• Future looks bright for Redstone Test Center

    Ashley Crick

     

    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – The Redstone Test Center celebrated a successful 2012 with new capabilities, facilities, and a committed work force.

    In 2012, the center improved its test capabilities by adding more than $13 million in new and modified facilities. These include a new Climatic Multi-Chamber Test Facility, an aviation parts storage facility, an aircraft parking area, a reconstruction of the Tactical Test Facility, entry control point facility, a transient test facility and an aircraft towpath just to name a few.

    Additionally, the center worked with the Garrison Department of Public Works by inspecting more than 300 RTC-managed facilities and participated in two Garrison Area Development Plans and three Military Construction Projects. The center also worked with the Naval Construction Battalion Two-Four to provide valuable training opportunities on more than a dozen projects which in return provided $150,000 of services to sustain RTC facilities.

    The five subordinate directorates of RTC continued to provide outstanding support to the war fighter in 2012.

    The Aviation Flight Test Directorate continued to ensure safety and reliability for the Army’s aircraft inventory. AFTD provided more than 350,000 maintenance man-hours in support of approximately 2,000 test events that included in excess of 5,500 aircraft flight hours with 200 highly trained and experienced personnel.

    The Flight Test Control Center, which supports the tracking of two separate and simultaneous flight tests, was completed in April 2012 and represents the final major project to be completed as part of the BRAC relocation from Fort Rucker. AFTD also designed and developed a highly automated and mobile Field Equivalent Bar Target and successfully tested the most recent version of the Common Missile Warning System aircraft survivability equipment.

    The Systems Engineering Directorate continued to establishing their role as “force multipliers” for the RTC test mission. A number of highly qualified systems engineers provided horizontal coordination and integration for more than 473 test projects including leading Integrated Project Teams for critical programs such as Aviation Survivability Equipment and Force Protection Systems. SED also provided program support and technical expertise for more than 50 test customers.

    The Environmental & Component Test Directorate, responsible for developing and conducting environmental testing on weapon systems, completed two new facilities — the Tactical Test Facility and the new Multi-Chamber Facility. ECTD supported multiple tests which included the Orbus 1A motor qualification test, Shadow Unmanned Aerial System E3 Qualification Test and participated in the Coalition Attack Guidance Experiment II Coalition-Level Test Experiment.

    The Missiles & Sensors Test Directorate continued to be the source of the many “booms” on Redstone Arsenal. The Propulsion Test Division coordinated with the Air Force Research Lab to conduct static firing tests of four ATACMS rocket motors. This test required coordination between several teams, including the RTC Propulsion Division static firing crew, RTC Missions Operations and Control Center, the AFRL sensor engineers, the AFRL satellite engineers, and AFRL headquarters. According to AFRL, this test series was “a rare confluence of events (i.e. weather, rocket, satellite) unique observations that have never been done before in military history, and potentially ground breaking for national defense and missile warning.”

    Although the center’s mission is testing, 2012 was a great year for community support and employee wellness. In August, employees across the center enjoyed RTC’s third annual Safety & Wellness Day. Employees participated in a wide range of sports activities while visiting exhibitor booths emphasizing healthy eating, exercise and safety. As the holidays approached, staff members showed support for RTC’s first Alabama/Auburn Can-a-thon by donating about 1,524 pounds of canned goods to the Food Bank of North Alabama and pet food and supplies to the Ark Inc. The center also supported the Salvation Army Angel Tree by selling T-shirts with proceeds going to support a local child.

    Even in this tough economic climate, the future continues to look bright for Redstone Test Center but changes are imminent. The center, along with the Army Test and Evaluation Command, will both undergo changes in leadership in the coming year. Col. Steve Kihara, the first commander of Redstone Test Center, will retire after 29 years of service, His successor will undoubtedly take this world-class test center to the next level.

    The Redstone Test Center is a subordinate unit of the Test and Evaluation Command headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. RTC is the premier Army agency for testing military aircraft throughout the acquisition, modernization and sustainment life cycle in support of America’s war fighters.

     
     


    Read more »
  • Iowa Army Ammunition Plant professionals earn Lean Six Sigma belts

    Transportation via railroad was seen as vital in decreasing excessive transportation costs to ship ammunition with no, or a long, lead-time required-delivery date to storage facilities. (Photo Credit: Annette Parchert)

    Annette Parchert

     

    MIDDLETOWN, Iowa — Staff members with the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant recently completed a Lean Six Sigma black belt project designed to decrease excessive transportation costs to ship ammunition with no, or a long, lead-time required-delivery date to storage facilities.

    Previously, the process relied on a single mode of transportation, which may not have been the most-efficient mode of transportation. The project title was “IAAAP Improves Transportation Mode Efficiencies.”

    In early 2011, former commander, Lt. Col. Tommie Hewitt, asked for cost-cutting ideas from IAAAP staff. Ideas were gathered from a focus group and IAAAP Installation Transportation Officer Robert Brewster presented an idea that was selected as a Lean Six Sigma project.

    Debbie Wirt, who is a contract price/cost analyst and an LSS green belt at IAAAP, led the LSS project in an effort to earn an LSS black belt. Brewster participated as a subject matter expert on the team in an effort to earn an LSS yellow belt. In addition to working on the project, both were required to complete additional training on LSS concepts.

    The goal of the project was to improve the efficiencies and reduce cost for transportation of munitions out of IAAAP, bound for any of four ammunition depots. Additionally, the goal to reduce annual cost per short ton by five percent was a major focus.

    The project used the Electronic Transportation Acquisition® system to pull historical transportation data from previous years for analysis. Some of the changes that were implemented included the use of integrated applications such as Defense Connect Online®.

