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

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

    By Kristen Kushiyama


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    CERDEC is part of RDECOM, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness — technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment — to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC delivers it.


    • Subscribe to Access AL&T is the premier online news source for the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Workforce. .


    Read more »
  • Army Reserve offers acquisition opportunities

    By Lt. Col. Jim Craig


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    • Subscribe to Access AL&T is the premier online news source for the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Workforce. .


    Read more »
  • Network After Next

    Staff Sgt. Shelby Johnson, a squad leader with the 4-10 MTN, observes the area around Forward Operating Base Torkham, Afghanistan. Johnson is wearing the new CS 13 communications suite, which was integrated and validated through the Army’s NIE. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jerry Saslav, 4-10 MTN Public Affairs)

    CS 13 TEST BED
    Lt. Col. James DeOre watches the 4-10 MTN command team leave Nangalam Base. The unit was the first to deploy to Afghanistan with CS 13, which introduces mission command on-the-move and extends the network to the Soldier. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class E.L. Craig, 4-10 MTN Public Affairs)


    By Brig. Gen. Daniel P. Hughes, Col. Mark Elliott and Col. John Zavarelli


    Just weeks after deploying to Afghanistan last summer, the commanders and Soldiers of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (4-10 MTN) christened the Army’s new tactical communications network their “digital guardian angel.” Capability Set (CS) 13 became critical to their daily operations in Afghanistan, enabling them to cover more ground safely and providing a considerable tactical advantage. Their experience shows why the Army pushed so hard over the past two years to deliver CS 13, our first integrated package of communication systems that supports mission command on-the-move and brings the Soldier into the network.

    But we owe it to the 10th MTN—and the units next in line for new network technologies—to go further. How do we continue to enhance and refresh the network with each capability set? How do we make the network more capable but less complex to use, train, maintain and sustain? How do we focus innovation on capabilities that could be transformative for the network of 2020 and beyond?

    The answers rest in our partnership with industry. Examine Moore’s Law—that the number of transistors incorporated in a chip will approximately double every 24 months—or simply look at your own cellphone: When the pace of progress is exponential, the Army cannot keep up by itself. To field the latest tactical communication technologies to Soldiers, we know we need industry’s agility, innovation and investment, especially in a fiscally constrained environment. Our approach to driving industry involvement in the next phase of network modernization is built on two principles: consistency and competition.

    Consistency is aimed at making the Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) a more productive venue for businesses of all sizes to demonstrate their capabilities. While the Army is procuring commercial routers, antennas, network operations tools, operational energy solutions and other items as a result of the NIE process, it has taken several NIE cycles to refine the supporting processes for this new way of doing business. During that evolution, we have listened to feedback from our industry partners and are now implementing a new construct for NIE 15.1 and beyond.

    This new construct will give industry additional time to respond to more focused capability gaps. It will also be synchronized with Army program objective memorandum (POM) planning so that successful systems can transition smoothly into our portfolios.

    The other way we plan to engage the network industrial base is through more frequent competition. Government-owned waveforms and a standardized Common Operating Environment (COE) set the conditions for the Army to conduct more competitions for radios, apps and other network components—putting the “buy fewer, more often” acquisition philosophy into action.

    Testers from the U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground roll down a road near Fort Huachuca, Ariz., on July 25, 2013, as they evaluate the MNVR system in a test involving more than 80 nodes throughout Fort Huachuca and the surrounding area. In September 2013, the Army awarded an initial contract for MNVR using a competitive non-developmental item acquisition approach designed to procure lower-cost, commercially available radios that meet the Army’s requirement for a mid-tier tactical network solution. (U.S. Army photo by Douglas Smith, LRC Communications Security Logistics Activity)

    This approach will give more vendors the opportunity to participate in building the network and give the Army the flexibility to choose from multiple technologies. By structuring contracts to facilitate competition among qualified vendors on a regular basis, we will also reduce system costs and ensure that we encourage the innovation that will lead to progress with each capability set. For example, Company A could win a delivery order competition one year and Company B could win the following year, but both would have an incentive to propose improved, affordable products for the year after that.

    The Army remains committed to the NIE process, which has proven its value within the Army and industry since its launch in 2011. Driven by Soldier feedback, lessons learned in past NIEs have allowed the Army to mature certain programs, restructure or terminate others and reallocate resources to new priorities. CS 13 was integrated, refined and validated through the NIEs—reducing the integration burden on the 10th MTN and 101st Airborne Divisions while helping develop tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) for using the gear in the field.

    Industry partners who submitted their systems for assessment not only have received invaluable feedback from ­Soldiers and Army laboratories, but also have demonstrated the breadth of available commercial technology, informing the Army’s acquisition strategy for several key programs. The Army has spent $39 million to procure non-program of record, NIE-tested radios to field. Recently, Congress provided funding that gave the Army $9.3 million to procure several systems under evaluation from previous NIEs. The Army also has begun to issue requests for proposals (RFPs) as a formal mechanism for streamlined competitive procurement of non-program of record systems that show promise at the NIE.

    The first RFP process resulted in six contract awards to different vendors for their vehicle tactical routers to be evaluated at NIE 14.1 in fall 2013.
    While there has been great success, we have also hit some speed bumps in ramping up the NIE process. Frustrated vendors told us that the government’s capability gaps were too broadly defined, the funding was too scarce and the schedule too unpredictable. We understand industry’s challenges, and we are adjusting the NIE to better facilitate vendor participation while meeting the needs of the Army within budget constraints.

    Beginning with NIE 15.1 in fall 2014, the Army will add periodic network baseline assessments to pinpoint capability gaps that industry can zero in on for near-term network modernization. NIE 15.1 will assess the integrated network baseline to evaluate the performance of existing network capabilities and identify remaining gaps. This effort will be informed by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Network Capability Review, an ongoing study that aims to identify the proper mix of systems and their requirements to provide integrated tactical network capabilities within various formations.

