• New online dashboard provides leadership with key information on training, certifications

    RThe CAPPMIS dashboard provides information in three key areas –CLPs, IDPs and acquisition certifications providing leaders with detailed information on military and civilian employees’ development as they work toward completing required education and certification levels.

    By Argie Sarantinos-Perrin

    Building and sustaining an educated, professional workforce is a key mission for Army Acquisition leaders in order to provide superior capabilities and support to U.S. Soldiers. In support of this mission, the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) recently rolled out a new online training dashboard that tracks training and certifications across its workforce.

    The user-friendly dashboard displays the training and certification status of each organization within the PEO, providing leaders with detailed information on military and civilian employees’ development as they work toward completing required education and certification levels.

    “The training dashboard is a very well designed, easy-to-use tool that I use to look across the PEO and see where we are meeting the requirements—and if we’re not on track, we can see where we need to improve,” said Mary Woods, deputy program executive officer for PEO C3T. “The training dashboard is a great tool that can be adopted by other groups in the acquisition community, and it can be modified to track training for other parts of the Army, too.”

    The Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAPPMIS) dashboard provides information in three key areas—continuous learning points (CLPs), individual development plans (IDPs) and acquisition certifications. CLPs are earned by attending classes, training courses, professional activities, conferences or symposiums. IDPs map out an employee’s career path, including any training requirements necessary to reach specific goals. Together, these areas round out the skills and education that the Army Acquisition workforce needs in order to support the Soldier.

    The emphasis on acquisition certification began in 1990 with the implementation of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA), which requires all acquisition workforce members to be certified in their career field. A forum made up of general officer and Senior Executive Service leaders, along with the Army’s Director of Acquisition Career Management, Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips, monitor, review and champion DAWIA certification for the workforce.

    “The training dashboard is a great tool that can be adopted by other groups in the acquisition community, and it can be modified to track training for other parts of the Army, too.”

    Ensuring that PEO C3T complies with these standards, the business intelligence team at PEO C3T’s Military Technical (MilTech) Solutions Office developed the CAPPMIS dashboard. The dashboard enables managers to keep employees on track by providing 30, 60 and 90 day windows of when acquisition certifications are due, as well as when IDPs were most recently updated. It also shows whether employees are on track to earn the 80 CLPs that are required every two years.

    The dashboard has also been adopted by the Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate, the Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center and the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S), whose leaders praised the ability to efficiently monitor the records of employees who work at remote locations.

    “We have people in Huntsville, Ala., Fort Belvoir, Va., Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. and numerous other locations, so we have to coordinate people in different time zones,” said Patricia San Agustin, management analyst for PEO IEW&S. “Since acquisition training is a very high priority for our organization, the training dashboard is a great tool because of the fine detail that it gives you.”

    The tool eliminates the need for individual project managers to request training information, since the dashboard is accessible at any time and updated every two weeks with new information from the CAPPMIS database.
    Using the CAPPMIS dashboard enables PEO C3T to efficiently align with the priority to train, build and sustain an educated acquisition workforce, and ultimately provide better support to the Soldier.

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    Higgs checks a 40 mm grenade launcher on a CROWS-equipped M1117 armored security vehicle. Since joining RRAD in 2004, he has worked on a variety of vehicles, including HMMWVs, Bradleys, the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles and several types of MRAPs as well. (Photos by Chase Shelton, RRAD)


    By Ms. Susan L. Follett

    Some of Jared Higgs’ earliest memories are of time spent with his father in his shop at the Red River Army Depot (RRAD), in Texarkana, Texas. So it’s no surprise that when the time came to determine his own career path, he followed his father and grandfather and became a heavy equipment mechanic. Altogether, three generations of his family have worked at the depot for a total of 60 years.

    “My dad has always been a mechanic, and since I was little, I was with him, working and watching. I can remember coming out to the depot to see his shop. I’ve always had some type of interest in it, and I enjoy working with my hands,” said Higgs, 30, a native of Texarkana.

    “When I was 8 or 9 years old, we came out for a Christmas event, and I got to take my first ride in an Army tank. That’s a day I’ll never forget,” he said. “When I was older, we had what they called a shadow day, and I was able to come out and spend a whole day with my dad, walking with him to all his meetings and seeing what his job at RRAD entailed day to day.”

    Higgs’ father, Eddie Higgs, recently retired from RRAD after a 37-year career that began in 1976. His grandfather, John Woodard, worked at the depot from 1974 until 1994. “He worked on Bradleys for as long as I can remember,” said Higgs. “It’s definitely a family affair. My great-grandfather worked for the depot, too, before I was born.”

    Higgs closes the day sight lens on the M117 in preparation for an optical test. His job is to make sure that vehicles’ weapon systems have firing capabilities and that all the parts are functional.

    The mission of RRAD, in operation since 1941, is to conduct ground combat and tactical system sustainment maintenance operations and related support services for U.S. and allied forces. RRAD repairs and rebuilds a variety of mission-essential combat and tactical vehicles and equipment, including the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) and the Bradley fighting vehicle system. The depot is the Army’s only two-time winner of the Robert T. Mason Award for Depot Maintenance Excellence, given by the secretary of defense. The award recognizes outstanding achievements by field-level units engaged in military equipment and weapon system maintenance within DOD.

    In addition, RRAD is a Center for Industrial and Technical Excellence for several combat and technical vehicles, the Multiple Launch Rocket System, rubber products and Patriot missile recertification. Its HMMWV recapitalization facility can produce up to 40 vehicles per day, and its Rubber Products Division is the only DOD organization capable of remanufacturing road wheels and track.

    Having joined RRAD in 2004, Higgs has worked on a variety of vehicles, including HMMWVs, Bradleys, the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles and several types of MRAPs. He currently works on the M1117 armored security vehicle. “I’m working on the CROWS, which is the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, checking the weapon systems out, making sure they have firing capabilities and that all the parts are functional.”

    Although Higgs’ tenure is short by comparison to those of his father and grandfather, he’s seen his share of changes in the past decade. “I think more than anything, the protective armor has progressed the most. When I first started on the HMMWVs, they were not outfitted with any armor at all, and as our involvement in Iraq continued, I saw things shift, first to up-armored vehicles and from there to the MRAPs.”

    In 2008, Higgs volunteered for overseas deployment and was deployed to Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq. Over the next three years, he would also see deployments to Forward Operating Base Speicher in Tikrit and Camp Stryker in Baghdad. “I saw it as an opportunity to help where it was needed, and to serve the warfighter. It was also a chance to serve along with my brothers, who were in the Air Force at the time.”

    Higgs inspects the mount and quick-release pins for the M117’s M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

    Since 2001, RRAD has deployed more than 3,000 personnel to various areas in Southwest Asia in direct support of war­fighters in the field. The facility, with a government civilian workforce of about 4,500, has deployed more employees than any other civilian organization in the world since the beginning of overseas contingency operations, staffing roughly half of all U.S. Army Materiel Command civilian deployments. It has spearheaded numerous depot-level logistics and maintenance missions in Southwest Asia, including Heavy Equipment Transporter, Stored Theater Provided Equipment – Iraq, Forward Repair Activity and Mobile Maintenance Team.

    “Being away from home is always a challenge. I missed my family and friends, and I realized that it was important to make friends quickly and find people there you can trust. Overseas, we’re around our co-workers day in and day out, 24 hours a day, so finding people you can rely on is vital,” he said.

    The work itself was a challenge, he said. “Every day, we’d have vehicles coming into us in all kinds of condition—convoys, blown-up trucks, you name it—and the challenge was to get them fixed and back out so the Soldiers could continue on their mission. During my time overseas, I really valued the ability to work directly with Soldiers—to meet them and talk with them, and to know that we were helping get them back out in the field,” he added.

