In September 2010, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Plans, Programs, and Resources (DASA PPR) established the Army Performance Assessment and Root Cause Analyses (PARCA) office. The purpose was to realign the mission for program visibility, analysis, and reporting from the DASA for Acquisition and Systems Management and to include the related oversight of programs mission identified by the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act (WSARA) of 2009.
The responsibilities of the Army PARCA office are to:
- Provide program visibility and acquisition reporting for all Major Defense Acquisition Programs, Major Automated Information Systems, and Acquisition Categories (ACAT) I, II, and III programs in accordance with 10 United States Code Chapters 144 and 144-A and WSARA.
- Provide performance assessments and root-cause analysis for ACAT I, II, and III programs in accordance with WSARA.
- Provide Earned Value Management expertise for the Army.
- Work on efforts including the Better Buying Power Affordability Initiatives in accordance with the Nov. 3, 2010, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics memorandum Implementation Directive for Better Buying Power – Obtaining Greater Efficiency and Productivity in Defense Spending.
- Provide Office of the Secretary of Defense policy implementation and guidance for mission areas.
Over the past year, the PARCA office has acted as the Army lead for implementation of the “should cost” Better Buying Power initiative. In addition, the office has been active in DoD’s proposed changes to streamline reporting of Earned Value Management data.
- From the DASA PPR.
Tracey Goldstein and Steve Loftus
First of two installments
For the past few years, DoD budget reductions have been looming just on the edge of the horizon. Now those budget limitations are upon us. As such, costs are at the forefront of the decision-making process. Leaders rely on high-quality cost estimates, based on approved requirement descriptions, to support their decisions on using limited DoD resources. Acquisition program managers need to be prepared to provide cost descriptions and estimates earlier in the life-cycle process, to explain and justify methodologies used, and to prove that the program is resourced in accordance with the estimate. These descriptions are provided to HQDA.
Acquisition reform is forcing DoD to be more accountable for the way acquisition programs are executed by placing greater emphasis on cost, schedule, performance, and resourcing. Among other stipulations, Section 2366 of Title 10 states that a cost estimate for a Major Defense Acquisition Program must be submitted with the concurrence of the Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, and that the level of resources required to develop, procure, and sustain the program is consistent with the priority level assigned by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council.
At each milestone decision, the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) must certify in writing that reasonable cost and schedule estimates have been developed, and that the program is fully funded through the Future Years Defense Plan.
The Army is well-positioned to meet the cost estimating needs of senior leadership to aid with difficult decisions brought on by budget constraints. But for leadership to make the best possible decisions, data are required well in advance.
Supporting Earlier Decision Points
DoD Instruction (DoDI) 5000.02, Operation of the Defense Acquisition System, has been revised to better define mandatory early decision points. The push for earlier investment decisions affects not only the project management office (PMO), which must prepare the documentation and estimates, but also the HQDA agencies such as the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASAALT) and the cost community.
DoDI 5000.02 requires Service Cost Positions at Milestones A, B, C, and full-rate production decision reviews. For Acquisition Category I and special interest programs that have an MDA above the program executive office (PEO) level, these changes mean that the PMOs must plan and make life-cycle decisions and assumptions earlier in the process. In the past, service agencies did not develop estimates until Milestone B.
The Army has a process to develop Service Cost Positions, referred to as the Army Cost Positions (ACPs). In addition, program funds are aligned to the ACP through the Cost Review Board (CRB). (See Figure 1.) Until recently, most Army programs first surfaced at the HQDA level for a decision at Milestone B; Milestone A was effectively tailored out of the process and managed at the PEO level. The DoD leadership recently started requiring Milestone A for programs.
Each milestone requires analysis and evaluation to determine the program’s status. Documentation to support the analysis is required as part of the milestone decision. A complete list of documentation required at each milestone is available from the Army Systems Acquisition Review Council Executive Secretary. As programs move toward their respective milestone decisions, certain required documents are developed and become available to the analyst; they can be used to produce cost estimates using conventional cost estimating methodologies.
