ASA(ALT) launches first writing competition

ASA(ALT) launches first writing competition

By Karen D. Kurtz   WASHINGTON — The Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)), Lt. Gen. Michael E. Williamson, announced a new writing competition today to encourage critical writing focused on Army acquisition issues. “As the United States draws down from major conflicts and manages the ongoing ramifications of sequestration, public conversation surrounding acquisition is being driven by Members of Congress, think tanks, and the media with limited input from the workforce itself,” said Williamson. “I’ve created this competition as a way to help shape the public dialogue regarding Army acquisition through critical writing.” The competition is seeking maximum participation, […]

The Academic Angle

The Academic Angle

Leveraging students’ engineering expertise to bridge the gap between Soldier and system By Col. Michael E. Sloane, MAJ Toby Birdsell and Capt.(P) Tom Beyerl   Project Manager Soldier Sensors and Lasers (PM SSL) is in the business of developing the most advanced maneuver and targeting sensors ever fielded. A sometimes unwanted adjunct to advancement, however, is complexity, one of the greatest enemies of usability. Recognizing this critical relationship, the PM SSL team continuously seeks opportunities, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Maneuver and Fires Centers of Excellence, to connect with current and prospective warfighters through “touch points,” warfighter juries that enable the PM SSL team to tailor equipment designs to […]

Network hotspot evolves with Soldier input

Network hotspot evolves with Soldier input

By Claire Heininger, PEO C3T   ABDERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (June 24, 2014) — The SNE is getting a mission makeover. The Soldier Network Extension (SNE), which delivers the Army’s mobile tactical network backbone to the company level, is evolving from a vehicle used by the company commander to an information hotspot allowing other Soldiers to plug in, make phone calls and send and receive data from anywhere on the battlefield — from an Afghan polling place to an air assault observation point. The changes, based on user feedback from Capability Set (CS) 13 fielded units and the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) events, are also making the SNE more […]

Simplify, Simplify

Simplify, Simplify

Future network must make it easier for Soldiers to train, plan, operate from garrison to foxhole By Brig. Gen. Daniel P. Hughes and Ms. Jennifer Zbozny When you think “modernization,” the next word that comes to mind probably isn’t “simplify.” Progress often implies more systems, with greater complexity—saturating Soldiers with technology and then surging the underlying infrastructure necessary to support everything from power to training. But does it have to? As we plan the Army’s future tactical communications network—a top modernization priority as the Army transitions to a smaller but still highly capable force—we have a different vision. Picture a landscape in which Soldiers can start up a wireless command […]

A Relic to Relish: Army birthday celebration features an unusual sword

A Relic to Relish: Army birthday celebration features an unusual sword

By Tara Clements FORT BELVOIR, Va. (June 19,2014) – As Army birthday week draws to a close, the team at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) paused to recognize the professionalism of Soldiers and civilians who support the Army acquisition mission and 239 years of service to the nation at a cake cutting ceremony here. “Army acquisition is a profession within the Army profession and what each of you does every day directly contributes to the workforce and ultimately, our Soldiers and their families,” said Col. Wil Riggins, USAASC Deputy Director. “We’re the best-trained, best-led and best-equipped Army and each of you have a direct role in that,” he […]

TWI: It Just May Be Your Favorite Year

TWI: It Just May Be Your Favorite Year

By Steve Stark Have you ever thought of trading in your ACUs for a business suit for a few months or maybe a year? This might just be your chance: the Army’s Training with Industry (TWI) program places up to10 acquisition professionals—majors and lieutenant colonels—with some of the top companies in the world: Intel, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Airbus, Amazon and many more. It’s more than just a wardrobe change: it’s a chance to get a career-broadening experience that can’t be obtained through the military or civilian university system. For Lt. Col. Mark Henderson, who is ending a year working with Cisco Systems, “It’s been a unique opportunity to walk a mile […]

Network Forensics makes an impact at the Army’s NIE

Network Forensics makes an impact at the Army’s NIE

A potent mix of software and methodologies borrowed from civilian industry makes a tremendous impact for the Army’s large-scale technology evaluation By Ray K. Ragan FORT BLISS, Texas – The Army’s semi-annual, large-scale Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) saw the technology of network forensics make an impact at NIE 14.2, the latest NIE, which concluded earlier this month. The U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground (USAEPG) traditionally provides expertise in instrumentation for technology-based systems and is the Army’s designated tester for C4ISR systems, as part of the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC). USAEPG supported the U.S. Army Operational Test Command, under ATEC, during this latest NIE. This year, in addition to […]

Wi-Fi, 4G LTE hits battlefield

Wi-Fi, 4G LTE hits battlefield

FORT BLISS, Texas (June 13, 2014) — The Army is introducing the power of 4G to the battlefield, providing coverage that stretches across a forward operating base so Soldiers can access mission information from their smartphones, not their desks. The 4G LTE infrastructure is part of a new collection of advanced commercial technologies, including coalition and first responder capabilities and Wi-Fi for command posts, that answer Soldiers’ demands for tactical network systems delivering increased bandwidth and enhanced capabilities in smaller packages. “Soldiers and commanders in tactical operations centers need more bandwidth for data intensive tasks like sending large PowerPoint files, maps, and full motion video,” said Lt. Col. Joel Babbitt, […]

Clause For Effect

Clause For Effect

ARDEC and JMC aim to simplify procurement and reduce cost of conventional ammo with new contract clause   By Mr. Steve Stark   The U.S. Army Armament, Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) and the Joint Munitions Command (JMC) in the next few months will begin a pilot of a contract clause that should allow for a uniform, integrated approach to help conventional ammunition suppliers comply with acceptance inspection equipment (AIE) requirements while encouraging them to follow commercial best practices. “Inspection is essential to any manufacturing system. It’s the means of identifying and rejecting nonconformities, thus ensuring that only conforming product gets to the warfighter,” said Jennifer Herrera, a quality […]

Evolving Innovation

Evolving Innovation

A new look at fostering cutting-edge thinking in Army science and technology   By Lt. Col. Joel Dillon, Dr. Jason Augustyn, Ms. Julia Kim and Mr. Dominic Ju   Science and technology (S&T) innovation is an uncertain road, with “failure” often a step on the path to a breakthrough. However, in a resource-constrained environment, planners must make the smartest possible investments of taxpayer money in S&T programs, balancing risk with the potential for transformational new capabilities. A good place to start striking this balance is at the “fuzzy front end” of innovation, the initial period of exploration preceding the development of new materiel solutions. For many years, the acquisition community […]