By Audra Calloway
ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (March 10, 2014) — Picatinny scientists and engineers have established a pilot production facility to create the Army’s only in-house process for scaling up chemical compounds, a move that could save money by not having to rely on costlier compounds from outside suppliers.
The Picatinny engineers are manufacturing tetranitrocarbazole, or TNC, the compound that serves as the “first-fire” composition for pyrotechnics, such as illumination rounds, signal grenades, mortars and artillery rounds.
The “first fire” is what starts ignition within the system.
“This is the only pilot facility like it in the Army, and ARDEC is trying to leverage its expertise for developing manufacturing processes,” explained Stacey Yauch, chemical engineer with the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC.
“Most of the military’s explosive manufacturing processes are developed by the contractors,” explained Yauch.
“An ARDEC engineer might develop the compound, but the manufacturing process is typically developed by the contractor,” Yauch explained. “It’s difficult for the government to find competition between sources to get a better price because the contractor who develops the process always has an upper hand in the competition.
“If we develop the process here, we can then provide it to industry to attract potential manufacturers, which would mitigate risk to manufacturers on process development cost and time.”
Development of the process to produce TNC scale up is being done by ARDEC and the Program Executive Office Ammunition’s Project Manager Joint Services.
The pilot-scale production process will be developed in the Flexible Nitration Facility at ARDEC. The production process will be optimized, documented, and transitioned to a full-scale facility to produce TNC at Crane Army Ammunition Activity, Crane, Ind.
The pilot “scale up” first began in a lab with chemists creating grams of TNC initially, eventually working up to two pounds of the substance. While in the lab, the engineers recorded data such as heat rates, reaction times and temperature, and optimized the process as best they could.
Next, ARDEC transitioned the lab scale process to the pilot manufacturing facility that includes crystallization and nitration equipment.
“At this point it’s not a lab anymore,” Yauch said, “You’re not working with beakers and test tubes. It’s regular equipment used in industry, but at a smaller scale. Once it leaves this stage it evolves to full-scale production.”
So far, Yauch and her team have successfully produced small quantities of TNC. The next step is to reproduce a couple of batches at the 10-to-20-pound scale.
“Right now we’re in 20- or 30-gallon reaction sizes,” Yauch said. “When you’re at a 10 or 20-pound scale you can start modeling what will happen at full scale when you’re making thousands of pounds.”
However, the process at the pilot production facility is different than the process working in a lab due to the nature of the different equipment.
“You have a general optimization of your temperatures and times, but it will change when you bring it up to this scale,” Yauch explained. “There’s a learning curve. Initially we didn’t get amount of TNC expected, so we stopped to determine the cause we were able to determine the reaction was not complete due to low temperature and short residence time. Once the problem was identified, we were able to obtain purer product on the second trial.”
The TNC process created by ARDEC could be ready to transition to manufacturers by the end of March 2014.
Once the TNC production process is completed, it will be transferred to the Project Manager Combat Ammunition System for use in mortar and illumination rounds.
- ARDEC 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.
- ARDEC 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.
By Amy Walker and Claire Heininger, PEO C3T
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (March 10, 2014) — With drastically reduced startup and shutdown times, a new, easy to use graphical interface and improved troubleshooting tools, the Army’s mobile tactical network backbone system recently completed a key test.
In line with the Army’s overall effort to simplify the network so it more resembles technology that Soldiers operate in their daily lives, the changes to Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T, Increment 2 reflect a network that is easier to operate and maintain.
“We want an ‘on’ switch for the network — we want it to be absolutely transparent to Soldiers,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel P. Hughes, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical, which manages the WIN-T program. “When you pick up a cell phone, how much training do you need to make it work? It’s intuitive, and that’s how the Army network should be.”
WIN-T Increment 2 enables deployed Soldiers operating in remote and challenging terrain to maintain voice, video and data communications while on the move, with connectivity rivaling that found in a stationary command post. The reduced complexity and increased reliability provided by the system’s latest improvements are also expected to increase its utility on the battlefield and reduce dependence on Signal Soldiers to operate and maintain the equipment. Any Soldier can now take greater advantage of the new WIN-T Increment 2 network status and troubleshooting capabilities that provide them with a more robust and reliable network.
The WIN-T Increment 2 enhancements, based on Soldier feedback from theater and the Network Integration Evaluations, or NIEs, are being assessed during two intensive developmental tests executed at the Aberdeen Test Center, or ATC, at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. The first of these tests was completed in late February, with Soldiers putting a large part of a brigade’s worth of equipment through its paces in a tactical environment. The event was conducted over a 27-day period including five days of dry runs and eight days of record test, approximately 800 training hours and 21 network nodes, including 16 mobile nodes that drove 8,000 miles during the test. The second developmental test is scheduled for June 2014, and a follow-on operational test and evaluation is planned for the NIE 15.1 in October-November 2014.
Efforts to enhance the system began immediately after NIE results confirmed the need to improve WIN-T Increment 2 usability, and officials described the improvements as an ongoing process involving user juries and human machine design experts. While the nature of the system — it combines a number of routers, switches, modems, software, encryption devices, radios and antennas typically found in a command post and installs them as one package in a tactical vehicle — means it will never be as fast and easy as a commercial smartphone, the Army will continue to drive the technology to be more intuitive, easier to use and more effective for the Soldier.
“We took a hard look at the system at the engineering level, every component in great detail, to see where we could reduce complexity,” said Lt. Col. LaMont Hall, product manager for WIN-T Increment 2. “We reduced things like the time it takes and the number of steps required to start up the system, the time it takes to conduct operational tasks, the number of logins and clicks — all in an effort to simplify everything as much as possible to reduce the burden on the Soldier.”
WIN-T Increment 2 provides enhanced capabilities over the previously fielded WIN-T Increment 1 and its upgrades, including network-equipped vehicles that provide the on-the-move communications and situational awareness that commanders need to lead from anywhere on the battlefield. The changes to the system enhance the capabilities of the WIN-T Increment 2 Soldier Network Extension, or SNE, vehicle, which provides network communication and extension capabilities at the company level, and the Point of Presence, or PoP, which provides mobile mission command at the battalion level and above.
As part of these improvements, the Army automated the startup for the PoP and SNE, significantly reducing the complexity and length of the startup process. More than a dozen buttons and switches were reduced to a single startup switch, dropping the total time to get a networked vehicle up and running from over 12 minutes to four and a half minutes.
On the battlefield, commanders and Soldiers use WIN-T Increment 2 to quickly access mobile communication applications such as Tactical Ground Reporting, chat and voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) calls. The new upgrades cut in half the time it takes to launch these applications, while increasing the performance of Joint Battle Command-Platform, or JBC-P, the friendly-force tracking and messaging application Soldiers rely on for situational awareness.
“We also spent a lot of time looking at the user interface and what we could do to improve it so it is easier for the Soldier to operate,” Hall said. “It’s much more intuitive now, more of the smartphone mentality, easier to understand and use, with larger buttons that are easier to see.”
The SNE’s Combat Net Radio, or CNR, Gateway takes advantage of the vehicle’s on-the-move satellite communication systems to help extend lower tactical internet radio networks and keep them connected. To improve capability, CNR Gateway operations were simplified and automated; operational steps to start it up were reduced from nearly a dozen manual steps to a single log-in and a click. Now Soldiers merely select and connect, with mere seconds to execute.
Among the most important improvements to WIN-T Increment 2 are simplified and streamlined troubleshooting capabilities for the PoP and SNE, moving from an in-depth interface designed for the Signal Soldier to one more suitable for a general purpose operator. During the first developmental test, Soldiers were so eager to troubleshoot faults using their new tools that they fixed an antenna problem before data collectors could diagnose it.
