• Army Retires Last ‘A’ Model Apache Helicopter

    COL Shane Openshaw (right), Project Manager for Apache Attack Helicopters, accepts the logbook and keys of Apache aircraft 451 from LTC Derrek Hryhorchuk, 1/149 ARB Commander, during the July 15 ceremony in Houston commemorating the retirement of the last A model. (Photos by Sofia Bledsoe, Program Executive Office Aviation Public Affairs)

    Sofia Bledsoe

    It was a proud, historic, and emotional moment for the Army—especially for the Soldiers in the 1st Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment (Attack/Reconnaissance) (1/149 ARB).

    The last AH-64A Apache helicopter, Aircraft 451, was retired from the Army and handed over to the Project Office for Apache Helicopters during a ceremony July 15 at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, TX. The event was hosted by the Texas Army National Guard’s 1/149 ARB, the 36th Infantry Division unit that had the last A-model Apache in its fleet.

    The aircraft was flown to San Angelo, TX, by CW5 Jim Sandberg, 1/149 ARB Standardization Pilot, and CW2 Adrian Domonoski, Maintenance Test Officer. There, it is being disassembled, to be taken to the Boeing facility in Mesa, AZ, and reconfigured into the next generation AH-64D Apache Longbow.

    “As the Project Manager for the Apache attack helicopter, I’m really proud to take custody of the 451,” said COL Shane Openshaw. “In about a year from now, you’ll see 451 come out of the production line as the latest and last AH-64D.”

    Aircraft 451 has a long and proud history with the 1/149 ARB, which was nominated recently for the Valorous Unit Award. Four of its aviators were recognized with the Distinguished Flying Cross for their heroism and extraordinary achievements in Ramadi, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Aircraft 451 took heavy ballistic damage, but the aircraft, crew, and the Soldiers they protected always came home safely.

    “It’s like losing an old friend,” said CPT Stacy James Rostorfer, Bravo Company Commander. “That aircraft has saved my life; it has saved many lives. It’s armored in all the right places, so you can go in, protect others, and protect yourself. We always brought everybody home.” Rostorfer, a longtime fan of the Apache, recalled playing with Apache models when he was 10 years old. “They’re still in the basement of my parents’ house. I’ll never part with it.”

    During the ceremony, LTC Derrek Hryhorchuk, 1/149 ARB Commander, recounted the unit’s heroism, remembering that Aircraft 451 kept them safe and alive. “We’re going to make sure that aircraft goes out in style,” he said. Hryhorchuk had flown the Apache’s predecessor, the AH-1 Cobra, and noted that things needing improvement in the Cobra were improved in the A-model Apache. “I’m looking forward to the capabilities that needed to be improved in the A model that are now in the D-model Longbow.”

    CW5 Jim Sandberg, 1/149 ARB Standardization Pilot, who flew the very first
    A-model Apache, holds a photo of himself
    as a young pilot. Sandberg is obtaining his
    certification as an instructor pilot for the
    AH-64D Apache Longbow.

    MG William “Tim” Crosby, Program Executive Officer Aviation, said during his ceremonial remarks that “these types of ceremonies, and in the company of Soldiers, are the constant reminders of why we do what we do, and why we strive to do it better every day. To all the Soldiers, God bless you.”

    Although the spotlight was on the aircraft, Crosby said, “I’m not here to talk about the aircraft. I’m here to talk about you—you, the Soldiers of the Texas National Guard, who have stood up and said, ‘I want to make a difference, I want to give back to my country.’ ” And it’s your pride, your courage, your passion that make that aircraft special. Because aircraft don’t fly—aviators fly. And they fly because of the mechanics and the crew chiefs who make them ready to fly.”

    “It’s like losing an old friend. That aircraft has saved my life; it has saved many lives. It’s armored in all the right places, so you can go in, protect others, and protect yourself. We always brought everybody home.”

    MG James K. “Red” Brown, Commanding General of the 36th Infantry Division, echoed Crosby’s remarks. “Never in the history of the United States has there been a better integration between the active component and the reserve component,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what uniform you put on. You add concrete to the foundation that this Nation was built upon—our volunteer Soldiers. Apaches give us the capability to prevent those who wish to harm us, and enable us to protect the values and freedoms that make this country great.”

    Remarking on the “end of an era,” David Koopersmith, Vice President of Boeing’s Attack Helicopter Programs, said, “It’s the Soldiers that inspire the Apache team. We’re fortunate to have the honor of providing Apache helicopters to help ensure that no fight is ever a fair fight.”

    Based on combat reports, the 1/149 ARB was responsible for 26 enemy killed in action and two enemy wounded in action in Ramadi. During one mission while providing a local area orientation of Ramadi at night with the 2/159 ARB, the 1/149 was called to support. Due to “danger close” proximity with friendly units in the area, one of the 1/149 aircrews slowed to 30 knots airspeed to engage the enemy position. The aircraft received battle damage, but the crew was able to hit the tractor-trailers, resulting in a massive explosion. The aircrew was awarded the Air Medal with “V” Device for Valor.

    Later in the firefight, a Soldier from 1st Battalion, 77th Armored Regiment was seriously wounded, and traditional MEDEVAC assets were not able to respond. The 1/149 ARB aircrew in Apache 451 decided to extract this wounded Soldier. They landed, and the wounded Soldier was placed in the front seat; the co-pilot gunner attached himself to the aircraft by the wing and fuselage holds. The wounded Soldier was quickly treated and received the advanced care he needed. In the end, he recovered fully from his wounds. For this action, the crew was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

    “After you get through a couple of weeks in combat, you strap yourself into an Apache, you feel a sense of invincibility,” said COL Richard Adams, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade Commander. “There are a lot of sons and daughters in America who are alive because of that aircraft.”

    Because situational awareness is always key in combat, “the ground guys always requested us,” said Adams. “When Apache flies, nobody dies. I’m very privileged to lead these bunch of guys.”

     


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  • S&T Notebook: Strengthening Communication between S&T and Acquisition

    Anthony Franchino (right) at ARDEC demonstrates the Automated Direct/Indirect Mortar (ADIM) to Dr. Scott Fish (left), Army Chief Scientist. The ADIM is a magazine-fed, 81mm automated mortar that can be truck-mounted. (Photos by LTC Charles “Jack” Emerson, Military Assistant to the Army Chief Scientist)

    Dr. Scott Fish

    This is a regular column by Dr. Scott Fish, Army Chief Scientist, on activities in the Army science and technology (S&T) community and their potential impact on Army acquisition programs.