To properly cost an acquisition program, extensive information about it must be identified. Without the detailed information, life-cycle cost data cannot be derived. The detailed information provided in the Cost Analysis Requirements Description (CARD) provides a complete description of the system being estimated. The intent is to define the program to a sufficient level of detail that captures quantities, fielding, sustainment, and training strategies.
Currently, multiple estimates are developed to support acquisition decisions; the program office has an estimate that it develops internally, and the service cost centers develop a cost estimate. These estimates are built on the program description and capabilities as defined in the CARD. Multiple estimates are useful, because the delta between them can provide decision makers with information about the program’s risks and uncertainty. Estimates that are close to one another may mean that there are sufficient data to accurately project costs and that there should be confidence in the estimate. Estimates that are far apart usually indicate little supporting data or that the program contains risks.
Although multiple estimates help identify the range of possible costs, decision makers usually require a single estimate. In the past, decision makers were asked to pick an estimate without knowing the underlying quality of the data sources used, assumptions made, or methodologies.
The CRB recommends the program office provide draft copies of the CARD to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Cost and Economics (DASA-CE) and the ASAALT as early as possible, but no later than the established timeline to ensure an ACP to support the milestone decision. Note that submission of a draft CARD to DASA-CE does not constitute the beginning of the CRB ACP development process. PEO-signed and -approved CARDs are submitted to ASAALT to begin the formal process. (See Access AL&T article, “Journey of a Successful CARD.”)
Preparation Is Key
The Army is well-positioned to meet the cost estimating needs of senior leadership to aid with difficult decisions brought on by budget constraints. But for leadership to make the best possible decisions, data are required well in advance. It is essential to prepare well-developed CARDs that capture not only the responsibilities of the PMO but also the requirements for DoD. Operation and Support tails need to be planned in advance in order to feed the Army’s decision-making process. It is also essential to be able to produce cost estimates to support milestone decisions, and to develop the capability to provide cost estimates that support investment decisions earlier in a program’s life cycle.
The five major steps in the CRB process are to define and describe requirements through a well-defined CARD; estimate the costs via the Program Office Estimate and Independent Cost Estimates; reconcile the two estimates; conduct affordability analysis; and gain ACP approval. This enables leadership to make cost-informed decisions early when planning acquisition strategies. The results are well-defined programs with high-quality cost estimates that are documented, defendable, and affordable.
NEXT: The CRB process, step by step.
- TRACEY GOLDSTEIN is a Management Analyst for the DASA PPR. She holds an M.B.A. and an M.P.A. from Syracuse University. She is Level III certified in business – cost estimating and is Level I certified in program management. Goldstein is a U.S. Army Acquisition Corps (AAC) member.
- STEVE LOFTUS, an Army Field Artillery Officer for 10 years, is the Cost Review Board Director for the DASA-CE. Loftus holds a B.S. in math and computer science from The Citadel. He is Level III certified in business – cost estimating and Level I certified in program management. Loftus is an AAC member.
Proper preparation of a Cost Analysis Requirements Description (CARD) is a vital step in having a successful acquisition program. Here is how the CARD is completed:
The Program Management Office (PMO) staff prepares the CARD. The project manager then signs the CARD and submits it to the program executive officer (PEO) for approval. Once signed by the PEO, the CARD is submitted to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Plans, Programs, and Resources (DASA PPR) for staffing to Cost Review Board (CRB) representatives.
The representatives review the CARD sections that describe their respective functional areas for completeness, adherence to regulatory guidelines and laws, and mission priorities. Any deficiencies and concerns are identified through the staffing process, and the PMO adjudicates. The PMO then provides a formal CARD presentation to the CRB Working Group (WG) in preparation for the CRB members. DASA PPR schedules the brief, provides formats, and manages the CARD process and presentation to the CRB WG. Any changes are incorporated into the CARD and succeeding presentations.
