• Army Prepares to Field Networked Technologies to Deploying Brigade Combat Teams

    A Soldier from 2/1 AD uses the Joint Tactical Radio System Rifleman Radio to communicate during the NIE12.2. The Army’s network CS 13, to be fielded starting in October, will deliver unprecedented connectivity to the dismounted Soldier through the Rifleman, a two-pound radio carried by platoon-, squad-, and team-level Soldiers for voice communications that also links with handheld devices to transmit text messages, GPS locations, and other data. (U.S. Army photos by Claire Schwerin.)

    Katie Cain

    Having concluded its third Network Integration Evaluation (NIE), the Army is in the midst of synchronized fielding efforts for the first integrated group of advanced tactical communications technologies to deploying Soldiers beginning this October.

    This group of networked technologies, known as Capability Set (CS) 13, is composed of network components, associated equipment, and software that will deliver, for the first time, an integrated voice and data capability throughout the entire brigade combat team (BCT) formation, from the brigade commander to the tactical edge—the dismounted Soldier.

    The five-week NIE 12.2 validated the connectivity, architecture, and components of CS 13, the tactical network baseline that will extend the network down to the individual Soldier and significantly enhance Mission Command on-the-Move and Soldier Connectivity (Nett Warrior).

    “The Agile Process and three consecutive NIEs have built a very solid team across dozens of Army organizations. We are taking lessons learned from the NIEs and directly applying those to fielding CS 13 to the 10th Mountain and other units.”

    Agile Acquisition Process


    The NIE is a key enabler of the Army’s new Agile Acquisition Process, aimed at rapidly developing, acquiring, and fielding integrated mission command capabilities. This process allows the Army to assess capability gaps, rapidly form requirements, solicit mature industry solutions, and perform laboratory and field evaluations; taking years off the traditional acquisition timeline.

    The Army’s Capability Set fielding plan supports a synchronized vehicle and network fielding strategy, prioritizes capabilities for deployed forces, and improves alignment of limited resources.

    Beginning in October, the Army will field CS 13 to as many as eight BCTs, with priority going to deployed forces (three BCTs), units scheduled to deploy next (three BCT training sets), a forward-stationed brigade in Korea, and the 2nd Heavy BCT, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD).

    Key to this endeavor is bringing the Army’s program executive offices (PEOs) and program managers (PMs) together during the NIE/Agile Process using the Capability Set Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) for integration, production, and deployment. The IMS is the backbone of CS 13, synchronizing the network and vehicle PMs’ master schedules for integrating and fielding capability sets.

    MRAP Evaluation


    On May 1, the Army completed the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) final design review, which solidified how CS 13 assets will be integrated into that vehicle platform. MRAPs will be used in the first infantry BCT formations that will be equipped with CS 13.

    A Soldier from 2/1 AD runs in front of vehicles equipped with Warfighter Information Network – Tactical Increment 2 during NIE 12.2 at White Sands Missile Range in May. With the 3,800 Soldiers of 2/1 AD conducting a rigorous, intelligence-driven operational scenario against a battalion-size opposing force, the Army’s new tactical communications network allowed them to pass information rapidly across echelons; from the brigade tactical operations center down to the individual Soldier, using many of the assets in CS 13. Facing a hybrid threat of conventional forces, insurgents, criminals, and electronic warfare, the brigade executed combined arms maneuver, counterinsurgency, and stability operations.

    The NIE has been vital to validating MRAP network design and architecture. Soldier feedback during the NIE process has led to many design and user interface improvements that are being incorporated into the final MRAP configuration. Under the current construct, networked High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) platforms will be used as training sets by CONUS units as they prepare to deploy. Working with U.S. Army Research and Development Centers and industry, Capability Set fielding teams have nearly completed the HMMWV preliminary design review.

    Final engineering drawings for the first five “super configuration” MRAP prototype vehicles were finalized at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren, MI.

    On June 25, production of those first five vehicles equipped with CS 13 assets began at TARDEC. In August, these vehicles will be shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, where they will undergo safety release testing and network verification testing.

    “We are beginning to build and test the Capability Set 13 prototypes, which is an astronomical feat given that we started the production design only six months ago,” said Elizabeth Miller, Chief Engineer, Synchronized Fielding in the System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate.

    The remaining prototype vehicles to be equipped with CS 13 will be built at the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in Charleston, SC and the Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, TX. SPAWAR will build the MRAP production assets to support the October fielding of CS 13, while HMMWV training set production will be done at Red River.

    Unit Fielding Process


    As vehicle and system design and integration plans are finalized, equipping meetings with receiving units have swung into high gear. The first units to receive CS 13 will be two brigades in the 10th Mountain (MTN) Division. Recently, several key Army commands and staff offices including U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Materiel Command, U.S. Army Deputy Chiefs of Staff G-3/5/7 and G-8, SoSI, and several PEOs attended a three-day CS 13 Unit Equipping and Reuse Conference with the 3rd BCT, 10th MTN to develop, synchronize and schedule all CS 13 New Equipment Training/New Equipment Fielding (NET/NEF) requirements with the receiving brigade’s training schedule. New equipment training will begin with 10th MTN units in October.

    Following this conference, a two-day 4/10 MTN Synchronized Fielding Conference was held to update the unit’s NET/NEF schedule and long-range training calendar. Additionally, an IMS update took place with each CS 13 product manager to get a final lock on their training and fielding requirements, equipment delivery dates, and integration requirements, as well as to establish dependencies, predecessors, and successors for each event.

    “We are very excited about the great integrated capability that we will soon field to our brigade and Soldiers,” said LTC(P) Darby McNulty, SoSI. “The Agile Process and three consecutive NIEs have built a very solid team across dozens of Army organizations. We are taking lessons learned from the NIEs and directly applying those to fielding CS 13 to the 10th Mountain and other units.”