    On May 21, I gave the keynote address to the 18th Annual Automotive Research Center Conference, a cooperative effort hosted by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC). Increasingly, S&T development is done with cooperation with academia, government research centers, industry partnerships, and centers like these, showcasing the best of these efforts. I toured TARDEC’s recently updated facilities and participated in discussions on the current development and state of the art of ground vehicle engines and drive system controllers.

    The following day was the annual Army S&T Corps meeting. This prized group of eminent scientists, mathematicians, and engineers are our senior technical leaders, with responsibilities associated with identifying key research and development directions, mentoring our junior technical cadre, and pursuing their own groundbreaking work. They actively participate in external technical communities, are geographically disperse, and have extensive experience across a broad spectrum of Army-relevant technical areas. Their stature is equivalent to that of chaired professors at leading research universities and government Senior Executive Service civilians. This meeting included a collective discussion of current trends and methods of enhancing interaction with the laboratory leadership.

    The robotics development community continues to demonstrate new and innovative solutions to current Army problems with the use of a variety of intelligent robot behaviors. Based on the enthusiasm of both the government and attendees, the future Army will continue to see robotic innovations to augment its capabilities.

    A large part of my interest involves how S&T programs are transitioned out of their place of development (for example, government labs, industry research and development, and university research) and into programs of record. There are numerous paths, but the best transitions occur where there is a large degree of communication, trust, and planning between the developer and the program management office. Strengthening these links creates better outcomes for the warfighter.

    In this vein, I have conducted several site visits to our program executive offices (PEOs) and RDECs. In June, I visited both the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) and the U.S. Army Air and Missile Defense Research and Engineering Center. In conjunction with those visits, I also visited PEO Missiles and Space, PEO Soldier’s Project Manager Soldier Weapons, and PEO Ammunition. Several exciting developments are occurring in those areas, and some transition strategies are being examined in light of potential requirement changes reflecting the latest DoD strategic guidance.

    At ARDEC, an update on the nanotechnology center showed new achievements in the creation, production, and use of nanoparticles, while identifying new challenges to enhance product performance for the warfighter. The center is becoming a locus of industry and government nanotechnology research.

    Redstone Arsenal has several promising S&T developments in base protection that will prove essential to our future security. These are being incorporated into the major thrust areas of deployable force protection and the Force Protection Basing Technology Enabled Capability Demonstration.

    Lauren Armstrong and Deepak Kapoor at ARDEC's nanotechnology center talk with Fish about the novel properties of nano-materials. The center is leveraging the technology to develop materials that can be used for lightweight composites and explosive applications.

    Near the end of June, I attended the Robotics Rodeo, hosted by the Maneuver Battle Lab and the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, GA, and co-sponsored by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization and TARDEC. The robotics development community continues to demonstrate new and innovative solutions to current Army problems with the use of a variety of intelligent robot behaviors. Based on the enthusiasm of both the government and attendees, the future Army will continue to see robotic innovations to augment its capabilities.

    On July 23, I briefed the Defense Materials Manufacturing and Infrastructure Workshop on Materials and Manufacturing (part of the National Academies). The group is investigating the issue of counterfeit parts as an increasing concern to military and government procurement professionals dealing with a burgeoning obsolescence issue. The group discussed potential mitigation strategies and the need for more insight into this area.

    Coming Up
    Later this month, I will be attending the summer session of the Army Science Board (ASB), which will brief its study findings to Army leadership. The board has had two studies this year: “Strategic Direction for Army Science and Technology,” sponsored by the Secretary of the Army, and “Small Unit Data to Decisions,” sponsored by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

    We also plan on supporting the Board on Army Science and Technology (a standing committee chartered by the National Academies) by attending its upcoming meeting in September.
     


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  • Office of the Chief Systems Engineer: Integrating Capabilities Efficiently

    Figure 1 The OCSE and SoSI Directorate are aligned under the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management, combining to form the systems engineering “V.” OCSE efforts are primarily on the left side, performing project definition, and SoSI efforts are on the right, performing project test and integration. (SOURCE: ASA(ALT) OCSE)

    Terence M. Edwards

    Traditional systems engineering is necessary for developing individual systems. However, system-of-systems engineering (SoSE) at the system level makes a significant positive difference in integrating the many existing and new programs into a required overall capability.

    The Defense Acquisition Guidebook, published by the Defense Acquisition University, states:
    “A SoS is defined as a set or arrangement of systems that results from independent systems integrated into a larger system that delivers unique capabilities. … SoS engineering deals with planning, analyzing, organizing, and integrating the capabilities of a mix of existing and new systems into a SoS capability greater than the sum of the capabilities of the constituent parts. SoS engineering is an activity that spans the entire system’s life cycle; from pre-Milestone A through Disposal.”

    Management and oversight of this highly technical and complex process of SoSE is extremely difficult. It is also starting to be recognized across DoD as crucial to developing the required capabilities for the warfighter as well as providing prudent management of scarce resources.

    The mission of ASA(ALT) OCSE is to provide the Army’s leadership and materiel developers with the necessary system-of-systems analysis, defining engineering and architectural products to manage and shape the Army’s materiel portfolio; to ensure systems engineering discipline across the materiel developer community throughout the acquisition life cycle; and to grow the systems engineering capability within the Army through education, engineering policy, guidelines, and adoption of best industry practices.

    At a Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Summit held April 2, 2008, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army directed the establishment of a SoSE organization in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA(ALT)). To implement this directive, the ASA(ALT) directed the establishment of this organization in a memorandum dated May 27, 2008.

    The organization was established to serve as the lead for executing SoSE systems engineering functions for the enterprise of Army programs, to ensure that the respective overall desired capabilities are achieved. It has since been reorganized as the Office of the Chief Systems Engineer (OCSE), serving as the only organization within ASA(ALT) headquarters to provide analytical support to the ASA(ALT) leadership on critical SoS trade-space issues. The OCSE also conducts studies, establishes vision, designs baselines, and maintains vigilance of affordability, interoperability, and relevance.

    In support of these goals and as part of a broader review of ASA(ALT), the SoSE mission and function within ASA(ALT) were realigned to the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management (DASM). On June 30, 2011, the SoSE Directorate in ASA(ALT) stood down, and on July 1, 2011, the OCSE was established provisionally. In October 2011, the function of the ASA(ALT) Chief Information Officer (CIO) was transferred from the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Plans, Programs, and Resources to the OCSE.

    Additionally, the Program Executive Office (PEO) Integration stood down, and the System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate was established provisionally on October 1, 2011. The SoSI Directorate is also aligned under the DASM (see Figure 1). OCSE and SoSI missions combine to form the systems engineering “V” depicted in Figure 1. OCSE efforts are primarily on the left side of the V, performing project definition, and SoSI efforts are on the right, performing project test and integration. These organizations are currently developing their concept plans for formal approval.

