• Army AL&T magazine now “mobile-ized”

    Fort Belvoir, Va. — The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) announced today the release of the app version of its award-winning trade publication, Army AL&T magazine. The app is now available for Android and iOS devices on the iTunes Store and Google Play.

    “We found from our reader surveys that a significant portion of our audience reads the magazine online and that many would like to be able to read it on-the-go too,” said Army AL&T Editor-in-Chief Nelson McCouch. “Now it’s available as a free download for mobile devices.”

    The app resembles the online version of the magazine that readers are familiar with, and issues are available beginning in 2011. Readers can download and store up to ten issues using the app, and customize their viewing experience. Each new issue will be available on the app soon after it’s published online.

    “We’ve been working on this app for some time, and we’re pleased to be able to provide the Army Acquisition Workforce the news they need and want in the form that’s most convenient for their busy lives,” said McCouch.

    Army AL&T—the app—is now available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play:

    iPhone and iPad
    Android Devices

    Army AL&T magazine is USAASC’s quarterly professional journal, comprising in-depth, analytically focused articles. The magazine’s mission is to instruct members of the Army AL&T community relative to AL&T processes, procedures, techniques and management philosophy, and to disseminate other information pertinent to the professional development of workforce members and others engaged in AL&T activities. The magazine is available in both hard copy and digital formats on the USAASC website (http://asc.army.mil/)—and now on tablets and smartphones.


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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner

    Civilian Education System (CES)

    Per Army Regulation 350-1, many civilians are required to complete the appropriate Civilian Education System course(s) depending on their grade level and supervisory responsibility. This becomes especially important as individuals desire to apply to more senior level programs sponsored by the Army’s Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) Office, the Army, and/or the Department of Defense. Army DACM Office-sponsored programs such as the Defense Civilian Emerging Leaders Program (DCELP) and the Defense Acquisition University – Senior Service College Fellowship Program are coordinated through the Army G-3/5/7 Office, and the Army DACM Office is now required to enforce completion of the applicable CES courses (basic, intermediate, or advanced) as a prerequisite to be eligible to apply to these programs. However, there have been quota availability issues this year and the Army DACM office was able to successfully lobby the Army G-3/5/7 office to suspend the CES pre-requisite for DCELP this year. That being said, it will be strictly enforced next year.

    Why do you need to know about CES? Individual acquisition workforce members need to work with their supervisors and CES quota managers to try to get into the appropriate level course if they, their supervisor, or their command desire them to seek advanced leadership opportunities that require CES as a prerequisite.

    To find out if your position requires CES, please review page 80 of AR 350-1. Additional information about the CES courses are provided on the CPOL website.

    To determine which level of CES you are required to complete, please log-on on to the Army Career Tracker (ACT). To view your status, login to CHRTAS. On the top right of the page, click on “CES Course Education System Eligibility and Completion Status.” It will tell you whether you have completed it or not. If not completed, it will list which level of program is appropriate/required for you.

    There are three ways to complete the CES requirement:
    1. Take the course through the Army Management Staff College
    2. Submit for equivalency: You have already completed an Army approved equivalent course
    3. Submit for constructive credit: You feel you have already met the course learning objectives through your past training, education, and experience

    To enroll into a CES course, log into Civilian Human Resources Training Application System (CHRTAS). If you need assistance or have any question, please contact your local training coordinator or CES Quota Manger.

    To see how the CES training opportunities fit into the Acquisition Civilian Leadership Development Plan (ACLDP), please see the chart below or go to http://asc.army.mil/web/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/ACLDP-v8-new.pdf.

    Excellence in Government Fellowship (EIGF)
    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. More information.

    Applicants interested in applying for EIGF must submit their application in Army Acquisition Professional Development System (AAPDS). To access AAPDS, login at the Career Acquisition Management Portal (CAMP). Next, click on Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAPPMIS). Once in CAPPMIS, select the AAPDS tab, and then select the Application Module link. Click on Apply and view all Army DACM available opportunities.

    Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Training

    The FY14 DAU course schedule is now available. 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 opportunities to obtain a class in the timeframe requested. Encourage your supervisor to approve your training request as soon as you apply. Applications cannot be processed until your supervisor approves your training request in ATRRS AITAS. Students should view the DAU I-catalog to ensure they meet the prerequisite(s) prior to applying to a DAU course. A low-fill listing is posted weekly 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 for students priority 2, and 40 days for priority 3-5 students.

    For FY13: DAU central funds are entirely separate from budgetary actions within a service or agency to mitigate budget execution issues in FY13. DAU travel for required DAWIA certification courses is centrally funded by DAU through the USAASC so long as the traveler selects a cost-effective location. For details, see “Status of Travel Funding for the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Training in FY13, Jan. 29, 2013.

    FOR FY14, we anticipate a 30 percent cut in DAU travel funds. At this time, USAASC will only fund Priority 1 (required training) travel to cost effective locations. Depending on funding received, we may also elect to centrally fund Priority 2 applying to cost effective locations.

    DAU recently released a new schedule for the duration of FY13 in the DAU Furlough Memo on Training Impacts in FY13. Key points from the memo are as follows:

    • Once DAU implements the furlough schedule, it will apply for the remainder of the fiscal year 2013 regardless if the furlough days are decreased or even eliminated.
    • Modifies the DAU training schedule to account for DAU staff furlough.
    • Stresses that the Terminal Learning Objectives and Enabling Learning Objectives will not be compromised despite shortened course length.
    • Requests that students align their homeport furlough schedule with DAU’s furlough schedule during their training period.
    • DAU course welcome letters will be revised to include new dates and instructions regarding the furlough course schedule.
    • DAU will keep up-to-date furlough information on their website.

