• Army advances Better Buying Power

    Six UH-60L Black Hawks and two CH-47F simultaneously launch a daytime mission Jan. 18 from Multinational Base Tarin Kowt. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Scott Tant, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade)

    Kris Osborn

     
    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army has achieved significant cost savings and cost avoidance as result of its implementation of Better Buying Power (BBP), an initiative led by the Office of the Secretary of Defense aimed at improving the management of acquisition programs, incentivizing competition, eliminating redundancy, and achieving the maximum amount of savings, senior service officials explained.

    In place since 2010, BBP is also geared toward incentivizing innovation and productivity while improving the capabilities of the acquisition workforce and strengthening the tradecraft of acquisition services, among other things.

    “Better Buying Power has produced large savings. We’re continuously looking to optimize the use of the Army’s money,” said Mr. Tom Mullins, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army – Plans, Programs and Resources.

    Some of the key tenets of the program include specific efforts to craft and implement policies that build affordability and competitive procurement strategies into the structure of acquisition programs, said Mr. Wimpy Pybus, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Acquisition Policy and Logistics.

    An integral part of the achieved savings can be directly attributed to a portion of BBP referred to as the Should-Cost/Will-Cost program; this effort encourages Program Managers to explore enterprising and innovative program management methods and strategies designed to gain the maximum value from dollars invested. The “Will-Cost” is the initial baseline or expected cost of a given program or technological development, whereas the “Should-Cost” is, in essence, a lower cost achieved through successful implementation of efforts designed to improve developmental efficiency.

    The available data from the Army’s Should Cost FY12 Closeout highlight substantial successes with the BBP program since its inception. For instance, the Army achieved millions in savings with the procurement of the Enhanced Performance Round (EPR) by lowering the production unit cost of the M855A1/M856A1 lead-free 5.56mm ammunition.

    “For years we built 5.56mm ammo with a lead core with brass wrapped around the outside. It will have less impact on the environment than lead in the long run, lower cost material than lead and an improvement in performance of the round,” Mullins explained.

    Finding and executing the proper contracting mechanism for each program is a considerable part of establishing greater efficiency through BBP, Mullins explained. In fact, the Army’s multi-year helicopter procurement contracts for the CH-47 Chinook and the UH-60 Black Hawk are expected to result in savings. Multi-year contracts improve acquisition efficiency by allowing vendors to establish a stable supply and production schedule – all while securing a lower unit price, he added.

    “BBP is taking a look at all of your tool kit of things you can do — and then assessing which ones are applicable to the program. We’ve seen success in aviation with Black Hawk and Chinook. The potential savings there are enormous,” Mullins added.

    Other instances of BBP success include millions saved on programs such as Excalibur 155m artillery rounds, modifications to Abrams and Stryker procurement contracts designed to reduce costs, and competitive acquisition strategies with the Counter Rocket Artillery and Mortar (CRAM) program.

    The Enhanced Performance Round fired at Camp Perry, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Eric Kowal, RDECOM)

    BBP also plays a role when it comes to the Army’s Science and Technology development. S&T influences a number of the tenants of BBP 2.0 — specifically achieving affordable programs, controlling costs throughout the product lifecycle, and promoting effective competition. Much of what we do within the S&T community can help achieve system affordability. By designing technologies with reliability and manufacturability in mind, we can reduce the cost and time associated with redesign when these technologies transition from the S&T domain into formal Programs of Record. This results in lower developmental costs and potentially faster acquisition, said Ms. Mary Miller, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army – Research and Technology, ASA (ALT). By engaging Program Managers early in the technology development process and collaboratively defining technology, performance goals and acceptance testing, we can facilitate a more successful insertion of mature technology for emerging capabilities, she explained.

    “When developing new capabilities, one of the key things we need to do is make sure we reach technical maturity prior to integration. This is an essential element of reducing risk and eliminating excess costs,” Miller said.

    Better Buying Power 2.0
    The Army, which has had great success thus far with the BBP program, is both cataloguing billions in cost savings since the program’s inception while simultaneously preparing to implement the next iteration of the initiative — referred to as BBP 2.0.

    “Better Buying Power is not a one-time event and you can be assured that neither is BBP 2.0 – we must make it part of our culture. We have more reason than ever to believe that the efficiencies we seek can be realized based on the successes we’ve accomplished to date. It is imperative that we stay the course in order to deliver even greater value to our taxpayers and essential capabilities to the Warfighters,” wrote Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in a Nov. 6 Memorandum for the Defense Acquisition Workforce.