    The mission of ASA(ALT) OCSE is to provide the Army’s leadership and materiel developers with the necessary system-of-systems analysis, defining engineering and architectural products to manage and shape the Army’s materiel portfolio; to ensure systems engineering discipline across the materiel developer community throughout the acquisition life cycle; and to grow the systems engineering capability within the Army through education, engineering policy, guidelines, and adoption of best industry practices.

    As the ASA(ALT) CIO, the OCSE leads ASA(ALT) transformation to deliver timely, trusted, and shared information, And to create an environment that empowers the acquisition community through an unsurpassed agile, collaborative, productive, lean, and trusted information enterprise.

    OCSE’s focus is on:
    • Delivering strategic-level SoSE and architectural analysis for current and future force capabilities.
    • Common Operating Environment orchestration, and validation and verification.
    • Identifying science and technology opportunities that will enhance the SoS capability.
    • Fostering the environment for information transparency and collaboration for all architectural and engineering data.
    • Conducting program reviews to ensure compliance with established architectures and standards.
    • Shaping SoS engineering organizational structure and processes across the PEOs to ensure consistency in implementation.
    • Establishing engineering policy, guides, best practices templates, and metrics to insure SoS discipline across ASA(ALT).
    • Promoting education and personnel development model to cultivate the SoSE capability across the ASA(ALT) and the Army.
    • Orchestrating the domain management of its portfolio of existing Information Technology (IT) systems so as to inform investment in those systems, eliminate unnecessary redundant capability, and retire existing systems as their capabilities are transitioned into the evolving suite of enterprise IT systems.

    Conclusion
    The OCSE mission is critical to executing SoS engineering functions for Army programs, ensuring that desired capabilities are achieved in an integrated and efficient manner. As the ASAALT CIO, OCSE’s efforts are critical to developing a coherent approach to IT resource management across the acquisition enterprise. The establishment of OCSE is a major step toward more efficiently achieving an integrated capability among Army programs that is greater than the sum of the capabilities of its parts, in an increasingly resource-constrained environment.

     


    • TERENCE M. (TERRY) EDWARDS is the Director, OCSE. Previously, Edwards was the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s CIO/Chief Technology Officer/G-6. He has also served on the Army Staff, as Director of the Army Architecture Integration Cell in the Office of the CIO/G-6. Edwards holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama; an M.S. in computer science from Fairleigh Dickinson University; and an M.S. in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

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  • Missions and Key Initiatives of New OCSE Directorates

    OCSE’s PoR Engineering Support Directorate is forming a Reliability Working Group that will assess current reliability efforts across Army programs and recommend improvements.

    At a Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Summit held April 2, 2008, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army (VCSA) directed the establishment of a system-of-systems engineering (SoSE) organization in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA(ALT)). To implement this directive, the ASA(ALT) directed the establishment of this organization in a memorandum dated May 27, 2008.

    The organization was established to serve as the lead for executing SoSE systems engineering functions for the enterprise of Army programs, to ensure that the respective overall desired capabilities are achieved. It has since been reorganized as the Office of the Chief Systems Engineer (OCSE), serving as the only organization within ASA(ALT) headquarters to provide analytical support to the ASA(ALT) leadership on critical SoS trade-space issues. The OCSE also conducts studies, establishes vision, designs baselines, and maintains vigilance of affordability, interoperability, and relevance.

    In support of these goals and as part of a broader review of ASA(ALT), the SoSE mission and function within ASA(ALT) were realigned to the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management. The SoSE Directorate in ASA(ALT) stood down, and the OCSE was established provisionally. In addition, the function of the ASA(ALT) Chief Information Officer (CIO) was transferred to the OCSE. This article explores the missions and key initiatives of the newly created OCSE directorates.

    The Program of Record (PoR) Engineering Support Directorate supports Army systems for which the Milestone Decision Authority resides with the Army or Defense Acquisition Authority. It also works with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Systems Engineering to provide support for Army systems seeking a milestone decision by working through the Defense Acquisition Board. Initiatives include army development planning, value engineering, product data, open systems architecture, requirements management, defense exportability features, and reliability and maintainability efforts.

    On June 4, the VCSA endorsed the Army’s strategy to converge network operations (NetOps) capabilities as presented by the ASA(ALT) OCSE. The effort will increase ease of use and reduce sustainment support requirements by simplifying and reducing the number of NetOps tools in the current tool set.

    OCSE’s PoR Engineering Support Directorate is forming a Reliability Working Group that will assess current reliability efforts across Army programs and recommend improvements. OCSE is focusing on a few key areas: policies and guidance; training; validation of reliability requirements; fault definition; scoring criteria; early design-for-reliability activities; and competent reliability management and oversight across the acquisition life cycle. OCSE realizes that the Army needs systems that are effective when needed, not just effective when available.

    The Architecture and Analysis Directorate establishes the capability to develop and deliver the architecture products that facilitate analysis and trades, providing timely, relevant information to inform decision makers and guide the Army’s efforts. The directorate serves as a single responsible agent within ASA(ALT) that provides:

    • Management oversight for all systems architecture in the Army.
    • A point of contact for all system architecture deliverables and data.
    • Strategy and organization to execute the system architecture mission.
    • Integration of system architecture efforts.
    • Manpower and oversight for planning and executing architecture resources.

    On June 4, the VCSA endorsed the Army’s strategy to converge network operations (NetOps) capabilities as presented by the ASA(ALT) OCSE. The effort will increase ease of use and reduce sustainment support requirements by simplifying and reducing the number of NetOps tools in the current tool set.

    The SoS Directorate synchronizes ongoing system-of-systems (SoS) engineering and architecture data integration efforts with related HQDA initiatives to yield a data-driven modeling and analysis environment that encompasses the Acquisition and Programming capability portfolios.

    A key SoS Directorate initiative is implementation of the Common Operating Environment (COE). This will help increase competition and help lower software and hardware integration burdens and costs. The implementation plan will remain flexible as the Army continues to evolve its network standards and fielding methods. The Army will continuously seek industry and service input as it transitions to the COE.

    The ASA(ALT) CIO has significantly shaped the Army approach to DCC by recognizing that it is not an efficiency drill that saves on real estate, power, and heating costs, but more a portfolio management drill, driving significant savings through the rationalization of applications, their consolidation, and then virtualization.

    The mission of the ASA(ALT) Chief Information Officer (CIO) encompasses the 12 information technology (IT) core competencies from Army Regulation 25-1, Army Knowledge Management and Information Technology, as they apply within the ASA(ALT) community. Fundamental to this mission are the direction to, and coordination among, the program executive office CIOs so that the community at large is following a coherent approach to IT resource management.

