• GOOD FELLOWS

    Competitive Development Group welcomes 2014 fellows

    The Director, U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC), Craig Spisak, welcomes seven new Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellowship (CDG/AAF) fellows during an orientation meeting at Defense Acquisition University on April 1, 2014. The three-year fellowship program offers developmental assignments in program executive offices, assistant secretary of the army for acquisition, logistics and technology offices, U.S. Army Materiel Command Headquarters and functional organizations providing expanded training and leadership development for future Army acquisition leaders.

    From the left: Walter Hamm, U.S. Army Contracting Command; Maurice Stephens, Engineering Center and Communications Electronics Command; Kyle Bruner, Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T); Monica Clemons, U.S. Army Contracting Command, Chandra Evansmitchell, CDG/AFF program manager; Craig Spisak, USAASC director, Lauren McNew, PEO C3T; Kelly Courtney, PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support and David Oatley, PEO Ammunition. (Photo by Bob Coultas)

    For more information on the CDG/AAF program go to http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/competitive-development-group-army-acquisition-fellowship/


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  • Education key for contracting certification

    Sgt. 1st Class Oswald Pascal graduated in December 2013 from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio where he received a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences. He is in the process of accomplishing his remaining two classes to achieve his Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Level II certification in contracting. (Photo by Daniel P. Elkins)

    By Daniel P. Elkins, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs Office

     

    JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (March 12, 2014) — Entering the Army Acquisition Corps necessitates enlisted Soldiers to meet specific education and certification requirements outlined in federal statutes in order to execute contracts on behalf of the government and maintain readiness.

    Soldiers in the 51C military occupational specialty attached to the Mission and Installation Contracting Command arrive having completed training on the basic fundamentals of contracting before promptly entering a carefully mapped training regimen under the observant direction of a mentor.

    Helping steer their development is the MICC 51C Contingency Contracting Officer Rotational Training Plan and a proficiency guide that outline a structured approach and defines training guidelines and participant responsibilities. The plan charts training, education and experience requirements on a rotational schedule alongside MICC civilian professionals allowing uniformed members to gain experience and certification necessary in performing operational contract support in garrison and during contingency operations.

    “Attaching Soldiers to the MICC was a deliberate decision by the Army Contracting Command to broaden their proficiency in contracting while increasing readiness,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Bowens, the MICC command sergeant major. “Accomplishing the necessary steps in a timely manner to achieve appropriate certification is at the core of readiness. I cannot overstate the importance of this as a critical mission component.”

    The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act, or DAWIA, sets forth core standards in acquisition and functional training as well as education and experience for contracting certification at three levels for both uniformed and civilian members in the workforce.

    Soldiers also have the opportunity to work toward certification by attending several in-resident courses to include the three-week Army Acquisition Foundation Course, four-week Army Basic Contracting Course and four-week Army Acquisition Intermediate Contracting Course in Huntsville, Ala., provided by the Army Acquisition Center of Excellence. The AACoE is a centralized training, education, and career development school for Army acquisition officers, noncommissioned officers, and Department of the Army civilians. The center integrates Army institutional training, education, and career development courses for the acquisition, logistics, and technology workforce.

    Earning certification
    Contracting experience essential for certification ranges from one year for DAWIA Level I certification to two years for Level II and four years for Level III. Eligible Soldiers and civilians may request to substitute a year of education for a year of experience when seeking their Level II and III certifications.

    Donna VanGilder is the chief of training and readiness for MICC Operations. She explained that the requirement for enlisted Soldiers to obtain certification is also coupled with their grade. Staff sergeants are required to obtain a minimum Level I certification; sergeants first class should attain their Level II certification; and those in the grade of master sergeant and above must achieve their Level III certification.

    Acquisition and functional training involve successfully completing multiple online and a few resident DAWIA courses in varied subjects to include contract planning, execution and management, cost and price analysis, contract structure and format, and Federal Acquisition Regulation fundamentals for basic certification. Intermediate courses explore legal considerations, source selection, managing government property, analyzing contract costs and negotiation. Advance certification training focuses on contracting for decision makers, construction contracting, cost accounting standards and acquisition law. Additional developmental training is also needed depending on the type of assignment and activity individuals represent.

    Perhaps proving most demanding for enlisted Soldiers in the 51C MOS is satisfying the education requirement, according to VanGilder.

