By Michael A. Wilson and Michael J. Glenn
Embracing the Army agile process, the Cruise Missile Defense Systems (CMDS) Project Office’s Sentinel Product Office (SPO), went from early planning, to prototype and then qualification testing of a new Enhanced Sentinel Radar in just over 12 months.
Sentinel will showcase this latest evolution enhancing force protection and Soldier survivability in a roll-out of the AN/MPQ 64A3 Enhanced Sentinel Radar first production unit on a Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) in October at Letterkenny Army Depot, Pa. (LEAD).
Sentinel is the only 360-degree coverage air defense radar in the Army’s current inventory and features a 3 DX Band phased array antenna that provides an instrumented range of 75 kilometers. The Army previously procured 143 basic Sentinel Radars on the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) but through incremental upgrades, the radar has evolved to a more robust system with greater capability.
In FY11, the Army procured 56 additional Enhanced Sentinel A3 radars that will be mounted on the M1082 Light Medium Tactical Vehicle Trailer (LMTV) with support equipment loaded onto the M1083 FMTV. The A3 radars are being produced by Thales Raytheon Systems (TRS) at the Raytheon Consolidated Manufacturing Center at Forest, Miss., while the FMTV truck and LMTV trailer will receive Sentinel specific modifications at LEAD.
The new FMTV platform replaces the current HMMWV that has been in use with the Sentinel radar since 1997 and is capable of hosting an enhanced armor protection kit that signifies a major step forward in providing increased Soldier survivability. The armored FMTV will meet all Sentinel maneuverability and transportability requirements while providing greater protection to the Soldier against today’s battlefield threats. The improved platform also has a larger area for the installation of new equipment that will allow Sentinel to be fully integrated with the Army Integrated Air & Missile Defense (IAMD) systems.
The Enhanced Sentinel Radar also has a modernized Radar Control Terminal (RCT) with a Linux-based RCT operating system, adding an Ethernet router for integration with the IAMD architecture. This will integrate the Identification Friend or Foe Mode V capability to prevent fratricide and the need to replace obsolete processor cards.
Design to first production was accomplished at amazing speed and efficiency by using the Army agile process. The SPO at CMDS pursued a government acquisition and development approach using an integrated product team (IPT) that significantly reduced cost and development time. The FMTV Sentinel prototype effort was led by the Aviation & Missile Research, Development & Engineering Center (AMRDEC) Prototype Integration Facility (PIF) at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. along with the IPT.
This IPT partnership comprised members from the PIF; designers from Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation and Yulista Management Services (subcontractors to the PIF); manufacturing engineers and tradesmen from LEAD; safety engineers from the Army Research Laboratory and CMDS; maintenance personnel from the Fire Center of Excellence; system engineers and logisticians from TRS (the developer and manufacturer of the radar); and representatives from CMDS in various engineering disciplines, logisticians and program management. By using this unique method, the Sentinel team went from the early planning stage to having a completed prototype and moving into qualification testing in just over 12 months. This approach reduced the manufacturing lead time and cost by allowing LEAD to input required changes in the design tailored to their processes and process capabilities, input to material and vendor selection, and plan for life-cycle support requirements.
The IPT partnership approach allowed for quick incorporation of changes resulting from development and test activities to be optimized and integrated into the production line in substantially less time and at significantly less cost than previous development efforts. In addition, this reduced the number of design changes since major stakeholders were encouraged to provide input on the design on a weekly basis rather than at traditional preliminary and critical design reviews. This process also allowed the Sentinel product director to identify and abate program risks much quicker than in a normal program execution. Overall, the Army agile process has allowed the SPO to develop, build, test, and transition into production, an FMTV-based Sentinel in less time, with fewer redesigns and at less cost to the government than a typical Army system acquisition.
Fielding the 56 new production systems is scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2014, and an effort to replace the current HMMWV platform with the new FMTV for the entire Sentinel fleet is planned from fiscal year 2014 through fiscal year 2018.
The October roll-out of the AN/MPQ-64A3 Enhanced Sentinel Radar’s first new-production radar will be another step in the Sentinel Radar evolution. This signifies a major step in providing enhanced surveillance data to shooters in the IAMD architecture, increased Soldier survivability, and proven viability of the Army’s agile acquisition process.
