Program Executive Officer Aviation, and MG Anthony G. Crutchfield, Commanding General, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, AL.

    The aircraft had become heavier over the years when the Army added upgrades to the subsystems, making the pilot power margins more limited. “Now we’ll be able to go to all those places where the enemy tends to hide from us,” said Bailey.

    Another key upgrade with the Apache Block III is its more advanced computer processing system called the Future Networked Force, which will ensure connectivity to the next generation of networked capabilities, making the aircraft viable and sustainable through the 2030/2040 timeframe.

    The Block III’s open system architecture will allow the Army to put new subsystems onto the aircraft much more efficiently. As the pilots learn and as the environment changes, the Army can adapt the aircraft to whatever enemy force they encounter. “The Apache Block III is the leading edge today in terms of rotorcraft, and it’s the most advanced attack helicopter in the world. We want to maintain that, and the only way we can is by resetting the aircraft from an architecture perspective,” said Bailey.

    Key to the open system architecture is the ability of the Apache Block III to perform at Level 4 Interoperability with an unmanned aircraft system (UAS). This means that the pilot can now control the flight path, weapon systems, and sensors on a UAS. “Only the Block III aircraft, with its new computer processors and open architecture, allows this to happen,” he said.

    Already ahead of schedule, to date the Army has inducted 29 aircraft under the Apache Block III program. The initial operational test is planned for spring 2012. Equipping the first unit, which will be the 1st Battalion, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Riley, KS, is slated to begin in 2012. Currently, the Army is approved for 51 AB3 aircraft under the low rate initial production.

    The Apache Block III is fundamentally a remanufacture program, taking existing Longbow Apaches, inducting them, taking them apart, upgrading and refurbishing components, and adding the new Block III-specific capability insertions. The Army’s acquisition objective stands at 690 Apache Block III aircraft, with 634 remanufactures and 56 new builds. The Block III remains the world’s most lethal helicopter.

    Read more »
  • Army Reserve Soldiers Get Cooking at Connelly Competition

    SPC Monte Swift

    SPC Chantel Glass, 847th HRC, forms a meatloaf as the main course for lunch during the Philip A. Connelly Competition, Oct. 18 at Fort Snelling. The 847th advanced to the DA-level competition after winning at the 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and USAR Command levels. (Photos by SPC Monte Swift.)

    U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) Soldiers from the 847th Human Resources Company (HRC) competed in the final stage of the Philip A. Connelly food service competition at Fort Snelling, MN, in October, after winning at the 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and USAR Command competitions.

    The five-Soldier team, along with other supporting members from the 847th, competed in a field environment to best demonstrate real-world conditions and the challenges associated with maintaining a kitchen in the field.

    The Philip A. Connelly Competition, established in 1968, recognizes excellence in Army food service. The objective is to improve the professionalism of Army food service personnel and maintain high-quality food for Soldiers through proper sanitation, excellent cooking methods, teamwork, and preparation. The competition recognizes those who set the standard for preparing and serving food in dining facilities and in the field.

    It is divided into five categories: military garrison, civilian garrison, active Army field kitchens, USAR field kitchens, and National Guard field kitchens. The team is scored by two DA-level raters and one civilian member of the International Food Service Executives Association (IFSEA).

    “There is a very defined checklist that I have. It is pretty straightforward and includes sanitation, personnel, security, site location, quality of food; it goes on and on,” said competition evaluator Ron Coneybeer, IFSEA. “It is a big responsibility, being a cook. If standards aren’t kept, it could really hurt a lot of people. Not only are you putting their health in your hands, you are taking care of their nutrition.”

    First Cook SGT Christina Heller, 847th HRC, prepares to serve strawberry shortcake to guests and evaluators during the Philip A. Connelly Competition, Oct. 18 at Fort Snelling.

    As the smell of freshly cooked food spread throughout the kitchen, the minutes ticked down for the lunchtime deadline. Lunch included Cajun meat loaf with Creole sauce, mashed potatoes, salad, tomato soup, strawberry shortcake, and two added sides of Caesar salad and jalapeño corn bread. Nearly everything was made from scratch, except for the biscuits and corn bread, which were made using mixes.

    “They are going to win; I already know that,” said Command Food Service CW3 Kim Shiner, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). “I attribute their success so far to their training, their discipline, and just the Soldiers themselves. We have made them do this several times, and they have gotten better. They critiqued it to the point that they can do this in their sleep.”

