• S&T Notebook: A Two-Year Tenure Winds Down

    Mike Cook of ATC discusses the Roadway Simulator with Dr. Fish. (Photo by Dana Fritts, Protocol Specialist, ATC)

    Dr. Scott Fish

    This is the final 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.

    As part of our efforts to expand the Army’s awareness of S&T Initiatives outside the Army, Ms. Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, and I visited Sandia National Laboratories on Aug. 23. We were met by Dr. Jeff Isaacson, Vice President for Defense Systems and Assessments, and Dr. Jerry L. McDowell, Deputy Laboratories Director and Executive Vice President for National Security Programs.

    They provided an overview of Sandia’s current research and development (R&D) initiatives and transitioning technologies, while showing us some of their unique laboratories with projects of relevance to the Army mission. In return, we discussed ways to enhance the strategic relationship between Sandia and the Army. This was a very fruitful visit.

    The following week, I traveled to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, to attend a meeting of the Air Force Research Council, a gathering of the Air Force’s Chief Scientists, at the invitation of the AFRL Chief Technologist, Dr. Jennifer Ricklin. We had an excellent discussion on sensors, munitions, materials and manufacturing, and information. I talked about the Army’s work in these areas and gave them an overview of our S&T portfolio.

    We must continue to be diligent in this area, as budgets and trends in the complexity of our equipment continue to reduce our ability to verify everything by direct physical measurement.

    I also met with Maj Gen William N. McCasland, the AFRL Commander, to discuss increased cross-service S&T collaboration. I was able to tour several AFRL labs and facilities, discussing their programs. I was particularly impressed with how the various Air Force directorates think through and articulate their efforts within the Air Force Strategic Plan. They were terrific hosts.

    On Aug. 30, Air Force Chief Scientist Dr. Mark Maybury presented to Secretary Shyu, and a host of Army cyber-related organizations, work on an Air Force study he’s leading to provide a strategic focus in the cyberspace domain. Cyber Vision 2025 connects current National Strategy with future trends and challenges; it focuses on cyber as a domain, with air and space command and control functions within that cyber domain. The product clearly had parallel implications for the Army and engendered a lively discussion with the presentation participants.

    The next week I accompanied Ms. Shyu on a long-planned visit to the U.S. Army Cyber Command and received an overview of Army efforts in the cyberspace domain. Cyberspace will continue to be of national, military, and economic concern with no shortage of future work in that area.

    The week of Sept. 10 was a busy one. The Army Science Board briefed both the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, LTG Dennis L. Via, and Secretary of the Army John McHugh, on the results of the board’s latest study, “Strategic Direction for Army Science and Technology.” The study contains recommendations derived from looking at the current S&T environment and familiar trends, such as the growing global and industrial investment in technology. It also looks hard at how to enhance the transition of S&T while providing more focus for our S&T Enterprise.

    I started the next week in Warren, MI, with a visit to the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC), where Dr. Paul Rogers has just taken over as Director. I spent time with him and his leadership team getting an update on TARDEC’s work in protection, energy, and robotics. Dr. Rogers and I talked about how to enable his team to continue innovating and providing mechanisms for transitioning advancements to industry faster and more easily.

    Steve Knott (left), Associate Director of Ground System Survivability at TARDEC, discusses recent advances with Dr. Fish. (Photo by Bruce J. Huffman, Public Affairs Officer, TARDEC)

    I also received an update on underbody blast simulation work, and we discussed what TARDEC and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory are learning with these tools, where experimental validation is strong, and where improvements are needed. It was time well spent.

    I was particularly impressed with how the various Air Force directorates think through and articulate their efforts within the Air Force Strategic Plan.

    At the end of the week, I accepted an invitation to tour the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center (ATC), Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, from the new ATC Commander, COL Gordon Graham. Though I have interacted with many individual ATC personnel and participated in several tests there, I was surprised by the breadth and depth of ATC’s work. The increased use of modeling and simulation to help guide test planning, and the focus on the most productive tests to perform, are encouraging.

    We must continue to be diligent in this area, as budgets and trends in the complexity of our equipment continue to reduce our ability to verify everything by direct physical measurement.

    I was also impressed with the attitude of the project managers, who are finding ways to streamline validation and verification processes earlier in the acquisition cycle and link up with testing being conducted at contractor sites to shrink overall program timelines and cost. This is not easy; it requires continued engagement and clever strategy to maximize opportunities for confident development and certification of equipment for our warfighters. ATC has a great team and is doing critical work for our Army.

    This month ends my two-year tenure as the Army Chief Scientist. The experience has been great fun, and I’ve had the chance to shape some very interesting technical investigations across the realm of Army R&D. During this time, I’ve also had the chance to initiate activities both internal to the Army as well as external, and work through some of the typical growing pains of starting a new office in the Pentagon.

