• Army Medical Agency, VA Sign Agreement on PTSD Studies

    Warriors from the 544th Engineer Company, 52nd Engineer Battalion perform triage for an “injured” Soldier during a demonstration at the Tactical Combat Casualty Care training lane of the Mountain Post Medical Simulation Training Center, Fort Carson, CO, Sept. 2, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Devin Fisher.)

    Carey Phillips

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common anxiety that can stem from any traumatic event. While there are medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat PTSD, they are not sufficiently effective in treating the combat-related PTSD commonly seen in service members and veterans.

    The Neurotrauma and Psychological Health Project Management Office (PMO) of the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity (USAMMDA) signed an interagency agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program (VACSP) to jointly conduct and support clinical studies of pharmacotherapeutics for the treatment of combat-related PTSD.

    “The interagency agreement between USAMMDA and VACSP structures how the agencies will collaborate,” said MAJ Gary Wynn, Research Psychiatrist with the Neurotrauma and Psychological Health PMO. “While the DoD may be funding the research effort, the VA is an equal partner in the project.

    Currently, two drugs are FDA-approved for treating PTSD. However, studies have shown that although these drugs have helped victims of PTSD, they are less than 50 percent effective in treating combat-related PTSD.

    “The VA is the primary location for veterans to receive care, so we need to be looking at their populations as well as those still on active duty,” Wynn said.

    USAMMDA and VACSP will collaborate in identifying and developing alternate indications for FDA-approved drugs used to treat other disorders.

    “While these drugs are FDA-approved, they are not approved for the treatment of PTSD,” said Wynn. “In fact, many of the drugs currently being used have little or no research supporting their off-label use in treating PTSD.”

    Currently, two drugs are FDA-approved for treating PTSD. However, studies have shown that although these drugs have helped victims of PTSD, they are less than 50 percent effective in treating combat-related PTSD. In addition, their side effects can be harmful.

    “These studies are vital to understand if and how [the drugs in the collaborative USAMMDA and VACSP study] should be used in service members and veterans,” said Wynn.
     


    • 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 Prepares to Field Networked Technologies to Deploying Brigade Combat Teams

    A Soldier from 2/1 AD uses the Joint Tactical Radio System Rifleman Radio to communicate during the NIE12.2. The Army’s network CS 13, to be fielded starting in October, will deliver unprecedented connectivity to the dismounted Soldier through the Rifleman, a two-pound radio carried by platoon-, squad-, and team-level Soldiers for voice communications that also links with handheld devices to transmit text messages, GPS locations, and other data. (U.S. Army photos by Claire Schwerin.)

    Katie Cain

    Having concluded its third Network Integration Evaluation (NIE), the Army is in the midst of synchronized fielding efforts for the first integrated group of advanced tactical communications technologies to deploying Soldiers beginning this October.

    This group of networked technologies, known as Capability Set (CS) 13, is composed of network components, associated equipment, and software that will deliver, for the first time, an integrated voice and data capability throughout the entire brigade combat team (BCT) formation, from the brigade commander to the tactical edge—the dismounted Soldier.

    The five-week NIE 12.2 validated the connectivity, architecture, and components of CS 13, the tactical network baseline that will extend the network down to the individual Soldier and significantly enhance Mission Command on-the-Move and Soldier Connectivity (Nett Warrior).

    “The Agile Process and three consecutive NIEs have built a very solid team across dozens of Army organizations. We are taking lessons learned from the NIEs and directly applying those to fielding CS 13 to the 10th Mountain and other units.”

    Agile Acquisition Process


    The NIE is a key enabler of the Army’s new Agile Acquisition Process, aimed at rapidly developing, acquiring, and fielding integrated mission command capabilities. This process allows the Army to assess capability gaps, rapidly form requirements, solicit mature industry solutions, and perform laboratory and field evaluations; taking years off the traditional acquisition timeline.

    The Army’s Capability Set fielding plan supports a synchronized vehicle and network fielding strategy, prioritizes capabilities for deployed forces, and improves alignment of limited resources.