    After fielding CS 13, the Army will program to field up to six BCT sets of network equipment per year for the FY14-18 Program Objective Memorandum, to better synchronize its platform and network modernization efforts.

     


    • KATIE CAIN is a Media Relations Specialist for the Tolliver Group Inc. supporting the ASAALT SoSI Directorate. Cain holds a B.A. in applied arts in integrative public relations, with a minor in political science from Central Michigan University.

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  • The Army’s Integration Team

    Synchronized fielding is the outcome of the NIEs and the Agile Process, the Army’s new approach to rapidly developing, acquiring, and fielding integrated mission command capabilities. The service is synchronizing fielding efforts as it prepares to deliver CS 13 to deploying BCTs beginning in October. Shown here are networked vehicles at the NIE 12.2, which took place May 1 to June 8 at Fort Bliss, TX, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. (U.S. Army photos by Claire Schwerin.)

    Katie Cain

    On October 1, 2011, the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Integration (PEO I) transitioned to the System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate under the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASAALT), to manage system integration and the Army’s new acquisition model known as the Agile Process. SoSI became a subordinate organization of ASAALT.

    Reporting directly to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Systems Management at ASAALT headquarters, SoSI is part of continuing efforts to improve procurement practices, streamline requirements, better manage cost and schedule issues, integrate new technologies before they are sent to theater, and work more closely with industry.

    Today, SoSI leads the Army’s integration efforts from its headquarters at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD with supporting offices in Warren, MI, and Fort Bliss, TX. SoSI spearheads materiel and configuration management of the Army’s Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs), serves as a key adaptive acquisition team manager supporting the Agile Process, and leads the Capability Set Management synchronized fielding efforts.

    The Agile Process seeks technology improvements from both large and small industry partners to fill hardware and software needs as determined by requirements analysis and directly links to the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model. ARFORGEN is the systematic process whereby brigades equip, train, and deploy. The NIE is a key part of the Agile Process and synchronized fielding of Capability Set Management across the program executive offices (PEOs).

    The formation of SoSI was partly a result of acquisition recommendations arising from the 2010 Army Acquisition Review. This organizational change will help implement some of those recommendations, such as working more closely with industry, acquiring more technical data packages, and conducting integrated testing earlier and more often in the acquisition process. In addition, organizations within SoSI are working on improving the synchronization of requirements and acquisition procedures at the front end of the process, to ensure achievable, clearly defined cost and schedule goals.

    SoSI uses the family-of-systems approach to ensure integration and interoperability among Army programs of record, current force systems, urgent need systems and other doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development and education, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF) elements to achieve integrated unit capabilities for a full-spectrum force. This approach is to be implemented through development, acquisition, testing, product improvement, and fielding, while ensuring total ownership cost reduction.

    Reporting directly to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Systems Management at ASAALT headquarters, SoSI is part of continuing efforts to improve procurement practices, streamline requirements, better manage cost and schedule issues, integrate new technologies before they are sent to theater, and work more closely with industry.

    SoSI provides system engineering, integration, and test evaluation expertise to field fully integrated and tested Capability Sets composed of vehicles, network elements, equipment, and supporting infrastructure to modernize Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) and thereby achieve unprecedented joint combat capability in conjunction with the ARFORGEN process.

    Serving as the lead network architect and systems integrator for the NIEs, SoSI synchronizes the effort across the broader materiel development community, integrates and synchronizes services and support to all ASAALT and industry participants, and serves as the ASAALT single interface to the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) and the users: the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Brigade Modernization Command (BMC), and the 2nd Heavy BCT, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD), the 3,800 Soldier-strong brigade, based at Fort Bliss, who execute the NIEs.

    To support Capability Set Management and keep pace with industry’s rapid maturation of technology, the Army is transforming its current acquisition methods through a seven-phase Agile Process. Through the Agile Process, the Army assesses capability gaps, rapidly forms requirements, solicits mature industry solutions, and performs laboratory and field evaluations to inform acquisition decisions.

    SoSI leads three of the seven phases: Phase 1 (Solicit Potential Solutions), Phase 2 (Candidate Assessment), and Phase 4 (Network Integration Rehearsal). The Agile Process allows the Army to keep pace with industry and technological advances, reduce the amount of time and resources necessary to respond to the rapid changes in Soldier requirements, incrementally improve the network over time, and provide deployed units with better capabilities more quickly and in a more cost-effective manner.

    The output of the Agile Process is synchronized fielding. SoSI is synchronizing the implementation and fielding of Capability Set (CS) 13, composed of vehicles, network components, and associated equipment and software that will deliver an integrated voice and data capability throughout an entire BCT formation.

    Through the NIEs and Agile Process, SoSI ensures that CS 13, slated for fielding to deploying BCTs starting in FY13, is integrated and sustainable. This is the first time the Army has fielded fully integrated sets of network capability, thus necessitating business and organizational changes to support the development and fielding efforts.

    SoSI spearheads materiel and configuration management of the Army’s Network Integration Evaluations, serves as a key adaptive acquisition team manager supporting the Agile Process, and leads the Capability Set Management synchronized fielding efforts.

    NIE 12.2 was the third and largest such event the Army has held to date, requiring the 2/1 AD to assess the network’s performance while stretched across vast distances and punishing terrain at White Sands Missile Range. Soldier feedback and test results from NIE 12.2 will validate and finalize CS 13, the first integrated package of tactical communications gear that will be fielded to eight brigade combat teams starting in October. The integrated package of radios, satellite systems, software applications, smartphone-like devices, and other network components supported 2/1 AD as the unit spread across the desert and mountains to complete its mission.

