• Army aviation advancing strategies for degraded visual environment

    (courtesy photo)

    Kris Osborn


    WASHINGTON – Army acquisition officials are pursuing an effort to identify solutions able to help aircraft crews navigate through a Degraded Visual Environment (DVE), a circumstance wherein weather, obscurants or obstacles thwart the ability of a crew to see properly or accurately know where they are in relation to surrounding terrain, service officials explained.

    Army officials view potential DVE solutions through what could be called a three-pronged approach; solutions include improving the existing flight controls systems and handling characteristics to assist the pilot in managing workload when vision or situational awareness is challenged or obscured, examinations of “queuing” technologies able to give pilots needed information to make decisions regarding the aircraft, and various sensors able to help aircraft crews see through obscurants.

    “One of the key efforts from Program Executive Office Aviation (PEO AVN) is to make sure we take a holistic approach within DOD, so that we fully understand all of the ongoing efforts that are contributors toward a DVE solution,” said Mike Herbst, Assistant PEO, Engineering and Technology,

    The Army’s strategy for approaching DVE emerged, in part, from the services participation in an Office of the Secretary of Defense-led Helicopter Survivability Task Force which launched a rotorcraft survivability study in 2009, Herbst explained.

    “One of the results of this effort,” Herbst added, “was that the individual services were asked to conduct their own studies to see where and how helicopter mishaps occurred.”

    “The Army brought Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) together and assembled a working group to dig into accident circumstances. Many turned out to be DVE-related, and this has helped shape the Army’s resolve in addressing this problem,” Herbst explained.

    “This working group included experts from the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), the Army’s Aviation Center of Excellence and the Army Combat Readiness Center, Fort Rucker, Ala., and the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala., as well as program safety officers across the service,” Herbst said.

    Sensor Solutions
    “Various technological capabilities and “sensor” solutions are a critical component to the Army’s DVE strategy. The approach is to create a common set of technical standards so that different sensing solutions can more quickly and easily be integrated within a common architectural backbone,” said George O’Boyle, Aviation Network & Missions Planning DVE Project Lead, Aviation Systems Project Office.

    “With any type of future capability, we want to use commonality to leverage software solutions in a modular fashion,” said O’Boyle.

    In fact, the overall effort to build hardware and software to a specific set of common Internet Protocol (IP) standards is a large part of what Program Executive Office Aviation calls Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE), explained Col. Anthony Potts, former Project Manager, Aviation Systems and current Director, Plans, Programs and Resources, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology.

    According to Potts, the FACE effort involves a collaborative effort between government and industry to identify an established set of technical standards so that new software and hardware can seamlessly connect with existing systems on aviation platforms.

    The FACE effort has already resulted in substantial savings; it is a key portion of the Army’s Common Operating Environment (COE) approach, a method of identifying and implementing a common set of IP standards as a way to better facilitate integration of emerging capabilities, quicken the developmental cycle and lower costs wherever possible, Potts stated.

    “The common set of standards for FACE has to do with the process by which software is built and documented. Previously we had to do a lot of code re-writing for every platform because each one had a different operating system,” Potts said.

    As a result, the Army’s DVE sensor plan is to establish a common software architecture that is “sensor agnostic,” meaning it will be engineered with a “plug-and-play” capability to accommodate a wide range of sensor applications. This plan will create an open architecture backbone able to keep pace with rapid technological change and quickly integrate new solutions as they emerge, Potts added.

    In response to an U.S. Central Command Operational Needs Statement issued in 2011, the Army is acquiring a limited number of sensors. These sensors are designed to help crews navigate through “brown-out” or DVE-type circumstances. The Helicopter Autonomous Landing System (HALS) sensors use 94 Gigahertz millimeter wave radar technology to provide helicopter crews with an ability to see through obscurants, O’Boyle explained.

    “The millimeter wave radar technology provides a known penetrating capability,” O’Boyle said.

    Over the longer term, however, HALS and other millimeter wave radar technologies will be evaluated by Army developers alongside a wide range of other sensing capabilities. Some of these capabilities may include Forward Looking Infrared technologies as well as Laser Detection and Ranging sensors which use applications to “paint” or provide a detailed picture of a given landing area.

    “Our concept is to move forward with a sensor integration program, depending upon resources and technology. The first phase of the DVE sensor program will be to study all these alternatives once a Materiel Development Decision is completed. We will then turn to the Project Manager to develop solutions. We’ve got technology in the pipeline to execute a program like this,” Herbst explained.

    Various “queuing” technologies can also help helicopter pilots by providing air crews with key navigational information designed to greatly assist efforts to address DVE conditions.

    “For instance, Program Manager Air Warrior, with Program Executive Office Soldier, is currently developing a Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) technology able to provide air crews with a 3D symbology,” said O’Boyle and Herbst.

    “This symbology, which provides aircrews with information from inertial navigation and GPS sensors, is designed to assist pilots in flying the aircraft to the ground,” O’Boyle said.

    “This helmet mounted display is an upgrade to the current heads up display system. The current system is a single monochrome display fixed to the helmet, whereas the new one has a color display so the pilot will get a clearer picture and be able to see the symbology much better,” said Fred Reed, DVE SME from the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center.

    “Also, drawing from inertial navigation as well as information from a Digital Terrain Elevation Database which contains maps of most of the earth’s surface, pilots using this new helmet mounted display are able to see where they are in relation to the ground and surrounding terrain,” O’Boyle said.

    Overall, the Army’s approach to DVE is oriented toward leveraging the best available sensor technologies while simultaneously engineering a technical environment wherein next-generation capabilities can easily be integrated at lower costs. At the same time, the approach is multi-pronged, meaning it will emphasize sensor technology solutions alongside advanced flight controls, and key advances in “queuing” technologies.

    In total, this integrated approach is, quite naturally, aimed at increasing air-crew safety and survivability while also hoping to help provide them every conceivable tactical and operational advantage, service officials emphasized.

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  • Long-term strategic planning spurs agile consolidation

    A Soldier from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD) uses a Nett Warrior handheld connected to a Rifleman Radio to pass information during operations at the Army's Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 13.1 on Nov. 9, 2012. The Rifleman Radio and Nett Warrior are key to connecting dismounted leaders into the tactical communications network through voice and data. (Photo credit: Claire Heininger, U.S. Army)

    Katie Cain


    Army Acquisition leaders are implementing a new approach to equipment modernization—a comprehensive 30-year strategic planning process designed to harvest key lessons learned from more than a decade of war, identify current and anticipated capability gaps, recognize emerging threats and provide a detailed analysis of the service’s investments in science and technology (S&T) and material development.