Unexpected experience shapes a logistician’s career
By Tara Clements
FOTF Editor’s Note: Working “above your pay grade”? For Carrie Caldwell Clinard, that phrase quickly became a reality three years into her Army Civilian career when she deployed to Iraq. When she arrived in Iraq, instead of the job she thought she was going to, she was slated for a different position two pay grades above her own and in a different location. She rose to the challenge, finding herself responsible for all logistics functions for an entire base to include transportation, maintenance, supply, fuel, etc. Consequently, that leadership experience has had a dramatic impact on her career and how she tackles problems and finds solutions “with a sense of urgency” to ensure our Soldiers are equipped to accomplish their mission.
No stranger to a challenge, Clinard’s current job requires a great deal of fire-power as a logistics management specialist responsible for ensuring the Army’s principal air-to-ground missile weapon system, HELLFIRE, is maintained and operational for Soldiers and service members alike.
FOTF: What do you do in the Army? Why is it important?
Soldiers sacrifice so much and put themselves in harm’s way continually to protect this country. It is important for us as DoD civilians to do our job and provide them the needed equipment, so they can carry out their missions and succeed on the battlefield.
CLINARD: Currently, I am a logistics management specialist and manage any spare parts (launcher rails, circuit cart assemblies) needed to fix and maintain the M299 Longbow Launcher which shoots HELLFIRE missiles. The HELLFIRE missile weapon system is used on many aviation platforms, such as the OH-58 Kiowa, AH-64 Apache and Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial System, Special Operations aircraft and supports not only the Army, but Air Force, Navy, Marine and foreign military sales customers. I forecast and manage the inventory of spare parts, plan ‘spares’ requirements, initiate procurements and track contract deliveries, manage repair programs at organic and contractor depots and many other logistics functions to support and sustain the weapon system. I also work heavily with the RESET team and submit and track their requisitions. When a unit returns from a deployment, this team is responsible for assessing and fixing the weapon system which includes ordering any spare parts required for repairs.
I feel my job is important because these actions ensure the warfighter receives his/her needed parts to maintain ‘weapon system readiness’ and support their mission. HELLFIREs are used heavily in theater and contingency operations, so it is vital the soldier has the parts available when needed to fire that missile at the target.
FOTF: What has your experience been like so far? What has surprised you the most?
CLINARD: I have had a great experience thus far working with the Army. There was a learning curve in the beginning with becoming familiar with Army culture and way of doing business, as well as learning a thousand Army acronyms. However, the career training the Army has provided has made things easier and helped me to learn my job. I’ve even been able to earn my master’s degree through the Army.
Working here [Redstone Arsenal, Ala.] has provided many opportunities and experiences. I have traveled to various Army installations and witnessed Soldiers using the equipment that I support. In 2011, I had the opportunity to deploy to Iraq and provide logistical support with the drawdown. That was an invaluable experience that I will always carry with me. Although work can get stressful and busy at times, I feel continuously blessed to have the job that I have.
FOTF: What has surprised you the most?
CLINARD: What surprises me most is the dedication and commitment of the Army Civilian workforce to get the job done and support the warfighter. I think my job as a logistician for the Army keeps the fact that we are still engaged in a war at the forefront of my mind; and that’s what drives me to successfully and quickly complete my tasks each day. When an issue arises that affects the field, everyone is engaged and committed to finding a solution. Soldiers sacrifice so much and put themselves in harm’s way continually to protect this country. It is important for us as DoD civilians to do our job and provide them the needed equipment, so they can carry out their missions and succeed on the battlefield.
FOTF: You mentioned your deployment to Iraq in 2011. What was it like?
CLINARD: I deployed in support of Operation New Dawn from March – September 2011 and provided logistical support for the drawdown in Iraq working closely with coalition military, contractors, U.S. Embassy personnel and local Iraqis. I was located at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Prosperity in Baghdad, Iraq serving as the director of logistics over the base and was responsible for all logistics functions including transportation, maintenance, supply, fuel, etc. I was heavily involved with logistics support contracts and initiated new project requests, developed project planning estimates, and assisted with contract development, performance and completion tasks. In addition, I was also the logistics lead at my FOB for Base Operating Support – Integrator which was poised to take over logistics functions from the military as they departed. A part of those functions included facilitating the closure and transition of bases to the Government of Iraq and the U.S. Department of State.
It was a very challenging and difficult deployment, given the complex missions and the ‘melting pot’ of people, agencies and organizations from around the world I worked with. But, it was also very rewarding to be a part of that chapter in American history. It was a very humbling and a career-changing experience that I will always carry with me.