After the CRB WG, the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Cost and Economics schedules the CRB CARD presentation, which uses the same format and slides as the CRB WG. The CRB members approve the CARD submission.
The process is a combined effort of the PMO and Army agencies that may be concerned with estimating the program’s cost and ensuring that they have an understanding of the program, its capabilities, and the system to plan and program as part of the Program Objective Memorandum.
DoD 5000.4-M, Cost Analysis Guidance and Procedures, provides specifics on CARD preparation.
- From the DASA PPR.
In today’s military environment of tightened budgets and staffing, empowering existing staff to organize, manage, share, and edit documents quickly and easily is critical to the success of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC).
To maintain maximum efficiency, immediate access is necessary for effective collaboration on mission-critical information. With this access, USAMRMC can spend more time doing what it does best: getting new medical capabilities to those who need them. As organizations within USAMRMC evolve and as individual projects grow and move forward, managing the thousands, or even millions, of paper and electronic documents can be both time-consuming and costly. Much of this information can become buried within email systems, lost across shared drives, or even hidden somewhere on individual workstations. Consolidating information assets in a secure, centralized repository can significantly reduce the amount of time spent managing and sharing documents.
The Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) is an existing system, in place and functioning today for USAMRMC. EDMS is based on LiveLink, a commercial-off-the-shelf software product for enterprise content management from OpenText Corp. that remains on the Army’s Certificate of Networthiness list. The USAMRMC Enterprise Information Technology Project Management Office (eIT PMO) has configured and conducted extensive testing to maintain compliance with two key groups: DoD Information Assurance and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). EDMS is part of a suite of products offered by the eIT PMO. The eIT PMO, whose most recent Authority to Operate was received in June 2011, provides medical research information technology capabilities in a secure, reliable, and FDA-compliant environment.
Fully integrated, Web-based, and designed for enterprise-wide implementations, this system provides the ability to store, manage, access, edit, and collaborate on millions of files in a centrally organized and hierarchical structure tailored specifically to USAMRMC and organizational needs. Version control and audit functions promote ease of collaboration on all content, while powerful search functionality allows users to find what they need, when they need it. Users from outside of the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) may obtain account access to EDMS through an account authorization process. For new EDMS users, critical information from across their respective organizations can easily and quickly be migrated into EDMS using the familiar Windows Explorer interface. In addition, everyday users can easily accomplish bulk loading of historical documents.
Within EDMS, each command or organization maintains complete control of access, storage, and design for their organizational areas, allowing documents to be stored in a manner that is intuitive to each area. Content and information can be shared only with those chosen by the organization. Each user is in complete control of an assigned Personal Workspace area, which can be customized to suit individual preferences.
With more than 400 users so far, EDMS averages 26 new users per month and continues to expand. Its target is to have 2,000 users by 2015.
EDMS is currently used by 14 USAMRMC organizations and 15 subordinate commands. Advanced Development Medical Integrated Product Teams have recently started using EDMS in their business procedures, with more than 69 percent of the IPT chairs obtaining accounts. With the command endorsing EDMS as the enterprise solution, collaboration efforts continue to improve within USAMRMC, across other DoD agencies, and even throughout nongovernment organizations. In light of this success, the eIT PMO will continue to release future capabilities, which will allow EDMS to serve as a versatile collaborative tool for the medical research community.
If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, EDMS can help you and your organization:
- Do you need to share and collaborate on information, not just within but also outside of AMEDD?
- Do you work with industry and/or academia?
- Do you have a difficult time tracking document updates and inputs?
- Do you send documents back and forth via email, and run into mail system space limitations?
- Do you know if you are using the latest version of a form or document?
- Has someone else ever “accidentally” deleted a document from a shared drive?
- Do your data need to reside on an FDA-compliant system?