    The nine-member team assembled to carry out the project along with black belt coach, William “Tad” Holburn, from Joint Munitions Command headquarters, was made up of personnel from JMC headquarters, IAAAP, American Ordnance and Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.

    American Ordnance is the operating contractor at IAAAP.

    Improvements made included regular scheduling of meetings via DCO and establishing a rail-car pool. Communication and time management was essential in this project. The pilot lasted six months, allowing the test team to conduct analysis of historical data to new data gained during this test.

    “These improvements did not come without challenges,” said Wirt. “All of our weekly communication was done via telephone or email. This additional element was very difficult. My only regret is that I never got to meet Coach Holburn in person. He passed away October 21, before I had a chance to thank him.”

    The project, when finished, was a great success because the original goal of five percent cost reduction was exceeded. The pilot resulted in a reduction in cost per short ton by 13.4 percent and a cost avoidance of $176,514.59 over six months.

    JMC’s continuous process improvement office awarded an LSS yellow belt certificate to Brewster, Oct. 23, 2012. The award citation states, “In recognition of Mr. Brewster’s contribution and participation as a core Team Member on the Black Belt Project: Iowa Army Ammunition Plant Improves Transportation Mode Efficiencies.” Brewster’s knowledge as the subject matter expert had a significant impact on the success of this project.

    Wirt was awarded a black belt and is the only black belt in a government-owned, contractor-operated installation. Her guidance as a facilitator kept the 17-months-long process on track.

    “She takes great pride and ownership of the improvement process and focuses on recognition of team members. She used her own resources to travel to Scott Air Force Base, near St. Louis, to recognize a team member with a certificate and a commander’s coin. She went that extra mile for her team,” said Julie Solinski, chief of contract management.

    IAAAP is a subordinate organization of JMC, and responsible for producing tank practice rounds, artillery rounds and 40 mm grenades, and for pressing missile warheads.

    From its headquarters in Rock Island, Ill., JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. JMC’s customers are U.S. forces of all military services, other U.S. Government agencies, and allied nations.

     
     


    Read more »
  • Army deploying service-wide intelligence system

    On Dec. 14, 2012, the Distributed Common Ground System - Army, or the DCGS-A, as Soldiers call it, was approved for full deployment by the Defense Acquisition Executive. However, DCGS-A was used extensively in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Here, then-Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III (right), commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, Col. Jeffrey L. Bannister (center), commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and Iraqi Brig. Gen. Abdulah (left) discuss intelligence on an operation near Baghdad in 2007. (Photo Credit: Spc. Nicholas A. Hernandez)

    David Vergun

     

    WASHINGTON — The Army has been given the green light to fully deploy a combat-proven intelligence system to globally network forces with mission-critical information.

    On Dec. 14, the Distributed Common Ground System – Army, or the “DCGS-A,” as Soldiers call it, was approved for full deployment by the Defense acquisition executive, also known as DAE.

    DAE is the highest approving authority in the Department of Defense for new systems.

    “Previously, DCGS-A was a quick-reaction capability used successfully and extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management. “DCGS-A is now approved for use across the entire Army, which will allow standardized training, programs and future upgrades.”

    “Quick-reaction capability” refers to a system that is rapidly deployed to meet the most immediate and urgent needs of the Army, such as in a combat operations environment, but it is not necessarily approved for service-wide deployment.

    DCGS-A is designed to task, process, exploit and disseminate intelligence throughout the Army, with other services, federal intelligence agencies and coalition partners, according to Greene.

    DCGS-A replaced nine different legacy systems, he said, adding that it “is a critical component of the Army’s modernization program.”

    Life before DCGS-A could be difficult at times, according to Maj. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, commander, Intelligence and Security Command.

    Use of legacy systems developed before DCGS-A sometimes resulted in “intelligence snow fights,” Fogarty said. Each had “proprietary formats and protocols which were managed differently across the services and even within each service.

    “They were hard to understand, databases were incompatible with one another and could not be shared across the enterprise,” he continued. “A lot of intelligence was lost because of that. The majority of time was often spent trying to find data rather than analyzing it.”

    Fogarty used the smartphone analogy in explaining how DCGS-A works. He said users of smartphones are able to communicate with other smartphone users who are on other networks, say Verizon or AT&T.

    But he said DCGS-A goes even further. Users can share apps, text documents, diagrams, photos, maps and more.

    The system “gives Soldiers and commanders the intelligence they need for enhanced situational awareness,” he said.

    The DCGS-A technology was Soldier-tested and was developed by the best minds in government, academia and the private sector, according to Greene. He said there were 40 business partners working on the software development alone. They and others will be consulted in years to come, he said, for new solutions as capability gaps are identified.

    Deployment of DCGS-A will result in cost savings, according to Greene. He said having one system reduces the hardware and software that needs to be purchased. The DCGS-A efficiencies will result in about $300 million in savings from fiscal year 2012 to 2017, he said, and about $1.2 billion from FY 2012 to 2034, the expected lifetime of the system.

    DCGS-A is now being deployed to all brigades going through the Army Forces Generation cycle and will eventually be the de facto intelligence network for the entire service, according to Greene.

    ARFORGEN is a model the Army uses in its unit deployment schedule. The ARFORGEN cycles are: reset, train/ready, and available for any mission.

    The DCGS-A is not a magic bullet, however, according to Col. David Pendall, Army War College fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the former division intelligence commander of the 1st Cavalry Division.

    “You still need human judgment,” he said, meaning that it takes a well-trained Soldier to mine the intelligence, analyze it and derive useful information from it.

    Also, he said DCGS-A “must be integrated into the demands and processes of the organization and its mission and intelligence requirements.”
     
     


    Read more »
  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Newly minted engineer tracks environmental regs for JAMS

     

    By Susan L. Follett

     

    FOTF: What do you do in the Army?

