• The 30 Year Plan: Planting the seeds for the U.S. Army’s future and trying to predict the future are two sides of the same coin

    April–June 2014 Magazine Cover

    By Steve Stark

     

    FORT BELVOIR, Va. – The theme of newest edition of Army AL&T magazine looks 30 years in the future to develop a plan—albeit one that will have to be broken, changed and modified to meet the operational needs of the future—in the April-June issue, available online now.

    “As we draw down forces from Afghanistan, today is the best time to plant seeds for the army of the future,” writes the Hon. Heidi Shyu, the Army acquisition executive and assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.

    A period of budget austerity may not seem like the best of times—more like the worst—to plant those seeds. But, as Shyu writes, it was during one such historical moment of budget austerity, at the end of the Vietnam conflict, that saw the initial investments in the M1 Abrams tank, the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter, the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter and the Patriot surface-to-air missile system.

    There are many ways to plant those seeds. Program Executive Office (PEO) Missiles and Space gathers stakeholders—centers of excellence, industry partners and others—to map the next 30 years in “Roadmaps to the Future.” In “Facilitize This,” the Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System blazes a new path in sustainment and support capabilities by developing organic, government, long-term support facilities. It’s a difficult process that will reap significant rewards.

    The costs of sustaining Army aviation are approaching the unsustainable. That’s why the Army aviation community is looking to take an enterprise approach to sustainment to curb life-cycle costs in the future in ” ‘Enterprising’ Sustainment.”

    The old adage has it that an Army marches on its stomach—that may be true, but this Army fights on its networks. As the era of the connected Soldier evolves, it’s crucial that the network of the future make it easier for soldiers to train, plan and operate. Read about the modernized tactical network in “Simplify, Simplify.” In “Passing the iPhone Test,” PEO Command, Control and Communications – Tactical looks at what it will take to put the “common” in Common Operating Environment.

    Science and technology (S&T) play an enormous role in the military of today and certainly that role will only grow in the future. Exactly where to invest and how to plan can sometimes be a game. Read about one such game, SciTech Recon 2030, that explores S&T trends that could shape future operations in “Evolving Innovation.” Read about another, Unified Quest, in our fascinating interview with the smart people at the Army Capability Integration Center, which supports the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command in designing developing and integrating force capability requirements for the Army in the future. We were surprised to learn just how they help translate the ifs, ands, buts and whethers of 30 years out into planning that results in the acquisition, logistics and technology of tomorrow.

    Find out what photon entanglement and the human-on-chip have to do with the Army’s future in “Rebalancing Research.” And for an entirely different perspective on research, read about how the Military Entomology Research Program leveraged the Small Business Innovation Research program to minimize costs in developing vector pathogen detection. That enables the testing of bugs for disease in theater before Soldiers get sick. Find out how they did it in “Research Resource.”


    Read it all and more on the new and vastly improved online version of Army AL&T magazine, or on our brand new apps, available for Android at Google Play and iOS through iTunes® or the App Store.

     


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  • New deployable kennels for military dogs mitigate temperature extremes

    Military working dogs perform a variety of valuable duties, sometimes in very hot or cold environments. (Photo by U.S. Army)

    By Audra Calloway, Picatinny Public Affairs

     

    PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (April 21, 2014) — In Afghanistan, summer temperatures soar to 120 degrees and winter temperatures dip into the teens.

    Mix in some blinding sandstorms and one can appreciate the importance of adequate military shelter not only for Soldiers, but also for military working dogs.

    To keep the working dogs healthier and more comfortable during deployments, Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center engineers from Picatinny and Rock Island are developing kennels for environments with temperature extremes, said Project Officer Frank Altamura, who is with the Program Executive Office for Ammunition.

    The duties of military working dogs include patrolling and searching for explosive and narcotics.

    “Military working dogs have been used for different missions within the Army since Vietnam, and they are probably the most reliable source of explosive detection that the Army has,” Altamura said.

    The new, portable kennels will have a forced-air system that provides fresh air circulation inside the shelter in the absence of natural breezes, heated air during extreme cold and cooled air during extreme heat.

    The operating temperatures inside the kennel are a minimum of 45 degrees when the temperature outside the kennel is 5 degrees. When the temperature is 120 degrees outside, the inside temperature cannot exceed 85 degrees.

    The temperature requirements were approved by the Army Veterinary Corps headquartered at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Because the current portable kennels, called Vari Kennels, are open-air, they must be kept in the barracks with troops so that the temperature is controlled.

    “The new kennel gives the dog his own place, while not being cramped in the Vari Kennel in the troop’s quarters,” Altamura said.

    In addition, the new kennel includes a shelter and along with a “run” or exercise area that allows dogs to stretch their legs. The dogs will access the run area through a doggie door that lets them enter and exit the shelter as they please.