- CPT BRUCE W. BARNES is the Military Deputy Project Manager for the Enterprise Information Technology Project Management Office, USAMRMC. He holds a B.S. in information technology from the United States Military Academy. Barnes is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps Officer Basic Course and Medical Information Management Course.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Joint Capability Technology Demonstration will use a distributed energy circuit, or microgrid, combined with other elements to ensure that critical military missions have a reliable, secure electrical supply after a power outage due to natural disasters or attack.
Called “Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security” (SPIDERS), the project will explore the advanced controls needed for utility-connected and islanded (operating without a connection to an electrical grid) modes of operation, cyber-security risk mitigation, and transition of microgrid technology to standards.
SPIDERS’ partners include the U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, five U.S. Department of Energy laboratories, the Engineer Research and Development Center of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (as technical manager), the four military services, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, local utility companies, and the States of Hawaii and Colorado. The three-year effort begins this year and will run through 2013.
A microgrid is a local grouping of electricity generation, energy storage, and loads usually connected to a traditional centralized grid, or macrogrid. This single point of common coupling with the macrogrid can be disconnected. The microgrid can then function autonomously. Microgrid generation resources can include fuel cells, wind, solar, or other energy sources, while storage can include such options as hydrogen storage and advanced batteries. Byproduct heat from generation sources, such as microturbines, can be used for local process heating or space heating, allowing flexible trade-offs between the needs for heat and electric power. Unneeded electricity from a microgrid can be “wheeled” back to the central grid, potentially at a profit to the microgrid owner.
Two DOD sites will have microgrids installed for the SPIDERS project: Camp H.M. Smith, HI, and Fort Carson, CO. In essence, the DOD sites provide a testbed for a capability that will have national implications. Successful demonstration and emergence of this technology will allow military installations and cities to take advantage of renewable energy and reduce fossil fuel use while also reducing the carbon footprint and providing a backup electrical supply. Further, it is becoming increasingly difficult for power companies to add generation facilities and transmission lines. Local or regional microgrids could augment the country’s existing electrical infrastructure.
This year, initial work will begin at Hickam Air Force Base, HI, in support of Camp Smith’s microgrid. The Hickam phase is a circuit-level demonstration to provide building blocks for Camp Smith’s future energy island. Planned activities begin with integrating the base’s existing renewables, diesel generators, and energy storage. A fuel cell will be added to back up critical loads on the installation circuit. The team will then perform an operational evaluation of the microgrid on mission loads to provide redundant power to simulate mission-critical functions.
Another goal is to validate the cyber-security strategies through a testbed simulation of the utility electric grid management systems with two-way communications, situational awareness, and the ability to safely reconnect with local utility grids. DOD must ensure that enhanced energy capabilities do not create new vulnerabilities to operations or systems’ health. Cyber-security elements of this demonstration will leverage ongoing work in the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security.
Successful demonstration and emergence of this technology will allow military installations and cities to take advantage of renewable energy and reduce fossil fuel use while also reducing the carbon footprint and providing a backup electrical supply.
At Camp Smith, the team will install an advanced metering infrastructure, implement demand-side management, and conduct an off-site simulation of the camp’s secure smart microgrid for a complete installation. The final configuration for Camp Smith at the project’s end will be an installation-wide, cyber-secure smart microgrid with battery storage and islanding capability. Successful demonstration will enable future Net Zero energy operations through the planning of investments in energy generation and renewable energy.
First-year activities at Fort Carson include tying the shared, distributed grid to backup generation, demonstrating the microgrid in the command area, and starting to incorporate photovoltaic (PV) renewable generation. Fort Carson’s completed system will be a large, smart microgrid with cyber defense and vehicle-to-grid storage that leverages 2 megawatts of existing PV generation and $20 million in recent electric upgrades.
SPIDERS will enter a transition phase with the completion of both demonstrations. It will begin with development of technology transition plans and result in:
- A template for DOD-wide implementation (i.e., standards).
- Guidance for insertion into contingency operations and design guides.
- Training plans, techniques, tactics, and procedures (associated with advanced energy management systems).