    “A minimum education requirement of a bachelor’s degree in any field of study with at least 24 hours in business disciplines is required to obtain certification in the contracting career field,” she said.

    A threshold of certification is established by the office of the principle deputy to the Army acquisition executive. Civilian interns and officers enter the acquisition workforce already possessing the necessary education, and approximately 96 percent are certified or within the grace period of accomplishing their appropriate certification. VanGilder said approximately 34 percent of enlisted members have achieved their necessary certification level against a threshold of 94 percent.

    “Much of the delinquency is due to accomplishing the education requirement in time to obtain certification,” she said.

    While she anticipates that enlisted certification percentage to improve significantly in the next few months, is still falls below that necessary to ensure readiness.

    Key discriminator
    The decision to begin assessing uniformed members into the 51C contracting career field came about in late 2006 to meet the Army’s increasing need for contingency contracting officers. The integration of approximately 400 Soldiers to contracting offices throughout the MICC began in March 2013 as a means to streamline the span of control from oversight of uniformed service members stateside while enhancing their professional development.

    As the influx of enlisted Soldiers into the 51C MOS continues, education is becoming more of a discriminator due to certification requirements. This stipulation has become a key element in a competitive selection process to enter into the career field, according to career field officials.

    “NCOs are judged on a ‘total Soldier’ concept, with primary areas of emphasis consisting of completion of a bachelor’s degree and rated leadership time on an NCO evaluation report carrying the most significance,” said Master Sgt. Eric Sears, chief of the 51C Proponent NCO at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center.

    Sears added other factors influencing selection include total time in service and letters of recommendation. Applications are now being accepted through April 4 for the next 51C selection board with results to be announced in May.

    Demanding duty
    Entering the 51C MOS comes with the recognition that its demands are not limited to civilian education and DAWIA certification as Soldiers also must maintain all aspects of readiness.

    “It can be really difficult since they still have to take into consideration family commitments, soldiering tasks such as weapons qualification and physical training, deployments and contingency training exercises,” VanGilder said.

    Soldiers begin their training with simplified contract actions alongside civilian contracting professionals. Simplified actions include the acquisition of supplies and services, including minor construction, research and development, and commercial items not exceeding a threshold of $150,000. They then move on to more complex contracts until they become proficient in all procedures making up the contracting lifecycle from pre-award and award to administration, including closeout.

    “Technical, hands-on training is a critical component in developing contracting skills,” Bowens said, “but achieving all aspects required of certification is necessary to remain committed to the Army profession.”

    The MICC is responsible for providing contracting support for the warfighter at Army commands, installations and activities located throughout the continental United States and Puerto Rico. In fiscal 2013, the command executed more than 43,000 contract actions worth more than $5.3 billion across the Army, including more than $2.1 billion to American small businesses. The command has also managed more than 780,000 Government Purchase Card Program transactions this fiscal year valued at an additional $880 million.

    Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles on the certification for contracting Soldiers. Following articles will highlight success stories and developmental benefits of obtaining certification.


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  • Meet ‘Ellie,’ your new virtual human acquisition career guide

    By Tara Clements

     

    FORT BELVOIR, Va. – If you think the movie “Her” is futuristic, members of the Office of the Army Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) have someone for you to meet.

    “Ellie” is her name and this virtual human looks and speaks to you just as any human would in the Virtual Acquisition Career Guide (VACG) prototype. The prototype program provides the opportunity for a user to interact with a virtual “person” and receive personalized career feedback and assistance. The Army DACM team presented the prototype to the Army DACM, Lt. Gen. William Phillips on Jan. 16.

    “Even though we support and encourage mentoring across the entire community, it is still an activity that is under-utilized by our workforce and particularly so by our newer and more junior professionals,” said Craig Spisak, director of the Army Acquisition Support Center and the deputy DACM. “I believe that the VACG will not only provide that help and basic mentoring that many of that population need today, but will also expose them to the ideas and concept of a mentor-protégé relationship and get them more accustomed to it,” he added.

    And while the traditional mentor-protégé relationship has been through human interaction, Ellie provides a similar capability with a few clicks and keystrokes. She won’t help with life experiences, because she has none. What she can do is check files; see where you’ve gone and where you need to be.

