X Marks the Spot

X Marks the Spot

Imagine trying to create a picture of the internet. Even if you could, it’d be out of date in seconds. Trying to visualize the cyber battlefield is roughly like that—and that’s just the beginning of planning and executing mission command for Army cyber operations. These aren’t just hard problems, they’re ‘DARPA hard.’ by Lt. Col. John Bushman, Mr. Jack Dillon, Mr. Michael Padden and Mr. Frank Pound Portraying maneuver warfare in the cyber domain is a difficult thing to do. After all, how can you show maneuver in cyberspace? There are no tangible flanks to defend, no rivers to cross and no visible military camps to target or avoid. But […]

A Glimpse From Above

A Glimpse From Above

OSD Logistics Fellows take on staff assignments and training in a collaborative learning program that allows participants to view the DOD enterprise logistics community from the highest level. by Mr. Bryan L. Jerkatis A friend and retired U.S. Air Force command chief often used an analogy with young troops to describe the differences between their worldviews and those of their leadership. “Your view of the ground [truth] depends upon the height of the branch in the tree upon which you are standing,” he would say. Similarly, the parable of “The Blind Men and the Elephant” teaches us that seeing only one side of something poses limitations. Both are also true […]

Keeping Contracts from Crashing

Keeping Contracts from Crashing

When reality strikes in contract administration for Army helicopters, DCMA Sikorsky Aircraft – Stratford fills in the gaps with real-time information and critical multifunctional expertise. by Maj. Rob Massey and Staff Sgt. Daniel Martin In every contracting course and every contracting office, you hear a familiar sentiment: “The perfect contract is just a modification away.” Yet even after incorporating that modification, circumstances and events inevitably will require input and intervention from the organization charged to administer the contract. Enter the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), an organization responsible for providing contract management support to some of the most complicated contracts across DOD. A case study is the Army’s contract for […]

Faces of the Force: James “Jay” Clark

Faces of the Force: James “Jay” Clark

COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Architectural Branch, Civil Structures Division, Engineering Directorate, U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville TITLE: Architect YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 32 DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level II in facilities engineering EDUCATION: Master of architecture and bachelor of architecture, Oklahoma State University; registered architect AWARDS: Commander’s Award for Civilian Service; Employee of the Year (2), U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, Alabama; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Architect of the Year Excellence by design By Susan L. Follett What began as a summer job with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) turned into a career for James “Jay” Clark, thanks to a boss’s encouragement and an early assignment that […]

Ground Truth

Ground Truth

Avoiding pitfalls when acquiring systems for unmanned and cyber warfare. by Ms. Jill Iracki Today’s ever-changing battlefield and rapid advances in technology call for systems that are more intelligent, independent and robust than ever. From robotics and manned-unmanned teaming to artificial intelligence to cyber and electromagnetic warfare, it is vital that the Army acquisition process effectively deliver technologically sophisticated systems to meet the threat. Equally important, however, is an acquisition workforce that is fully aware of how to develop these systems for success—for example, by applying the necessary cyber protections and understanding the system’s complexities before testing and training, and then providing the right training to the Soldier-user. The Acquisition […]

Been There, Done That: Strategic Acquisition

Been There, Done That: Strategic Acquisition

Does DOD set PMs up for failure with impossibly complex mega-programs built on immature technology? After a career in uniform supporting Army acquisition followed by a second career teaching acquisition, a former PM takes a final pulse check and outlines four best practices for keeping programs big and small on track. (The fourth in a series of commentaries by former program managers on the faculty of the Naval Postgraduate School) by Michael W. Boudreau, Col., USA (Ret.) I am recently retired from government service, after 28 years in the Army and then 20 years of teaching at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). I have been fortunate to see acquisition from […]

A New Way of Thinking

A New Way of Thinking

The Ottawa Treaty banning ‘dumb’ landmines caused a major capability gap in terrain shaping, area access and area denial, but it also created a massive possibility for innovation—and teamwork between government and industry. Now, ARCIC, PEO Ammunition and industry are working together to develop a capability that will go far beyond dumb. by Mr. Steve Stark The Gator Landmine Replacement (GLMR) program is, in many ways, emblematic of the kinds of tough but necessary technical challenges that the Army and DOD need to tackle in the coming years as they develop requirements for innovative new battlefield capabilities with strategic consideration for their long-term use and ultimate disposal—in short, the entire […]

Vehicular Visions

Vehicular Visions

by Ms. Margaret C. Roth Time was, not long ago, that the only vision for a new Army combat vehicle was the Army’s. The service would develop a requirement detailing, down to thread size, the precise design and parts that should go into the vehicle. Industry had a choice: Take it or leave it. Invest and engage in building the vehicle, or don’t. In his 14 years at General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), “I saw requirements that were so specific that if you had three people with that requirements document in front of them and they built three vehicles, all three vehicles looked exactly alike,” said Mike Peck, GDLS’ director of […]

A Rare FIND

A Rare FIND

by Mr. Steve Stark and Ms. Margaret C. Roth With the establishment of the Forum for Innovative Novel Discovery (FIND) and the Capabilities Information Exchange (CIE), TRADOC has broken new ground, involving industry in creating innovative warfighting capabilities with a clear focus on future force development that will help both ARCIC and industry prioritize their efforts. “We do have an opportunity to engage industry partners earlier in the requirements process, and we’re moving to do that through the CIE and also through the FIND process,” said Maj. Gen. Robert M. “Bo” Dyess, ARCIC deputy director. The initial pilot for FIND brought six companies, chosen from 28 submissions responding to the […]

Recalibrating Requirements

Recalibrating Requirements

With the help of groundbreaking efforts by professional combat developers, requirements writers and program managers, ARCIC is looking to thaw the glacial pace of acquisition and speed capabilities to the warfighter as the Army warms to new ways of doing business, welcoming innovation and involving industry early and often. by Mr. Steve Stark and Ms. Margaret C. Roth The bad news is that the Army has a big problem: an entrenched process that cannot generate capability requirements fast enough to get the capability into Soldiers’ hands when they need it. The good news is that the Army is taking very seriously its efforts on innovation—innovation in the systems it procures […]