    CW4 Terese Domeier, Nebraska Food Program Manager and Evaluator for the competition for the past three years, said that maintaining Army food standards is an important part of ensuring readiness and self reliance in the field.  The Army “has lost a lot of food service slots, and it is not good because we still need to be self-sufficient. You can’t always rely on the civilian sector to take care of your Soldiers if you don’t have food service personnel,” she said. “If you want to go out to the field and be self-sufficient, you need your food service personnel, and they need to maintain those standards.”

    “I think they did excellent today,” said CPT Olubunmi Adekunle, Commander, 847th HRC. “There was a lot of teamwork going on. They put their all into it, and I am very proud of them. It has been a long road, and they have done very well up to this point, so there is no reason they shouldn’t win.”

    The winner of the competition will be announced on or about December 23, with the winning team earning a trophy and a trip to San Diego, CA., next spring.

    • SPC MONTE SWIFT is assigned to the 203rd Public Affairs Detachment in Des Moines, IA, as a Journalist/Photographer. As a civilian, he is a Truss Builder at Engineered Building Design, LC, in Washington, IA. He holds an A.A. in photography from Hawkeye Community College.

    Read more »
  • Enhancing Oversight of Services Acquisition

    This is the third and final installment in a series of articles about improving Army services acquisition. The first two articles focused on the general features, applicability, and governance structure of the “Optimization of Army Services Acquisition Implementation Plan,” which was recently approved by the Secretary of the Army. In this final installment, we describe new reporting requirements for assessing success in meeting Army fiscal and performance objectives for services acquisition.

    Regular reporting and reviews will examine the efficiency of management and oversight processes in services acquisition, such as for equipment-related services, one of six portfolio groups. Here, PFC Mark Rios, a UH-60 Black Hawk Repairer with the 25th General Support Aviation Battalion, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), resets the controls of a hydraulic system on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Wheeler Army Airfield, Schofield Barracks, HI, Nov. 15. (U.S. Army photo by SGT Karl Williams, 25th CAB.)

    Earlier this year, an Armywide data call established, for the first time, a baseline of all Army services acquisition requirements by command and by portfolio group for FY12 through FY16. In the baseline report, commands provided detailed services acquisition requirements valued at $109 billion. The Army has identified a total of $11.4 billion in savings (FY12 through FY16), a projected cost reduction of just over 10 percent. Periodic reporting will continue to build on this baseline and provide the data needed to gauge how well the Army is managing and executing its improved services requirements. The two new reports are the Semi-Annual Forecast and the Quarterly Services Cost Savings report.

    The Semi-Annual Forecast is a new requirement for commands to submit, beginning with the first quarter of FY12. The objective of this report is to update the initial data call every six months, forecasting all services requirements valued at greater than $10 million for the subsequent 24 months. The report will provide data needed to prepare for requirements execution and will ensure that management and oversight processes are in place to successfully complete the acquisition with optimum efficiency and value to the Army.   

    In order to track and monitor the services acquisition cost savings they identified for FY12 through FY16, commands will also be required to provide Quarterly Services Cost Savings reports beginning with the second quarter of FY12. The objective of this reporting mechanism is to track the commands’ progress in achieving the savings projected in the initial data call and semiannual forecasts, and to capture savings data that were not anticipated when the forecasts were made.

    Selected service acquisitions from each portfolio group will undergo an annual requirements and execution review (ARER), to examine the efficacy of improved tradecraft practices and the success of cost-saving measures. All service acquisitions valued at $10 million or greater are subject to an ARER, which can be characterized as an annual appraisal of service acquisition management and oversight processes. The ARER will be a valuable tool in determining what works and what doesn’t in meeting the Army’s fiscal and mission objectives.

    The reporting functions that have been implemented as part of the “Optimization of Army Services Acquisition Implementation Plan” are critical to the Army’s approach to meeting its objectives for increased efficiency and productivity in services acquisition spending.  The results of the next year’s reporting cycle are expected to provide the metrics to assess the Army’s progress toward achieving these goals.

    Summary: Improving Services Acquisition

    The three installments published here described the “Optimization of Army Services Acquisition Implementation Plan,” which presents a comprehensive approach to meeting mission needs for services efficiently and affordably. It describes the structure, accountability, governance, management control, and information requirements necessary to establish rigor and excellence for services procurement. The plan addresses the training of the workforce to achieve these ends while minimizing the burden for individual commands. The Army continues to craft a new way of doing business—to balance the Soldier’s need for timely, high-quality services with rigorous acquisition discipline and principles to ensure best value.

    For more information on the DASA for Services, visit https://www.alt.army.mil/portal/page/portal/oasaalt/OASA(ALT)%20Services%20(SAAL-ZV)%20and%20DASA-S.