    Beginning in October, the Army will field CS 13 to as many as eight BCTs, with priority going to deployed forces (three BCTs), units scheduled to deploy next (three BCT training sets), a forward-stationed brigade in Korea, and the 2nd Heavy BCT, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD).

    Key to this endeavor is bringing the Army’s program executive offices (PEOs) and program managers (PMs) together during the NIE/Agile Process using the Capability Set Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) for integration, production, and deployment. The IMS is the backbone of CS 13, synchronizing the network and vehicle PMs’ master schedules for integrating and fielding capability sets.

    MRAP Evaluation


    On May 1, the Army completed the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) final design review, which solidified how CS 13 assets will be integrated into that vehicle platform. MRAPs will be used in the first infantry BCT formations that will be equipped with CS 13.

    A Soldier from 2/1 AD runs in front of vehicles equipped with Warfighter Information Network – Tactical Increment 2 during NIE 12.2 at White Sands Missile Range in May. With the 3,800 Soldiers of 2/1 AD conducting a rigorous, intelligence-driven operational scenario against a battalion-size opposing force, the Army’s new tactical communications network allowed them to pass information rapidly across echelons; from the brigade tactical operations center down to the individual Soldier, using many of the assets in CS 13. Facing a hybrid threat of conventional forces, insurgents, criminals, and electronic warfare, the brigade executed combined arms maneuver, counterinsurgency, and stability operations.

    The NIE has been vital to validating MRAP network design and architecture. Soldier feedback during the NIE process has led to many design and user interface improvements that are being incorporated into the final MRAP configuration. Under the current construct, networked High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) platforms will be used as training sets by CONUS units as they prepare to deploy. Working with U.S. Army Research and Development Centers and industry, Capability Set fielding teams have nearly completed the HMMWV preliminary design review.

    Final engineering drawings for the first five “super configuration” MRAP prototype vehicles were finalized at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren, MI.

    On June 25, production of those first five vehicles equipped with CS 13 assets began at TARDEC. In August, these vehicles will be shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, where they will undergo safety release testing and network verification testing.

    “We are beginning to build and test the Capability Set 13 prototypes, which is an astronomical feat given that we started the production design only six months ago,” said Elizabeth Miller, Chief Engineer, Synchronized Fielding in the System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate.

    The remaining prototype vehicles to be equipped with CS 13 will be built at the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in Charleston, SC and the Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, TX. SPAWAR will build the MRAP production assets to support the October fielding of CS 13, while HMMWV training set production will be done at Red River.

    Unit Fielding Process


    As vehicle and system design and integration plans are finalized, equipping meetings with receiving units have swung into high gear. The first units to receive CS 13 will be two brigades in the 10th Mountain (MTN) Division. Recently, several key Army commands and staff offices including U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Materiel Command, U.S. Army Deputy Chiefs of Staff G-3/5/7 and G-8, SoSI, and several PEOs attended a three-day CS 13 Unit Equipping and Reuse Conference with the 3rd BCT, 10th MTN to develop, synchronize and schedule all CS 13 New Equipment Training/New Equipment Fielding (NET/NEF) requirements with the receiving brigade’s training schedule. New equipment training will begin with 10th MTN units in October.

    Following this conference, a two-day 4/10 MTN Synchronized Fielding Conference was held to update the unit’s NET/NEF schedule and long-range training calendar. Additionally, an IMS update took place with each CS 13 product manager to get a final lock on their training and fielding requirements, equipment delivery dates, and integration requirements, as well as to establish dependencies, predecessors, and successors for each event.

    “We are very excited about the great integrated capability that we will soon field to our brigade and Soldiers,” said LTC(P) Darby McNulty, SoSI. “The Agile Process and three consecutive NIEs have built a very solid team across dozens of Army organizations. We are taking lessons learned from the NIEs and directly applying those to fielding CS 13 to the 10th Mountain and other units.”

    After fielding CS 13, the Army will program to field up to six BCT sets of network equipment per year for the FY14-18 Program Objective Memorandum, to better synchronize its platform and network modernization efforts.