    “My dad and grandfather didn’t have too much advice when I started working here,” Higgs said. “They said that sometimes the work would be hard and sometimes it would be easy, but it was always a good place to work. Looking back over the past 10 years, I can definitely say they were right.”

    His own advice for anyone interested in becoming a heavy equipment mechanic is simple. “Stick with it and be knowledgeable about what you’re working on. Always go the extra mile to learn something more about the vehicle.”

    MS. SUSAN L. FOLLETT provides contracting support to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center for SAIC. She holds a B.A. in English literature from St. Lawrence University. She has more than two decades of experience as a journalist and has written on a variety of public and private sector topics, including modeling and simulation, military training technology and federal environmental regulations.

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  • Army fuel reformation looks to increase efficiency, save lives

    RDECOM CERDEC hosts defense partners for a demo of the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell 10 kW power unit. It exhibits high efficiency, a low acoustic signature, a low visible signature, and weighs less than the Army’s current 10 kW Tactical Quiet Generator Set. (U.S. Army CERDEC Photo/ Allison Barrow)

    By Allison Barrow and Joyce Brayboy


    ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – Fuel is the second largest transported item in the field next to water. As a result, fuel truck convoys that deliver fuel are vulnerable to enemy attacks, which have resulted in loss of money, time and lives.

    To combat this problem, scientists and engineers from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command are working to lessen the reliance on fuel truck convoys by reducing the amount of military fuel, called jet propellant 8, or JP-8, the Army needs in theater and improving the efficiency of its use.

    One way they are doing this is through reforming JP-8 so that it can be used in efficient portable energy systems, like fuel cells and other novel power sources, which primarily operate on hydrogen or other cleaner fuels.

    “The goal is to take the logistic fuel that’s already all over the battlefield, that’s there and available to the Soldiers, and convert it to something that can be used in smaller and renewable systems,” said Steve Slane, RDECOM’s communications-electronics center, or CERDEC, Command, Power and Integration (CP&I) Directorate, Power Generation and Alternative Energy Branch chief.

    Engineers and scientists from CERDEC, along with RDECOM’s Army Research Laboratory and Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center are working to reform JP-8 and integrate it into systems so it can be converted seamlessly and locally.

    “Fuel reforming is one of those leap-ahead technologies that could allow JP-8 to be transformed into valuable fuels that can be used and generated on the battlefield forward. So instead of shipping propane and methanol and kerosene and gasoline, why not reform JP-8 locally to power those systems?” said Slane.

    The process of reforming fuel entails high-temperature catalytic reactions that covert a liquid fuel, in this case JP-8, into a lighter, gaseous fuel.

    Dr. Dat Tran, U.S. Army Research Laboratory electro-chemistry, is focused on extracting sulfur from JP8, or Jet Propellant 8, a fuel widely used in the Army. (U.S. Army ARL Photo/Joyce P. Brayboy)

    This comes with two main challenges because of the sulfur contained in JP-8 and its complex composition, said Dr. Terry DuBois, subject matter expert in fuel reforming and combustion in CERDEC CP&I’s Power Division.

    First, sulfur can deactivate catalysts, which means it can limit the life or poison catalysts during the reforming process and make it inoperable. Second, sulfur can accelerate carbon formation, where solid carbon particles form in the reactor, clog the flow of the reactor or deactivate catalysts and cause it to fail, said DuBois.
    “Those are two big challenges for us in reforming; how do we transform JP-8 to a hydrogen-rich stream and deal with the two mechanisms for killing the reactor?” said DuBois.

    This fuel transformation effort is a main focus for CERDEC, TARDEC and ARL.

    The challenge is developing a practical fuel reformation process for better energy conversion that would have to be portable, quick and easy to use, said Dr. Zachary Dunbar, an ARL fuel cell team member.

    Dr. Dat Tran, ARL fuel cell team lead, has tested at least 300 different combinations of materials during the last four years while he has been investigating fuel reforming with the team, he said.

    “JP-8 is a complicated and dirty fuel. The sulfur is a huge problem because it can hurt the fuel cells,” Tran said. “Sulfur has many different compounds that behave differently. The compounds in sulfur make it hard to find an agreeable material.”

    While ARL conducts the basic research of fuel reforming, CERDEC integrates the basic research into a system and evaluates it, while also performing further research and development of fuel reforming materials.

    The Reformer Test Bed is used for catalyst and process condition evaluation of fuel reformers. (U.S. Army CERDEC Photo)

    “Both of the efforts that we have ongoing are focused on addressing desulfurization of JP-8, and ARL is pursuing complimentary R&D on unique materials for sulfur absorption. In addition, ARL is looking at membranes that can selectively separate hydrogen from the gaseous reformed fuel stream so that you have a pure hydrogen stream,” said DuBois.

    “CERDEC’s in-house program is looking at catalytic materials. So we have ongoing research work evaluating different catalytic materials and how well they stand up to chemical compounds found in JP-8. We are also evaluating sulfur absorbent materials and processes on a long-term basis,” said DuBois.

    TARDEC also works in fuel reforming by integrating it into fuel cell power systems.

    “The main applications are combat and tactical vehicle Auxiliary Power Units, silent propulsion for unmanned ground systems and extending the silent range of electric vehicles for scout or reconnaissance missions,” said Kevin Centeck, TARDEC Nonprimary Power Systems team lead.

    “TARDEC is also investigating the requirements for a fuel reformation system to be integrated with a commercial automotive fuel cell stack, which could help reduce cost and increase reliability of fuel cell power systems,” said Centeck.

    CERDEC, ARL and TARDEC collaborate on their fuel reforming efforts for the Army through fuel cell test and integration working groups with other Defense Department partners through quarterly program and design reviews.

    CERDEC is taking fuel reforming one step further by working to integrate its efforts into its Energy Informed Operations, or EIO, initiative, which aims to make power systems “smart” by enabling “smarter” monitoring on the systems as well as integrating them into a smart tactical microgrid.

    This smart technology will enable and inform Soldiers with data such as, “How much fuel do I have left? When are the fuel trucks coming next? What’s my energy status?” said Slane.

    “The efficiencies gained by using grid data to control power and inform operations will increase availability and reliability of power while reducing the burden of fuel logistics, storage and cost,” said Slane. “CERDEC CP&I is uniquely qualified to cover all this because we have our mechanical engineers who are working fuel reformation and combustion but we also have engineers within the mission command community here working on intelligent micro-grids through EIO.”

    RDECOM will continue to work to address the challenges with fuel reforming and integrate it into a full power system that can then be transitioned to the field.

    “Reducing the amount of fuel is really a goal of what this organization is about,” said Slane. “Fuel reforming is one of the key technology areas that will enable us to reduce fuel on the battlefield, reduce the amount of truck convoys, the amount of storage needed and the cost of operating in austere environments.”

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  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Artillery-to-acquisition officer provides innovative technology to Soldiers on the ground


    By Tara Clements


    For this Army-grown artillery officer, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and he keeps that in mind everyday as he uses his experience as a Soldier, a leader and an innovator to bring the latest technology to Soldiers on the ground and is striving to make it even better in the future.

    The assistant product manager for the One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT), Maj. Thomas Jagielski ensures that deploying Soldiers and units are equipped with a valuable capability: “eyes in the sky” to maintain situational awareness. What does that mean? Without the situational awareness that technology can provide, a Soldier on a battlefield won’t know where the enemy is located. They’re out there, but if the Soldier can’t see them, they can’t know what capabilities they might have.

    Now, give that same Soldier a visual, from a screen in his hands, of where the enemy is, what capabilities they might have, and the ability to coordinate with ground and aviation forces to address the threat—that’s tactical overmatch, and invaluable.