    As part of the 30-year plan, the Army is re-assessing S&T across all portfolios to create a detailed road map of our future capabilities, linking S&T investments with Programs of Record (PORs) and long-term sustainment strategy. This approach seeks to harness near-term capability and identify emerging technologies for the future in order to sustain an agile, deployable, technologically superior force able to keep pace with rapid technological change.

    The Army is working to lay out current and planned capabilities across a 30-year time span and aligning not only processes to support the plan but, but also aligning organizations in order to employ better business practices. As a result, in January, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)) consolidated two directorates – the Office of the Chief Systems Engineer (OCSE) and the System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate – into the Systems of Systems Engineering and Integration (SoSE&I) Directorate.

    The reorganization was the result of a directive to merge from Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, ASA(ALT) Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management (DASM), in an effort to continue to advance the Army’s agile acquisition process, improve efficiencies, enhance long-term strategic needs planning and lower overall acquisition costs.

    A System of SoS
    SoSE&I provides coordinated system-of-systems (SoS) analysis, engineering, and architectural and integration products to facilitate how the Army efficiently shapes, manages, validates and synchronizes the fielding of integrated materiel capabilities. Comprising two directorates – SoS Integration (SoSI) and SoS Engineering (SoSE) – SoSE&I combines the systems integration and engineering offices into one organization, allowing for more efficient and effective cooperation to enhance the Army’s long-term planning objectives.

    “Bringing engineering and integration together gives us the ability to look at a system of systems across the Army and incorporate it into our long-term strategic planning,” said Terry Edwards, Executive Director, SOSE&I. “We’re able to look out at how we shape the Army’s architecture to be more capable, but also how we deliver that capability in a more efficient manner.”

    Soldiers, engineers, trail bosses and other personnel prepare for the Army's Network Integration Evaluation (NIEs) at the Integration Motor Pool, located at Fort Bliss, Texas. At the Motor Pool, the Army's System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate leads integration of network equipment onto various vehicle platforms, and validates system performance prior to the start of the evaluations. NIE 13.2, the service's fifth NIE slated for May 2013, will focus on continued solidification of the network baseline and be used to execute the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation (FOT&E). (Photo credit: Travis McNiel, System of Systems Engineering & Integration (SoSE&I) Directorate)

    The office now shapes and analyzes near-term and long-term systems integration and architecture engineering across Army program portfolios. This will allow the Army to better communicate to industry and the research and development community how portfolios align and integrate over time, allowing for better planning of independent research and development (IR&D) resourcing.

    Using the SoS approach, SoSI is charged with synchronizing integration and interoperability across Program Executive Offices (PEOs) and Army PORs, current force systems and other doctrine, organization, training, leadership, personnel and facilities (DOTLPF) elements to achieve integrated capabilities for a full-spectrum force. SoSE plans, analyzes, organizes and integrates the capabilities of both new and existing systems into a SoS capability to achieve necessary end-to-end coordination and performance. The third major component of the organization, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) coordinates across PEOs and serves as conduit to G-6 in the transformation to deliver timely, trusted, and shared information across the ASA(ALT) community. The result is better collaboration and more efficient and effective cooperation to enhance our long-term planning objectives.

    Combining Engineering and Execution
    “You have SoSE, which is the engineering side, and you have SoSI, which is the execution side,” said Col. Rob Carpenter, SoSI Director. “SoSI implements the plans and architecture that have been put together by SoSE. We do everything from lab-based risk reduction, all the way to capability set fielding. SoSI did this before the organizations merged, but now our starting point is an architecture that’s been produced by SoSE. The biggest benefit is having a direct connection between a handoff of products between the engineering side and the integration side so we’re not duplicating any efforts.”

    By eliminating the duplication of requirements for PEOs, SoSE&I is reducing duplicate budget requirements, and creating efficiencies in design, operations, and sustainment that will result in lower costs to the Army, and creating specifications/standards to simplify integration.

    Consolidating the organizations created an optimum balance of personnel and resources, which in turn is enabling more effective communication with industry partners, both small and large, who participate in the Army’s Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs). SoSI is the Army’s materiel integrator and synchronizer in support of all phases of the Agile Process and the NIE. NIEs are now helping to shape “agile” capability integration by assessing Soldier provided and technical operational test data to influence not only how the Army procures capability, but also how integrated network capability requirements are validated and refined.

    In April/May, the Army will conduct its fifth NIE, known as NIE 13.2, to execute the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation (FOT&E). WIN-T Increment 2 is the backbone of the Army’s tactical network, providing key Mission Command On-the-Move capability beyond what is available in today’s operational force. A positive FOT&E will solidify the network baseline and allow additional industry and government solutions to be integrated and evaluated as part of the Army tactical network.

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  • PEO C3T majors use Lean Six Sigma training to take on thorny issues

    Creating standard operating procedures for deployment and leveraging the PEO C3T suspense tracking system helped provide an easier deployment process. Supervisory Human Resources Specialist (Military) Hector M. Torres (left) now has a mechanism to track when Soldiers complete forms during the deployment process. Maj. Michael J. Williams reviews the deployment process with Torres. (Photo by Meg Carpenter, PEO C3T)

    Meg Carpenter


    If necessity is the mother of invention, then aggravation is the father of process improvement.

    Undocumented methods for in-processing were so frustrating to Maj. Marty Jackson, he leveraged his Lean Six Sigma (LSS) training to find a solution. It took the former assistant product manager for Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) 15 days to set up his e-mail when he in-processed.

    Jackson, now the Executive Officer to the Program Executive Officer for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), refused to let his experience be the norm. He completed a Green Belt LSS project to increase in-processing efficiencies within Project Manager JBC-P.

    His LSS team made two recommendations. First, send new employees a welcome letter and any forms that can be completed prior to their start date and request that they take training that can be completed prior to arriving.
    The second recommendation was to create a standard operating procedure (SOP) for new employees. This in-processing checklist applied to new military, civilian and support contractor employees for PM JBC-P. The checklist covers security, human resources and computer accounts.