    MISSION LENGTH DICTATES SHELTER

    The length of a mission determines what type of kennel is used, explained Deputy Project Officer Tom Case. On missions that last up to 30 days, the dogs stay in Vari Kennels. The new deployable kennel will house the dogs when they are on missions that last from 30 to 180 days.

    Beyond 180 days, the dogs are housed in brick and mortar structures. The kennel can be used independent of the “run” area and is designed to be transported on quick notice on the back of a truck. If a Soldier needs to take the dog to a forward operating base, he can remove the run and only take the kennel if the mission will be under 30 days.

    A new kennel developed by Army engineers is designed to provide healthier and safer temperatures for the dogs. (photo by U.S. Army)

    The kennels are modular and can be assembled by two people in less than 15 minutes with relatively few tools. The kennels are 48 inches long, by 24 inches wide, by 40 inches high and the attachable run is 6 feet long, by 4 feet wide, by 4 feet high.

    The new kennels have passed numerous environmental tests at Aberdeen Test Center in Aberdeen, Md. In addition, testing with dogs has contributed to changes in kennel design.

    “The doggie door at one time was aluminum skinned, like the walls, with insulation inside to keep the heat and cold in,” Altamura said.” But we discovered that the door was too heavy and it kept hitting the dog. After a few times going in and out, the dogs refused to go through it. So that was a major change we had to make.”

    The program is preparing to seek bids for production.The kennels are scheduled for deployment abroad and to training facilities in December 2014 with fielding and logistics support from the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command.

    PEO Ammunition was assigned the management of the Family of Military Working Dog Equipment Program for the Army, and is a participant in the Department of Defense working group.

    Related Links

    Army.mil: Science and Technology News
    Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) website
    Picatinny Arsenal Homepage
    Research, Development and Engineering Command website
    ARDEC on Facebook
    Picatinny Arsenal on Facebook
    The Picatinny Voice
    Picatinny on Twitter
    Picatinny on Flickr


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  • Warfighters can soon use rugged, encrypted smartphone detectors to identify chemical and biological agent

    The Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and the Communications Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center created a simple, Army-specific smartphone technology powered by simple volatile organic compound strips. (photo by Greg Thompson, ECBC Conceptual Modeling and Animation)

    By ECBC Communications

     

    A warfighter is performing a mission in a dangerous area where civilians are showing signs of a possible chemical or biological agent exposure. Without the luxury of a full laboratory at his fingertips, it would be difficult for him to investigate the situation right then and there, prolonging any type of additional effort, possibly putting his life and the civilians’ lives in jeopardy. Thanks to the strong partnership between scientists and engineers at U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC), iSense, LLC., U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), this dangerous scenario would not occur. ECBC, iSense, CERDEC and DTRA are working together to give warfighters a quick, new way to evaluate potential chemical and biological (CB) threats using smartphones and an encrypted network within minutes.

    The program first began when ECBC researchers were awarded $27,000 through ECBC’s Innovative Projects Proposal Program, an internal program that funds innovative ideas generated by ECBC principal investigators, to conduct a series of tests on volatile organic compound (VOC) strips. VOCs are postage stamp-sized, colorimetric sensor assays with 88 different indicator dyes developed by iSense LLC (Boston, MA). The project set out to explore VOC’s potential for detection, presumptive identification or chemical dosimetry. After a successful testing period, ECBC established a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with iSense LLC., to develop defense-focused VOC technology. One of these developments is the mobile CB detection program.

    “The VOC strips are the core technology of this project. They are inexpensive, easy to manufacture and compare data within the library,” Emanuel said.

    If a warfighter is in a potentially dangerous area, he could investigate the situation by gathering an environmental (such as soil) or biomedical (such as urine) sample and place it on a VOC strip. Then the strip is loaded on a device called the Biotouch. From there, the warfighter can leave the potentially contaminated area for a safer spot and receive the test results on a separate device called the Nett Warrior phone, through a secure and encrypted Army network. Results from the VOC will be geographically tagged (geo-tagged) and added to a secure cloud system. Both the Biotouch and Nett Warrior phones are rugged enough for use in-theater, but still light enough to be easily transportable.

    The Biotouch is a 3’x3’x5’ discreet object that can fit into a pocket. Its design was modeled after small objects such as condiment lids and flashlights.

    “The idea is to have two smartphones: the Biotouch that could test the VOC and the Nett Warrior phone that would receive the information from a different location. The two will be able to communicate with each other through a phone portal within the encrypted network,” explained Emanuel.
    The Nett Warrior phone is a military-adapted version of the commercially available Samsung GALAXY Note II. CERDEC has worked extensively with the Nett Warrior phone over the past year under their Research and Development Mission program called Multi Access Cellular Extension. CERDEC is developing the interface for the Nett Warrior to communicate and obtain readings from the Biotouch. ECBC engineers are using their in-house industrial 3-D printing capability to develop the Biotouch colorimetric assay reader. The construct of the two phones will allow for easy software updates. The Biotouch is a static device with proven technology while the Nett Warrior phone would evolve with technical advances.