    The mission of the ASA(ALT) CIO specifically includes responsibility as agency:
    • ASA(ALT) CIO.
    Chief Financial Officers Act Implementation Manager.
    • Acquisition Business Enterprise Architect.
    • Acquisition Data Steward.
    • ASA(ALT) Chief Knowledge Officer.

    Achievement of the ASA(ALT) Strategic Objectives is shaped by the demands of existing statutory requirements (for example, the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, National Defense Authorization Acts of 2005, 2007, 2009, etc.) and by events in an evolving environment, such as data center consolidation (DCC) and the Secretary of the Army’s IT management reform efforts.

    The ASA(ALT) CIO has significantly shaped the Army approach to DCC by recognizing that it is not an efficiency drill that saves on real estate, power, and heating costs, but more a portfolio management drill, driving significant savings through the rationalization of applications, their consolidation, and then virtualization. At that point, the applications can go wherever we get the best business deal for service and cost.

    The Army Acquisition plans to follow DCC by integrating the remaining applications into an enterprise environment and enabling the retirement of eight of the nine data centers currently operated by ASA(ALT). Thus, the DCC is aligned with the domain portfolio management mission and is a key enabler of the ongoing transition to enterprise systems.

    Conclusion
    Based on the missions and progress of key SoS and CIO initiatives within the OCSE directorates, OCSE is well on its way of transforming and institutionalizing SoS and IT management processes into Army programs that will achieve a capability greater than the sum of its parts.

     


    • —ASA(ALT) OCSE Staff

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  • Medical Prototype Development Laboratory Gives MEDEVAC Device a New Look

    Mark Brown, Chief of MPDL at USAMMDA, demonstrates the proper use of the SMEED, a mobile platform that attaches to litters, providing a staging area above the patient for lifesaving medical equipment. (Photo by Carey Phillips, USAMMDA)

    Carey Phillips

    The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity (USAMMDA) is home to a unique service within DoD: the Medical Prototype Development Laboratory (MPDL). Under the direction of the Medical Support Systems Project Management Office (MSS PMO), USAMMDA employs a small team of engineers and engineering technicians who work to design and build prototypes, laboratory testing equipment, and other devices designed to get products to the field.

    We are able to get the products to the field to support the U.S. Forces. We work to build solutions, whether it be medical materiel or aiding a researcher with unique laboratory testing devices,” said Mark Brown, chief of the MPDL. “Clearly we must consider requirements, capability, capacity, and priorities.”

    “Working on products like the SMEED is an opportunity to play a small role in a much larger effort of providing world-class medical products to those who have dedicated their lives to defending our freedom.”

    The MPDL, or the “Shop” as it is nicknamed, does not serve exclusively USAMMDA. It provides support and services to the other U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command laboratories, as well as to the other U.S. military branches, such as the Air Force.

    Recently, the Air Force contacted the MPDL for assistance in modifying an existing product to meet its casualty evacuation needs. The Air Force wanted the Shop to redesign the Special Medical Emergency Evacuation Device (SMEED), originally developed by SSG Eric Smeed in 2000.

    The SMEED is a mobile platform that attaches to litters, providing a staging area above the patient for lifesaving medical equipment. The original SMEED was designed to hold bulkier, more cumbersome equipment than is used today. While the SMEED offers a valuable service, the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Special Operations Surgical Team needed a lighter-weight, more flexible design to more effectively accomplish their mission.

    “During the early stages of development, Smeed worked with the Shop to refine his product,” Brown said. “We produced a dozen prototypes and aided in the production of the technical data package, so we are very familiar with the product.”

    The Air Force worked with the Shop on the requirements for an improved SMEED, said Steve Hawbecker, Director of the MSS PMO. “After prototyping a few designs, the team was able to come up with a lighter and more flexible device supporting their unique mission,” Hawbecker said.

    The new version of the SMEED has a single litter attachment designed to hold surgical instruments, as well as medical equipment with the addition of a tandem litter attachment.
    “There are currently eight working prototypes being tested and evaluated in theater by AFSOC medics,” Brown said.

    According to Brown, the Shop will continue to work with the Air Force to evaluate the process, analyze test results, and monitor user evaluations.

    “This information is used to refine the product,” he explained. “This process is designed to be linear, but the fact of the matter is, this is not always the case. However, it is this process that makes a good product a great one.”

    This is the second time the SMEED has been brought to the MPDL. The first time was to help with the original development. It seems only fitting that it be brought back to the Shop for modifications to keep up with the times.

    “Working on products like the SMEED is an opportunity to play a small role in a much larger effort of providing world class medical products to those who have dedicated their lives to defending our freedom,” Brown said.

     


    • CAREY PHILLIPS is a USAMMDA Public Affairs Specialist. She holds a B.A. in communications with a concentration in visual communications from Framingham State College and an M.S. in management with a concentration in marketing from the University of Maryland.

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  • Army’s Second Increment of Tactical Communications Network: Better, Stronger, Faster

    WIN-T Increment 2 Tactical Communications Node was used during the IOT&E at White Sands Missile Range in May. (U.S. Army photo by Claire Heininger Schwerin)

    Amy Walker

    From division headquarters 1,300 miles away to the company commander crossing the white desert sand in his vehicle, Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 provided the on-the-move situational awareness and exchange of critical information needed in the heat of battle during its major operational test.

    “This mobile network is a transformational step forward in Army modernization,” said LTC Robert Collins, Product Manager for WIN-T Increment 2. “It will dramatically increase the pace at which the Army can prosecute combat operations and significantly decrease the time required for the military decision-making cycle.”

    “This mobile network is a transformational step forward in Army modernization. It will dramatically increase the pace at which the Army can prosecute combat operations and significantly decrease the time required for the military decision-making cycle.”

    The capabilities of WIN-T Increment 2 were put to the test in harsh, realistic operational environments during its three-week Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), which wrapped up on schedule at the end of May. The test was conducted in conjunction with the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation 12.2, the third in a series of semiannual evaluations designed to rapidly integrate and mature the Army’s tactical network. Most of the IOT&E was held at White Sands Missile Range, NM; however, to truly stress and test the network, WIN-T Increment 2 nodes were also spread across 2,000 miles of the United States. The test involved more than 4,000 Soldiers and civilians.

    “After seeing this technology in action, I couldn’t imagine going back to the way we were fighting the battle before,” said SFC Michael Rayfield, a Brigade Senior Signal NCO for 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD), the maneuver element for the test. Rayfield had previously deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. “Based on what I have seen and where I have been in the past, WIN-T Increment 2 has reached a milestone in the ways that we can get information to our fighting forces … all the way down to the Soldier pulling the trigger.”