    Ellie interfaces with the Career Acquisition Management Portal (CAMP), the Army acquisition community’s centralized personnel system, and has the capability to check a user’s file, including individual develop plan status, acquisition certification and glide path, to name a few.

    During last week’s demonstration, Ellie welcomed Phillips, checked his file, noting he was “good to go” and current. At that point, Phillips, like any other user, had the opportunity to pose a question, such as, “How can I access the Defense Acquisition University class schedule?”—or anything else that might be related to career development. Ellie politely responds both verbally and in writing right on the monitor, taking the typical FAQs to a new, interactive level.

    Through a series of testing and data building, Ellie has increased her ability to answer questions at a nearly 80 percent accuracy rate. “She has the ability to learn and get smarter with additional questions and input, and with time, we’re aiming for a 95 percent accuracy rate,” said Scott Greene, chief, Army DACM Office Acquisition Education and Training Branch.

    Bringing Ellie to life and continuing to develop her knowledge is not a small undertaking. The Army DACM team has partnered with the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Simulation & Training Technology Center to bring Ellie to this point, but there’s a long way to go.

    “We’re in the very early stages of building the VACG. We’re taking great care to test the prototype and determine if this would be a good career guidance capability for the Army Acquisition Workforce,” said Kelly Terry, project lead. “To date, focus group testing has been on our contracting community and testing the application among members of Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but we are looking to expand into other career fields in the future,” she added.

    How far in the future? According to Greene, if the results and feedback from upcoming testing are successful, the acquisition community may have a chance to meet Ellie in an initial version later in this fiscal year.

    And from Phillips’ point of view, “this is very exciting.”


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  • In Hard Truth, New Opportunity

    MISSION FOCUS
    Soldiers assigned to 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment (6-4 CAV), 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division launch a mortar Nov. 10, 2013, in Baghlan province, Afghanistan, during a training exercise. Even as fiscal and economic conditions change, the Army remains committed to providing the best equipment to the warfighter at the best value for the taxpayer. (Photo by 1st Lt. Cory Titus, 6-4 CAV)

    Changing times call for Army and industrial base to collaborate on solutions

     

    From The Army Acquisition Executive
    The Honorable Heidi Shyu

     

    As we enter a new calendar year, the Army faces challenges of an evolving fiscal reality and the transition from wartime production to peacetime requirements. The Army and its industrial base must work together to address these issues head-on. The hard truth—sustaining readiness in this fiscally constrained environment—necessarily means fewer investments in the future. Budget uncertainty complicates the procurement landscape, but communication and cooperation will allow the Army and industrial base to meet our respective goals.

    Although the organic and commercial industrial base sectors are often discussed as distinct communities, public-private partnership at Army depots and essential facilities is a potential core strategy to ensure that parts and materials are available to sustain platforms and equipment at appropriate readiness levels.

    Defense spending is projected to make up only 12 percent of the federal budget in FY17, down from 17 percent in FY13. Those numbers are a world away from the 49 percent of the federal budget consumed by defense during the 1960s. At the same time, the budget for research, development and acquisition (RDA) is declining faster than the overall defense budget.

    PUTTING THE R IN RDA
    Dr. Grace Metcalfe, a researcher at the Adelphi Laboratory Center of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), is part of the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate team that developed and successfully tested new ways of generating terahertz emissions, work that has potential biomedical and security applications. The RDA budget is declining faster than the overall defense budget, with implications for the Army’s investments in emerging technologies to develop next-generation capabilities. (Photo by Doug LaFon, ARL)

    Nothing highlights this more concretely than the Army’s total obligation authority (TOA) for FY14, which, at $129.7 billion, is 15 percent lower than the FY12 Army TOA of $152.6 billion. Compare this to the FY14 Army RDA budget of $23.95 billion, which is down an amazing 28 percent from the FY12 RDA budget of $33.2 billion. A Nov 28, 2013, article in The Washington Post profiled members of the West Point Class of 2014 and gave a compelling description of the challenge. A 22-year-old cadet wisely noted that the key question is not how to do more with less, but how to determine “what we’re going to do and what we’re going to do well.” In other words: What’s going to be good enough?