    Read more from DASA for Services:

    New DASA Sets Framework to Improve Army Services Acquisition

    Army Services Acquisition: Who Runs It and How

    • DASA for Services Staff

    Read more »
  • Army Services Acquisition: Who Runs It and How

    This is the second in a series of articles from the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (DASA) for Services. 

    Medical-related services make up one of the DASA for Services’ six portfolios, Services acquisition portfolio groups provide the structure needed to effectively manage specific mission requirements and to achieve the Army’s goal of a disciplined and rigorous services acquisition process. (U.S. Army photo.)

    On Sept. 28, the Secretary of the Army approved the “Optimization of Army Services Acquisition Implementation Plan.” The plan describes the roles and responsibilities of HQDA and subordinate organization leaders, the processes they will use to acquire services, and the governance and review mechanisms to improve visibility and accountability of the requiring activities. Most important is that the plan launches a new way of doing business in services acquisition. Integral to the approach is a new governance structure that includes portfolio management and processes designed to identify, track, and monitor projected savings. This installment in the three-part series on services acquisition describes the governance structure.

    The structure is organized in accordance with the taxonomy directed by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. The six portfolio groups are aligned with the taxonomy as depicted in Figure 1. The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (ASAALT) is the Army Acquisition Executive and senior official responsible for acquiring services for the Army. The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Services (DASA(S)) has been established within ASAALT to develop Army services acquisition policy and provide oversight of the services governance concept. The DASA(S) is designated as the Army’s Senior Services Manager, as required by DOD policy.

    Figure 1: Mandated Portfolio Groups

    Services acquisition portfolio groups provide the structure needed to effectively manage specific mission requirements.

    Portfolio management is essential to achieving the Army’s goal of a disciplined and rigorous services acquisition process. Figure 2 depicts both the vertical and horizontal axes of the portfolio management governance structure and the relationships between the Army commands and the Portfolio Managers (PfMs). Portfolio management is led by the DASA(S) and executed by commands to provide management and accountability at all levels across the Army.

    In the vertical axis, the commander or staff principal is responsible for managing resources, delivering services, and achieving savings. Commanders are responsible for all phases of the services life cycle and should treat service acquisitions as programs, not contracts.  

    Figure 2: Services Governance Structure

    Commanders will appoint a Command Services Executive (CSE), at the general officer or Senior Executive Service (SES) level, as a single focal point to manage all service acquisitions for the command. Commands must have an internal process for managing service acquisitions that meet minimum standards, including the use of multifunctional integrated process teams. The horizontal axis is led by the PfMs—full-time senior civilians in five designated commands (U.S. Army Materiel Command, Installation Management Command, Cyber Command, Medical Command, and Training and Doctrine Command) and one in the office of the DASA(S). The five commands are mission-organized and have expertise in specific portfolio groups. Because no single command is mission-oriented to oversee the knowledge-based services (KBS) portfolio group, the DASA(S) retains this portfolio for management. However, three of the major portfolios within KBS—logistics management, engineering management, and education and training—are aligned with the core competency of identifiable commands.

    The PfM provides Armywide coordination of services acquisition for its portfolio under the guidance and direction of the DASA(S). In addition, the PfM recommends strategic sourcing solutions and best practices; provides lessons learned; assists in market research activities; maintains tools and templates, such as examples of performance work statements; and supports the conduct of periodic spending analyses to gain insight and enable fact-based strategic decisions. PfMs help commands implement improved management and effectiveness of services acquisition. They promote better buying power initiatives and compliance with DOD Instruction 5000.02, Enclosure 9, Acquisition of Services; Army Regulation 70-13, Management and Oversight of Service Acquisitions; and ASAALT guidance.

    Portfolio Coordinators are assigned to the DASA(S) to provide HQDA staff oversight and coordination of service acquisitions within assigned portfolios. They assist the DASA(S), CSEs, and PfMs in implementing services acquisition governance and policy, resolve services acquisition governance issues within and across commands, and plan for Annual Requirements Execution Reviews of services acquisition portfolios.

    Figure 3: Services Acquisition Approval Process

    Another important aspect of services acquisition governance is the process for approval of acquisition strategies for services procurement. Services acquisition strategies of greater dollar value than the simplified acquisition threshold, but less than $250 million, will continue to be reviewed and approved at the local agency level, in accordance with current Army Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (AFARS) guidance. The DASA(S) receives copies of acquisition strategies valued between $10 million and $250 million, to maintain visibility. Acquisition strategies for service acquisitions valued at $250 million to $500 million will be approved by the DASA(S).Those service acquisitions valued at $500 million or more will continue to follow the current AFARS. Figure 3 shows the services acquisition approval process.