     


    • KATIE CAIN is a Media Relations Specialist for the Tolliver Group Inc. supporting the ASAALT SoSI Directorate. Cain holds a B.A. in applied arts in integrative public relations, with a minor in political science from Central Michigan University.

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  • The Army’s Integration Team

    Synchronized fielding is the outcome of the NIEs and the Agile Process, the Army’s new approach to rapidly developing, acquiring, and fielding integrated mission command capabilities. The service is synchronizing fielding efforts as it prepares to deliver CS 13 to deploying BCTs beginning in October. Shown here are networked vehicles at the NIE 12.2, which took place May 1 to June 8 at Fort Bliss, TX, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. (U.S. Army photos by Claire Schwerin.)

    Katie Cain

    On October 1, 2011, the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Integration (PEO I) transitioned to the System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate under the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASAALT), to manage system integration and the Army’s new acquisition model known as the Agile Process. SoSI became a subordinate organization of ASAALT.

    Reporting directly to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Systems Management at ASAALT headquarters, SoSI is part of continuing efforts to improve procurement practices, streamline requirements, better manage cost and schedule issues, integrate new technologies before they are sent to theater, and work more closely with industry.

    Today, SoSI leads the Army’s integration efforts from its headquarters at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD with supporting offices in Warren, MI, and Fort Bliss, TX. SoSI spearheads materiel and configuration management of the Army’s Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs), serves as a key adaptive acquisition team manager supporting the Agile Process, and leads the Capability Set Management synchronized fielding efforts.

    The Agile Process seeks technology improvements from both large and small industry partners to fill hardware and software needs as determined by requirements analysis and directly links to the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model. ARFORGEN is the systematic process whereby brigades equip, train, and deploy. The NIE is a key part of the Agile Process and synchronized fielding of Capability Set Management across the program executive offices (PEOs).

    The formation of SoSI was partly a result of acquisition recommendations arising from the 2010 Army Acquisition Review. This organizational change will help implement some of those recommendations, such as working more closely with industry, acquiring more technical data packages, and conducting integrated testing earlier and more often in the acquisition process. In addition, organizations within SoSI are working on improving the synchronization of requirements and acquisition procedures at the front end of the process, to ensure achievable, clearly defined cost and schedule goals.

    SoSI uses the family-of-systems approach to ensure integration and interoperability among Army programs of record, current force systems, urgent need systems and other doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development and education, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF) elements to achieve integrated unit capabilities for a full-spectrum force. This approach is to be implemented through development, acquisition, testing, product improvement, and fielding, while ensuring total ownership cost reduction.

    Reporting directly to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Systems Management at ASAALT headquarters, SoSI is part of continuing efforts to improve procurement practices, streamline requirements, better manage cost and schedule issues, integrate new technologies before they are sent to theater, and work more closely with industry.

    SoSI provides system engineering, integration, and test evaluation expertise to field fully integrated and tested Capability Sets composed of vehicles, network elements, equipment, and supporting infrastructure to modernize Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) and thereby achieve unprecedented joint combat capability in conjunction with the ARFORGEN process.

    Serving as the lead network architect and systems integrator for the NIEs, SoSI synchronizes the effort across the broader materiel development community, integrates and synchronizes services and support to all ASAALT and industry participants, and serves as the ASAALT single interface to the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) and the users: the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Brigade Modernization Command (BMC), and the 2nd Heavy BCT, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD), the 3,800 Soldier-strong brigade, based at Fort Bliss, who execute the NIEs.

    To support Capability Set Management and keep pace with industry’s rapid maturation of technology, the Army is transforming its current acquisition methods through a seven-phase Agile Process. Through the Agile Process, the Army assesses capability gaps, rapidly forms requirements, solicits mature industry solutions, and performs laboratory and field evaluations to inform acquisition decisions.