    “When a Soldier is able to identify combatants, their position, any potential obstacles or changes in an area of operations prior to arrival at a location it allows for better planning and preparation for operations as well as better resource management,” said Jagielski.

    And Jagielski speaks from direct experience. This Bronze Star Medal recipient’s deployment experience has given him the ability to provide the “Soldier’s perspective” when developing upgrades and requirements for the system.

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

    JAGIELSKI: As the assistant product manager for the OSRVT, I ensure that limited OSRVT assets reach Soldiers who are deploying as well as provide training to maximize system effectiveness. Additionally, I manage the OSRVT preplanned product improvement and interoperability with other systems that allows the OSRVT to remain on the cutting edge of technology. OSRVT’s common software can be integrated with any ground vehicle, tracked or wheeled, for comprehensive situational awareness. The user-friendly graphical user interface delivers information in live video or map views, and allows users to easily save, export and analyze data. The OSRVT is a proven combat multiplier for maneuver and aviation units by providing unprecedented situational awareness. This ultimately saves Soldiers as well as civilian lives.

    FOTF: Can you give me a few examples of how this technology has benefited Soldiers on the ground?

    Jagielski and his colleague look over the OSRTV antenna, one of the system components. (Photo by Sofia Bledsoe)

    JAGIELSKI: This system enables Soldiers on the ground to have the most current operational picture. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” That is never truer than when Soldiers are conducting operations. When a Soldier is able to identify combatants, their position, any potential obstacles or changes in an area of operations prior to arrival at a location, it allows for better planning and preparation for operations as well as better resource management. The OSRVT is used by intelligence sections to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance that formally had been accomplished by Soldiers. This reduces Soldiers’ exposure to hostile forces without a tactical advantage.

    The OSRVT is also used by convoy commanders to identify danger areas, choke points, or areas of congestion, allowing them to maneuver and avoid those areas. Aviators use the OSRVT to conduct manned-unmanned teaming. In this teaming, an unmanned aircraft flies in front of a manned aircraft, extending the pilot’s range of sight. This allows the pilot to identify threats or objectives at greater ranges and maneuver to engage and or avoid the threats.

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

    JAGIELSKI: Transitioning from an artillery officer into Army acquisition has been an eye-opening experience. Learning the acquisition process and working through contract development and implementation has been one of the greatest challenges in my career. I have a great team in the OSRVT product office that works very hard to get equipment to the Soldiers who need it and make them successful. Many people on the team have prior military experience, but the battlefield has changed dramatically over the past few years. I’m able to provide the Soldier’s prospective for determining priorities and development and come to work every day knowing that I will learn something that will make me a better acquisition officer down the road.

    The most surprising thing to me is the amount of effort and hard work by the whole team to maintain interoperability with all of the platforms in the U.S. military. The OSRVT receives data from manned and unmanned aircraft as well as robots across all services. These systems are continually working to provide better information to the end user but in doing so, communications profiles and specifications change making this a complex and challenging process. In order for the OSRVT to maintain communications with all systems, it is vital that interoperability profiles are current and future profiles are considered for future software. The level of effort to do this is far greater than I ever conceived.

    FOTF: Describe the coordination process—how is this attempted across multiple technologies across multiple services?

    “When a Soldier is able to identify combatants, their position, any potential obstacles or changes in an area of operations prior to arrival at a location, it allows for better planning and preparation for operations as well as better resource management.”

    JAGIELSKI: The first step is to maintain interoperability profiles. Common Systems Interrogation works extensively with other branches and industry to ensure that all unmanned aircraft systems are able to communicate with each other as well as not interfere with other battlefield operating systems. They prioritize and control communication spectrums to ensure that the limited spectrum provides maximum coverage.

    FOTF: You mentioned that the battlefield has changed dramatically over the past few years—how does that impact you and your team?

    JAGIELSKI: The first thing we do is prioritize which units will be fielded. We are here to support the warfighter and we make sure that units deploying in support of combat operations are given priority in fielding. Our team also provides forward support to Soldiers, meaning we have teams stationed in theater to provide technical and logistical support. Often, this requires them to travel to forward operating bases to provide that support or to train additional Soldiers on our system. We use these opportunities to learn from the Soldiers as well. The threat on the battlefield continually evolves. Our enemy is innovative and adapts to our tactics, techniques and procedures. Therefore, we are attempting to stay at least one step ahead of them. We take the lessons learned from the battlefield and incorporate them into our new equipment training when we field additional units.

    FOTF: How have your deployments contributed to your job today?

    JAGIELSKI: As an artilleryman it is imperative that I understand how maneuver forces operate and their scheme of maneuver. In the past we have focused on linear operations that emphasized force-on-force action. In my recent deployments [to Iraq in 2003 and 2006], I’ve operated in an asymmetric battlefield. Understanding both of these enabled me to explain how the system would be fought in each environment. The ground Soldiers’ perspective and priorities are vastly different than aviators. I provide the ground Soldiers’ perspective with regard to system upgrade priorities and requirements.

    The OSRTV’s graphical user interface delivers information in live video or map views, and allows users to easily save, export and analyze data, providing unprecedented situational awareness. U.S. Army photo.

    FOTF: What does the OSRVT’s future look like?

    JAGIELSKI: Our next upgrade will allow OSRVT operators to accomplish interoperability level III. This means the Soldier will be able to control the payload of the unmanned aerial system (UAS) while the pilot of the UAS allows supervised access. The aircraft will fly in a Safe Air Volume (SAV), or the volume of airspace in which it is safe to operate an unmanned air vehicle, using a keep-in algorithm. The software determines and directs the UAS to a location to provide the best images from the angle as specified by the OSRVT operator.

    It is the vision of the commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence to have full-motion video down to the squad level. To do this, we must continue to work to reduce the size and weight of our system. The OSRVT team is looking at ways to leverage emerging technologies to decrease the size and weight while providing all of the capabilities of our current system. The system of the future will be smaller, lightweight, and man-packable. The operating system will be intuitive allowing Soldiers to receive feeds from multiple sources with minimal training.

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

    JAGIELSKI: The Army offered a career that is mentally and physically challenging. I am always looking for ways to push myself to the limits and see what I can accomplish. Throughout my career, the Army has allowed me to grow as a person and as a leader. I have been able to work with some of the greatest hardworking and dedicated people and together we have been able to impact people and create positive change all over the world.

    For more information, visit PEO Aviation.

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    • “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.

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  • Army AL&T magazine focuses on the Army industrial base

    By Steve Stark

    FORT BELVOIR, Va. – MoBs, FaCs, STEM and FMS—these are just a few of the ways that the U.S. Army, along with DOD and others, is working to preserve the knowledge, skills and capabilities that make up its industrial base. You can read about them all in the new edition of Army AL&T magazine, available online now.

    Keeping the industrial base healthy—the theme of the January – March issue of Army AL&T magazine—is crucial to keeping the Army healthy: maintaining its superiority, its overmatch, its edge. Keeping that base “warm” means that the Army has to understand where the must-have capabilities lie—no small task, given its size and complexity. Read how the Army is working with DOD to establish the “big picture” clearly in “Layers of Concern” on Page 8.

    One of the specific ways the Army is grasping the industrial base is through fragility and criticality, or FaC, assessments. How critical is a capability, and how fragile is it? Learn all about this approach in “FaC-torial Analysis” on Page 42.

    Keeping the industrial base healthy is also about dollars and cents—how the Army marches into the future even as a drawdown in Afghanistan is underway and shrinking budgets are projected to shrink even further. Partnerships with private industry and foreign military sales (FMS) are two ways to support the base economically. (See the articles on Pages 36 and 32, respectively. Learn about how the Army is continually improving its decision-making processes with respect to acquisition in “ ‘MoB’ Rules” on Page 102 in our BBP 2.0 section. “ ‘MoB’ Rules” is all about how Product Manager Sets, Kits, Outfits and Tools developed rigorous metrics for make-or-buy (MoB) capability decisions.