    Stay tuned for the selection of my successor by Secretary Shyu, whom I wish the very best, and who I expect will be able to take the Army Chief Scientist Office to an even higher level of utility. I now look forward to returning to Austin and initiating new activity with the University of Texas.

     


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  • A User-Friendly Common Warfighter Machine Interface

    The IAMD Project Office of PEO MS conducts quarterly Warfighter Participation Events. Participating Soldiers are exposed to various prototype designs of the icons and navigation ribbons to which they could be exposed in the CWMI, and are tested to gauge their ability to interface with the CWMI. (Photo courtesy of IAMD Project Office)

    MAJ Scott Gill

    Warfighter Participation Events (WPEs) are taking place to collect Soldier feedback to develop a user-friendly Common Warfighter Machine Interface (CWMI) to the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) of the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense. A user-friendly CWMI will optimize tasks and decision-making capability, minimize training requirements and manpower, and ultimately maximize operational effectiveness.

    Technological effectiveness is contingent on the user’s ability to interact with and influence the machine. This is especially true when it comes to the warfighter’s interaction with the CWMI of the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (AIAMD) architecture. AIAMD integrates Air Defense Artillery (ADA) sensors, weapons, and a common mission command across a single Integrated Fire Control Network (IFCN), providing a “plug and fight” capability that supplies distributed battle management functionality to enable net-centric operations of the IBCS.

    The AIAMD project currently under development by the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Project Office of Program Executive Office Missiles and Space (PEO MS) is critical to the ADA warfighter as well as the PEO MS portfolio. In order for the IBCS to be effective when it is fielded in 2016, it is imperative that the warfighter be able to interface ergonomically with the IBCS-CWMI.

    Because the ADA warfighter must make decisive combat decisions under severe time constraints and environmental conditions, it is critical that the CWMI be extremely user-friendly.

    Functional Capabilities
    The IBCS is the common mission command element of the AIAMD that provides the functional capabilities to control and manage the AIAMD sensors and weapons via an IFCN operated from the Engagement Operations Centers. The IBCS enables the ADA warfighter to achieve mission objectives in a Modular Open System Architecture environment by providing the capability to control the fight across all sensors and shooters on the IFCN, eliminating “single points of failure.”

    It also provides the potential for greater integration of offensive and defensive fires, and the ability to fully leverage joint platforms. This integration of sensors and shooters under a common mission command enables the ADA warfighter to defend the airspace metaphorically with a unified closed fist, versus the open-fingered stovepipe of the legacy ADA systems whereby the sensors and shooters were not integrated across a common network.

    This graphic describes the seven-step process used to improve the CWMI. Under this process, Soldiers present feedback on the software, which is then incorporated into the design of the next version. (Graphic courtesy of IAMD Project Office)

    Despite the increased capability that AIAMD brings to the warfighter, IBCS effectiveness is contingent upon the warfighter’s ability to interact with the system, making the ergonomics of the CWMI critical to the effectiveness of the IBCS and, ultimately, the AIAMD concept.

    The CWMI is the point where the warfighter integrates with the IBCS and is the warfighter’s sole interface into all functions and data of the IBCS. The CWMI is the handle to the IBCS hammer.

    Because the ADA warfighter must make decisive combat decisions under severe time constraints and environmental conditions, it is critical that the CWMI be extremely user-friendly. For this reason, the CWMI is the only standardized user interface being developed by the IAMD Project Office. This eliminates disparate approaches to user interfaces, simplifies training, and increases survivability, tactical effectiveness, and force efficiency through a common, user-tailorable interface.

    Gathering User Feedback
    One of the IAMD Project Office’s greatest tools to acquire data to improve the CWMI’s ergonomics is through the conduct of quarterly WPEs. Having the system operators involved in development of the CWMI from the outset, to ensure that the end product is designed to meet Soldiers’ needs, is an innovative approach to spiral software development in user integration for PEO MS.

    Soldiers’ feedback is critical in the development of a user-friendly system, because users define their own ergonomic preferences based on their professional lessons learned. The WPEs are designed to capture these preferences, making them critical to the spiral development of the CWMI software.

    The CWMI is the point where the warfighter integrates with the IBCS and is the warfighter’s sole interface into all functions and data of the IBCS. The CWMI is the handle to the IBCS hammer.

    To ensure continuous user feedback and product improvement, the spiral development of the software employs the CWMI User-Centered Design seven-step process. Under this process, a software version is presented to the warfighter at the WPE to collect feedback, which is then incorporated into the CWMI design of the next version to be presented at the following WPE. This cycle is repeated until the final version is developed.

    The IAMD Project Office has conducted six WPEs over the past year and a half. Soldiers of relevant grade and Military Occupational Specialty participate in the WPEs, providing strong feedback consistent with their experience and level of responsibility. Participants are exposed to various prototype designs of the icons and navigation ribbons to which they could be exposed in the CWMI, and are tested to gauge their ability to interface with the CWMI based on the various designs.