    INGRAM: I facilitate environmental requirements for programs related to the Army’s aviation rockets and missiles, including the Hydra 70 family of rockets, the Hellfire family of missiles, and the joint air-to-ground missile. I review contract deliverables, statements of work, program plans, and acquisition strategies. I also support Foreign Military Sales customers in resolving questions related to environmental regulations and oversee material release requirements—documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) so that a weapon system can be released into the field.

    FOTF: Why is your job important?

    INGRAM: Our work is important in making sure that the programs are compliant with environmental guidelines for hazardous materials, mainly NEPA.

    FOTF: What has your work experience been like?

    INGRAM: I first started working here when I was an undergrad, as part of an internship that eventually transitioned into a full-time position. As someone with no military background, I definitely encountered a learning curve. The Army has a language and a culture all its own, and it took me awhile to become fluent in it. But I really enjoy the work I do and the people I work with.

    FOTF: What has surprised you most?

    INGRAM: One of the most surprising things to me was the tremendous support I received in pursuing an advanced degree. My coworkers and leadership encouraged me to pursue my master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering and were incredibly supportive during that process, providing work schedule flexibility as well as a great deal of moral support.

    FOTF: What is your greatest satisfaction being a part of the Army?

    INGRAM: As a civilian, I’m proud to help support our men and women in the field who are putting themselves in harm’s way to benefit our country.

    FOTF: What are some recent achievements?

    INGRAM: I’ve served as the Value Engineering (VE) Team Lead for JAMS since 2007. The VE program aims to identify and implement ideas that provide better solutions at lower costs across all of our systems, processes, and organizations. Our VE efforts have resulted in more economical circuit card repairs for the Hellfire launcher, more durable containers for the Hydra rockets, increased missile availability, and more efficient missile assembly.

    Over the past five years, we’ve saved nearly $150 million while improving the quality of the products we provide, and for our efforts, our team received DOD’s Value Engineering Award in 2011.

    FOTF: What do you enjoy most about your work?

    INGRAM: As odd as it seems, one of the things I enjoy most is the opportunity to do the work that falls outside of my job description: helping with configuration management, reviewing change proposals, or assisting with a technical evaluation. Those tasks really help me understand the different functions here at JAMS and give me insight into how all of our jobs fit together to effectively support the Soldier.

    For more information on JAMS visit http://www.msl.army.mil/.

     


    • “Faces of the Force” is an online feature highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce. Produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication Division, and working closely with public affairs officers, Soldiers and Civilians currently serving in a variety of AL&T disciplines are featured every other week. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.

    Read more »
  • USASAC looks back at busy, productive 2012

    Instructors Chief Warrant Officer 3 Randall Jaynes, left, and Lt. Col. Jeffery Bouma, right, from the Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization, stand beside the first Afghan air force pilot candidates training on the MD-530 helicopter at the Rotary Wing Flight Training Program in Shindand, Afghanistan. In 2012 SATMO established and conducted the first rotary wing flight and logistics training for Afghan pilots and support staff held in that country in more for than 30 years. (Photos courtesy of U.S. Army)

    Mr. Paul J Stevenson (USASAC)

     

    Redstone Arsenal, Ala. — By all accounts 2012 was a banner year for the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command in terms of carrying out its mission of overseeing the Army’s Security Assistance Enterprise and managing its Foreign Military Sales program. In reviewing the year’s accomplishments by USASAC and the entire Security Assistance Enterprise, start by looking at the numbers.

    In Fiscal Year 2012 USASAC managed and oversaw active FMS cases in 144 countries. During that time they added 620 new FMS cases with almost six-thousand lines to the workload, totaling $19.7 billion worth of new business, the second highest year ever in terms of FMS sales. At the same time, case workers closed out almost 700 cases.

    Title 10 (1206/1207) program efforts, which equip and train coalition partners for theater operations, more than doubled this year, going from $100 million in FY 11, to adding almost $209 million worth of capabilities to our foreign partners this FY to support the Global Train and Equip mission.

    All told, at the end of FY 12 USASAC was overseeing more than 4,500 FMS cases valued at $135 billion, including more than $58.6 billion worth of products and services yet to be delivered to foreign customers. There were an additional 136 cases worth $ 9.4 billion cases “on offer” to countries, awaiting the final agreement of terms in order to begin implementation.

    But the success of the past year runs much deeper than dollar figures and case numbers.

    “We all know in USASAC, and we all know in the broader Security Assistance Enterprise, that all this work is toward the end of building and maintaining strong relationships with our foreign partners and our future allies,” explained Maj. Gen. Del Turner, commanding general, U.S. Army Security Assistance Command during a recent gathering of the USASAC workforce. “The dollar amounts of these programs are not nearly as important as the strong association the United States of America enjoys with countries around the world and those countries that you work with day-in and day-out.”

    USASAC is known as “The Army’s Face to the World” because its engagements with 144 countries throughout the world are many times the first or most consistent relationships they will have with the U.S. Army. During 2012, the USASAC and Security Assistance Enterprise workforce at all levels actively engaged with foreign partners and customers using the consistent themes of building partner capacity, supporting combatant commander engagement strategies and strengthening U.S. global partnerships.

    Two UH-60M helicopters are folded for transport in preparation for shipment to Linkoping, Sweden as part of an ongoing Foreign Military Sales case to support the Sweden Armed Forces. A Security Assistance Training Management Organization TAFT deployed to Sweden in January to provide technical assistance to the Swedish military during its fielding of the aircraft and in preparation for the Swedish Air Force deployment of the aircraft to Afghanistan in 2013.

    While USASAC key leaders significantly increased the amount of strategic engagements with senior U.S. and foreign military officials within the separate Combatant Command (COCOM) areas of responsibility, country program managers and case managers conducted approximately 20 program reviews with FMS customers each month to ensure implemented sales were keeping on track with requirements, and in the process, developing and cultivating strong relationships with those customers.