    Even as the Army recovers from more than 12 years of war, it must also prepare for future conflicts, and a healthy industrial base is crucial to those eventualities. Learn how the Army is planning for the future, not only by preserving existing capabilities in the industrial base, but also by growing the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals (Page 72).

    Last but hardly least, what does the Army industrial base think about how best to preserve the Army industrial base? In “Critical Thinking,” 10 industrial base stakeholders—executives of major defense firms, small-business owners, leaders of key trade associations and national security scholars—offer their views on what the base most needs from the Army in order to withstand the multiple challenges of today.

    Army AL&T magazine is available in hard copy, online in our e-version, and as an app for your mobile device:

    iTunes (for iPad and iPhone)

    Google Play (Non-Kindle Android Devices)

    Amazon (for Kindle)

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  • Reuseable Metrics

    Standardized Measures of Performance Framework enables consistent assessment of Army network capability


    By Mr. Michael Badger, Dr. Dennis Bushmitch, Mr. Rick Cozby and Mr. Brian Hobson

    “The testing of complex networks and their capabilities can be time- and resource-intensive, with minimal potential to reuse the test event’s capability.”

    The Army’s adoption of the Agile Process to enable rapid technology insertion led the three agencies charged to execute this process—the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC), the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Brigade Modernization Command (BMC) and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT))—to organize as the TRIAD and develop the needed measurement framework.

    The TRIAD intended that the measurement framework would establish consistent, reusable, traceable, standardized performance and effectiveness metrics across the Agile Process. More specifically, the TRIAD envisioned that this framework would preserve resources and reduce risk in planning and executing the culminating activity of the Agile Process, a Network Integration Evaluation (NIE).

    The testing of complex networks and their capabilities can be time- and resource-intensive, with minimal potential to reuse the test event’s capability. Testing without well-defined analytic objectives and repeatable measures of performance (MoPs) can waste time and money. Furthermore, without an Armywide objective standard for test and evaluation (T&E) metrics, the results will be less than compelling for senior decision-makers. Different organizations supporting the Agile Process and NIE events often misinterpret, inappropriately apply or reinvent the current set of network-related MoPs for each application (e.g., a T&E event).

    The complex system-of-systems (SoS) solutions that comprise the Army’s network demand a measurement framework with traceable and credible measures, encompassing the interaction among various network layers; command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems; and the technical requirements that underpin them. Beginning with the FY12 NIE events, an enduring MoP Framework emerged as a potential solution standard, developed by ASA(ALT), ATEC, BMC, the federally funded research and development center MITRE Corp., and subject-matter experts (SMEs) from the Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications – Tactical (PEO C3T).

    The MoP Framework, which the TRIAD has used successfully and has matured during the planning and/or execution of five NIEs, achieves the following:

    • Standardizes the terms of reference for each individual MoP and its application.
    • Defines instrumentation considerations and practices in support of MoPs.
    • Enables organizations using the MoPs to establish traceability to credible source documentation (operational and analytic requirements).
    • Allows organizations to determine the gap(s) in MoP availability, application maturity and definition in a visual manner through the use of graphics.
    • Allows organizations to re-prioritize the MoPs within each graphical representation according to analytic engineering or T&E requirements.
    • Allows simple, graphical communication of T&E and analytic requirements among organizations from an operational perspective and at multiple levels (system, SoS, mission command tasks and operational effectiveness).
    • Standardizes the units of measurement.
    • Mitigates the errors in interpretation, instrumentation, and data collection, reduction and analysis approaches.

    FIGURE 1: FRAME OF REFERENCE This is a graphic representation of a map for an operational capability category and subcategory. The graphic also illustrates the inclusion and alignment of various reference attributes, such as layers, information exchange requirement (IER), data types and source MoPs. SMEs and organizations create and tailor different MoP maps for different operational capability subcategories, systems and/or SoSs within a subcategory. (See definitions in Figure 2) (SOURCE: Dr. Dennis Bushmitch, ASA(ALT) System of Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate (SoSE&I))

    The key new concept introduced in the enduring MoP Framework is called a MoP map.

    Figure 1 represents such a map for an operational capability category and subcategory. (See definitions in Figure 2) Figure 1 also illustrates the inclusion and alignment of various reference attributes, such as layers, data types and source MoPs. SMEs and organizations create and tailor different MoP maps for different operational capability subcategories, systems and/or SoSs within a subcategory.

    The vertical axis of the MoP map relates top-level mission effectiveness MoPs to lower-level waveform, spectrum and radio frequency (RF) MoPs. The horizontal axis relates operational mission threads, applications, information exchanges and data types within a given system or SoS operational capability category. The attributes along this horizontal axis allow for MoP alignment to a variety of mission threads (i.e., call for fire); applications and information exchanges (i.e., message type); and data types (i.e., voice and video).

    FIGURE 2: LAYERS OF CAPABILITY The MoP Framework employs several reference attributes to support the standardization and traceability of requirements. These reference attributes correlate to credible operational capability categories and subcategories, align to layers of user application, are traceable to data types, and feature a source reference set of credible and established metrics. This graphic also depicts a unique numbering schema for each subcategory to preserve originality and allow for traceability. (SOURCE: Mr. Brian Hobson, ASA(ALT) SoSE&I)

    The MoP Framework employs several reference attributes to support the standardization and traceability of requirements. These attributes, as Figure 2 shows, correlate to credible operational capability categories and subcategories, align to layers of user application, are traceable to data types, and feature a source reference set of credible and established metrics. The MoP map accomplishes the following functionality:

    • Aligns MoPs to operational capability categories and subcategories, enabling credible application to operational systems.
    • Maps MoPs to user application layers, allowing flexibility.
    • Enables traceability of MoPs to application data types, enabling their reusability and completeness across operational capabilities.
    • Aligns credible, applicable and reusable metrics, increasing efficiency across a user community from multiple organizations
      • Establishes relationships among different MoP maps by cross-referencing graphical tools
      • Provides a powerful graphical representation tool for traceability to the parent operational requirement and MoP
      • Provides a simple reference scheme for easy identification and traceability of MoP types, the MoP system layer and the operational capability type.
    • Establishes and standardizes definitions and units of measurement.

    The MoP Framework developers identified, developed and defined a set of operational capability areas that encompass the potential system—Capability Set (CS), System Under Test, System Under Evaluation and network capabilities envisioned as part of the Agile Process. Figure 2 defines these operational capability areas and categorization, and depicts a unique numbering schema for each subcategory to preserve originality and allow for traceability.

    The intent of these defined operational capability categories is to align operational gaps with projected needs and requirements into operational capability categories, and to establish, define and employ consistent, credible and reusable metrics. These metrics, in turn, inform and characterize the performance and effectiveness of operational capability to satisfy defined requirements. Because these metrics have different attributes that they must align to and support, the MoP maps were developed with three different attribute alignment considerations: network layers, data types and MoP sources, as follows:

    Network layers—Layering is an accepted approach to focusing and constraining the complexity in technical network analysis. The complete set of MoP Framework layers include: mission effectiveness; mission threads; application; Common Operating Environment (COE)/security; network routing/quality of service; network transport; waveform; and spectrum/RF. The vertical axis of “layering” in the MoP Framework in Figure 1 has evolved and matured through application to include high-fidelity measurement needs at the bottom of the axis (i.e., spectrum, RF and waveform), transitioning to lower-fidelity measurement needs at the top of the axis (i.e., mission effectiveness and mission threads).