    Several methods are used to test the ability to interface, such as interviews, focus groups, exercise observations, qualitative studies using interactive prototype alternatives, quantitative measures such as mouse clicks or error rates, and timed accuracy.

    When the IBCS is fielded in 2016, the warfighter will receive an ergonomically sound, user-friendly system designed by the warfighter for the warfighter, achieving the desired goal of maximum effectiveness and efficiency in AIAMD mission command.
     


    • MAJ SCOTT GILL is the Assistant Product Manager for the IBCS Engagement Operations Centers in the IAMD Project Office of PEO MS. He holds a B.A. in international affairs from the University of Cincinnati and an M.B.A. from Trident University International. Gill is Level III certified in program management. He is a U.S. Army Acquisition Corps member.

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  • DOD, VA to Fund Consortia Studying Combat-Related PTSD and TBI

    CPL Ian Stauffer, who suffered a leg injury from a bomb in Afghanistan, and PFC Kerry Cain, who suffered a brain injury, talk at Brooke Army Medical Center’s Warrior and Family Support Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX, Nov. 10, 2011. (DOD photo by Linda Hosek)

    In support of Presidential Executive Order 13625, Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families, signed Aug. 31, DOD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are combining more than $100 million to fund two new consortia aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    Once in place, the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD (CAP) and the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC) will be jointly managed by the VA and by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) on behalf of DOD.

    “Traumatic brain injury has been identified as the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and ensuring the best possible care for those affected service members is a high priority.”

    “PTSD and mTBI are two of the most devastating injuries suffered by our warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan, and identifying better treatments for those impacted is critical,” said Dr. Terry Rauch, Program Director for Defense Medical Research and Development within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. “These consortia will bring together leading scientists and researchers devoted to the health and welfare of our Nation’s service members and veterans.”

    More than 15 percent of service members and veterans suffer impaired functioning as a result of PTSD. CAP will study potential indicators of the trauma, as well as prevention strategies, possible interventions, and improved treatments. Biomarker-based researched will be a key factor in CAP’s studies.

    “The long-term consequences of traumatic brain injury and the relationship to post-traumatic stress are poorly understood. This consortium will lead the way in improving the understanding and developing treatment strategies,” said COL Dallas Hack, Director of the Combat Casualty Care Research Program within the Medical Research and Materiel Command.

    A primary goal of CENC is to understand the aftereffects of an mTBI. The consortium also will study potential co-morbidities, conditions that are associated with a neurotrauma and worsen because of it.

    “Traumatic brain injury has been identified as the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and ensuring the best possible care for those affected service members is a high priority,” said Dr. Joel Kupersmith, VA’s Chief Research and Development Officer. “Likewise, PTSD is an ongoing concern for our veterans, whether they experience it while serving in the military or many years later. Defining and developing potential treatments is critical to the health of our veterans.”

    For more information on the consortia, including the full description of each award, eligibility, submission deadlines, and General Application Instructions, go to http://www.grants.gov and http://cdmrp.army.mil.
     


    • —CDMRP Public Affairs

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  • U.S. Army Intelligence Flexes New Software Capabilities During Enterprise Challenge

    Students and instructors from the U.S. Army Geospatial Intelligence Analyst Course at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence get a close look at the ground terminal station of the DCGS-A Aug. 30 during EC 12 at Fort Huachuca. (Photo by Ray K. Ragan)

    Ray K. Ragan

    The primary U.S. Army intelligence system demonstrated some of its capabilities for program managers and military intelligence students alike during Exercise Enterprise Challenge 2012 (EC12), which concluded Sept. 7 at Fort Huachuca, AZ.

    EC12 allowed agencies within DOD, including coalition partners, to test new and existing technologies in an operationally realistic environment. The exercise was executed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency under the authority of the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Programs, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD(I)). Several locations hosted this year’s exercise, including the Fort Huachuca test site of the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC).

    One of this year’s featured systems was the Army’s Distributed Common Ground System – Army (DCGS-A). This system allows Soldiers and intelligence analysts to share information across a broader intelligence network that integrates with other services for real-time information and intelligence sharing.

    Intelligence on the move enables commanders to make combat decisions as DCGS-A provides information and intelligence from multiple sources, along with full-motion video and maps of the battlespace.

    For MAJ Shermoan Daiyaan, participation in EC12 was a welcome opportunity. Daiyaan is the Assistant Product Manager for the DCGS-A Tactical Intelligence Ground Station within the Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors. He is the Army’s Lead for EC12.

    “There’s basically a DCGS for each of the services, including SOF [Special Operations Forces],” said Daiyaan. Enterprise Challenge “is an opportunity and venue for all of us [in the DCGS family] to start sharing data, to work together toward being more interoperable.”

    During this year’s exercise, Daiyaan said, DCGS-A had four major objectives to accomplish: to document feedback from Soldiers on the ease of use of the system; mitigate risk on a test cloud network; work with JITC for information exchange and interoperability capabilities; and develop tactics, techniques, and procedures on how to perform intelligence on the move.

