• USAASC to Provide Acquisition Career Counseling at AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition

    FORT BELVOIR, VA—Army Acquisition Workforce career counseling sessions will be available during this year’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition. The sessions will be held in the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) booth, part of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASAALT) exhibit. The AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition will be held October 10-12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. The ASAALT exhibit number is 6328 and is located on Level 2 of the convention hall.

    Visitors to the USAASC booth can receive valuable career advice from career counselors in the ASAALT exhibit at the 2011 AUSA annual meeting and exposition. (Photo by McArthur Newell.)

    Career counseling is available to military and civilian members of the Acquisition Workforce or those interested in joining the Workforce. Among those offering career counseling advice is LTC Charles Stein, Product Manager Ground Combat Tactical Trainers (PM GCTT), part of Program Executive Office Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO STRI). Stein is nominated for an Army Acquisition Corps Award as Product Manager of the Year.

    In addition to the career counseling sessions, 12 PEOs, the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command are represented at the ASAALT booth, displaying the latest technologies supporting the American warfighter. The PEOs that in attendance are:

    • PEO Ammunition
    • PEO Aviation
    • PEO Combat Support and Combat Service Support
    • PEO Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical
    • PEO Enterprise Information Systems
    • PEO Ground Combat Systems
    • PEO Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors
    • PEO Missiles and Space
    • PEO STRI
    • PEO Soldier
    • Joint PEO Chemical and Biological Defense
    • Joint PEO Joint Tactical Radio System

    The AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition is a professional development forum that includes seminars and special presentations on the Army’s transformation to the Future Force, LandWarNet, expeditionary logistics, actionable intelligence, and other issues affecting today’s Army. For more information or directions to the convention center, visit AUSA’s website at http://www.ausa.org.


     

      • USAASC supports Army warfighter readiness by developing a world-class professional acquisition workforce, effectively acquiring and stewarding resources and providing customers with the best possible products and services. For more information about USAASC, visit http://asc.army.mil.

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  • New App to Spotlight Army Exhibits, Forums at AUSA

    Gary Sheftick, Army News Service

    A new application for smartphones allows Soldiers worldwide to visit Army exhibits and watch presentations taking place at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting at the Washington (DC) Convention Center Oct. 10-12.

    The Army Exhibit Mobile App helps visitors find what they’re looking for at AUSA’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, and allow those who can’t be there to take a virtual tour.

    The Army Exhibit Mobile App will spotlight Army exhibits and speeches at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition.

    The app also allows users to watch Secretary of the Army John McHugh, U.S. Army Chief of Staff GEN Raymond T. Odierno, and other senior leaders discuss leading-edge issues facing the Army, such as advancing the network, cyber security, future training, leader development, and more. They can hear Soldiers ask questions and get frank answers from their senior leaders.

    “We want to expand the reach beyond the building and beyond the calendar,” said LTC Thomas Smedley, who explained that the presentations and exhibits will be available for viewing on the app not just during the three days of the conference but for months to come.

    “You can watch it during halftime at the football game,” Smedley said. “You can watch it at an airport while waiting for a plane,” he added.

    “We don’t encourage watching it while driving in traffic,” he joked.

    Smedley, Military Deputy for Community Relations and Outreach at U.S. Army Public Affairs, has been working on the app since May. He said it is available for downloading for iPhones and iPads, and his team is working on a version for Droids and BlackBerrys.

    The www.army.mil/mobile website has a link to the iTunes App Store and will have a link to the Android Market and the HTML5 BlackBerry site, where the app can be downloaded.

    The smartphone application will link to video of the 14 Institute of Land Warfare panels from the AUSA convention. The opening ceremony Oct. 10, where McHugh will give the keynote address, will be available for viewing, as will the Eisenhower Luncheon Oct. 11, where Odierno will speak.

    “You can sit and watch the Chief talk about the way ahead,” Smedley said, adding that the presentations will also be useful for unit professional development sessions, such as for NCOs.

    “It’s all about avoiding that white piece of paper,” he said, explaining that an interactive application and video are much more exciting than reading a handout.

    The app is a partner to the www.army.mil website, which will have the links for viewing live-streaming and archived video on the smartphone, he said.

    The app will also include feedback mechanisms. In-app analytics will measure usage and allow Soldiers to rate the exhibits. The app will also allow users to provide both quantitative and qualitative feedback on the communication campaigns.

    The four Family Forums at AUSA and the presentations at the Warrior’s Corner, part of the Department of the Army exhibit at Booth 1775 at the center of the exhibit hall, will be available on the app.

    Next to Warrior’s Corner will be a theater, playing two films also available on the app: “The Army Profession” and “The Squad: Foundation of the Decisive Force.”

    The third zone of the Army exhibit will be an interactive look back over the past 10 years of war and the communications campaigns.