    Procurement budgets naturally contract after a war. The end of the Cold War saw a wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions in the commercial base. Although industry consolidation reduced duplication and redundancy, it also resulted in many of today’s critical defense assets being manufactured by only a limited number of firms. As the U.S. manufacturing sector has decreased overall, defense manufacturing has taken on a greater significance for remaining firms. But while there are fewer large players than in previous drawdowns, there has been a proliferation of small businesses working as subcontractors—providing engineering services, doing research and development, and manufacturing specialized components.

    Today’s industrial base includes a large population of highly skilled technical and knowledge workers, many of them employed by specialized third- and fourth-tier subcontractors. Keeping these skilled employees within the industrial base has the added benefit of enhancing support for the Army’s small business partners. The rapid decline in our RDA budget creates significant challenges for small companies that must diversify quickly, but the Army has met its 25 percent small business goal for the past three years. This helps small businesses continue to innovate and deliver products and services to our warfighters.

    ROBOTIC CAPABILITY
    Undersecretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal, left, talks with retired Lt. Col. David Viens of iRobot Corp. Oct. 22, 2013, at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.. As the Army assesses and identifies capabilities and competencies, the commercial industrial base is a vital stakeholder. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Bernardo Fuller)

    It is just as important to note the opportunities created by the coming drawdown. The Army and industry can begin a new level of dialogue around modernization, which technologies best meet national security needs and how to integrate new technologies into existing infrastructure. Although the organic and commercial industrial base sectors are often discussed as distinct communities, public-private partnership at Army depots and essential facilities is a potential core strategy to ensure that parts and materials are available to sustain platforms and equipment at appropriate readiness levels.

    As the Army assesses and identifies capabilities and competencies at its depots and arsenals, the commercial base is a vital stakeholder. The commercial base, in particular, is well-positioned to help the Army better use commercial off-the-shelf products and production techniques that can yield new efficiencies and increase the buying power of the defense dollar.

    Consider an example from Program Executive Office Ammunition: Staff implemented a long-term strategy for recurring procurement of artillery and mortar components. A $2.7 billion small business set-aside strategy eliminated the need for more than 100 separate market surveys, synopses and requests for proposals, and reduced average delivery time from 18-24 months to 45-60 days. This efficient new procurement strategy will help the Army avoid $60 million in costs while supporting small business.

    SAVINGS + SUSTAINMENT
    CH-47 Chinook helicopters of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) await their next mission at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 11, 2013. The CH-47 Chinook MYP has saved taxpayers nearly $500 million while reducing financial uncertainty for industry. (U.S. Army photo illustration by Staff Sgt. Todd Pouliot, 10th CAB)

    Multiyear procurement (MYP) is another proven strategy for lowering cost to the taxpayer while reducing financial uncertainty for industry. The CH-47 Chinook MYP has saved taxpayers nearly $500 million to date while enhancing the environment for sharing lessons learned between the Army and industry, and incentivizing quality assurance.

    As President Ronald Reagan observed, “no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.” We remain committed to providing the best equipment to the warfighter at the best value for the taxpayer. Painful choices will have to be made on force structure, readiness and modernization. The Army’s desired end goal is to meet the nation’s and world’s security needs while we invest in emerging technologies to develop the next generation of capabilities.

     

     

     

     


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  • New online dashboard provides leadership with key information on training, certifications

    RThe CAPPMIS dashboard provides information in three key areas –CLPs, IDPs and acquisition certifications providing leaders with detailed information on military and civilian employees’ development as they work toward completing required education and certification levels.

    By Argie Sarantinos-Perrin

     
    Building and sustaining an educated, professional workforce is a key mission for Army Acquisition leaders in order to provide superior capabilities and support to U.S. Soldiers. In support of this mission, the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) recently rolled out a new online training dashboard that tracks training and certifications across its workforce.

    The user-friendly dashboard displays the training and certification status of each organization within the PEO, providing leaders with detailed information on military and civilian employees’ development as they work toward completing required education and certification levels.

    “The training dashboard is a very well designed, easy-to-use tool that I use to look across the PEO and see where we are meeting the requirements—and if we’re not on track, we can see where we need to improve,” said Mary Woods, deputy program executive officer for PEO C3T. “The training dashboard is a great tool that can be adopted by other groups in the acquisition community, and it can be modified to track training for other parts of the Army, too.”