    FIGURE 3: MOP HEIRARCHY In developing the MoP Framework and the individual MoP maps, the analytic community, led by TRADOC, developed a hierarchy to categorize essential elements of analysis (EEAs) against operational issues for analysis planning. The operational capability and systems categories and the MoPs defined in this standardized framework are aligned against this hierarchy. MoPs maintain mapping to this hierarchy to facilitate relevant and credible analysis planning. (SOURCE: Chris Morey, TRADOC Analysis Center)

    Data types—As depicted in the generic MoP Framework, several data types within each operational capability subcategory could apply to different MoPs. The horizontal axis in Figure 1 relates the various operational mission threads, applications, information exchanges and data types toward one another within a given system or SoS category. The traceability of MoPs within data types between different operational capability subcategories allows analysts to cross-reference MoP maps.

    Measures of performance sources—In developing the MoP Framework and the individual MoP maps, the TRIAD leveraged a body of work led by the TRADOC Analysis Center to identify a framework for Agile Process analytic requirements. (See Figure 3.) This analytic framework established a hierarchy of operational issues and essential elements of analysis, allowing for a credible and traceable source of MoPs.

    Figure 4 shows the application of the MoP Framework methodology to the Mission Command (MC) Display Hardware operational capability subcategory.

    FIGURE 4: FRAMEWORK This graphic illustrates the application of the MoP Framework methodology to the MC Display Hardware operational capability subcategory, moving hierarchically through mission threads, IERs and data types. (SOURCE: MR. Brian Hobson, ASA(ALT) SoSE&I)

    As depicted in Figure 5, the performance MoPs are predominantly in the area of SoS operational issues. Figure 5 also depicts the evolving and maturing capability of the MoP Framework maps, as the MoPs for the COE/security layer have yet to be developed and coordinated.

    Each MoP has a unique number. This numbering schema allows analysts and evaluators to leverage the MoP Framework for MC Display Hardware and import the information to event- or system-specific data source matrices, while still maintaining the traceability and origin of these MoPs.

    FIGURE 5: PERFORMANCE MOPS Performance MoPs are predominantly in the area of SoS operational issues. Each MoP has a unique number. This numbering schema allows analysts and evaluators to leverage the MoP Framework for MC Display Hardware and import the information to event- or system-specific data source matrices, while still maintaining the traceability and origin of these MoPs. (SOURCE: Mr. Brian Hobson, ASA(ALT) SoSE&I)

    By identifying and aligning MoPs for each operational capability subcategory, the MoP Framework provides credible and traceable metrics for analysts that are reusable across Agile Process activities and between organizations in support of a particular application (i.e., event). This reusability is based on repeated application of operational capability and the repeated need to measure operational performance and utility.

    SUPPORTING THE AGILE PROCESS An NIE is the culminating activity of the Agile Process. Here, SPC Rockne Foster, right, a multichannel transmission systems operator-maintainer assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Armored Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 1st Armored Division, inspects the outside of a billeting shelter of the expeditionary combat outpost (ExCOP) May 20 before disassembling it. Soldiers spent three weeks evaluating the durability and energy efficiencies of the ExCOP at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., during NIE 13.2. (Photo by Sgt. Janelle Dean, 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

    The standardization of a MoP Framework Armywide will promote cost avoidance by reducing the re-creation of testing objectives and streamlining instrumentation planning. The implementation of a unified MoP Framework will also give greater validity to the operational relevance of testing. Analytic requirements exchanged between organizations using this standardized construct provide for clear cost-evaluation guidelines, prioritization and traceable evaluation.

    For more information, please contact Dr. Dennis Bushmitch (dennis.bushmitch.civ@mail.mil, 410-322-2054) or Mr. Brian Hobson (bhobson@trideum.com, 913-544-5101).

    MR. MICHAEL BADGER is a senior network engineer for PEO C3T. He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the Rutgers College of Engineering and an MBA from Monmouth University. He was a resident senior executive fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2010. Badger is Level III certified in systems planning, research, development and engineering (SPRDE) – systems engineering and is a member of the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps (AAC).

    DR. DENNIS BUSHMITCH is an inventor and prolific technical author, and has been a chief analyst for several Army programs. He holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of the New York University. He is Level III certified in SPRDE – systems engineering and is a member of the AAC.

    MR. RICHARD “RICK” COZBY is the deputy director for SoS engineering and integration within the Office of the ASA(ALT). He holds a B.E. in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University, an M.S. in administration from Central Michigan University, and an M.A. in management and leadership from Webster University. He is Level III certified in program management and in test and evaluation, and is a member of the AAC.

    MR. BRIAN HOBSON is a senior analyst, senior program manager and deputy director for Trideum Corp., Huntsville, Ala.. He holds a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.S. in operations research from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He is a lifetime member of the International Test and Evaluation Association and the Military Operations Research Society.

    Contributing to this article were Mr. Vince Baxivanos, Ms. Christina L. Bouwens, Dr. Melanie Bragg, Dr. Nancy M. Bucher, Ms. Karen Drude, Ms. Diane Eberly, Mr. Derek Erdley, Mr. Na Gaither, Mr. Omar Gutierrez, Dr. John Harwig, Mr. Anthony W. Harriman, Mr. Michael S. Jessee and Dr. Chris Morey.



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  • Combining network management tools makes managing network easier, saves money

    A Soldier from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) utilized this Nett Warrior device to contact his unit during training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., in November 2013. One of the objectives of Network Operations convergence is to integrate the lower tactical internet tools together and make them work seamlessly with the upper tactical internet tools of Warfighter Information Network-Tactical. (Photo Credit: JRTC Operations Group Public Affairs)

    By Amy Walker, PEO C3T


    ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Jan. 6, 2013) — The Army’s rapid fielding of network systems to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan led to vastly improved communications capabilities on the battlefield — but also increased network complexity.

    The service is now moving to simplify and reduce the number of network management tools its communication officers, known as S6s, use to manage the tactical communications network, moving from deliveries of stove-piped tool sets across various systems and echelons to an integrated system.

    “The S6 has a wide range of network transport devices, applications and hardware that he has to manage and he has a lot of different program offices providing him with their own Network Operations (NetOps) tools that don’t necessarily work together,” said Lt. Col. Ward Roberts, product manager for Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or PM WIN-T, Increment 3, who is leading the Army’s Integrated Tactical NetOps team. “But the goal of NetOps convergence is to provide one tool, or an easy to use integration of tools, into one seamless delivery so that the S6 has one tool set to manage his whole network.”

    Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) utilized Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2-equipped vehicles such as this one during training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., in November 2013. Inside a Network Operations and Security Center, WIN-T Network Operations tools display maneuver elements on the battlefield (such as dismounted infantry, fires or aviation) on a large screen for easy monitoring and network management. (Photo Credit: JRTC Operations Group Public Affairs)

    Led by the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T, to which PM WIN-T is assigned, the Army is working to integrate and converge NetOps capabilities. The goal is to achieve network visibility from the enterprise level to the tactical level, while reducing the number of tools required. Integrating NetOps from the enterprise to the tactical edge will achieve efficiencies and improve operational flexibility. The NetOps efforts are just one component of the Army’s overall drive to simplify the network so it more resembles technology that Soldiers operate in their daily lives, making it easier and more efficient to use, train and sustain.

    “Our young Soldiers are from a generation that has had iPhones, that has had Xboxes, that has grown up in an environment as digital natives,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel P. Hughes, program executive officer for PEO C3T. “They expect things to work a certain way. So we’ve got to get NetOps down to a minimal number of tools that are easy to use, so the Soldier can make the network operational on a very complex battlefield.”

    The Army’s WIN-T network backbone provides Soldiers across the force with high-speed, high-capacity voice, data and video communications, and now with Increment 2 supports on-the-move network communications down to the company level. Today, WIN-T NetOps tool suites are supporting S6s in theater as they facilitate the planning, initialization, monitoring, management and response of the network.