    Gary C. Wang (left), Director, ISR Programs within the USD(I), receives a briefing Aug. 28 from SPC Marquis D. Lane, Tactical Intelligence Ground Station Operator with the Development, Test, and Training Detachment, HHC, USAIC and Fort Huachuca, before a nighttime demonstration of DCGS-A’s intelligence-on-the-move capability. (Photo courtesy of Michael Gaun, 2nd Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment)

    Intelligence on the Move
    During the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army adopted a counterinsurgency strategy to combat the realities of those battlespaces. At the core of this strategy is the ability to share information and to use that information to develop intelligence that directs operations.

    While the strategy was developed and refined along with the information-sharing capabilities, some were less-practiced capabilities, such as intelligence on the move, said LTC Derrick C. Smits, Commander, Development, Test, and Training Detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), U.S. Army Intelligence Center (USAIC) and Fort Huachuca.

    Intelligence on the move enables a combat unit commander to understand what both enemy and friendly units are doing in the battlespace as the combat units advance. As seen in these recent conflicts, friendly units now include other services, as well as ally and coalition units. Intelligence on the move enables commanders to make combat decisions as DCGS-A provides information and intelligence from multiple sources, along with full-motion video and maps of the battlespace.

    “For the last 10 years, this has been a lost skill, because we just haven’t practiced it,” Smits said. “You have a whole generation of lieutenants and captains who haven’t done this type of fight.”

    Testing DCGS-A
    During EC12, DCGS-A was able to collect electronic intelligence, report Moving Tracking Indicator, and integrate full-motion video, all while on the move. The test also included a demonstration of nighttime intelligence-on-the-move capability, to create a challenging environment. “We were able to meet our time standards for being able to set up antennas in 10 minutes,” said Smits.

    In the last days of EC12, approximately 40 students and instructors from the U.S. Army Geospatial Intelligence Analyst Course at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence saw a demonstration of this newest version of DCGS-A as well as the terminal station, which provides data connectivity.

    This was the first time that SFC Anthony E. Beck, Phase 1 Lead for the two-phase course, saw DCGS-A in action.

    “The updated tracking capability it has, the tracking mechanism for Moving Target Indicator, the user interface for that has changed so much now [that] when they showed it to me today, it just about blew my mind,” said Beck, a 16-year veteran of Army Intelligence.

    This was also the first time to see DCGS-A for student PFC Zachary T. Ossman. “A lot of the new programs make it [intelligence analysis] a lot easier,” Ossman said.

     


    • RAY K. RAGAN is the contract Public Affairs Officer for JITC. He holds a B.S. in information technology from the University of Phoenix (traditional campus at Phoenix), a master of administration with a concentration in project management from Northern Arizona University, and the Project Management Professional credential from the Project Management Institute. Ragan is a Civil Affairs and Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and formerly an Information Management and Signal Officer in the Army National Guard.

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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner

    Introducing DACM News

    We are proud to present the new Director, Acquisition Career Management (DACM) News, an online newsletter providing pertinent and timely career development information to the Army Acquisition Workforce on new offerings, changes, and opportunities in one document. The first DACM newsletter is at http://asc.army.mil/web/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/DACM_Newsletter_Sept12.pdf.

    Education and Training Opportunities

    The Competitive Development Group – Army Acquisition Fellows (CDG/AAF) announcement will be open through Nov. 15 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 provides expanded training, leadership, experiential, and other career development opportunities. More information is at 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 our sister service the U.S. Air Force has had with ALCP, we piloted multiple offerings of the 2½-day course in FY12. For FY13, we are bringing the course to you. For more information on how to apply, go to http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-leadership-challenge-program/. Below is the FY13 ALCP training dates by location:

    FY13 ALCP Plan

    DATE Offering TYPE
    (ALCPI or II)
    LOCATION
    Jan. 14-18 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
    Students should continue to apply for available FY13 Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses. Planning and applying early will give 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. To view the DAU I-catalog, go to http://icatalog.dau.mil and ensure that you meet the prerequisite(s) before applying to a DAU course. A weekly low-fill listing is posted at http://icatalog.dau.mil/onlinecatalog/tabnav.aspx, affording students the opportunity to attend classes coming up in the next 60 days. Low-fill classes are available on a first-come, first-served basis within that 60-day period.

    Applications cannot be processed by the Army registrar’s office until your supervisor has approved the training. Apply through the Army Training Requirements and Resources System (ATRRS) Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. For more information on DAU training, including systematic instructions, training priorities, and frequently asked questions, go to http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/default.cfm. After receiving a confirmed reservation in the requested class, ensure that you attend the class as scheduled. Cancellation requests for a confirmed reservation must be submitted at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or by the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier, to avoid a “no show.”