    “We’re changing what we can change,” Jackson explained. “The Garrison’s Network Enterprise Center (NEC) still has its own process and timeline; however, we can get our new employees’ paperwork to the NEC sooner.”
    With the recommendations accepted and in-processing checklists in place, PM JBC-P will see $340,000 in net cost avoidance over six years.

    Cumbersome Process Revamped
    A time-consuming process prompted Maj. Charles F. Faison, product director for Tactical Ground Reporting, part of JBC-P, to complete a software distribution project. The problem was that JBC-P software needed to be sent to various vendors and customers. The tracking process was paper-based and averaged 51 days from start to finish.

    Faison’s team used LSS to analyze why it was taking so long.

    Maj. Charles F. Faison credits LSS training to teaching him to look deeper into challenges to find the root causes instead of going for a quick solution. Faison’s LSS team shortened a 51-day software distribution process to 3 days. (Photo by Meg Carpenter, PEO C3T)

    “The LSS training I received gave me an array of tools to streamline my software distribution process,” Faison said.
    LSS training advises team members not to focus on solutions too early during the LSS project. Fully analyzing a problem elicits better solutions.

    “My initial thoughts for a solution would not have gained as much efficiency as attacking the root causes of the problem,” Faison said. “It’s human nature to want to fix a problem right away. But you really have to analyze the causes.”

    Faison’s team created a process map of the software distribution process as it was, and then the team identified steps that had limited or no value. The team also found there was no database of information—the ‘database’ was a manila folder containing past requests from customers for software.

    “Keeping our customers serviced with new software upgrades by leafing through papers was highly inefficient,” Faison said.

    The team recommended creating a database and an automated process, both of which were adopted. Since then, delivery time has decreased from 51 days to three days. Because the process is more efficient, JBC-P did not need to hire an additional person to coordinate this process. An employee now does this as an additional duty. The cost avoidance is $11,000 per year for JBC-P.

    “This is not a high monetary metric,” Faison explained. “But we did not have to hire an additional person and the whole process is much smoother for everyone involved.”

    From Chaos to Order
    Confusion while trying to deploy prompted Maj. Michael J. Williams, assistant product manager for Product Manager Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 1 (PdM WIN-T Inc 1), to undertake an LSS project to improve the deployment procedures for Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) military personnel.

    “When I deployed on temporary duty to Afghanistan in 2011 it was a chaotic process,” Williams said. “There was no definitive source from Aberdeen’s perspective nor visibility at the PEO level.”
    PEO C3T military personnel are expected to comply with APG policies. At the time Williams deployed, the PEO was at only a 75 percent compliance rate.

    Williams’ LSS team created SOPs for deployment by combining the Garrison’s policies and the PEO’s policies. One new procedure involves the Military Human Resources specialist tracking Soldiers in the PEO suspense tracking system as they complete the deployment process and sending in completed paperwork on behalf of Soldiers.

    “This SOP makes it easier for people to deploy and the suspense system provides visibility for people down range,” Williams said.

    Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) at PEO C3T
    PEO C3T’s CPI program’s mission is to improve the efficiency of operations by optimizing key processes and identifying and executing CPI projects, with the ultimate vision of driving value to the Soldier and the citizen. Program Executive Officer Maj. Gen. N. Lee S. Price requires all PEO C3T majors to undertake LSS training and complete their Green Belts and encourages all workforce members to undertake the training.

    “We always need to be finding efficiencies and quantifying them,” Price said. “It’s up to us to save taxpayers’ money by consolidating or stripping out unnecessary processes.”

    In FY12, the Army certified 22 Green Belts and four Black Belts at PEO C3T, including 13 majors and one captain. The PEO’s 26 gated projects and 10 non-gated projects resulted in $23.5 million in cost savings and $116 million in cost avoidance across FY12-18, surpassing the PEO’s goal of 2 percent of its total obligation authority, or $72.5 million.

    “We are raising the bar for FY13,” said Thom Hawkins, chief, Program Analysis Branch, and CPI program director for PEO C3T. “The PEO has set a goal of 3 percent of its total obligation authority, or $87.4 million. The PEO also plans to re-deploy its certified belts on PEO-level enterprise projects.”

    The FY13 LSS Training schedule is on AKO at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/doc/36722897. Contact your training coordinator or LSS deployment director to register for a course in the Army Training Requirements and Resources System.

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  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Tracking Career Development


    By Susan L. Follett


    FOTF: What do you do for the Army? Why is it important?

    FOSTER: I am part of the Acquisition Career Development Division, which has a mission to serve as advocates for the Army Acquisition Workforce on behalf of the Director/Deputy Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM/DDACM). Specifically, I am the Proponency Officer for Contracting, one of 14 acquisition career fields. I am responsible for writing and updating Army acquisition workforce policies and procedures. I also serve as the DACM/DDACM office principal advisor on all matters related to the Contracting Acquisition workforce. As of Dec. 31, 2012, our acquisition workforce includes roughly 8,800 contracting professionals, and I make sure that they have received the training required for certification under the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA).

    I also support the Functional Area 51C Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Reclassification Board, providing an Order of Merit List to select best-qualified candidates to serve as Contracting Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs). Our efforts are important because they ensure we have qualified contracting personnel here and in theater so our Soldiers have access to the equipment they need for mission success.

    FOTF Editor’s Note: MOS 51C classification is an acquisition, logistics, and technology designation for contracting NCOs. It was established in 2006 to meet the Army’s increasing need for contingency contracting officers in the modular force. The primary mission for MOS 51C NCOs is to deploy as contingency contracting officers and serve as members of the early entry contingency contracting team.

    FOTF: What’s your biggest challenge? How is it overcome?

    FOSTER: One of my responsibilities is to represent the Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) at Contracting Functional Integrated Product Team (FIPT) meetings, which are held quarterly, and to advise Contracting Functional Leaders on career field competencies, DAWIA requirements, and workforce development. Senior functional leaders designated by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology lead these FIPTs and discuss a variety of topics affecting the workforce. An example of a discussion topic might be whether to add classes to a certification requirement. Service and 4th Estate Agency DACM representatives as well as functional leaders attend the FIPTs as subject matter experts. My role is to ensure the Army DACM’s viewpoint is represented during these discussions.