- Specifications added to the General Services Administration schedule for DOD.
- Transfer to the commercial utility sector.
- Transition of cyber security to the federal sector and utilities.
For more information, contact Dana Finney at 217-373-6714 or Dana.Finney@us.army.mil. For more information on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visit http://www.usace.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx, or for more information on ERDC, visit http://www.erdc.usace.army.mil/.
- DANA FINNEY is a Public Affairs Specialist for the Engineer Research and Development Center. She holds a B.A. degree in science writing and editing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Faced with the challenge of new programs and authorities, support for two wars and several contingency operations, and a dramatic upsurge in case value and visibility, the leaders of the Army Security Assistance Enterprise (ASAE) came together in October for a day-long security cooperation (SC) meeting to discuss major issues, shape expectations, and share information about the impact of developments in the Army and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).
Keith B. Webster, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (DASA) for Defense Exports and Cooperation, and BG Christopher Tucker, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC), co-hosted the Oct. 27 meeting in Alexandria, VA, which was timed to coincide with the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, DC, to provide an opportunity for SC personnel from around the Army to attend. Invited guests included staff members from the host organizations as well as Security Cooperation Office (SCO) personnel from around the world, SC planners from the Geographic Combatant Commands and Army Service Component Commands, and representatives of various program executive offices (PEOs) and program management offices (PMOs).
Foreign Military Sales
Webster and Tucker described trends in the contemporary operating environment, shifting fiscal and operational realities, and the changing face of security assistance over the past decade. Along with the demands of supporting continuing relationships with more than 140 partner nations, Tucker noted, the enterprise has seen a dramatic increase in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) activity.
New Army FMS in FY10 totaled $14.6 billion, with 701 new cases, 462 modifications, and 1,017 amendments. This increased operational tempo reflects a trend over the past several years, as evidenced by a total of $62 billion in Army FMS from FY07 to FY10, compared with $18 billion in FMS over the preceding four-year period. This high case volume has put pressure on the enterprise, demanding decisions to direct the allocation of resources and staff time to the most strategically important cases. Webster issued this prioritization guidance at the direction of the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, committing to paper previously verbal guidance to focus efforts first and foremost on support to ongoing operations.
Security Cooperation Reform
In response to the evolving demands of the operational environment, OSD directed, through the 2010 Defense Planning and Programming Guidance, the formation of a task force on SC reform, with the mission of conducting a comprehensive review of DOD’s SC processes and examining ways to provide urgently needed capabilities to foreign partners in a more timely manner. COL Guy T. Cosentino, a representative of the Security Cooperation Task Force, gave a briefing on the task force’s mission, objectives, composition, and progress and provided useful context to members of the ASAE on the future of SC, including proposed changes in organizations, authorities, and processes.
Equipped with this knowledge, SC planners and SCO personnel can better understand how industrial capacity, acquisition processes, and contracting concerns can influence security assistance timelines, which will help them manage the expectations of both foreign partners and U.S. senior leaders.
Continuing with the meeting’s goal of managing expectations, Joseph M. Jefferson, an acquisition expert with the Office of the Director for Acquisition and Industrial Base Policy in the Office of the DASA for Procurement, familiarized participants with the basics of the acquisition process, helping them to better understand how international activities fit with the broader functions of the PEOs, PMOs, and industrial base. Anthony R. Incorvati, Director of Contracting Operations with the U.S. Army Contracting Command, explained how increased security assistance impacts the contracting community. Equipped with this knowledge, SC planners and SCO personnel can better understand how industrial capacity, acquisition processes, and contracting concerns can influence security assistance timelines, which will help them manage the expectations of both foreign partners and U.S. senior leaders.