    “We’re nested with the communications campaigns,” Smedley said, adding that one of his jobs has been to ensure that the Army’s eight communication priorities resonate throughout the app and the Army’s exhibit.

    “We’re pretty excited,” he said. “The app is permeating with our force.” Young Soldiers are used to receiving information digitally through mobile devices, Smedley said; they read books on iPads or Kindles and download technical manuals from the Internet. He predicted that they will be very comfortable with the new app.

    “The convenience and portability are very good,” he said.

    The app will also include feedback mechanisms, Smedley said. In-app analytics will measure usage and allow Soldiers to rate the exhibits. The app will also allow users to provide both quantitative and qualitative feedback on the communication campaigns.

    Soldiers with ideas for making the app even better are invited to submit their suggestions, Smedley said.

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  • New CREW Maintenance University Eliminates Need for Additional Training

    Brandon Pollachek

    The mission to defeat one of the enemy’s number one threats—improvised explosive devices (IEDs)—recently received a big boost in terms of the knowledge and capabilities of those assigned to operate and maintain Counter-Radio-Controlled IED Warfare (CREW) devices.

    Designed to offer maintainers and operators more realistic training, the new CREW Maintenance University opened its doors to students this spring at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. The course is a five-day, intensive, hands-on program that provides Soldiers, civilians, and contractors who are responsible for CREW systems the opportunity to troubleshoot and actually handle  the multiple variations of fielded devices.

    Students attending the CREW Maintenance University practice installing and reinstalling counter-radio-controlled IED warfare systems onto an MRAP vehicle. (Photo by Jill Kanuchok.)

    The CREW Family of Systems, managed by Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors (PEO IEW&S), provides electronic protection from roadside bombs for vehicles and crew members in mounted, dismounted, and fixed-site operations in forward combat areas during offensive and defensive operations, military operations in urban terrain, rear area logistical support, cantonment area security, and during peacekeeping. Systems are usually maintained by deployed field service representatives (FSRs) and electronic warfare (EW) Soldiers.

    “The need for a new training course came out of a requirement from the field based on lessons learned from the FSRs and Soldiers we previously trained,” said Willie Jackson, Training Manager for Product Manager (PM) CREW. “We discovered that following the completion of the previously offered course, the Soldiers and FSRs who deployed had to go through an additional 30 days of training upon arriving in theater because the training we provided wasn’t realistic.”     

    Before the CREW Maintenance University, students attended a three-day course at Fort Monmouth, NJ, taught strictly through PowerPoint briefings. The current course is 80 percent hands-on instruction, with a lab that features five variations of CREW devices as well as various vehicles where students will install the systems.

    The hands-on training includes putting load sets into the system, verifying the firmware, installing the systems on the vehicle, and troubleshooting. “We actually got the recurring areas of deficiency from theater, and we incorporated those into the course,” Jackson noted. “Students will install the system, troubleshoot the system, and retest it to make sure everything checked out.”

    Students have an opportunity to install and uninstall CREW devices on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, Abrams tanks, Stryker armored vehicles, and other platforms and train on maintaining fixed-site systems along with the proper procedures for testing devices before leaving the forward operating base.

    Student feedback has been extremely positive, especially from those who have attended both the old and new training courses.

    “It is completely night and day. Everything was classes and death by PowerPoint, and I don’t remember learning that much,” said Alnaldo Gonzalez, a student attending from the Department of State who previously took the course in 2007 before deploying for the past four years supporting CREW devices. “The hands-on lab is awesome. We can try out a lot of different scenarios, making sure you go to each system and then load the system. Back in 2007, we didn’t touch any systems, and you have to touch something to learn it efficiently to do your job, especially when a Soldier’s life is depending on it.”

    Most of the students are FSRs from Tobyhanna Army Depot, PA, or EW students. The program also trains EW instructors from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), as well as the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) CREW Master Gunner Course. CREW Maintenance University is open to all DOD military and federal agencies.

    Besides providing a more hands-on experience, the CREW Maintenance University serves as an incubator for more permanent training programs that will be established at TRADOC and within USMC.

    “The end goal for CREW Maintenance University is to train the trainer until the Army establishes the military occupational specialty to take over the role of CREW maintenance and CREW operator training within TRADOC,” said Jackson. “Once a training course is established in TRADOC, PM CREW will discontinue the program, possibly in FY12.”

    “Everything we do in PM CREW has a dramatic impact on saving Soldiers’ lives. We have the Army’s best acquisition and budget specialists, integrators, logisticians, testers, and engineers who ensure that the best products are provided to the Soldiers,” said LTC Bruce Ryba, Product Manager CREW within the Project Management Office Electronic Warfare. “The impact CREW Maintenance University has had on making sure these systems are maintained properly to save lives is unparalleled. Willie Jackson and his team are producing highly trained maintainers and trainers who will continue to protect our Soldiers every day so that they can come home to their loved ones when their mission is complete.”

