Are you relevant?

Are you relevant?

By Mr. Michael Bold   DAWIA requires career-long education for AAW members; it’s up to you to make the most of it. “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” ― Albert Einstein And if you’re a member of the Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW), intellectual growth in the form of continuous learning is just as it sounds―continuous. When the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) became law in 1990, it envisioned a professional acquisition workforce that was not only well-educated in the acquisition process, but also constantly upgraded that education. The Continuous Learning Policy was enacted to make certain that, for members of the AAW, education was […]

Tools for talent

Tools for talent

By Mr. Craig Spisak, Director, Acquisition Career Management There are many ways to motivate our Army Acquisition Workforce Our work as Army acquisition professionals involves everything from helicopters to radios, tanks to software, body armor to missiles, and so much more. But at the end of the day, it really is all about talent management: finding a way to put the right person in the right job at the right time. There are a number of tools that have long been available for what we call the three R’s: recruiting, retention and relocation. We also have some relatively new tools, such as expedited hiring and direct-hire authority. The new year […]

Better, faster, cheaper

Better, faster, cheaper

PEO EIS’ Defensive Cyber Operations office is achieving rapid acquisition of constantly evolving IT by using consortium-based other transaction authority. by Lt. Col. Scott Helmore and Tom Cole, Brig. Gen., USA (Ret.) How to acquire and provide capability better, faster and cheaper has been a consistent theme in defense acquisition for decades. In this era of cyber, information technology (IT) and software-intensive systems, technology moves faster than the traditional acquisition system can support. Traditional timelines for requirements, funding, development, production and fielding span years. By the time systems are delivered to Soldiers, the need they were designed to fill may be several years old. This problem has confounded Army leadership, […]

Keeping an eye on ‘true north’

Keeping an eye on ‘true north’

KENNETH BERTRAM COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, U.S. Army Medical Command TITLE: Principal assistant for acquisition YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 8 YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE: 24 DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in program management and in science and technology management EDUCATION: M.D. and Ph.D. in microbiology, University of Minnesota; B.S. in microbiology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign AWARDS: Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service; Meritorious Civilian Service Medal; Superior Civilian Service Medal; Legion of Merit; Order of Military Medical Merit; U.S. Army Meritorious Service Medal; U.S. Army Commendation Medal Keeping an eye on ‘true north’ by Ms. Susan Follett  Ask anyone in acquisition what they’d change if they […]

Speeding combat casualty care

Speeding combat casualty care

In future conflicts, with communication channels and evacuation routes contested, a lot more casualty care might happen right there on the battlefield itself. by Mr. Ramin A. Khalili Dr. Elliot Botvinick sits in his office on the campus of the University of California, Irvine, holding a tiny device in the palm of his hand. It is smaller than a garage door opener, smaller than a standard business card even, and is so slight and inconspicuous that he might be able to stick one on a passing student without their noticing. It also might be the future of battlefield medicine, according to the U.S. Army. Minds like Botvinick’s may be exactly […]

World-Class Technology, According to Plan

World-Class Technology, According to Plan

By Ms. Argie Sarantinos-Perrin Information-gathering drones swarm the air as unmanned Army vehicles push just ahead of infantry Soldiers into a mega-city overflowing with people, vehicles and high rises. Army cyber warriors fight a silent battle for the city’s internet of things while an unmanned warship shoots down an aircraft, which explodes in the air, creating a massive fireball and a barrage of fragments that plummet to the ground. Meanwhile, the first artillery crew to the battle is trading targeting and friendly forces information with Air Force bombers and Navy gunners. The technologies in this future multi-domain battle scenario may seem far-reaching, but the Army’s primary science and technology arm, […]

How many robots does it take?

How many robots does it take?

THEN & NOW 2007 & 2018 Then: a veritable ‘petting zoo’ of 7,000 unique robots, each slightly different to operate and expensive to maintain. Now: the challenge of getting all the functions of those 7,000 on just three main robotic platforms. by Ms. Mary Kate Aylward  It’s an arresting image: A dog—well, a “dog”—loose in the Sonoran Desert moves through a group of empty cars and trucks, sniffing around before halting and signaling to its handlers. Army personnel arrive on scene to dismantle the bomb identified by the “dog,” which is in fact a robot equipped with a powerful sensor that detects vapors or particles emanating from explosive devices. It […]

Money to burn

Money to burn

Making sure your ‘burn rate’ doesn’t overheat can be the difference between a successful program and toast. by John T. Dillard, Col., USA (Ret.) I still remember how it went that day in November. It was way back in the 1990s, and at the time I was a major serving as the assistant project manager for the development of the Javelin anti-tank missile system. We were right in the middle of our 36-month engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD) effort. The boss assembled a few of us in the conference room. He said, “We have to call for a DAB [Defense Acquisition Board]—this program is going to need a formal re-baselining. […]

Start the fire

Start the fire

As it has done in the past, the Army needs to leverage innovation for modernization success. by Col. Joseph Capobianco A spark, fuel and oxygen. As simple as these elements are, if one is missing, fire won’t exist. Similarly, there’s a triad of elements that must come together for innovation to occur. The Army is now trying to leverage this “fire” of innovation to solve the modernization problems of the past two decades. Achieving innovation requires much more than looking at resource use, assigning prioritization or adjusting organizational constructs. It demands addressing the driving force (the spark), building talented teams (the fuel), and fostering a supportive environment (the oxygen). Real […]

Holding all the ‘ACE’s

Holding all the ‘ACE’s

How one Army product office used strategic acquisition to drive competition and improve readiness in a specialized market dominated by two vendors. by Ms. Kimberly Davidson and Mr. James Christophersen Late on a January afternoon in Texas in 2015, gunfire shattered the typical silence and echoed through the halls of a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical clinic at Fort Bliss. In a scene too familiar to Americans today, active shooter alarms sounded in the William Beaumont Army Medical Center and two nearby schools—thousands of innocent people were suddenly in danger. Within two minutes of the first shots, a handful of first responders entered the building. Behind the scenes, multiple […]