    “These program management reviews are critical to our CH47 acquisition in that it allows us to go over our case line by line to verify requirements and sync our efforts,” Lt. Col. Tyron de Boer, Australian Defense Force (ADF) CH-47 project manager, said during a July program management review in Dallas, Texas. “Because we have an established working relationship with the people at AMCOM SAMD (Security Assistance Management Directorate) and USASAC, I have no problem picking up the phone and calling whoever I need to speak with in order to get answers when there are questions about the case.”

    If USASAC is “The Army’s Face to the World,” then the face of USASAC is the Soldier of its Security Assistance Training Management Organization (SATMO), USASAC’s subordinate organization located at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

    During the past year SATMO deployed 45 teams to 29 different countries providing tailored training to FMS customers. The instruction provided to foreign customers ranged from small unit tactics, to major systems fielding, operation and maintenance. During FY 12 SATMO Soldiers and civilians trained more than 11,000 students.

    Some of the SATMO’s engagement and training highlights were:
    • Established and conducted the first rotary wing flight and logistics training for Afghan pilots and support staff held in that country in more than 30 years.
    • Provided technical assistance to the Swedish military during its procurement of 15 UH-60M helicopters in preparation for the Swedish Air Force deployment of the aircraft to Afghanistan in 2013.
    • Oversaw the training and mentoring of a select group of non-commissioned officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) as they set up and conducted the first ever AFL warrior leadership course run solely by AFL NCOs.
    • Conducted training in Kosovo to prepare Kosovo Security Force Soldiers to attend the U.S. Army Ranger Course.

    Additionally, SATMO reached a significant “building partner capacity” milestone on July 29, when the M1A1 Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT) concluded its mission in Egypt. One of the longest continuous SATMO missions, the M1A1 TAFT had served continuously in Cairo, Egypt since October 1989, when the Egyptian government took delivery of its first M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. Throughout the 23-year history of the TAFT, the team trained thousands of Egyptian military personnel in the operation, implementation, and maintenance of the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank and the M88A2 Hercules Recovery Vehicle.

    In addition to all of the successes executing the security assistance mission around the world in 2012, there were also a number of significant events which took place within the organization.

    On March 2, Col. Joseph Bovy assumed command of SATMO from Col. Pete Aubrey, who retired after 34 years of military service.

    In August, USASAC initiated a Security Assistance Enterprise developmental assignment program. The program, which allows employees to travel to other organizations within the enterprise, provides opportunities to broaden the participant’s knowledge and understanding of the roles and functions of other organizations throughout enterprise.

    On Aug. 24, USASAC welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Mansker as the first ever command sergeant major to serve as the senior enlisted advisor to the commander.

    2012 was truly a tremendous year for USASAC and the entire Security Assistance Enterprise. Heading into 2013, USASAC is dedicated to building on the accomplishments achieved over the past year, and focused on continuing its strategic mission in support of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense and the National Security Strategy.

     
     


    Read more »
  • SDDC teleconference fills void in DOD shipper training, education

    Traffic management specialists assigned to the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's Strategic Business Directorate, prepare for the November Shipper Session. The Shipper Sessions were created as a replacement for the SDDC Symposium and Traffic Management Workshop. Both events were cancelled this year in response to Department of Defense guidance that promotes further efficiency and cost consciousness in federal government operations. (Photo Credit: Mr. Mark Diamond, SDDC)

    Mark Diamond

     

    SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill – When the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Training Symposium and Traffic Management Workshop were cancelled this year, a vital link between the command and its customers was severed.

    The symposium and workshop were cancelled in response to Department of Defense guidance that promotes further efficiency and cost consciousness in federal government operations.

    According to SDDC transportation experts, in years past, the symposium and workshop were conduits for the exchange of ideas and, more importantly, an avenue for education, training and policy updates related to the movement of DOD cargo in support of military contingency operations, exercises and humanitarian missions around the world.

    To fill that void, SDDC’s Strategic Business Directorate (G9) recently began communicating with DOD shippers through massive, monthly teleconferences. DOD shippers include transportation and logistics personnel across the military Services and other government agencies, including Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Contract Management Agency, General Services Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, and more.

    Within the G9 directorate, the Business Integration Branch (part of the Domestic Business Division) is responsible for organizing the monthly Shipper Sessions.

    “With the cancellation of the symposium and training workshop, we had to look at another avenue to engage our customers — to keep them updated, to educate them, to train them — so they can maintain the proper policies and procedures when moving DOD freight,” said Chuck Morgan, Business Integration Branch team lead and acting supervisor.

    Morgan and his team have already conducted two sessions, one in October and another in November. Because of the holidays, no Shipper Session will be held in December; however, he said the service will continue in 2013 with sessions scheduled for January, February and March.

    If the first two Shipper Sessions are any indication, DOD shippers are eager to participate. According to Morgan, more than 100 DOD shippers dialed in during the first session, and more than 50 shippers participated in the November teleconference.

    Jeffery Criger, a traffic management specialist who works for the Air Force Sustainment Center’s Transportation and Distribution Branch at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, attended the October Shipper Session. Because his office is responsible for developing proposals and recommending policy to the Air Staff in all areas of cargo movement, packaging, and cargo funding, he said someone from his office normally attends either the SDDC Symposium or the Traffic Management Workshop.

    “The Air Force applauds SDDC efforts to keep the lines of communication open in response to ever tightening government budgets, which has forced the cancellation of [the symposium and workshop],” Criger said. “Additionally, the training provided and feedback received during these Shipper Sessions is invaluable to the entire DOD Transportation and Distribution community.”