    BBP 2.0 seeks to build upon and advance the core tenets of the initial BBP effort and further instill a culture of cost-consciousness, increase procurement opportunities for small business and more efficiently execute affordable acquisition programs.

    In addition to its many other components, BBP 2.0 is also focused on sustainment and life-cycle management, meaning PMs are encouraged to consider the entire life or span of a technology or program’s maturation such that they account for its entire life-cycle.

    BBP 2.0 also aims to build upon the initial program’s emphasis upon incentivizing industry by aligning profitability with contractor performance; in fact, this effort speaks to one of DOD’s broad BBP goals which is to emphasize that the program is designed to increase productivity and by no means reduce industry profits.

     
     


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  • Raiders enter ‘the wild blue’ with UAV training

    Second Lt. Theresa Ross, intelligence officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, launches a QR-11 Raven Unmanned Aerial Vehicle during a two-week training course at the Fort Carson (Colo.) Training Area, Jan. 17, 2013. The Raven is designed for quick assembly and deployment at the lowest levels of the military structure. Weighing only four pounds and operated by remote control, the Raven can gather video or photographic intelligence or direct forces to a target using an infrared laser. (Photo Credit: Spc. Andrew Ingram, 1st BCT PAO, 4th Infantry Division)

    Pfc. Andrew Ingram

     
    FORT CARSON, Colo. — Unmanned aerial vehicles soared through the sky under the control of 16 “Raider” Brigade Soldiers during QR-11 Raven training on Fort Carson, Jan. 7-18.

    During the two-week training certification course, Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, in a variety of career fields, learned how to launch, maneuver and land the small, unmanned aircraft in a variety of situations, including aerial security during movement operations, terrain reconnaissance and target acquisition during night operations.

    “The benefit of this training can’t be overstated,” said 2nd Lt. Theresa Ross, intelligence officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team. “The Raven is small, lightweight and portable. We use it for everything from site reconnaissance to target acquisition, so having several Soldiers trained and qualified to operate it is a huge combat multiplier.”

    The hands-on approach to the training helped the Raiders get a feel for the tactical importance of the unmanned aerial vehicle, as well as a solid understanding of its capabilities and limitations, said Ross.

    Second Lt. Theresa Ross, intelligence officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, launches a QR-11 Raven Unmanned Aerial Vehicle during a two-week training course at the Fort Carson (Colo.) Training Area, Jan. 17, 2013. The Raven is designed for quick assembly and deployment at the lowest levels of the military structure. Weighing only four pounds and operated by remote control, the Raven can gather video or photographic intelligence or direct forces to a target using an infrared laser. (Photo Credit: Spc. Andrew Ingram, 1st BCT PAO, 4th Infantry Division)

    “Not a whole lot of intelligence officers get the chance to learn about this hardware first hand,” she said. “Because I have first-hand knowledge of the Raven, I will have reasonable expectations of what we can accomplish with it during a combat deployment.”

    The Raven is designed for quick assembly and deployment at the lowest levels of the military structure. Weighing only four pounds and operated by remote control, the Raven can gather video or photographic intelligence or direct forces to a target using an infrared laser.

    Having Soldiers from both combat arms and support career fields participating in the training ensures that no matter what the situation, U.S. forces can always get an “eye in the sky,” said Steve Rocovitch, small unmanned aerial system instructor, Rally Point Management.

    “The Raven is a great asset to the military, but only if it is used properly,” Rocovitch said. “I have confidence that these Soldiers can take what we’ve practiced these past two weeks and implement them in a complex deployed environment.”

    While one Soldier flew the Raven via remote control, others viewed the flight on a laptop, implemented flight patterns, and controlled its cameras and other tools.

    “In addition to learning how to operate the Raven, I gained a better understanding of all the things going on in an operating environment,” said Pfc. Glen Default, infantryman, Company B, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team. “When I fly, I have to be aware of everything going on in my airspace and know what is going on ground side to accomplish my mission. It’s a much bigger picture than I have been exposed to.”

    The Raider Soldiers will continue to train in preparation for an upcoming deployment in support of U.S. Army Central Command.