    Other styles of mobile detectors allow smartphones to double as microscopes and hand-held assay (HHA) readers, but there were several challenges. When ECBC initially tested these methods during demonstrations, warfighters commented that this style was not suitable for Army use. In this style, users attached an external reader to their phone and then placed the assay on the reader and read the results right there on the mobile device, many times civilian phones that were not rugged enough for in-theater use. Also, a typical civilian cellular network is not compliant with Army networks; geo-tagged information was unprotected. Finally, the all-in-one style reader required the user to be near the sample the entire time –a practice that has potential to be dangerous. The new Army-compliant system addresses these issues.

    Emanuel said that the mobile detector program is a great example of how different organizations can come together to create impactful solutions. CERDEC representatives agree.

    “This is the first time our group has collaborated with ECBC. The experience has been great so far and relationships with other ECBC groups are being fostered as a result of this partnership as well,” said Marianne Lazzaro, acting branch chief of CERDEC’s Commercial Technology Integration and Evaluation Branch, which supports multiple projects with their smartphone and cellular applications, and oversees multiple research and development programs that bring commercial mobile technologies to the battlefield.

    Prototypes of the CB mobile detection system will be completed in May 2014 for use in two projects, the Joint United States Forces Korea (USFK) Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition advanced technology demonstration (JUPITR ATD) and in a medical countermeasures project with Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC).

    JUPITR ATD is a program led by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD) and supported by ECBC, which will provide unique biological detection capabilities to address the demand for stronger biosurveillance capabilities on the Korean Peninsula. The prototypes will be used in the Republic of Korea to capture air samples and tested as viable biological detectors for the program. TATRC will use the devices to read and analyze commercial, off-the-shelf assays that can then be sent to networks used in military hospitals and possibly civilian hospitals as well. The goal is also for this data to be free of personally identifiable information.

    “I am very excited to be collaborating with new people from across RDECOM on this project,” said Jeff Warwick, ECBC Conceptual Modeling and Animation Branch chief and lead engineer on the mobile technologies project. “It’s especially great to be able to work with TATRC, which is a new organization to us.”

    Emanuel envisions that this new Army-compliant mobile CB detector capability could be applicable to organizations outside of the Department of Defense, including civilian hospitals, Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration.

    “Imagine a cargo of bananas arrives into an American port. To ensure optimal safety of the shipment, a Biotouch is placed in the box to collect some samples. All an inspector has to do is monitor the results coming into the reader to ensure that the cargo is safe from harmful CB agent,” Emanuel said. “That’s just one example that could have a big impact. There are so many more possibilities for this type of technology, and I’m glad that we’re building it for the Army.”


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  • Developing viable Army energy projects start to finish is a team effort

    The solar array at the alternative energy corridor at Tooele Army Depot in Utah is a fiscal year 2012 Army Energy Conservation Investment Program project. Pictured here in May 2013, the 429 solar dishes are expected to provide 1.5 megawatts of electricity, approximately 30 percent of the depot's annual electric energy need when the project is completed later this summer. (Photo by Kathy Anderson, Tooele Army Depot)

    By Julia Bobick, U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville

     

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (April 15, 2014) — It’s been a learning process for the past few years to ensure every new Army Energy Conservation Investment Program project has what it needs from start to finish — from the first photovoltaic module installed to the last foot of cable that securely ties the system into the installation network.

    Part of the appropriated fund military construction program, known as MILCON, but funded separately by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Energy Conservation Investment Program, or ECIP, projects are designed to dramatically change energy consumption at an installation or joint base, implement renewable energy technologies and generate and store energy to improve supply resilience for critical loads.

    Despite it being a requirement to build information technology, or IT, needs and associated cost estimates into all MILCON project plans to produce a “complete and useable facility,” it has been an often overlooked requirement for ECIP projects — primarily because they don’t look like normal MILCON projects.

    Program managers used to dealing with actual buildings have to rethink network solutions for solar arrays and wind turbines in the middle of an open field that still require cabling and communications systems to relay energy data to a central meter and make them secure, according to Karen R. Moore, the ECIP and Resource Efficiency Manager program manager for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville.

    The initial planning process requires good communication and thorough coordination between the command or garrison energy manager — the individual who typically initiates an ECIP project — and the Directorate of Public Works, the Network Enterprise Center and the U.S. Army Information Systems Engineer Command, according to Thomas B. Delaney Jr., the Army’s ECIP program manager in the Facilities Policy Division of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management at the Pentagon.