    Criger said he plans to attend future sessions, as well. “Since our office is currently leading the effort among all Air Force major commands to revise the Air Force Cargo Movement Policy, it is imperative that we continue to participate in every Shipper Session offered by SDDC. Moreover, the Air Staff has strongly advocated and publicly endorsed Air Force participation in these Shipper Sessions, from the MAJCOM down to the unit-level.”

    With the cancellation of the SDDC Symposium and Traffic Manager’s Workshop, Morgan said using current technologies to interact with SDDC customers is more important than ever.

    “We need to ensure our shippers are following the correct policies and procedures for shipping DOD freight,” he added. “If they don’t, the result could be damaged cargo, lost or delayed cargo, or other issues that could result in mission failure or additional cost to the government. The more we can educate our shippers, the smoother the process will be; it will be more efficient and more effective.”

    He added that in today’s fiscally challenging environment, the monthly teleconferences are the best option for addressing DOD shippers’ needs. “We know the need [for training and education] is still there, but we don’t have the money, and they don’t have the money. We can’t get to them, and they can’t get to us. Using the Shipper Sessions, we can still provide the training, education and advice our shippers are looking for.”

    DOD shippers interested in attending an SDDC Shipper Session can request a call-in number by e-mailing SDDC’s Business Integration Branch at usarmy.scott.sddc.mbx.workshop-registration@mail.mil. Morgan said his team will respond to each request by providing a call-in number, along with other details, including call-in times and instructions, a schedule of events, links to important or relevant information, and more.

    “It doesn’t matter what [branch of service or government agency] you belong to,” added Morgan. “If you’re a DOD shipper who uses SDDC services, you can participate with us.”

    Morgan said his team will cover two topics per session. The November session featured special requirements, to include rate negotiations and DD Form 1085 (Domestic Freight Routing Request and Order) processing, and the movement of Arms, Ammunition & Explosives and hazardous material. For the January session, he said topics will include carrier performance and Transportation Discrepancy Reports, or TDRs. Morgan said Shipper Session topics were determined based on feedback from a military shipper survey his office distributed prior to the cancellation of the SDDC Symposium.

    He added that identical Shipper Sessions are conducted twice in the same day. A morning session (8 to 10 a.m.) is geared toward customers on the East Coast and in the European and Southwest Asia theaters; and an afternoon session (2 to 4 p.m.) is conducted for customers on the West Coast and in the Pacific theater.

    Each session is attended by every member of the G9 Business Integration Branch, as well as specific SDDC subject matter experts (briefers). According to Morgan, a member of his team begins each session by discussing hot issues, followed by the two main topic briefings (30 to 45 minutes per topic), and every session ends with a question and answer period.

    He also said participants are asked to review the briefing slides and have their questions ready prior to each session. Slides are published on the SDDC website at http://www.sddc.army.mil/GCD/default.aspx. The website also includes example forms, organizational e-mails, and a live FAQ page, which includes questions that have already been asked and answered. Morgan said the FAQ is a “live document” that will continue to grow as the branch receives additional questions during each Shipper Session.

     
     


    Read more »
  • The Best of Army AL&T Magazine

    Army AL&T Magazine Editor, Nelson McCouch III, announces the ALTies winners for 2012. (USAASC photo)

    USAASC Public Affairs

     

    McLean, Va. – Army AL&T Magazine’s first Annual Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Awards (ALTies) for magazine contributors were announced at SAIC Inc., January 17.

    Nelson McCouch III, Army AL&T Magazine Editor-in-Chief, announced and recognized the ALTie winners for their outstanding articles and artwork in the categories of Best Article; Best Commentary; Best Headline; Best Photo; Best Graphic; and Best Advertisement.

    “You have succeeded memorably in telling the many and varied stories of how the Army AL&T Workforce develops, acquires, fields, and sustains the world’s best equipment and services to our Soldiers,” McCouch said. In his remarks, he noted that the telling of those stories brings “news you can use and actionable intelligence” about programs and processes to the AL&T community to help them do their jobs better. The quality of the magazine, he added, would not be possible without the substantial contributions made by readers.

    The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) established the ALTies, to recognize outstanding contributions to the quarterly professional journal of both written and visual content.

    Over the past year, Army AL&T Magazine has won prestigious awards for outstanding content—the Public Relations Society of America’s Bronze Anvil Award in the Magazine category and the 2012 APEX Award for Publication Excellence in the category of Best Redesign.

    “Your articles, photos, and graphics define Army AL&T Magazine as the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology’s (ASA)ALT) flagship publication, with topical, useful, actionable information that helps the AL&T Workforce execute their broad and diverse missions, overcome challenges, and be highly innovative.”

    The ALTies were announced at the first Army AL&T Magazine writers workshop, held via video conference to enable participation by members of the AL&T Workforce from around the country. McCouch said he hoped to hold workshops on an annual basis to help continuously improve the content of the magazine and bring contributors together to celebrate its successes.

    The winners will receive their awards by mail. Honorable mentions will receive a certificate of the award. First, second, and third prize winners will receive a handsome, glass award.

    And the ALTies go to ….