    The “Optimization of Army Services Acquisition Implementation Plan” establishes a new Army-wide services governance structure with day-to-day oversight by the DASA(S). As an integral part of the plan, the portfolio management concept promotes efficiency and cross-command synergies in buying services. This “new way of doing business” is expected to secure better buying power for the Army in services acquisition.

    Next: Reporting and life-cycle surveillance.

    For more information on the DASA for Services, visit https://www.alt.army.mil/portal/page/portal/oasaalt/OASA(ALT)%20Services%20(SAAL-ZV)%20and%20DASA-S.

    • DASA for Services Staff

    Read more »
  • New DASA Sets Framework to Improve Army Services Acquisition

    This is the first in a series of articles from the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (DASA) for Services. 

    Kimble King (foreground) and Ron Freeman repair a M548 in Anniston Army Depot’s Combat Vehicle Repair Facility. (U.S. Army photo by John Makamson, U.S. Army Materiel Command.)

    The Army spends more than $50 billion annually to buy essential services for Soldiers and their families, an amount equating to more than half of the Army’s yearly acquisition spending. The Army and the rest of DOD procure a wide variety of services through contracts with commercial vendors—services as simple as printing, as complex as combat vehicle repair, and as technically sophisticated as helicopter pilot training and medical treatment of Soldiers. Federal acquisition regulations define services as procurements that directly engage the time and effort of a contractor whose primary purpose is to perform an identifiable task rather than to furnish an end item of supply.

    In May, six months after establishment of the DASA for Services, Secretary of the Army John McHugh directed the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASAALT) to develop a plan that would optimize services acquisition and reduce costs by 5 percent. In September, McHugh approved the plan, “Optimization of Army Services Acquisition Implementation Plan.”  It provides the blueprint for a new approach to the execution of services acquisition, addressing four major areas:

    • The scope of the new approach.
    • Development of a supportable governance structure with well-defined approval and delegation processes.
    • Management controls and visibility of cost savings.
    • Developing a qualified workforce.

    The plan does not formally apply to services obtained for construction, research and development, or in support of programs managed by program executive offices (PEOs) and subject to a milestone decision review. The processes and requirements described are mandatory for Army-funded service acquisitions equal to or greater than $10 million, a lower value threshold than ever.

    It is important to note that the plan’s underlying concepts and procedures apply to the acquisition of services at all dollar values. The plan sets minimum criteria for internal processes and leverages them to ensure the desired visibility. The criteria include the designation of a Command Service Executive, the use of multifunctional integrated process teams, standardized processes employed by the requiring activity for services requirements, and application of the portfolio management concept.

    The governance structure provides a life-cycle management and oversight architecture for services acquisition. (The portfolio management concept, which is integral to the governance structure, will be discussed more fully in the next article.)

    To establish increased management controls and visibility, a data call was conducted in spring 2011. A significant accomplishment in improving services acquisition, it provided the first-ever Army baseline of services requirements by command and by portfolio, as well as a requirements forecast and savings projections. All 32 Army Commands, Direct Reporting Units, Army Service Component Commands, and the acquisition PEOs identified service requirements valued at $10 million or more for FY12 through FY16.

    The processes and requirements described are mandatory for Army-funded service acquisitions equal to or greater than $10 million, a lower value threshold than ever.

    The commands reported 1,047 different service requirements valued at $109 billion. They also identified how they would use DOD better buying power techniques and other measures to achieve the 5 percent reduction in cost of services. They identified $11.4 billion in savings for that period, a potential cost reduction of nearly 10 percent.

    The initial 2011 data call projections will continue to be tracked through quarterly and semiannual reporting. (Reporting details of the implementation plan will be discussed in the final article.)

    The plan clearly establishes accountability of commanders for the services that they are buying, while describing periodic peer review processes. The Annual Requirements Execution Review, intended to assess the success of cost-saving measures, is an example of this type of review.

    The plan describes tools and training available to both acquisition and non-acquisition personnel that will enhance the conduct of services acquisition by improving the skills and understanding of the Army workforce members who will execute it.

    Overall, the plan takes a comprehensive approach that addresses the need to reduce costs while maintaining mission capability. It relies on oversight and governance structure while establishing clear lines of accountability to those who procure services. The plan is an important step in the successful application of better buying power initiatives to Army procurement.

    Next: The portfolio management concept.

    For more information on the DASA for Services, visit https://www.alt.army.mil/portal/page/portal/oasaalt/OASA(ALT)%20Services%20(SAAL-ZV)%20and%20DASA-S.