    Through Sept. 30, students will be prohibited from applying to the DAU Rolling Admission Web Courses and Continuous Learning Modules in ATRRS AITAS. DAU is taking the system down to load the new FY13 online courses. Resident course registration will not be affected during this time. Students will again be able to apply for FY13 rolling admission and Web classes Oct. 1.


    Any workforce-related inquires, such as on DAU training, Individual Development Plans, and Acquisition Career Record Briefs (ACRBs), should be submitted through the Workforce Management Inquiry system within Career Acquisition Management Portal/Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAMP/CAPPMIS), at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/. Once 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 listing of equivalencies, at http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx, for all courses delivered by DAU and/or predecessor courses that 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 request that your ACRB be updated to reflect completion of DAU equivalent course(s). On Sept. 4, the university approved the very first DAU equivalent vendor, Trio Consulting LLC, accredited to teach BCF 211, Acquisition Business Management. Students interested in taking the BCF211 DAU-equivalent course should contact the vendor directly. For more information, go to http://www.trio-consulting.com/services/certified-dau-training/bcf-211-acquisition-business-management/.


    The end of the fiscal year is fast approaching; Acquisition workforce members who have not meet their Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) position requirements should apply for certification through the Certification Management System at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/. Certification requirements can change each fiscal year; changes normally are effective Oct. 1. For certification requirements, facts, and frequently asked questions, go to http://icatalog.dau.mil/onlinecatalog/CareerLvl.aspx.


    DAU is developing a new Student Information System to replace the current distinct DAU registration systems for DOD. PORTICO, the official name of this acquisition workforce initiative, is a commercial-off-the-shelf, Web-based system that integrates critical capabilities including career training management, schedule development, course registration, and DAWIA transcripts and reporting.

    PORTICO will interface with DAU and sister DOD systems, ATRRS, and CAMP/CAPPMIS. PORTICO will standardize functionality and capability for all services. For Army students, the system will completely replace the current AITAS student registration system at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. It will allow a better user experience and more transparency and up-to-date status information for students applying for DAU courses. Army workforce members will be able to authenticate using a DOD common access card.

    PORTICO’s release is scheduled for the fourth quarter of FY13. For more information on PORTICO and the latest PORTICO newsletter, go to www.dau.mil/sis.


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  • ACC Recruiting Recent College Grads in Rapid-Fire Hiring Campaign

    Recent college graduates looking for a career in Army contracting should keep an eye on Armyhire.com for a series of rapid-fire job announcements, according to U.S. Army Contracting Command’s (ACC’s) human capital director.

    ACC will be hiring up to 150 recent college graduates to fill entry-level positions at a number of U.S. locations, said Bill Baxter, ACC Deputy Chief of Staff, Human Capital/G-1. The jobs will be posted on Armyhire.com, the command’s civilian employee recruiting website. A number of hiring authorities will be used to make tentative job offers quickly, he said.

    “We’re looking for the brightest and most talented people to join our team of world-class contracting professionals to help transform the way the Army buys its goods and services,” Baxter said.

    He said the entry-level positions will be available at the GS-7 pay grade. Selected applicants will be assigned to the contract specialist career field.

    Baxter confirmed that ACC is still in the midst of a command-wide hiring pause for most of its civilian vacancies, but he explained that the entry-level positions are being funded by Headquarters Army Civilian Training, Education, and Development System to help manage future attrition in the contracting career field.

    Applicants must have a current copy of their college transcripts and an up-to-date résumé at USAJOBS.gov. They will also be required to complete an online assessment.

    “We’re looking for the brightest and most talented people to join our team of world-class contracting professionals to help transform the way the Army buys its goods and services.”

    Applicants should be “energetic and highly motivated graduates,” Baxter said, with strong math, analytic, and communication skills. They must meet the following requirements:
    • Have a bachelor’s degree.
    • Be a U.S. citizen.
    • Have a cumulative GPA of 2.95 or higher.
    • Be able to obtain and maintain a secret security clearance.
    • Have a minimum of 24 academic hours in business-related disciplines such as accounting, finance, economics, or marketing.

    For more information and to review job postings, go to http://armyhire.com/entry-level.

     


    • —ACC Public Affairs

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  • U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Selects 51C NCOs

    (SOURCE: USAASC)

    Langston W. Willis

    A reclassification board has selected 37 NCOs for reclassification into Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 51C, Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Contracting. The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) convened the board—with members from the Defense Contract Management Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Army Contracting Command— Aug. 14-15.

    The primary mission of 51C NCOs is to deploy as contingency contracting officers and serve as members of the early-entry module contingency contracting team. The Army established the classification in December 2006 to meet an increasing need for contingency contracting officers in the modular force. The number of 51C NCOs has risen from 247 at the end of FY10 to the current 368.

    A change in how the Army logistically supports its operations is the reason for the increase in 51C numbers. “The Army is more dependent on contracting for its logistical and sustainment needs than ever before,” explained LTC Anthony Maneri, Functional Area 51C Proponency Officer. “Especially in a deployed environment, they prefer military personnel to do contracting. In the future, there are going to be a lot more services that are contracted. This helps keep the Army’s end strength down and overall costs to the US taxpayer to be lower.”