    The Huntsville Center — which provides technical assistance for and validates all Army ECIP projects before they can be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense — hosted its first MILCON Information Systems Planning, Programming and Cost Estimation Workshop specifically for ECIP projects in March. Representatives from the Army Reserve, National Guard Bureau, Army Corps of Engineers and the Installation Management Command participated in the three-day workshop designed to enhance ECIP project planning coordination across the Army and improve cost estimates submitted for ECIP project IT requirements. Tracy Sebold, who validates ECIP project IT requirements for U.S. Army Information Systems Engineer Command at Fort Detrick, Md., also participated in the training to help explain the current process for validating the sufficiency of requested IT support for ECIP projects.

    Alicia Allen, Huntsville Center's program manager for the Army Central Meter Program, discusses her program with Kelvin Herring, of the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate. Metering is critical to reporting energy savings for Energy Conservation Investment Program projects. The Huntsville Center manages the Army Central Meter Program and is the Sustainability and Energy Center of Expertise for Metering.(Photo by Julia Bobick, USACE)

    “It’s hard for a garrison energy manager to be an expert in wind, solar and geothermal technologies, and develop a really thorough [DD Form] 1391. We provide them a team of experts who can help them develop a robust plan for a project that will accomplish their goals,” Moore said.

    The DD Form 1391, the automated form used to document all MILCON project requirements, is part of the package submitted through Army to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for approval and funding.

    Beginning with those being submitted for fiscal year 2016 funding, ECIP projects are being looked at with a more holistic approach to ensure every aspect of the project is accurately documented on the DD Form 1391 — to include Tab F, which details the information systems cost estimate — and all responsible parties are involved in the planning and development process.

    Understanding that technologies might change from the initial plan to the actual building phase — especially when it comes to IT requirements, Moore emphasized the DD Form 1391 is a living planning document with cost estimates for what will be needed for the project at completion — a sort of placeholder with funding.

    “The ultimate goal — after all [fiscal year 2016] projects are installed — is that we can push a button and tell exactly what the energy savings are for the entire program,” Moore said. “To make that a reality, we’ve got to get the fiber cable to the wind turbines to collect the data, and that cabling — and all associated cost estimates — to connect it from point A to point B need to be part of the initial plan.”

    How well the Army is executing current projects is vital to securing future funding, Delaney said.

    “Bottom line is that when an ECIP project is complete it should either be saving energy or generating energy, but there should be some number coming out,” Delaney explained. “Right now for too many of them there is just no number at all.”

    Moore and Delaney also emphasized the importance of focusing energy conservation program efforts on mission critical projects so the right projects receive funding.

    “It’s critically important for installations and agencies to develop an energy plan with defined and measurable goals, and then determine where their projects fit in that plan and how they help meet your energy conservation goals, like reducing your energy intensity footprint or meeting your 25 percent renewable energy goals,” Delaney said.

    The Army competes with all other military services and agencies for a piece of the $150 million ECIP funding pie appropriated by Congress. Additionally, ECIP projects are prioritized within the four categories: 60 percent of projects are energy efficiency, 25 percent renewable energy, 10 percent energy security and 5 percent water conservation.

    For the past three years the Army has had just under $50 million in ECIP projects funded by DOD — about half of what was submitted. The typical ECIP project is about $4 to $5 million, with projected energy savings greater than $750,000 and a savings-to-investment ratio of greater than 1 for renewable energy and water conservation projects and 1.25 for energy efficiency projects.

    “We’ve got to strategically develop our projects across the Army — not only to forecast and meet the needs of our agencies and installations, but to secure the funding from OSD to move forward and continue reducing energy consumption and improving energy security,” Moore said.

    The Huntsville Center ECIP team not only validates Army ECIP projects, they also share their expertise with Army, Army Reserve and National Guard command and garrison energy managers and staff to help develop the most robust projects to meet their energy conservation program goals. For more information or assistance with projects, call the Huntsville Center ECIP team at (256) 895-1417.


    Related Links

    Army.mil: Energy News
    STAND-TO: Net Zero Strategy
    U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville
    Huntsville Center on Facebook
    Learn more about the DD Form 1391 Processor System
    Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Missions
    More about Tooele Army Depot’s alternative energy corridor
    Army Energy Initiatives Task Force
    STAND-TO: Energy Initiatives Task Force
     


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  • Congressmen, Army break ground on future site of R&D hangar

    CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity Director Charles Maraldo, CERDEC Associate Director Robert Zanzalari, Rep. Jon Runyan of New Jersey’s third district, RDECOM Director Dale Ormond, CERDEC I2WD Director Henry Muller, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey’s fourth district, and Army Corps of Engineer- New York District Commander Col. Paul Owen break ground at the CERDEC Flight Activity Hangar groundbreaking ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst April 11. The CERDEC research and development hangar is scheduled to be completed early 2016 and will enable CERDEC to continue its C4ISR advancements as related to aircraft. (U.S. Army Photos by Mike Burke)

    By Kristen Kushiyama

     

    JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – Congressmen, U.S. Army senior executive service members and other military officials gathered at the Joint Base’s Lakehurst section for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of a future Army research and development aircraft hangar here April 11.