    PEO C3T is training “super” digital systems engineers on vehicles equipped with components of CS 13, the Army’s first integrated network fielding effort that spans the entire brigade combat team formation, connecting the fixed command post to the commander on-the-move to the dismounted Soldier. (Photo by Edric Thompson, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center)

    The capability gaps identified at NIE 15.1 will be fixed in place and released to industry so that their proposed solutions can be evaluated over the following two NIEs, 15.2 and 16.1. By identifying consistent gaps for two consecutive NIEs rather than releasing a new set with each exercise, the Army will increase industry’s lead time in developing and submitting mature capability solutions. NIE 16.2 will include another network baseline assessment. Then the updated gaps will be fixed in place and released to industry for two more NIEs, and the pattern will repeat for subsequent cycles.

    While the original NIE process was built to meet theater needs quickly, with the transition out of Afghanistan, the refined process will allow us to be more deliberate in determining and filling our network capability gaps. The new schedule and fewer, better-defined gaps will also allow the Army to better align NIE results with POM planning to inform procurement and fielding decisions for future capability sets.

    With these positive changes, it is still important to reiterate that the value of the NIE goes beyond acquiring systems. As the Army transitions from fighting two wars to preparing for future threats, the NIE will provide the operational laboratory to incrementally enhance the network, respond to the emerging needs of regionally aligned forces and assess dynamic “leap-ahead” capabilities—not just from industry, but also the Army science and technology community.

    NIEs will continue to integrate capability sets before fielding, refine TTPs, evaluate force design options and non-materiel requirements such as training, and give Soldiers a “vote” by collecting their feedback on all of these areas. NIEs remain a vital component of the Army’s modernization efforts.

    Since the advent of DOD’s Better Buying Power initiative, there has been increased attention to the benefits of competition. The rationale is clear: An environment in which multiple vendors compete to satisfy the same requirement can reduce cost, spur innovation, cultivate the industrial base and eliminate the single points of failure that come with dependence on one vendor. But to make a competition as effective as possible, the strategy must be tailored to the specific product and the current market. Fortunately, we are now hitting that “sweet spot” with a key part of the network—tactical radios.

    The current marketplace is primed for the Army to competitively procure advanced networking radios. The technical maturity achieved in the commercial, software-programmable radio field over the course of the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) developmental effort has enabled industry to develop effective hardware solutions—radio “boxes”—more easily. Meanwhile, the Joint Tactical Networking Center (JTNC) maintains a data repository of secure networking waveforms and applications that adhere to open standards set by the government. The repository, along with the JTNC laboratory and accreditation resources, are accessible to vendors, allowing the waveforms to run on multiple hardware models that industry produces. Through our engagement with industry, including at the NIEs, we know that the technology now exists for a competitive marketplace of interoperable, affordable radios.

    Thus, the foundation is in place to execute the Army’s tactical radio strategy. In September 2013, we awarded an initial contract for Mid-Tier Networking Vehicular Radios (MNVR), using a competitive non-developmental item acquisition approach designed to procure lower-cost, commercially available radios that meet the Army’s requirement for a mid-tier tactical network solution.

    Now the Army is focused on executing full and open competitions, in which all industry partners can participate, for the full-rate production phases of the Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit Rifleman and Manpack radio programs. The goal is to decrease costs and drive down size, weight and power requirements while increasing system functionality and simplicity.

    While the details are still being finalized, the Army will conduct a full and open competition for each radio, and award contracts to qualified vendors meeting the Rifleman and Manpack radio requirements. Qualified vendors then will compete for delivery orders as needed by the Army, after qualification and operational tests to confirm compliance with technical and operational requirements.

    This constantly competitive environment promises to promote an active, engaged industrial base that has an incentive not only to lower prices but also to innovate for each capability set, ultimately improving the radios we deliver to Soldiers.

    Such multilayered, multiple-vendor- competition has shown success before, such as with the Consolidated Interim Single Channel Handheld Radio (CISCHR) contract, executed under the JTRS program. Initiated in 2007, CISCHR provided a contract vehicle for the joint services to procure government off-the-shelf and non-developmental, software-defined tactical handheld radios. While not a perfect comparison, CISCHR illustrates the potential advantages of a multiple-award contract that allows for delivery order competitions among vendors.

    Capt. Jonathan Page of the 4-10 MTN uses the Nett Warrior device connected to a Rifleman Radio at Nangalam Base, Afghanistan. The Army is conducting a full and open competition for the full-rate production phases of the Rifleman and Manpack radio programs. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class E.L. Craig, 4-10 MTN Public Affairs)

    Although this type of strategy can require more effort to manage, the money saved through competition far exceeds the administrative costs. CISCHR yielded an average savings of more than 40 percent, compared with the contractual ceiling prices over the life of the contract. It is also noteworthy that the radio technologies and features improved as a result of the vendors’ own investments.

    Radios aren’t the only network component for which the Army stands to benefit from increased competition. With the COE providing a comprehensive, standards-based open architecture, the Army can leverage industry’s state-of-the-art capabilities and best practices for other computing environment technologies.

    For example, many mission command systems previously developed by a single vendor as stovepiped boxes will be delivered instead as software applications, with multiple third parties competing to build and rapidly enhance them, broadening the market. The COE will also facilitate greater interoperability among various manufacturers’ systems, creating possibilities for common interfaces and common training as we work to simplify the network for the end user.

    The network remains a critical Army modernization priority. It is a core element in enabling the Army to produce a future force that is smaller but still highly capable. As we build on lessons learned from the first CS 13 brigades to deliver these essential technologies to more units across the force, the Army will engage industry through consistent NIEs and frequent competitions in order to improve and simplify network capabilities. Working as partners, we will continue to provide our Soldiers with the information they need to change the game.

    For further information, go to http://peoc3t.army.mil.

    Brig.Gen. DANIEL P. HUGHES is the Program Executive Officer Command, Control and Communications – Tactical. He holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Texas at Arlington, an M.B.A. in business management from Oklahoma City University and an M.S. in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Hughes is Level III certified in program management. and is a member of the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps (AAC).