    The Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAPPMIS) dashboard provides information in three key areas—continuous learning points (CLPs), individual development plans (IDPs) and acquisition certifications. CLPs are earned by attending classes, training courses, professional activities, conferences or symposiums. IDPs map out an employee’s career path, including any training requirements necessary to reach specific goals. Together, these areas round out the skills and education that the Army Acquisition workforce needs in order to support the Soldier.

    The emphasis on acquisition certification began in 1990 with the implementation of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA), which requires all acquisition workforce members to be certified in their career field. A forum made up of general officer and Senior Executive Service leaders, along with the Army’s Director of Acquisition Career Management, Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips, monitor, review and champion DAWIA certification for the workforce.

    “The training dashboard is a great tool that can be adopted by other groups in the acquisition community, and it can be modified to track training for other parts of the Army, too.”

    Ensuring that PEO C3T complies with these standards, the business intelligence team at PEO C3T’s Military Technical (MilTech) Solutions Office developed the CAPPMIS dashboard. The dashboard enables managers to keep employees on track by providing 30, 60 and 90 day windows of when acquisition certifications are due, as well as when IDPs were most recently updated. It also shows whether employees are on track to earn the 80 CLPs that are required every two years.

    The dashboard has also been adopted by the Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate, the Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center and the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S), whose leaders praised the ability to efficiently monitor the records of employees who work at remote locations.

    “We have people in Huntsville, Ala., Fort Belvoir, Va., Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. and numerous other locations, so we have to coordinate people in different time zones,” said Patricia San Agustin, management analyst for PEO IEW&S. “Since acquisition training is a very high priority for our organization, the training dashboard is a great tool because of the fine detail that it gives you.”

    The tool eliminates the need for individual project managers to request training information, since the dashboard is accessible at any time and updated every two weeks with new information from the CAPPMIS database.
    Using the CAPPMIS dashboard enables PEO C3T to efficiently align with the priority to train, build and sustain an educated acquisition workforce, and ultimately provide better support to the Soldier.

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  • Army AL&T magazine focuses on the Army industrial base

    By Steve Stark

    FORT BELVOIR, Va. – MoBs, FaCs, STEM and FMS—these are just a few of the ways that the U.S. Army, along with DOD and others, is working to preserve the knowledge, skills and capabilities that make up its industrial base. You can read about them all in the new edition of Army AL&T magazine, available online now.

    Keeping the industrial base healthy—the theme of the January – March issue of Army AL&T magazine—is crucial to keeping the Army healthy: maintaining its superiority, its overmatch, its edge. Keeping that base “warm” means that the Army has to understand where the must-have capabilities lie—no small task, given its size and complexity. Read how the Army is working with DOD to establish the “big picture” clearly in “Layers of Concern” on Page 8.

    One of the specific ways the Army is grasping the industrial base is through fragility and criticality, or FaC, assessments. How critical is a capability, and how fragile is it? Learn all about this approach in “FaC-torial Analysis” on Page 42.

    Keeping the industrial base healthy is also about dollars and cents—how the Army marches into the future even as a drawdown in Afghanistan is underway and shrinking budgets are projected to shrink even further. Partnerships with private industry and foreign military sales (FMS) are two ways to support the base economically. (See the articles on Pages 36 and 32, respectively. Learn about how the Army is continually improving its decision-making processes with respect to acquisition in “ ‘MoB’ Rules” on Page 102 in our BBP 2.0 section. “ ‘MoB’ Rules” is all about how Product Manager Sets, Kits, Outfits and Tools developed rigorous metrics for make-or-buy (MoB) capability decisions.

    Even as the Army recovers from more than 12 years of war, it must also prepare for future conflicts, and a healthy industrial base is crucial to those eventualities. Learn how the Army is planning for the future, not only by preserving existing capabilities in the industrial base, but also by growing the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals (Page 72).

    Last but hardly least, what does the Army industrial base think about how best to preserve the Army industrial base? In “Critical Thinking,” 10 industrial base stakeholders—executives of major defense firms, small-business owners, leaders of key trade associations and national security scholars—offer their views on what the base most needs from the Army in order to withstand the multiple challenges of today.

    Army AL&T magazine is available in hard copy, online in our e-version, and as an app for your mobile device:

    iTunes (for iPad and iPhone)

    Google Play (Non-Kindle Android Devices)

    Amazon (for Kindle)


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  • GoArmyEd released; soon to be linked to legacy systems

    GoArmyEd.com, launched in September, is a portal soldiers and Army civilians can use to electronically access or process education training applications, SF-182 authorization, drops and withdrawals, and their Army education records.