     

    BEST ARTICLE

    1st Place
    BATTERY POWER
    U.S. Army Research Laboratory scientists bring new energy to critical area of study
    by Dr. Cynthia Lundgren, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, U.S. Army Materiel Command
    October-December 2012

    2nd Place
    MATURING THE AGILE PROCESS
    Army uses lessons learned from Network Integration Evaluations to institute faster, more flexible acquisition
    by LTC Ken O’Donnell, System of Systems Integration Directorate, Office of the ASA(ALT)
    July-September 2012

    3rd Place
    BREAKING IT DOWN
    How stratified sampling of a bill of materials can help determine pricing for large government buys
    by Anthony J. Nicolella, Defense Acquisition University
    October-December 2012

    Honorable Mention
    SUSTAINMENT LESSONS LEARNED
    From force structure to operations to accountability, after-action reports from Iraq and Afghanistan highlight challenges met while fighting two wars
    by COL Scott Fletcher, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G-4; CW4 Wayne A. Baugh, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command; and Devon Hylander, L-3 MPRI, Army G-4
    January-March 2012

    MENDING THE MIND
    Multidisciplinary efforts converge to help service members and veterans facing brain injuries
    by COL Karl E. Friedl, Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
    January-March 2012

    WHAT THE CUSTOMER SEES
    A capabilities approach to establishing a contingency contracting office
    by LTC Vernon L. Myers, 916th Contingency Contracting Battalion
    April-June 2012

     

    BEST COMMENTARY

    1st Place
    REQUIREMENT PORTFOLIOS AND THE JOINT WARFIGHTER
    Understanding the new methodology of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council
    by Fred Gregory and Dr. Scott Maley, Joint Staff
    July-September 2012

    2nd Place
    KNOWLEDGE BUILDING
    Lessons learned from a contracting intern’s developmental assignment to Kuwait and Italy
    by David M. Hampton, U.S. Army Contracting Command – National Capital Region
    April-June 2012

    3rd Place
    CHANGING THE CULTURE
    ‘Making energy a consideration in everything we do’
    From the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment, Ms. Katherine Hammack
    April-June 2012

    Honorable Mention
    REPORT FROM AFGHANISTAN
    Operational Contract Support Summit highlights the unique responsibilities of contracting in contingency operations
    From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Procurement, Mr. Kim Denver
    July-September 2012

     

    BEST HEADLINE

    1st Place
    KILLING A FLY WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER
    Combining mission command and actionable intelligence for overmatch at the tactical edge
    by Osie David and LTC(P) (now COL) Richard J. Hornstein, Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center, U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command
    October-December 2012

    2nd Place
    DOTmLPF + dotMlpf = DOTMLPF
    ATEC, TRADOC join forces, perspectives, and expertise for an unusual combined in-theater assessment
    by MAJ Marcus Grimes, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC); Paul Wallace, ATEC; Chris Warshawsky, U.S. Army Capabilities Integration Center; and James Brese, SAIC Inc., U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence
    July-September 2012

    3rd Place
    THE ‘NEW’ ACQUISITION WORKFORCE
    Behind the Agile Process, individuals commit to getting dirty and making it work
    by COL Gail Washington, Project Manager Current, System of Systems Integration Directorate, Office of the ASA(ALT)
    July-September 2012

     

    BEST PHOTO

    1st Place
    Supply Chain Coordination
    By SPC Bryan Willis, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command
    July-September 2012

    2nd Place
    PLASTIC + CIRCUITRY = FLEXIBLE DISPLAY
    By Conrad Johnson, U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command
    July-September 2012

    3rd Place
    TOTAL ASSET VISIBILITY
    By SGT (now SSG) Shannon R. Gregory, 230th Sustainment Brigade
    January-March 2012

    Honorable Mention
    EVOLUTION OF THE SOLDIER
    By LTC Deanna Bague, Brigade Modernization Command
    October-December 2012

    TOWARD A SELF-SUFFICIENT SYSTEM
    By SSG Tanya Green, 3rd Infantry Division
    April-June 2012

    DISMOUNTED DEFENSE
    By Edric Thompson, Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center, U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command

     

    BEST GRAPHIC

    1st Place
    Army S&T Investment Portfolios
    Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology
    October-December 2012

    2nd Place
    The Agile Process and NIE Synchronization
    System of Systems Integration Directorate, Office of the ASA(ALT)
    July-September 2012

    3rd Place
    Capabilities Integration
    Army G-3/5/7
    July-September 2012

    Honorable Mention
    Engine History
    Common Engine Product Office, Utility Helicopters Project Office, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command
    October-December 2012

    Product Line Management
    Program Executive Office Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation
    April-June 2012

     

    BEST AD

    UNDERSTAND the BATTLEFIELD
    Enable Decisive Action.
    Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors

     

    Army AL&T Magazine Writer’s Workshop Presentation

     
     


    Read more »
  • ATEC shares opportunities, opens dialogue with contract partners

    ATEC Commanding General Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco addresses contract partners during the Team APG Advance Planning Briefing for Industry Dec. 5. (Photo Credit: Mrs. Robin Boggs (ATEC))

    Robin Boggs

     

    ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Senior leaders from across the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command shared opportunities for test and evaluation contracts with members of industry and small business during the ATEC segment of the Advance Planning Briefing for Industry and Small Business Forum at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Dec. 5.

    Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, commanding general of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, welcomed all contract partners from across the country as part of the three-day event that was the first of its kind at APG. The segment also included a command overview from Brian Simmons, ATEC executive technical director, and all of ATEC’s directors shared opportunities for contracts with the crowd.

    The leaders hoped to not only provide information on contract opportunities, but to open dialogue with potential contract partners. Providing vendors with as much information needed to meet the command’s requirements for contract bids is critical as is understanding vendors and their needs. As ATEC strives to become more affordable and more effective, developing positive partnerships is more critical than ever.

    Dellarocco provided potential vendors with two key takeaways: embracing interdependency and changing the way we do business, both while remaining affordable and effective.

    “We’re looking for ways to become interdependent to be affordable and more effective,” Dellarocco told the members. “Not just more effective, but making testing and evaluation more efficient.” Now that Network Integration Evaluations are a part of Army acquisition, Dellarocco indicated that contract partners would see a change in the way ATEC, and the Army, does business.