    Col. MARK ELLIOTT is the director, G-3/5/7 LandWarNet – Mission Command. He holds a B.A. in physics from the University of Alabama, an M.S. in telecommunication from Southern Methodist University and an M.A. in national security strategy with a concentration in information operations from the National Defense University’s National War College. Elliott is a certified information systems security professional and is certified in the Information Technology Infrastructure Library.

    Col. JOHN ZAVARELLI is the director, system of systems integration (SoSI) in the Office of Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. He holds a B.S. in management from the University of Colorado and an M.B.A. in business management from the University of Texas at Arlington as part of the Industry-Grad program that included training with industry at Lockheed Martin Corp. Zavarelli is Level III certified in program management and is a member of the AAC.

    Read more »
  • Security Cooperation – A Case Study

    Members of the CSTC-A NET team receive U.S. M224 60 mm mortar systems at Kabul, Afghanistan. The last 92 weapon systems were delivered to Afghanistan in Sept. 2013, two months ahead of schedule. (Photos courtesy of Program Executive Office Ammunition)


    By Lt. Col. Will McDonough, Robert Ucci, Bill Webber and Ted Greiner


    As defense budgets and military force structure are reduced, the United States must once again examine ways to maintain our defense industrial base. While budgets may not allow for the procurement of new weapons for our own military at the rate many would like, there can be no question that we need to maintain the ability to ramp up for a future conflict at a time and a place that may be totally unpredictable.

    One very valuable tool for maintaining our domestic industrial base is to promote the sale of our defense materiel to friendly nations who may very well be allies in the next conflict. On Jan. 3, 2012, the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan requested the establishment of a foreign military sales case for 890 M224 60 mm mortar systems for the Afghan National Army (ANA). As is often the case, this initial requirement was later increased to include more weapons (up to a total of 918) and more accessories, support equipment and spare parts than originally requested. To put this in perspective, this represents a quantity that is more than half the total number of 60 mm mortar systems in the entire U.S. Army [inventory]. The team led by the product manager (PdM) for Precision Guided Munitions and Mortar Systems (GPM2S) not only delivered all required weapon systems ahead of schedule, but also $11 million under budget. The last 92 weapon systems were delivered to Afghanistan in Sept. 2013, two months ahead of schedule.

    Upon program initiation, PdM GPM2S formed an integrated product team (IPT) consisting of representatives from the Watervliet Arsenal, N.Y. (WVA), Anniston Army Depot, Ala. (ANAD), the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the Tank and Automotive Command (TACOM)’s Product Support Integration Directorate (PSID) and Security Assistance Management Directorate (SAMD), the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) at Fort Benning, Ga., the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), the deputy secretary of the army for defense exports and cooperation (DASA-DEC), and the Office of the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8.

    CSTC-A, composed of a mix of active-duty and former Soldiers, and all graduates of the Army’s Infantry Mortar Leader Course, conducts U.S. 60mm mortar training with ANA soldiers, allowing them to train their own soldiers in the proficient use of the weapons.

    The majority of the team members were already familiar with each others’ roles and capabilities because of the normal interaction required to support Army and USMC units that were deployed, or preparing to deploy to combat operations. The long-standing relationships formed through personal interactions at program management reviews (PMRs) enabled the rapid formation of a high-performing team without the traditional forming, storming, and norming phases of team development. While every organization performed a unique and invaluable role, the leadership role of the PdM as individually responsible for program execution, granted by his charter as a life-cycle manager, ensured the unity and focus of the entire effort.

    In his Feb. 12, 2013 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama emphasized the strategic importance of transitioning the United States’ role in Afghanistan from leading the fight to equipping and training Afghan security forces to take the lead. He stated, “Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We are negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counter-terrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.” This address served to strengthen the team’s commitment to success.

    This national-level emphasis on program success also allowed for creative, non-traditional solutions to providing weapon systems at an unusually high rate. For example, the Department of the Army allowed the diversion of Army-owned assets to this FMS case to fill immediate needs, with Army stocks to be replenished from new production using FMS case funding. Not only did this unusual step improve our responsiveness, it also provided the added benefit of updating the Army inventory with all new items.

    The ANA learns how to operate the U.S. 60mm mortars during a training exercise.

    Another contributor to the success of this program was the USMC. Over the past several years, the Army and Marines have cooperatively developed, qualified, and fielded a newer and lighter 60 mm mortar system, the M224A1. The Marines have been aggressively replacing their M224 systems with M224A1s, thus freeing up M224s for demilitarization. In large part as a result of the good will built up during years of interservice cooperation, the Marines allowed this excess inventory to be overhauled and sold, rather that demilitarized and scrapped, resulting in a very substantial cost savings.

    The dedication of the workforce at WVA, New York, and at ANAD was also key to program success. WVA provided for new production of many components, as well as expertise in assembling kits, and staging and shipping systems into theater. ANAD was responsible for overhauling many of the weapons. Their tireless commitment to quality ensured the safety of the weapons and provided an added benefit of minimizing schedule risk due to unnecessary scrap and rework.

    “The team led by the product manager (PdM) for Precision Guided Munitions and Mortar Systems (GPM2S) not only delivered all required weapon systems ahead of schedule, but also $11 million under budget.”

    TACOM PSID played a key role in providing both new and used Army assets for the effort, purchasing new components using existing sustainment contracts, coordinating with the DLA for acquisition of DLA-managed items, and providing direct oversight and management of ANAD depot efforts.

    The final enabler to program success was the PM’s ability to leverage a new equipment training (NET) team that was already in theater. This NET team, from Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A), was composed of a mix of active-duty and former Soldiers, all graduates of the Army’s Infantry Mortar Leader Course (IMLC). They were indispensible in writing the doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that the ANA would use in both training and in combat. After that, these military and civilian professionals actually trained their ANA counterparts to the highest standards to allow them to train their own soldiers in the proficient use of the weapons. If the team had not already been stood up and in theater, additional time and expense would have been incurred to form and deploy the necessary capability.

    CSTC-A, composed of a mix of active-duty and former Soldiers, and all graduates of the Army’s Infantry Mortar Leader Course, conducts U.S. 60mm mortar training with ANA soldiers, allowing them to train their own soldiers in the proficient use of the weapons.