     
     


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  • Corps of Engineers completes Army’s largest solar array installation

    This aerial view of the solar photovoltaic array at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., was taken, Jan. 8, 2013. The panels cover 42 acres and provide more than four megawatts of electricity to the base. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

    James Campbell

     
    WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. — The largest solar power system in the U.S. Army is coming online at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., and officials gathered Jan. 16, to mark the occasion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

    The Energy Savings Performance Contract, or ESPC, project, awarded and managed by the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, provides the sprawling desert base with a new 4.465 megawatt solar photovoltaic system, guarantees energy savings of 35,358M British thermal units per year, and reduces their energy consumption by 10 percent, said Wesley Malone, Huntsville Center project manager.

    “To date this is the largest solar project in the Army,” said Michael Norton, Huntsville Center Energy Division chief. “Projects like this are important because the impact of rising energy prices on installations has resulted in an adverse increase of utility budgets spent on existing, often inefficient or outdated equipment.”

    “ESPC projects provide energy efficient equipment resulting in a lower utility consumption,” Norton said. “Lower utility consumption reduces the DOD utility bills and assists in meeting federal mandates.”

    ESPC brings in private party financing for energy conservation measures at Defense Department garrisons. An Energy Savings Contractor, ESCO, provides capital and expertise to make infrastructure improvements on government facilities to significantly reduce Army energy, in exchange for a portion of the generated savings. In the case of the White Sands solar power system, Siemens Government Technologies, Inc., of Arlington, Va. was selected as the ESCO.

    Along with being the largest solar project, there’s another first in how the system at White Sands Missile Range was funded.

    “We used an Energy Services Agreement for the photovoltaic equipment along with the ESPC concept which was a first for the Army,” said Will Irby, Huntsville Center ESPC Program Manager.

    An ESA is an arrangement whereby a third party owns, operates and maintains the power generation system and provides electricity to the customer. This third-party ownership mechanism allowed for a significant tax grant from that reduced the project cost by $6.1M, Irby said.

    Construction of the $16.5M system started in July and was completed in December.

    Siemens was the solar system designer, integrator and is the operator. Their industry team included project construction by Texas Solar Power Company of Austin, Texas, with solar modules and tracking systems by Solaria Corporation of Fremont, Calif., and inverter manufacturer SatCon Technology Corporation of Boston. The project is owned, through the Energy Services Agreement, by Bostonia Group, also of Boston.
     
     


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  • Army Ground Combat Vehicle acquisition strategy revised

    NOTE - Generic representation of a combat vehicle only. The final Army Ground Combat Vehicle may bear little to no resemblance to this representation. There is no requirement for the vehicle to be either tracked, or wheeled. (Photo Credit: Courtesy)

    Todd Lopez

     
    WASHINGTON — The Ground Combat Vehicle, or GCV, acquisition strategy was modified, Jan. 17, to further reduce risk and maintain an affordable program.

    The decision by the Department of Defense extends the current technology development phase of the program by six months to allow industry greater time to refine vehicle designs.

    These efforts will support a full and open competition at milestone B in 2014, the next major decision point in the program. The revised strategy calls for selection of a single vendor for the engineering and manufacturing development and production phases of the program.

    The six month extension to the technology development phase will provide contractors an opportunity to mature vehicle designs, while the Army finalizes GCV requirements, prior to the upcoming milestone B decision. This milestone marks the point where the GCV program will initiate critical design and testing activities in anticipation of vehicle production.

    The Army’s prior strategy called for competition among two vendors during these phases of the GCV program. Citing projected budgetary pressures over the fiscal 2014-2018 period, the department’s decision to revise the development strategy ensures an affordable program that meets the Army’s critical needs for a new infantry fighting vehicle.

    Since milestone A was approved two years ago, the Army has vigorously refined GCV requirements to provide industry the maximum range of flexibility in developing vehicle designs while constraining cost and technical risk.

    Contractor efforts have informed the Army’s understanding of planned technical capabilities and the Army has formally assessed existing and alternative developmental vehicles. These measures have confirmed the Army’s need to develop GCV based on affordable and executable requirements. The changes in the GCV strategy reflect a continued emphasis on long-term affordability within the program.

    The Army remains firmly committed to the success of the GCV program to provide needed protection and mobility to Soldiers. The new direction allows the Army to take positive steps to ensure delivery of this much needed capability to the force.