FOTF: What was your most memorable day?
CLINARD: One of the more memorable moments from my deployment is of a barbeque. I worked side-by-side with Soldiers from the 1-148th Field Artillery Battalion, Idaho National Guard for months. Shortly before they redeployed, we got together for a cookout. I remember sitting around the table laughing, taking several pictures and soaking up the moment because I knew I wouldn’t get to see those guys again. It was a rare moment to have some down time. I still keep in touch with a few of them—especially during football season.
FOTF: Why did you decide to work for the Army? What is your greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army?
CLINARD: I became an Army Civilian in June 2008 after meeting a recruiter and interviewing at a college career fair. I wasn’t even aware of the opportunity to work for the Army as a civilian, especially in Alabama. My grandfather was an Army veteran and I have always had pride in that and had great patriotism for the military and my country. I joined because it was a great career opportunity, as well as a career that I felt had great purpose and fulfillment.
My greatest satisfaction is knowing that I directly support the warfighter by supplying them with a weapon system that can help achieve their mission, when called upon.
FOTF: What are your career aspirations?
CLINARD: I think I’ll stick here. My coworkers poke fun at me because I have a retirement poster on my desk that gives me my retirement date – June 8, 2046. Just a few more years to go!
For more information on the HELLFIRE Missile, JAMS Project Office or Program Executive Office Missiles and Space, visit http://www.msl.army.mil/Pages/JAMS/default.html.
- “Faces of the Force” is an online feature highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce. Produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication Division, and working closely with public affairs officers, Soldiers and Civilians currently serving in a variety of AL&T disciplines are featured every other week. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.
- “Faces of the Force” is an online feature highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce. Produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication Division, and working closely with public affairs officers, Soldiers and Civilians currently serving in a variety of AL&T disciplines are featured every other week. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.
By Ray K. Ragan
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – The U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground (USAEPG) recently started work with an academic partner at Arizona State University’s (ASU) Security and Defense Systems Initiative (SDSI) in Arizona to assist USAEPG in its mission to test the Army’s networks.
“We [USAEPG] wanted to team up with someone in the academic world and take advantage of the latest research and see if we could apply that to our mission,” said Pat Kerr, a computer scientist at USAEPG.
The Fort Huachuca-headquartered USAEPG found a willing partner in ASU’s SDSI, who was looking for just this sort of partnership, to bring academic knowledge and research to solve real-world problems, explained the director of SDSI at ASU, Werner J.A. Dahm, Ph.D.
“Obviously the T&E [test and evaluation] mission that USAEPG has is critical for the warfighter,” said Dahm. “Helping USAEPG execute its mission has tremendous benefits for the nation and the warfighter.”
SDSI wanted to focus on assisting USAEPG to modernize test and evaluation methods, tools and fundamental approaches to improve the quality of technology for Soldiers and reduce the cost to American taxpayers.
Data produced by network traffic during large-scale test events like the Network Integration Evaluation quickly becomes terabytes of data, and figuring out what data is important and what data is not, is increasingly difficult. The increasing amounts of data also comes with additional cost. The longer an event runs allowing testers to capture data, or the longer it takes to analyze that data, all requires additional time, which results in greater costs.
“We’re looking for the big ideas,” said Kerr. “We need those.”
The partnership has already produced a “big idea” with an early and important success.
“We’re focused on doing things cheaper, faster, better,” said Kevin Buell, Ph.D., the lead researcher working with USAEPG at SDSI.
USAEPG, like other Army test centers, approached the challenge of growing volumes of data by adding more resources like people, computers and various systems for analysis. However, the approach of adding such resources simply did not scale adequately to meet the growing needs of test events. USAEPG needed a new approach; SDSI provided that approach.
The engineers from both groups evaluated the problem of unmanageable data volumes from network traffic analysis. The researchers at SDSI realized that there were some practical approaches to summarizing the data, which reduced the total amount of data to a manageable and usable amount.
Buell explained the SDSI team’s approach to the challenge as, “we focused on providing network traffic analysis more efficiently – ‘faster,’ using open-source tools –‘cheaper’ and providing more advanced capability, and that’s ‘better.’ ”
This approach developed through the partnership allowed the Army testers and engineers to focus on other critical variables of testing the Army’s next generation of communication and data networks. This efficiency gain allows test engineers and technicians to turn their attention to other aspects of the test, rather than wrestling with data, explained Kerr.