    CURRENT PROGRAMS

     
    PM Current
    Project Manager (PM) Current is the SoSI office responsible for NIE execution and system integration at Fort Bliss. Headed by COL Gail Washington and consisting of system engineers, materiel integrators, logisticians, and technical experts in command, control, communications, and computers, the PM office is the materiel integrator, configuration manager, and systems engineering lead for the NIE. PM Current also manages industry field service representative support to the NIEs and acts as the official SoSI representative to the NIE “TRIAD” management team for materiel issues. The TRIAD comprises personnel from SoSI, ATEC, and the BMC.

    Futures Directorate
    The Futures Directorate, led by Kelly Alexander, is headquartered in the National Capital Region. Futures is responsible for ASAALT management of the Agile Process. Supporting this process, the Futures Directorate solicits solutions to capability gaps from industry and government organizations for potential participation in the NIE process, manages early solution evaluations across all stakeholders, conducts competition, and oversees integration and configuration management across the PEO community.

    One of the directorate’s key functions is leading stakeholders in assessing responses to the Army’s solicitations and proposing candidates to be evaluated in an NIE. The directorate also leads the drafting and release of sources sought notifications and requests for proposals for mature capability solutions to participate in a NIE event. After the evaluation and integration work is over at command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance labs at Aberdeen Proving Ground, SoSI manages the configuration and transitions to Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range, NM for NIE integration and training.

    Synchronized Fielding Directorate
    SoSI’s Synchronized Fielding Directorate maintains configuration management of the final Capability Set technical network baseline approved during the NIE process and manages the Capability Set Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) for production and deployment. The directorate uses the IMS to coordinate individual fielding among PEOs, program managers, U.S. Army Forces Command, G-8, and the gaining BCTs, while maintaining sustainment planning and asset handoff to the gaining unit.

    In addition, the Synchronized Fielding team coordinates with system program managers for maturation of B-kit components and with platform program managers for maturation of A-kit components, seeking proper integration of both.


    • KATIE CAIN is a Media Relations Specialist for the Tolliver Group Inc. supporting the ASAALT SoSI Directorate. Cain holds a B.A. in applied arts in integrative public relations, with a minor in political science from Central Michigan University.

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  • Army Examining Capabilities for Future Network

    The PD C4ISR & Network Modernization Event 2012, at Fort Dix, NJ, from April 16 through July 27, supports initiatives to provide actionable intelligence at the squad level and improved situational awareness to dismounted Soldiers. (U.S. Army photos by Edric Thompson, RDECOM CERDEC.)

    The Army is assessing capabilities and emerging C4ISR technologies as part of its efforts to shape the network of the future, including its annual integrated capabilities event at Fort Dix, NJ.

    The Product Director (PD) Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (C4ISR) & Network Modernization Event 2012 (E12), which began April 16, focuses on the network in the near term and several years out. The findings will help senior leaders make informed decisions in shaping the Army’s future force and network.

    “Network modernization is an Army priority. Each year our goal is to stand up a fully integrated and instrumented architecture that provides quantifiable data regarding the technical performance of a system-of-systems network that leverages C4ISR capabilities across the spectrum,” said LTC Quentin L. Smith, PD C4ISR & Network Modernization within the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center (RDECOM CERDEC).

    The event, which provides an opportunity for stakeholders from across DoD to integrate and exercise future force capabilities, will also inform efforts to accelerate and recapitalize C4ISR technologies in the current force, thus supporting the Agile Acquisition process.

    “We help articulate the operational ‘so what’ of a provider’s technology early in the process: Where does it plug in, does it have potential, or does the technology provider need to go back to the drawing board to flush some things out, whether that’s back at his lab or by collaborating with us,” Smith said. “This is a nonattribution environment, not a pass/fail test; we’re here to work things out collaboratively.”

    E12, scheduled to run through July 27, examines the development of an integrated brigade combat team network that uses future capabilities outlined by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) for 2013-14. The work supports initiatives to provide actionable intelligence at the squad level and improved situational awareness to dismounted Soldiers.

    “You don’t just wake up one morning and have a capability. That’s why we are assessing these now, to see what works and makes sense at various echelons,” Smith said. “In the past, we’ve grown technologies, then introduced them to the Soldier at the back end. If we are to effectively and efficiently shape the Army’s future network, the S&T community at large needs to engage with each other and the Soldier upfront, using current and future requirements. And that means testing should be involved as you go through the wickets of engineering a system—from the very beginning to the end.”

    E12 critical activities include handheld and cellular technology at the tactical edge, emerging telemedicine technologies using current and future force network capabilities, radio-based combat identification, the assessment of emerging radio waveforms, and the recapitalization of current force technologies, such as the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS).

    Network modernization is an Army priority. Each year our goal is to stand up a fully integrated and instrumented architecture that provides quantifiable data regarding the technical performance of a system-of-systems network that leverages C4ISR capabilities across the spectrum.”

    The design for E12 assessments is based on guidance taken from the Army Science and Technology Master Plan, Army Modernization Plan 2012, Net Enabled Mission Command Initial Capabilities Document, Common Operating Environment Implementation Plan, and capability gaps identified by TRADOC. This allows PD C4ISR & Network Modernization to better scope the parameters for technology developers seeking to support Army requirements, Smith said.

    “Broad requirements result in an abundance of money, and the technology developer can still miss, especially if he throws an existing technology from inventory at a gap. That’s wasting their time and ours. The definitive data needs to be scoped upfront so the technology can be tailored to better support the Soldier’s need. If we do that, there is the opportunity to save a lot of money,” Smith said.

    Funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, PD C4ISR & Network Modernization is a research and development program within RDECOM CERDEC. The program provides the Army with a relevant venue to assess next-generation technologies, to evaluate and validate technical progress, to facilitate technology maturation and transition to acquisition, and to perform risk mitigation and candidate assessment and selection for future network integration rehearsal and exercises supporting Agile Acquisition.

    Major acquisition programs of record—such as Warfighter Information Network – Tactical Increment 2, the Rifleman Radio for Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit, and the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) for JTRS Network Enterprise Domain—have leveraged PD C4ISR & Network Modernization for risk mitigation and reduction to help achieve their milestone decisions.

    CERDEC is assessing capabilities and emerging C4ISR technologies as part of its efforts to shape the future network. The future network could include battlefield telemedicine technologies that allow combat medics to reach back to medical facilities away from the battlefield.

    The PD has also assessed the impact of Joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and sensor fusion on tactical operations, evaluated the degree of interoperability between ISR and mission command systems across the current and future forces, advanced technologies used to collect data on mobile and ad hoc networks, and proved SRW scalability by conducting the then-largest node demonstration of the waveform in the field.

    “We provide a neutral environment where engineers can come together and integrate without the distractions of proprietary positioning. In doing that, we become a catalyst where government and industry engineers learn from one another,” Smith said.

    “Instead of developing in a vacuum with a primary contractor, leverage the S&T community at large—government and industry—to shape and mature that technology. If we partner and learn from one another, I think the success rate of putting a great technology into the user’s hand goes up tremendously. Collaborative R&D on the front end will streamline processes, saving time and money on the back end.”

    Findings and insights from all assessments conducted during E12 will be captured and presented in a final report, which is a formal deliverable to senior leadership and key stakeholders, and will be made readily available to interested parties from across the Army and DoD enterprise. Immediate quick-look data and feedback are provided to applicable stakeholders throughout the event.


    • RDECOM CERDEC PUBLIC AFFAIRS

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  • Detroit Arsenal Supports Army Network Integration Evaluations

    Katie E. Cain

    Rachelle Kraft, Electrical Engineering Technician at the TARDEC Center for Ground Vehicle Development and Integration, integrates Point of Presence configuration antennas, filters, and cabling components on a WIN-T Increment 2 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle. WIN-T Increment 2 is the Army’s on-the-move, satellite-based communications network. (Photo courtesy of TARDEC.)

    In preparation for Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 12.2, the third in a series of semiannual evaluations designed to holistically integrate and rapidly advance the Army’s tactical network, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) is spearheading key ground vehicle integration efforts from its headquarters in Warren, MI.

    This marks the first time the Detroit Arsenal has conducted vehicle integration in support of the NIE. During the first two exercises, NIE 11.2 and 12.1 in the spring and fall of 2011, respectively, the systems that underwent testing and evaluation were integrated into the Army’s combat vehicle fleet at Fort Bliss, TX, and White Sands Missile Range, NM, where the 3,800 Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD) carry out the evaluations. The work was moved to the Detroit Arsenal to ensure that all vehicle integration, verification, and design work was completed upfront before the equipment arrived at Fort Bliss for integration with the gaining unit.

    “TARDEC’s previous work on network integration projects positioned us well in receiving this work,” said Kirndeep Bhamra, Deputy Associate Director, Project Management at TARDEC’s Center for Ground Vehicle Development and Integration (CGVDI). “We’ve led many projects, including Digital Backbone and command and control on-the-move integration. This prior relationship with PEO C3T [Program Executive Office Command, Control, and Communications – Tactical], coupled with our core mission of managing systems development and integration projects, made us the best choice to lead this effort.”

    A key part of the effort is integrating equipment for Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2, the Army’s on-the-move, satellite-based communications network, into various Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles (M-ATVs).

    “There were various components that needed to be integrated into the M-ATVs, taking into consideration space, weight, power, thermal impacts, safety, mobility, and various other analyses,” Bharma explained. “CGVDI is the overall project lead for this work. We designed the brackets to hold the equipment and integrated three prototype vehicles (mechanical and electrical).”

    Additionally, CGVDI helped procure production kits in support of NIE, leveraging various TARDEC resource groups for electrical design, software, and supporting analyses.

    WIN-T Increment 2 is designed to extend satellite communications down to the company level, allowing Soldiers to communicate through voice, data, images, and video, even in complex terrain that can break line-of-sight radio connections. In conjunction with NIE 12.2, WIN-T Increment 2 will undergo its initial operational test and evaluation in May and June.


    • KATIE E. CAIN is a Media Relations Specialist for the Tolliver Group Inc., supporting the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology System of Systems Integration Directorate. Cain holds a B.A. in applied arts in integrative public relations, with a concentration in political science, from Central Michigan University.

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  • Brigade Receives New M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System

    Stan Emelander

    SGT Vincent Mennell, a Combat Engineer with 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT) “Strike”, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), fires the newly issued M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System at Fort Campbell’s Range 44b, Feb. 10. The brigade is the first unit in the Army to be issued the weapon. (U.S. Army photo by SGT Joe Padula, 2nd BCT Public Affairs Office, 101st Airborne Division.)

    Program Executive Office Soldier’s Project Manager Soldier Weapons (PM SW) has fielded the new M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun Systems (MASS) to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team “Strike”, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, KY. Tests have determined the M26 to be the most reliable, durable, rugged shotgun in the Army inventory. The receiving unit initiated a week of fielding, training, and range activities in early February, with a small ceremony to mark the milestone achievement.