     
     


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  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Linking unlikely allies for mission success

     

    By Susan L. Follett

     

    FOTF: What do you do in the Army?

    VERGEZ: I am the first Project Manager (PM) for the NSRWA PMO, which was established three years ago. We field, sustain, and support rotary wing aircraft used by the U.S. military that are not in DOD’s inventory. That includes more than 300 helicopters, including the Russian Mi-17 and the MD530F, used in DOD operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and 38 other countries.

    FOTF Editor’s Note: The NSWRA PMO was established by the Under Secretary of Defense (USD) Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ALT) to consolidate all nonstandard rotary wing aircraft under a single program. Among the office’s responsibilities were to address immediate and long-term safety and sustainment issues for the Mi-17, a Russian-made plan flown by U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Col. Vergez recently stepped down from this position, and Mr. Kelvin Nunn, his deputy, is now the acting PM.

    FOTF: What were some of the challenges you faced?

    VERGEZ: One of our first priorities was to establish a direct relationship with Russian equipment manufacturers, and to develop and maintain a standard of support for all Mi-17 operations involving U.S. and coalition forces. As we draw down our troops in Afghanistan, leaving behind a well-supported Air Force is a key part of Afghan security, and the Mi-17 will play a big role in that. The warfighters who fly these aircraft need to know that they’re governed by the same set of safety and airworthiness guidelines that govern our standard aircraft.

    In the past, nonstandard rotary wing helicopters were acquired through third-party brokers. That meant dealing with a lot of different entities and numerous pass-throughs that affected cost, quality, and procurement cycle times. Once our PMO was established, we worked directly with the suppliers, and applied the principles for acquiring standard aircraft to the nonstandard fleet. It represented a pretty significant paradigm shift for all of us. But we’re now seeing it pay considerable dividends: We’re no longer paying across multiple layers of suppliers, so our costs have decreased, and by working directly with the manufacturer, we know that the aircraft meets our safety and airworthiness guidelines.

    FOTF: What has surprised you the most? What have you found most rewarding?

    VERGEZ: By far the most rewarding aspect of my work is the strides we’ve made in working with the Russian federation. The relationship is mutually beneficial: we want to ensure that our coalition partners have safe, well-maintained aircraft, and Afghanistan represents a solid market opportunity for Russian aircraft manufacturers. What we shared was a mutual desire to do what was right for our warfighters.

    Throughout the process, what surprised me the most was how similar Russian officials are to us. When I joined the Army, the Cold War mentality was very much alive. But in working with them on this project, I’ve come to see that they have the same pride in their nation and desire to serve their country that we do.

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

    VERGEZ: My greatest satisfaction is being part of something bigger than myself. I understand that the program we put in place for acquiring nonstandard aircraft will be used to address acquisition and safety problems related to ammunition in Afghanistan. Knowing we’ve left behind that legacy is very rewarding. I’m proud of the work that we did to build this partnership and leave an enduring capability for future generations of Soldiers.

    On a personal level, I’ve been an aviator for 25 years. I love to fly, and like all pilots, I have a passion for safety. So, knowing that our work will ensure the safety of other pilots is also very gratifying.

    For more information, visit https://www.peoavn.army.mil/SitePages/Home2.aspx.

     


    • “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.

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  • First Annual ALTie Awards Announced

    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

     
     


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  • Team Apache announces nickname for the Apache Echo Model

    Sofia Bledsoe

     

    ARLINGTON, Va. — The world’s most advanced and lethal attack helicopter received a nickname by Team Apache at the annual government-industry Team Apache meeting at the Boeing facility in Arlington, Va., Jan. 8.

    The Apache Project Office selected “Guardian” as the winning entry for the AH-64E Apache.

    The “AH-6E Apache Guardian” will be a distinction from the AH-64D Apache Longbow that has been in service with the U.S. Army and with allied defense forces since the 1990s.

    The winning nickname was submitted by Gina Gill, Logistics Management Specialist from the Aviation and Missile Command Logistics Center, who wrote the following justification:

    “Although the Apache is known as the deadliest helicopter it is much more. The Apache functions as a safeguard for our Soldiers on the ground. It seeks and eliminates threats that would otherwise be undetectable and/or indestructible allowing our troops to complete their missions. The Apache is our Soldiers’ guardian in the sky.”