    WIN-T Increment 2- equipped brigades now have four times as many network nodes that units had in the past, as many radio and satellite assets once possessed by a division, making it a challenge to manage that network. But today’s improved WIN-T NetOps tools make it much easier to manage that complexity, said Chief Warrant Officer Eric Bache, brigade NetOps manager for 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division at the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, 14.1.

    “With my NetOps tools I can take a look at the various nodes and say, ‘I don’t want that link, it’s not passing enough data,’” Bache said. “I can shut one off and reroute it through another radio or antenna.”

    An improved WIN-T NetOps tool suite developed under the WIN-T Increment 3 program will serve as the baseline for tactical NetOps as the Integrated Tactical NetOps team works to converge other products, such as those used to manage the lower tactical internet, known as the TI.

    Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) utilized Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T, Increment 2-equipped vehicles (left and right) during training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., in November 2013. Some WIN-T Network Operations tools enable communication officers to identify how well systems such as these are actually working on the battlefield, so as units move out in any direction, they can more easily manage the network and keep links connected. (Photo Credit: JRTC Operations Group Public Affairs)

    “As the Army modernizes its network, it is pushing network systems lower and lower in the echelons, so computers are in places that they never were before, including physically on the Soldier,” said Rich Greel, technical management division chief for PM WIN-T. “With the increased size of the network, additional number of nodes, and the Army pushing it down lower in the echelons, we have to ensure that NetOps tools make it easy for the S6 to manage that network.”

    Today, the lower TI — the radio-based network used at lower echelons on the battlefield — is compartmentalized and can be difficult for the Soldier to track and manage. One of the objectives of NetOps convergence is to integrate existing lower TI tools together and make them work seamlessly with WIN-T’s upper TI tools.

    An early success for lower TI NetOps convergence was realized with the 2013 fielding of the Joint Tactical Networking Environment NetOps Toolkit, which collapsed several lower tactical network tools, mostly radio management tools, onto one laptop.

    This spring the next version of the advanced WIN-T NetOps capabilities are scheduled to be evaluated at NIE 14.2, before they are eventually fielded to units equipped with WIN-T Increment 2. The Army’s semi-annual NIEs leverage Soldier feedback to improve capability and rapidly mature and integrate its tactical communications network. They have also been a venue to converge NetOps tools.

    Brigade and division Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2 Network Operations and Security Centers, like the one shown here at the Army's Network Integration Evaluation 14.1, at Fort Bliss, Texas, in November 2013, provide network management and enhanced tactical network planning, administration, monitoring, and response capabilities. The hardware is located on the vehicle and is connected by cables to the laptops and large display screens inside the tactical operations center where the communications officers manage the network. (Photo Credit: Amy Walker, PEO C3T)

    The first NIE event in 2011 included more than 70 separate systems to run and operate the network. That total is now closer to 20. Part of the NIE 14.2 WIN-T NetOps demonstration will include the use of Condition Based Maintenance Plus. This new preventative maintenance concept for the tactical communications network is similar to OnStar and other diagnostic software found in today’s cars, and aims to increase reliability and sustainability while reducing sustainment costs.

    “We are using the NIEs to validate our steps along the way and not waiting until we have an end product that we want to ship out,” Roberts said. “We are making incremental improvements and getting those out to NIE to garner feedback from the Soldiers, the larger network community and from our industry partners to see if our tools are helping Soldiers out and what kind of improvements we may need to make.”

    The biggest benefit in achieving a common NetOps solution would be incurred by the Soldier, specifically the S6. The goal is to give him one method to do his job, train him one time and with one set of tools, making his job a lot easier. The second benefit would be realized by the greater Army. Buying fewer tools or buying the same tools more strategically and cost effectively will save taxpayer dollars.

    “We are figuring out ways to save money by buying things only once, only buying what we truly need, and buying in the best, most strategic approach possible to get better deals and save money,” Roberts said.

    The Army does not plan to buy a “one-vendor, end-all NetOps solution,” but rather a combination of products from multiple commercial vendors, either seamlessly working together upfront or integrated through an Army effort, Roberts said.

    “The more vendors that look to team with other vendors in the commercial-off-the-shelf industry to provide tools that work together, the better off we are, and the easier it will be to pick those products up and roll them into our baseline,” Roberts said.

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  • Direct fire munition increases lethality, reduces collateral damage

    The backpack-size drone can be deployed within a two-minute time frame and is destroyed upon hitting its target. (CCWS courtesy photos)

    By The Close Combat Weapon Systems Project Office


    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — Engaging the enemy effectively without a clear line-of-sight is an ongoing challenge for Soldiers serving in small, outlying posts in theater. One solution is the Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS), a not-within-direct-fire-line-of-sight, single-use munition system that is launched from a small tube. The entire system is carried in a Soldier’s backpack.

    Equipped with optical sensors, LMAMS transmits live color video wirelessly to a display on a ground control unit. The technology allows the Soldier to find the enemy and ensure positive identification before engaging. LMAMS deploys within two-minutes and can fly for up to fifteen minutes.
    The advantages? Increased support and lethality while limiting unintended damage.

    “It is a very sophisticated bullet with eyes,” said Bill Nichols, acting product director for LMAMS at the Army’s Close Combat Weapons Systems (CCWS) project office.

    Fulfilling a Requirement
    LMAMS is the product of an Army requirement submitted to the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) in January 2011. The request for an improved aerial munitions system was based on the results of a limited Block 1 Switchblade assessment, completed in the fall of 2010. Switchblade was the most mature technical solution available at the time. LMAMS, the resulting upgraded capability, includes an enhanced day camera and the addition of an infrared camera for night operations. It also comes with a tailored training package.

    “… With all the limitations on resources, this team has performed a superb job in their ability to produce the kind of efficiencies that made it possible to get this system into theater rapidly.”

    “Once the development work was completed, we took that configuration and put it through an extensive production verification test to ensure reliability of the system and to basically ‘shake out’ the system,” Nichols said.

    That shaking out of the system included more than 100 test flights for the LMAMS. Once the test flights were completed, full-system munitions were produced and vetted through safety confirmation tests. The tests included limited environmental testing, electromagnetic interference testing and full, live firefight flight tests. Once LMAMS was deemed safe for use by Soldiers, the Army started equipping the system to support operations in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in August 2012.
    “By partnering with the REF, we were able to deliver the capability to Soldiers in combat within14 months of receiving the original requirement” said Nichols.

    Bill Ruta, program manager for CCWS added, “This has been a shoestring operation. With all the limitations on resources, this team has performed a superb job in their ability to produce the kind of efficiencies that made it possible to get this system into theater rapidly.”

    LMAMS is launched from a small tube and viewed from the ground control unit.

    Unique Capability
    Although the aerial munition is designed for non-line-of-sight targets, it’s categorized as a direct fire asset. When the munition reaches the target, the cameras on LMAMS allow the Soldier to have “eyes on” the target, which provides the required positive identification. If the situation or target changes, then the operator can wave the munition off and either continue to view or re-approach the target or look for a secondary target.

    “It is one of the few—if not the only—munition that can be moved off of its intended target, directed to a safe place, and detonated or destroyed after it is launched. There is no other munition in the inventory that I am aware of that allows us to do this in real time and with such precision. It limits unintended casualties and collateral damage,” Nichols said.

    LMAMS has allowed Soldiers to engage the enemy in the open, in narrow village corridors, or where other civilians are present within a small radius of where the target is to be engaged or neutralized. In instances where the primary target has been lost, the Soldier has been able to divert the munition to a secondary target or detonate, preventing civilian casualties.