    The newest small arm in the Army’s inventory has a notable history of deployment, test, and evaluation. About 200 shotguns of an early predecessor of the M26, the Lightweight Shotgun System (LSS), were fielded to the 10th Mountain Division in 2003. This fielding answered an Operational Needs Statement that specified the need for a modular shotgun compatible with the M4 Carbine. The modularity concept specified that the shotgun could be configured as either a compact stand-alone shotgun or an under-barrel modular accessory to the M4, and that it be transformed into either mode quickly by Soldiers in the field without special tools or equipment.

    Units that received the LSS returned them upon redeploying from Afghanistan in 2005, about the same time as the XM26 MASS program got underway. The Army formalized the need for a MASS with an Operational Requirements Document, and a subsequent competition identified C-MORE Competition’s MASS as the shotgun best able to meet the Army’s needs. The XM26 was considered to be a non-developmental item because of its design maturity and demonstrated performance.

    Subsequent testing during the engineering and manufacturing development phase identified areas for improvement. Program managers put the XM26 through three stages of improvement and user testing, demonstrating steadily increasing performance and higher levels of user satisfaction. The weapon that emerged from the test and evaluation process is unique in the Army inventory.

    New Lightweight Capability

    The M26 MASS is a major departure from currently fielded shotguns. The Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 shotguns currently in Soldiers’ hands are military versions of familiar, widespread commercial arms. They are stand-alone weapons with tube magazines, weighing between 7 and 8 pounds. The M26 differs in that it can be used as an attached module to the M4 or as a stand-alone weapon; uses a box magazine; and weighs just 5.5 pounds in stand-alone configuration and 3.5 pounds as an attached module.

    The modular aspect of the M26 offers distinct advantages in some environments. Mounting a shotgun to an M4 can result in a weapon system with instant lethal and less-than-lethal capabilities.

    The lighter weight of the M26 is an advantage in all environments, although reducing the shotgun’s weight presented a design challenge. Less weight means more acute recoil forces.

    The answer to this challenge was the introduction of an innovative hydraulic recoil buffer in the M26 buttstock. While the overall recoil force remains the same, the buffer effectively reduces the “felt recoil.” Users have compared the buffer’s effect to the difference between a slap and a push.

    Mission Flexibility

    The box magazine is another innovative feature of the M26. Shotguns are flexible weapons because of the different types of ammunition they can fire, including buckshot, breaching, and less-than-lethal loads. Currently fielded shotguns must be unloaded one round at a time when the operator needs to change ammunition types. The M26 shortens switching ammunition to the amount of time it takes to change or reload a magazine.

    The modular aspect of the M26 offers distinct advantages in some environments. Mounting a shotgun to an M4 can result in a weapon system with instant lethal and less-than-lethal capabilities. The M26 brings this much-needed capability to situations in which force escalation is a concern, such as at checkpoints and during detainee handling operations. User testing showed that Soldiers transition from less-than-lethal engagements with the M26 to lethal engagements with an M4 faster than when using a stand-alone conventional shotgun.

    Urban operations that include door-breaching scenarios can also favor the M26 MASS. Shotguns are a primary tool for ballistic door breaching. The M26’s magazines allow a fast change from conventional buckshot ammunition to specialized door-breaching rounds. When there is a high likelihood of breaching operations, using the M26 MASS attached to the M4 lowers the Soldiers’ load by more than 4 pounds.

    Fielding Through 2015

    PM SW will be fielding two M26s per squad, 18 per unit, to Military Police and Engineer organizations through 2015. Fielding will begin with predeployers in CONUS. The Army has already taken delivery of 1,900 weapons to support the initial fieldings and has approval and funding to procure 8,000 M26s in all.


    • STAN EMELANDER is Product Director for the M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System at PEO Soldier’s Project Manager Soldier Weapons, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. A retired Army officer, Emelander holds a B.S. in physics from the United States Military Academy, an M.B.A. and an M.S. in systems management from the Florida Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in organization and management from Capella University, He is Level I certified in systems management, Level II certified in program management, and is a certified Project Management Professional. Emelander is a member of the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps.

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  • Adenovirus Vaccine: Making It Happen

    Dr. Clifford E. Snyder Jr.

    An Army recruit receives the adenovirus vaccine during basic training at Fort Benning, GA, Oct. 26, 2011. (Photo courtesy of Traci Vactor, Health Systems Specialist, Military Vaccine Agency.)

    The adenovirus vaccine (officially known as the Adenovirus Type 4 and Type 7 Vaccine, Live, Oral) has been used since Oct. 24, 2011. It protects military trainees against febrile respiratory illness (FRI)—with fever plus symptoms such as coughing and sneezing—caused by adenovirus Types 4 and 7. The adenovirus vaccine goes into the mouth of every basic trainee of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

    It does not get there by accident.

    The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command manages the development of adenovirus vaccine. The Pharmaceutical Systems Division of the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity (USAMMDA) houses the product manager and support staff. The Integrated Product Team (IPT), chaired by the product manager, developed the concept for deployment and distribution of adenovirus vaccine well before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensed the vaccine in March 2011. The Milestone Decision Authority approved the basic distribution concept—just-in-time deliveries directly from the manufacturer to the points of use—at Milestone B and C decision reviews.

    When basic trainees become ill, the U.S. government expends resources by diagnosing and treating illness, paying trainees who are too ill to train, and making adjustments to the training schedule. The use of adenovirus vaccine is cost-effective when the cost of vaccine is less than the sum of the costs avoided. Under the low-rate initial production contract, the Army procures adenovirus vaccine at a cost lower than the threshold cost, defined as the highest cost at which procurement of vaccine is favorable, as assessed in a cost-benefit analysis.

    Analysis of data collected by the Naval Health Research Center shows that the use of adenovirus vaccine has had a very favorable impact on the FRI rate. Disease caused by adenovirus Types 4 and 7 is no longer an issue during basic training.

