• ACC integrates contracting Soldiers into stateside operations

    Valerie Tipton provides Staff Sgt. Wallace Newton some advice on a contract. Newton is a member of the 626th Contingency Contracting Team, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., and has been a contracting specialist for four months. Tipton is a contracting officer in the Base Operations Division, Army Contracting Command-Redstone Arsenal. (Photo by U.S. Army)

    Edward G Worley

     
    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.–In an effort to streamline command and control of its military contracting Soldiers, the Army Contracting Command is attaching portions of its Expeditionary Contracting Command forces to several of ACC’s stateside organizations.

    The action reduces the ECC span of control from the day-to-day oversight of Soldiers executing their stateside contracting mission, allowing the ECC commander to focus on overseas installation and contingency support, explained Lt. Col. Kevin Nash, ACC Integration project officer.

    It also gives the Mission and Installation Contracting Command and ACC contracting centers direct supervision of Soldiers supporting stateside operations within their organizations, he said.

    Maj. Gen. Camille M. Nichols, ACC commanding general, said her intent is to “streamline mission command, better manage our military contracting Soldiers’ workloads and enhance contracting Soldier professional development.

    “This action provides greater predictability for our civilian contracting leaders in assigning work to Soldiers in their offices,” she said. “It also provides greater professional development opportunities for contracting Soldiers as they are offered increased contracting experiences.”

    Nichols said it also allows ECC to focus on the day-to-day overseas contracting mission and operational contract support tasks associated with Army Service Component Commands.

    Brig. Gen. Ted Harrison, ECC commanding general, said the realignment will help 51C contingency contracting Soldiers develop their contracting skills.

    “Future military operations will continue to demand expeditionary contracting Soldiers who are trained and ready to meet Army Service Component Command needs,” Harrison said.

    “ACC integration allows the Expeditionary Contracting Command’s 51Cs to hone their skills in day-to-day contracting missions in Mission and Installation Contracting Command installation contracting offices as they support the Army’s generating force. This ‘work as they fight’ strategy will prepare them to deploy and support Army operational forces anywhere in the world. ECC is confident that the MICC civilian contracting experts will equip our contracting Soldiers with technical knowledge and provide hands-on experience through coaching, teaching and mentoring.”

    Brig. Gen. Kirk Vollmecke, MICC commanding general, said the integration improves both the civilian and military contracting workforce.

    “The synchronization and integration of uniformed members across the Mission and Installation Contracting Command provides indispensable technical, hands-on contracting training and experience for Army contingency contracting Soldiers,” Vollmecke said.

    “Soldiers and contracting civilians working alongside one another drives positive change and brings balance, skill and depth to the acquisition workforce. This unified teamwork and collaboration with ACC and our Army customers is a key to continued success.”

    Nash said the operation will occur in four phases. It began in December with the realignment of MICC contracting offices under four field directorate offices. MICC FDOs are aligned at sites with their major customers, and the 34 MICC subordinate contracting offices are grouped by customer to bring consistency to operations and improve contract administration and oversight.

    Phase 2 begins in February, Nash said, attaching MICC-associated contingency contracting battalions, senior contingency contracting teams and contingency contracting teams to the MICC. ACC contracting center-associated contingency contracting teams will also be attached to their corresponding contracting centers during Phase 2.

    “Attaching a unit to another unit means that, while the attached unit still ‘belongs’ to its higher headquarters, it takes its daily taskings from the unit to which it is attached,” Nash explained. “The units we’re attaching still ‘belong’ to ECC, but they are working directly for the organizations they are attached to.”

    Phase 3 begins in April, he said. ECC will add two contracting support brigades that will be attached to the MICC headquarters. The 418th CSB will be headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas, and the 419th CSB will be headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C.

    The final phase calls for the 412th CSB, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to be attached to the MICC headquarters on Oct. 1.

    Nash said ECC will retain assignment of the CONUS-based CSBs and continue to be the ACC lead for operational contract support activities.