    Reps. Jon Runyan and Chris Smith from New Jersey’s third and fourth districts joined leaders from the Army’s research and development community and the Army Corps of Engineers for a symbolic “first dig” at the hangar site slated for completion January 2016. The Research, Development and Engineering Command’s communications-electronics center, or RDECOM CERDEC, hosted the event.

    The Army awarded Pennsylvania-based Bedwell Company a $42 million contract for the 107,000 square foot facilities construction overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-New York District.

    Located on the only tri-service joint base in the country, the hangar will be a much-needed addition to the CERDEC Flight Activity, which is managed by the CERDEC Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate, or I2WD. The CERDEC Flight Activity provides a unique development and integration capability to government agencies, academic institutions or industry partners with valid Defense Department missions.

    The new hangar and immediate surrounding area will include high-bay and low-bay aircraft hangars, aircraft-component maintenance shops, administrative facilities, a fixed-wing taxiway and a rotary-wing landing pad, said Henry Muller, CERDEC Intelligence and Information Warfare director.

    CERDEC I2WD Director Henry Muller, Rep. Chris Smith and Army Corps of Engineer-New York District Commander Col. Paul Owen break ground at the CERDEC Flight Activity Hangar groundbreaking ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst April 11.

    The space has “joint military-use potential” meaning that other Defense Department organizations could use the hangar, said Charles V. Maraldo, CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity director.

    The hangar will support future mission requirements of the CERDEC I2WD Flight Activity, which provides end-to-end aviation support for emerging C4ISR technologies, quick-reaction capabilities to units, and post-production aircraft modifications for program executive offices and project managers, said Maraldo.

    The increased capabilities and space will allow CERDEC to maintain and expand its support to Defense C4ISR-aviation systems programs.

    “CERDEC averages about 40 aircraft research and development modifications every year, and they take place up here providing those new capabilities to the Soldiers,” said Dale Ormond, RDECOM director.

    RDECOM, a major subordinate command of the Army Materiel Command, operates throughout the country and develops technology and engineering solutions for U.S. Soldiers.

    CERDEC Associate Director Robert Zanzalari, Rep. Jon Runyan and RDECOM Director Dale Ormond break ground at the CERDEC Flight Activity Hangar groundbreaking ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst April 11.

    “At RDECOM we are all about helping a guy or gal on point in the middle of nowhere, execute their mission and come home safely, and that’s what we do every day putting new capabilities in the hands of Soldiers,” said Dale Ormond, RDECOM director.

    The new hangar will allow for increased support for the Soldier.

    “As the guy who’s been on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan in a different role, you never really know what goes on behind the scenes to have the products and things you need to help you protect your Soldiers, save lives and execute your mission,” said Col. Paul Owen, Commander of the New York District of the Army Corps of Engineers.

    “As a Soldier on the ground we certainly realize the dedication and support of your organization [CERDEC] that goes into saving lives,” said Owen.


    CERDEC is part of RDECOM, 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, which 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 delivers it.

     


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  • Continuous process improvement coming to your nearest ACC field office

    A.D. Barksdale (left) and J.R. Richardson, Army Contracting Command Operations Group, discuss the continuous process improvement methodology with Steven Bryant and Maggi Combs, ACC – Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. (Photo by Betsy Kozak)

    By Ms. Dawn M. Scott

     

    The Army Contracting Command (ACC) has established a continuous process improvement (CPI) team in its Operations Group that will assist with the implementation of initiatives throughout the command.

    “The goal of the CPI program is to document, analyze and improve all of our processes, measure our success along the way and to take the organization to increasingly higher levels of performance. High-performing organizations improve employee morale and customer satisfaction,” said J.R. Richardson, ACC Operations Group director. “I have established very effective Lean Six Sigma programs at other organizations, and I can attest to the great things that CPI programs can do for organizations.”

    Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is a managerial concept focused on eliminating sources of waste and activities that do not add value to create maximum productivity in an organization.

    ACC’s CPI team is led by A.D. Barksdale, CPI deployment director. Barksdale and the CPI team are helping ACC executive directors and commanders prepare strategic plans that will improve areas within their organizations.

    “The CPI tool sets, combined with proper formalized training, will help commands achieve their strategic goals and enable auditable, repeatable and agile contracting business processes,” Barksdale said.

    Barksdale is a Department of the Army-certified LSS Master Black Belt. The belts—green, black and master black belts—represent the level of training and experience a candidate has.

    According to Barksdale, Rebecca Weirick, executive director, ACC – Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is already using the CPI methodology to develop and implement her own strategic plan.

    “The ACC headquarters, in conjunction with Aviation and Missile Command CPI teams, are assisting Weirick in identifying potential LSS green belt and black belt candidates as well as securing spaces in the approved training for those candidates. The teams are also helping her identify potential CPI projects imbedded within her strategic plan,” Barksdale said.