     


      • BRANDON POLLACHEK is the Public Affairs Officer for PEO IEW&S, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. He holds a B.S. in political science from Cazenovia College and has more than 10 years’ experience in writing about military systems.

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  • DACM Corner: Selecting and Developing Acquisition Officers and NCOs

    LTG William N. Phillips

    As we continue to build a world-class Acquisition Workforce with military and civilian professionals, we are faced with two equally important requirements: accessing the right skill sets to do the job and advancing career opportunities for the people who work diligently to execute the AL&T mission. All while staying focused on our vital mission to support Soldiers by getting the resources they need into their hands as quickly as possible, a mission in which we cannot fail.

    This vital mission is not possible without a robust, highly skilled, and professional AL&T Workforce that includes Acquisition Officers, Noncommissioned Officers, and Army Civilian members. The challenge is accessing and promoting talent to continue to grow our workforce.

    SSG Rickie Spivey earned the 51C MOS, Contracting NCO. “I want to obtain the most contracting knowledge I can and be confident in sharing that information and knowledge with fellow 51Cs,” she said. (U.S. Army photo by Larry D. McCaskill, U.S. Army Contracting Command.)

    Acquisition professionals can take great pride in knowing that they are a vital part of the Army workforce that bears the tremendous responsibility of providing warfighers with the very best weapon systems, materiel support, and advanced technology to maintain the decisive edge on the battlefield. For those not already in the acquisition profession, it just may be the change you need to boost your Army career.

    The Acquisition Corps is looking for enthusiastic members who live the Army’s core values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. First and foremost, we’re looking for leaders with honesty and integrity. In our line of work, we require transparency and fairness because we are entrusted with public funds and must remain good stewards of taxpayers’ money. We place a high value on teamwork and the willingness to work hard to deliver capability to our Soldiers. Sometimes during negotiations with our industry partners, we must adapt quickly to changing situations and be willing to work with other members of the Army team (e.g., requirements and resourcing) to ensure affordable and executable products meeting Soldier needs. Additionally, we’re looking for a diversity of backgrounds and abilities (military occupational skills, academic degrees, and certifications) to add to the Acquisition Corps, making it more reflective of the Army we serve.

    One example of a Soldier who took on the acquisition challenge and brought a new skill set to the Acquisition Corps is SSG Rickie Spivey, a Contracting NCO with the 683rd Contingency Contracting Team in Vicenza, Italy. From 2004 to 2008, Spivey had been serving as an Automated Logistical Specialist.  In 2008, she started looking for a bigger challenge, something that would test her not only physically, but also mentally. She found it in the Acquisition Corps, where she applied for military occupational specialty (MOS) reclassification, was accepted, and was subsequently awarded the 51C MOS, Contracting NCO. In just under a year, Spivey has supported more than 30 contracts, as well as two major missions in Uganda and Gambia. “I want to obtain the most contracting knowledge I can and be confident in sharing that information and knowledge with fellow 51Cs,” according to Spivey. “Not only do I continue to live the Soldier and NCO creed, but I strive each day to be better than the day before and to always exceed my own expectations,” she said.

    Spivey is just one of the many Acquisition members who rise to the challenge every day to provide our Soldiers with what they need to help them prevail in every confrontation with the enemy.

    Over the next couple of years, the Army will be moving forward to assess a significant number of NCOs and Officers into the Acquisition Corps and in particular, to become Army Contracting Officers. The future of the Army Acquisition Corps is bright, and we’re continuing to look for opportunities to bring into our formations the very best and brightest who are willing to learn acquisition and to work hard to support our Soldiers. 

    When selecting Acquisition Corps members, the Army uses the “whole person” concept, evaluating each candidate’s leadership positions held, potential for success, education, performance and recommendations, and completion of key developmental assignments.

    For officers, members can be accessed through three methods: the annual Career Field Designation Board, which focuses on Army Competitive Category (ACC) captains in their fifth to seventh year of commissioned service; the Voluntary Incentive Transfer Program, which employs a quarterly panel to access ACC officers from multiyear groups; and through branch transfers for non-ACC officers on a case-by-case basis. For more information on the education, training, and experience requirements for Acquisition Corps officers, please visit the U.S. Army Human Resources Command’s Acquisition Management Branch website (AKO user name and password required) at https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/protect/branches/officer/fs/acquisition/index.htm.

    Just like the officers, NCO members are selected from many military specialties for reclassification into the 51C MOS. The reclassification boards are made up of contracting professionals: contracting commanders and contracting battalion and brigade sergeants major. The board evaluates the candidates’ NCO Evaluation Reports, military and civilian education, time in service, and recommendations from senior officers. After selection, the NCO attends initial training at either the U.S. Army Acquisition Center of Excellence at the University of Alabama in Huntsville or the U.S. Air Force Mission Ready Airman Course in San Antonio, TX. NCOs are usually assigned to contracting teams in the U.S. Army Contracting Command. There are great opportunities for NCOs within Army’s Contracting.  NCOs can visit their career counselor or installation contracting office for more information, or visit the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center website at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/military-nco/reclassification-information.