    In the event of a mission requiring CONUS-based ACC units attached to the MICC or centers, Nash said ACC will publish an operation order that detaches those selected units back to the ECC for execution of the required mission. Upon completion of the mission, units would redeploy and be re-attached to the MICC or centers as required, he explained.

    ECC will continue to be the ACC lead for all contingency contracting Soldier individual and unit training functions, he said.

     
     


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  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Connecting the dots for aviation mission success

     

    By Susan L. Follett

     

    FOTF: What do you do in the Army?

    BECK: I help facilitate all aspects of integrated logistics support (ILS) for the program managers (PMs) and their respective systems and products. Our PMs manage manned and unmanned aviation weapon systems (UAS) and all the enablers that make aviation viable on the battlefield, including air traffic control, aviation ground support, and aircraft maintenance.

    ILS is a process for planning, developing, acquiring, and sustaining well-defined, affordable strategies that meet a Soldier’s requirements for Army materiel throughout its life cycle. Our PMs use ILS as part of the systems engineering process to lower life cycle cost and decrease the logistics footprint, making a system easier to support.

    FOTF: Why is your job important?

    BECK: Our mission is important because we are involved with the total life cycle systems management (TLCSM) of everything fielded and sustained in the aviation community. To give you an idea of the scope of operations, our fleet includes 16 different rotary wing platforms, 29 types of fixed-wing aircraft, and five UAS — more than 4,000 aviation platforms fielded to Army units.

    TLCSM establishes a single point of accountability and oversight — in this case, the PM — for cradle to grave weapon system acquisition and sustainment. We think of our work as connecting the dots to get the right people together when PMs have concerns they’re trying to address.

    For example, we have a great deal of experience in helping PMs translate requirements into program milestones, or refining budget requests. We also have a lot of contact with subject matter experts who have combat experience and we facilitate conversations so that their hands-on experiences in the field can help PMs resolve any issues they’re facing with their systems.

    FOTF: What has your work experience been like?

    BECK: I’ve been on the job for two years now, and have done a lot of work on an assessment of the impact of the post-9/11 environment on our aviation fleets. We’ve been able to quantify the accelerated or activity-based age of all the deployed fleets by comparing the pre- and post-9/11 operational tempo and damage levels.

    That information can be used by those who develop investment strategies and funding allocations to shed light on how potential cuts could impact aviation fleets. We’ve been able to help reduce the level of some budget cuts by showing the condition of the current fleet and how those conditions might change over time with investments in modernization and sustainment.

    FOTF: Why did you join the Army? What is your greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army?

    BECK: I served with the Military Police Corps and the Aviation Branch. I joined the Army to try and make a difference. My greatest satisfaction is knowing that the mission we perform here at PEO Aviation is helping units in combat by ensuring that they have the best equipment and support possible.

    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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  • Automated chemistry system enhances lab results

    Army Capt. Karen Thomas, core lab chief, checks samples for testing on the new automated chemistry system recently acquired by Walter Reed Bethesda's Department of Pathology. (Photo by Bernard S. Little).

    Bernard S. Little

     

    BETHESDA, Md. — To better serve Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) beneficiaries, staff members of the Department of Pathology have started using a fully automated chemistry system in its lab.

    Army Capt. Karen Thomas, who was instrumental in acquiring the new multi-million dollar system and bringing it online at WRNMMC, explained it will further ensure an efficient workflow and reduce turnaround times for STAT (Short turn-around time) and routine work requiring a high rate of production.

    “The College of American Pathologists (CAP), considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance by lab professionals, recently inspected the WRNMMC lab, including the automated Chemistry Section. Even though this new major system was implemented only shortly before the inspection, the inspectors nonetheless confirmed that Capt. Thomas and her staff had validated all elements of system performance and completed numerous quality assurance checks to ensure safe and effective function,” according to Navy Capt. Larry R. Ciolorito, assistant chief of the Department of Pathology.

    He added the lab performs approximately 3.5 million tests annually, and transfuses approximately 9,000 units of blood products each year. “Of the 3.5 million annual tests, over half will be performed on the new analyzer.”