Prior to these improvements, when a general purpose user or company commander had an issue, they could only troubleshoot approximately 20 percent of system issues themselves, and 80 percent of the time they have to call a field service representative, or FSR, or S6 [communications officer] to resolve it, officials said.
“We want to completely reverse those percentages,” Hall said. “Our intent now is let the general purpose user troubleshoot and resolve 80 percent of those issues.”
The Army is also working to ensure that it is providing the right network capabilities to the right echelons, so Soldiers are not asked to do things beyond their trained abilities, and to develop the right tactics, techniques and procedures, or TTPs, for communications equipment. This is especially true in lower echelons such as companies, which don’t have dedicated Signal Soldiers assigned. With the network serving as a key enabler for a smaller but still highly capable future force, the Army will continue to make changes to simplify the network, so commanders and Soldiers can focus on the fight.
“We have aggressively examined and tested every component of the WIN-T Increment 2 system,” said Col. Ed Swanson, project manager for WIN-T. “We will continue to improve both ease of use and reliability in advance of the next operational test and then beyond that; we’ll never stop improving this system for our Soldiers.”
At warfighters’ request, Army delivers award-winning ration enhancement to help them in extreme conditions
By Mr. Joseph Zanchi and Ms. Alexandra Foran
Warfighters in extreme, demanding operational environments need additional sustenance to complete their missions successfully—they simply need MORE. In this case, MORE is the Modular Operational Ration Enhancement, developed by the Combat Feeding Directorate (CFD) at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) as a direct result of requests from warfighters deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We received feedback from the field that some warfighters were losing weight and they needed extra calories,” said Julie Smith, a CFD senior food technologist. Smith, along with Jim Lecollier, chief of the Individual Rations Branch, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Troop Support, worked with their respective teams from 2008 through 2013 to develop the MORE family of ration supplements specifically to meet this need.
MORE provides additional nutrition to warfighters operating in high-stress environments when their caloric requirements exceed those provided by their daily operational rations. MOREs are designed to augment the Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE), First Strike Ration (FSR) and Meal, Cold Weather/Long Range Patrol, as well as the family of Unitized Group Rations.
The MRE satisfies the Army surgeon general’s strict requirements for nutrition in operational rations. Each MRE provides approximately 1,300 calories. An FSR, which replaces three MREs, has an average of 2,900 calories per ration. The MORE has an average of 1,110 calories per package.
Army Regulation 40-25, “Nutrition Standards and Education,” a joint regulation of the surgeons general of the Army, Navy and Air Force, establishes nutritional standards, termed “military dietary reference intakes,” for military feeding. Among these are nutritional standards for operational rations and restricted rations.
When warfighters conduct dismounted operations in challenging terrain, carrying more than 100 pounds of equipment up and down the mountains of Afghanistan with elevations as high as 12,000 feet, they can burn significantly more calories than when operating at sea level.
The MOREs are designed to provide the additional calories and nutrients to supplement their MREs or FSRs and give them the nutrition they need.
MORE, HOT AND COLD
Currently, there are two types of MOREs targeted for the different extremes of operational environments—high altitude and cold weather, and hot weather. Each type has three different varieties, for a total of six different MORE packs.
CFD collaborated with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine to understand the unique nutritional needs of warfighters in these operational environments, said Smith.
“We reviewed literature and conducted focus groups to identify food preferences of warfighters when conducting missions in high altitude and cold weather, and hot weather environments.”
Three MREs a day provide warfighters with a minimum of 3,600 calories, satisfying their nutritional needs for most missions. “However, there are some instances during exceptionally heavy activity where warfighters will need between 4,500 and 6,000 calories per day,” said Smith. MORE provides that additional nutritional “oomph,” giving warfighters approximately 1,000 extra calories in a balance of carbohydrates, caffeine, electrolytes and vitamins for these operational environments.
The first MORE enhancement pack developed by CFD was the MORE – High Altitude/Cold Weather. At the time, military service representatives tasked CFD to develop an enhancement pack to counter weight loss and fatigue, and to improve the cognitive and physical performance of warfighters operating in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. Increased energy requirements during high-altitude operations, coupled with symptoms of acute mountain sickness, made this a challenging requirement to meet.
Acute mountain sickness, with symptoms including anoxia, headache, nausea and vomiting, is caused by reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. The faster you climb to a high altitude, the more likely you are to get acute mountain sickness. “The MORE is designed to be high in carbohydrates to combat acute mountain sickness. Research has shown that consuming a diet high in carbohydrates can lower the symptoms,” said Smith.
In hot weather environments, hydration is particularly important, which is why the MORE – Hot Weather includes two carbohydrate-and-electrolyte beverages. These two drinks are similar to sports drinks, providing not only pure energy in the form of carbohydrate, but also electrolytes such as potassium and sodium that warfighters sweat out. The electrolyte beverages are energy gels that come in mixed berry, orange and lemon-lime flavors. The carbohydrate beverages come in mixed berry, fruit punch and lemon-lime flavors.
MORE RESEARCH, TEST AND DESIGN
During the course of research and development on MORE, CFD conducted several focus groups and field evaluations. NSRDEC’s Operational Forces Integration Group and the Consumer Research Team collected feedback and input. Small focus groups involved warfighters from the 10th Mountain Division’s Light Fighter School at Fort Drum, NY, units that had deployed to Afghanistan and Army medical personnel.
Additional component selection and survey participation on the design selection, acceptability, convenience and benefit involved warfighters from the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare Training School at Camp Ethan Allen, Vt., and the Connecticut National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry Regiment Mountain Training Group.
CFD received an urgent-need request from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in 2009 for 10,000 units of MORE – High Altitude/Cold Weather to support the increase in troops deployed to Afghanistan.
MORE – Hot Weather prototypes were field-tested with the 75th Ranger Regiment at the Pre-Ranger Course at Fort Benning, Ga.. MORE prototypes were also provided to special operations forces during high-altitude training in Colorado; deployed units of Combined Joint Task Force 82 in Afghanistan; and to Engineer and National Guard Scout units at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, during Operation Enduring Freedom.
“We assessed results from individual ration field evaluations to identify ration components with the highest acceptability and consumption rates,” said Smith. “Feedback from warfighters indicated they preferred ration components that were easy-to-consume, eat-on-the-go, snack-type foods, rather than meals that would require time to heat and prepare.”
Each pack is calorically dense and weighs only three quarters of a pound. Packs are filled with popular items including caffeinated pudding, energy gels, carbohydrate-enhanced beverages, First Strike bars, nut mixes, crackers, caffeinated gum and Zapplesauce, which is applesauce fortified with maltodextrin, an energy-dense carbohydrate and a source of energy to help maintain physical performance.
“Zapplesauce and First Strike bars provide the warfighter with essential complex carbohydrate,” said Smith. Each food item serves a specific purpose for the warfighter. As with other operational rations, the goal is for the warfighter to consume every item to meet appropriate caloric needs.
For their work in developing MORE, Smith and Lecollier received the prestigious Col. Rohland A. Isker Award in 2013 for leading their respective teams in developing, transitioning, acquiring and fielding MORE. The award is an annual honor from the Research and Development Associates for Military Food and Packaging, better known as R&DA, to recognize civilian employees of the federal government or military personnel for outstanding contributions to national preparedness. Isker, a pioneer in Army food service research and development, founded R&DA in 1946.
“Our review board at R&DA felt the MORE project and the ultimate fielding of the ration supplement itself had the most beneficial impact on warfighters (Soldiers, Marines and special operators) of any recently introduced operational ration product,” said John McNulty, executive director of R&DA.