    LEADERSHIP KEYS SUCCESS
    Training a LSS belt candidate takes time and commitment, but the benefits greatly outweigh the costs, Richardson said.

    “Commanders and center directors should consider employees who are already reviewing contracting packages and work products, conducting and leading peer reviews or writing and implementing policy within your organizations,” Richardson said. “These are people who already know and understand existing processes, therefore they will be most effective when you are trying to implement CPI.”

    Ultimately, said Richardson, success of the CPI program lies with each organization’s leadership.

    “This is their program. The success it will bring to their organizations, and to ACC as a whole, is contingent on leadership. Our role at the headquarters is to assist them in implementing an effective CPI program in their respective organizations,” Richardson said.

    ACC’s CPI team is working with the centers and subordinate commands to identify points of contact to help administer the CPI program at the local level. The team is also trying to provide the necessary resources to train personnel at each location so each organization can become self-sufficient in process improvement, Richardson said.

    He said the ACC CPI team will be conducting staff assistance visits during fiscal year 2014 to help executive directors and commanders develop opportunities via project identification and selection workshops. Also during these visits, the team will conduct CPI executive leadership training that outlines the ways in which management can encourage and support Lean Six Sigma candidates who are executing projects on their behalf.

    “Many of the centers and field offices are already doing fantastic work on process improvements, but not necessarily in a standardized, repeatable way,” Richardson said. “Our goal is to provide information and assistance to center directors and commanders regarding LSS belt candidates and project selection, training opportunities, process mapping and other LSS tools so that they can implement successful programs at the local level.”

    NEW CLASSES PLANNED
    This fiscal year the ACC team is developing an “Introduction to Lean” course that will be incorporated into the Contracting Officer Refresher Course and the Contracting Intern Boot Camp, Richardson said.

    “Exposure to CPI principles in the early phase of contracting training will enable the junior workforce to embrace methodologies that will assist them throughout their careers, and in the drive to meet the 2020 strategic goals,” Barksdale said.

    For more information regarding the CPI program, go to the CPI page on the ACC SharePoint portal.

     


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  • Army Reserve offers acquisition opportunities

    By Lt. Col. Jim Craig

     

    Do you have acquisition experience that you could use to continue to benefit the U.S. Army? Would you like to gain or hone these valuable skills? The Army Reserve is pursuing qualified officers, noncommissioned officers (NCOs), and civilians for the Army Reserve Acquisition Corps. Whether you are transferring out of the active component or are already in the Army Reserves, you might very well have what the Acquisition Corps needs!

    Potential benefits for this move may include, but are not limited to:

    • Reserve pay, retirement and status benefits
    • Continued education to further industry-recognized Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certifications and Army military education level (MEL)
    • requirements, through both resident and distance learning courses
    • Potential to serve in both the systems acquisition and contracting fields
    • Numerous assignment and training possibilities, both within and outside the continental United States
    • Promotion opportunities and continued service to the Army and the nation
    • Acquisition certifications and experience that are highly sought after in the U.S. government and the commercial marketplace

    Army acquisition personnel acquire technology, supplies, and services for our warfighters and our nation through responsive and innovative support. Both training and leadership are required to create strong, viable, and competent acquisition teams. Officers and NCOs receive the same training and skills as federal government civilian workforce.

    There are several career paths open to members of the United States Army Reserve (USAR) Acquisition Corps, and where you serve is dependent upon your personal skill set. The primary military acquisition career fields are program management and contracting but other acquisition fields (i.e. those listed in Chapter 42 of AR 600-3) are also potential options for service. Regardless of the field, the USAR will provide the required training to those personnel that meet the qualifications and have the desire to learn.

    For Active duty officers and NCOs, the points of contact at the Army Reserve Sustainment Command (ARSC) are Lt. Col. Patrick O’Leary patrick.g.oleary.mil@mail.mil and Mr. Dennis Denton, (205) 795-1693, dennis.a.denton.civ@mail.mil. The ARSC can help you determine (along with your Army Reserve Career Counselor) how to best slot you into an Army Reserve Acquisition position.

    Army Reserve officers must first complete a packet as indicated in military personnel message 14-062. Officer packets are vetted prior to the board and then those that are selected/non-selected are notified following the board. Selected applicants are then assisted with finding positions by the ARSC.

    NCOs in the Army Reserve follow a similar process. NCOs should be between the ranks of E5(P) and E7 and meet certain, specific educational criteria.

    Eligible and interested NCOs must submit packets to be vetted prior to the next board. As NCO reclassification boards occur based on need and the availability of a considered population, and the timing of this process varies. Once selected, NCOs are notified and a personal training plan is developed in conjunction with the ARSC.

    Additional points of contact may be obtained by contacting the 915th and 917th Contingency Contracting Battalions (CCBn) at the915thcontractingbn@outlook.com and the917thcontractingbn@outlook.com respectively, to inquire about joining the ARSC and become part of a ready and relevant group of acquisition professionals. (The 915th and 917th CCBns are in the ARSC chain of command.)