    “The board has three main metrics: time in service, education, and performance. That helps us to paint a picture of a well-rounded Soldier, which is what the Army is looking for.”

    Reclassification Goals
    USAASC has been conducting the board in its current format for two years, with the 51C Reclassification Board convening once every quarter. The selection rate and number of NCOs considered for reclassification vary, depending on the number of packets received.

    In FY11, 234 application packets were received and 88 NCOs were selected, an acceptance rate of 37.6 percent.

    The FY12 goal was to select 95, and USAASC was able to surpass that number.
    The last two boards received about 100 applicants each, with 283 total applicants in FY12. Of those applicants, 107 NCOs from 27 different MOS fields were chosen, a selection rate of 37.8 percent. USAASC’s FY13 goal is to select approximately 160 applicants to reach a projected NCO strength of 632.

    Eligibility
    Applicants for 51C reclassification must be in the rank of sergeant (eligible for promotion to staff sergeant) or staff sergeant with less than 10 years of service. Those with more than 10 years’ but less than 13 years’ service may receive waivers. Ideal candidates have good job performance, some college education (50-60 credits), and six to seven years of time in service.

    Among the FY12 applicants, 21 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 63 percent have more than 60 credit hours. The majority have less than 10 years of time in service, averaging seven years, and “excellence” ratings in their NCO evaluation reports. Soldiers from any MOS are eligible to apply for reclassification.

    “The board has three main metrics: time in service, education, and performance,” Maneri said. “That helps us to paint a picture of a well-rounded Soldier, which is what the Army is looking for. We’re looking for Soldiers that are among the best. If these are the people that are spending millions and millions of dollars, you want the top performers.”

    The next 51C Reclassification Board will convene Nov. 6-7. For more information about MOS 51C reclassification, please see the April 7, 2011, Army STAND-TO! article at http://www.army.mil/standto/archive/2011/04/07/ or visit the USAASC website at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/military-nco/active-component-reclass-program/.

    The NCOs selected by the board in August for reclassification are:

    SSG Mary A. Abbey SGT Kelvin N. Aiken
    SSG Carole M. Alonzo-Mercado SSG Jon T. Andersen
    SSG David A. Archibald SGT Chandler E. Arick
    SSG Marshall E. Baca SGT Benedict R. Bocalbos
    SGT James W. Boutchyard SSG Larry C. Buwee
    SSG Kamba J. Cilumba SSG Timothy D. Cook
    SSG Ryan Cross SSG Derrica J. Frazier
    SGT Nennie Y. Gargard SGT Scott D. Glenn
    SGT Robert L. Gonzalez SGT Tom Green
    SGT Richard D. Howard SGT Ryan A. Knowles
    SGT Kevin J. Lommer SSG Kelly N. McFarlin
    SGT Ranika R. Milligan SSG Kimberly H. Morton
    SSG Ines Necker SGT Noel I. Nieves-Chaluisant
    SGT Melinda L. Nixon SSG Jacqueline L. Page
    SGT Lenise S. Pilcher SGT Fernando D. Ramirez
    SGT Branden A. Roberts SSG Marie Sanders-Gulas
    SGT Fran R. Smith SGT Arter E. Sweatman
    SSG Terrance D. Veal SSG Jalila A. Wahid
    SSG Jacob C. Wiley  

    • LANGSTON W. WILLIS is a Writer/Editor supporting the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center for SAIC. He has worked on projects with the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, Program Executive Office Soldier, and the Army’s Executive Partnerships Office. He served for seven years in the U.S. Army and has more than nine years’ experience as a Writer/Editor working on military topics. Willis holds a B.A. in journalism from Norfolk State University.

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  • Tobyhanna Army Depot Earns Shingo Silver Medallion

    Jeff O’Neill, Chief of the Mini-MUTES Branch at Tobyhanna Army Depot, explains improvements to the overhaul process to Shingo examiners, who were interested in all facets of the operation, including support shops such as the Component Preparation Branch and employee morale programs. (U.S. Army photos by Tony Medici)

    Anthony Ricchiazzi

    The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) is preparing for an environment of budgetary restraint, and the employees at CECOM’s Tobyhanna Army Depot, PA, have put to use an effective weapon in DOD’s war on waste: the proven operations strategy known as Lean Six Sigma (LSS). Depot employees wield that weapon so well that they have earned their first Shingo Silver Medallion, and sixth Shingo medallion overall, for improved support of a weapon system used to train aircrews to avoid threats.

    The Shingo prize recognizes world-class organizations for creating a culture of continuous improvement through employee empowerment and effective leadership. Increased efficiency and decreased cost for the AN/MST-T1 (V) Mini-MUTES (Miniature – Multiple Threat Emitter System) overhaul mission earned the prize. The Mini-MUTES is an Identify Friend or Foe tracking and training simulator that provides realistic threat signals for pilots and aircrews.