    The biggest hurdle I face is making sure that I accurately represent the DACM’s point of view at FIPT meetings. It’s my job to ensure that all defense acquisition workforce initiatives and proponency issues are properly vetted, communicated, and addressed with our stakeholders and accurately communicated during the FIPT meetings. To ensure that happens, we hold weekly meetings within our organization to share information and discuss issues, and we closely follow DOD regulations to be sure we are up to speed on issues that affect our mission.

    FOTF: What do you enjoy most about your work?

    FOSTER: I really enjoy the opportunity to help Soldiers reclassify to MOS 51C. This is a very competitive field. The work is challenging and the promotion potential is good. To reclassify, NCOs need to meet a rigorous list of requirements, and to see that work pay off for them is very gratifying.

    FOTF: What do you do when you’re not at work? How do those activities dovetail with your job?

    FOSTER: I coach a junior varsity girls’ basketball team, and so far, we’re having a great season. Our record is 15-7. Both work and coaching involve a great deal of mentorship, and I really enjoy that aspect of it. On the court, I spend a lot of time mentoring my players, and at work we try to encourage Soldiers and civilians to get the most out of a career in Army acquisition.

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

    FOSTER: I became an Army Civilian because I wanted to contribute to the well-being of Soldiers. My greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army is the opportunity to impact the lives of others in a positive way.

    51C applications are being accepted throughout the year. For more information, please visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/military-nco/active-component-reclass-program/.

    • “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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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner

    Education and Training Opportunities

    The Army Director of Acquisition Career Management (DACM) office, along with the rest of the Department of Defense, has recently received significant funding cuts. However, our top priority remains ensuring that our civilian and military workforce has multiple opportunities to meet their statutory certification and development requirements. We will continue to fund those already enrolled in any of our tuition assistance, leadership development, or experiential programs. In addition, we are working daily to ensure future opportunities remain viable. That being said, we have had to suspend some programs such as the School of Choice – we had originally planned to have an announcement open mid-FY13, but there will NOT be a School of Choice announcement this year.

    Defense Acquisition University – Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF)
    The 2013-14 announcement is open until March 28, 2013 to all eligible GS-14s and GS-15s who have met their current position certification requirements. This program has recently been endorsed as an Army equivalent Senior Service College by the United States Army War College. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-senior-service-college/. This program, located in Aberdeen, Md., Huntsville, Ala., and Warren, Mich. provides a great opportunity for our civilians to attend a SSC within their local area.

    Naval Post Graduate School – Masters of Science in Program Management
    The announcement will be open from March 4 –May 13, 2013 to all eligible personnel in GS-11 through GS-15 or broadband/pay band equivalent positions who have met their current position certification requirement. While it is not in Monterey, Calif., this distance learning program will provide required DAU training in Program Management (as well as other career field courses) to graduate with a master’s. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/naval-postgraduate-school-master-of-science-in-program-management/.

    Excellence in Government Fellowship
    The announcement will be open from June 13 – July 15, 2013 to all eligible personnel in GS-13 – GS-15 or broadband/pay band equivalent positions who have met their current position certification requirement. EIGF offers our senior acquisition workforce members the opportunity to network and team with fellow senior leaders from across the government. This program focuses on benchmarking best practices and then returning to your organization to implement. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/excellence-in-government-fellows-program/.

    Army Acquisition Civilian Leadership Development Plan
    The Army DACM office recently published our first leadership development plan for civilians. Unfortunately, there is not one clear path for civilians…that would be too easy! Unlike the military, civilians can/will take hundreds of different routes in their quest for upward mobility. This plan is meant to serve as a guide for all levels of our acquisition workforce. Using this model, each workforce member may see what the training requirements are at each level. In addition, they may also use this Plan to identify desired training opportunities available at upper levels—each opportunity is hyperlinked to an information page for the program. Please take some time to review programs of interest to you and put any on your Individual Development Plan (IDP) and discuss with your Supervisor.
    The model is broken into Four Sections (from bottom to top):

    1. DAWIA/DAU Training – functional REQUIRED training moving left to right from Level I up through 400 Level courses.
    2. CES Courses – Army G-3/5/7 REQUIRED courses moving left to right from Foundation Course->Basic->Intermediate->Advanced->CESL depending on your rank.
    3. Leadership Training – includes all the leadership opportunities available in our AETE portfolio as well as a few DOD and AMC programs.
    4. Higher Education – Bachelor, Masters Degrees as well as Senior Service Colleges and SSC Fellowships

    Please note that all courses are hyperlinks which will take workforce members to dedicated pages to each course/program where they may find additional information. To the right is an image of the development plan; however, you may view the full version and download a copy here: http://asc.army.mil/career-development/civilian/career-planning-steps/.

    The Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program (ALCP) is the newest program to the Acquisition Education and Training Portfolio for the Army. Based upon the huge success the Air Force has had with ALCP, we piloted multiple offerings of the 2.5 day course in FY12. For FY13, we are bringing the course to you. For more information on how to apply, please visit our website: http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-leadership-challenge-program/. Below is the FY13 ALCP training dates (by location):

    FY13 ALCP Plan

    (ALCPI or II)
    29 April-3 May Back-to-back Level I offerings Aberdeen, MD
    20-24 May Level I & Level II Atlanta, GA
    10-14 June Back-to-back Level I offerings Warren, MI
    29 July-2 August Back-to-back Level I offerings Huntsville, AL
    19-23 August Level I & Level II Atlanta, GA


    Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Training

    Training required for Army Acquisition Workforce members is a mission critical activity and is exempt from recent cuts stated in a memo from Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, dated Jan. 10, 2013. DAU travel for required Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification courses is centrally funded by DAU through the USAASC. Some acquisition workforce members’ travel for DAU acquisition certification training is being cancelled by organizations because of their current interpretation of their budget execution mitigation efforts. The attached memo outlines that DAU central funds is entirely separate from budgetary actions within a Service or agency to mitigate budget execution issues in FY13. Army Acquisition students approved to use DAU central funds to attend training shall not cancel training due to budget constraints. Cancellation requests (from students approved for central travel funds) less than 30 days from class start or reservation cut-off date (with funding constraint as a reason), will be denied. Students shall be deemed a “no show” if they do not attend the scheduled training. USAASC will continue to centrally fund cost effective locations selected by the student. Commands and supervisors should continue to support and send their employees to required DAWIA training. To view the DAU Travel Status memo, please view at: http://asc.army.mil/web/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/DAU-Travel-Status-Memo-2013.pdf.