    “Based on what I have seen and where I have been in the past, WIN-T Increment 2 has reached a milestone in the ways that we can get information to our fighting forces … all the way down to the Soldier pulling the trigger.”

    Similar to a home Internet connection, WIN-T Increment 1, formerly known as “Joint Network Node,” has been fielded since 2004, providing Soldiers with high-speed, high-capacity voice, data, and video communications down to battalion-level units at-the-quick-halt. WIN-T Increment 2 introduces networking radios, enhances network operations for planning and monitoring, pushes capability to the company level, and supports operations while on-the-move. It is an important piece of Capability Set (CS)13, the first integrated group of network technologies to emerge from the Agile Process. CS 13 will be fielded to Army brigade combat teams starting in October.

    Soldiers from 2/1 AD use WIN-T Increment 2 equipment, including this Point of Presence vehicle (left) during the WIN-T Increment 2 IOT&E at White Sands Missile Range, May 17. (U.S. Army photo by Amy Walker)

    “The on-the-move communications provided by WIN-T Increment 2 will allow commanders to better manage their assets, because they are able to reach back to the Global Information Grid [GIG] and make decisions using real-time information,” said SFC Enrique Balderrama, 2/1 AD S-6, Combat Net Radio. “Commanders can actually be embedded in the battle and issue commands faster and more reliably. It also allows other Army systems to integrate into the WIN-T backbone so they, too, can reach back into the GIG to receive and share critical information.”

    The WIN-T Increment 2 IOT&E was the Army’s record test to fully assess the suitability, survivability, and effectiveness of the WIN-T Increment 2 equipment with an operational unit. The analysis and test results are providing the Army with valuable feedback to make any needed doctrine, organization, materiel, or training improvements. The test results will be used to support the Full Rate Production Decision scheduled for mid-September.

    “The on-the-move communications provided by WIN-T Increment 2 will allow commanders to better manage their assets, because they are able to reach back to the Global Information Grid and make decisions using real-time information.”

    From a signal command and warfighting perspective, WIN-T Increment 2 brings efficiency to the battlefield and enables commanders to solve problems faster than ever, said SFC Adrian Jenkins, 15th Regimental Signal Brigade Training Evaluator for G-3/5/7.

    “The older information gets, the less relevant it is to the situation you are trying to fix,” Jenkins said. “The situation can change drastically over an hour time period. If you can get a report to the commander within one minute as opposed to an hour, instead of having to rely on old data, he can now make better-informed decisions.”

     

     


    • AMY WALKER is a Staff Writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting Project Manager WIN-T, which is assigned to the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications – Tactical . Walker holds a B.A. in psychology graduated from the College of New Jersey.

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  • Warfighter Information Network – Tactical Increment 2 Promotes Critical Information Exchange

    Soldiers in 2/1 AD relied on the WIN-T Increment 2 PoP during the IOT&E at White Sands Missile Range, NM, in May. The PoP, which improves on-the-move communications and situational awareness, will be installed on select platforms at division, brigade, and battalion echelons. (U.S. Army photo by Amy Walker)

    Amy Walker

    As they tested the second generation of the Army’s tactical communications network, Soldiers like SFC Michael Rayfield discovered firsthand the operational impacts that an on-the-move network reaching down to the company level will bring to the battlefield.

    “Company and below is usually where the greatest amount of continuity loss occurs, but now, with WIN-T [Warfighter Information Network – Tactical] Increment 2, the company commander has more command and control, essentially what a brigade commander would have,” said Rayfield, a Brigade Senior Signal NCO for 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD), the maneuver element for the operational test. “And the company commander can now provide the brigade commander that real-time scenario from the company or troop level, all the way down to the individual Soldier.”

    The three-week WIN-T Increment 2 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), which wrapped up on schedule at the end of May, was conducted in conjunction with the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation 12.2.

    To help facilitate this critical two-way flow of information, WIN-T Increment 2 introduces the Soldier Network Extension (SNE), which will be installed on select vehicles at the company echelon to extend the network from the brigade down to the company level. Using its on-the-move satellite communication systems, the SNE will be used to heal and extend lower-echelon tactical radio networks for geographically separated elements blocked by terrain features. It allows Soldiers at the company level to connect into the WIN-T backbone and provide them with “bigger pipes” for more capacity to reliably send and receive messages.

    “The company commander can now provide the brigade commander that real-time scenario from the company or troop level, all the way down to the individual Soldier.”

    With the SNE extended down to the lower-echelon radio nets, such as the Wideband Networking Waveform, Soldier Radio Waveform, Enhanced Position Location Reporting System, and Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, Soldiers can now “touch” the communications network backbone. On-the-move platforms with Army radios at company level can then complete an all-encompassing network.

    In preparing for the WIN-T Increment 2 IOT&E, Soldiers trained on-the-move at Fort Bliss, TX, in March. The convoy included WIN-T Increment 2 SNEs, shown here. (U.S. Army photo by Amy Walker)

    Company Soldiers can also uproot from their stationary locations and maneuver on the battlefield in their SNE, while retaining situational awareness through various mission command capabilities such as Tactical Ground Reporting, Command Post of the Future, and Joint Capabilities Release (the second generation of Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below), as well as email, chat, and Voice over Internet Protocol functions. They can continue to collect data on the enemy and known targets, then provide that data to the brigade. Before these capabilities were available, company commanders would “fight the fight” and then have to return to the tactical operations center (TOC) to report the information and requirements needed to move forward in battle, Rayfield said.

    “No longer do Soldiers have to deal with the latency in communications from jumping a TOC from one location to another. They are continually aware of the battle and in constant touch with the force even when they are beyond the walls of the TOC.”

    “Now they can do that on the fly and continue to move forward, instead of having to come back and report information to the brigade or battalion TOC,” he added.

    The Point of Presence (PoP) is another WIN-T Increment 2 configuration item that improves on-the-move communications and situational awareness. It will be installed on select platforms at division, brigade, and battalion echelons. The PoP also enables mobile mission command by providing on-the-move network connectivity. But, unlike the SNE which provides strictly beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS (satellite)) communications, the PoP possesses both LOS (terrestrial) and BLOS capabilitiesAmong the many mission threads required during the IOT&E, units “jumped” their TOCs, which required them to tear down the TOCs, move into uncooperative and unpredictable environments, and then quickly reestablish the TOC and the network to full operational capability. During the “jumps,” WIN-T Increment 2’s on-the-move mission command capabilities enabled commanders down to the company level to retain their situational awareness and remain in continued communications right from the front seat of their vehicles.