    Flight Path
    LMAMS is ground-launched from a static position at a forward operating base or at a small post in a ready-to-fire or standby mode. In the future, it may be possible to have several munitions fired from a pod in an effort to provide base defense or to have the system launched from a vehicle.

    “I’d say that with this type of munition and capability, although we have learned a lot, we are at about the second day of the Wright brothers’ first flight. We’ve got that much left to learn with this once we put it into the hands of the great Soldiers we have,” Nichols said.

    Feedback from Soldiers who’ve used the munition is critical in determining the future of LMAMS, and there are systems in place to ensure that CCWS can collect crucial data. CCWS is already looking at feedback from each engagement and identifying potential improvements. There are also two formal field operating assessments going on as part of the feedback processes. These assessments, along with the individual engagement feedback process, will provide CCWS information critical to determine any future material changes, methods of employment and more effective system training.

    “We’re getting all of that great feedback because Soldiers are always brutally honest,” Nichols said. “That’s exactly what we need in order to continue to evolve LMAMS.”

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  • Army fields 101st Airborne new tactical network with integrated training approach

    Spc. Joshua Provo sends up coordinates to his higher command during a recent dismounted patrol using the integrated communications package Capability Set 13 equipment. The Army's new network System of Systems training concept draws on lessons learned from previous units fielded with CS 13, including the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), which is deployed to Afghanistan in support of advise-and-assist missions with the Afghan National Security Forces. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Eric Provost, Task Force Patriot PAO)

    By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, PEO C3T


    FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2013) — With the Army’s newest set of tactical network systems now in the hands of Soldiers who could be among the last to deploy to Afghanistan, the service is ensuring users master the power behind their communications gear.

    To do this, the Army established a new System of Systems, or SoS, training concept drawing on lessons learned from previous units fielded with the integrated communications package known as Capability Set 13, or CS 13, including two brigade combat teams, known as BCTs, of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) that are now deployed to Afghanistan. The new approach embraces instruction on integrated systems capabilities, leverages Soldier knowledge and creates an underlying familiarity with how the equipment supports operations.

    Using a train-the-trainer concept, the Army is instructing a “slice” of about 125 Soldiers from the 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), in order to establish proficiency with the network communications systems known collectively as CS 13, before introducing the gear to the full brigade for collective training events.

    “We’re the fourth brigade to have CS 13, but the first to go through the SoS training,” said Capt. Justin Zevenbergen, communications officer with 3/101. “As signal Soldiers, we’re being trained first on CS 13 before the whole brigade is out there, so when we do begin our event training we can then say, ‘We’re going to rock-n-roll this because we know it, we’ve done it.’”

    Led by the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications – Tactical, or PEO C3T, the SoS training is based directly on user feedback and marks a key step in increasing unit proficiency and network performance. CS 13 marked the first time the Army has delivered network systems not on an individual basis, but as an integrated communications package that spans the entire BCT formation, connecting the static tactical operations center to the commander on the move to the dismounted Soldier.

    “At first it’s overwhelming because there are so many moving pieces, but as time goes on and we keep working with the equipment, I think it will get easier and easier,” said Sgt. Brandon Pieper with the 3/101, who is also taking the training. “The systems are pretty easy to use and we’re moving forward from the lessons learned.”

    A Soldier with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), receives training on Capability Set 13, an integrated package of tactical communications capabilities. The Army's new System of Systems training concept looks to empower Soldiers with the technical knowledge to ensure the right information is delivered at the right time. (Photo Credit: Nancy JonesBonbrest, PEO C3T)

    As the Army continues to incrementally modernize the network and fields the follow-on CS 14 to additional units, including BCTs from the 82nd Airborne Division, this training concept will give Soldiers more time to learn the new systems and capabilities and maximize their effect. The right mix of technology and training will continue to evolve as the Army works to simplify the network, making it easier to use, train, maintain and sustain.

    “We continue to incorporate lessons learned from Capability Set fieldings and drive those into our processes so we get better every time,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel P. Hughes, program executive officer for C3T. “Now we are focusing on simplifying our communications systems for the end user while delivering a pervasive network that meets their needs.”

    Also included in the SoS training is an overview course so commanders understand the network as an integrated combat multiplier and not just a collection of separate signal capabilities. A weekly technical “trail boss” meeting was added to keep training on schedule and troubleshoot any issues that arise.

    “The idea is to get the brigade involved as much as possible, because that leads to good outcomes with CS 13,” said Tom Eberle, PEO C3T’s technical “trail boss” assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. “What the training allows them to do is to identify how the system is supposed to work. We wanted to help them help themselves. So we’re training the units to do that.”

    The SoS training also focuses on “crew drills” that cross-train a collective crew on CS 13 systems — both mounted and dismounted — to ensure an overall understanding of how the systems function as a group in various mission scenarios.

    CS 13 systems provide mobile satellite and robust radio capability connecting all echelons of a brigade combat team down to the dismounted Soldier, while improving battlefield awareness and reducing units’ reliance on fixed infrastructure. This becomes increasingly important as U.S. forces continue to draw down and carry out advise-and-assist missions with the Afghan National Security Forces, turning over many of their Forward Operating Bases and other infrastructure and gradually losing fixed network locations.

    Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), are training on the Army's first integrated communications package known as Capability Set 13, which provides mobile satellite and robust radio capability connecting all echelons of a brigade combat team down to the dismounted Soldier, while improving battlefield awareness and reducing units' reliance on fixed infrastructure. Part of this new training includes crew drills that cross-train a collective crew on CS 13 systems, both mounted and dismounted, to ensure an overall understanding of how the systems function as a group in various mission scenarios. (Photo Credit: Nancy JonesBonbrest, PEO C3T)

    Using CS 13, the 4th and 3rd BCTs, 10th Mountain Division (4/10 and 3/10) are exchanging information while on the move in treacherous terrain and digitally tracking and communicating with small groups of dismounted Soldiers who have spread out to remote locations as they advise their Afghan partners.

    As the Army’s first two units to receive CS 13 over the past year, both 4/10 and 3/10 faced an accelerated timeline for training with the equipment prior to deployment. As they completed their training exercises, the units recorded their experiences to pass along to their counterparts in 3/101 and 2/101. This input directly influenced the new SoS training concept, and highlighted the need for the Army to simplify network systems for the end user.

    “Our big focus with this equipment is effective management of communications,” said Chief Warrant Officer II Johnathan Bradley, a network technician with the 3/101. “It’s making it possible for anybody to operate the equipment that needs to operate it. The end state is to get these guys familiar enough with the equipment that they know when something is wrong and can mold it where it needs to go.”

    The 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), will continue training on CS 13 for the next several months prior to possible deployment in 2014.

    The SoS training will evolve as the Army incorporates additional lessons learned from Afghanistan and from the Network Integration Evaluations, semi-annual events that leverage the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, conducting rigorous mission scenarios in a realistic operational environment at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. Those lessons are continuously folded into the Army’s tactics, techniques and procedures, so each unit can make optimal use of the equipment they receive and innovate new methods of use.

    As it continues for future units, the SoS training will empower Soldiers and leaders with the technical knowledge to ensure the right information is delivered at the right time to make crucial mission command decisions. By fielding the network in Capability Sets, the Army is providing scalable and tailorable equipment that is responsive to what the commander needs to execute current and future missions.

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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner

    Education and training opportunities

    Congratulations to Newly Selected Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellows:
    Congratulations to the Year Group 14 (YG 14) CDG/AAF inductees. The YG 14 inductees are:

    • Kyle Bruner, Program Executive Office (PEO) Combat Support & Combat Service Support
    • Monica Clemons, Army Contracting Command
    • Kelly Courtney, Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM)
    • Walter Hamm, Army Contracting Command
    • Lauren McNew, PEO Command, Control, Communications-Tactical
    • David Oatley, RDECOM
    • Maurice Stephens, Communications-Electronics Command

    The CDG/AAF Program is a three-year leadership program that offers competitively selected GS-12/13s (or broad/pay band equivalent) expanded leadership training and experience opportunities.