    By Susan L. Follett

     

    Trying to determine the best way to manage civilian career development can be daunting, given the array of available tools and requirements. Staying current on the latest websites and their features is a vital part of that effort.

    Scott Greene, Acquisition Education & Training Branch chief from the Office of the Army Director, Acquisition Career Management (DACM) at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center, recently took some time to explain how the newly released GoArmyEd can help the Army acquisition community with career development tasks.

    GoArmyEd, which went live in September, is a role-based portal that centralizes and standardizes the management of education benefit policies and funds while coordinating the activities of key stakeholders. Soldiers and Army civilians may use GoArmyEd to electronically request tuition assistance, training, and leadership development programs as well as access and manage their education records.

    Army G-3/5/7 administrative users, including supervisors, career program managers, training managers, and Headquarters, Department of the Army G-3/5/7, can use GoArmyEd to respond to support requests, manage funds, approve training applications and registration requests, record and track completions, and manage school and vendor invoices based on the permissions of assigned administrative role.

    The system offers toll-free helpdesk support, automated email confirmations and alerts, and self-service registration for on-duty courses.

    “GoArmyEd is a great tool,” said Greene, “but it’s important to note that it’s not yet integrated with legacy systems like the Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System [CAPPMIS] that are used by the Army Acquisition Workforce.

    “Army civilians will continue to be required to maintain an Acquisition Individual Development Plan [IDP] in CAPPMIS,” he explained. “And until an IT solution is developed for our acquisition-unique requirements, they may be required by their career program, to also maintain an IDP in Army Career Tracker, the system of record for Army IDPs for enlisted soldiers, officers and Army civilians. Continuous learning points, IDPs, and certifications must also be kept current within CAPPMIS/ Army Civilian Training, Education and Development System (ACTEDS).”

    Greene offered simple steps for which systems to use. For any DACM-sponsored tuition assistance program that requires an SF-182, the SF-182 must be created and processed within the CAPPMIS Army Acquisition Professional Development System.

    “GoArmyEd is a great tool, but it’s important to note that it’s not yet integrated with legacy systems like the Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System.”

    For training, education or other non-DACM training funded through ACTEDS or your command or organization, apply for those courses in GoArmyEd. Any document generation—the SF-182, for example—will be done there.

    Efforts are underway to integrate the legacy systems with GoArmyEd so users will have just one source to access. Once that’s complete, Army civilians will be able to use GoArmyEd to process online training applications, SF-182 authorizations, and certification of training requests for centrally and command-funded training and professional development classes. The timetable for that integration is currently under development and not expected until at least mid-FY15.

    “We highly suggest exploring GoArmyEd to familiarize yourself with what it has to offer, so users will be ready to access it when the integration happens,” Greene said. GoArmyEd features roughly 20 training videos for Army civilians on the key functions they’re likely to use, and roughly 30 administrative user training documents guide users through each of the administrative GoArmyEd functions used to support Army civilians.

    Additional information can be found on GoArmyEd and tutorial videos on YouTube.


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  • Carter Presents Awards for Excellence in Acquisition

    Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter, left, presents the David Packard Excellence in Aquisition Award in a ceremony at the Pentagon, Nov. 25, 2013. Four acquisition teams received the award, the highest Defense Department-bestowed honor for acquisitions. (DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)

    By Claudette Roulo, American Forces Press Service

     

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2013 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter today presented four acquisition teams with the David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award, the highest Defense Department-bestowed honor for acquisitions.

    “I can think of no better way to spend one of my last days as deputy secretary of defense than by acknowledging these men and women who have worked so hard to make our department succeed,” Carter said.

    The David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award was first awarded in 1997 in honor of the late David Packard, a former deputy secretary of defense and advocate of excellence in defense acquisition practices. The award recognizes organizations, groups and teams that have demonstrated superior program management, exemplary innovation and accomplishment in the successful execution of the department’s Better Buying Power initiatives.

    Acknowledging recent challenges faced by DOD’s civilian workforce, including furloughs and the government shutdown, the deputy secretary said that the work of acquisitions professionals is vital to the success of the department.

    “You stuck with us, despite all these recent challenges,” Carter said.