    Civilian acquisition professionals are hired in all the 14 Acquisition Career Fields to include: Program Management; Facilities Engineering; Quality Assurance; Systems Planning, Research, Development and Engineering; Business – Financial Management/Cost Estimating; Life-cycle Logistics; Information Technology; and Test and Evaluation. Civilians desiring an acquisition career or to continue through the career field, can compete for openings across the Army through announcements posted on USA Jobs (http://www.usajobs.opm.gov) for everything from entry-level intern jobs to journeymen positions and even Senior Executive Service leadership. 

    Whether you are a Civilian, Officer, or NCO, if you believe you have the tenacity and drive to become an acquisition professional, then I encourage you to join us and apply.


    • LTG WILLIAM N. PHILLIPS

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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner: August 2011

    Update on FY12 Contracting Certification Changes

    The Army Deputy Director of Acquisition Career Management is seeking a reprieve to the Defense Acquisition University contracting curriculum changes, scheduled to go in effect October 1.

    The following alternative plans are under consideration:  extensions that would allow workforce members to complete their certification training under the current FY11 Contracting Certification requirements; an extended grace period to meet experience requirements; and permission for those to complete training already in progress.

    More up-to-date information will be provided once the vetting process is concluded.

    Defense Acquisition University Updates

    Registration is open for FY12 Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses. Students should continue to apply through the Army Training Requirements and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas.

    DAU is working diligently to resume normal operation of the Online Learning Management System (LMS). Its three-phase approach is designed to ensure that the is up and running smoothly:

    • Phase 1—A temporary site with limited functionality and capacity has been set up to accommodate students who are enrolled in classroom course offerings and who require online courses as a prerequisite (ACQ 201A, BCF 106, CON 112, CON 214, CLC 056, LOG 200, LOG 235, PMT 352A, PQM 201A, SYS 202, or TST 102). In other words, students who need the online courses for their classroom training are getting first priority. Students were notified  by DAU on Aug. 10 with directions to access the temporary site by using their DOD Common Access Cards (CACs). DAU was successful in getting the first tranche of students in Phase 1.
    • Phase 2—Full capacity by mid-September, with an interface that will offer students  CAC access to all online courses, including the continuous learning modules.
    • Phase 3—Full operational capability, with a new security-hardened LMS for all users by December.

    The timeframe for DAU course cancellations has changed from five business days to 30 calendar days from the date the student receives a reservation. Cancellations for a confirmed reservation must be received at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or by the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier. Cancellations submitted after that deadline must have general officer or Senior Executive Service member approval, per Department of the Army DAU Training Policy and Procedures signed April 18, 2011. U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) students must cancel at least 45 calendar days before the start of the class. Please view AMC memo and DA DAU training policy and procedures at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training/documents. Please send an email directly to AMC.CourseCancellations@us.army.mil. (This is the correct email address, not the one included in the memo.)

    On March 25, the Director for Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy released a memorandum on “Upcoming Changes to the Contracting Curriculum in Fiscal Year 2012.”  The changes affect the certification requirements for acquisition workforce members in contracting-coded positions. The Deputy Director for Acquisition Career Management provided supplemental guidance for the FY12 contracting changes. Please view the changes and recommendations at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training/fy12-new-contracting-changes.

    To address the shortfall in Level II contracting classes, six commercial vendors and four universities offer CON 215, 217, and 218 equivalent classes. The vendors will continue to teach the FY11 courses in FY12.The courses are valid predecessors to the new FY12 courses until Sept. 30, 2013. For more information on equivalencies, please visit the DAU website http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx. If you are unable to obtain CON 215, 217, and/or 218 during FY11 and would like to use Section 852 funds to pay for an equivalent provider, the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) now offers these courses. If a course is approved for training by the command, the Section 852/ Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund program manager for that command will request funding from the USAASC Section 852 manager by submitting a Program Request Form for FY11, found at https://www.usaasc.info/section852_cms. The point of contact is Chandra Evans Mitchell at chandra.l.evansmitchell.civ@mail.mil.

    To address the shortfall in Level II business, cost, and financial management (BCFM) courses, the Army is placing only first-priority students into available BCFM classes. Level II courses are available on the FY12 schedule. DAU has expanded class size from 24 to 28-30 for current FY11 and all FY12 course offerings, specifically in the following courses: BCF 203, BCF 205, BCF 206, BCF 211 and BCF 215. An additional 680 seats were added to the FY12 schedule with additional offerings and increased class size. The demand stems from a temporary surge of BCFM certification requirements, along with an increase in BCFM workforce members who need certification. For experienced BCFM personnel, fulfillment of the course is recommended. For more information, go to http://icatalog.dau.mil/DAUFulfillmentPgm.aspx.