    • DASA for Services Staff

    Read more »
  • New Mobile-Ready Guide Available for Medical Recording

    Deployable medical staff use MC4 to document and track patient care, digitally manage medical supplies, and conduct health surveillance in the combat zone. (U.S. Army photos.)

    A new interactive guide to help deployed medics, nurses, and commanders in recording medical information is now available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android devices, the Combined Arms Center – Training announced. In August, the Army’s Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) program released the Commander’s Guide to MC4 Version 2.0 on the Army Training Network 2 Go (ATN2GO) application, following the initial release of training materials in April. In July, the ATN added concussion and traumatic brain injury training materials specifically targeted for U.S. units and Soldiers deploying to Afghanistan.

    “Mobile devices are driving the Army’s training delivery model,” said LTC William Geesey, MC4 Product Manager. “By empowering deployable medical forces with the ability to get answers to questions on the fly, we are in effect improving their ability to make informed decisions on the health care delivered to Soldiers in theater.”

    Deployable medical staff members use MC4 to document and track patient care, digitally manage medical supplies, and conduct health surveillance in the combat zone. The new guide ensures a continuous, systematic approach to supporting the creation and transmission of electronic medical records and automated maintenance of Class VIII medical supplies.

    The initial version of the MC4 guide was available only in PDF format on computers via Army Knowledge Online. Now, the mobile medical force can use the ATN2GO app on their personal or approved iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or Android device to access best practices, guidelines, and procedures for using MC4 in the field. Since August 2010, 3,863 Apple and 2,924 Android users have downloaded ATN2GO.

    In addition to offering mobile access, Version 2.0 of the MC4 guide focuses more on specific guidance and need-to-know information, reducing the volume by 60 percent and making data retrieval fast and easy.

    In addition to offering mobile access, Version 2.0 of the MC4 guide focuses more on specific guidance and need-to-know information, reducing the volume by 60 percent and making data retrieval fast and easy. The app allows users to create direct links to procedures specific to their specialty. The guide also synchronizes users to reference materials not included in the guide, such as links to updated checklists, policies, presentations, and step-by-step procedures.

    The first version of the Commander’s Guide to MC4 was released in December 2009. LTC Kevin Werthmann, former health information systems officer for the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan, referred to the guide as “a tremendous resource and a blueprint for success.”

    For more information on ATN2GO, visit https://atn.army.mil/.

    About MC4

    MC4 integrates, fields, and supports a comprehensive medical information system, enabling lifelong electronic medical records, streamlined medical logistics, and enhanced situational awareness for Army operational forces. The Army’s Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, Fort Belvoir, VA, oversees the MC4 Product Management Office headquartered at Fort Detrick, MD.

    Since 2003, MC4 has enabled the capture of more than 16.5 million electronic patient encounters in the combat zone. MC4 has also trained 60,000 medical staff and commanders and fielded 49,000 systems to 750 units with medical personnel, to include Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve units and active component divisional units throughout 19 countries.

    Read more »
  • Briefing on Competitive Development Group Offered for DC Area Career Acquisition Employees

    FORT BELVOIR–Army acquisition employees in the national capital region are invited to learn about the Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellow (CDG/AAF) Program at a brown bag lunch on  Nov. 8 at building 213 from 1130-1300.

    “We will be discussing the CDG/AAF vision and mission, as well as program details, eligibility, benefits, fellowship opportunities, and what is required to complete it,” said Brian Cole, Acquisition Career Manager for the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC).

    “The brown bag lunch will be a briefing outlining the details of the program and explaining who qualifies for the program.  It will also give potential applicants the opportunity to ask questions and address any of their concerns,” added Chandra Evans-Mitchell, CDG/AAF Program Manager for USAASC.

    The CDG/AAF program is a three-year program managed by USAASC that offers developmental assignments in program executive offices, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA(AL&T)) offices, U.S. Army Materiel Command Headquarters, and functional organizations.

    “It is no cost to individuals or organizations and provides a flexible learning environment, mentoring, experience in Department of Army-level offices, leadership exposure, networking opportunity, accessibility to executive leadership education, and has personal and career growth potential,” Cole explained.

    “CDG/AAF members are offered training that might not otherwise be available to them. This training includes developmental assignments selected from the acquisition community representing various developmental experiential opportunities in program management offices, program executive offices, systems acquisition offices, as well as senior staff offices,” said Evans-Mitchell.

    Applicants to the CDG/AAF program must be current 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.

    Those interested in attending the brown bag lunch can contact Evans-Mitchell at (703) 805-1247 or email at chandra.evansmitchel@us.army.mil; or contact Cole at (703) 805-9430 or https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/index.cfm?fuseaction=support.helpRequest.  The deadline for registration is Nov. 4.

    Read more »