    Course Management
    DAU course management has a new process to allow higher priority, specifically priority 1 student’s first preference in the DAU resident courses. As result, students in priority 2 through 5 will be waitlisted for classes showing available seats. When a student is placed in a wait status, if a seat is available 65 days prior to the class start date, they could convert to a reservation. They could still be bumped as close as to five business days prior to class start date, whichever is higher, if a higher priority student applied within the 65 days. The new process minimizes bumping and allows priority 1s to see which courses actually have seats available for them to obtain their required position certification.

    Application Process
    Applications cannot be processed by the Army registrar office until the training has approved by the supervisor. It is also imperative that the student and supervisor email address be provided correctly on the Army Training Requirements (ATRRS) Internet Training Application System (AITAS) student profile. Please apply through ATRRS and AITAS at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. For more information on DAU training including, systematic instructions, training priority definition, or FAQs, please visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training/. Once you receive a confirmed reservation in the requested class, make sure you attend the class as scheduled. A cancellation request for a confirmed reservation must submitted at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or by the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier, to avoid a no show.

    FY14 Schedule
    The Army DACM office is in the second iteration of the FY14 DAU schedule build. At this stage, we are reviewing the FY14 draft schedule and validating Army onsite submissions. On Thursday, May 16, 2013, the FY14 schedule will be available for students to apply for classes. If students are unable to attend an FY13 course, they need to review and complete the required course prerequisite(s) now for a course they intend to take in the future. Students should continue to apply for FY13 courses available on the schedule. Planning and applying early will afford students better opportunity in obtaining a class in the timeframe requested. Encourage your supervisor to approve your training request as soon as you apply. Students should view the DAU I-catalog at http://icatalog.dau.mil to ensure they meet the prerequisite(s), prior to applying to a DAU course. A weekly low-fill listing is posted weekly at http://icatalog.dau.mil/onlinecatalog/tabnav.aspx to allow students opportunity to attend classes coming up in the next 60 days. Low-fill classes within 60 days from the start date of the class are available on a first come, first served basis.

    DAU provides a listing of equivalencies (http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx) for all courses delivered by DAU and/or predecessors courses, which are considered acceptable towards meeting current acquisition career field certification requirements. To document equivalencies accepted by DAU that are obtained from other institutions, open a helpdesk ticket at: https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/index.cfm?fuseaction=support.helpRequest and request your ACRB be updated to reflect DAU equivalent course(s) completion.

    Course Update
    BCF 211 was split into two courses: BCF 220 (web) and BCF 225 (classroom) effective with classes starting Jan. 7, 2013. BCF 211-Acquisition Business Management transition to BCF 220 & BCF 225 will start for classes starting Jan. 7, 2013. Students with reservations in classes starting Jan.7 and thereafter have been notified directly by DAU of the change and the requirement to complete the prerequisite course, BCF 220 prior to attending the resident portion, BCF 225. Students must successfully complete BCF 220 prior to applying to BCF 225. Students completing BCF 220 far in advanced, must review the course material at a minimum two weeks prior to start of date of the resident, BCF 225 course to ensure successful completion. Taking the time to focus and successfully complete prerequisite course BCF 220 will likely determine the success of the resident portion (BCF 225).

    Effective Jan. 14, 2013, CON 115 split into three separate courses (CON 121, CON 124 and CON 127) to improve on the delivery, presentation and test questions in need of significant improvement. Students are required to take CON 121, 124 and CON 127 in sequential order. The total training hours for new courses remain the same as CON 115; there is no increase in the training hours. Student completion of CON 115 is a valid predecessor course to CON 121, CON 124 and CON 127 indefinitely. DAWIA career fields requiring CON 115 as the mandatory functional training is replaced with CON 121, 124 and CON 127. Review course concept cards and certification guides at http://icatalog.dau.mil.

    Understanding Industry (Business Acumen)
    ACQ 315 is a new 4.5-day course in development by DAU. The course covers a wide range of business knowledge competencies including industry orientation, organization, cost and financial planning, business strategy/development, supplier management, incentives, and negotiating strategies. Students will learn business skills on aligning company strategies, finances, and operations that motivate company decisions, gain fair and reasonable profits, while providing best taxpayer value to the government on defense products. The course is presented from an industry perspective. The target audience is DAWIA, Level III certified acquisition personnel across all DAWIA career fields. DAU will pilot the course for June 24 – 28, 2013 at Huntsville, AL. The pilot offering will be open to all services on a first-come-first-served basis. The projected date for when students can begin registration is no later than the end of February 2013.

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  • Mouth device in clinical trials as possible treatment for TBI

    The PoNS(tm) device is an electrode-covered appliance user's place on the tongue. The 20-30 minute stimulation therapy, called cranial nerve non-invasive neuromodulation, is accompanied with a custom set of physical, occupational, and cognitive exercises based on the patient's deficits. (Photo by Ellen Crown, USAMRMC Public Affairs)

    Ellen Crown


    The tongue is an amazing organ.

    Thousands of nerve fibers in it help us eat, drink and swallow. Without them, we would not taste. The tongue helps us speak. Quietly, its surface defends our bodies from germs.

    Yet for everything the tongue can do, perhaps one of its most exciting roles is to serve as a direct “gateway” to the brain through thousands of nerve endings.

    Now, researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NeuroHabilitation Corporation are leveraging the power of those tiny nerves. They are aiming to restore lost physical and mental function for service members and civilians who suffered traumatic brain injury or stroke, or who have Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis.

    The treatment involves sending specially-patterned nerve impulses to a patient’s brain through an electrode-covered oral device called a PoNS™, a battery-operated appliance placed on the tongue. The 20-30 minute stimulation therapy, called cranial nerve non-invasive neuromodulation (CI NiNM) is accompanied with a custom set of physical, occupational, and cognitive exercises, based on the patient’s deficits. The idea is to improve the brain’s organizational ability and allow the patient to regain neural control.

    NeuroHabilitation Corporation is funding the commercial development of the device, and has more than just financial investments in PoNS. The company was created with support by Montel Williams, a celebrity and military veteran who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999. Williams was originally introduced to the research through an American Way magazine an attendant gave to him while he was on an American Airlines flight. The magazine included an article about work being done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Shortly after reading the article, Williams joined a study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Tactile Communication & Neurorehabilitation Lab, which is in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

    “The third day there I said we need this in the mouths of our Soldiers,” recalled Williams, who said he has always kept his ties with the military after serving in the Marine Corps and graduating from the Naval Academy.