    Logistics Requirements

    The manufacturer supplies adenovirus vaccine in a package of two bottles. The IPT’s logistics working group, which includes the manufacturer, conducted a series of test shipments to ascertain the effectiveness of procedures to maintain the cold chain for the vaccine, which must be kept at a certain temperature during transportation and storage. Adenovirus vaccine reached all of the points of use, the nine basic training installations for the U.S. military services, within 48 hours after packing—the period within which the packed vaccine could reliably be kept within temperature limits.

    The number of shipping containers sent by commercial carrier varies from month to month and by destination. The product manager develops a shipping plan from estimates of the number of recruits who will arrive at each site. The services need approximately 240,000 doses per year, a figure that includes a safety margin. Upon receiving the shipping plan, the manufacturer ships the number of doses of vaccine needed to immunize recruits in the following month. Since shipments began in October 2011, the manufacturer has shipped 100,800 doses to the training sites without incident.

    Communications Links

    The Adenovirus Vaccine Product Management Office has two links to the field, both represented on the IPT. The Distribution Operations Center of the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA) communicates with relevant logistics personnel at each of the receiving sites to call their attention to imminent deliveries, inquire about the condition of vaccine received, and respond to any questions or concerns relating to shipments.

    Serving to heal ... Honored to serve the medical needs of our military through acquisition, logistics, and technology

    After the receiving personnel evaluate basic information from the temperature monitors, they ship the monitors to USAMMA, where its personnel download a complete data set and then contact the manufacturer for information and advice on any questions regarding vaccine quality.

    The Military Vaccine Agency, a component of the Office of the U.S. Army Surgeon General, is the IPT’s link to preventive medicine staff at each installation, and to senior public health officers of each of the services. With these links, the product manager and IPT are well-positioned to acquire, process, and disseminate information on a timely basis, which remains critical to the distribution of this important vaccine.


    • CLIFFORD E. SNYDER JR. is the Product Manager for Adenovirus Vaccine in the Pharmaceutical Systems Division of USAMMDA. He holds a B.A. in natural sciences from Johns Hopkins University, a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Virginia, and a J.D. from George Washington University. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps Officers Basic Course. Snyder is Level III certified in program management, and is a member of the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps.

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  • Train the Instructor Course a Vital Step Forward for Afghan Armor Corps

    Bill Good

    Product Manager Armored Security Vehicle (PM ASV) has been working with the Combined Security Training Command-Afghanistan to provide a complete fielding, training, and long-term sustainment program for the newly organized Afghan National Army kandaks. Pictured, from left, are: LTC Moraru-Apostol, Romanian Army; LTC Thierry Bourioun, French Armor Branch School Senior Mentor; MAJ Patrick McFall, Forward-Deployed Representative, PM ASV; LTC Francoise Marechal, French Armor Branch School Deputy; and CPT Robin Davies, British Armor Branch School Training Advisory Group. (U.S. Army photo.)

    Crawl, Walk, Run: That simple phrase is the common refrain heard in U.S. Army training facilities  throughout the world. This approach forces new Soldiers to focus on the basics before moving onto more advanced techniques. In Afghanistan, that same training principle is being applied at the recently opened Afghan National Army (ANA) Armor Branch School. 

    In March, the ANA will take possession of the first 58 of 352 Mobile Strike Force Vehicles (MSFV)  to enhance their quick reaction and Mobile Strike Force (MSF) capabilities. These  vehicles represent the first kandak, or battalion, size element of armored vehicles for the ANA. This capability will be critical when U.S. forces begin their drawdown. 

    Nonetheless, before the MSFVs can be put into the fight, the drivers  must be trained to operate, use, and maintain the vehicles. Those training sessions began in December 2011 with the first Train the Instructor class (T2I).

    “The initial Train the Instructor course was a huge success. It developed confidence, built relationships, and enabled us to fully understand the challenges associated with conducting training across multiple languages and cultures,” said MAJ Patrick McFall, the Forward-Deployed Representative from Product Manager Armored Security Vehicle (PM ASV). “The success of this training regime is directly attributed to the hard work and determination of the entire team.”

    The MSF, managed by PM ASV, falls under the leadership of Project Manager Joint Combat Support Systems (PM JCSS) within the Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support.

    The U.S. Army’s Maneuver Support Center of Excellence (MSCoE) plays a critical role by leading the T2I effort, which is a combined effort of MSCoE, the French Armor Branch School, the ANA Armor Branch School, PM ASV, and Textron Marine and Land Systems. PM ASV has been actively working with the Combined Security Training Command-Afghanistan to provide a complete fielding, training, and long-term sustainment program for the five newly organized ANA kandaks. 

    “The initial Train the Instructor course was a huge success. It developed confidence, built relationships, and enabled us to fully understand the challenges associated with conducting training across multiple languages and cultures.”

    The inaugural class was attended by 71 Afghan instructors, who will form the initial training force for the ANA Armor Branch School. “The final event of the training was a live-fire exercise designed to test the knowledge acquired by the ANA instructors and to promote confidence within their ranks,” said COL William Boruff, PM JCSS.

    “As the ANA instructors initially approached the vehicle with ammunition in their arms, their faces were apprehensive. They didn’t know what to expect. As they entered the turret, loaded the rounds, and fired the weapon systems, you could see their confidence build with each engagement,” said McFall.

    The MSFV being fielded to the ANA is an updated version of the ASV, a platform that has more than four decades of proven performance. The modifications on the MSFV allow for additional protection while still using commercial-off-the-shelf parts. The MSFV family consists of three variants, each designed to meet a specific combat role and enhance the ANA MSF capability. The variants include an Armored Personnel Carrier with Gunner’s Protective Kit, an Armored Personnel Carrier with Turret, and an Armored Ambulance.