During a working lunch, LTG Mitchell H. Stevenson, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, addressed the audience on a number of subjects, including the integration of logistics policies, programs, and plans with the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model; the future disposition of Army equipment currently in Iraq; opportunities for the transfer of Excess Defense Articles; and the future of the Army’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle fleet. Stevenson outlined the many opportunities for the ASAE to take advantage of developments in the Army logistics community to build partner capacity and capability, again underlining the fundamental importance of coordination and communication between SC organizations and the Army’s equipping community—a relationship that is institutionalized through the nesting of the ASAE in the broader Materiel Enterprise.
The Oct. 27 meeting was a rare opportunity for members of the ASAE and other Army SC personnel, gathered in one room, to develop a common operating picture and discuss major issues affecting the community, and it offers a template for similarly successful coordination meetings in the future.
A series of briefings followed, focusing on specific security assistance-related topics including the organization and mission of the Project Management Office Non-Standard Rotary Wing Aviation, conducted by then-BG William T. Crosby, Program Executive Office Aviation; an introduction to the Excess Defense Articles program by COL David Dornblaser, Director of the Intensive Management Office of USASAC’s Washington Field Office; and a rundown of challenges and successes of the 1206 Global Train and Equip program, by Brandon Denecke, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency 1206 Team Leader. Their briefings provided details on three much-discussed, but perhaps poorly understood, topics in the security assistance community.
LTC Alfred Padden of the HQDA G-35’s Security Cooperation Policy and Concepts Division followed this with a briefing on the Army’s approach to security force assistance, efforts to build partner capacity by aligning modular brigades to security cooperation missions in a specific Geographic Combatant Command’s area of responsibility through the ARFORGEN process.
Wrapping up the day, Webster gave the audience an outline of the Materiel Enterprise International Engagement Strategy, part of an effort to shift the ASAE to a proactive, anticipatory footing, matching gaps in partner capability with possible materiel solutions in advance of a customer request, to allow for the timely elimination of potential barriers to sale.
The Oct. 27 meeting was a rare opportunity for members of the ASAE and other Army SC personnel, gathered in one room, to develop a common operating picture and discuss major issues affecting the community, and it offers a template for similarly successful coordination meetings in the future. Those who participated have a better understanding of the broader context into which their work fits and gained knowledge and contacts that will contribute to improved performance of their SC mission.
The slides from the Army Security Cooperation Meeting are available at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/files/25188558. Army Knowledge Online login is required.
- CHRISTOPHER J. MEWETT is a support contractor in the strategic planning directorate of the Office of the DASA for Defense Exports and Cooperation. He holds a B.A. in history from Texas A&M University and did graduate work in Central and Eastern European studies at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.
“Today is a blur for me,” said CW3 Terry Dover, fresh from temporary duty. “I walked into my office over there, and I said, ‘Where’s all my stuff? Did I get fired while I was gone?’ ” Fortunately, it was just another office move. Dover’s papers and belongings were boxed in a new office.
Dover is used to being on the go. He and colleagues on the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA) Technology Assessment and Requirements Analysis (TARA) team have experienced steady growth and inevitable changes over the past few years. Dover is the Project Manager for Clinical Technologies and the TARA Team Lead in the Integrated Clinical Systems Program Management Office.
A key component of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, USAMMA manages strategic-level medical logistics and provides medical equipment for Active Component, U.S. Army Reserve, and U.S. Army National Guard forces. Comprising a full-time team of 14 and drawing on a corps of expert consultants from the U.S. Army Office of the Surgeon General, the TARA team conducts thorough analyses of medical treatment facilities.
The team assesses clinical operations; workload requirements; technical operations; and equipment maintenance, use, and life cycle. The team then translates those findings into recommended process improvements and equipment replacement plans. Since 1995, the program has achieved a recognized cost savings of $231 million for the Army Medical Department in service and maintenance contracts, equipment purchases, group buys, and environmental hazard reduction.
Dover’s team charts an ambitious schedule; it is slated to assess seven Army medical centers and hospitals this year alone. By year’s end, the TARA team will have zigzagged across the country, working in Maryland, Kentucky, Texas, Georgia, Washington, Alaska, and California. In past years, the team has deployed to such far-flung locales as Korea, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Honduras.