    DAU Travel Options During the Furlough Period:

    The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance does not prohibit travel on a furlough day but states, “employee cannot engage in official travel during furlough hours,” therefore, when using approved DAU central funds, employees have the following OPTIONS for travel:

    1. Employees adjust their furlough day to fall outside the span of the DAU course offering days and into an adjacent pay period. Therefore, the days before and after class would be the employee’s regular work days and their travel days.
    2. Employees travel to/from the DAU course on their non-furlough hours (assuming employee regular schedule furlough day is the day before and/or after class). For example, if an employee furlough hours falls on Monday, from 0800 to 1600, the employee may travel on Monday, starting at 1601 since OPM guidance only prohibits travel during furlough hours and does not specifically prohibit travel on that same day after furlough hours end.
    3. Employees travel the day before or after their scheduled furlough day.

    • The information listed above provides suggested DAU travel options. Employees should work in concert with their supervisor on an agreed upon option.
    • Once travel is approved, the employee is eligible to be appropriately compensated per CPOL Administrative Furloughs guidance.
    • Civilian employees already at the TDY location during a furlough day are entitled to all travel allowances.
    • Civilian employees may receive comp time for travel required for training. Employees should seek approval from their authorized agency official.
    • Students attending a course locally will not be affected other than following DAU’s new furlough schedule.
    • If attendance at DAU training requires an airline flight, the flight on the last training day must be no earlier than 6:30 p.m.
    • The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) budget and quota management support is also subject to furlough. All requests, including submission of the travel worksheet (for students approved for DAU funding), should be completed as soon as possible. A 20 percent reduction in the workforce may create a backlog.

    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, priority 2 will roll into a reservation 65 days prior to class start date if a priority 1 does not encumber a seat. Priority 3 to 5 waits will roll in 40 days prior to the start date of the class. Lower priority students could still be bumped up to five business days prior to class reservation cut-off date or start date, whichever is earlier. 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. To view training priority definition, click here.

    Applications cannot be processed by the Army registrar office until the training has been approved by the supervisor. It is also imperative the student and supervisor email address is provided correctly on the AITAS student profile. Please apply through the Army Training Requirements (ATRRS) and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS). For more information on DAU training including systematic instructions, training priority definition, or FAQs, please click here. Once you receive a confirmed reservation in the requested class, ensure you attend the class as scheduled. Cancellation requests 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.’


    • If you have questions on any Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience (AETE) programs or DAU Training, please contact the the AETE Branch Chief Scott Greene @ scott.greene4@us.army.mil

    DACM News


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  • New DASA for Procurement Announced

    Harry P. Hallock will take the reins of responsibility as the new DASA-P on July 15. (U.S. Army photo)

    The Hon. Heidi Shyu assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology announced on June 14, that Harry P. Hallock, executive director of the Army Contracting Command (AAC)-Warren, Mich., will be the next the next deputy assistant secretary of the Army (DASA) (procurement), effective July 15.

    “Mr. Harry Hallock has more than 20 years of acquisition, logistics and contracting experience, most of which has been in direct support of our war fighters. His leadership and contracting expertise will make him an invaluable asset to our team,” said Shyu.

    Hallock leaves his position as the executive director of the Army Contracting Command-Warren, Mich., after six years at the helm.

    “I am deeply honored to have been considered for this critical position in our Army. At the same time, it is with a heavy heart that I depart ACC-Warren and the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command,” said Hallock.

    “I’m very proud that Harry has been selected for this very important position,” said Maj. Gen. Camille M. Nichols, ACC commanding general. “Harry is an innovative leader who cares deeply about his people and has done much to advance the Army acquisition career field. As one of the founding leaders of ACC, he has helped shape and establish our command as the DOD’s preeminent provider of decisive edge contracting solutions and practices. Although I will miss Harry’s wise counsel and leadership, we look forward to working with him in his new position to provide America’s Army the tools it needs to fight and win.”

    Hallock began his career in Army contracting as a 22-year-old intern at the Detroit Arsenal and has been a Michigan resident for the past 33 years.


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  • Security cooperation for the future: opportunities, challenges, and transformation

    Ann Cataldo, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for defense exports and cooperation, addresses attendees at the 2013 Security Cooperation Workshop.

    By Chris Mewett

     

    Members of the security cooperation (SC) community gathered in Arlington, Va., last month to share ideas about how their organizations can continue to provide effective support to both international partners and national strategic objectives in a time of austerity and change.

    The 2013 Security Cooperation Workshop, hosted by the Office of the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for defense exports and cooperation (DASA (DE&C)), brought together people from across the Departments of State and Defense – from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the military departments, the Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management, and other organizations – to communicate best practices, exchange lessons learned, and discuss strategic initiatives and adaptations designed to meet the challenges facing the SC workforce.

    U.S. Navy Vice Adm. William Landay, director of DSCA, set the tone for the workshop by challenging participants to think critically about how their organizations can improve performance as both foreign military sale (FMS) case-load and associated administration funds level-off. The security cooperation community has enjoyed a surge in resources over the last several years and has performed well in turn, but this situation cannot be expected to continue indefinitely, he said.

    Landay emphasized the gains the community has made in recent years by emphasizing customer satisfaction, cost reduction, improved responsiveness, and increased partner visibility and involvement in the process. The time is right – before possible cuts are implemented – to consider ways to further shorten case processing times, to improve customer focus yet more, and to be more responsive at every phase of implementation and execution.

    These efforts must complement a broader initiative to integrate SC activities more closely with interagency capacity-building efforts and other tools of foreign policy through a comprehensive strategic approach to partner nations, something that Dr. Kathleen Hicks, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, highlighted in her keynote speech. The recent release of a new presidential policy directive on security sector assistance indicates that this requirement is recognized across the interagency community. Only by approaching the capability requirements of our partner nations as part of a broader, interagency look at improving security capacity, can we ensure that our SC efforts are both effective and sustainable.

    Maj. Gen. Frank D. Turner III, commanding general of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, delivers a briefing during the 2013 Security Cooperation Workshop.

    Gregory Kausner, recently named deputy assistant secretary of state for regional security and arms transfers, spoke about needing closer cooperation between the departments of state and defense. Kausner also offered his perspective on congressional views of security assistance, urging the community to improve not only its responsiveness to customers, as emphasized by Landay, but also its efforts to communicate SC’s successes.