    “I know why you do it,” he continued. “You do it because you get to wake up every morning and be part of something bigger than yourselves.”

    In these challenging times, it’s particularly important to honor outstanding public servants, Carter said.

    “The impact that they can make — all of them — [is] represented today by our distinguished honorees,” he said.

    The honorees include:

    – The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle team, a joint Army and Marine Corps team, for its cost-saving efforts in restoring the mobility, payload-carrying capacity, rotary-wing transportability and overall safety of Army and Marine Corps light tactical vehicles;

    – The Navy’s Air and Missile Defense Radar team for its cost saving and risk reduction initiatives in the pre-engineering, manufacturing and development phase of this major defense acquisition program;

    – The Air Force’s HC-130J Combat King II and MC-130J Commando II Program team for its innovative recapitalization program to procure 131 aircraft for Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations Command, and

    Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization and Air Force National Capital Region Information Technology Team, a joint Defense Information Systems Agency and Air Force team, for its cost-saving ability to quickly respond to real-world needs for scalable information technology services and help desk support.

    “All four of these teams have made a huge difference to the department,” Carter said.

    “The accomplishments of our recipients today showcase precision, business acumen, innovation, dedication and teamwork at every stage of the acquisition process,” he said.

    The honorees’ cumulative efforts “have saved the department billions of dollars,” the deputy secretary said. “Being responsible stewards of taxpayer money is always a top priority for us but it’s particularly appreciated during these times of shrinking budgets and fiscal uncertainty.

    “You have proven that we do not have to sacrifice performance and capabilities in order to achieve speed and savings,” Carter added. “Your successes show that we can have effective oversight, but above all, better value for the taxpayer and the warfighter.”

    (Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter: @RouloAFPS)


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  • Zardecki secures highest DoD civilian employee award

    Zardecki, resident of Cresco, Pa. and Tobyhanna Army Depot Deputy Commander accepted the 58th Annual Distinguished Civilian Service Award during a ceremony in the Pentagon on Nov. 18.

    By Jacqueline Boucher

     

    TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. — A winner of this year’s Defense Department’s highest civilian employee award could be described as a product of evolution.

    Deputy Commander Frank Zardecki, whose unwavering commitment to Tobyhanna Army Depot has ensured its position as a leader within the Army’s organic industrial base, accepted the 58th Annual Distinguished Civilian Service Award during a ceremony at the Pentagon on Monday.

    “Frank’s achievements exemplify the highest standards of public service,” said Col. Gerhard P.R. Schröter, depot commander. “He devotes his career to individual and organizational excellence and inspires others to settle for nothing less.”

    Armed with a long-term vision and the ability to affect change, Zardecki is guided by a mission that is integral to the accomplishments of the joint warfighter, depot employees and local communities.

    “The importance of what we do demands success,” Zardecki said, adding that he maintains high expectations for himself and the depot. “Leaders must be willing to change with the times and technology to set the stage for future generations.”

    Personnel familiar with Zardecki’s leadership style are witness to his initiatives to transform depot maintenance from traditional repair and overhaul facilities into networks of technology and sustainment in the organic industrial base, enhancing joint warfighter readiness.

    “From a mission perspective, it is primarily ensuring that we produce high-quality equipment and services at the lowest cost to our customers,” Zardecki said. “Equally important to me is ensuring the long-term viability of the depot and posturing ourselves for the future.”

    In a letter, CECOM commanding general Maj. Gen. Robert Ferrell “wholeheartedly” recommended Zardecki for the civilian service award. During the nomination process, the general spoke highly of the deputy commander’s years of service to the nation.

    “Frank has significantly contributed to Defense Department depot maintenance evolution and transformation throughout his 50-year career,” he said. “His vision has led to dramatic changes in logistics processes and structure, improving readiness and delivery of products and services to all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.”
    The general also pointed out that as a “widely-recognized” leader in the DoD maintenance community, Zardecki exemplifies the highest level of civilian service. “He is a critical member of the CECOM team and deserving of this prestigious award.”

    Several events have charted the course of Zardecki’s career; first as an active-duty member of the Air Force, then as an entry level employee at Tobyhanna. His steady climb through the ranks culminated with the depot’s top civilian post; each job progressively increased his reputation for innovative approaches to depot-level repair of communications electronics equipment.