    Thomas explained the new automated system should result in more reliability in lab results because its pre- and post-analytics eliminate the need for manual manipulation of samples prior to analyzing and automated storage of samples occurs once they are loaded on the system. “Automated de-capping and re-capping also make the instrument safer for staff to use.”

    She added the new system integrates pre-analytical elements such as centrifugation and aliquoting, a very large inventory of automated testing, and post-analytical data analysis and reporting.

    Thomas explained the prior chemistry system had reached its life expectancy, necessitating routine service calls and causing downtime and delays. The multi-year, multi-million acquisition placed similar systems and capabilities at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (FBCH) are in line with the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region Medical’s guidance for standardization of services throughout the joint operating area.

    “Having the same platforms at FBCH and WRNMMC has enabled the National Capital Area to provide consistent results between the two hospitals – methods for analytes, reference ranges, standard operating procedures, and lab test files are the same,” Thomas said. “Therefore, if a patient is drawn at one hospital on one day and another hospital another day, the results will be comparable.”

    Training for employees who currently use the new system was initially conducted on site and is on-going, Thomas continued, adding approximately 25 staff members currently use the system on a 24/7 basis.

    She said the initiative is part of an effort by the Department of Pathology to move the lab to total automation.

    “This was an enormous undertaking for our staff at a time when we were still absorbing and managing the effects of integration,” Ciolorito added. “This was a multi-year process that included requirements development, significant facilities modifications, extensive staff training, and numerous adjustments to staffing and shift assignments. It would not have been possible without a truly joint and unified approach on the part of our staff, whose goal is the delivery of world-class patient-centered care,” he concluded.

     
     


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  • Army medical advancements highlighted in industry journal

    In an effort to document military trauma medical advancements made in the last 10 years of war-time experience, the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research has published three articles in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery related to pre-hospital care, deployed hospital care, and trauma systems and restorative medicine.

    Steven Galvan

     

    SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (ISR) has announced the release of a capstone publication in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery that summarizes key medical advances from the U.S. military’s war-time experience over the last 10 years. The publication, which is comprised of three articles, describes military medical revolutions in three key areas of military trauma medicine: pre-hospital care, deployed hospital care, and trauma systems and restorative medicine.

    As a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Md., the ISR strives to be the nation’s premier joint research organization planning and executing registry-based and translational research providing innovative solutions for burn, trauma, and combat casualty care from the point of injury through rehabilitation.

    “The goals of this publication are twofold: to document the landmark medical advances from this war and the gaps along the continuum of combat casualty care from a historical perspective so that in the future, medical personnel can bridge these gaps and save lives,” said senior editor of the publication and former ISR Commander, Col. (Dr.) Lorne H. Blackbourne. “Documenting the revolutionary advances from these wars can also help with the translation of military advances to civilian trauma care so that all Americans can benefit in addition to our wounded warriors.”

    Director of ISR Combat Casualty Care Research Directorate David G. Baer, Ph.D added, “This publication documents the extraordinary progress in saving lives on the battlefield that combat casualty care research has affected during the last decade.”

    To ensure the widest distribution possible, the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery has made these three articles available on an open-access basis at http://journals.lww.com/jtrauma/toc/2012/12005.

    These articles are based on focused reviews of tactical combat casualty care as well as analyses of peer-reviewed combat trauma literature, burn care, coagulation monitoring, causes of death on the battlefield, amputations, blood product use, head and neck injuries, trauma training programs, innovations in treatment for pain, and moderate to severe brain injury.

    “The best way to optimize and direct research and trauma system efforts for the greatest good is to review evidence-based information on the burden of injury and capability gaps extrapolated from outcome data. The articles in this publication provide the data to help guide all future efforts in these areas,” said Blackbourne, who also serves as the current director of the U.S. Army Trauma Training Center in Miami, Fla.

    Together, these articles document extraordinary progress in saving lives on the battlefield and highlight areas for continued innovation.

    “We’re dedicated to optimizing combat casualty care,” said ISR Commander, Col. (Dr.) Michael A. Weber. “The research that we are conducting at this institute is saving lives—on and off the battlefield.”

     
     


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