    Civilians who work in one of the acquisition fields and are members of the Army Reserve are also eligible for immediate consideration and may use the same points of contact previously listed.

    Interested officers and NCOs should keep in mind that there are several ways to reach their ultimate acquisition destination. Be diligent and work the process. Even during this time of drawing down, the USAR Acquisition Corps is growing. We look forward to seeing you in our corps in the very near future!


    Lt. Col. Craig has been in the Army Reserve Acquisition Corps since 2005. He has held jobs in both program management and contracting. He has deployed to Iraq as a contingency contracting officer and is currently enrolled in DAU’s PMT 401 course in preparation for his upcoming contracting command tour.

     


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  • ASA(ALT) welcomes new military deputy

     
     
    Lt. Gen. Michael E. Williamson became the principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology (ASA(ALT)) and the director, acquisition career management on April 4, 2014 during his promotion ceremony. The Hon. Heidi Shyu, the Army acquisition executive hosted the event, and was joined by the Hon. Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, in welcoming the new (ASA(ALT)) principal military deputy. (U.S. Army photo by Jerome Howard)

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

     
     
     
     


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  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    ‘Army to the Corps’
    Electrical engineer helps change the face of aviation

     

    By Steve Stark

     

    The Army’s Ground-Based Sense-and-Avoid System (GBSAA) is the first system of its kind and it’s changing the face of unmanned aviation—and as its deputy product director Mary Ottman is at the heart of the development effort.

    It’s a DOD system that the Army has taken the lead on, specifically within the Army’s Project Management Office for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (PM UAS), and eventually, it’s intended to enable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to fly without visual observers in commercial airspace controlled by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

    Deputy product director for GBSAA is just one of many jobs that Ottman has held over nearly 25 years working with the Army as a DA civilian. In some respects, the job is a testament to her curiosity and talent, but in another sense, it’s a tribute to the excellent cooperative education program that got Ottman’s foot in the door at the U.S. Army’s Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center in Redstone Arsenal, Ala., in the first place.

    At a time when September 11 was merely another date, Ottman went to work for the Army on that day in 1989 as a cooperative education student. At the time, she thought that she’d work for the Army for a couple of years before going on to industry, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Indeed, she will celebrate her 25th anniversary as an Army civilian this September.

    “My father and my uncles were all in the military and I know the sacrifices that they made to serve our country.”

    Ottman is, by degree, an electrical engineer with a family legacy of service. Her father served in the Army in Vietnam, and then in the reserves, eventually retiring as a major. He studied nuclear physics and worked in that field in industry, and all the time she was growing up, Ottman said, her dad emphasized education, particularly math and science.

    Initially, “a friend of mine talked to me about pursuing electrical engineering and it sounded interesting—I was waffling between computer science and electrical engineering, but went with electrical engineering,” she said. She earned her bachelor’s from the University of Alabama at Huntsville in electrical and computer engineering.

    When Ottman started working for the Army as a college student in the co-op program, she worked on projects such as transistor-based video electronics design, soldering connections on circuit boards used in the Advanced Kinetic Energy Missile, and then went on to work in software development.

    Viva Kelley, PdD USAIC product director, speaks with Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, highlighting the features of the GBSAA prototype system on display during the PM UAS 2 Million Flight Hour Celebration at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. on March 18, 2014. (From the left: Viva Kelly, Rep. Brooks, Lt. Col. Nick Kioutas, Small Unmanned Aerial Systems product manager, Mary Ottman PdD USAIC deputy product director, and Larry Herbek, PdD USAIC systems engineer). (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Johnson)

    “Literally, as a co-op student, you start getting exposure to real-world applications while you’re in school. [The co-op program] is a great way for students to ‘try before you buy,’ so to speak, to get exposure to all the different projects that are going on. They’ve got computers, software simulation, trainers, propulsion—there are many different areas you can get exposure to at the R&D [research and development] center before you decide what kind of job you want to pursue as a career. It’s a win-win for both the student and the Army. For the student, they can figure out what they want to do. As for the Army, they are building that next generation [of talent], and they’re also getting that student labor to work those tasks and free up engineers to do more complex things.”

    “A lot of people think that electrical engineering is home wiring,” she said, laughing. “That’s not it at all. Basically, it’s such a broad field—it’s one of those fields that, in school, you learn a lot of different things, and it depends on what job you get and what you’re interested in” as to where you end up. “So you could end up working at power companies, cell phone companies, in power transmission or you could end up working on circuit boards or semiconductor devices. It’s a versatile degree,” she said. It’s almost like a business degree in the sense that you have a lot of flexibility in terms of where you can go with it. “It really just depends on your interest area.”

    Her timing was excellent—using her training and her curiosity, she found her way into writing software, sometimes at the 1’s and 0’s level, and developed just as the standards and the industry were beginning to mature.