    U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency commander (left) COL Alejandro Lopez-Duke, a subcommand of USAMRMC, signs a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) on Feb. 8 with the NeuroHabilitation Corporation, founded by celebrity Montel Williams and his colleagues, including the University of Wisconsin scientists. This agreement allows the Army to further evaluate the PoNS(tm) device and its potential application as a treatment therapy for traumatic brain injury. This is USAMMA's first CRADA. Phil Deschamps, CEO of NeuroHabilitation Corporation, is also pictured (right). (Photo by Ellen Crown, USAMRMC Public Affairs)

    The PoNS prototype and associated therapeutic use were developed by University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists Yuri Danilov, Ph.D., Mitchell Tyler, M.S., P.E., and Kurt Kaczmarek, Ph.D. Their research is driven by the principle that brain function is not hardwired or fixed, but can be reorganized in response to new experiences, sensory input and functional demands. This area of research is called neuroplasticity and is a promising and rapidly growing area of brain research.

    Preliminary data from University of Wisconsin showed CN-NiNM to have great potential for a wide variety of neurological issues. Remarkably, the therapy doesn’t only slow functional loss, but also has the potential to restore lost function. That’s why researchers are saying that it “breaks the rules.”

    “When we talk about a brain changing itself, this is what we mean,” said Danilov.

    Because of its possible application for service members, especially those returning from combat with blast-related traumatic brain injuries, the USAMRMC signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with NeuroHabilitation Corporation (founded by Williams and his colleagues, including the University of Wisconsin scientists) on Feb. 8 that allows the Army to further evaluate the device.

    “This exciting agreement leverages a unique private-public partnership,” said Col. Dallas Hack, director of the USAMRMC Combat Casualty Care Research Program. “By collaborating with University of Wisconsin-Madison and NeuroHabilitation Corporation, we maximize our resources to explore a potential real-world treatment for injured service members and civilians with a variety of health conditions.”

    Testing will include a collaborative study with researchers and clinicians at the Blanchfield Army Community Hospital in Fort Campbell, Ky., slated to start this month as the result of a year-long coordination effort led by Capt. Ian Dews, deputy director of CCCRP. The hospital is home to the Warrior Resiliency and Recovery Center, which is dedicated to the treatment of Soldiers with physical and neuropsychological problems due to service-related trauma.

    Additional patient testing will be conducted at other Veteran facilities and civilian medical institutions. Concurrently, the USAMRMC, in collaboration with its subcommands, the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency and the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, will conduct environmental testing, such as temperature and humidity limitations for the device, to better understand potential constraints. At the conclusion, the USAMRMC hopes to seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance for PoNS.

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  • Common Operating Environment assists Army modernization

    A Soldier with 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, demonstrates Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2 and mission command on the move applications at the Network Integration Evaluation 12.1 in October 2011. The next two Network Integration Evaluations at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., will help validate Mission Command and Common Operating Environment software. (Photo by U.S. Army)

    Kris Osborn


    WASHINGTON – As the Army matures its Agile Process, steps are being taken to align systems engineering and integration in an effort to project and synchronize trends in technology and standards across Army programs now and in the future. An outcome of this alignment is that the system of systems engineering community is now shaping the Army’s network infrastructure to be more capable and efficient, enabling industry to build devices and applications to standards and align research and development with the Army’s acquisition roadmap.

    To support this effort, the Army acquisition community is implementing the Common Operating Environment (COE). The COE is an approved set of computing technologies and standards that enable secure and interoperable applications to be developed and executed rapidly across a variety of computing environments (CEs), Army officials explained.

    “COE is essential to standardizing the computing infrastructure fundamental to Army network modernization, as the current strategic modernization approach stretches across a 30-year time span with a focus on identifying and leveraging emerging Commercial off the shelf (COTS) technology,” said Terry Edwards, Director of the newly formed System of Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate.

    COE, which includes an effort to synchronize a number of computing environments, was established, in part, to support a 30-year strategic modernization approach outlined by the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, ASA (ALT), Heidi Shyu. The concept informing this effort hinges upon the need to integrate promising emerging technology into established programs of record. At the same time, a key portion of this effort relates to the importance of linking modernization efforts with the Army’s Science and Technology (S&T) community.

    “Bringing the 30-year plan and COE together, we are going to identify a roadmap for each of the portfolios so that we can tailor our approach to address specific capability gaps,” said Edwards.

    With the initial implementation plan unveiled in early 2012, the thrust of COE consists of a set of technical standards and computing technologies with specified layers designed to facilitate integration and interoperability among software applications and hardware , said Phil Minor, Chief, COE Division, ASA (ALT). “COE is aimed at selecting and integrating a set of standards and protocols in order to achieve an open architecture, where protocols are not proprietary to a specific vendor,” he added.

    Now underway, COE implementation is aligning Army programs into six Computing Environments (CE) based on mission and environment (size, weight, power, and bandwidth) limitations. Each CE will be baselined on a common foundation (hardware and software) to facilitate reuse of common components. Each CE will be designed to interoperate with the others, thus forming the COE. The interface between CEs will be enabled through the establishment of Control Points, i.e., tightly controlled technical specifications that act as the blueprint for how data will be exchanged between CEs. Implementation will be in a phased approach expected to be executed over the next several years. The idea is to stop developing systems within different stove-pipes or silos of capability, but rather to allow applications and emerging technologies to rest upon a common computing architecture or foundation, Edwards explained.

    The open architecture concept upon which COE is based is fundamental to the ongoing development of a number of significant Army modernization programs which are currently making substantial technical progress. A few of these are: Nett Warrior – a hand-held digital display device for dismounted units, Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS) – a fixed-wing Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft and Distributed Common Ground System – Army (DCGS-A) – an integrated intelligence database, explained Edwards.

    COE is fundamental to the Capability Set management approach currently being pursued by the Army, a method of capability development designed to integrate promising emerging technology with effective existing systems. The technologies which comprise these Capability Sets are engineered with the System-of-Systems approach to integration and development, designed to lower costs and facilitate interoperability.