“MORE met a very compelling need to introduce much-needed calories and other nutrients into the diets of these warfighters during particularly stressful situations on the battlefield during extreme weather conditions. It was a success story that worked and received very high accolades from the field,” McNulty said.
MORE also provides warfighters with important enhancements to improve mental alertness and physical endurance and, like all CFD products, is “Warfighter Recommended, Warfighter Tested, and Warfighter Approved.” MORE is currently available for procurement through DLA Troop Support at http://www.troopsupport.dla.mil/subs/.
For more information, contact Joseph Zanchi at firstname.lastname@example.org
MR. JOSEPH ZANCHI is a logistics management specialist assigned to CFD at NSRDEC. He has a B.S. in business administration from Babson College and a certificate in project management from Boston University. Zanchi is Level III certified in life-cycle logistics.
MS. ALEXANDRA FORAN is a public affairs contractor at NSRDEC. She holds a B.A. in writing and journalism from Eastern Nazarene College.
- Previoulsy published in Army AL&T magazine (Jan-March 2014 edition).
Soldier, now Army civilian, finds his place after 9/11
By Tara Clements
After 20 years of military service as a U.S. Army Soldier, Jorge Caballero discovered what he wanted to do—program management. Caballero discovered his interest during his last job as a Soldier working for the Pentagon Renovation Program (PENREN) in August 2000, but found even greater clarity after 9/11.
For Caballero, “9/11 changed everything.” On that day, just 20 minutes before the plane hit, he was working at the side of the building. After the attack, Caballero worked as the only noncommissioned officer in charge of the PENREN coordination cell for the Phoenix Project; named for the western side of the building that was hit and known for its aggressive goal to rebuild and fully restore the section within one year. The more Caballero learned about program management and the dedication involved, the more he found it was what he was meant to do.
A few years and two masters’ degrees later, he joined the civil service in September 2005, working for the Information Technology System Product Office at the Pentagon, charged with modernizing IT infrastructure, applying new technology, and finding efficiencies during the Pentagon renovation. Caballero managed multiple projects in signature areas including the Pentagon Press Briefing Room and conference rooms for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of defense, to name a few.
He currently serves as integrated product team lead, working for the Army’s Product Manager, Power Projection Enablers (PdM P2E) office within the Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS), charged with ensuring Soldiers across the globe have the communication infrastructure they need to be effective and complete their mission. Projects include managing the infrastructure requirements in areas such as indoor and outdoor networks, routers, switches, cable installs, electrical engineering, phone and online capabilities—just to name a few.
His approach to success is simple and clear: “Everything is built on the give and take around teamwork—I am a firm believer in the three “C’s mantra”: Coordination, coordination, and coordination!”
FOTF: What do you do in the Army? Why is it important?
“Being part of a group of people putting their lives on the line, whether they’re in uniform, civilian or a badged contractor, to ensure that projects are completed—all while leaving their home and families—is compelling. No other job has that opportunity or gives the same profound sense of accomplishment.”
CABALLERO: I oversee projects being executed by defense contractors and industry partners and ensure that the government receives what it’s invested in and that acquisition rules are followed. A major part of my job is to be ready to tackle any obstacles—so projects can move forward and be completed on time.
FOTF: What kinds of obstacles do you face in your job?
CABALLERO: I’m a firm believer in face-to-face meetings to resolve issues and overcome obstacles in a timely fashion. While I was in Kandahar, [Afghanistan], I was called to resolve an issue with a contract in Kabul since I was the only forward liaison for P2E. There was an issue with documentation and deliverables for a receiving command. By working together with all parties in person, and hearing the back stories that may not have been factored in or mentioned remotely, we were able to resolve the issue at hand, adjust processes in real time, and give that unit what was needed to do their job.
Currently, I’m part of the [PEO EIS] Pacific team supporting Korea. When I first joined, a few of my projects were underfunded and behind schedule. The warfighter needed several capabilities, but several contract requirements weren’t funded. I was able to find the funding and move the project forward and deliver the necessary capabilities for the Soldier.
FOTF: Where have you deployed?
CABALLERO: I’ve actually deployed more as an Army civilian than I did as a Soldier. Since April 2011, I have deployed to Afghanistan two times for an average of three to five months at a time, and traveled several times after for shorter periods, in addition to visits to Kuwait. As an active duty Soldier, I deployed in support of the Gulf War.
As much as I loved my military career, it’s a very different environment when deploying as a civilian employee. I’ve more of a varied mission as a civilian, and appreciate the flexibility to visit sites supporting the warfighter. Being able to travel back and forth from the field to my headquarters and back again allows for a more holistic viewpoint and can bring about a better understanding for everyone involved. My mission also allows me to share what is taking place in the field so leaders can understand all hardships and obstacles involved.
FOTF: What has your experience been like? What has surprised you the most?
CABALLERO: I enjoy the teamwork and camaraderie inherent in working for the Army, as well as working with industry partners. One of the most surprising and fulfilling things was to experience the teamwork and camaraderie while deployed to Afghanistan. Being part of a group of people putting their lives on the line, whether they’re in uniform, civilian or a badged contractor, to ensure that projects are completed—all while leaving their homes and families—is compelling. No other job has that opportunity or gives the same profound sense of accomplishment.
FOTF: What is the relationship like working with industry partners in an overseas environment?
CABALLERO: When you’re in a foreign environment, especially a war zone, you’re all working towards the same mission. My job is to break any barriers that might exist so our contractors can do their job to the best of their abilities, and with the needed resources. I believe in maintaining a good rapport with our contract partners and customers working with PdM P2E and actively work to break through barriers to complete the overall mission of our organization.
FOTF: What were some of your greatest challenges?
CABALLERO: I don’t think everyone understands what the “acquisition” [career] is. I think we have a very well-trained acquisition workforce, especially contractors, but I think we need to do a better job to educate within the Army about what we do and what is involved in handling our roles. For example, if the requirement is to build a house, as the program manager, I know what is needed. I’ll build that house working with the experts and adjust only if necessary on contingency plans. In an era of shrinking budgets and limited personnel, we all need to be especially cautious of solicitation timeframes and requirements that are late and or poorly defined which will cost more in the long run.
FOTF: Why did you join the Army? What is your greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army?
CABALLERO: When I retired from the Army in 2003, I spent two years as a contractor working on the Pentagon renovation project and fell in love with project management. I wanted to be able to make decisions and have the responsibility to be held accountable for projects. I felt I could work better for the taxpayer, ensuring that requirements were met and represent the government’s requests directly.
The greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army has been the sense of camaraderie that is extended to the entire team. The Army cares about the civilians, supports camaraderie and collaboration, and demonstrates that especially well in a combat zone. Every day is an adventure, good and bad, and I’m always presented with a new challenge to tackle, learn and grow from.
- “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.
- “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.
Directorates of logistics become logistics readiness centers for more effective access to services and supply
By Col. Dan J. Reilly
When the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) rebranded the installation directorates of logistics (DOLs) as logistics readiness centers (LRCs) on Oct. 1, 2013, the rebranding not only culminated the formal transfer of 73 DOLs worldwide from the U.S. Army Installation Management Command to AMC, but also established a vision to integrate and optimize AMC capabilities on installations.
This transformation enables AMC to focus on materiel and services support, allowing installation commanders to focus on managing their installations. It also optimizes the LRCs’ capability and capacity, improves contract management, and enhances quality and visibility of services. The LRCs provide the command additional field maintenance expertise, transportation services and base logistics support. This aids the U.S. Army Sustainment Command (ASC) in its mission to support the Army Force Generation process.
