Riding the Experience Curve

Riding the Experience Curve

There’s a proven way to drive down defense acquisition costs, and it works especially well for the complex, high-tech platforms prone to big cost overruns. You’ve heard of it: the learning curve. It drives down defense acquisition costs the old-fashioned way. by Mr. Sudhakar Arepally Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs waited 108 years to finally win the World Series championship in 2016. It has not been that long—30 years or so—since the Army launched a major combat ground vehicle program, but the drought is conspicuous and frustrating nonetheless. The Army’s “Big 5”—the M1 Abrams main battle tank, the Bradley fighting vehicle, the UH-60 Black Hawk, the AH-64 Apache and the […]

Building A Better Mirror

Building A Better Mirror

Crunching data provides clearer image of organizational diversity. by Mr. Thom Hawkins You can never be sure, when you look in a mirror, that what you see is what other people see. For an organization, measuring diversity can elicit the unsettling images of a funhouse mirror, and standing too long in front of the mirror that makes us look tallest or laugh the hardest will not reveal how we truly look. So, how do we know if our ideas of diversity mirror those of others? How can we create the healthiest, most genuinely and appropriately diverse workplace possible? What is the right mirror to use? According to U.S. Equal Employment […]

Faces of the Force: Shannon Western

Faces of the Force: Shannon Western

COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Mission and Installation Contracting Command – Fort Lee, Virginia TITLE: Quality assurance specialist YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 10 YEARS OF SERVICE IN MILITARY: 19 (6 on active duty and 13 in the Army Reserve) DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level I in quality assurance EDUCATION: B.A. in contract management and acquisitions, Strayer University AWARDS: Afghanistan Campaign Medal (one campaign star); NATO Afghanistan Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; Army Certificate of Achievement; National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device THE SECRET TO LONGEVITY by […]

Been There, Done That: Want A High Return?

Been There, Done That: Want A High Return?

Invest in more business education for PMs, and reap returns in the short term—good products at an appropriate price—and long—repaired credibility for defense acquisition. by Robert F. Mortlock, Col., USA (Ret.) “I don’t care how much it costs, we need it now!” At the height of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, getting the warfighter the capabilities they needed as rapidly as possible was always the top priority for the defense acquisition community—and who could argue against it? Delivering effective, suitable warfighting equipment as fast as possible was the focus—often at the long-term expense, literally, of the services’ and DOD’s budgets. Maintaining the focus on urgent needs was possible because […]

On The Right GTRAC

On The Right GTRAC

Fielding the Global Combat Support System – Army posed formidable training challenges. The product management office opted for a slow-and-steady approach that introduces users to the new logistics software over 150 days. by Antonio Ocasio The Global Combat Support System – Army (GCSS-Army), an Acquisition Category I major automated information system program and the largest logistics software implementation in military history, is well on its way to completion. GCSS-Army is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that facilitates near real-time management of all the Army’s sustainment missions. It replaces current tactical logistics management information systems, including the Standard Army Retail Supply System, Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced and Standard Army […]

Engineers Don’t Need Trains

Engineers Don’t Need Trains

CERDEC’s STEM Superstar program uses pop culture, superheroes and everyday activities to show elementary school kids that STEM is everywhere. by Ms. Erica Fineman-Bertoli One afternoon when my son was five, we started talking about what he wants to be when he grows up. “What about an engineer like your dad?” I asked. “I know Daddy’s an engineer,” he said. “And he has never shown me his train, not once!” Confused, I said, “Your father doesn’t have a train.” “He doesn’t?” he asked. “Then what’s an engineer?” Seven years later, that simple question from a 5-year-old boy evolved into a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program that has so […]

Faces of the Force: Gary Thibault

Faces of the Force: Gary Thibault

COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Product Manager for Force Sustainment Systems, Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support TITLE: Supervisory mechanical engineer, cargo aerial delivery team leader YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 39 DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in engineering EDUCATION: B.S. in mechanical engineering and bachelor of engineering technology in mechanical engineering, Northeastern University AWARDS: Top Ten U.S. Army Materiel Command Personnel of the Year; Commander’s Award for Civilian Service; Association of the U.S. Army Citation for Exceptional Service; U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center Technical Director’s Silver Pin for Development and Engineering; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Theodor W. Knacke Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Award Part of […]

The View from the Foxhole

The View from the Foxhole

Rotational assignment program develops and retains talent across the security assistance workforce. by Mr. Adam Genest and Ms. Carly Glenn In Huntsville, Alabama, Nick Curry’s bags were packed. He was enjoying a big send-off dinner with his wife, son, daughter, mother, stepfather and younger sisters. Curry promised to FaceTime often and said he would visit over spring break. He had only been away from his family for, at most, a week at a time, and being gone for six months would be a big adjustment. But he knew this was his chance to connect with the people and processes that shaped his daily work. Curry, a logistics management specialist with […]

Army showcases latest technologies at 2017 DOD Lab Day

Army showcases latest technologies at 2017 DOD Lab Day

By Tracie Dean, ARL Public Affairs Dr. Stuart Young of ARL’s Computational & Information Sciences Directorate presents the Autonomous Systems Manned/Unmanned Teaming technology to the commanding general of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, during DOD’s Lab Day at the Pentagon. (Photo Credit: Jhi Scott) VIEW ORIGINAL ARL researchers discuss Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin technology with Lab Day attendees during DOD’s Lab Day at the Pentagon. 2 / 2 Show Caption + ARL researchers discuss Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin technology with Lab Day attendees during DOD’s Lab Day at the Pentagon. (Photo Credit: Jhi Scott) VIEW ORIGINAL WASHINGTON — Scientists and engineers from […]

Simplifying SATCOM

Simplifying SATCOM

T2C2: Reducing complexity and providing proper training enable unit-sustained systems. by Maj. Jonathan Lipscomb Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Adequately training units to operate, maintain and sustain their own systems is the cornerstone of the Army’s push to reduce its heavy reliance on contracted field service representative (FSR) support and to improve unit readiness. The sustainment strategy for the Army’s new early entry tactical network capability, Transportable Tactical Command Communications (T2C2), takes this saying to heart, and calls for this new program of record (POR) to be fully operated, supported and […]