    Zardecki’s expertise in depot operations and maintenance policies is a commodity often sought by organizations throughout the DoD. A long list of special assignments, task forces, study groups and panels is testament to his willingness to foster improvements in depot maintenance and logistics support.

    “Leaders must be willing to change with the times and technology to set the stage for future generations.”

    Highlights of a decades-long career include serving as the avionics representative for the Army on Inter-Service studies, a tour at the former Depot Systems Command (DESCOM) to participate in the Logistics 81 study, and the strength of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s standing with Tobyhanna during the Base Realignment and Closure years.
    Ideas that came to fruition during the course of Zardecki’s career include the adoption of new approaches to enhance mission performance that led to the Army Materiel Command’s confidence in selecting Tobyhanna as the pilot depot for implementing the Logistics Modernization Program in fiscal 2003.

    Plus, there was a logistics transformation initiative that included the expansion from a facility in Northeast Pennsylvania to a global enterprise of 70 forward repair sites, including Southwest Asia, that provide on-site support at U.S. Army installations as well as to U.S. Army units deployed for overseas contingency operations.

    “As an individual you can make a difference,” Zardecki said. “It takes commitment, hard work, perseverance and the courage of your convictions.”
    The DoD Distinguished Civilian Service Award is the highest honor given by the Secretary of Defense to a DoD career civilian. It is presented in an annual ceremony to a small number of DoD civilian employees whose service reflects exceptional devotion to duty and extremely significant contributions of a broad scope to the efficiency, economy or improvement in the operation of the department.

    Ashton Carter, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, will present the awards to the eight recipients; Zardecki is one of two Army winners.
    This award recognizes career employees at all levels for their exceptional achievements and honors performance characterized by extraordinary, notable or prestigious contributions that impact the DoD as a whole.

    Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department’s largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna’s missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.

    About 3,700 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command’s mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.


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  • USAASC announces October MOS 51C reclassification board results

    FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Nov. 18, 2013) – A total of 26 candidates were selected for reclassification as a result of the 51C Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) reclassification board held here October 21-22, 2013.

    The first board of the fiscal year was convened by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) and administered by the 51C Proponent Office.

    “We had 106 applicants compete for the 26 positions and the competition was stiff,” said Cory Foster, contracting proponency officer.

    The number of selected applicants varies across each board and is dependent upon the accession needs of the Army at the time.

    “We expect to bring many NCOs by next September and we will hold boards every few months—there are plenty of opportunities to compete,” added Foster.

    The purpose of the board is to ensure the best qualified NCOs from across the Army are selected for reclassification into military occupational specialty (MOS) 51C, an Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Contracting NCO, which is part of the Army Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Workforce.

    The primary mission for 51C NCOs is to deploy as contingency contracting officers and serve as members of the early entry module contingency contracting team. When not deployed, selected NCOs will serve as contingency contracting officers in support of a headquarters, principal assistant responsible for contracting, contracting support brigades, contingency contracting battalions, and/or installation contracting offices for training and mission support.

    Submission schedules and additional information are posted on the USAASC website.

    USAASC congratulates the following Soldiers for their selection:

    Sgt. Rafael Alameda-Pabon Sgt.(P) Jessie J. Jasnoch
    Staff Sgt. Edna Alcin-Wilson Sgt.(P) Latoya N. Jeffries
    Sgt. Nikkeyla D. Barbee Staff Sgt. Aja M. Lynch
    Staff Sgt. Steven Barva Sgt. Timothy McMillan
    Staff Sgt. Anthony D. Bryant Staff Sgt. Jacob Pankow
    Staff Sgt. Oscar F. Cano Sgt. William A. Phipps
    Staff Sgt. Joel M. Celona Sgt.(P) Julian D. Rhooms
    Sgt. Dextra D. Davis Sgt.(P) Jessica D. Salter
    Sgt. Tameka C. Flowers Staff Sgt. Michael L. Sapp
    Staff Sgt. Gregory Gunn Staff Sgt. Katrina R. Tolbert
    Sgt. Joshua J. Harris Staff Sgt. Jonathan G. Vallejo
    Sgt. Marvin E. Hopkins Staff Sgt. Antonio D. Woodson
    Staff Sgt. Michael J. Howen Sgt. Jacqueline M. Wright

     


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