The LRCs are designed to provide an AMC presence on every installation. Today, the LRCs manage installation supply, maintenance and transportation. This includes food service, ammunition supply, clothing issue facility and initial issue point, hazardous material, bulk fuel, personal property and household goods, passenger travel, nontactical vehicles, rail and garrison equipment maintenance.
As a result of the transfer of installation DOLs to AMC a year earlier on Oct. 1, 2012, the DOLs became separate activities on their installations. This uniquely identified each DOL as an Army operational unit. The change in the DOLs’ status on the installations required an official name change on authorization documents. It also marked a change in their mission as AMC’s “face to the field,” which necessitated realignment with DA and the renaming from DOL to LRC.
ASC, as AMC’s operational arm, assumed responsibility for the LRCs during the 2012 transfer. ASC’s mission is to sustain Army and joint forces throughout the world in support of combatant commanders, so this additional mission fit perfectly with its capabilities.
Upon transfer, AMC did not implement the name change because the focus was on a seamless transition. One year later, AMC believed the timing was right to formally rebrand the DOLs as LRCs.
This transition results in a single entry point to access AMC capabilities. It best postures AMC to support the vision outlined in Globally Responsive Sustainment 2020, Army 2020 and Defense Support to Civil Authorities, setting conditions to optimize AMC capabilities from power projection platforms to forward operating bases.
Globally Responsive Sustainment 2020 is an approach that seeks to produce a sustainment system that is optimized, integrated, synchronized, affordable and relevant to support unified land operations and the joint warfighter while minimizing redundancy.
Army 2020 is an initiative to transition the Army to address future security challenges. The sustainment initiative develops and implements the Army 2020 Sustainment Strategy through its ongoing efforts in the area of tactical sustainment force structure.
ONE LOGISTICAL HUB
The LRCs are AMC’s single face-to-the-field on installations, through which customers can access, integrate and synchronize AMC capabilities to support senior commanders, installation tenants and units’ priorities. Each LRC acts as the single hub on an installation for customers to access the Army sustainment base, giving Soldiers, commanders and joint partners on Army installations the full power of a globally networked logistics command with responsibility for Soldier services, supply and maintenance support.
Installation-based LRCs, forward-deployed Army field support brigades, ASC and AMC together control the supply chain “from factory to foxhole,” including forward operating bases. LRCs enable AMC to bring its full capabilities to the decisive point on an installation in support of Army power projection platforms, training requirements and no-notice contingency missions, as the Army transitions to a globally deployable force based in the continental United States.
EAGLE CONTRACT STRATEGY
In the future, the transition to LRCs will result in efficiencies and increased effectiveness. Before the transition, each installation managed its own contracts. Currently, the Army has more than 250 contracts for the acquisition of LRC installation logistics services. That has resulted in redundant capabilities and excess capacity. In response, ASC developed a contracting strategy called the Enhanced Army Global Logistics Enterprise program (EAGLE), to address inconsistencies in requirements and levels of service.
The EAGLE program focuses on material maintenance services, retail and wholesale supply services, and transportation support services. It also executes logistics services and requirements using an innovative strategy designed for flexibility. The EAGLE program fundamentally changes the way that the Army acquires installation logistics services, by increasing competition and small business participation, reducing the number of contracts to award and oversee, and reducing the acquisition timeline by using task order competitions under multiple basic ordering agreements.
In addition, EAGLE task orders can expand or contract based on funding and requirements—that is, the Army pays only for the services it needs and receives. Currently, 128 contractors, 78 of which are small businesses, are qualified to compete for EAGLE task orders.
EAGLE can be scaled and adapted as needed, which makes it ideal for the current fiscal environment as well as the overall defense resource strategy. EAGLE contracting strategies align with those of DA and DOD.
Five EAGLE task orders were awarded in the fourth quarter of FY13. Through contracting strategies such as EAGLE, AMC is expecting at least a 15 to 30 percent savings on contracts. Those five EAGLE task order awards in Q4 of FY13 reflect an 18 percent reduction from previous contracts.
As the LRC concept matures, it will continue to set the conditions to integrate all AMC capabilities under one roof. Through consolidation of AMC mission command, ASC will increase flexibility, eliminate redundancy, standardize processes, ensure reachback through our life-cycle management commands and other AMC major subordinate commands, and meet the challenges of a constrained fiscal environment, all while continuing to sustain the Army and joint forces worldwide in support of combatant commanders.
For more information, contact ASC’s executive director for field support at 309-782-4815 or email@example.com.
Col. DAN J. REILLY is director of the Installation Logistics Directorate at ASC, Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.. He holds a B.A. in communications from Eastern Illinois University, an M.S. in administration from Central Michigan University and an M.S. in national strategic studies from the U.S. Air Force Air University.
By Courtney N. Cashdollar
FORT BELVOIR, Va. — The Product Manager Power Projection Enablers (PdM P2E) team, led by Lt. Col Mollie A. Pearson and Art Olson, achieved full operational capability (FOC) of the Main Communications Facility (MCF) on Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Dec. 28, 2013, three days ahead of schedule and approximately $3 million under budget.
PdM P2E initiated the contract on Sept. 14, 2012. The project aimed to increase efficiency, performance, data security and command and control of the information technology (IT) environment on Camp Arifjan. The previous environment, a largely ad-hoc build without coordinated architecture, included a main data processing facility with several data storage sites that provided limited support for the increased volume of Soldiers, a high risk of data loss or corruption, insufficient maintenance support, and a lack of integrated data storage capability. Now, the IT environment is much more efficient, maximizes virtual applications and provides services to joint customers.
DOD has been working toward a joint information environment (JIE), incorporating the separate networks within the DOD into a shared architecture. Expected to reach full capability between 2016 and 2020, the JIE will enable all DOD personnel to access the network from any approved device, anywhere they are, to get information securely and reliably. The JIE will provide full-spectrum support to the DOD in the operation, procurement, and maintenance of information technology systems.
“The enhanced and modernized capabilities of the Camp Arifjan MCF provide forward capability to support JIE for the U.S. Central Command,” said Product Manager, Lt. Col Mollie Pearson. “The MCF computing environment provides the ability to deliver a standardized, agile and ubiquitous set of computing capabilities available to all authorized users as part of a services-based information enterprise.”
MCF also supports strategic continuity of operations (COOP) initiatives for mission command nodes and serves as a prototype model to emulate and capture lessons learned across global strategic networks. It supports strategic diversity between Bahrain, Qatar and Camp Arifjan, and is a global access point in support of Defense Information Systems Administration (DISA) architecture as well.
“Without a doubt, the Camp Arifjan MCF will have a significant impact on laying the foundation for the JIE, as well as being a critical component for all of our future activities in the region,” said Douglas Wiltsie, executive officer, Program Executive Office-Enterprise Information Services (PEO EIS). “JIE is an important vision for DOD and requires seamless teamwork across the services to achieve success. We are already working with our partners across the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and DOD to make the incorporation of separate service networks into a shared architecture a reality, and the MCF is the first step,” he added.
This $50 million, 20,000 square foot facility will serve as the hub for all voice, data and video-teleconferencing capabilities across Southwest Asia (SWA), including all 19 countries in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. The MCF project, including the migration of an entire communications facility, is the largest and most complex project ever completed by P2E. This important undertaking is critical not only to the region, but to the future DOD communications structure around the world. This project will increase efficiency, performance, data security and the command and control for the IT environment on Camp Arifjan and throughout SWA.