    As is always the case with any successful program, the ANA 60 mm mortars case was the result of a very strong team effort. The lesson to be learned is that the strongest teams are the ones who are already used to working together. PdM GPM2S has had a history of cooperation with the USMC, MCoE, TACOM, WVA and ANAD to provide world-class equipment, training, and support to Soldiers and Marines. As the Army’s Product Manager for Mortar Systems, PM GPM2S was uniquely qualified and positioned to respond to the urgency and need for providing mortar systems to the ANA. The product manager immediately stood up an IPT of mortar system professionals with defined roles and responsibilities. Daily meetings were established and a management tool referred to as “the dashboard” chart was created to capture and present the key events and weekly accomplishments. The dashboard chart was also used as a communication medium to keep Army leaders closely informed of critical program milestones and weekly achievements.

    Despite times of constrained resources and reduced travel budgets, true team building requires at least some face-to-face contact to foster trust and communication. For example, members of the IPT from PM GPM2S and TACOM-Warren travelled to ANAD, a key location in the process, to ensure the urgency of the mission was well understood, along with establishing the process map for refurbishment and shipping. In addition, periodic face-to-face meetings are also required after the team is formed and working to ensure that project status is tracked accurately and that priorities are properly communicated.

    A specific lesson for time-sensitive cases is the existence of the Special Defense Acquisition Fund (SDAF). This is a revolving fund administered by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) that may not be familiar to many program managers. Authorized in 1981, it was specifically created to allow for the acquisition of defense articles and services in anticipation of a future FMS sale. Tapping into this fund allowed PdM GPM2S to order some long-lead items early, thereby shaving approximately one month from the program schedule.

    Finally, PdM GPM2S learned the value of indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contracts in responding rapidly to a surge in requirements. PdM GPM2S’ parent organization, Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems (PM CAS) maintains numerous ID/IQ contracts for artillery and mortar munitions, both at the subcomponent level and for the load, assemble, and pack (LAP) of all-up rounds. Once established, these contracts allow for the rapid procurement of parts, projectiles or cartridges from any one of several qualified suppliers to meet surge demands. Traditionally, the procurement of major weapon systems have been focused on meeting U.S. requirements only and therefore have not required this flexibility and responsiveness.

    The Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) and Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution System (PPBES) processes normally provide PMs with years to decide on a contracting strategy, build the required procurement packages, and perform competitive selections. If a PM wants to be able to respond quickly to future foreign demands, they must have more foresight and be willing to put in the extra work up front to ensure that more flexible and responsive contract vehicles are available to them when needed.

    As the nation winds down from the latter of two large conflicts, our need to procure large numbers of weapons will taper off. This may lead to a risk of losing valuable parts of our military industrial base. At the same time, however, many of our potential allies now recognize more than ever that the United States has the best-equipped Army in the world. As a result, they would now like to equip their own forces with weapon systems that are as safe, effective and reliable as ours. This situation offers up the opportunity to supplement domestic weapons procurement with foreign sales to maintain our own ability to respond to future conflicts. Wherever possible, PMs should prepare in advance to respond to security cooperation and security assistance cases with high-quality, timely, and cost-effective support so that we are the supplier of choice.

    Read more »
  • Unmanned vehicle demonstration showcases leap-ahead technology

    VIP's watched the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System demonstration from the top of a building in the BOAZ Military Operations in Urban Terrain training site at Fort Hood, Texas. (Photo by Bruce J. Huffman)


    By Bruce J. Huffman, TARDEC Public Affairs


    DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. (March 21, 2014) — Working closely with Lockheed Martin and a conglomeration of Army technology, acquisition and user community stakeholders, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center successfully demonstrated an unmanned military convoy Jan. 14 at Fort Hood, Texas.

    From a rooftop in the Fort Hood training area, military and industry VIPs saw firsthand how the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System, or AMAS, enabled two driverless Palletized Loading System prime movers and an M915 tractor trailer truck to seamlessly interact with a manned Humvee gun truck escort. The convoy negotiated oncoming traffic, followed rules of the road, recognized and avoided pedestrians and various obstacles, and then used intelligence and decision-making abilities to re-route their direction through a maze of test areas to complete both complex urban and rural line haul missions.

    As the ground systems expert within the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, TARDEC develops, integrates and sustains the right technology solutions to address ever-changing threats and shifts in strategic, technological and fiscal environments. Flexibility and adaptability are vital to future systems, and AMAS is designed to provide a wide range of military vehicle platforms with optionally-manned capabilities that will increase safety and provide the warfighter with additional flexibility.

    “We’re not looking to replace Soldiers with robots. It’s about augmenting and increasing capability,” said Col. Chris Cross, chief of Science and Technology at the Army Capabilities Integration Center.

    During the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System demo, VIP's saw autonomous vehicles negotiate live traffic, follow the rules of the road, recognize pedestrians and avoid various obstacles in both urban and rural test areas. (Photo by Bruce J. Huffman)

    Equipped with GPS, Light Detecting and Ranging systems, known as LIDAR, Automotive radar, a host of sensors and other high-tech hardware and software components, the common appliqué kit’s intelligence and autonomous decision-making abilities can be installed in practically any military vehicle, transforming an ordinary vehicle into an optionally manned version.

    AMAS can also keep personnel out of harm’s way and provide Soldiers on manned missions with increased situational awareness and other safety benefits. For instance, AMAS also features collision mitigation braking, lane-keeping assist and a roll-over warning system, electronic stability control and adaptive cruise control. During manned missions, these additional safety features could theoretically increase Soldier performance. The robotic mode frees up the vehicle crew to more closely watch for enemy threats, while still leaving them the option of manually taking control of the vehicle when necessary.

    “The AMAS hardware and software performed exactly as designed and dealt successfully with all of the real-world obstacles that a real-world convoy would encounter,” said AMAS Program Manager David Simon, with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

    A Soldier from 3rd Cavalry Regiment programs an autonomous convoy using the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System. (Photo by Bruce J. Huffman)

    AMAS development aligns with Army goals for the Future Force. At an Association of the United States Army breakfast in Arlington, Va., Jan. 23, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno talked about the Army Modernization Strategy and the difficult decisions ahead.