    DAU has successfully procured a new commercial-off-the-shelf Student Information System (SIS) to replace the current distinct DAU registration systems. The system, named PORTICO, is web-based and will interface with DAU and DOD systems, AITAS, and the Career Acquisition Management Portal/Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System. Army workforce members will be able to authenticate via their CAC. PORTICO will standardize functionality and capability for all services. It will allow more transparency and the latest status information for students applying for DAU courses. The system is in the Business Requirements Review phase, with initial operating capability slated for July 2012 and full operating capability in January 2013.  For more information, please visit http://www.dau.mil/sis/default.aspx.

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  • Acquisition Employees Graduate from Excellence in Government Fellows Program

    WASHINGTON–Nineteen members of the acquisition workforce were among 263 federal employees, spanning 23 government agencies, that graduated from the Excellence in Government Fellows (EIGF) program at a graduation luncheon held in their honor at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Aug 18.

    Members of the acquisition workforce graduated from the Excellence in Government Fellows (EIGF) program Aug. 18. The EIGF program is a year-long leadership development program designed to build and enhance the skills of government employees. (Photo by Marques Chavez.)

    The EIGF program is a year-long leadership development program designed to build and enhance the skills of government employees to help them increase their effectiveness in their positions and to work toward becoming an executive. The program is organized by the Partnership for Public Service, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that aims to help revitalize the federal government.

    “Over the course of a year, what we try to do is remind folks of the importance of public service. We refocus the emphasis on public service. It’s a personal vision and a mission statement. It’s thinking about how that aligns with the work of the agency,” said Tom Fox, Vice President for Leadership and Innovation at Partnership for Public Service.

    There are seven sessions over the course of the program year. Conducted about six weeks apart, each three-day session centers on a particular topic or theme. In each session, students are introduced to key theories and content associated with the selected topic. Practitioners from the private and public sectors that have implemented the strategies speak to the classes and explain how they make the transition from learning the skills in the classroom to implementing them into their work. The students are also given opportunities to practice the skills through interactive exercises and year-end projects.

    “We surveyed all of the best practices in the private and public sector and developed a program that includes everything from formal classroom training, 360 degree assessments, executive coaching, and site visits to high-performing benchmark organizations, and mentoring and peer networking,” Fox said.

    “It’s a leadership training opportunity.  The participants focus on how to be a leader and how to enhance their leadership skills,” said Gloria King, Acquisition Training and Education Manager at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC).

    The individual federal agencies are charged with selecting the candidates for the EIGF program. In the case of USAASC, applications are accepted from workforce members who meet the criteria for the program.  Those candidates are referred to a selection board for evaluation and recommendation. The board is a three-person panel composed of senior level individuals from the major commands. The board members review applications and make recommendations to Mr. Craig Spisak, Deputy Director, Acquisition Career Management (DDACM) for the final selection of students for the program.

    Those who have completed the EIGF program explain that it not only teaches and enhances leadership skills, but also provides the opportunity to interact with employees of other government agencies.

    “This program was amazing because it was government wide. We could build off of other agencies and people who have similar projects or problems within the Department of Defense,” said Kerry Henry, Chief, Technology and Prototyping Division, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ammunition, who graduated from the EIGF program on Thursday. “It was also great to step out of the work environment, learn new skills and take what we learned and put it back into the workplace.”

    Wen Lin, Acquisition Training Development Manager at USAASC, completed the program in 2010 and has been able to implement those strategies into her current position.

    “You are able to see what’s been done that works well and not so well. Then you can benchmark your organization. I’ve been able see what good leaders have done and apply that to my job,” Lin said.

    With smaller budgets and an increased emphasis on streamlining efficiencies, Fox explained that the EIGF program has taken on an elevated meaning.

    “Right now, programs like this are really important, not just to the individuals, but to the organizations,” he said. “The problems confronting our country are getting more difficult. So let’s make sure folks are ready to tackle these problems successfully because we need an effective and efficient government.”

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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner: July 2011

    Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience Catalog

    Several educational and leadership opportunities are available in the near term through the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC). The updated Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience Catalog provides in-depth information on all training and developmental opportunities. For information on opportunities available to acquisition civilian and military workforce members, view the catalog at http://asc.army.mil/career/pubs/aete/default.cfm. Eligible individuals may apply for programs by using the Army Acquisition Professional Development System tab within the Career Acquisition Management Portal/Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAMP/CAPPMIS) at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp.

    Excellence in Government Fellows Program

    Project managers and acquisition professionals can receive hands-on leadership development through Excellence in Government Fellows (EIGF), a leadership program conducted by the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, DC. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization works to revitalize the federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works. The EIGF program announcement is open through Aug. 25. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/eigf/default.cfm.