    “The MSFV provides each MSF kandak, with a rapidly deployable, highly mobile armored capability that can quickly maneuver in an all-terrain environment, while concurrently providing the ANA with sufficient firepower to conduct a wide variety of operational missions over an extended range and distance,” said CPT Joseph Denning, in the PM ASV office.


    • BILL GOOD is the Operations Officer for PM ASV. He holds an M.A. in public relations and organizational communication from Wayne State University.

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  • The ‘Bosses’ of NIE: Army Acquisition Officers Are Key to Success of Network Integration Evaluations

    MAJ John McGee, Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 12.1 Aerial Tier Trail Boss (left) talks with LTC Jon Ellis, Military Deputy to Project Director Futures, System of Systems Integration Directorate, inside a Company Command Post at the 2011 LandWarNet Conference in Tampa, FL. The Command Post was part of the Army’s Network Modernization booth that featured equipment involved in the first NIE in June-July 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Claire Schwerin, Program Executive Office for Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical.)

    In the months since the Army concluded its second Network Integration Evaluation, NIE 12.1, in November 2011, hundreds of Soldiers, engineers, developers, and program managers have remained at Fort Bliss, TX, and White Sands Missile Range, NM, to complete vehicle integration design work, de-install 12.1 platforms, integrate the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical test platform, and participate in new equipment and field training exercises, all in preparation for NIE 12.2.

    NIE 12.2, taking place in April and May, is the third installment in a series of semiannual evaluations designed to integrate and rapidly advance the Army’s tactical network. In the first two evaluations, the Army brought together the test, acquisition, and doctrine communities to test and evaluate the network in a completely integrated fashion, demonstrating the Army’s holistic focus on integrating network components simultaneously in one operational venue.

    Decisive to the NIEs’ success are a group of Army officers gathered from across the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASAALT), who are known as the “Trail Bosses.” They coordinate across members of the TRIAD, which manages the NIEs—the Brigade Modernization Command, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, and ASAALT’s System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate—and across the full spectrum of functional disciplines supporting the NIEs. They are well-versed in networked operations and operational vignettes, data collection, and hardware and software troubleshooting.

    The Trail Bosses are field-grade Army acquisition officers whose traditional roles and scope of work have been transformed to support the NIEs. Each Trail Boss and respective team serves as SoSI’s primary interface among multiple product management offices, integrated product teams, industry representatives, and the six battalions in the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD). In NIE 12.1, the six Trail Bosses managed teams of 8 to 10 people, with interface to another 20.

    The 3,800 Soldiers of 2/1 AD provide invaluable feedback to the acquisition community about the systems undergoing test and evaluation, ultimately leading to better capabilities getting into the hands of deployed troops faster and more often.

    Trail Bosses are the conduit between their assigned 2/1 AD battalion and a workforce of engineers, logisticians, testers and evaluators, and industry partners to ensure flawless execution of the evaluations. Their daily activities can include anything from training Soldiers and supporting field service representatives (FSRs) to advising leadership on the status of schedules, physical integration, training, preparation, and execution of activities associated with each exercise.

    “Our battalion Trail Bosses are assistant product managers who provide a critical interface with their supported battalion to plan, receive, train, employ, maintain, and troubleshoot systems nominated to participate in the NIEs,” said LTC Erik Webb, 2/1 AD Trail Boss.

    Webb develops and leads the six battalion-level Trail Boss teams: military, engineering, logistics, test, information assurance, resource management, and combat development personnel.

    LTC Erik Webb, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division Trail Boss, talks with several battalion Trail Bosses at a Program Executive Office Integration Change of Charter ceremony held at Fort Bliss, TX, Sept. 19, 2011. Pictured with Webb (from left) are: LTC James Garrett, Brigade Support Battalion Trail Boss; MAJ Naim Lee, 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment Trail Boss; MAJ Julius Smith, Brigade Special Troops Battalion Trail Boss; and LTC Jerry Coburn, Network Architecture Trail Boss. (U.S. Army photo by Travis McNeil, System of Systems Integration Directorate.)

    “Their task goes beyond the management of cost, performance, and schedule of a single product,” said Webb. “They are also responsible for the end-to-end integration of hardware and software systems in their supported units. This includes providing subject-matter expertise to assist the unit in the proper operation and employment of systems that have limited time for collective training and familiarization by the unit.”

    Working hand in hand with their assigned battalions during the NIE, Trail Bosses work seven days a week to ensure that the units have everything needed to prepare for and execute an NIE, including equipment delivery and installation, training, test instrumentation, integration and checkout, and logistics support. They are responsible for the management of planning, synchronizing, and integrating the systems under test and evaluation into units participating in the NIEs. In NIE 12.1, two systems underwent formal testing, while an additional 46 were simultaneously evaluated—a significant jump from the six Systems Under Test and 25 Systems Under Evaluation in the first NIE. More than 43 systems will be part of NIE 12.2.

    “Being a battalion Trail Boss involves building relationships with all stakeholders and gaining an understanding of the technical and operational capabilities of the systems, and the units’ vehicle platforms,” said MAJ John McGee, NIE 12.1 Integration and Aerial Tier Trail Boss.

    These relationships are pivotal because for the first time, industry has been allowed to participate in the NIEs as part of the Army’s new agile acquisition process. The Trail Bosses help bridge any gaps between industry representatives, engineers, and FSRs—who may or may not be accustomed to working within the framework of the Army—and the Soldiers they are supporting. The NIE Trail Bosses have become experts on how to accomplish their missions, enable effective communication, and carry out successful NIEs in support of the Army’s overarching network modernization effort.