    Representatives of each military department’s lead organization for SC also briefed the audience on service-level initiatives, including Ann Cataldo, in her first week on the job as the new DASA (DE&C). Cataldo spoke briefly on challenges stemming from strategic and budgetary uncertainty, emphasizing that the SC community can capitalize on what she described as an opportunity for new and challenging ways of thinking. The Army is already working to satisfy the intent of last year’s defense strategic guidance, which emphasized the need to “develop innovative, low-cost, and small-footprint approaches to achieve our security objectives.” As our overseas posture changes and fewer troops are permanently stationed abroad, SC engagements and the relationships they sustain will be increasingly important.

    Cataldo told the audience about several DASA (DE&C) initiatives that have been undertaken to ensure that those SC activities are targeted and effective. The Materiel Enterprise International Engagement Strategy (MEIES) will help tailor security assistance efforts to meet partner nation capability requirements while providing support to Army acquisition programs and the U.S. defense industrial base. The Army’s International Catalogue will complement the work done through the MEIES by giving security cooperation officers (SCO) the information they need to find the right Army solution for their partner nation. And the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command’s common operating picture will help to ensure that personnel across the Army have access to the data they need to manage security assistance cases effectively for the mutual benefit of the U.S. and the partner nation.

    The workshop’s second full day kicked off with a discussion of theater security cooperation objectives, led by a panel comprising representatives of the geographic combatant commands and the joint staff. This was followed by presentations from a range of speakers offering several different perspectives on SC: one focused on the challenges of working as an SCO, another on efforts to consolidate information technology (IT) systems under the security cooperation enterprise solution, and a third on SC training activities administered by the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management.

    “Community Focus” breakout sessions each afternoon offered attendees the opportunity to focus more deeply on subjects of interest, from public affairs and communications to technology security and foreign disclosure reform to logistics and transportation issues. The workshop also included briefings on the security cooperation information portal and the security cooperation management suite to improve attendees’ understanding of the benefits offered by those IT systems, as well as an update on the stand-up and early operation of the special defense acquisition fund.

    On the workshop’s final day, representatives of each service’s international training organization participated in a panel dedicated to that subject. The remainder of the presentations were focused on the future: one on the work of the security cooperation reform task force; another on the way the SC community is resourced; a third on legislative proposals pertaining to SC; and a final brief on DSCA’s efforts to improve customer visibility and participation in the FMS process.

    The consistent focus of the workshop, throughout the various presentations and discussions, was the opportunity to learn, adapt, and improve. In her closing remarks, Cataldo encouraged the attendees to return to their organizations with a commitment to spread what they’d learned, to implement the best practices they’d absorbed from others in the community, and to re-commit themselves to demonstrating the importance and value of the work done by the SC community.


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  • Acquisition partnership to roll out new improved Sentinel Radar

    AN/MPQ-64 A3 Enhanced Sentinel Radar System is the only 360-degree coverage air defense radar in the Army’s current inventory and features a 3 D X-Band phased array antenna that provides an instrumented range of 75 kilometers. ( U.S. Army photos)

    By Michael A. Wilson and Michael J. Glenn

     

    Embracing the Army agile process, the Cruise Missile Defense Systems (CMDS) Project Office’s Sentinel Product Office (SPO), went from early planning, to prototype and then qualification testing of a new Enhanced Sentinel Radar in just over 12 months.

    Sentinel will showcase this latest evolution enhancing force protection and Soldier survivability in a roll-out of the AN/MPQ 64A3 Enhanced Sentinel Radar first production unit on a Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) in October at Letterkenny Army Depot, Pa. (LEAD).

    Sentinel is the only 360-degree coverage air defense radar in the Army’s current inventory and features a 3 DX Band phased array antenna that provides an instrumented range of 75 kilometers. The Army previously procured 143 basic Sentinel Radars on the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) but through incremental upgrades, the radar has evolved to a more robust system with greater capability.

    In FY11, the Army procured 56 additional Enhanced Sentinel A3 radars that will be mounted on the M1082 Light Medium Tactical Vehicle Trailer (LMTV) with support equipment loaded onto the M1083 FMTV. The A3 radars are being produced by Thales Raytheon Systems (TRS) at the Raytheon Consolidated Manufacturing Center at Forest, Miss., while the FMTV truck and LMTV trailer will receive Sentinel specific modifications at LEAD.

    Sentinel will roll-out the AN/MPQ 64A3 Enhanced Sentinel Radar first production unit on a Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) in October 2013 at Letterkenny Army Depot.

    The new FMTV platform replaces the current HMMWV that has been in use with the Sentinel radar since 1997 and is capable of hosting an enhanced armor protection kit that signifies a major step forward in providing increased Soldier survivability. The armored FMTV will meet all Sentinel maneuverability and transportability requirements while providing greater protection to the Soldier against today’s battlefield threats. The improved platform also has a larger area for the installation of new equipment that will allow Sentinel to be fully integrated with the Army Integrated Air & Missile Defense (IAMD) systems.

    The Enhanced Sentinel Radar also has a modernized Radar Control Terminal (RCT) with a Linux-based RCT operating system, adding an Ethernet router for integration with the IAMD architecture. This will integrate the Identification Friend or Foe Mode V capability to prevent fratricide and the need to replace obsolete processor cards.

    Design to first production was accomplished at amazing speed and efficiency by using the Army agile process. The SPO at CMDS pursued a government acquisition and development approach using an integrated product team (IPT) that significantly reduced cost and development time. The FMTV Sentinel prototype effort was led by the Aviation & Missile Research, Development & Engineering Center (AMRDEC) Prototype Integration Facility (PIF) at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. along with the IPT.

    This IPT partnership comprised members from the PIF; designers from Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation and Yulista Management Services (subcontractors to the PIF); manufacturing engineers and tradesmen from LEAD; safety engineers from the Army Research Laboratory and CMDS; maintenance personnel from the Fire Center of Excellence; system engineers and logisticians from TRS (the developer and manufacturer of the radar); and representatives from CMDS in various engineering disciplines, logisticians and program management. By using this unique method, the Sentinel team went from the early planning stage to having a completed prototype and moving into qualification testing in just over 12 months. This approach reduced the manufacturing lead time and cost by allowing LEAD to input required changes in the design tailored to their processes and process capabilities, input to material and vendor selection, and plan for life-cycle support requirements.