    Acquisition Tuition Assistance Program

    The Acquisition Tuition Assistance Program (ATAP) offers an opportunity for civilian Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Workforce members to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree or fulfill the certification of U.S. Army Acquisition Corps membership business-hour requirements. The ATAP announcement is open through Aug. 31. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/atap/default.cfm.

    Defense Acquisition University Highlights

    Registration is open for FY12 Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses. Students should continue to apply through the Army Training Requirements and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas.

    The timeframe for DAU course cancellations has changed from five business days to 30 calendar days from the date the student receives a reservation. Cancellations for a confirmed reservation must be received at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or by the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier. Cancellations submitted after that deadline must have general officer or Senior Executive Service member approval per Department of the Army DAU Training Policy and Procedures signed April 18, 2011. U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) students must cancel at least 45 calendar days from the start of the class. Please view AMC memo and DA DAU training policy & procedures at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/docs.cfm.

    On March 25, the Director for Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy released a memorandum on “Upcoming Changes to the Contracting Curriculum in Fiscal Year 2012.” The changes affect the certification requirements for acquisition workforce members in contracting-coded positions. The Deputy Director for Acquisition Career Management provided supplemental guidance for the FY12 contracting changes. Please view the changes and recommendations at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/changes.cfm.

    To address the shortfall in Level II contracting classes, six commercial vendors and four universities offer CON 215, 217, and 218 equivalent classes. For more information on equivalencies, please visit the DAU website http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx.  If you are unable to obtain CON 215, 217, and/or 218 during FY11 and would like to use Section 852 funds to pay for an equivalent provider, USAASC now offers these courses. If approved for training by the command, the Section 852/ Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund program manager for that command will request funding from the USAASC Section 852 manager by submitting a Program Request Form for FY11, found at https://www.usaasc.info/section852_cms. The point of contact is Chandra Evans Mitchell at chandra.l.evansmitchell.civ@mail.mil.

    To address the shortfall in Level II business, cost, and financial management (BCFM) courses, the Army is placing only first-priority students into available BCFM classes. There is Level II course availability on the FY12 schedule.  DAU is well aware of the backlog and is working to expand classroom size from 24 to 30-36 for current and additional course offerings. The demand is due to a temporary surge of BCFM certification requirements. For experienced BCFM personnel, fulfillment of the course is recommended. For more information, go to http://icatalog.dau.mil/DAUFulfillmentPgm.aspx.

     DAU has successfully procured a commercial-off-the-shelf New Student Information System (SIS) to replace the current distinct DAU registration systems for the four services. The system, named PORTICO, is web-based and will interface with DAU and DOD systems, AITAS, and CAMP/CAPPMIS. Army workforce members will be able to authenticate via a DOD common access card. PORTICO will standardize functionality and capability for all services. It will allow more transparency and up-to-date status information for students applying for DAU courses.  The system is in the Business Requirements Review phase, with full operating capability targeted for July 2012.  For more information, go to http://www.dau.mil/sis/default.aspx.

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  • Army Reserve Launches Air Traffic Control Simulator System

    William G. Balliew

    The U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) has established the first fully accredited unit-level Air Traffic Control (ATC) simulator system in the Army at Fort Rucker, AL, fulfilling a vision for a simulation training strategy that closely replicates real-life air traffic control situations.

    An ATC NCO supervises USAR air traffic controllers on the Army’s first fully accredited unit-level ATC simulator system. (Photo by Carey James, USAR Command G-3/5/7 Aviation Contractor.)

    The system is just what planners from the USAR Command (USARC) Aviation Directorate had in mind when the 2nd Airfield Operations Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment (2-58) was activated in 2007 to train air traffic controllers. The planners foresaw the unit developing a realistic simulation training strategy, and an accredited ATC simulator system was critical to that strategy.

    “Simulation is the future of aviation training. This is a state-of-the-art device that leverages today’s technology to train tomorrow’s air traffic controllers. It is a cost-saving initiative that maximizes standardization while providing a kaleidoscope of training opportunities via real-world scenarios,” said COL Mike Schellinger, Director of USARC Aviation.

    Army Training Circular 3-04.81, Air Traffic Control Facility Operations, Training, Maintenance and Standardization, encourages unit leaders to incorporate simulation in their training programs to maximize proficiency and development.

    The scenarios used during the simulations test air traffic controllers under high-traffic-density conditions from multiple types of aircraft, thereby eliminating the cost of replicating similar conditions with actual aircraft flight.

    An individual requires 80 position hours to get an initial air traffic control specialist tactical rating as a controller, with an additional 40 hours required every six months to remain at the top readiness level. Army ATC directives and regulations allow for half of those hours to be accomplished using accredited simulations. For fixed-base operations, simulation may be used during all training phases except for position qualifications, ratings, and annual skill evaluations.

    The accreditation was the result of an exhaustive process that lasted nearly five years. The process began in 2006 when the staffs at USARC and the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve, decided to pursue an ATC simulation strategy for Soldiers in the career field. The staffs incorporated lessons learned from the U.S. Army Air Traffic Control School, the U.S. Air Force, and the National Guard.