    Many of these COE standards are currently being identified, integrated and evaluated through the Army’s Network Integration Evaluations (NIE), a series of ongoing operational assessments of technologies and capabilities taking place in the realistic, combat-like environment of White Sands Missile Range, N.M. In fact, two upcoming NIEs will help validate Mission Command COE software.

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  • Army announces board results for senior DA civilian advancement opportunities

    Paul Prince


    WASHINGTON (Feb. 13, 2013) — Today, the Army’s Senior Enterprise Talent Management (SETM) program officials release the second ever set of board results for GS-14/15 and equivalent employees who have been selected to participate in career advancing opportunities, which includes developmental temporary duty assignments, Enterprise Placement program, Senior Service College and Defense Senior Leader Development program.

    “This year’s application process was a great success because of the hard work by the applicants themselves, their supervisors, Command boards and the SETM Selection Board who made it all happen,” said Gwendolyn R. DeFilippi, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Force Management, Manpower and Resources and Director, Civilian Senior Leader Management Office.

    The SETM program, first declared by the Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh March 19, 2012, was developed collaboratively as a Civilian Workforce Transformation initiative and is administered by the Civilian Senior Leader Management Office. The program prepares participants for positions of greater responsibility through advanced senior-level educational and developmental experiences.

    “The slate of candidates presented the board with some difficult choices,” said DeFilippi, “The obvious commitment to public service and enthusiasm to direct, motivate and lead change was apparent across the board. These are outstanding people and fully capable of achieving their potential in positions of greater responsibility.”

    General Schedule (GS) 14/15 (or equivalent) selectees for the SETM Temporary Duty (TDY) program will receive a short-term (NTE 179 days) developmental assignment to work on a special command or organization nominated project or to fill a critical need position during calendar year 2013. SETM TDY does not incur a mobility agreement.

    The selectees for the Senior Enterprise Talent Management program’s developmental TDY are: David Durham, Alfred L. Hawkins, James H. Lewis, Kevin M. Ward, James L. Watson and Ann M. Wood, all from the Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army (OAA); Judith M. Hudson and Bartolome D. Mirabal, from Installation Management Command (IMCOM); Brian J. Sterner, Army Materiel Command (AMC).

    GS-15 selectees for the Enterprise Placement program (EPP) are eligible for placement in designated Enterprise Positions across the Army. EPP participants are required to complete a mobility agreement once the position is offered.

    The selectees for the EPP are: Attila J. Bognar, Human Resource Command (HRC); James L. Watson, Headquarters, Department of the Army, G-8; Kimberly A. Combs, Mary E. Himic, Judith M. Hudson and Vincent E. Grewatz, all from IMCOM; Hugh M. Denny and Derya N. Stickley, from United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

    For educational opportunities, GS-14/15 (or equivalent) applicants selected to attend Senior Service College will attend the U.S. Army War College or the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy (The Eisenhower School), Acquisition Course, academic year 2013-2014. Those applicants selected who participate in the two-year Defense Senior Leader Development Program will begin the two year program early in 2013 that includes attendance at a Senior Service College and a follow-on developmental assignment.

    The selectees for the Senior Service College opportunities include the following by location:

    The Eisenhower School–Jin H. Kwon, AMC; James H. Lewis, Brian W. Raftery, Sherry L. Taylor and Kenneth B. Wojcik, all from U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center; Lisa K. Cramer, Headquarters, Department of the Army, G-3; and Rand A. Rodriguez, U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR).

    The Army War College (Resident)–Clay A. Brashear, Jack E. Franke and Sean M. O’Brian all from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC); Lisa D. Gilley, Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management; William S. Gregory, AMC; Jerome E. Jastrab and William H. McQuail from USAREUR; Bartolome D. Mirabal, Miriam O. Ray and Robert E. Spoo, all from IMCOM; Peter G. Laky, Army Test and Evaluation Command; Betty Morrison, Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve (OCAR); Tracy N. Traylor, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM); and Ann M. Wood, National Guard Bureau.

    The Army War College (Non-Resident): Hal Chaikin, NETCOM; Hugh M. Denny, USACE; and Samuel F. Wilson, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command.

    The alternate selections list for Senior Service College is as follows: David E. Durham, Headquarters, United States Forces Korea; Alfred L. Hawkins, Headquarters, Department of the Army G-3; and Joel S. Stronger, U.S. Eighth Army, Korea.

    The selectees for the Defense Senior Leadership Development program are: Gary L. Adams, USAREUR; Michael P. Anderson, U.S. Army European Command; Mark H. Beattie, U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command; Attila J. Bognar, HRC; Sonia I. Bonet-Betancourt, Tammy E. Call and Vincent E. Grewatz, IMCOM; David A. Crowe, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization; David S. Henderson, TRADOC; Beverly D. McAlister, OCAR; William P. Metheny, Chief of Staff of the Army Strategic Initiatives Groups; Nathaniel Prezzy, U.S. Army Inspector General Agency, Brian J. Sterner, AMC; and James L. Watson, Headquarters, Department of the Army G-8.

    Applicants for these programs began their journey toward selection last April when the SETM-System electronic application process opened. Applicants were endorsed by their supervisors and the first General Officer equivalent in their chain of command. Commands held their own boards and forwarded nominations to HQDA. This rigorous four month process culminated in a board appointed by the Secretary of the Army comprised of Army Civilian Senior Executives and General Officers who reviewed and rated the applications and interviewed the applicants for selection.

    Applicants could apply for one or more components, but the board considered each of the four programs separately and selection for one component did not guarantee selection for another.

    For more information, visit https://www.cslmo.army.mil.


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  • Award winning Army SES, international expert, moves to OSD

    Mr. Keith B. Webster, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation, center right, with Hon. Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology as he transitions to a new role with the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Looking on are LTG William Phillips, Principal Military Deputy, Director Acquisition Career Management, right, and Mr. Gabriel Camarillo, Principal Deputy.

    Kris Osborn


    WASHINGTON – Award-winning former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation, Mr. Keith B. Webster, will build upon his many successes as he transitions to a new role with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).

    Webster, who now serves as Director, International Cooperation, OSD, is in charge of managing a host of key issues for Mr. Frank Kendall, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Issues within his purview include international partnerships with key global allies, significant acquisition and technology-related matters affecting U.S. global military development and coordination with OSD policy personnel.