    “What is that leap-ahead technology that we need that could make a real difference for our Soldiers on the ground?” Odierno asked. “What is the technology that allows us to decrease the weight so we can be more expeditionary? I need tactical mobility for the future. We need to move towards mobility and try to determine how we sustain survivability while increasing mobility.”

    In his just-released CSA Strategic Priorities, Odierno added that we must prioritize Soldier-centered modernization and procurement of proven technologies so that Soldiers have the best weapons, equipment and protection to accomplish the mission.

    Another AMAS demonstration with more vehicles and more complex notional scenarios is scheduled for later this year.

    “We are very happy with the results, but the AMAS must undergo more testing before it becomes deployable,” said TARDEC AMAS Lead Engineer Bernard Theisen.

    “The vehicles and systems are replaceable, but nothing can replace the life of a Soldier. These systems keep Soldiers safe and make them more efficient,” he said.

    TARDEC is the ground systems expert within RDECOM. It provides engineering and scientific expertise for Department of Defense manned and autonomy-enabled ground systems and ground support systems; serves as the nation’s laboratory for advanced military automotive technology; and provides leadership for the Army’s advanced Science and Technology research, demonstration, development and full life cycle engineering efforts.

    The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center and Lockheed Martin partnered with U.S. Central Command, Army Capabilities Integration Center, Combined Arms Support Command, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, to demonstrate an autonomy-enabled technology that can help distance our warfighters from dangerous threats during convoy operations. On Jan. 14, 2014, they demonstrated the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System and conducted an autonomous convoy at Fort Hood, Texas. (Photo by Glenn Helm, Lockheed Martin)


    TARDEC 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.

    TARDEC is also a TACOM Life Cycle Management Command partner. In this capacity, it is responsible for critical technology functions within the “acquisition — logistics — technology” system life-cycle model, including: technology maturation and integration; technology subject-matter expertise; systems-level engineering analysis; and systems engineering.

    TARDEC provides engineering support for more than 2,800 Army systems and many of the Army’s and DoD’s top joint development programs. The organization is responsible for maximizing the research, development, transition and sustainment of technologies and integration across ground systems.

    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 delivers it.

    Read more »
  • Tobyhanna lands Gray Eagle Ground Control Station repairs

    Repairs on the Ground Control Stations for Gray Eagle (MQ-1C) UAS are scheduled to begin at Tobyhanna Army Depot in FY16. (U.S. Army photo)


    By Justin Eimers


    TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. — The Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy have named Tobyhanna the Depot Source of Repair (DSOR) for the Gray Eagle (MQ-1C) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Ground Control Stations (GCSs).

    The decision by the four services’ Maintenance Interservice Support Management Offices recognizes the depot as the installation best suited for these repairs.

    “Through the acquisition process, there is a lot of assessment that takes place, including core logistics analyses that look at our capabilities,” said Nick Caprioli, chief of the Business Development Division. “Tobyhanna was selected based on infrastructure, training and technical expertise for this type of work.”

    Repair work will begin in FY16 with 19 GCSs scheduled per year, totaling more than 75 systems through FY18.

    The Gray Eagle system is a long-range, high-altitude UAS that provides the capability to perform wide-area reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition. It is also capable of relaying communications and can be equipped for attack missions. The system consists of the aircraft, GCS, data terminals and data links. Each GCS controls one Gray Eagle aircraft and is used by the operator to perform command and control, payload control and weapon launch operations.

    Because of their complexity, Gray Eagle systems and components are currently replaced rather than repaired, exhausting money and resources. Depot personnel are developing cost-effective solutions to repair GCSes and increase capability. Tobyhanna recognizes that the assignment of this DSOR will enable the depot to be selected for additional DSORs for UAS equipment.

    Katlin Edmunds, business development specialist, noted that revamping the DSOR decision process will also help substantially reduce costs and bring more UAS work to the depot.

    “DSOR selection helps ensure effective use of commercial and organic depot maintenance resources,” she said. “We have been aggressively trying to streamline processes, find inefficiencies and figure out the best way to accommodate new UAS workloads.”

    Based on trends in the market, business management analysts anticipate that UAS will be the depot’s largest commodity in the future. As the only Army depot involved in the integrated product team (IPT) for Air Force and Army UAS, Tobyhanna is well positioned to receive workloads for additional UAS component repairs. The IPT is working with Tobyhanna to identify the need for any new test equipment, facilitation or training necessary for additional UAS work.

    “Part of the planning process to bring in this workload is to have our engineers work with the program offices to make sure our capabilities are sufficient to provide the best solution for everybody involved,” said Caprioli. “The depot’s all-hands-on-deck approach to secure this DSOR selection has helped to increase our marketability and should open doors for future UAS workloads.”

    Read more »
  • Securing the Base

    Soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment perform a routine inspection of a Patriot missile battery at a Turkish military base in Gaziantep, Turkey, Feb. 27, 2013. Past DOD investment and FMS have been invaluable to the health of the Patriot program and IB, as well as to the security of allies such as Turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Sean M. Worrell)

    DOD policymakers have complex array of tools
    to help protect industrial capabilities


    By Mr. Kris Osborn


    As DOD grapples with multiple fiscal challenges, the Army and the Pentagon are stepping up efforts to sustain and preserve the health of the U.S. defense industrial base (IB) by assessing vendor capabilities, watching for mergers and acquisitions, and analyzing the supply chain for critical capabilities.

    In its 2013 report to Congress on the health of the defense IB, the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy (MIBP) notes DOD’s tightening fiscal constraints and widespread concern about their effects on the IB, but says only a small portion of the IB is truly at risk. “DOD recognizes [that] only a small fraction of our enormous industrial base capabilities are truly at risk (fragile) and, therefore, in danger of disappearing without dedicated efforts to sustain them,” states the October 2013 report from MIBP, in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD(ATL)).