    The decision was made based in part on assessments such as the one from March 17, 2005, in which the Army Air Traffic Service in Iraq judged ATC personnel proficient in setting up and maintaining ATC systems. The study said, “There is a considerable learning curve encountered when you are used to controlling rotary-wing aircraft and then find yourself responsible for providing a safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of traffic to a multitude of aerial platforms. They [air traffic controllers] are trained to complete their wartime mission as the Army sees it; controlling rotary-wing aircraft at a division airfield/assembly area. However, they are not trained to control scenarios they encounter in theater. The Army has an urgent need for some type of simulation to sustain its controllers’ proficiency and readiness level.” 

    USAR air traffic controllers work through a training scenario on the Army’s first fully accredited unit-level ATC simulator system. (Photo by Carey James, USAR Command G-3/5/7 Aviation Contractor.)

    The U.S. Army Aviation Center’s Directorate of Simulation (DOS) spearheaded a scenario that would adequately test air traffic controllers on accomplishing those tasks designated as critical. The USARC Aviation Directorate created the initial design and refined it over time while consulting with other experts in the field.

    Once the scenario was deemed ready, DOS gathered a large group of ATC experts to work through the scenario and grade the system on its testing proficiency on critical tasks. The group included qualified active Army controllers, subject-matter experts, ATC instructors, and U.S. Army Forces Command Aviation Resource Management Survey inspectors with varying levels of experience to provide the perspectives of a representative cross-section of the field. The grades from the group met the requirements for accreditation of the system.

    The rigors and legitimacy of the accreditation process give real evidence of the capabilities of this system to train Soldiers.

    Because of the nature of computer simulations, the 2-58 can now train personnel using the most up-to-date lessons learned and conditions from areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Given enough lead time, the unit can design a scenario tailored for the specific location where a unit will deploy.

    The USAR has realized that the simulator can support more than just Army Reserve Soldiers. The system has been placed in the DOS Merryman Building on Fort Rucker, where it will be made available to both active and reserve-component ATC Soldiers for scheduled use.

    “We are very excited about the possibilities of this system. Not only will it get both Reserve and active Army air traffic controllers better prepared for the conditions they will face in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, it will also prepare them at less cost with no loss in capability,” said Schellinger.


    • WILLIAM G. BALLIEW is the USARC Air Traffic and Airspace Officer, G-3/5/7 Aviation. He is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Certified Air Traffic Controller Specialist and Control Tower Operator. Balliew is a former U.S. Army Air Traffic Controller, Department of the Army Representative to the FAA Headquarters and Army Representative to the FAA ATP-200 Special Operations Branch.

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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner: May 2011 Update

    Upcoming Training Opportunities

    • The Excellence in Government Fellowship (EIGF) announcement is open from July 12 through Aug. 26. The EIGF is a leadership program conducted by the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, DC. The Partnership is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works. The program offers hands-on leadership development for project managers and acquisition professionals. Click on http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/eigf/default.cfm for more on EIGF.
    • The Acquisition Tuition Assistance Program (ATAP) announcement is open July 15 through Aug. 31. ATAP is for civilian Army Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Workforce members who wish to complete a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university or to fulfill the business hour requirement cited in Reference A of the ATAP policy. Master’s funding is also available to those GS Level 11 (or broad/pay band equivalent) AL&T workforce members who are currently certified at their required level (at least Level II) and are interested in pursuing graduate study. To apply for ATAP, AL&T Workforce members must be certified at the level required for their current position. Click on http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/atap/default.cfm for more information.