    “The Mini Mutes Team has worked very hard for several years to improve all aspects of their support for our Air Force customers,” said Robert Katulka, Director, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance. “The Shingo Prize recognition is well-deserved and indicative of the culture of continuous improvement we need to foster and continue to grow. The entire depot team should be very proud of their accomplishments; I know I am.”

    Shingo examiners ask Electronics Mechanic Brian Medwetz about a process that is part of the Tobyhanna Army Depot’s support for the Mini-MUTES overhaul mission.

    Savings achieved from implementing LSS methods in the Mini-MUTES mission was $2.8 million in FY11 and a cost avoidance of $1.53 million since FY05. This, coupled with a 50 percent decrease in repair cycle time, results in warfighters’ receiving critical command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems faster at reduced cost.

    “We are very pleased with Tobyhanna’s support of the Mini-MUTES system,” said Lt Col Jesse F. Warren, Chief, Combat and Mission Support Branch, Hill Air Force Base, UT. “Tobyhanna’s process improvements translate to greater availability of systems for warfighter training. Providing high-quality threat systems for aircrew training is a team effort, and Tobyhanna’s efforts are critical to the team’s success.”

     


    • ANTHONY RICCHIAZZI is a Public Affairs Specialist at Tobyhanna Army Depot, where he serves as Editor of the depot’s newspaper, The Tobyhanna Reporter. He holds a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he also minored in writing. Ricchiazzi is the recipient of two Commander’s Awards for Civilian Service and two Achievement Medals for Civilian Service, as well as several Keith L. Ware journalism and newspaper awards.

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  • A New Efficiency in Pine Bluff

    PBA is upgrading bomb storage buildings, constructed in 1942, which house ammunition and ammunition components. At the same time, processes for moving ammunition and equipment have been improved to allow the scheduling of work, crews, and equipment and production of reports, with information stored in one central area. (U.S. Army photos by Rachel C. Newton)

    Rachel C. Newton

    Of the several different projects on which the Directorate of Material Management (MM) at Pine Bluff Arsenal (PBA), AR, has been working over the past few months, none is more important than the Ammunition Operations Center (AOC) Task Manager Module.

    “Basically what the program allows us to do is to be more efficient in our standard depot operation functions,” said Lavara Henry, Chief of the directorate’s Storage Division. The AOC for ammunition and equipment movement allows the scheduling of work, crews, and equipment and produces reports, storing the information in one central area.

    “So at the end of the day, I can go in and ask for a report in terms of the crews. It will tell me who is responsible for a particular task and how much time it took to accomplish it. It will also tell me where the lag time is, so we can improve efficiencies,” Henry said.

    Enhancing Accountability
    Henry said the system, which PBA introduced in August 2011, allows for accountability at all levels. “The key players with this particular operation include all of MM and the Directorate of Logistics [DOL]. DOL is involved because they handle all the forklift movements,” he said. “This has really been a great tool.”

    The AOC is used at this time only for Class V ammunition movements. Other sites using the process include Crane Army Ammunition Activity, IN; McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, OK; Blue Grass Army Depot, KY; Anniston Army Depot, AL; Tooele Army Depot, UT; Hawthorne Army Depot, NV; and Letterkenny Army Depot, PA.

    “At the end of the day, I can go in and ask for a report in terms of the crews. It will tell me who is responsible for a particular task and how much time it took to accomplish it. It will also tell me where the lag time is, so we can improve efficiencies.”

    This project has high visibility and support within the U.S. Army Material Command and Joint Munitions Command (JMC), said Henry. Over the long term, he said, the project could be replicated for the chemical-biological defense (CBD) products that PBA produces.

    “In our major buildings, we have everything set up with the monitors. At this time, though, the system is not designed to handle the CBD element,” he said. “Our Quality Assurance people use it, Transportation uses it, Inventory uses it, and DOL inputs into it for the forklift information.”

    Harnessing Technology
    MM is also using the new SmartChain automatic identification technology (AIT). “SmartChain is basically for Class V ammunition and allows the PBA worker to process receipts, bin-to-bin [movements] and rewarehousing by using scanners,” Henry said. “In times past, we had to do all of that by hand with a pencil and paper. It allows us to be more efficient with what we are doing.”

    The scanned information is downloaded twice a day and flowed into the Logistics Modernization Program (LMP), he said. If there are disconnects in the information, the reconciler goes into the SmartChain and/or LMP systems.

    PBA has purchased 14 laptops for the AIT effort, which are mounted in the trucks, so as material is moved, the data are uploaded in near-real time.

    “MM has tried to be very proactive with the new technology,” Henry said.