Along the way, the team has made vital changes to outdated doctrine at medical treatment facilities worldwide. Dover cites the increased use of, and reliance on, computed tomography (CT) scans as a prime example.
Comprising a full-time team of 14 and drawing on a corps of expert consultants from the U.S. Army Office of the Surgeon General, the TARA team conducts thorough analyses of medical treatment facilities.
“We changed things dramatically when we went into the Gulf War,” said Dover. “The CT became essential [toward assessing] the types of trauma we are seeing now. With a CT, you can see everything to some degree, and you can perform a CT scan in a couple of minutes to know what is broken … where things may be bleeding. That becomes critical when you go into surgery.”
The CT’s benefits extend beyond the operating room, as the scans provide important feedback to field combat units. “If we see certain head injuries on a CT, we know the armor is not doing the job,” said Dover. “Or maybe it’s doing the job but missing this part of it. So people are going to go back and say, ‘Look, we know blast injuries are doing this. We are protecting the skull, but we have all these other problems.’ ”
CT is just one tool in TARA’s growing arsenal. Dover’s overriding mission is to assemble joint teams to better understand how different forces’ facilities might operate.
“The intent is to pool [experts] from different areas, so when we walk through the doors [of any] facility, that gives us instant credibility,” Dover said. “There are some nuances in how the Army does things, how the Air Force does things, and how the Navy does things, but ultimately, how they treat patients is really the same.”
A TARA assessment can also outline a facility’s capabilities, enabling incoming personnel to get up to speed quickly. During winter 2009, the team traveled to Soto Cano Air Base in Comayagua, Honduras, to evaluate the medical element at Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-B) before a new logistics chief arrived. What the team found was a facility in need of logistical guidance.
JTF-B is wholly dependent on generators for its power. The hot and humid climate, with rain half the year, is hard on equipment. Base personnel must send the equipment stateside for maintenance. If a crisis occurs, humanitarian or otherwise, staff must pull field equipment from the clinic.
The TARA team was able to assess the equipment and put together a replacement schedule, ensuring that critical medical equipment used in delivering health care to our deployed members is the best it can be and within safety and regulatory management controls.
In just one week, Dover and 10 team members combed through JTF-B, evaluating the facility’s nursing and operations, equipment and laboratory, diagnostic imaging, and image archive and transfer system. The resulting report included an inventory of more than 150 items, from operating tables to battery chargers, listing manufacturers, model numbers, and life expectancy for each piece of equipment. TARA also streamlined the equipment replacement process and made recommendations in other areas, from staffing to training to record-keeping, all with an eye to improving operations, safety, and quality of care.
U.S. Air Force Maj Andrea Ryan, the incoming JTF-B Logistics Chief, reported to the base four months after the assessment and praised what Dover’s team was able to achieve in its short time at the facility.
“Chief Dover has been nothing short of amazing,” said Ryan. “The TARA team was able to assess the equipment and put together a replacement schedule, ensuring that critical medical equipment used in delivering health care to our deployed members is the best it can be and within safety and regulatory management controls. [That] support for field operations is more than any medical logistics officer could ask for.”
For more information on the TARA program, visit http://www.usamma.army.mil/tara.cfm.
- JILL LAUTERBORN is a writer for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. She has nearly two decades of editing and writing experience.
The 413th Contracting Support Brigade (CSB), Fort Shafter, HI, has made history by becoming the first CSB to conduct a Joint Contracting Field Training Exercise. The Pacific Contingency Contracting Disaster Training Exercise in December 2010 was based on Operation Unified Assistance, conducted after the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, and focused on providing contracting to a Joint Task Force formed to support the foreign disaster relief effort.