    “No longer do Soldiers have to deal with the latency in communications from jumping a TOC from one location to another,” said SFC Enrique Balderrama, 2/1 AD S-6, Combat Net Radio. “They are continually aware of the battle and in constant touch with the force even when they are beyond the walls of the TOC.”

     


    • AMY WALKER is a Staff Writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting Project Manager WIN-T, which is assigned to the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications – Tactical . Walker holds a B.A. in psychology graduated from the College of New Jersey.

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  • The ‘New’ Acquisition Workforce

    Dismounted Soldiers meet 'insurgents' in a training village near Oro Grande, NM, June 4, during NIE 12.2’s Capstone event to evaluate Tempus Pro medical monitoring equipment. Army medical personnel used the physiological monitoring and communication system during a mass-casualty training scenario. (U.S. Army photo by SGT Barry St. Clair.)

    COL Gail Washington

    When you think of Army acquisition, you might picture PowerPoint briefings, memos for signature, Pentagon strategy sessions, or testimony on Capitol Hill.

    You probably don’t think of innovation in the desert.

    But during the past year, a team of military, civilian, and contractor personnel from across the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology community has expanded what it means to work in acquisition. As the Army executes Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs) as a key component of the Agile Process, these individuals—engineers, technicians, planners, operations experts, and other staffers of all stripes—are working constantly behind the scenes to ensure a successful transformative process.

    The NIE environment—encompassing Fort Bliss, TX, White Sands Missile Range, NM, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, and other sites across the country—poses unique challenges. The sheer number of Army organizations, industry partners, and Soldiers involved makes coordination a monumental task. The pace of the events is brisk, with one NIE executed every six months and others simultaneously in various stages of planning, risk reduction, and follow-up. Add to that the personal sacrifices that our employees make in support of the NIE mission, and it’s clear that this job is not for everyone.

    The ability to work within the team is paramount out at the NIEs, and the ability to form personal relationships and leverage people’s expertise is the only way to get things done.

    Here’s what it means to be part of the agile acquisition workforce: Put aside your organizational allegiances for the sake of a better-integrated solution for the Soldier; stay flexible and accept that the process will continue to evolve with each NIE cycle; be willing to learn not just in a classroom or from a policy manual, but from those around you and through your own hands-on experience; and even when the work is mundane or complex, keep in mind the big picture—because in the big picture, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

    The goal of the Agile Process and NIEs is to field integrated capability sets that deliver unprecedented network connectivity to Soldiers for a decisive operational advantage. Starting this fall, the first of these capability sets will be fielded to brigade combat teams bound for Afghanistan. Our work to build, integrate, and validate these capability sets through the NIEs will pay huge dividends when Soldiers downrange receive game-changing gear that has been tested and is ready for the fight.

    As the NIE and Agile Process have matured from a new concept to the Army’s official way of doing business, we are standardizing and refining the supporting policies and procedures. These improvements include additional upfront integration before each NIE, a well-trained and multidisciplinary NIE “trail boss” team, and better-defined roles for each member of the NIE triad: the Brigade Modernization Command, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, and System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate.

    The NIE process still isn’t perfect. Like any major change, it is taking time to realize the Army’s ultimate vision. But we are making progress, thanks in large part to the individuals of the “new” acquisition workforce. Here are some of their stories.

     

    Clif Basnight

    Role and organization: DA civilian, Program Executive Office Command, Control, and Communications – Tactical (PEO C3T)

    NIEs participated in: 3

    For Clif Basnight, the clock started ticking in April 2011.

    That’s when the Army first launched the NIE concept, with the first exercise planned for June—leaving a very small window for engineers like Basnight to grasp and integrate dozens of tactical communication systems that had never been forced to work together.

    “That entire two to three months that we had, I spent in the lab learning the different technologies, trying to decompose and trying to understand,” said Basnight, a retired Army staff sergeant who specialized in computer intelligence.

    The process allowed the Army to dig deeper into claims made on paper and “come to that ground-truth understanding of a system or a technology,” he said. “And from there is the only place that you can springboard into a solution.”

    It was meticulous work. Every application, network device, radio frequency signal, and other network component had to be boiled down to its actual performance. Then came gluing the pieces together.

    “It was fun. It was a geek’s fantasy,” Basnight said. “But it’s so intense.”

    Building a functioning network in time for the first NIE also required technical experts from various Army organizations and industry to look beyond their own systems and join forces for a common goal.

    “It was a leveling ground,” Basnight said. “For the first time since Force XXI, you had an activity with the right people on the ground, the actual experts, the people who could actually see beyond what somebody wrote down.”

    Together, the engineers produced an end-to-end network design that for the first time would deliver an integrated voice and data capability throughout the brigade combat team formation. That baseline has continued to evolve through subsequent NIEs.

    After running network operations for NIEs 11.2 and 12.1, Basnight has turned his focus to tactical radios, serving as the Technical Management Division Chief for PEO C3T’s Product Manager Network Systems. There, he is attacking a challenge similar to what he faced before the first NIE: evaluating numerous technologies from government and industry to ensure that they meet expectations and, if they don’t, figuring out a solution that does.

    “We’re trying to be on the edge of the Agile Process, and the only way that I know to do that is to continuously do discovery learning,” Basnight said. “We’re asking these guys with new technologies to come in, get us smart, and help us make informed decisions. [That way] we can provide our leadership with intelligence versus information. Information is just what it is. Intelligence actually leads to something accomplishable.”

    MAJ Naim Lee (center), Trail Boss for 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment, confers with other trail bosses during an NIE at Fort Bliss in September 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Travis McNeil.)

     

    MAJ Naim Lee

    Role and organization: Trail Boss for 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment, SOSI Directorate

    NIEs participated in: 3

    As the Army built its integration team for the NIEs, it faced something of a cultural divide between newly hired civilian engineers and the Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD).

    Lee helped bridge that gap.

    As a trail boss, Lee serves as the liaison between the acquisition and technical communities and the Soldiers who evaluate their equipment. He leads a group of engineers focused on the systems used by the 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment within 2/1 AD.

    “No one on my team had any military prior experience, so it’s like every day they learn something new about the military,” Lee said. “I try to get them a lot of face time with the unit so the Soldiers know who to go to as far as support.”

    Through three NIE cycles, Lee has had the satisfaction of watching his team members mature, not only in their understanding of military operations but also in their technical savvy about the network.

    “The knowledge base is definitely growing and getting a lot better,” he said. “A lot of them came in lacking knowledge, and when you’re lacking knowledge, you’re going to lack confidence. Now that they have the knowledge, now they have the confidence.”

    Before joining the acquisition workforce, Lee served as an infantry company commander in Iraq, where he deployed a total of four times.