    SoSI leads three of the seven phases: Phase 1 (Solicit Potential Solutions), Phase 2 (Candidate Assessment), and Phase 4 (Network Integration Rehearsal). The Agile Process allows the Army to keep pace with industry and technological advances, reduce the amount of time and resources necessary to respond to the rapid changes in Soldier requirements, incrementally improve the network over time, and provide deployed units with better capabilities more quickly and in a more cost-effective manner.

    The output of the Agile Process is synchronized fielding. SoSI is synchronizing the implementation and fielding of Capability Set (CS) 13, composed of vehicles, network components, and associated equipment and software that will deliver an integrated voice and data capability throughout an entire BCT formation.

    Through the NIEs and Agile Process, SoSI ensures that CS 13, slated for fielding to deploying BCTs starting in FY13, is integrated and sustainable. This is the first time the Army has fielded fully integrated sets of network capability, thus necessitating business and organizational changes to support the development and fielding efforts.

    SoSI spearheads materiel and configuration management of the Army’s Network Integration Evaluations, serves as a key adaptive acquisition team manager supporting the Agile Process, and leads the Capability Set Management synchronized fielding efforts.

    NIE 12.2 was the third and largest such event the Army has held to date, requiring the 2/1 AD to assess the network’s performance while stretched across vast distances and punishing terrain at White Sands Missile Range. Soldier feedback and test results from NIE 12.2 will validate and finalize CS 13, the first integrated package of tactical communications gear that will be fielded to eight brigade combat teams starting in October. The integrated package of radios, satellite systems, software applications, smartphone-like devices, and other network components supported 2/1 AD as the unit spread across the desert and mountains to complete its mission.

    CURRENT PROGRAMS

     
    PM Current
    Project Manager (PM) Current is the SoSI office responsible for NIE execution and system integration at Fort Bliss. Headed by COL Gail Washington and consisting of system engineers, materiel integrators, logisticians, and technical experts in command, control, communications, and computers, the PM office is the materiel integrator, configuration manager, and systems engineering lead for the NIE. PM Current also manages industry field service representative support to the NIEs and acts as the official SoSI representative to the NIE “TRIAD” management team for materiel issues. The TRIAD comprises personnel from SoSI, ATEC, and the BMC.

    Futures Directorate
    The Futures Directorate, led by Kelly Alexander, is headquartered in the National Capital Region. Futures is responsible for ASAALT management of the Agile Process. Supporting this process, the Futures Directorate solicits solutions to capability gaps from industry and government organizations for potential participation in the NIE process, manages early solution evaluations across all stakeholders, conducts competition, and oversees integration and configuration management across the PEO community.

    One of the directorate’s key functions is leading stakeholders in assessing responses to the Army’s solicitations and proposing candidates to be evaluated in an NIE. The directorate also leads the drafting and release of sources sought notifications and requests for proposals for mature capability solutions to participate in a NIE event. After the evaluation and integration work is over at command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance labs at Aberdeen Proving Ground, SoSI manages the configuration and transitions to Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range, NM for NIE integration and training.

    Synchronized Fielding Directorate
    SoSI’s Synchronized Fielding Directorate maintains configuration management of the final Capability Set technical network baseline approved during the NIE process and manages the Capability Set Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) for production and deployment. The directorate uses the IMS to coordinate individual fielding among PEOs, program managers, U.S. Army Forces Command, G-8, and the gaining BCTs, while maintaining sustainment planning and asset handoff to the gaining unit.

    In addition, the Synchronized Fielding team coordinates with system program managers for maturation of B-kit components and with platform program managers for maturation of A-kit components, seeking proper integration of both.


    • KATIE CAIN is a Media Relations Specialist for the Tolliver Group Inc. supporting the ASAALT SoSI Directorate. Cain holds a B.A. in applied arts in integrative public relations, with a minor in political science from Central Michigan University.

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  • The Optimal Program Structure

    Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, shown speaking at a ceremony in his honor at the Pentagon June 22. (DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo.)

    This article first appeared in the July-August issue of Defense AT&L Magazine (http://www.dau.mil/pubscats/Pages/DefenseAtl.aspx).