    Kelly Hacker, chief of the Small Arms and Head Protection Branch for Aberdeen Test Center, talks with a contract vendor sabout ATC during the Team APG Industry Day Dec. 5. (Photo Credit: Christina Bryant)

    One of those ways is by incorporating Lean Six Sigma, or LSS, practices to create efficiencies and aid in cost avoidance across the command. Efficiencies were not only developed in processes (with total savings to date at approximately $727 million), but ATEC was also able to harness that in human resource areas as well.

    “We invest in our people. We’ve taken LSS and made it as much about taking care of people as finding efficiencies,” said Dellarocco. “We’re looking at how we train them; we send them to school; and we provide them developmental opportunities — all of these things serve to raise their skill levels.”

    Harnessing LSS to create efficiencies and develop personnel provides a more affordable way for the command to do business with customers and potential contract partners.

    Another important part of personnel development is ensuring the workforce, whether military, civilian or contractor, are cared for and free from harassment. “We’re taking harassment of any kind seriously to provide our workforces with a positive environment where they can thrive,” said Dellarocco. He expressed to vendors that the Army and ATEC are committed to a harassment-free environment, and he has an open-door policy for reporting incidents to ensure all are protected.

    Embracing interdependency remains crucial for ATEC. Interdependency is a concept that has become increasingly popular during a time of fiscal austerity for the military.

    “Overseas contingency operations money flowed in, customers came in with buckets of money, and we executed,” Dellarocco said. “It got sloppy sometimes, but we learned things we need not do any longer. We became dependent on each other, and that interdependency helped us structure contracts that would do everything so contracting remains affordable.”

    As ATEC strives to keep things affordable and efficient, it’s the interdependency that has allowed the command to integrate testing to save customers and the Army money while delivering capabilities earlier to the warfighter. “Integrated testing reduces costs even more, reduces test design risk because we learn more earlier in the lifecycle of a system, and it provides more effective means to get the data we are actually seeking,” he said.

    Across the board, ATEC is changing its culture and its thinking, to develop better business practices and relationships with contract partners. “We’re changing up how we manage contracts and providing a framework to help you achieve more successful bids,” said Brian Simmons, executive technical director of ATEC. “It’s a more corporate view.”

    A passerby drives the ATC Roadrunner simulated course, which is designed to showcase the US Army Aberdeen Test Center's ability to test military vehicles. (Photo Credit: Christina Bryant)

    The change up is in part a response to contract partners needing a more user-friendly way to bid on opportunities with the command. Since ATEC touches nearly everything the Army needs to test, vice medical and uniforms, it is critical that discussions in ways to clarify bidding requirements are open and of value.

    Simmons also touched on the importance of interdependency. To support the Army’s new agile process, ATEC’s largest developmental test range now hosts the majority of the command’s operational tests. “It forces us to integrate in a healthy way and changes our interdependency,” he said.

    ATEC has an intense workload conducting nearly 1,100 test events daily — a number that has been constant for nearly 20 years. Those test events correlate to roughly 10 million direct labor hours on ATEC ranges across the country. Those numbers have been decreasing steadily, but none of ATEC’s ranges seem to be adversely affected by the down turn. During a time of fiscal uncertainty, maintaining relevance is critical for business.

    “No range goes out of business; no range falls [in direct labor hours] faster,” he said. The way ATEC manages the ranges is a reason for that stability. ATEC leverages its ranges to avoid duplicity, which has created an interdependency that allows the command to contract and operate like never before.

    All the efficiencies ATEC creates aren’t just benefiting the command, they’re benefiting contract partners too. “Everyone sees big savings in not sending contractors on safari,” Simmons said. “We’re identifying where we already have capabilities on the front end, like during the NIE for example, so we aren’t duplicating efforts in three places.”

    In addition to saving on contractor travel, ATEC is bundling multiple contracts rather than sending contracts piecemeal to the same contractor. It enhances accountability and visibility for ATEC and its contract partners.

    “Bringing costs down while we’re on a mission and organizing contractors to package capabilities, requires interdependency,” said Simmons. “We’re an enterprise and engagement with industry is vital to what we do.”

    It’s evident that ATEC leaders are dedicated to transforming business practices to stay affordable and effective, and contract partner feedback and participation will have an important role in shaping the future.

    “It’s clear that we can’t execute this mission without you,” said David Jimenez, director of the Army Evaluation Center. “You’re integral to our being effective and we want to ensure that what we’re asking for is clear and you know what we’re looking for.

    “Take advantage of the opportunities being presented here at the conference and ask questions — join the team.”

    ATEC is the premier test and evaluation organization in the Department of Defense valued by customers and decision makers for providing essential information that ensures warfighters have the right capabilities for success across the entire spectrum of operations. For briefings of potential contracting opportunities and other APBI Industry Day content visit: http://cecom.army.mil/smallbusiness/teamapgapbi.html.

     
     


    Read more »
  • Operational Test Command completes Network Integration Evaluation 13.1

    Testers, Soldiers, engineers and combat developers completed the fourth iteration of a series of semi-annual field exercises, called Network Integration Evaluations, at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N. M., just in time to get everyone home for the holidays. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo)

    Eloise Lundgren

     

    ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Dec. 11, 2012) –Testers, Soldiers, engineers and combat developers completed the fourth iteration of a series of semi-annual field exercises, called Network Integration Evaluations, at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N. M., just in time to get everyone home for the holidays.

    Managed by a group known as the Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, “TRIAD”– Army Test and Evaluation Command, System of Systems Integration Directorate and Brigade Modernization Command — NIE 13.1 included several program tests for record, additional tests for record from distributed sites and less formal assessments called SUEs, which is short for Systems Under Evaluation. NIEs are designed to integrate and mature the Army’s tactical network and accelerate the way network technologies are delivered to soldiers through integrated “capability sets” of communications gear.