The heavy lifters of the PdM P2E MCF Team were on-site project lead Pam Warren; Contracting Officer’s Representative Rey Quebral; assistant project managers Maj. Kyle McFarland and Maj. Peter Moore; and PdM P2E SWA Director Mike Moseley. The team accomplished the mission despite austere working conditions inherent to the SWA region; long hours over holidays and weekends; an eight hour time difference from leadership and higher headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va.; and coordinating across multiple time zones to manage requirements, schedules and approvals from numerous stakeholders, including SWA Cyber Center; the 160th, 54th, and 335th Signal Commands; U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Central Command.
“The MCF computing environment provides the ability to deliver a standardized, agile and ubiquitous set of computing capabilities available to all authorized users as part of a services-based information enterprise.”
Additional challenges included a complex contract; a volatile military mission and political landscape in theater; coordination complexities because of multiple stakeholders and business areas; complex dependencies with receipt of equipment; and technical complexities involving power generation, cooling and capacity, services migration, and circuit cut-over from the old facility. Furthermore, six- to nine-month stakeholder rotations in theater, including three transitions in the leadership of the 335th Signal Command (Theater) (Provisional) throughout the life of the project, and the lack of flexibility to hire additional government personnel on the ground in theater challenged the continuity of operations.
Finally, the team faced unforeseen disruptions including unplanned power outages, changes in policy that required the replacement of two thirds of the batteries for the uninterrupted power supply system before it could be certified, flooding and two fires on Camp Arifjan that detrimentally affected the schedule.
“We are extremely proud of the challenging, arduous work accomplished by the team, especially by those on the ground in Kuwait,” said Pearson. “This complex project required dedication, the ability to bring teams together, and the ability to think outside the box to accomplish the mission—everyone involved exhibited these traits and I am awed by what they accomplished,” she added.
MCF represents a significant step in enhancing the capabilities and capacity of IT service provision in SWA. This is also the first time since 1992 that the bulk of IT services emanate out of one facility, providing critical communications capabilities in support of coalition operations in Kuwait. The MCF will now connect thousands of Soldiers across SWA and the globe with increased efficiency, performance, data security and command and control of the information technology (IT) environment on Camp Arifjan.
Brig. Gen. Christopher Kemp, commander, 335th Signal Command (Theater) (Provisional), and Douglas Wiltsie, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 14 where they presented Department of the Army awards and PEO EIS coins to Warren and Quebral for their outstanding achievement throughout the duration of the project.
“I am really proud of the work that the team did to accomplish this mission,” said Wiltsie.
By David Vergun
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 24, 2014) — Soldiers who have used the Distributed Common Ground System-Army, both on and off the battlefield, say that with adequate training, it’s an intelligence game changer.
Sgt. Troy Thatcher is one such user and proponent.
While deployed with the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan, he was a junior analyst on a tactical intelligence ground collection team. He described how DCGS-A helped make his unit’s mission a success.
Thatcher, then a specialist, went on daily patrols with the infantry, where he gathered intelligence. He then uploaded that data into DCGS-A, a system he said he used effectively.
At the time, he said he thought he was playing just a small part in the intelligence-gathering process and he didn’t see the “big-picture” view of the system.
Later, he learned that his data, when processed using the tools within DCGS-A, provided one of the many important pieces of the intelligence picture. He said DCGS-A conveys critical battlefield snapshots to brigade, division and corps commanders to aid in their decision making.
Thatcher added that software tools within DCGS-A enable the analyst to format their information in any number of ways and that data to commanders can be presented in easily-understood formats, including tables, graphs and charts.
Today, Thatcher works on DCGS-A geospatial-intelligence integration, training and development in Melbourne, Fla. He said he now shows others how valuable their inputs are to the intelligence gathering system and he thinks that helps motivate them to want to better understand and use it.
The key to being able to use DCGS-A easily and effectively, he emphasized, is to have proper training.
While proper training ensures successful use of DCGS-A, not everyone gets the same training opportunities and problems inevitably arise, he said.
Sgt. Gregory Galperine, another DCGS-A user, said when he deployed to Afghanistan as a fusion/targeting analyst with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Div., his unit didn’t receive all the training because of the high pre-deployment operations tempo.
As a result, he said his brigade commander authorized the use of other commercial software. However, he said, DCGS-A was still the underlying architecture or framework for the intelligence gathering system used.
When Galperine returned from Afghanistan, he got the DCGS-A training that he missed out on. As a result, he was able to design a two-week field training exercise for his battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C. He said that exercise provided valuable training for his junior analysts.
Galperine said that training with DCGS-A is ongoing, however. Like marksmanship training, he said, DCGS-A requires a refresher now and then “because if you don’t use it, you can lose it.”
Galperine explained that training for DCGS-A can be divided in two parts. First, users learn the “buttonology” portion. That includes learning the tools and what buttons to press to make things happen. Soldiers also learn the military intelligence aspect, which includes getting DCGS-A to produce the desired result from all the intelligence data gathered.
Intelligence data ingested and processed by DCGS-A comes from multiple sources, including Soldiers on patrol, aircraft, and manned and unmanned sensors. The DCGS-A system connects and manages these intelligence-gathering resources in a networked grid that spans the globe. Soldiers use its fusions servers to process intelligence data and support multiple mission objectives.
DCGS-A manages streams of information flowing back and forth throughout the “enterprise,” and additionally has access to and uses information provided by similar systems in use by sister services. When needed, DCGS-A also interacts with intelligence systems used by partner nations.
With DCGS-A, intelligence now “resides on shared servers so everyone can access the same baseline of information,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Adrian Robertson, an all-source intelligence technician at Project Manager DCGS-A, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
Robertson, who has been doing military intelligence for 19 years in the Army, said in the past, intelligence systems had their own unique data feeds and repositories. In many cases, systems couldn’t communicate with each other. He termed it “stovepiping.” With DCGS-A, that is no longer the case.
During a deployment to Iraq with the 25th Infantry Div., Robertson used DCGS-A and described it as a “revolution in military affairs,” because of the automation DCGS-A provided compared to the previous legacy systems he had experienced in his career.
While Robertson said DCGS-A is not perfect, he said he has noticed significant improvements since he first started using it, and stated those improvements are mostly driven by feedback from Soldiers in the field.
His team of contractors — former Soldiers who used DCGS-A while deployed themselves — see the feedback every day, and he said they incorporate a lot of it into new software releases.
There are several ways, he said, that feedback is processed. Besides the after action review mechanisms that are in place following training, Soldiers can also access the DCGS-A User Forum, where they can ask questions, provide feedback to help other Soldiers, or share new ideas.
In effect, the forum, which stood up about a year ago and is hosted by the Ground Intelligence Support Activity, has become a community for the users where ideas can be driven from the bottom up. System engineers monitor the forum and respond to technical questions.
Robertson said he’s impressed with the creativity of today’s breed of analysts, who he said thrive in their outside-the-box thinking and are more technologically savvy than ever before.
Thatcher shared some other examples of innovative solutions junior analysts provided, including a creative way of getting a TV feed to interface with other systems in DCGS-A. That solution was incorporated into the system.
Innovative solutions can be shared and incorporated in a matter of hours. A junior Soldier really can make a difference, Thatcher said.
Thatcher said user feedback was responsible for an important system-wide update that is being rolled out called “Hunte.” Hunte, he said, is replacing the Griffin software, which he said users complained was too complex and difficult to use.
“You can ask any analyst who worked on both systems and they’ll tell you there’s a huge improvement from Griffin to Hunte,” he said. “And it won’t stop there. The PM is constantly collecting and testing feedback to look for ways to incorporate it.”
Training and education are what most concerns Thatcher. He explained that even the best system won’t work unless the user has the necessary knowledge and expertise.
The Army’s goal, Thatcher said, is to get everyone’s training completed before they go to the national training center or joint readiness training center. He added that this is becoming more doable as the drawdown in Afghanistan continues and battle formations stabilize.