    “We were a lot less blessed with equipment than what I’m seeing out there on the ground now,” at the NIEs, Lee said.

    That experience also influenced Lee’s leadership approach, ensuring that his team looks beyond individual systems to understand the big picture of how integrated communications gear will make a difference on the battlefield.

    “Although a lot of my team aren’t military, they do understand the importance of what they’re doing,” he said. “They come in motivated and give 100 percent effort every day to actually provide these Soldiers with the best equipment they can. That is definitely something I applaud them for.”

    The Prototype Integration Facility and other Army laboratories at Aberdeen Proving Ground support the NIE, Agile Process, and capability set development. The labs provide assessments that both inform the Army’s technology candidate selections and allow for necessary integration work to take place before insertion into the NIEs. (U.S. Army photo by Katie Cain.)

     

    Tim Selph

    Role and organization: DA civilian, PEO C3T

    NIEs participated in: 3

    Tim Selph knows how to juggle.

    As the NIE Operations and Integration Lead for PEO C3T, which supplies many of the core systems comprising the Army’s tactical communications network, Selph facilitates everything from training to system safety certification, to fielding and technical integration.

    With PEO C3T located at Aberdeen Proving Ground and Selph at Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range, he serves as a critical link to daily activities on the ground. Selph ensures that the right people are involved in the extensive and complex number of working groups and integrated product teams involved with NIE—several of which he leads himself—and pushes and pulls information to where it needs to go.

    “The ability to work within the team is paramount out at the NIEs, and the ability to form personal relationships and leverage people’s expertise is the only way to get things done,” said Selph, who has been working for PEO C3T since 2005 in various military, contractor, and now government civilian roles.

    Selph was drawn to military service in part by his father, who served in the U.S. Air Force. The younger Selph traveled around the world for roughly 10 years as an armor officer, serving along the demarcation line between East and West Germany, in the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm, and in Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. He understands Soldiers’ frustration with military technology lagging behind commercial industry.

    “I’m a big fan of the NIE objective of getting technology into the hands of the Soldier sooner,” Selph said. “The NIE is a great venue to test and turn things around, to see if certain technologies are of value to the military.”

    When Soldiers obtain their own commercial-off-the-shelf solutions in theater, multiple issues often arise with network interoperability and the ability to make efficient network upgrades, he said.

    “It behooves everybody to let the experts in procurement provide new technologies quickly through the NIE and get inside the unit’s decision cycle, so we’re fielding them viable equipment before they go out and look for it on their own,” Selph said. “That requires more of an Agile Process than we have used in the past.”

    Additional profiles appear in the July-September 2012 edition of Army AL&T Magazine, in the article “The New Acquisition Workforce – Getting Dirty and Making It Work,” starting on Page 42.

     


    • COL GAIL WASHINGTON is Project Manager Current for the SoSI Directorate. She holds a B.S. with a concentration in marketing from East Carolina University and an M.S. in information and resource management from Webster University. Washington is Level 3 certified in program management.

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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner

    Education and Training Opportunities

     

    The Acquisition Tuition Assistance Program (ATAP) announcement is open until July 31 to all eligible personnel in grades GS-11 through GS-15 or broadband/pay band equivalent positions who have met their current position certification requirement. ATAP is an amazing opportunity to complete either your bachelor’s or master’s degree during off-duty time and have the Army pay for it. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-tuition-assistance-program/.

    The Excellence in Government Fellowship (EIGF) announcement is open through Aug. 13 to all eligible personnel in grades GS-14 through GS-15 or broadband/pay band equivalent positions who have met their current position certification requirement. EIGF offers our senior acquisition workforce members the opportunity to network and team with fellow senior leaders from across the government. This program focuses on benchmarking best practices and then returning to your organization to implement them. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/excellence-in-government-fellows-program/.

    The Competitive Development Group – Army Acquisition Fellows (CDG/AAF) announcement will be open from Aug. 30 to Nov. 27 to all eligible personnel in grades GS-12 through GS-13 or broadband/pay equivalent positions who are Level III certified in any career field. The CDG/AAF Program is a three-year developmental program that offers assignments in program executive offices and offices of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology; Headquarters, U.S. Army Materiel Command; and functional organizations. In addition, the program provides expanded training, leadership, experiential, and other career development opportunities. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/competitive-development-group-army-acquisition-fellowship/announcements/.

    The Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program (ALCP) is the newest program in the Army’s Acquisition Education and Training Portfolio. Based upon the huge success that our sister service, the U.S. Air Force, has had with ALCP, we piloted multiple offerings of the 2.5-day course in FY12. For FY13, we are bringing the course to you. ALCP teaches that self-awareness is the key to both leadership and diversity development, and helps people to create an innovative culture through understanding each individual’s preferences and behaviors, paying close attention not only to how they interact with co-workers, but also to how others view them. This approach includes addressing people’s unconscious biases to help them discover new approaches to doing things, and emphasizes the strength and power in accepting individual differences to produce a stronger “whole.” The ALCP training will ensure that people can communicate with their supervisors through a common language and will help develop leaders who value individual styles and behaviors, creating a leadership corps that is more capable of critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, collaboration, creativity, and innovation.

    ALCP is broken into two separate, 2.5-day courses. ALCP I, for grades GS-12/13, focuses on the following areas:

    • 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, for GS-14/15, focuses on:

    • A comprehensive look at personal leadership strengths, weaknesses, preferences, styles, and behaviors.
    • Leadership styles and their effects on individual and team performance.
    • Dynamics of conflict: its 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.

    For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-leadership-challenge-program/.

    Look for announcements coming out shortly for early FY13 offerings.

    FY13 ALCP Plan

     

    DATE OFFERING TYPE (ALCP I or II)
    LOCATION
    Oct. 29 – Nov. 2 Level I & Level II Atlanta, GA
    Nov. 5-9 Level I & Level II Alexandria, VA
    Dec. 3-7 Level I & Level II Huntsville, AL
    Jan. 14-18, 2013 Level I & Level II Atlanta, GA
    Feb. 25 – March 1 Back-to-back Level I offerings Huntsville, AL
    March 11-15 Level I & Level II Huntsville, AL
    April 29 -May 3 Level I & Level II Aberdeen, MD
    May 20-24 Level I & Level II Atlanta, GA
    June 10-14 Back-to-back Level I offerings Warren, MI
    July 29 – Aug. 2 Level I & Level II Huntsville, AL
    Aug. 19-23 Back-to-back Level I offerings Aberdeen, MD

    Defense Acquisition University Training

     

    The FY13 Defense Acquisition University (DAU) class schedule has been available for registration since May 17. Students should continue to apply for courses available in FY12 and on the FY13 schedule. Planning and applying early will afford students a better chance of obtaining a class in the timeframe requested. Encourage your supervisor to approve your training request as soon as you apply. Students should view the DAU iCatalog at http://icatalog.dau.mil/onlinecatalog/AllPredecessor.aspx to ensure that they meet the prerequisite(s) before applying to a DAU course. Applications cannot be processed by the Army registrar’s office until the supervisor has approved the training.