    Defense Acquisition University Highlights

    • Registration for FY12 classes is open through the Army Training Requirements and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. For more information on DAU training, including step-by-step instructions, training priorities, and FAQs, click on http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/default.cfm.
    • The cancellation timeline has been modified for DAU courses from five business days to 30 calendar days from the date the student receives a reservation. Cancellations for a confirmed reservation must be received at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier. Cancellations submitted less than 30 days before the class starts or the reservation cutoff date must be approved by the first general officer or Senior Executive Service member in your organization’s chain of command, in accordance with Department of the Army DAU Training Policy and Procedures at http://asc.army.mil/docs/programs/dau/DAU_Training_Policy_&_Procedures.pdf.
    • The Army Director of Acquisition Career Management (DACM) LTG William N. Phillips signed a memorandum on enforcing Army DAU policy and procedures for course cancellation requests. Please view the memo at http://asc.army.mil/docs/programs/dau/ArmyDAUCancellationPolicyPhillips.pdf.
    • On March 28, the Director for Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy released a memorandum on the subject “Upcoming Changes to the Contracting Curriculum in Fiscal Year 2012.” The changes will affect the certification requirements for members of the acquisition workforce who are currently in a contracting-coded position. The Deputy DACM provided supplemental guidance for the FY12 contracting changes. Please view the changes and recommendations on course transition at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/changes.cfm.
    • DAU has successfully procured a commercial-off-the-shelf Student Information System to replace the current, distinct DAU registration systems for the four services. The system, named PORTICO, is Web-based and will interface with current DAU and DOD systems, AITAS, and the Career Acquisition Management Portal/Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System. Army workforce members can authenticate via a DOD common access card. PORTICO will standardize functionality and capability for all services. It will allow more transparency and up-to-date status to students when applying for DAU courses. The initial operating capability date is targeted for June 2012. View ongoing status and team blogs at http://www.dau.mil/sis/default.aspx.
    • To address the shortfall in Level II contracting classes, six commercial vendors and four universities offer CON 215, 217, and 218 equivalent classes. For more information on equivalencies, visit DAU’s website at http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx. Please email the program execution point of contact at usaascweb-ac@conus.army.mil if you are unable to obtain CON 215, 217, and/or 218 classes this fiscal year and would like to use Section 852 funds to pay for an equivalent provider. The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center plans to offer this option to those who need the courses and are unable to get an FY11 reservation. DAU continues to work to provide more offerings of Level II Contracting courses in the current fiscal year.

      The Army is placing only first-priority students into available Level II Business, Cost, and Financial Management (BCFM) classes, to address the shortfall. DAU is well aware of the backlog and is working diligently to expand classroom size for current and additional course offerings. The demand is due to a temporary surge of BCFM certification requirements. For experienced BCFM personnel, fulfillment of the course is recommended. Fulfillment information can be found at http://icatalog.dau.mil/DAUFulfillmentPgm.aspxdf.

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  • DACM Corner: Growing the Acquisition Workforce

    LTG William N. Phillips

    No doubt you’ve been hearing a lot about efficiencies and budget restraint, and about “doing more without more.” But you may not know that a few years before, they were a key topic of discussion in Washington in particular and among some senior leaders in DOD acquisition. The Army was well on its way to implementing a program that not only increases efficiencies, but also continues to ensure that the needs of our warfighters on the battlefield are met, and that we will have a viable and effective acquisition workforce into the future.

    Section 852 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY08 directed the establishment of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund (DAWDF), which permits DOD to recruit, hire, train, and retain its acquisition workforce. On April 6, 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates directed an increase of 10,000 civilian personnel in the DOD-wide acquisition workforce by FY15. The DAWDF was identified as the catalyst to achieve this initiative, and the Section 852 program was born.

    In 2009, the Army established a task force specifically to scope out the details of growing the acquisition workforce, and before deploying to Iraq, I was honored to help establish the task force effort in support of Mr. Dean Popps and LTG Thompson. The task force asked Army commands and organizations with acquisition positions to list their hiring requirements. The information was used to finalize a strategic approach for meeting the Secretary of Defense’s initiative. After the gathering of information was complete, the task force put in place the requirements by fiscal year and career field designation.

    The Army is responsible for increasing its acquisition workforce by 1,885 new hires by FY15, with 1,650 of the positions reserved specifically for the contracting acquisition career field. Most of these new hires are interns and journeymen. In FY09, we added 550 new hires; in FY10, 551; and to date, we’ve fulfilled a total of more than 1,370 new hires. As you can see, we are well on our way to reaching the goal of 1,885.

    Recruitment and hiring are highly specialized. Because the leaders of the individual organizations and commands know their needs best, they are tasked with hiring the new interns and journeymen to meet their specific needs. It is a decentralized process designed to find the people with the proper skills and experience that meet the individual commands’ needs.

    When I testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Airland on April 5, a portion of my testimony was dedicated to this program and the caliber of our new hires. I reiterated to the members of the committee that we are looking at candidates coming out of colleges and universities who have the skills necessary to train in specific areas of expertise. With the Army’s high standards for recruiting and hiring interns today, we are finding candidates with incredible talent who, on average, have a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher.

    The acquisition intern program is a two-year program that mimics the Army’s intern program for non-acquisition fields. Section 852 provides the funding for us to train these interns for the entire length of the program. It even provides funding for a third year if necessary. We are developing in these talented and motivated interns the proper specialized skills and experience for FY15 and beyond. We want to ensure we are cost-effective in our acquisition programs, building the right systems and saving the taxpayers’ money. Let me add that we are incredibly proud of our new teammates coming into the Acquisition Corps, and especially the energy and skill that they bring.

    While we are executing our plan to grow the workforce, we have concept plans for placement of these new hires in the future. The Army, along with DOD, has proven itself to be proactive. Thanks to the implementation of this requirement identified by leadership in 2009, the acquisition workforce stands ready to meet future objectives. We are doing the right things at the right time.

    For more information on Section 852 hiring initiatives, please visit
    http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/852/default.cfm.


    • LTG WILLIAM N. PHILLIPS

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