The biggest challenge now, Galperine said, is getting the word out to commanders that the training is necessary and time needs to be allotted for it.
“It comes down to command emphasis,” he said. “Leaders must seize the opportunity.”
He said it’s also up to his own team and every analyst to get the word out to their leaders that the training is valuable. He said they must also explain how success in using DCGS-A can ensure mission success.
Galperine said that with proper training, Soldiers can develop “muscle memory” with DCGS-A, where usage becomes automatic, similar to the muscle memory a Soldier acquires with his or her rifle.
“Commanders and MI leaders also need to start incorporating DCGS-A into daily operations to mitigate training deficiencies,” Robertson said, “Several units are already doing this.”
Besides incorporating new software and solutions into DCGS-A — which is still in the developmental stage — plans are already underway to incorporate national strategic guidance into its framework, Robertson said.
The Army’s strategic vision now calls for full-spectrum operations, he said. Engineers and technicians are developing new programs to meet anticipated threat characteristics like force-on-force.
One new application currently fielded with Hunte, the Threat Characteristic Workcenter, will help build order-of-battle charts and better track conventional units in the hybrid threat environment, he said.
But ultimately, Robertson said, the success or failure of DCGS-A boils down to good leadership. Leaders must give analysts the time needed to train, and commanders must take ownership of the system.
Army educational outreach to build science, technology, engineering and math talent helps grow the workforce of tomorrow
By Mr. Jeffrey D. Singleton and Ms. Andrea Simmons-Worthen
The Army employs more than 800,000 military and civilian personnel, 96,000 of whom occupy science, technology, engineering or mathematic (STEM) positions, according to Defense Manpower Data Center classifications. Of that 96,000, more than 16,000 are world-class scientists and engineers within the Army’s 16 laboratories and research centers. These scientists and engineers develop leading-edge technologies and advanced capabilities that give our Soldiers, the Army’s greatest asset, the decisive advantage in the face of our adversaries and keep them safe from harm.
Broadly defined to include jobs such as technicians that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, science and technology (S&T) occupations make up 21 percent of the nation’s workforce, and that percentage is increasing steadily, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. The Army and the nation have a growing need for highly qualified, STEM-literate technicians and skilled workers in advanced manufacturing, logistics, management and other technology-driven fields.
But the need for STEM literacy—the ability to understand and apply concepts from science, technology, engineering and mathematics in order to solve complex problems—goes well beyond the traditional STEM occupations of scientist, engineer and mathematician. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that in the next decade, 80 percent of jobs will require STEM skills, yet only 16 percent of college students pursuing bachelor’s degrees will be specializing in STEM fields.
Emerging mission requirements further complicate the challenges for the DOD STEM workforce. Multidimensional and cross-disciplinary STEM competencies are essential to supply technical talent in our research centers for emerging fields as well as to provide STEM-literate talent for the research and analysis work that the Army does continually across every field. In other words, the Army must prepare human capital for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t yet been invented. The success and sustainment of this STEM infrastructure depends on the STEM-literate community to support innovation, further adding to the demand for STEM talent and accentuating the STEM challenge.
The growing demand for STEM competencies, the global competitiveness for STEM talent and the unbalanced makeup of STEM fields have led to President Obama’s call for an all-hands-on-deck approach to the STEM challenge. Developing a highly competent STEM workforce requires partnerships among government, industry and academia. The Army makes a unique and valuable contribution to the national STEM challenge by providing access to its world-class technical professionals and research centers for students and teachers.
The Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) manifests the Army’s STEM education strategy to ensure enduring access to highly qualified U.S. talent. AEOP provides a coordinated portfolio of STEM programs across S&T commands as well as government, university and industry partners. It offers students and teachers a collaborative, cohesive array of programs that effectively engage, inspire and attract the next generation of STEM talent from kindergarten through college, thereby exposing students to STEM careers in DOD.
Using the Army S&T workforce as mentors (either directly or through a near-peer mentor model), as well as our laboratories and research assets, the Army strives to build a diverse, well-prepared, STEM-literate talent pool to supply current and emerging workforce needs. This strategy, directed by HQDA, allows the Army to capture measures of success, identify program gaps, leverage resources and defend a sustainable STEM infrastructure.
A STUDENT’S STORY
A young scientist’s experience illustrates the powerful potential of AEOP.
Saumil Bandyopadhyay, a freshman at MIT, didn’t wait until graduation from Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond, Va., to begin developing novel technologies for use by cutting-edge organizations.
Bandyopadhyay became interested in optical processes in semiconductors at a young age, after reading about photodetectors and their use in lifesaving applications such as car-collision-avoidance systems, mine detection, night vision and missile defense. After learning about the challenges of making infrared photodetectors, he set out to solve one of the problems: to create a photodetector that could work at room temperature. He immersed himself in research over two summers. Bandyopadhyay’s dedication to the problem, several days a week, resulted in four peer-reviewed journal publications (he is lead author of two) and a provisional U.S. patent for his discovery of a novel photodetector.
His research—under the mentorship of Dr. Gary C. Tepper, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University, where Bandyopadhyay’s father, Supriyo, is Commonwealth Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering—led to a new capability: a universal photon and particle detector built with semiconductor nanowires that can operate at room temperature and detect the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Its infrared detectivity is at least 10 times higher than that of other state-of-the-art equipment.
Bandyopadhyay focused on making his detector ultrasensitive, rugged, reliable, inexpensive and mass-producible. Potential applications include detection of buried mines, monitoring of global warming, radiation therapy and homeland security.
In all, Bandyopadhyay spent an estimated 1,600 hours on the project, all before his senior year. He immersed himself in research starting in seventh grade, including several years at the U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center in Alexandria, VA, through an AEOP high school internship initiative, the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program. He plans to major in electrical engineering and enter a career as a scientific researcher. By supporting Bandyopadhyay with the mentorship and facilities to expand his knowledge and allow him to explore solutions, we have capabilities today that we did not have just a couple of years ago.
While every student who takes advantage of AEOP’s programs isn’t necessarily a Saumil Bandyopadhyay doing cutting-edge research in middle school, exposure to the STEM field and STEM professionals is critical to growing the next generation of STEM-literate young men and women who will form the Army’s workforce of tomorrow.
Looking at the STEM challenge, John W. Gardner, former U.S. secretary of health, education and welfare, captured it best: “We don’t even know what skills may be needed in the years ahead. That is why we must train our young people in the fundamental fields of knowledge, and equip them to understand and cope with change. That is why we must give them the critical qualities of mind and durable qualities of character that will serve them in circumstances we cannot now even predict.”
For more information on the AEOP, go to www.usaeop.com. For more information on the STEM challenge, see the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce report “STEM”; and “An Interim Report on Assuring DoD a Strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce,” by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council.
MR. JEFFREY D. SINGLETON is director for basic research in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology (DASA(R&T)). He holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering from West Virginia University and an M.S. in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech. Singleton is Level III certified in science and technology management and Level I certified in test and evaluation.
MS. ANDREA SIMMONS-WORTHEN of Camber Corp. supports the DASA(R&T) as a senior program analyst. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Eastern Washington University.
Assessing the health of the Army’s industrial base is a complex task
By Mr. Juan L. Millan
The Army industrial base of today is more global, commercial and financially complex than that of 10 or 15 years ago. Prime suppliers have increased their role as integrators and delegated key innovation and development roles to a vast and complex network of sub-tier suppliers. Sub-tier suppliers have responded with their own complex network of suppliers, some of which are small, highly skilled and defense-dependent firms. These small, specialized firms serve as the warning indicator for the health of the overall industrial base.