    Gill was recognized by Team Apache at the meeting. The announcement, she said, came as a complete surprise. “Once Colonel (Jeffrey) Hager started reading the explanation, I immediately knew. It was a little overwhelming, and I’m very humbled.”

    “First I started with what was different about this model, and it had to be one word,” Gill explained. “With all the technology upgrades that have been incorporated into the aircraft, one word did not seem to encapsulate the technological advances that the AH-64E brings to the battlefield.”

    After much brainstorming on what the new aircraft means to the Soldiers that it protects, Gill decided that “Guardian” was the best fit.

    “The Apache is not just deadly,” she said. “It brings fear to our enemies, and security to the Soldiers it protects. I work avionics and radar, and that helps with guarding and seeing where the threats are. That’s how I came up with Guardian.”

    Several hundred entries were submitted into the contest and judging was difficult.

    “Reflecting on this process, you sometimes don’t realize the amount of passion that people put into these names,” said Col. Jeffrey Hager, project manager for Apache Attack Helicopters. “For many, this is their livelihood, and you’ve just given them an opportunity to nickname the new Apache helicopter.”

    Organizations that participated in the contest included Team Apache military organizations such as the Apache Project Office, the Aviation and Missile Command, and industry team members such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

    Leaders from each organization chose their top three to be judged by the Integrated Strategy Group comprised of leaders representing each organization.

    There were many good names and many excellent justifications, said Hager. “Some were good, some were great, and some were simply outstanding.”

     
     


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  • Army lays out Network path ahead at industry day

    Approximately 200 industry representatives attended the Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, 14.1 Industry Day, with at least 45 percent of participants representing small businesses. The event served to emphasize the Army's commitment to the NIE construct, outline improvements to the process and keep the network industrial base informed of the Army's needs and plans. (Photo Credit: Claire Heininger, ASA (ALT))

    Claire Heininger

     

    ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – Facing both new missions and fiscal constraints, the Army will use the Network Integration Evaluations to respond to emerging requirements, make smarter acquisition decisions and keep pace with technological change, Army senior leaders told industry partners last week.

    Attended by approximately 200 industry representatives, with at least 45 percent of participants representing small businesses, the Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, 14.1 Industry Day served to emphasize the Army’s commitment to the NIE construct, outline improvements to the process and keep the network industrial base informed of the Army’s needs and plans.

    Having listened to industry feedback from the first four NIEs, the Army is incorporating a combined Request for Proposals and Sources Sought process to procure promising capability out of the NIE; as well as doing more advance planning of NIEs so companies can better align their research and development resources with the capabilities the Army is seeking.

    “The network is driven by commercial technology, and that isn’t going to stop. We need to be smart enough in the Army to leverage that and bring it in,” said Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, known as ASA(ALT). “We’re getting value in showing the art of the possible and refining our requirements. NIE gives us a tremendous venue to iterate technology and get it right.”

    Scott Newman, Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center program director, Systems Engineering and Integration, talks to Industry reps at the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems Integration Lab, or C-SIL, during Network Integration Evaluation 14.1 Industry Day. The C-SIL is in direct support to NIE providing integration/interoperability evaluations, and serves as a risk reduction activity prior to field evaluations. (Photo Credit: Claire Heininger, ASA (ALT))

    Held twice a year at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M., the NIEs bring together the Army requirements, materiel, testing, training and doctrine communities in order to further integrate and rapidly mature network and non-network capabilities. The capabilities are evaluated in realistic missions by a full Brigade Combat Team of Soldiers who provide detailed feedback and assessments to inform Army decisions on requirements, fielding, doctrine and procurement.

    The Army is using the NIE construct to help validate tactical network requirements, integrate complex network and platform systems, ensure system interoperability and most important to gain Soldier feedback to inform the Army on what systems show promise from a user perspective. Beginning with NIE 14.2 in spring 2014, NIEs are evolving to include Joint and Coalition Operations, which facilitates an affordable method of evaluating Joint capabilities in the Coalition environments where the Army expects to operate.

    “We recognize that we’re probably not going to fight any future fights alone, so it would behoove us to make sure that at various echelons, we can talk across those different formations,” said Col. Mark Elliott, director of the Army G-3/5/7 LandWarNet-Mission Command Directorate. “We have to continue to mature the NIE, and this is going to be more important as the dollars dry up.”