    Apply through the Army Training Requirements (ATRRS) and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. For more information on DAU training, including systematic instructions, training priority definition, and frequently asked questions, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training/. Once you receive a confirmed reservation in the requested class, ensure that you attend the class as scheduled. Cancellations for a confirmed reservation must be requested at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or by the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier, to avoid a “no show.”

    DAU revised its student academic and administrative policies and procedures (Directive 704). The document supersedes and consolidates previous DAU student academic policies and procedures. You can view the revised directive at: https://myclass.dau.mil/bbcswebdav/institution/Courses/Deployed/01_CurriculumDocumentation/Student%20Info%20and%20Policy/DIR%20704%20Student%20Academic%20Policies.pdf.

    The AITAS help inquiry system stood down on June 4. Any workforce-related inquires, such as on DAU training, Individual Development Plans, and Acquisition Career Record Brief issues, should be submitted through the Workforce Management Inquiry system within CAMP/CAPPMIS (https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/). If you are logged into CAMP, click on “Help Request” for assistance. Otherwise, you may open a ticket without logging into CAMP at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/index.cfm?fuseaction=support.helpRequest.

    DAU provides a list of equivalencies for all courses it delivers and/or predecessor courses, which are considered acceptable toward meeting current acquisition career field certification requirements. To document equivalencies accepted by DAU that are obtained from non-Army schools, open a help desk ticket at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/index.cfm?fuseaction=support.helpRequest and ask that your Acquisition Career Record Brief be updated to reflect completion of DAU equivalent courses.

    The DAU virtual campus, ATLAS (https://learn.dau.mil) was offline July 3-4 due to a severe storm that hit the National Capital Region. As result of the downtime, DAU applied a 10-day automatic extension for all students currently enrolled in a Web and/or continuous learning module. Students who were disenrolled because their class expired during the outage were reenrolled and given a 10-day extension. All students affected were notified of their extension and restored access. If you experience issues with ATLAS or did not receive an email, please contact the DAU helpdesk at dauhelp@dau.mil or 866-568-6924 (DSN 655-3459).

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  • FAA Revises Rules Governing Unmanned Aircraft Systems in National Airspace

    Two newly assembled Gray Eagle UAS sit on the tarmac at Forward Operating Base Shank in Logar province, Afghanistan, April 12. (U.S Army photo by SGT Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)

    Michael P. Truman

    Revised rules from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in national airspace streamline the approval process and thereby expand opportunities for the Army to fly UAS.

    Federal, state, and local government entities must obtain an FAA Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) before flying UAS in national airspace. In a Jan. 13 memorandum accompanying Army Directive 2012-02, Supplemental Policy for Operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the National Airspace System (http://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/pdf/ad2012_02.pdf), Secretary of the Army John McHugh stated, “The Army’s unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) represent emerging technology that requires access to the National Airspace System. The Army intends to use UAS for warfighter training and directed mission support.”

    The revised rules, issued May 14, are in response to Public Law 112–95 (http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/reauthorization/media/PLAW-112publ95%5B1%5D.pdf) signed by President Obama on Feb. 14, requiring the FAA to develop a blueprint to safely integrate UAS in the skies above the United States by 2015.

    The FAA’s sole mission in integrating UAS is safety. FAA regulations require, in part, that “vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft.”

    In 2009, the FAA, NASA, and the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security formed a UAS Executive Committee to address UAS integration issues. The committee established a working group that developed suggestions to expedite the COA process. The recommendations implemented by the FAA include establishing metrics for tracking COAs throughout the process and improving the on-time rate for granting an authorization.

    The agency also developed an automated, Web-based process to streamline steps toward approval and ensure that a COA application is complete and ready for review. The agency already has expedited procedures to grant one-time COAs for time-sensitive emergency missions such as disaster relief and humanitarian efforts. Starting on March 29, the FAA introduced another improvement by changing the duration of authorization from the current 12-month period to 24 months.

    If the FAA disapproves a COA, the agency quickly addresses questions from the applicant and tries to provide alternate solutions that will lead to approval.

    PFC Christopher Sims, a Combat Engineer with the 449th Engineer Company, deploys a UAS at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA, March 20. The Puma, equipped with infrared cameras, is capable of flying ahead of route clearance patrols to identify potential threats. (U.S Army photo by SPC Devin Wood, 412th Theater Engineer Command.)

    The FAA’s sole mission in integrating UAS is safety. FAA regulations require, in part, that “vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft.” In theater, UAS have collided with other aircraft, and two large UAS have crashed domestically. In 2006, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Predator B crashed in the Arizona desert, and more recently, on June 11, a Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk went down into a marsh in southern Maryland.

    On June 4-8 and June 18-22, the Army demonstrated its Ground Based Sense and Avoid (GBSAA) System at Dugway Proving Ground, UT. The system uses earthbound radar to scan the skies for other aircraft, sending remote commands to a UAS in need of course corrections. The demonstrations illustrated GBSAA’s capabilities in multiple national airspace scenarios, said Viva Austin, Product Director for Unmanned Systems Airspace Integration Concepts (PD USAIC) in Program Executive Office Aviation. “Both the GBSAA test bed and the full system/concept demonstration turned out to be more successful than we could have hoped for,” Austin said.

    Bloomberg News has estimated that the UAS industry is worth nearly $6 billion and that by 2021, the amount could almost double with expansion into the civilian sector. With many of the UAS returning from theater in coming years after providing invaluable support in Iraq and Afghanistan, Army interest in UAS technology remains strong.

    Making GBSAA work to the FAA’s satisfaction is a crucial step for the Army to fly UAS routinely in national airspace. According to Austin, the PD USAIC is ready to ask the Directorate of Aviation Engineering within the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center to certify the GBSAA. After receiving certification, the next step would be applying for the FAA waiver, she said. “Once this system is certified, I think we have cleared a major hurdle. I think we’re there.”

     


    • MICHAEL P. TRUMAN provides contract support to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center through SAIC. He holds a B.A. in English from the University of North Florida and has attended the M.F.A. Program at George Mason University. He has worked in various communications capacities at the Missile Defense Agency; the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Test Resource Management Center; the Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation; and the Business Transformation Agency.

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