The Army understands that the industry supporting defense is reshaping itself to respond to significant changes in military missions that translate to a sizable reduction in the demand for supplies and equipment. Major defense firms are responding by reducing excess capacity, streamlining processes and revamping supplier relationships. In addition, the financial uncertainty of sequestration will affect the future demand for new systems.
All of these factors create a high-risk environment for manufacturers and suppliers. The key question is: “How is the Army addressing the challenges to maintain the industrial base that supports the warfighter?”
First, the Army must determine which industrial capabilities are unique and vital to our national defense, and whether the military and its capabilities will be in jeopardy when a company decides to terminate a vital activity or move production offshore. Second, the Army must determine how major players can support the smaller force so that it remains credible and capable. Doing this requires involvement from multiple organizations at the strategic, tactical and operational levels, developing strong, ongoing and mutually beneficial joint relationships with their counterparts in the private sector to help minimize the impact of a potential loss in capabilities.
The Army is taking a proactive approach to ensure the preservation of those critical and essential capabilities needed for future short- and long-term operations. In order to identify the risks and issues impacting the industrial base, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (OASA(ALT)) has established collaborative efforts with major players such as the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, the U.S. Army Materiel Command, the Defense Logistics Agency, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Defense Contract Management Agency.
ASSESSING THE RISKS
As the Army draws down from contingency operations, some of the industrial base issues being addressed include excess capacity, limited incentives for private investment, commercial sources exiting the defense business, a growing dependence on foreign suppliers, shrinking and aging stockpiles, and declining commercial research and development capabilities.
For assessment purposes, the Army has organized its industrial base into five sectors, following the way program executive offices (PEOs), life cycle management commands (LCMCs), and research, development and engineering centers (RDECs) are structured by commodity. (See Figure 1.)
The Army is also fully engaged in joint assessment efforts focused on the identification of risks and issues impacting the industrial base’s ability to sustain readiness. They are:
1. The Sector-by-Sector, Tier-by-Tier (S2T2) Assessment—S2T2 seeks to establish early-warning indicators of risk, particularly at lower tiers, to promote policies to mitigate potential points of failure, reduce overreliance on foreign sourcing and identify areas of limited competition. The S2T2 assessment, which started in 2011, entails surveying, collecting and analyzing data from the commercial sector, reviewing outside expert reports and assessing challenges to the manufacturing community. A critical part of the S2T2 effort is the series of fragility and criticality (FaC) assessments. The FaC assessments map fragile and critical niches in the defense industrial base, to facilitate risk-mitigation investment decisions. The information generated will allow program offices to accurately gauge how potential reductions in funding could affect suppliers who provide the capabilities, products, skills and services needed to support requirements. Below are some recent products of the S2T2 FaC process:
Qualitative superiority in weaponry and other key military technology has become an essential element of American military power in the modern era, not only for winning wars but also for deterring them.
- The M1 Abrams tank assessment enabled the team to narrow down a list of thousands of suppliers to a manageable number. As a result, a supplier of critical components (tank periscopes) was identified and a project funded to keep this fragile capability available for future ground vehicle programs.
- The Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) assessment revealed specialized skill sets and a critical supplier at high risk of being lost due to decreased funding.
- The rotary-wing and missile sector’s Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) assessment provided a list of critical skills or production capabilities at high risk of being lost due to decreased funding. The assessment will facilitate the development of strategies to mitigate these risks.
2. The Industrial Base Baseline Assessment (IBBA)—The IBBA is another effort to evaluate the ability of the Army’s production base to sustain acquisition and readiness, and to provide recommendations for risk mitigation.
Through the integration of program inputs from each LCMC, RDEC, PEO and senior Army leadership, the IBBA focuses each organization’s assessment on critical industrial base capabilities, technologies and capacities.
It takes a joint approach by major players to assess the many challenges faced by the defense industrial base and find solutions that will preserve its health, integrity and technical superiority in support of the warfighter.
There is no doubt that the current wave of defense cuts, combining predictable effects of the drawdowns from Iraq and Afghanistan with the unpredictable consequences of sequestration, is very different from past defense budget reductions, and its impact on the industrial base is going to be significant. This impact calls on the Army to balance cuts across all parts of acquisition and force structure and to limit million-dollar problems to million-dollar solutions.
The challenges are forcing the Army to take a deep, hard look at the firms that supply the technologies our armed forces use, as they are important to national security.
Qualitative superiority in weaponry and other key military technology has become an essential element of American military power in the modern era, not only for winning wars but also for deterring them.
To be successful, the future industrial base must be capability- and capacity-based, using innovative practices to achieve integrated capabilities that are both flexible and responsive.
In the short term, the Army should focus on identifying only those truly critical and essential capabilities that it will need to preserve for regeneration purposes. In the long term, the Army should focus on identifying potential capability gaps and target its investments based on key fragile industrial capabilities needed now and in the future.
MR. JUAN L. MILLAN serves as a senior industrial base policy specialist in the Acquisition and Industrial Base Policy Directorate of OASA(ALT). He holds a B.S. in industrial engineering from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, a B.B.A. from Puerto Rico’s State University and an M.S. in management from the Florida Institute of Technology. Millan is Level III certified in program management and in production, quality and manufacturing. He also holds a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt, and is a member of the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps.
How the workforce of Corpus Christi
Army Depot repositioned itself for tighter times
By Mr. Curtis Titus and Ms. Brigitte Rox
Since 2011, Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) in Texas has made sweeping changes to its business culture and practices that not only reduced the depot’s consumption of government funds and material resources, but also positioned CCAD to continue providing top-quality support to the nation as military spending diminishes.
The U.S. government cannot afford to purchase new aircraft for each mission. Rather, it must rely on the organic industrial base (OIB) to modify aircraft and components to handle the specific needs of the next mission. As the largest helicopter, engine and component maintenance facility in all of DOD, CCAD has a number of capabilities found nowhere else, including its state-of-the-art bearing reclamation facility and transmission test facility, the only one capable of testing AH-64D Apache, UH-60A/L Black Hawk, CH-47D Chinook and OH-58 Kiowa transmissions. It can also provide overhaul, repair and modification of rotor heads and controls for any joint-service helicopter. CCAD’s workforce of some 5,000 civilians continues to evolve by adding capabilities that will be needed for the future of defense.
The drawdowns from Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with reduced budgets, have signaled a number of challenges for the Army and for CCAD. The depot’s workforce has met those challenges by treating the OIB as a business and finding smarter, more efficient ways to invest in its people and technology, in the spirit of better buying power.
With a complete organizational restructuring, strategic planning and fundamental cultural change, CCAD shook off a complacency that had developed over years of high-volume operations and prepared the organization to weather current and future storms.
THE PRICE OF PROSPERITY
After 9/11, CCAD thrived in a war-driven climate for 10 years, maintaining the Army’s aviation capability for the UH-60, CH-47, AH-64 and OH-58. CCAD experienced exponential growth, with a tenfold increase in production orders and a sixfold increase in revenue between FY03 and FY11.
CCAD welcomed this spike in production, but the volume created process and capacity issues that had to be resolved quickly. Initially the depot responded by spending more money and hiring more contractors to alleviate the issues, but this strategy could not be a stable, long-term solution while the root of the issues remained. Meanwhile, labor rates shot up. This push to produce also compromised the depot’s financial responsibility to the customer, employee development, product quality and continuous organizational improvement.
The depot’s rate of production would not be sustainable in the long run if the workforce failed to adapt its business practices to peacetime operations and limited budgets. This would compromise CCAD’s status as a premier aviation maintenance facility, which could lead to a loss of work, capabilities and human capital.
