Technically Speaking

Technically Speaking

An atomic engine that has all of the power but none of the moving parts by Dr. Brendan Hanrahan What if atomic crystals could send pulse power to light up a room? Back in 314 B.C., a student of Socrates described bits of sawdust that gravitated to a stone thrown into a camp fire. What was an oddity then might be a solution as technology comes of age. In 1946, more than 17,000 vacuum tubes clicked away in a crowded room and 20 seconds later, ENIAC—the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer—had calculated the trajectory of an artillery shell for the Ballistics Research Laboratory. Attendees got to keep a printout as […]

Been There, Done That: Acquisition Reform

Been There, Done That: Acquisition Reform

With all due respect, you don’t know jack: A former program manager offers his idea for effective acquisition reform – giving MDA to PEOs by Dr. Robert F. Mortlock, Col., USA (Ret.) Attention, senior defense officials, senior service officers and congressional leaders: With all due respect, in most cases you are not the most qualified to make defense acquisition decisions. There are simply too many competing priorities and, frankly, you probably don’t know jack about most program specifics. The root causes of the program failures within DOD are not hard to identify: changing requirements or “requirements creep;” military-unique, stringent ruggedization requirements; unstable budgets and limited resources; immature technology and integration […]

Faces of the Force: John Nebelsick

Faces of the Force: John Nebelsick

Command: Military Munitions Division, U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, Alabama Title: Division chief Years of Service in Workforce: 27 DAWIA Certification: Level III in facilities engineering Education: B.S. in biology and chemistry, Nebraska Wesleyan University Awards: Corps of Engineers Commander’s Award for Civilian Service; Department of the Army Corps of Engineers Outstanding Chemist Award; Corps of Engineers Huntsville Center Senior Leadership Development Fellow; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Contracts and Project Management Award   Words of wisdom By Susan L. Follett Having spent more than 25 years in federal service, John Nebelsick has a lengthy resume and four words of advice: Slow down. Work less. But he doesn’t mean […]

A Big Lift

A Big Lift

Partnering with industry early in a program life cycle can highlight new and unexpected ways to act on Better Buying Power principles. One industry-academia consortium offers research and development, facilitates study groups and provides input on draft requirements for the next generation of vertical lift aircraft. by Mr. Richard Kretzschmar As stewards of constrained and precious resources, Army project managers are continuously challenged to think strategically to provide the most affordable, value-added military capability to the warfighter. In 2010, Ash Carter, then undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, codified a set of fundamental acquisition principles, titled “Better Buying Power,” intended to achieve greater efficiencies through affordability, cost control, […]

Corralling Contracts

Corralling Contracts

Handed new responsibilities, Army Sustainment Command builds services contract management from the ground up. by Mr. Jerome Jastrab Government contracting is indeed a complicated and, at times, perplexing business. It’s an arena governed by the massive Federal Acquisition Regulation, where lack of knowledge and failure to perform due diligence can significantly increase the government’s exposure to cost and performance risks. Imagine you’re building a house and you ask the general contractor how many subcontracts he had open, which companies held them, what type of work the subcontractors were performing and how he would assess the quality of their work. Now imagine his or her response to those questions is, “I’m […]

Army Researchers Developing Zika Vaccine

Army Researchers Developing Zika Vaccine

Harvard and Walter Reed scientists collaborate in an effort to protect humans from a mosquito-borne virus. by Col. Nelson L. Michael and Col. Stephen J. Thomas Researchers at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in Silver Spring, Maryland, moved quickly to develop and begin testing a Zika vaccine candidate early this year. The fast-moving virus, which is transmitted by infected mosquitos and through sexual contact, alarmed the world as it spread through South and Central America, causing serious birth defects. A preclinical study published June 28 in the journal Nature indicated the feasibility of a vaccine to prevent Zika infection in humans. The study was completed by WRAIR and […]

August 2016 Hot Topics

August 2016 Hot Topics

FROM THE ARMY DACM OFFICE There are less than two months left for Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW) professionals to complete the requirement for 80 Continuous Learning Points (CLPs) in a two-year cycle. The deadline is Sept. 30. If you have any questions, please ask your supervisor or your organizational acquisition point of contact (OAP). The Army DACM Office is responsible for tracking and reporting compliance to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD(AT&L)). Failure to complete CLPs during the two-year cycle can affect your ability to qualify for Army DACM Office acquisition career development opportunities. AAW ANNUAL ETHICS TRAINING While we’re on the topic […]

Let the ‘Total Force’ be with you

Let the ‘Total Force’ be with you

By Ashley Tolbert NORMAN, Okla. – Soldiers from the U.S. Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve gathered on July 21-23 for the Reserve Component Acquisition Training Summit, spending time in workshops and presentations from senior leadership from the Army, Army Reserve and National Guard that stressed the importance of integrating the reserve component and the active component and reinforcing the Total Force Policy within the Army Acquisition Workforce. The Total Force Policy—an ongoing effort to integrate active-duty Soldiers, the Army Reserve and the National Guard into one operational force governed by the same policies and procedures—was originally introduced in 1973 and was most recently revamped in 2012 by […]

Forging a Partnership on the Shop Floor

Forging a Partnership on the Shop Floor

‘America’s cannon factory’ used a public-private partnership to save its skilled workforce from a postwar dip in demand and preserve a critical manufacturing capability in the Army’s organic industrial base. by Ms. Mary Kate Aylward DOD has only one source for large-caliber cannons: Watervliet Arsenal, in operation in Watervliet, New York, since 1813. As the home of Army-­designated “critical manufacturing capabilities,” which don’t exist anywhere else in the U.S. industrial base, Watervliet, its forges and the skilled workers who operate them are assets that a commercial supplier simply cannot replace. But the loss of that workforce is exactly what the arsenal faced in 2011 after the wars in Iraq and […]

Outstanding contracting efforts? Send in nominations for SAAEC Awards

Outstanding contracting efforts? Send in nominations for SAAEC Awards

By Michael Bold FORT BELVOIR, Va. (July 27, 2016) — Nominations are being accepted for the Secretary of the Army Awards for Excellence in Contracting (SAAEC), presented annually since 1997 to recognize the outstanding contracting efforts of organizations and individuals, civilian and military. These prestigious awards are presented only to those entrants whose accomplishments and abilities elevate them above the best in the field across the Army. The nomination period closes at midnight ET on Sept. 2, and the award winners will be announced in the fall. Nominees must have made or culminated contributions between May 1, 2015, and April 30, 2016. All Army service component commands, direct reporting units, […]