    Ottman attributes the longevity of her career with the Army to the variety of opportunities the Army has provided. Each time she wanted to advance, the chance to compete for interesting job openings was available. “It seemed like when the time was right, a new opportunity came along.” The Army also provided educational opportunities. Through the Army, she earned her master’s in business administration from Auburn University, and a master’s in management and leadership from Webster University while simultaneously completing a Senior Service Fellowship at Defense Acquisition University.

    “It has been a tremendously rewarding experience to be part of a program that is changing the face of aviation.”

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

    OTTMAN: Currently I am co-managing Ground-Based-Sense-and-Avoid System Development as a Deputy Product Director. Simply put, this system helps an unmanned aircraft detect and avoid other traffic in the sky. For example, when you fly to Orlando, Fla. on your way to Disney World, you fly through the National Airspace System. If your pilot sees other aircraft, he will avoid them. Unmanned aircraft don’t have pilots onboard, and GBSAA allows them to sense and avoid other traffic in the sky. Putting this system in place enables unmanned aircraft to avoid other traffic just like a manned aircraft does in the airspace.

    In a nutshell, current FAA regulations require that aircraft be able to see and avoid other aircraft. Since unmanned aircraft systems do not have a pilot on board, they cannot comply with these regulations without additional mitigations. Currently, unmanned aircraft are required to fly with either ground observers watching them from the ground, or they can be followed by chase aircraft such as a Cessna or military aircraft. The purpose is for the observer to alert the unmanned aircraft pilot of potential traffic conflicts with other aircraft such that they can avoid them. GBSAA will allow unmanned aircraft to sense (with the use of ground sensors) other aircraft in the sky and maneuver around them as manned aircraft would.

    The more technical answer is that, as Deputy Product Director, I co-manage the development and fielding of the GBSAA. It is the first system of its kind and is changing the face of unmanned aviation. The Unmanned Systems Airspace Integration Concepts Product Directorate serves as the DOD lead for GBSAA. While serving as lead, the Army fielded and flew the first prototype GBSAA system at El Mirage, Calif. in 2011. Based on that success, the Army is moving forward to conduct operations with the first DO-178C compliant GBSAA system in 2015.

    A team player, in the office and on the diamond, Ottman plays for the PM UAS Unmanned and Unafraid softball team. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Johnson)

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

    OTTMAN: I began my career with the Army on Sept. 11, 1989 as a cooperative education student. I enjoyed the job immensely and remained with the Army upon graduation from college. I take immense pride and satisfaction in being able to serve the warfighter. My father and my uncles were all in the military and I know the sacrifices that they made to serve our country. It is very rewarding to participate in developing systems that increase our warfighters’ capabilities and their safety so that they can defend our freedoms and return home to their families.

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

    OTTMAN: In my 24 years with the Army, it has been both surprising and extremely rewarding that as my interests and desire for professional growth have changed, career opportunities have always been available that have allowed me to stretch personally and professionally. As a result, I have been able to contribute and serve during my civilian career in more ways than I would have ever dreamed possible.

    I began my career as a cooperative education electrical engineering student performing tasks such as wire-wrapping and soldering circuit boards. This led to the pursuit of a career in software development, with activities such as writing assembly code, developing expertise in visual programming, trainer software development, and then tactical software development. Along the way I gained more responsibility. After being recognized for my leadership abilities, the Army sent me to school for an MBA and also to the Senior Service College Fellowship program at the Defense Acquisition University where I also gained my masters in leadership. Following the SSCF program, I took my current position with the GBSAA program. It has been a tremendously rewarding experience to be part of a program that is changing the face of aviation.

    Related Links:

    PEO Aviation

    PM Unmanned Aircraft Systems

    Army celebrates 2 million hours of unmanned aircraft flight

     


    • “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. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.

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  • GOOD FELLOWS

    Competitive Development Group welcomes 2014 fellows

    The Director, U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC), Craig Spisak, welcomes seven new Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellowship (CDG/AAF) fellows during an orientation meeting at Defense Acquisition University on April 1, 2014. The three-year fellowship program offers developmental assignments in program executive offices, assistant secretary of the army for acquisition, logistics and technology offices, U.S. Army Materiel Command Headquarters and functional organizations providing expanded training and leadership development for future Army acquisition leaders.

    From the left: Walter Hamm, U.S. Army Contracting Command; Maurice Stephens, Engineering Center and Communications Electronics Command; Kyle Bruner, Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T); Monica Clemons, U.S. Army Contracting Command, Chandra Evansmitchell, CDG/AFF program manager; Craig Spisak, USAASC director, Lauren McNew, PEO C3T; Kelly Courtney, PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support and David Oatley, PEO Ammunition. (Photo by Bob Coultas)

    For more information on the CDG/AAF program go to http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/competitive-development-group-army-acquisition-fellowship/


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