    Due to the swift progress of communications technology, private sector innovation is crucial to Army network modernization and the success of the NIEs. There has been significant interest in the process from businesses of all sizes. In total, more than 416 industry and government candidates applied for NIE consideration; after laboratory and white paper candidate assessments, 140 were evaluated as part of the last four NIEs.

    The next NIE, 13.2, focuses on the continued solidification of the network baseline, including the Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation for Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2. NIE 14.1, which will take place in October-November 2013, is the first to use a formal Request for Proposals, or RFPs, for industry solutions, with an RFP seeking Vehicle Tactical Routers released, Dec. 20.

    Along with continued Sources Sought notices to assess industry solutions to broad, less mature capability gaps, the RFPs will be used for defined capability gaps and provide a formal mechanism for streamlined competitive procurement of non-Program of Record systems that show promise out of the NIE.

    By continuing to hold two NIEs each fiscal year, the Army can evaluate a broad range of network and non-network technology solutions, but also use the events to help shape specific requirements and improvements, allowing for more targeted acquisitions.

    The Army has also recently combined its systems engineering and integration staff functions overseeing the NIE, which will facilitate better interaction with industry and more advance planning of network standards and needs. The new organization, known as the System of Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate under ASA(ALT), provides coordinated system of systems analysis, engineering, architectural and integration products to facilitate how the Army efficiently shapes, manages, validates and synchronizes the fielding of integrated materiel capabilities.

     
     


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  • USAASC Employees Donate $15,000 to Charity

    Sue Follett

     

    FORT BELVOIR, Va. – The employees of the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) outdid themselves in generosity this year, contributing more than $15,000 to the 2012 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and far exceeding fundraising projections.

    USAASC employees donated $15,830 to the CFC, the only authorized charitable-giving drive for federal employees. That total surpasses this year’s goal of $9,146 as well as last year’s donations of $12,826.

    Keith Butler served as USAASC’s CFC campaign manager. “I’m very proud of the support our community has shown to the CFC,” he said. “We kicked off our fundraising effort in October with a four-part campaign, and had a steady level of giving throughout. I think our email blasts were key in reminding people of the importance of donating.”

    Established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, the CFC gives donors the option to direct their donations to more than 4,000 local, national, and international charities that provide a range of services, including health care, disaster relief, housing, and youth development.

    “Our donations will do a lot of good for a lot of people,” said Butler, who joined USAASC just eight months ago. “It’s very impressive to me, as someone who’s new to this community, to see how generous this organization is when it comes to helping those who need it,” he added.

     
     


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  • JCRX-13 expected to draw more than 200 contracting professionals

    ACC public affairs

     

    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – Contracting professionals will begin to converge onto Fort Bliss, Texas, starting Jan. 15 to participate in what military officials are calling the premiere Department of Defense contracting readiness exercise.

    For the fourth consecutive year, the Army Contracting Command is conducting a contracting readiness exercise for military and civilian personnel. Formerly called Joint Dawn, the Joint Contracting Readiness Exercise or JCRX-13 will be conducted at Fort Bliss Jan. 15-31.

    “We’re expanding the scope of this year’s training,” said Col. Timothy Strange, commander, 412th Contracting Support Brigade, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. “Participants can look forward to working on more than 100 contracting actions, not to mention some hard-to-handle injects.”

    The 412th is the lead organizer for the exercise.

    The number of exercise participants has increased each year. In 2010, 34 contingency contracting officers attended the training held at Fort Riley, Kan.; in 2011, training at Fort Campbell, Ky., included 115 participants; and the 2012 training at Fort Bliss had 159 military and civilian trainees. Exercise coordinators expect more than 200 participants at this year’s exercise.

    “We’re anticipating visits from a lot of senior leaders,” said Lt. Col. Joshua R. Burris, commander, 905th Contingency Contracting Battalion, and JCRX-13 officer-in-charge.

    “We’re set up to handle visits from senior DOD and DA officials. Last year, Mr. (Kim) Denver, deputy assistant secretary of the Army (procurement); and Rear Adm. Allie Coetzee, executive director, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy (acquisition and procurement), came by. This year we’re planning visits from the Hon. Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army acquisition, logistics and technology and Army acquisition executive; the Hon. Dr. Sally Matiella, assistant secretary of the Army financial management and comptroller; and Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion, deputy commanding general, Army Materiel Command.”

     
     


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