    That does not mean, however, that the risk is insignificant, the report states.

    “The United States is in danger of losing some key industrial capabilities that will be vital for our future national security. Insufficient near-term demand for certain products will keep some companies below their minimum economic sustaining rates, making it financially challenging to keep workers with unique, technical expertise active enough to maintain their proficiency in these advanced skills,” the report states.

    Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Arellano, center, and Sgt. 1st Class David Stegman of U.S. Army Europe’s 19th Battlefield Coordination Detachment review targeting information using a Defense Advanced GPS Receiver during a multinational artillery live-fire exercise in Baumholder, Germany, June 20, 2013. DOD has invested in a number of areas to preserve critical capabilities, including GPS-related technologies. (Photo by Sgt. Daniel Cole, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs)

    The fiscal pressures on the U.S. military in the coming months and years include a shrinking defense budget, the lingering effects of deep sequestration cuts last year, and the prospect of further sequestration cuts in 2014.

    “We are now entering the second year where we are likely to face sequestration. The health of the industrial base is a question that is near and dear to the department’s leadership interests,” said Elana Broitman, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for MIBP.

    The policy office is focused on vendors’ production capacity as well as the need to preserve or maintain a highly skilled, technically competent workforce. “In order to equip the warfighter, we depend upon a healthy industrial base that continues to innovate,” Broitman said. “The assessments of the industrial base that we do are an important tool in understanding how the industrial base will fare during this downturn.”

    “We have to be aware of what’s happening with the industrial base with this country,” Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told a reporter for Breaking Defense on Nov. 22, 2013. “Whether you need a separate program to fund R&D or other things to keep some suppliers alive, I think that’s another question, but it’s worth asking.”

    The Abrams tank IB is the focus of Army assessments related to modernization at the Lima Army Tank Plant, Ohio. The Army looked at how to maintain needed production capacity as well as engineering and manufacturing expertise. (Photo by Spc. Christen Best)

    Army leaders often cite multiyear procurement contracts, foreign military sales (FMS) and industry outreach as examples of ways to support a prosperous path forward for industry.

    Through the multiyear deals for the UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter and CH-47 Chinook cargo aircraft, the Army can help solidify and sustain production expertise while simultaneously maintaining production capacity. The Army also is continuing a variety of IB assessments to identify potential areas of difficulty or challenge.

    FMS, too, continue to have a strategic impact by helping to build partner capacity and, in some cases, sustain production capacity for a variety of needed technologies and systems. FMS have been a part of programs such as the Patriot missile, Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System and AH-64 Apache helicopter, among others.

    As an example of how these various approaches can come together, the Army has conducted IB assessments related to Abrams tank modernization at the Lima Army Tank Plant, OH, also called the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center. These efforts focused on maintaining needed production capacity as well as engineering and manufacturing expertise. FMS are a part of this calculus as well, because there is an upcoming period of time in which the Army plans to temporarily pause its tank modernization line.

    Harrow Miller, a heavy mobile equipment mechanic in the Turbine Drive Train Division at Anniston Army Depot, Ala., assembles an AGT 1500 engine. Maintaining specialized skills in the IB, both organic and commercial, is a central concern for DOD. (Photo by Jennifer Bacchus, U.S. Army Materiel Command)

    The Army works closely with the other services and Pentagon leadership to coordinate efforts and collectively develop mitigation strategies. If one of the services is producing a given technology, that may help another service maintain production capacity for a desired system.

    The MIBP office relies on a data repository created through a Pentagon-led multiyear IB assessment called Sector-by-Sector, Tier-by-Tier (S2T2). The S2T2 database looks at vendor capability, supply chain issues and manufacturing details regarding the production of critical components, platforms and technologies.

    S2T2 is a starting point for assessments of all defense components. The information in S2T2 is used to manage DOD’s investments more effectively, to ensure a healthy IB for key sectors that are critical to future capabilities. All of the vendor-specific information is kept in strict confidence and is therefore not publicly available.

    While still an ongoing project, most of the work of S2T2 is complete, Broitman said.

    She described S2T2 as an invaluable resource. “With S2T2, we really delve deep into each tier of the supply chain in order to be accurate [as to] whether a particular company is critical, meaning if it goes away, no other company could fill its spot, so the entire supply chain is at risk,” she said. The S2T2 data repository includes a detailed examination of relationships between second- and third-tier suppliers.

    “The effect on these firms is especially important to emphasize, since a substantial portion, often 60-70 percent, of defense dollars provided to prime contractors is subcontracted,” states the 2013 MIBP report to Congress. “Many of these subcontractors, and their own suppliers, are small and innovative firms.”

    “Single points of failure” is another key phrase in the lexicon of Pentagon IB policymakers, who look for instances in which the ability to produce a certain product could go away. “On single points of failure, we look at the fragility and criticality of the supply chain,” Broitman said.

    “Whether you need a separate program to fund R&D or other things to keep some suppliers alive, I think that’s another question, but it’s worth asking.”

    She added that these points tend to be more common among products or technologies that are manufactured solely for DOD, meaning that there is no alternative commercial use or market for the product.

    One analyst agreed, explaining that industries with a large commercial audience are likely to be more stable in what they can provide DOD during a downturn. “For example, you have a commercial airliner industry that is going really well. Companies without diversification elsewhere [beyond DOD] will have a much harder time,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at the Teal Group Corp., a Virginia-based consultancy.

    Aboulafia added that the Pentagon, in its examination of the IB, might want to emphasize individual companies on a case-by-case basis instead of taking a sector-by-sector approach, because there is significant diversity within sectors. One company in a given sector might be diversified with commercial products or multiple defense programs, whereas another may not, he explained.

    At the same time, Broitman noted, an IB issue could emerge regarding a product available in parts of the world, but that the United States would like to ensure is produced domestically.

    Another analyst wondered if single points of failure might, in reality, merely translate to market price increases for particular products.

    “A single point of failure may become a price increase because there is almost always someone who will make something if the price is right,” said Benjamin H. Friedman, senior fellow in defense and homeland security studies at the Cato Institute, a Washington, DC-based think tank.