    The new FMTV platform replaces the current HMMWV that has been in use with the Sentinel radar since 1997 and is capable of hosting an enhanced armor protection kit that signifies a major step forward in providing increased Soldier survivability. Fielding 56 new systems is scheduled to begin in FY14.

    The IPT partnership approach allowed for quick incorporation of changes resulting from development and test activities to be optimized and integrated into the production line in substantially less time and at significantly less cost than previous development efforts. In addition, this reduced the number of design changes since major stakeholders were encouraged to provide input on the design on a weekly basis rather than at traditional preliminary and critical design reviews. This process also allowed the Sentinel product director to identify and abate program risks much quicker than in a normal program execution. Overall, the Army agile process has allowed the SPO to develop, build, test, and transition into production, an FMTV-based Sentinel in less time, with fewer redesigns and at less cost to the government than a typical Army system acquisition.

    Fielding the 56 new production systems is scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2014, and an effort to replace the current HMMWV platform with the new FMTV for the entire Sentinel fleet is planned from fiscal year 2014 through fiscal year 2018.

    The October roll-out of the AN/MPQ-64A3 Enhanced Sentinel Radar’s first new-production radar will be another step in the Sentinel Radar evolution. This signifies a major step in providing enhanced surveillance data to shooters in the IAMD architecture, increased Soldier survivability, and proven viability of the Army’s agile acquisition process.


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  • Army harnesses sun to reduce casualties from sniper attacks

    By Edric Thompson

     

    ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army is harnessing the elements to help reduce casualties from sniper attacks on forward operating bases.

    The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s research laboratory and aviation missile and communications-electronics RD&E centers — the Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, and the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC — have integrated and deployed wind and solar harvesting systems to provide continuous energy to company-level, force protection systems used by U.S. Army combat units in theater.

    A joint venture by ARL, Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, known as AMRDEC, and industry, the Hostile Fire Detection Sensor, or Firefly, is a 360-degree surveillance system that uses acoustics fused with Short Wave Infrared detectors to locate enemy shooters for more accurate return fire.

    Firefly detects line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight hostile fire and classifies these as small arms, heavy machine gun or rocket/mortar. It calculates geo-location of the shot and provides self-position and heading in a standard cursor-on-target format. The Firefly can be either a mobile or fixed system, attached to the Soldier’s backpack while on patrol, or mounted at forward operating bases.

    The Firefly system was initially deployed to Afghanistan in May 2012 to support a fires detection requirement. However, deployment sites faced challenges in sustaining conventional power delivery to Fireflies along perimeter walls due to enemy attacks when Soldiers were above the wall line changing batteries.

    “In our attempts to solve the power issue, we discovered that CERDEC had sponsored the development of RENEWS power kits, which offered more complete solutions for charging the power supplies,” said William Lawler, an electrical engineer in ARL’s Sensor Integration Branch. “They immediately provided us with several kits, which we sent to AMRDEC for integration with Firefly and testing. Once it was determined that this solution satisfactorily extended the power supply, CERDEC provided several solar versions of the kits for deployment.”

    The Reusing Existing Natural Energy, Wind & Solar system, or RENEWS, enables the harvesting and utilization of wind and/or solar power and is intended to produce up to 300 watts of energy field usage in silent, remote operations where the supply of power and fuel resupply is difficult or risky, noted Daniel Berka, an electronics technician in CERDEC’s Command, Power & Integration directorate, or CERDEC CP&I.

    RENEWS consists of a wind turbine, three 124-watt flexible solar panels, a power conditioner, an AC inverter, and a battery storage/charging unit that contains six BB-2590 rechargeable batteries; it can be hooked into either the solar panels or the wind turbine for continuous charging. The BB-2590 battery, which was developed by CERDEC CP&I, is lighter than the standard BB-390 battery and features better capacity.

    “RENEWS offers options; solar was preferred in this case, using the solar panels to charge the six-pack of batteries during the day. We connected a cable from the RENEWS kit to the Firefly, giving them 1.2 KW of continuous energy to run the Firefly system. There still was some maintenance to check the Six-Pack and clean the dirt off the solar panels, but the Soldiers are not going up there every day because the solar panels are within the walls, so they’re not exposed to enemy fire,” Berka said.

    Limited pairings of the two systems have gone to theater as a package, with the most recent deployment being April 24.

    “Integration is absolutely a critical, relevant and priority S&T (science and technology) investment, and RDECOM is uniquely positioned to provide this to the Army,” said Dale Ormond, director of U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, known as RDECOM. “We are the only organization that has the flexibility and technical expertise to execute the Army S&T mission across a broad portfolio of services. We can draw on a wide range of strengths and technical competencies from each of our centers and laboratories to develop holistic solutions that meet real operational needs. It provides better technical solutions for Soldiers and it enhances the Army’s ability to be more flexible and adaptive against asymmetrical threats.”

    The integrated solution also provided an opportunity for CERDEC CP&I to gather additional operational feedback to be used in efforts to reduce Soldier load and logistical support, said Pedro Passapera, chief for CERDEC CP&I’s Experimentation and Simulation Branch.

    “Changing power sources and delivering fuel can be dangerous for Soldiers in the field. We are always looking for opportunities to collaborate with other organizations in order to address small unit power issues while reducing the logistics footprint,” Passapera said.

    “Operational feedback allows us to see areas for improvements that would make the technology more effective for mission support,” Passapera continued. “Other Soldiers will benefit from this because we will use the feedback to make adjustments to the current or next generation system and provide the data back to the appropriate decision makers. This was a perfect fit.” said.

    CP&I has deployed 40 complete RENEWS systems and more than 60 solar systems to units, Passapera noted.