     


    • RACHEL C. NEWTON is a Public Affairs Specialist and Editor of the Arsenal Sentinel, the post newspaper,
      at PBA. She holds a B.A. in communications from Drury University and is working toward an M.A. in journalism at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Newton is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society.

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  • Small SDDC Branch Provides Big Cost Savings for DOD

    The SRB helps DOD shippers make special transportation arrangements and find the best rates for high-volume or specialized cargo movements, which has saved shippers millions, said SRB Chief Dora Elias, shown here with Richard Cody (left), lead Traffic Management Specialist for the SRB, and Ed Lilly, Traffic Management Specialist, at Scott Air Force Base, IL. (Photos by Mitch Chandran, SDDC Public Affairs)

    Mitch Chandran

    For DOD shippers who need to move specialized and
    large-volume cargo domestically, the Special Requirements Branch (SRB) of Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) is a one-stop shop for finding the right rate and transportation mode.

    The branch, part of SDDC’s Strategic Business Directorate, wants DOD shippers with special requirements to know that not all rates are equal and that they will help find cost-efficient transportation solutions. The branch specializes in arranging transportation for oversize, overweight, and high-volume cargo movements.

    Dora Elias, SRB Chief, and her team of 11 transportation experts partner with commercial industry’s truck, rail, barge, and pipeline carriers daily on behalf of shippers to secure special rates for an array of agencies including the Defense Contract Management Agency, U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Life Cycle Management Command, Defense Logistics Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and White House Communications Agency.

    “As an example,” Elias said, “Defense Contract Management Agency would come to us with a volume move of a few dozen Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. We, in turn, have the avenues and would find the best domestic rates to accommodate their move, which in the long run helps them save money.”

    “As long as we can find out our shipper’s requirements a little in advance, then we can start scheduling transportation to meet their needs. Also, we can set up long-term options and provide consistent rates to our customers.”

    “We make the process really simple for shippers,” said Richard Cody, lead Traffic Management Specialist. “A shipper calls us and gives us their requirements: delivery date, weight, dimensions, volume, etc. We’ll draw up the request letters and send them to various carriers. detailing a shipper’s requirements, to obtain their rates. Once we get responses back, we’ll offer our recommendations back to the shippers and go from there.”

    Expanding Options
    Elias said the branch is exploring more commercial rail options to offer shippers.

    SDDC owns more than 2,000 flatcars and special-purpose railcars of varying lengths and weight capacities to accommodate almost any cargo the department needs to move. The DODX-marked railcars make up the command’s Defense Freight Railway Interchange Fleet. Here, military vehicles loaded onto DODX and commercial flatcars await transport from Fort Hood to multiple locations.

    “So far, within the last five months, our branch has helped DOD shippers save $4.6 million by using rail for a majority of domestic movements,” she said. “We deal with a lot of the volume move requests, and across-the-board savings really add up quick. If more organizations came to us for help with their transportation needs, I’m confident we would realize even more cost savings.

    “We can help local transportation offices to help themselves in meeting customer requirements. Likewise, we’re challenging some of our industry partners for more competitive rates.”

    Commercial freight cars are always an option for moving cargo, but the industry has weight and size limitations. When DOD shipping requirements exceed commercial freight car limits, SDDC has an in-house solution.

    “So far, within the last five months, our branch has helped DOD shippers save $4.6 million by using rail for a majority of domestic movements.”

    The command’s Defense Freight Railway Interchange Fleet comprises more than 2,000 DODX-marked flat and special-purpose railcars of varying lengths and weight capacities to accommodate almost any cargo the department needs to move. The fleet includes chemical tank, refrigerated, and boxcars along with heavy-duty flatcars with a capacity of up to 300 tons.

    “Owning this rail fleet provides DOD with immediate accessibility for moving volume and overweight cargo,” said George Gounley, Chief of SDDC’s Rail Fleet Management Branch.

    A Satisfied Customer
    In July, the SRB was involved in arranging transportation for a large volume of oversize vehicles, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and M-1 Abrams tanks from Fort Hood, TX, to multiple locations around the country. SDDC used both commercial and DODX rail cars to move all the vehicles.

    Renee Roper, Transportation Assistant for the Fort Hood Transportation Office, worked through the SRB to arrange this movement.

    “It makes more sense anytime we can get two huge vehicles onto one railcar,” Roper said. “Arranging the transportation for all these vehicles is very easy for us. We simply fill out the paperwork with the details, send it to SDDC, and they pretty much arrange the rest and make it work. It’s really painless for us.”

    Roper added that by using technology to streamline the shipper’s request process, she can devote more time to other aspects of her job.

    “As long as we can find out our shipper’s requirements a little in advance, then we can start scheduling transportation to meet their needs,” Elias said. “Also, we can set up long-term options and provide consistent rates to our customers.”

    For more information, contact SRB General Service at 618-220-4513.

     


    • MITCH CHANDRAN, a DA civilian employee, is a Public Affairs Specialist for Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. He holds a B.B.A. in business management from the University of Central Oklahoma.

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