    Friedman said globalization and the “netting” together of markets are likely to make DOD less dependent on one particular source of supply. He emphasized that the free-market would is well suited to address most IB issues.

    “The more technically difficult or complex it is to produce something, the more we should worry about an ability to make it at low cost,” he added.

    Mitigation strategies also are a large part of the IB policy equation, wherein the Pentagon employs a particular approach to foster competition, sustain production or identify key areas of needed investment.

    Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Renneker grinds a blank flange for a seawater cooler on one of the diesel engines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island in the Arabian Sea, March 1, 2012. The Army works closely with the other services and Pentagon leadership to coordinate IB efforts. If one of the services is producing a given technology, that may help another service maintain production capacity for a desired system. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class David McKee)

    Such strategies may involve DOD investment in a particular product or area in order to preserve the supply chain and critical core capabilities.

    DOD recognizes its responsibility to maintain a robust IB for the long term and to enhance industrial capacity “by investing in those defense unique items that will support future acquisition programs,” the report to Congress states. Sequestration and longer-term budget cuts could limit capital market confidence in the defense industry. “Faced with this continued uncertainty, companies will be less willing to make internal investments in their defense portfolios or more likely abandon them altogether,” particularly smaller, innovative and niche-product companies with fewer resources to cushion the fiscal pressures, the report states.

    This is where DOD can play a role. The report notes that earlier Pentagon decisions to invest in important IB technologies and capabilities when defense spending was on the decline led to pivotal programs such as the F-16, the Abrams tank, and the Patriot air and missile defense system.

    “We’re not looking to invest forever,” Broitman said. “When we do this, it is a temporary solution. We need to know if, at the end, there is a way forward for the company without us.” DOD is careful to analyze the market to ensure that any investment will prove both relevant and worthwhile. It is important to keep pace with market changes and technological progress, Broitman said.

    “We don’t want to spend money if a particular product will be moving to the next generation by the time there is an exit strategy,” she explained.

    DOD has invested in a number of areas over the past several years to preserve critical capabilities—for example, lightweight materials, GPS-related technologies, rocket components and battery items, Broitman said.

    There are various avenues of funding for mitigation strategies, including use of the Defense Production Act and the DOD technology program ManTech, Broitman said.

    “We try to do small, flexible, nimble investments,” she said.

    MIBP’s 2013 report to Congress warns against expectations that DOD will simply spend more on procurement to solve IB challenges. “Now, more than ever, buying products beyond what is required is not an option, no matter how much those products may protect key industrial base capabilities by generally exercising the entire industrial base,” the report states. “We simply cannot pursue a strategy that ultimately results in solving ‘million dollar’ problems with ‘billion dollar’ solutions.”

    Rather, DOD is weighing options along a spectrum between program cancellation and completed full-scale production. “These options include upgrading or extending the service life of existing programs, hovering or slowing ongoing programs, shelving or rolling over technology for future systems, executing planned low-rate procurements, and/or choosing silver bullet procurements of successful prototypes,” the report states.

    Of those possible approaches, the report identifies two with the greatest promise for keeping the IB intact during long intervals between new major weapon program starts:

    • Selective low-rate procurements, also known as block production.
    • A hedging approach that produces a highly capable system with a high-technology operational advantage against current or near-term threats and, at the same time, forms a basis to build out larger production runs if necessary, while preserving critical human, manufacturing and technical capabilities.

    For more information, go to http://www.acq.osd.mil/mibp/.

    MR. KRIS OSBORN is a reporter for Military.com. Previously he was a highly qualified expert for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Office of Strategic Communications. He holds a B.A. in English and political science from Kenyon College and an M.A. in comparative literature from Columbia University, and has done graduate work in international relations at the University of Chicago.

    Read more »
  • Army network boosts speed, simplicity during test

    Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T, Increment 2 enhancements, based on Soldier feedback from theater and the Network Integration Evaluations, 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 2014, with Soldiers putting a large part of a brigade's worth of equipment through its paces in a tactical environment. (Photos by Dan Augustyniak, ATC)

    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.

    The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T, Increment 2 Point of Presence, or PoP, which provides mobile mission command at the battalion level and above, was part of the WIN-T Increment 2 developmental test in February 2014, at the Aberdeen Test Center, or ATC, at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

    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.”

    Read more »
  • Layers of Concern

    CRITICAL ANALYSIS A Soldier checks a WIN-T Increment 2 Point of Presence-equipped vehicle at Forward Operating Base Gamberi, Afghanistan, in September 2013. WIN-T is one of the Army systems to have undergone a FaC analysis. (U.S. Army photo by SPC Edward Bates, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Public Affairs)

    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?”

    COMPLEX RELATIONSHIPS The Gray Eagle UAS incorporates elements of WIN-T Increment 3, such as a Highband Radio Frequency Unit - Extended Range Multi-Purpose Ku-band line-of-sight transmission system, shown here during testing in late 2012. FaC assessments have shown how an industrial base issue with one key capability can affect another. (U.S. Army photo)

    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.

    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.)

    FIGURE 1: FIVE SECTORS The Army has divided the industrial base into five sectors that align with the efforts of PEOs, LCMCs and other major players. (SOURCE: Juan L. Millan)

    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.

    A QUESTION OF FRAGILITY The crew of an M1A2 Abrams Tank from 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division (3-1 CAV) fires during the battalion’s Table VI live-fire gunnery Sept. 24, 2013, at Fort Hood, TX. Assessing the Abrams tank’s industrial base enabled the Army to identify fragile capabilities. (U.S. Army photo by SGT Kim Browne, 3-1 CAV Public Affairs)

    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.

    Read more »
  • The Promise of Partnerships

    AMC works to preserve OIB capabilities through cooperative arrangements with industry and others


    By Mr. Mark L. Morrison


    Among the challenges faced by the Army’s organic industrial base (OIB), as it transitions from combat to sustainment, is allocating diminishing workload within the depots and arsenals of the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC). Capitalizing on private-sector capabilities through public-private partnerships (P3), such as work share, teaming, direct sales, facility use and leasing, is one key way to preserve the OIB’s unique capabilities while ensuring its viability as an enterprise in the near term and its long-term ability to meet surge requirements.