    AMRDEC is seeking to transition Firefly to a program of record in late fiscal year 2013, noted Timothy Edwards, Ph.D., lead for AMRDEC’s Firefly team.

    RDECOM, whose mission is to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers, is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness — technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment — to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.

    “This integrated solution has been very successful and is still serving the warfighters in Afghanistan. Working across RDECOM truly is the best way to support the warfighter,” Edwards said.


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  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Unexpected experience shapes a logistician’s career

     

    By Tara Clements

     

    FOTF Editor’s Note: Working “above your pay grade”? For Carrie Caldwell Clinard, that phrase quickly became a reality three years into her Army Civilian career when she deployed to Iraq. When she arrived in Iraq, instead of the job she thought she was going to, she was slated for a different position two pay grades above her own and in a different location. She rose to the challenge, finding herself responsible for all logistics functions for an entire base to include transportation, maintenance, supply, fuel, etc. Consequently, that leadership experience has had a dramatic impact on her career and how she tackles problems and finds solutions “with a sense of urgency” to ensure our Soldiers are equipped to accomplish their mission.

    No stranger to a challenge, Clinard’s current job requires a great deal of fire-power as a logistics management specialist responsible for ensuring the Army’s principal air-to-ground missile weapon system, HELLFIRE, is maintained and operational for Soldiers and service members alike.

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

    Soldiers sacrifice so much and put themselves in harm’s way continually to protect this country. It is important for us as DoD civilians to do our job and provide them the needed equipment, so they can carry out their missions and succeed on the battlefield.

    CLINARD: Currently, I am a logistics management specialist and manage any spare parts (launcher rails, circuit cart assemblies) needed to fix and maintain the M299 Longbow Launcher which shoots HELLFIRE missiles. The HELLFIRE missile weapon system is used on many aviation platforms, such as the OH-58 Kiowa, AH-64 Apache and Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial System, Special Operations aircraft and supports not only the Army, but Air Force, Navy, Marine and foreign military sales customers. I forecast and manage the inventory of spare parts, plan ‘spares’ requirements, initiate procurements and track contract deliveries, manage repair programs at organic and contractor depots and many other logistics functions to support and sustain the weapon system. I also work heavily with the RESET team and submit and track their requisitions. When a unit returns from a deployment, this team is responsible for assessing and fixing the weapon system which includes ordering any spare parts required for repairs.

    During her deployment, Clinard worked closely with Soldiers from the Idaho National Guard. Master Sgt. Richard Bailey, 1-148th Field Artillery Battalion, Idaho National Guard served as the Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge of the logistics cell working side-by-side with Clinard. Courtesy photo provided by Program Executive Office Missiles and Space.

    I feel my job is important because these actions ensure the warfighter receives his/her needed parts to maintain ‘weapon system readiness’ and support their mission. HELLFIREs are used heavily in theater and contingency operations, so it is vital the soldier has the parts available when needed to fire that missile at the target.

    FOTF: What has your experience been like so far? What has surprised you the most?

    CLINARD: I have had a great experience thus far working with the Army. There was a learning curve in the beginning with becoming familiar with Army culture and way of doing business, as well as learning a thousand Army acronyms. However, the career training the Army has provided has made things easier and helped me to learn my job. I’ve even been able to earn my master’s degree through the Army.

    Working here [Redstone Arsenal, Ala.] has provided many opportunities and experiences. I have traveled to various Army installations and witnessed Soldiers using the equipment that I support. In 2011, I had the opportunity to deploy to Iraq and provide logistical support with the drawdown. That was an invaluable experience that I will always carry with me. Although work can get stressful and busy at times, I feel continuously blessed to have the job that I have.

    FOTF: What has surprised you the most?

    Clinard and two colleagues from FOB Prosperity gather together at Viejo Lake, a water reservoir by the Tigris River in Baghdad, Iraq. From left to right: Carrie Clinard, Brian King and Vernell Sample. Courtesy photo provided by Program Executive Office Missiles and Space.

    CLINARD: What surprises me most is the dedication and commitment of the Army Civilian workforce to get the job done and support the warfighter. I think my job as a logistician for the Army keeps the fact that we are still engaged in a war at the forefront of my mind; and that’s what drives me to successfully and quickly complete my tasks each day. When an issue arises that affects the field, everyone is engaged and committed to finding a solution. Soldiers sacrifice so much and put themselves in harm’s way continually to protect this country. It is important for us as DoD civilians to do our job and provide them the needed equipment, so they can carry out their missions and succeed on the battlefield.

    FOTF: You mentioned your deployment to Iraq in 2011. What was it like?

    CLINARD: I deployed in support of Operation New Dawn from March – September 2011 and provided logistical support for the drawdown in Iraq working closely with coalition military, contractors, U.S. Embassy personnel and local Iraqis. I was located at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Prosperity in Baghdad, Iraq serving as the director of logistics over the base and was responsible for all logistics functions including transportation, maintenance, supply, fuel, etc. I was heavily involved with logistics support contracts and initiated new project requests, developed project planning estimates, and assisted with contract development, performance and completion tasks. In addition, I was also the logistics lead at my FOB for Base Operating Support – Integrator which was poised to take over logistics functions from the military as they departed. A part of those functions included facilitating the closure and transition of bases to the Government of Iraq and the U.S. Department of State.

    A Task Force Saber, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade OH-58D Kiowa Warrior patrols the skies near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, March 2, 2012. The Kiowa is the Army's scout and reconnaissance aircraft, often called upon to provide close security for ground troops. The Kiowa is capable of carrying a two-man crew and a variety of weapons, such as 2.75 inch rockets, hellfire missiles (pictured) or a .50-caliber machine gun. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Eric Pahon)

    It was a very challenging and difficult deployment, given the complex missions and the ‘melting pot’ of people, agencies and organizations from around the world I worked with. But, it was also very rewarding to be a part of that chapter in American history. It was a very humbling and a career-changing experience that I will always carry with me.

    FOTF: What was your most memorable day?