    Defense Acquisition University-Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF): The DAU-SSCF announcement will open Jan. 29 and close April 2, 2014. This Military Education Level One (MEL-1) Army approved Senior Service College Fellowship provides SSC equivalency at your local commuting area if you live in either Maryland (APG), Alabama (Huntsville) or Michigan (Warren). The purpose of the SSCF Program is to provide leadership and acquisition training to prepare senior level civilians for senior leadership roles such as product and project managers, program executive officers and other key acquisition leadership positions. Participants not only graduate from a SSC, but will also complete the Army Program Managers Course (PMT 401), and have the option to complete a master’s degree. For additional information on this great GS-14/15 Senior Service College, go to the DAU-SSCF website.

    The announcement will be offered through the Army Acquisition Professional Development System (AAPDS). To access AAPDS, login at the Career Acquisition Management Portal (CAMP). Next, click on Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAPPMIS). Once in CAPPMIS, select the “AAPDS” tab, and then select the “Application Module” link. Click on “Apply” and view all Army DACM available opportunities.

    REMINDER: Applicants must to complete Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course prior to the start of the fellowship.

    School of Choice (SOC): There will not be a SOC Announcement in FY14 due to the current fiscal environment. Should a command have an urgent need to send a high performing workforce member to obtain his/her Bachelor or Masters Degree during duty-time, please contact the AET Branch Chief, Scott Greene, to discuss potential for the DACM office to fund.

    Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program (ALCP):
    Now in its 4th FY, ALCP is quickly becoming the foundation of Army acquisition civilian leadership development. This two-and-a-half day leadership experience challenges students to examine themselves and their environments in order to become stronger leaders within their current and future organizations.

    The Army Director, Acquisition Career Management (DACM) Office has split our FY14 offerings into four quarters. The announcement for Q3 will be open Feb. 10 – March 10, 2014.

    NOTE: ALCP will not be announced using AAPDS. If interested, please contact your command/organization Acquisition Career Management Advocate (ACMA) or Organizational Acquisition POC (OAP) to obtain a command allocation.


    Jan. 13-15, 2014 ALCP I Atlanta, Ga. All-WF GS12/13 Closed
    Jan. 15-17 ALCP II Atlanta All-WF GS14/15 Closed
    Feb. 24-26 ALCP I Alexandria, Va. Local-WF GS12/13 Closed
    Feb. 26-28 ALCP I Alexandria Local-WF GS14/15 Closed
    March 3-4 ALCP B Aberdeen, Md. Local-WF GS07-11 Closed
    March 17-19 ALCP I Orlando, Fla. Local-WF GS12/13 Closed
    March 19-21 ALCP I Orlando, FL Local-WF GS12/13 Closed
    April 28-30 ALCP I Aberdeen Local-WF GS12/13 Feb. 10 – March 10
    April 30 – May 2 ALCP I Aberdeen Local-WF GS12/13 Feb. 10 – March 10
    May 19-21 ALCP I Atlanta All-WF GS12/13 Feb. 10 – March 10
    May 21-23 ALCP II Atlanta All-WF GS14/15 Feb. 10 – March 10
    June 9-11 ALCP I Warren, Mich. Local-WF GS12/13 Feb. 10 – March 10
    June 11-13 ALCP II Warren Local-WF GS14/15 Feb. 10 – March 10
    June 23-24 ALCP B Huntsville, Ala. Local-WF GS07-11 Feb. 10 – March 10
    July 28-30 ALCP I Huntsville Local-WF GS12/13 TBD
    July 30 – Aug. 1 ALCP I Huntsville Local-WF GS14/15 TBD
    Aug. 18-20 ALCP I Atlanta All-WF GS12/13 TBD
    Aug. 20-22   ALCP II Atlanta All-WF GS14/15 TBD
    Aug. 25-26 ALCP B Atlanta All-WF GS07-11 TBD
    Aug. 27-28 ALCP B Atlanta All-WF GS07-11 TBD


    Having trouble keeping the dates straight? All of the opening and closing dates are also posted to the USAASC Events Calendar.


    Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Training

    • FY14 DAU Course Registration: Students should continue to apply to the FY14 schedule using AITAS. Planning and applying early will afford students better opportunity in obtaining a class in the timeframe requested. Encourage your supervisor to approve your training request as soon as you apply. Supervisors must approve the training request in Army Training Requirements (ATRRS) and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) for application processing by USAASC registration office. Students should view the DAU iCatalog to ensure they meet the prerequisite(s), prior to applying to a DAU course. Workforce members and their supervisors should plan their training and ensure they have adequate time to complete prerequisite training prior to attend the follow on course. Reservations in follow on courses are cancelled if prerequisite requirements are not met.
    • It is imperative the student and supervisor email address is listed correctly on the AITAS student profile. Please apply through the AITAS. For more information on DAU training to include, systematic instructions, training priority definition or FAQs, please visit USAASC’s DAU Training webpage.
    • TDY Funding for DAU classes: Students should apply to the classes available in the next cost-effective location. We received reduced DAU travel funds for FY14. USAASC will only fund Priority 1 and 2 students travel to cost effective locations.
    • Low fill Classes: A weekly low-fill listing, posted weekly on DAU’s website, allows students the opportunity to attend classes coming up in the next 60 days. Low-fill classes within 60 days from the start date of the class are available on a first-come, first-served basis for students priority 2 and 40 days for priority 3-5 students. Please remember that even if a class is on the low-fill list, students must choose the designated cost-effective location for their training.
    • Alternate Delivery Method Courses: In a constrained fiscal environment, DAU is looking at using innovative delivery methods to provide the same level of seat capacity of 57,000, at the same time providing effective learning assets. Alternate delivery methods for student pilots include video teleconferencing (VTC), Telepresence using high definition resolution, Defense Connect Online (DCO), and flipped classroom. The pilots will continue to run until the end of FY14. DAU hopes to offer alternate delivery courses on the FY15 schedule. Upcoming pilots include Telepresence for three FE 301 offerings (Fort Belvoir, Huntsville, Ala., and California, Md.) and PMT 401 (Kettering Ohio). ACQ 370 will be conducted in April 2014 at Chester Va. using flipped classroom format.
    • College of Contract Management (CCM): CCM is now a new business unit under DAU with the primary goal to support tailored training for Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) employees. DAU will deploy two new resident courses offered under CCM, CMA 211 – Joint Government Flight Representative (GFR) and CMA 221 – Joint Government Ground Representative (GGR). This is a certification course, which is intended for those who will serve as an appointed GFR, or GGRs. If you are a supervisor/commander, contracting officer, contractor employee, or of another nonaircraft-operations discipline who is interested in this subject matter, please pursue the Continuous Learning Module, CLX 110, “Fundamentals of GRF and GGR.”
    • FY15 Schedule Build: The Army DACM is responsible for submitting the Army’s DAU training demand. Commands and PEOs are solicited to host DAU onsites in FY15. Army DAU onsites are classes hosted by a command or organization. The intent of the onsites is to bring localized required DAU Training to the students to save on travel cost. Onsites are ideal locations where DAU main or satellite campus is not available locally. Army onsites will be included in the Army’s consolidated seat demand to DAU. Once finalized, the FY15 schedule will be available for student registration on Thursday, 15 May 2014.

    • If you have questions on any Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience (AETE) programs or DAU Training, please contact the the AETE Branch Chief Scott Greene @ scott.greene4@us.army.mil

    DACM News

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