    “Inside Mr. Kendall’s portfolio of AT&L and inside the broader context of OSD, we will decide our priority activities and examine how we should be organized and engaged globally. Within AT&L, we are here to inform the requirements process with the J8 and ensure timely consideration of foreign technology opportunities and foreign product opportunities. We want to make sure that the JCIDS [Joint Capabilities Integration Development System] process is well-informed—to include international cooperation,” said Webster, while expressing enthusiasm for his new role.

    In particular, Webster’s role will call upon his considerable expertise in technology- and acquisition-specific international cooperation issues, Foreign Military Sales, Direct Commercial Sales and international policy issues, among other things.

    “I am chartered to advise him [Kendall] on all international matters and to be knowledgeable of global political military events–and to be in contact and in touch with those in OSD policy who have a pre-eminent role in international policy formulation here in the Pentagon,” Webster added.

    That means advising Kendall on the international aspects of key programs like the multinational Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) effort and the acquisition of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. In many instances such as these, Webster will examine the possibility of connecting with foreign research and development during the developmental process to further collaborate with allies and improve the development of next-generation capabilities.

    In fact, international developmental partnerships can be a key to sustaining production capacity for significant U.S. programs and technologies, Webster added. Along these lines, Webster’s duties will include research and academic pursuits aimed at examining industrial base issues in partnership with those in AT&L chartered with working industrial base matters.

    “FMS and Direct Commercial Sales programs are critical as they address potential gaps in production. How do we appropriately generate international interest in a product so that we don’t have a break in production? We will partner with our OSD policy colleagues to see where we can leverage engagement to help Mr. Kendall and help the industrial base,” Webster added.

    Webster’s expertise is informed by a distinguished career, spanning a range of high-profile, high-responsibility assignments. Most recently, he managed the Army’s Security Cooperation programs as the DASA (DE&C), the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology’s deputy for international acquisition. This involved policy generation and execution oversight of Army security assistance, direct commercial sales, and international armaments cooperation. In this role, Webster supervised more than $18 billion in annual sales, managed programs that involved more than 2000 Army civilian and military personnel, and worked to identify those critical capabilities which will need to be sustained into the future.

    In addition, Webster oversaw the development and maturation of significant large-scale U.S. Army Foreign Military Sales cases, many of which helped build partner capacity and solidify important relationships with important international coalition members—to include sales of CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopters, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, Patriot missiles, Excalibur 155mm precision artillery shells and Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, among others.

    These efforts were recognized by some of his foreign counterparts, and Webster was awarded the rank of Chevalier (Knight) in the French Order National du Merite. The ceremony took place June 8, 2012, and was officiated by the Ambassador of France to the United States, Francois Delattre.

    On Tuesday, Jan. 22, Director General Lena Erixon presented the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration’s Medal of Merit (Silver), specifically recognizing Webster’s efforts on behalf of Sweden in acquiring UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters through FMS, and for being instrumental in obtaining training seats for Swedish pilots and maintainers. The entire process from Sweden’s submission of a formal Letter of Requirement to initial operating capability was completed in record time, resulting in the helicopters being deployed to Afghanistan. His continued efforts to develop strong relationships and support the overall mission will continue to be remembered.

    Before joining ASA(ALT), Webster held several positions with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), including Principal Director for Business Operations and head of the agency’s Policy, Plans and Programs Directorate.

    Webster has an MA in International Relations from Catholic University, a BS in Business/Finance from Towson State University, is a Level 3 Certified Acquisition Professional and is a Fellow of the Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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  • Double Arm Transplant Restores Function, Quality of Life for Soldier

    Sgt. Brendan Marrocco answers questions at a press conference on the day of his discharge from Johns Hopkins Hospital, six weeks after receiving a double arm transfer. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Smita Bhonsale, deputy director for Science and Technology for the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine)

    Carey Phillips


    SGT Brendan Marrocco was the first service member during the Iraq War to survive a quadruple limb amputation, and now he’s the recipient of new arms, thanks to the first double-arm transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, which took place Dec. 18, 2012.

    Marrocco was the beneficiary of research that’s been conducted since 2008 by the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM), which has been bringing together the world’s leading scientists and physicians from academia and industry to develop innovative medical solutions to fully restore Warriors with traumatic injuries. AFIRM is managed and funded through the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, which, along with the Department of Defense has provided and managed more than $6.5 million in hand transplant research—including sponsoring SGT Marrocco’s transplant.

    “A team of physicians and nurses helped to restore the physical and psychological well-being of someone most deserving,” said Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee, director of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and head of the team that performed the transplant. “Brendan Marrocco had lost both arms and both legs serving our country nearly four years ago.”

    Marrocco, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, sustained his injuries in late October 2009 when an explosively formed penetrator entered his vehicle. With advances in protective equipment, battlefield evacuation and medical care, service members are surviving injuries that would previously have resulted in death, and they are learning how to live without one or more limbs. Recent advances in regenerative medicine provide hope to these service members who look toward a future where they may once again have arms and hands that they can use.

    The first Johns Hopkins double arm transplant Dec. 18, 2012. (Photo courtesy of Johns Hopkins Hospital)

    “[Marrocco’s] hope to lead a normal life has been boosted by the first double-arm transplant at Johns Hopkins,” said Lee.

    The DOD invests in medical research and development efforts that have the most promising ability to benefit our troops injured in combat.

    “Hand transplants, such as the bi-lateral procedure performed on Sgt. Marrocco, have the potential to restore not just function but also quality of life for our injured service members,” said Dr. Smita Bhonsale, deputy director for Science and Technology for the AFIRM.

    “It’s such a big thing for my life and it is just fantastic,” said Marrocco at the Johns Hopkins Press Conference Jan. 29. “It has given me a lot of hope for the future.”

    Marrocco, now 26 years old, continues to maintain a positive attitude and is looking forward to reaching for the goals he has set for himself and taking his ambitions as far as he can.

    “One of my goals is to hand-cycle a marathon,” said Marrocco.

    While the road to more functional use of his arms will be slow, Marrocco is confident that he will get there.

    “The nerves regenerate at the maximum speed of one inch per month,” said Lee. “Considering where we did the transplant, and where the nerves are connected, there are many, many inches and indeed many, many months – a couple years for that matter – before function will return.”

    Marrocco and Lee closed out the press conference with a message to fellow amputees to not give up hope. Advances in medicine are made every day.

    The AFIRM continues to support advances in regenerative medicine, generating hope for injured service members.

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