    CLINARD: One of the more memorable moments from my deployment is of a barbeque. I worked side-by-side with Soldiers from the 1-148th Field Artillery Battalion, Idaho National Guard for months. Shortly before they redeployed, we got together for a cookout. I remember sitting around the table laughing, taking several pictures and soaking up the moment because I knew I wouldn’t get to see those guys again. It was a rare moment to have some down time. I still keep in touch with a few of them—especially during football season.

    FOTF: Why did you decide to work for the Army? What is your greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army?

    CLINARD: I became an Army Civilian in June 2008 after meeting a recruiter and interviewing at a college career fair. I wasn’t even aware of the opportunity to work for the Army as a civilian, especially in Alabama. My grandfather was an Army veteran and I have always had pride in that and had great patriotism for the military and my country. I joined because it was a great career opportunity, as well as a career that I felt had great purpose and fulfillment.

    My greatest satisfaction is knowing that I directly support the warfighter by supplying them with a weapon system that can help achieve their mission, when called upon.

    FOTF: What are your career aspirations?

    CLINARD: I think I’ll stick here. My coworkers poke fun at me because I have a retirement poster on my desk that gives me my retirement date – June 8, 2046. Just a few more years to go!

    For more information on the HELLFIRE Missile, JAMS Project Office or Program Executive Office Missiles and Space, visit http://www.msl.army.mil/Pages/JAMS/default.html.


    • “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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  • Smaller satellite terminal solution being fielded following Network Integration Evaluations

    By Amy Walker

     

    ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (June 12, 2013) — Taking advantage of lessons learned through several Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) cycles, the Army is fielding to its first unit a new, smaller ground satellite terminal designed to provide high-capacity, beyond-line-of-sight communications to newly digitized command posts at the company level.

    “One of the main goals the Army had in creating the Company Command Post (CoCP) was the reduction of size, weight, and power consumption, referred to as SWaP,” said Lt. Col. Greg Coile, product manager for Satellite Communications (PdM SATCOM), which manages the terminals. “We leveraged the NIE Process to inform a SATCOM solution that would reduce the Soldier’s burden and improve unit mobility.”

    The Secure Internet Protocol Router/Non-secure Internet Protocol Router (SIPR/NIPR) Access Point 1.2 meter Lite, referred to simply as “SNAP Lite,” was chosen as one of the SATCOM solutions to meet the requirement for a small form factor terminal to support the enhanced communication and mission command capabilities of the CoCP. This very small aperture terminal is a rapidly deployable, pack-in-the-box solution that extends the Army’s network and improves situational awareness for maneuver companies.

    An Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB) is the first unit to be fielded under the Department of the Army-directed requirement for CoCPs. The unit is scheduled to receive SNAP Lites, followed by two weeks of new equipment training. ESBs provide communication connectivity to disadvantaged users, often in austere environments, and Army modernization efforts call for an increase in ESB transport capability to improve battlefield communication.

    “The introduction of SNAPs into the company level command post gives company commanders access to those high-speed digital networks.”

    The ESB’s SNAP Lites will be used to support the unit’s worldwide contingency operations as well as potential NIE support in the future. Additional SNAP Lites for the Army’s CoCPs will be procured and fielded as funding is determined, while other CoCPs in theater will utilize the larger legacy SNAPs for their SATCOM requirements.

    “In the past we have always relied on larger aperture satellite dishes, but now we are fielding one that is smaller, lighter and more compact and can fit inside a rapid force deployment,” said John Lundy, SNAP project lead for PdM SATCOM. “The reduction in setup time and SWaP makes the unit more mobile.”

    Like the legacy SNAPs, SNAP Lites provide secure and non-secure satellite communications for the CoCP. The communications and mission command systems that make up the Army’s newly enhanced, digitized CoCP are intended to deliver a new level of advanced voice and data communications to the company level and improve the flow of critical battlefield information.

    “CoCP users can take their mission command systems and plug right into the SNAP on both classified and non-classified networks,” said Michael Sidwell, SNAP systems integration engineer for PdM SATCOM. “With the addition of these beyond-line-of-sight capabilities, the CoCP becomes a hub in battlefield operations where users can exchange critical battlefield information from the Soldier on the ground on up to higher headquarters.”

    SNAPs work in concert with both Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 1 and WIN-T Increment 2, which together make up the Army’s current tactical communications network backbone, essentially the Army’s Internet. In the past, Army maneuver companies did not have high-capacity entry into digital networks, and that reach-back to the network backbone is critical for today’s evolving missions.

    “The introduction of SNAPs into the company level command post gives company commanders access to those high-speed digital networks,” Sidwell said. “The company command post connection completes an important part of the network architecture.”

    The capabilities of SNAP Lite, along with other potential CoCP industry-proposed solutions, were evaluated during NIE 12.2 held in May 2012. The intent of the NIE process is to assess and integrate systems that meet an operational need or gap, primarily through Soldier-led evaluations during the semi-annual field exercises. The Army established a realistic operational environment at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M., to conduct these evaluations. NIE systems under evaluation, such as the CoCP SNAP Lite, are submitted by government and industry and go through a selection process to participate in the NIEs to receive a full assessment.

    The Army’s solicitation for a small form factor terminal to support the CoCP included required vendor participation in a demonstration held at the Joint Satellite Engineering Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, (APG) Md. Engineers from APG’s Communications Systems Design Center were also leveraged to review and ensure the validity of the demonstration’s technical data, Lundy said.

    “The CoCP directed requirement demonstrated that we could evaluate the latest technology and capability through the NIE then complete that requirement to gain the best value for the Army,” Coile said.


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  • USAASC announces contracting NCO reclassification board results

    Fort Belvoir, Va. (June 5, 2013) – Forty-nine candidates were selected for reclassification during the 51C Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) reclassification board here May 14-15.

    The board was administered by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) 51C Proponent Office.

    “This was an impressive group of candidates and the competition was tough,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Maneri, FA 51C Proponent Officer. The 49 selected NCOs represent the best of the best and we welcome them into the Army acquisition workforce.”

    The board’s purpose is to ensure the best qualified NCOs are selected for reclassification into Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 51C (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Contracting NCO)—a part of the Army acquisition, logistics and technology workforce.