    Frank Kendall

    Not too long ago, I was asked during a Q&A session with one of the courses at DAU what I thought the optimal program structure was. The question itself suggests a misunderstanding of how programs should be structured, and more importantly, it may be an example of a type of behavior that I’ve seen too much of in the past two years since I came back to government service.

    The answer to the question is either: (A) There is none, or (B) There are an infinite number. There is no one best way to structure a program. Every program has its own best structure, and that structure is dependent on all the many variables that contribute to program success or failure. To paraphrase and invert Tolstoy, happy programs are each happy in their own way, and unhappy programs tend to be unhappy in the same ways.

    As I went around the country a year ago to discuss the Better Buying Power initiatives with the workforce, one thing I tried to emphasize repeatedly was that the BBP policies were not set in stone. All were subject to waiver. The first responsibility of the key leaders in the acquisition workforce is to think. One of the many reasons that our key leaders have to be true professionals who are fully prepared to do their jobs by virtue of education, training, and experience is that creative, informed thought is necessary to optimize the structure of a program. The behavior I’m afraid I’ve seen too much of is the tendency to default to a “school solution” standard program structure. I’ve seen programs twisted into knots just to include all the milestones in the standard program template.

    Every program has its own best structure, and that structure is dependent on all the many variables that contribute to program success or failure.

    I’m guessing that there are two reasons our leaders would do this: first, because they don’t know any better, and second, because they believe it’s the only way to get their program approved and through the “system.” Neither of these leads to good outcomes, and neither is what I expect from our acquisition professionals.

    So how does one determine how to best structure a program? Whether you are a PM, or a chief engineer, or a contracting officer, or a life cycle support manager, you have to start in the same place. You begin with a deep understanding of the nature of the product you intend to acquire. The form of the program has to follow the function the program will perform: developing and acquiring a specific product. The nature of the product should be the most significant determiner of program structure. How mature is the technology that will be included in the product? What will have to be done to mature that technology, and how much risk is involved? In addition to the technology that is included, how complicated will the design be? Is it like other designs that we have experience with, or is it novel? How difficult are the integration aspects of building the product? Is the manufacturing technology also mature, or will work have to be done to advance it prior to production?

    These questions on a large scale will begin the process of determining if a technology development phase is needed prior to the start of engineering and manufacturing development. They will also affect the duration of these phases, if used, and the number of test articles and types of testing that will have to be performed to verify the performance of the design.

    Beyond a deep understanding of the product itself and the risk inherent in developing and producing it, one must consider a range of other factors that will influence program structure. How urgently is the product needed? How prepared is industry to design and produce the product? How much uncertainty is there about the proper balance of cost and capability? What are the customer’s priorities for performance? What resource constraints will affect program risk (not just financial resources, but also availability of competitors, time, and expertise in and out of government)? Is cost or schedule most important, and what are the best ways to control them on this program? What is the right balance of risk and incentives to provide to the contractors to get the results the government wants?

    We are not in an easy business. This is, in fact, rocket science in many cases. As I look at programs coming through the acquisition process, my fundamental concern is that each program be structured in a way that optimizes that program’s chances of success. There is no one solution. What I’m looking for fundamentally is the evidence that the program’s leaders have thought carefully about all of the factors that I’ve mentione—and many others. I look for that evidence in the nature of the product the program is acquiring and in the structure the program’s leaders have chosen to use. The thinking (and the supporting data) that went into determining that specific and often unique structure is what I expect to see in an acquisition strategy, and it is what I expect our leaders to be able to explain when they present their program plans.


    • FRANK KENDALL is the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. He has more than 40 years’ experience in engineering, management, defense acquisition, and national security affairs in private industry, government, and the military. A Distinguished Graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Kendall also holds a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the California Institute of Technology, an M.B.A. from the C.W. Post Center of Long Island University, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Kendall is a former member of the Army Science Board and the Defense Intelligence Agency Science and Technology Advisory Board, and has been a consultant to the Defense Science Board and a Senior Advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Kendall spent 10 years on active duty with the Army, serving in Germany, teaching engineering at West Point, and in research and development positions.

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