The exercise involved 39 U.S. Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and civilians from the 413th CSB; the 647th Contracting Squadron from Hickam Air Force Base, HI; the Marine Corps Base Hawaii Regional Contracting Office; and the 1950th Contingency Contracting Team from the Hawaii Army National Guard. The U.S. Army Expeditionary Contracting Command (ECC) sent two mentors to train the 413th Headquarters, and the 410th CSB, Fort Sam Houston TX, and 411th CSB, Seoul, Korea, sent mentors to train the joint teams that functioned as Regional Contracting Centers.
The design of the exercise reflected three goals:
- To train for the CSB’s task to deploy and establish operational contract support command and control
- To train teams to provide contingency contracting support while operating in an austere field environment
- To test communication equipment and configurations at both the brigade and team levels
The four-day exercise began with welcoming remarks from COL Mike Hoskin, 413th CSB Commander, and a briefing from MAJ Ralph Barnes, contracting officer for the 410th CSB, on contracting lessons learned during Operation Unified Response in Haiti, the military’s relief effort after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Barnes was the first Contingency Contracting Officer (CCO) to arrive in Haiti. LTC(P) Tim Strange and MAJ(P) Maria Schneider from the ECC headquarters briefed the ECC contingency contracting expectations and the Request for Forces process, which was a brigade training objective.
Relying on a Full Skill Set
Throughout the exercise, the units operated in contingency areas with little or no support available in the immediate area. CCOs were forced to rely on their gamut of skills, including writing Standard Form 44 purchase orders and manual contracts, setting up a Procurement Defense Desktop network, practicing the procedure for ratifying unauthorized commitments, and setting up and using the Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) system for communication.
The team also trained on the Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker to monitor contractors’ movements on the battlefield. CCOs gained hands-on experience through multiple scenarios using the Army Contracting Command Proficiency Guide for Contracting Officers.
We need to conduct this type of training in garrison to learn from our mistakes before attending a contingency.
While the CCOs trained in basic contracting tasks, the 413th CSB staff worked several tasks, including producing Operational Contracting Support fragmentary orders, developing and implementing a deployed battle rhythm, reviewing and making recommendations on actions requiring approval from the head of the contracting activity, answering requests for information from ECC mentors who simulated the ECC staff, and updating information for an ECC commanders’ update brief.
The CSB’s S-6 tested the BGAN system for operability and suitability for the brigade and teams. The system is a global satellite Internet network for electronic transmission using portable terminals, which normally are used to connect a laptop computer to broadband Internet in remote locations. Unlike other satellite Internet services that require bulky satellite dishes to connect, a BGAN terminal is about the size of a laptop and can be carried easily.
The exercise concluded with a briefing from a Pacific Command J-4 representative on Operation Unified Assistance and lessons learned from the humanitarian assistance mission.
A key lesson learned for contracting was the use of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance Field Operations Guide when supporting the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The guide contains specifications for many types of commodities purchased for humanitarian assistance missions, such as plastic sheeting for shelters, collapsible water jugs, and human remains pouches. The briefing was an ideal bookend to Barnes’ briefing on Operation Unified Response at the start of the exercise, which opened with the CCO’s perspective and ended with that of the combatant command.
During the after-action review, all participants concluded that the joint training was beneficial and should be continued, to include interagency partners such as USAID in the next exercise. The CCO’s exposure to the proficiency tasks not commonly experienced in a Garrison Regional Contracting Office was invaluable. The staff’s exposure to ECC requirements during their support operations was useful in developing the standard operating procedure for the tactical operations center.
“We need to conduct this type of training in garrison to learn from our mistakes before attending a contingency,” said U.S. Marine SSgt Erika Bonilla-Rubi. “The fact that the exercise was a joint service exercise made it even better. I was able to see where I stand (knowledge-wise) in the contracting community compared to the other services, see what other services are doing better and how we can improve, and share my knowledge and suggest ways to improve how other services conduct business.”
- CHARMAINE BOTTEX is assigned to the 413th CSB as a Contingency Plans Officer. She holds a B.S. in business administration from Columbia College and an M.B.A. in hospital management from Tourou University, and is pursuing her D.B.A. in global supply chain management at Walden University.