    “We were impressed by the quality of the packets we received for the May board, said Master Sgt. Jason Pitts, Chief 51C Proponent NCO. “The word has spread that we only select best quality NCOs to enter the Acquisition Corps—in order to be selected, you need to be a proven leader with a solid foundation of civilian education; a total Soldier.”

    The primary mission for 51C NCOs is to deploy as contingency contracting officers and serve as members of the early entry module contingency contracting team. When not deployed, selected NCOs will serve as contingency contracting officers in support of a headquarters, principal assistant responsible for contracting, contracting support brigades, contingency contracting battalions, and/or installation contracting offices for training and mission support.

    The 51C Proponent Office at USAASC would like to congratulate the following NCOs:

    Staff Sgt. Corey L. Anderson Sgt.(P) Alejandro Moreno
    Staff Sgt. Dan E. Bayan Staff Sgt. Tri B. Nguyen
    Staff Sgt. Jennifer L. Becker Staff Sgt. Kassandra N. Oldacre
    Staff Sgt. Jason W. Bufkin Staff Sgt. Thomas B. Parks
    Staff Sgt. Christopher C. Carbin Staff Sgt. Anthony K. Pylant
    Staff Sgt. Anuresh A. Chand Staff Sgt. Payten E. Redfearn
    Staff Sgt. Charles A. Cryoskie Staff Sgt. Patrick F. Reil
    Staff Sgt. Charles A. Desouza Staff Sgt. Tyler B. Sane
    Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Dickson Staff Sgt. Justin P. Sawicki
    Staff Sgt. Richard T. Dybdahl Staff Sgt. Brandon F. Searles
    Staff Sgt. Justin M. Fortado Staff Sgt. Jason D. Shettles
    Staff Sgt. Jennifer E. Franks Staff Sgt. Emilio G. Silvafigueroa
    Staff Sgt. Jennings B. Herbst Staff Sgt. Nathaniel J. Stone
    Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Hoover Staff Sgt. Adela Tacla
    Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Johnson Staff Sgt. Kyle G. Tate
    Staff Sgt.(P) Raina J. Jones Staff Sgt. Jerri A. Taylor
    Staff Sgt.(P) Ralph M. Jones Staff Sgt. Princessunique Thomas
    Staff Sgt. Patrick V. Kennison Staff Sgt. Charlee R. Thousand
    Staff Sgt.(P) Vincent M. LaHara Staff Sgt. John R. Tigue
    Staff Sgt. Mark D. Laity Staff Sgt.(P) Scott W. Voigt
    Staff Sgt. Ray Lee Jr. Staff Sgt. Daniel W. Wagner
    Staff Sgt. Bunnie K. Martinez Staff Sgt. (P) Daniel M. Wilson
    Staff Sgt. Raul Medina Staff Sgt. Mark C. Wirtz
    Staff Sgt. Thomas E. Misner Staff Sgt. Lymari Woodson
    Staff Sgt. Ikaisherron D. Wright

     
    There is one remaining reclassification board for this fiscal year scheduled for July 30-31. The deadline for packet submission is July 19.

    For more information on MOS 51C reclassification, visit http://asc.army.mil.

    Links:
    Click for MOS 51C reclassification instructions and FAQs.
     


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  • Heftier unmanned ground vehicle offers more lifting, hauling strength

    The iRobot Warrior, using a tool on the end of its arm, is able to grab, lift and carry heavy items. The arm can lift up to 350 pounds and the Warrior can carry a payload of up to 150 pounds.

    By Robert Karlsen and Bob Van Enkenvoort

     

    DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. — A small car can’t pull a heavy trailer. Sports utility vehicles don’t have a compact car’s fuel efficiency. A perfect, one-size-fits-all vehicle doesn’t exist. The same goes for unmanned ground vehicles, known as UGVs.

    Soldiers use UGVs — such as the 40-pound PackBot or the larger, 115-pound TALON — to detect and defeat roadside bombs, gain situational awareness, detect chemical and radiological agents, and increase the standoff distance between Soldiers and potentially dangerous situations. Just as SUVs offer utility smaller cars can’t match, larger UGVs provide capabilities not available with smaller platforms.

    The 300-pound iRobot Warrior, developed in partnership with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s tank and automotive center, is a large UGV that offers more lifting and carrying power, as well as the potential for better dexterity to grab items or open and close doors.

    The Warrior’s capabilities combine that of a tank automotive research, development and engineering center-developed map-based navigation and those of the Warrior’s predecessor, the Neomover, which was larger than a PackBot and could perform several dexterous tasks with its robotic arm.

    WARRIOR HOLDS UP IN EXERCISES

    The development team evaluated Warrior UGVs in several live exercises and a real-life disaster response. In February 2009, TARDEC brought the Warrior to the cobra gold tactical exercises in Thailand for an assessment at the Marine Experimentation Center.

    “A group of Marines were part of the exercise and they tested the system’s mobility, communication-range capabilities, how well can it go up and down stairs and through corridors and hallways,” said Jeremy Gray, TARDEC Ground Vehicle Robotics research electrical engineer.

    At the exercise, the Army tested the Warrior with several infantry mission scenarios including: entry-point checkpoint, vehicle security, building clearance, cordon and search, route clearance, assess mobility and casualty extractions. The cobra gold evaluations were vital in helping TARDEC associates determine how to move forward with the platform’s development.

    “We learned that the systems needed some improvements before we could get them to a fieldable maturity level,” said TARDEC GVR Customer Support Team Leader Lonnie Freiburger. “There were some good data points that showed that if we continued to make S&T investment in mission payloads — such as manipulators, platform intelligence, power, vision and explosive and chemical detection systems — we could have a better product.”

    The iRobot 710 Warrior with APOBS provides warfighters with a powerful and rugged unmanned system that facilitates the deliberate breaching of anti-personnel minefields and multi-strand wire obstacles.