CCAD responded to this challenge in 2011 with an organizational restructuring to shore up weak points in internal communication. Depot personnel paired this with the launch of an internal messaging campaign encouraging a professional recommitment to the depot’s core values of financial responsibility, customer service, product quality, employee empowerment and organizational improvement.
This outline, known as the balanced scorecard, became the CCAD standard by which all production and support areas were measured continually. (See Figure 1.) This plan would enable the depot to achieve organizational change, increase production rates and lower costs to survive the effects of reduced budgets and fewer troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The plan called for:
- A depotwide evaluation and reorganization based on benchmarking commercial industrial organizations.
- Business metrics of performance.
- Organizational culture change.
- Continuous process improvement.
- Investment in human capital, including leadership and professional development.
BUILDING A NEW CULTURE
CCAD’s long-term viability required a comprehensive reorganization to align its processes while ensuring integration of the Logistics Modernization Program (LMP) into its core business functions. A team of experts designed a new organizational structure that would better align with the six core processes of LMP (order fulfillment, demand and supply planning, procurement, asset management, materiel maintenance and financial management). They reviewed organizational studies and interviewed subject-matter experts and aerospace industry leaders. They developed a business case, rules for change and a staffing plan based on the new structure.
As the largest helicopter, engine and component maintenance facility in all of DOD, CCAD has a number of capabilities found nowhere else, including its state-of-the-art bearing reclamation facility and transmission test facility, the only one capable of testing AH-64D, UH-60A/L, CH-47D and OH-58 transmissions.
The team also developed an Army staff structure for industrial support operations by coordinating with the depot’s higher headquarters at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Command and Army Materiel Command. Then they adjusted the Table of Distribution and Allowances to conform with the new structure, and rewrote CCAD’s missions and functions.
Any change of the magnitude of deploying an enterprise resource plan (ERP) requires a depotwide culture overhaul.
To achieve this, CCAD needed a sound and established method to guide the organization toward the business’s new direction. Inspired by the leadership and business theories taught by Dr. John P. Kotter, professor of leadership, emeritus, at Harvard Business School, CCAD developed a plan to lead change. With a goal to be better, faster and cost-effective, depot leaders introduced the workforce to Kotter’s concept of “the big opportunity” to create a sense of urgency.
CCAD’s former commander, COL Christopher Carlile, implemented a strategic internal communications campaign through his public affairs team to achieve visibility and strengthen the sense of urgency within the workforce. The commander made sure that he had senior leadership buy-in to successfully deploy the reorganization. He communicated the overhaul to his workforce at every level, actively engaging with employees to incorporate their feedback and suggestions in developing the plan.
One aspect of this campaign involved a depotwide survey to evaluate the workforce’s attitudes toward the current organizational structure. The results showed that 98 percent of employees were dissatisfied with the current work climate and wanted to see improvements that would maximize production and support at the lowest cost and with the quickest turnaround possible. At that point, the commander deployed a program to encourage employees to volunteer their ideas for improving and shaping the products and processes they knew best. Teams of volunteers, known as “leading change teams,” became active in clearing obstacles and achieving quick wins more effectively than any methods used in the past.
CCAD previously had established an Office of Continuous Improvement with staff specially trained to streamline processes. While the office achieved savings through a number of “quick win” efforts such as hosting projects in production shops, these event-driven projects fell short of promoting a cost-conscious culture at the shop-floor level. The change teams were much more successful, as they relied on employees with the drive to improve the jobs they were doing. The depot invested in these teams by providing them Lean Six Sigma training and by joining teams of like-minded employees so they could ignite improvements in their shops.
This concept had an immediate impact on the workforce as they turned their ideas into reality. One change team resolved long wait times at base gates by staggering work shifts. Another team made quality improvements in aircraft assembly and flight test. One team reduced equipment duplications and established a free-issue site to redistribute available equipment effectively. By the official launch of the reorganization on Sept. 1, 2012, the CCAD workforce was already demonstrating how effective an employee-led, cost-conscious culture could be.
CASE IN POINT: BLACK HAWK RECAP
These organizational strides were key to the success of CCAD’s UH-60 Black Hawk recapitalization program, which represents just one example of how CCAD is achieving the highest possible return on capital assets and investments.
The depot has become the cornerstone of sustainment for the Army’s Black Hawk fleet. The Black Hawk recap program, introduced more than a decade ago, maintains the Army’s combat readiness by updating aircraft already in the inventory to meet the evolving requirements of modern warfare. Recap, part of the Army’s efforts to reduce platform sustainment costs, avoids the expense of replacing aging helicopters with new ones.
Specifically, CCAD’s Black Hawk recap program saves taxpayers approximately $12 million with each rebuild. Since 2003, the program has saved the taxpayer more than $20 billion, cutting time and costs while making smarter choices in workload.
CCAD’s new proactive and efficient culture enabled the workforce to recapitalize more Black Hawks than ever—50 A-to-L models—by improving systems and processes in workshops with innovative technology, lean methodologies and best business practices. The Aircraft Support Division, for example, reduced turnaround time 17 percent in FY12, and the trend continues today.
CCAD did not expect to have the capability to produce 50 A-to-L-model Black Hawks until FY15, having achieved only 48 aircraft the year before. Now the depot is also rebuilding U.S. Air Force Pave Hawks, as well as Customs and Border Protection Blackhawks, and is in talks to include the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard in the recap program.
In another example of newfound efficiencies at CCAD, during FY12, UH-60 main rotor blades were not available in sufficient quantities to maintain fleet readiness. Despite numerous space and capacity constraints, the depot ramped up output within 90 days. By maximizing workflow and increasing productivity, CCAD was able to increase monthly production on Black Hawk blades from 120 to 160.
Measured another way, in FY11 the Rotary Wing Division increased monthly production of Black Hawk main rotor blades by 43 percent, from 70 to 100 blades. In FY12, UH-60 tail rotor blade production increased 18 percent, from 85 to 100. AH-64 main rotor blade production increased 50 percent, from 40 blades in FY11 to 60 in FY12. Altogether, the division increased production by 30 percent in one fiscal year without incurring any additional cost or expansion.
Overall, FY12 was CCAD’s best year for continuous improvement in its history. The workforce shattered the original goal of achieving $50 million in financial benefits by executing 49 projects valued at $65.1 million in internal cost avoidances and savings to their customers.
The CCAD workforce has demonstrated the synergistic effects of an enterprise approach to operations. By reorganizing and transforming its business culture, CCAD has positioned itself to survive the drawdowns and the downturn in military spending and be ready for the future, reducing the overall costs of aviation and turning every dollar saved into more capability for the Army.
Leaders now have a way to measure depot operations against commercial industrial benchmarks using a proven ERP. An established balanced business scorecard allows leadership to routinely assess the depot’s commitment to and success of its priorities and values. Managers and leaders can measure individual and team performance through transparent business metrics, enabling them to reward top performers and correct areas of concern.
By transforming their collective mindset from a culture of complacency to one of activism and cost-consciousness, the CCAD workforce achieved savings in cost, schedule and human capital while maintaining the superior quality for which CCAD is known.
For more information, go to http://www.ccad.army.mil/ or call the CCAD Public Affairs Office at 361-961-3627.
MR. CURTIS TITUS is chief of CCAD’s Administrative Support Division. He served as management analyst for the CCAD Reorganization Team and later as executive assistant to the commander. He has a B.A. in general science from Excelsior College. Titus is a retired NCO who served in the Army for 20 years as a counterintelligence agent.
MS. BRIGITTE ROX is a public affairs specialist at CCAD. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in English from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, where she also studied journalism.