    “The pace of NIEs is fast,” said Col. Joseph Martin, commander, U.S. Army Operational Test Command, an ATEC subordinate command. “With one NIE executed every six months and others simultaneously in various stages of planning, the coordination of effort among the multiple Army organizations and industry partners is monumental.”

    “But with this iteration being the fourth in the series,” Martin continued, “we were able to apply lessons learned from the three previous NIE’s and streamline our integration efforts on this one.”

    The Army applied several lessons learned from NIE 12.2, such as system of systems training for Soldiers, streamlined testing, upfront integration of hardware and instrumentation, increased industry participation, and reduced individual system costs, re-engineering costs and infrastructure costs, he explained.

    Testers, Soldiers, engineers and combat developers completed the fourth iteration of a series of semi-annual field exercises, called Network Integration Evaluations, at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N. M., just in time to get everyone home for the holidays. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo)

    With OTC’s Integrated Test and Evaluation Directorate, led by Col. Dave Wellons, taking the lead on NIE 13.1 for ATEC, nearly 5,000 Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilian employees and contractors converged in the desert along the borders of west Texas and eastern New Mexico, joined by the 1st Armored Division’s 2nd Brigade. Soldiers with 2/1 AD, as the test player unit, executed training scenarios that helped determine whether systems and equipment were effective, suitable and survivable, Martin said.

    Some of the equipment, systems and technology operational testers looked at included Nett Warrior (ground soldier communication system), M109 Paladin Integrated Management, or PIM, artillery system, Spider networked munitions system, Joint Battle Command-Platform communication system, and the RAM Warn (counter rocket, artillery, mortar system), Wellons said.

    Col. Quinton Arnold, director, OTC’s Maneuver Test Directorate, led the efforts of managing systems under test.

    “It’s all about the data and operational realism,” Arnold said. “Our test teams, working with BMC and the player unit, did a lot of excellent work to ensure these two elements were maintained, resulting in a successful operational test.”

    The final report by ATEC-AEC will help Army leaders to make acquisition decisions, according to Robin Boggs, ATEC public affairs officer.

    Testers, Soldiers, engineers and combat developers completed the fourth iteration of a series of semi-annual field exercises, called Network Integration Evaluations, at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N. M., just in time to get everyone home for the holidays. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo)

    NIE 13.1 was Martin’s first experience with the semi-annual series since taking command of OTC in July, and it was truly a team effort, he said.

    “Everyone involved in this effort makes each NIE successful because they are willing to put aside their organizational allegiances for the sake of a better-integrated solution for the soldier,” Martin said. “Everyone realizes the importance of remaining flexible as the NIE process continues to evolve.”

    According to Martin, although ATEC was the senior TRIAD partner, ATEC’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, gave OTC the primary role of executing the NIE mission.

    “I don’t think we could find a more professional group of people than those from the System of Systems Integration Directorate, Brigade Modernization Command and of course the Army Test and Evaluation Command to execute this mission,” Wellons said.

     
     


    Read more »
  • Fort Bliss Soldiers first to fire Army’s new near-precision artillery rounds

    Soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment from Fort Bliss, Texas, set the Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) Fuze during Early User Assessment (EUA) at Yuma Proving Grounds this October.

    Audra Calloway

     

    PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Dec. 11, 2012) — Soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment from Fort Bliss, Texas, this October became the first troops to fire the Army’s upcoming near-precision projectile, the XM1156 Precision Guidance Kit (PGK), during tests at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz.

    “PGK is a global positioning system guidance kit with fuzing functions that turns the U.S. Army’s conventional stockpile of 155mm high explosive M549A1 and M795 cannon artillery projectiles into near precision munitions,” said Joseph Galyean, Test & Evaluation Integrated Product Team Leader.

    The Program Executive Office for Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is scheduled to begin fielding the Precision Guidance Kit to troops in spring 2013, via an Urgent Material Release (UMR), Galyean said. Materiel releases signify that new and upgraded Army systems are fit for Soldiers to use.

    The PGK corrects the ballistic trajectory of the conventional projectile to improve the round’s accuracy to less than 50 meters Circular Error Probable (CEP). Fifty meters CEP means that if you drew a circle around a target at 50 meters radius, the rounds have to fall inside the circle 50 percent of the time.

    Its near-precision accuracy will reduce the number of projectiles required to hit targets, which in turn reduces collateral damage.

    The Fort Bliss Soldiers helped Picatinny representatives successfully complete an Early User Assessment (EUA) and Sequential Environmental Test for Performance (SET-P) of the kit.

    PGK is a global positioning system guidance kit with fuzing functions that turns the U.S. Army's conventional stockpile of 155mm high explosive M549A1 and M795 cannon artillery projectiles into near precision munitions.

    “The SET-P component of the test demonstrated the reliability of the PGK after being subjected to tactical adverse environmental conditions,” said Galyean. The EUA evaluated potential operational effectiveness and suitability of the system.

    In total, the Fort Bliss unit fired 24 PGK-equipped projectiles, as part of digital fire missions from the forward observer, through the fire direction center, to the weapon system. Twenty of these rounds were in support of the EUA and SET-P.

    In addition to the EUA/SET-P firings, an additional four PGK equipped projectiles were fired by the Soldiers to support a Program of Instruction Excursion. This demonstrated a completely digital sensor to shooter call for fire, and resulted in 4 for 4 successful guidance and effects. It demonstrated that the PGK can be used by a downrange observer using a Lightweight Laser Designator/Rangefinder, sending target locations to the gun via Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System.

    PGK is compatible with existing high-explosive, 155mm M795 and M549A1 High Explosive (HE) projectiles fired from the 155mm M109A6 Paladin self propelled howitzer and the 155mm M777A2 towed howitzer.

    The prime contractor for PGK is Alliant Techsystems.
     
     


    Read more »