    Shortly after that evaluation, TARDEC received congressional funding to work with iRobot in the development of two Warrior manipulator arms in July 2009. The arms were required to weigh less than 45 kilograms, have a reach of 1.5 meters, lift a 50 kilogram object and move it 50 meters, drag a 100 kilogram object for 50 meters, dig 25 centimeters into the soil, and turn over a 50 centimeter by 50 centimeter x 4 centimeters piece of concrete. iRobot eventually doubled the lift capacity and extended the reach to 1.9 meters, increasing the weight to 54 kilograms.

    iRobot also developed a mechanism attaching an Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System, or APOBS, to the Warrior to teleoperate it into position and remotely fire the munition. The APOBS has two boxes with a line charge with grenades attached at intervals. An attached rocket is shot to lay out the line. The grenades on the line then detonate and clear a path for users.

    The APOBS is a fielded system, but must currently be put in place manually. Because of that, adding it to the Warrior or other tele-operated UGVs meant having to start from scratch.

    “Trying to take a system that was designed for that and adapt it and integrate it to a UGV was a great challenge because the technical reports and training manuals don’t have helpful information,” Gray said. “We had a lot of questions [regarding the APOBS integration] and asked the developers that made the training manuals, and they weren’t even sure. So it was a lot of: ‘Let’s see if this works.’ Luckily, we got through it all without blowing up the robot. It ended up being a success. We had a couple of close calls, but we learned a lot from that.”

    EXPANDING CAPABILITIES

    After those refinements were made, the team put Warrior to the test again. The congressional funding also allowed them to run more drills at the Navy’s China Lake, Calif., facility in November 2009, and then twice at the combined-arms live-fire exercise during 2010 Cobra Gold, outside of Chai Badan, Thailand.

    “It is a really big show. That’s when you have air and ground forces coming together from different countries. It’s basically one big exercise of one big assault. So you had air strikes and mortar rounds coming into an area,” Gray said. “The ground forces used the APOBS for the initial penetration, so the Warrior went up to the concertina wire, launched and blew that out of the way and then the ground forces were able to go in and complete the exercise.”

    Currently, one of TARDEC’s Warriors is undergoing final software testing. The other is at Re2′s facility supporting two small business initiatives TARDEC manages on semi-autonomous door opening and enhanced manipulation feedback. They are also being used to support Gray’s innovation project in developing a new gripper design.

    “Re2 is developing an enhanced intuitive control,” Gray noted “A lot of the manipulators don’t have real fine movement, and they don’t have haptic feedback, which is a type of feedback that goes back to the users so they have an idea of what is going on.”

    In that light, Re2 is building an end-effector tool kit for the Warrior arm with automatic tool- change capabilities.

    “On the end of your arm, there is some sort of tool — whether it’s a gripper, whether it’s a knife — that they have the ability to change out automatically,” Gray explained.

    In marsupial mode, the iRobot 710 Warrior carries a PackBot to approach, investigate and neutralize improvised explosive devices, while keeping personnel at a safe standoff distance.

    An assessment using the Warrior manipulator arm and the Re2 Modular Intelligent Manipulation and Intuitive Control was completed in December 2011 at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Scenarios involved opening doors, getting through locked doors and finding a locked device. The tasks were also done with smaller UGVs without the tool-change capabilities.

    Engineers took a unique approach to gather information in terms of what tools to design for the system.

    “We went out to Fallujah, Iraq, when we deployed and took photos of all the tools being strapped onto the robots. This is the ad-hoc stuff that the user is putting on,” Freiburger said.

    It makes sense to have conformed hardware designs instead of the makeshift tools added in the field.

    “It sounds like there is an opportunity to leverage what industry is doing, but industry is a little different. They’re more focused on very precise tasks in a benign environment. We’re dealing with very complex environments. Our tolerances are a little more open than what they have to deal with.”

    Tools currently being designed include:

    – end effectors — grippers — for different style of doors
    – engineering tools for route clearance, diggers and trenchers
    – small pneumatic sledgehammers that can pick through the ground
    – wire rakes to pull command wire from the ground
    – window breakers to do entry control point type of jobs

    REAL-LIFE DISASTER TESTING

    In addition to the California and Thailand exercises, iRobot sent two PackBots and two Warriors to Japan after the March 2011 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that left around 19,000 people dead or missing and damaged several nuclear reactors to the point of near failure.
    The PackBots were first sent into a reactor to gain situational awareness, where the investigation found radiation levels of 72.0 Sieverts inside the reactor’s containment vessel — enough to kill a person in minutes.

    Tim Trainer, interim general manager of iRobot’s Military Business Unit, said the UGVs stood up well to the conditions.

    “We knew going into the operation that Warrior was a very rugged platform, but we didn’t know how much of an effect the high radiation levels would have on the robot operationally,” Trainer said. “We’re pleased that Warrior has continued to perform unaffected in this environment.”

    Workers also outfitted the platform with an industrial vacuum cleaner to remove radioactive debris and further reduce radiation levels.

    THE RIGHT MACHINE FOR THE JOB

    Moving ahead, the challenge is building the right size robot for the job.

    “There isn’t a perfect robot,” Gray said. “Eventually, you’re going to have an arsenal of robots, and you’re going to pick the one that’s going to help your mission the best each day.”

    Today, Soldiers primarily tele-operate robots.

    “There are some intelligent features that vendors are selling such as scripts for movements, such as manipulation. Maybe you need to reposition an arm before it can go upstairs. You push a button and the center of gravity is recalibrated from the manipulator for all the payloads and now you can climb up the stairs. Maybe you have a user that is continually picking up objects so now you have a script for that task,” Freiburger said. “We know we want to reduce the cognitive load of our warfighters and eventually be a force multiplier.”

    For now, engineers are working on augmented teleoperation to improve the operational tempo in any way possible, and continue the quest for improved autonomy and dexterity.

    “A robot is an enabler,” Freiburger said. “We’re constantly working on improving the touch, senses, and other ways of communicating and understanding our environment. [We're] trying to make the robots more like humans in any way possible.”

    ABOUT TARDEC

    TARDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers.

    RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness — technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment — to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.


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