    • System of Systems Integration Directorate Staff 

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  • Money-Saving Energy Initiatives Spotlighted in Afghanistan

    Summer Barkley

    MAJ Thomas W. Casey, REF Team Chief, Afghanistan, briefs Frank Kendall, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; Sharon Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs; and BG Bryan G. Watson, Director, Joint Engineering Directorate, USFOR-A, on solar power platforms used in the REF’s Energy to the Edge program to provide efficient power generation systems to combatant commanders of tactical units. (U.S. Army photo by Summer Barkley.)

    Cutting-edge technology and energy initiatives that bring energy-efficient power generation to forward-deployed units in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) were showcased to senior DoD personnel Jan. 8.

    Members of the 401st Army Field Support Brigade’s Field Assistance in Science and Technology Center (RFAST-C) and the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF) were also at the demonstrations.

    Frank Kendall, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics,  and Sharon E. Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, visited Camp Sabalu-Harrison at Bagram Airfield to see the first micro-grid emplaced in OEF. The micro-grid, which Burke’s office supported, is a joint venture involving Project Manager Mobile Electric Power (PM MEP) within Program Executive Office Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical; U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM), RFAST-C’s higher headquarters; and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A).

    The senior officials also saw several solar energy platforms that the REF uses in its Energy to the Edge initiative, providing portable energy solutions designed to operate more efficiently and to reduce fuel consumption and generator maintenance while storing excess energy to meet the energy requirements of combatant commanders in forward-operating tactical units.

    After briefings on the static displays, Burke discussed the future of the micro-grid project and a new program, the Energy Initiative Proving Ground (EIPG) that will establish a quantitative baseline for energy and fuel use in expeditionary operations and will systematically evaluate the impacts of technology such as higher-efficiency environmental control units, insulating thermal tent liners, tent shades, and hybrid solar-electrical power.

    The EIPG will also place a hybrid solar power system into a Village Stability Platform site for evaluation as a stable, reliable power source to reduce the fuel burden for critical command and control communication and surveillance systems.

    Burke noted that the successful demonstration of the micro-grid project was uncertain after PM MEP had to recall its subject-matter expert in December. Michael J. Zalewski, RFAST-C Power and Energy Engineer, volunteered to steward Camp Sabalu-Harrison and the micro-grid to keep it operational and developed a memorandum of agreement among the RDECOM senior officer in OEF, PM MEP, and the camp mayor to share responsibilities. In the spring, primary power is slated to be run to the site, and the micro-grid will no longer be required.

    Burke thanked LTC Alan C. Samuels, RFAST-C Director; U.S. Navy CDR Dane Honrado, Camp Sabalu-Harrison Life Support Area Commander; MAJ Thomas W. Casey, REF Team Chief, Afghanistan; and Zalewski for their work on energy initiatives.


    • SUMMER BARKLEY is the Public Affairs Officer for 401st Army Field Support Brigade at Bagram, Afghanistan. She holds a B.A. in history from Old Dominion University and a master’s degree in public administration from Troy University. She has completed the Public Affairs Officers Course at Defense Information School.

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  • Afghan National Army Receives Mobile Strike Force Vehicles

    Bill Good

    This Mobile Strike Force Vehicle (MSFV) Armored Personnel Carrier with Gunner’s Protective Kit is one of three variants of the MSFV, which is based on a modified, updated version of a Textron Marine and Land Systems vehicle platform design. The modifications to the MSFV allow for additional protection while still utilizing commercial-off-the-shelf parts. (Photo by Textron Marine and Land Systems.)

    The U.S. Army has taken another significant step forward in the strategic withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan with the shipment of the first 18 production Mobile Strike Force Vehicles (MSFVs) to theater.

    These 18 vehicles, shipped in November 2011, are the first of 281 MSFVs that will be provided to the Afghan National Army (ANA) to enable a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) capability, which will be critical once U.S. forces begin their drawdown. 

    “The MSFV provides each QRF Kandak [battalion] with a rapidly deployable, highly mobile armored capability that can quickly maneuver in an all-terrain environment, while concurrently providing the ANA with sufficient firepower to conduct a wide variety of operational missions over an extended range and distance,” said CPT Joseph Denning, in the Product Manager Armored Security Vehicle (PdM ASV) office, which is assigned to the Project Manager Joint Combat Support Systems (PM JCSS) in Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support.

    The MSFV uses a modified, updated version of a Textron Marine and Land Systems vehicle platform design that has more than four decades of proven performance. The modifications to the MSFV allow for additional protection while still using commercial-off-the-shelf parts.

    The MSFV family has three variants, each designed to meet a specific combat role and to meet and enhance the ANA’s QRF capability. The three variants include an Armored Personnel Carrier with Gunner’s Protective Kit, an Armored Personnel Carrier with Turret, and an Armored Ambulance.

    “MSFV is the definition of a rapid fielding initiative,” said COL William Boruff, PM JCSS. “We have gone from receiving a theater-defined requirement to awarding a contract and completing the Army acquisition process, resulting in delivery of the first low-rate initial production vehicles off the production line in just 14 months.”

    PdM ASV is working with NATO’s Combined Security Training Command – Afghanistan to provide a complete fielding, training, and long-term sustainment program to stand up seven newly organized ANA battalion-size units known as “Kandaks” by the end of 2013. 

    “This rapid fielding initiative will provide the ANA with a newly developed QRF capability that supports the U.S. strategic withdrawal by turning over the security of each Kandak’s operational area to a trained and equipped ANA unit,” Boruff said.


    • BILL GOOD is the Operations Officer for Product Manager Armored Security Vehicle. He holds an M.A. in public relations and organizational communication from Wayne State University.

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