    To support the warfighter during the past 12 years, AMC has invested in tooling, specialty equipment, training and the professional development of a deployable, skilled and award-winning OIB workforce. Among the honors AMC has received are 27 of 47 Shingo awards; Lean Six Sigma and value engineering awards; selection as a Reuters Top 100 Global Innovator; Secretary of Defense Environmental awards; and presidential rank and civilian service awards.

    P3s enable our partners to take advantage of these investments, capabilities and workforce skills. Partnerships provide access to advanced technology; state-of-the-art equipment; secure AMC facilities that are ISO (International Organization for Standardization)-certified and comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations; the potential use of hard-to-obtain hazardous waste permits; and Lean Six Sigma processes. Partnerships also allow industry to leverage long-term use agreements and reduce their capital investment and overhead costs.

    For the Army, P3s offer the benefits of improving operational efficiencies, lowering costs of products and services, accelerating innovation, sustaining critical skills and capabilities, and ultimately reducing our expensing rates, thus making our depots and arsenals more cost-competitive. In FY13, AMC had 205 partnerships, representing total revenue of $203 million while sustaining 1,800 jobs. (See “Conserving Capabilities,” Army AL&T magazine, January-March 2013, Page 160.)

    Gen. Dennis L. Via, center right, AMC CG, attends a demonstration of the alternative energy site at Tooele Army Depot (TEAD), Utah. Via encouraged TEAD management to continue their marketing efforts, especially for TEAD’s unique capabilities. (U.S. Army photo)

    DOD has endorsed the continued use of partnerships as a critical part of President Obama’s national security strategy. In a July 2012 report to the secretary of the Army, the Defense Business Board, tasked with providing recommendations on how to exploit the benefits of these partnerships more fully, noted: “Public-Private Collaborations leverage the resources of the private sector and other collaborating agencies and allies. As the department enters a decade of austerity, collaborations are a cost-wise process that usually results in a significant return on a relatively modest investment.”

    The same report also noted departmentwide challenges that can undermine partnership efforts. Top among the challenges DOD faces is that there is no overarching P3 doctrine, no standard approach for industry-DOD partnerships. Consequently the private sector does not know how to go about partnering.

    AMC’s experience echoes some of those themes, notably the lack of a standard approach to partnering. Currently, AMC organizations are as diverse in their P3 approaches as each installation’s capabilities. As Gen. Dennis L. Via, AMC commanding general (CG), has observed, “Fostering partnerships calls for a more responsive approach on AMC’s part.” The private sector is a fast-moving entity that calls for a receptive and timely government response.

    Brig. Gen. Kristin K. French, left, commander of the Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command and Joint Munitions Command, examines the Sensor Fuzed Weapon produced at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP), Okla., as David Higgins, MCAAP site leader for Textron Defense Systems, explains its operation. The weapon is produced by MCAAP under a contract with Textron Defense Systems. Col. Joseph G. Dalessio, MCAAP commander, is at right. The visit was the general’s first to MCAAP after assuming command of its higher headquarters in July 2013. (Photo by Lea Giaudrone, AMC)

    To address these concerns, AMC is working on a new business development strategy that will focus on the benefits and pitfalls of partnering, to establish a standard approach to attracting partnerships and reaching agreements.

    The new business development plan will lay out a standard policy, metrics, tools and training that will enable the OIB to speak with one language when it comes to attracting new business. As the plan is finalized, the focus is on standardizing efforts and applying the required levels of AMC attention and resources at all sites.

    In devising this new approach, AMC examined where and how partnerships have worked especially well. The most successful arrangements have developed when the collaboration took a “triad” approach. This method includes a business development professional, legal advisor and contracting officer at the initial stages of a relationship, as follows:

    • Business development, to reach out with the concept of partnering, determine scope and garner concept approval.
    • Legal, to analyze the environment and bring a solid understanding of applicable law, regulation and policy, with the aim of maximizing flexibility to the business development professional and the contracting officer.
    • Contracting, to determine the best interests of the government and thus ensure that the partnering effort achieves its stated goals through rock-solid agreements and supporting documents that define applicable terms and conditions such as direct labor structure and costs.

    Charles Chatman overhauls an X1100 transmission used in the M1 family of vehicles at the Powertrain Transmission Facility of Anniston Army Depot, AL. P3s leverage the skills of workers such as Chatman along with the resources of the private sector. (U.S. Army photo by Mark Cleghorn)

    Not only is integrated coordination a must from the beginning of a partnership, but AMC needs to go even further by looking toward a larger definition of partnership. Beyond the traditional arrangements with industry and small business, partnering should involve a larger concept of “public” that includes other services, the Defense Logistics Agency and other countries as well.

    In addition, the continued growth in foreign military sales (FMS) offers a promising venue for partnerships. In FY13, FMS support resulted in $190 million in revenue for the OIB.

    Our industrial capabilities and capacities should make us an attractive partner. Ultimately the best, most successful partnerships are those that add value to the OIB and bring profit to the private-sector partner. We must team with industry to create win-win opportunities.

    As AMC’s new business development plan advances, its rapid execution will support the preservation of unique OIB capabilities, so that the OIB can remain effective, efficient and poised to provide the timely, high-quality support that our warfighters have come to expect and demand.

    For more information, contact the AMC G-3/4 Industrial Base Capabilities Division at 256-450-7087 or Ramon Campos at Ramon.Campos.civ@mail.mil.


    • MR. MARK L. MORRISON is the director of industrial base and infrastructure planning at AMC headquarters, Redstone Arsenal, AL. Morrison served for 29 years as an Army Ordnance Corps officer before retiring in 2009. Subsequently, he was selected as a highly qualified expert, and is responsible for leading AMC’s current industrial base optimization assessment. Morrison holds a B.A. in political science from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and an M.S. in national security and strategic studies from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

    Read more »