The partnership plans to work together on finding better ways of looking at data. Rather than viewing data as raw numbers on a spreadsheet, they want to find better ways for analysts to assess the data and understand it. They also plan to address the problem of the growing amount of data from other aspects of test to find better ways to manage this data. Lastly, they plan to work together on better ways to manage software used in testing, called instrumentation, to be less costly and more flexible.
“We’re now looking at networks differently; we can now find out things we didn’t know before that will really allow us to assess how these things [networks] will work when they are actually fielded and accessible to the warfighter,” said Kerr.
By Lt. Col. Keith Taylor
One of the things that makes the Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs) so valuable is that the Soldiers judging equipment are not part of a so-called “test unit,” but an operational brigade combat team, but that’s also one of the things that makes the NIEs so difficult.
The 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD) still has all of the responsibilities of a typical BCT: arms proficiency, physical training tests, developing the junior enlisted into noncommissioned officers and carrying out all of their standard training. At the same time, the Army requires them to learn and evaluate dozens of sophisticated communications systems, which happen to change every six months.
It is a lot to ask— so to help ease the burden, the acquisition community provides Trail Bosses who embed with the unit. Trail Bosses are acquisition professionals who serve as a link between 2/1 AD and government and industry organizations that contribute equipment to the NIE. Trail Bosses explain the operational intent of the systems being evaluated and make sure the unit has the proper equipment and training to conduct the NIE mission, as well as its other tasks.
Soldiers should be spending the NIE fighting the enemy, not the network. With the network remaining a cornerstone of Army modernization, the Trail Boss Team that ensures successful NIE execution is an integral part of the acquisition workforce.
This unique position in the NIE process is also a benefit to the larger acquisition enterprise. Once systems are approved for participation during decision point 2 of the NIE cycle, the Trail Boss Team becomes a one-stop source for all information regarding how to integrate into the NIE. As the acquisition community uses the NIE to gain valuable Solider feedback on systems, they have a team of acquisition professionals on the receiving end of that feedback to ease the process.
As the NIEs have evolved over the past two years, so has the concept of Trail Bossing, and the Trail Bosses themselves. Several officers have signed up to be Trail Bosses as their gateway to the Acquisition Corps, after joining from the test community, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and even 2/1 AD. In their new roles, they gain a skill set and “system of systems” perspective that will be valuable as they advance in their careers, as well as subject matter expertise on a variety of different network technologies. They learn a more “agile” approach to acquisition, in which the Army can revise requirements to more realistically meet Soldiers’ needs.
In turn, their diverse perspectives strengthen the support the acquisition community is able to provide to the unit and the Army. Armed with operational experience and the ability to “speak the Soldier language,” the Trail Bosses now essentially serve as the third field-grade officer for each battalion, a critical force multiplier for the unit. Building upon lessons learned and after-action reviews from previous NIEs, their role has also become the overarching coordinator of standing up the NIE network and sustaining it during the evaluation.
During the intense preparation period of each NIE cycle, when hundreds of vehicles are integrated with new network equipment, Trail Bosses are constantly in contact with their battalion staff and external stakeholders regarding integration and training schedules, property accountability, field support representative tasking and synchronization, unit requirements and project manager support. They follow standardized processes for each of these responsibilities and publish detailed schedules two weeks in advance after vetting them through the unit to ensure the plans are executable. Once the NIE itself is underway, Trail Bosses now operate right in the battalion footprint with their assigned units. When something goes wrong, the trouble ticket to resolve it goes through the Trail Boss.
As the Trail Boss Team has become more integrated with the NIE process, that has helped the acquisition community to forge a strong, trusting relationship with all levels of 2/1 AD. That, in turn, opens the feedback channels that foster continuous improvement.
A significant area of focus for future NIEs is maturing the connection between the NIE Trail Bosses and the Trail Bosses assigned to each BCT being fielded with Capability Set (CS) 13. CS 13, the mobile communications network vetted through the NIEs, is the Army’s first integrated fielding effort for network technologies that provide connectivity across the entire BCT formation. The challenges the embedded Trail Bosses face – synchronizing equipment deliveries, vehicle touches, training and other elements – are similar to what the NIE Trail Bosses encounter. Sharing more information between the two groups will further reduce the burden on units operating in a time-constrained environment.
Through the Trail Bosses, the Army has struck a balance between what 2/1 AD is required to do for its own mission and its support for the NIE mission. The acquisition community contributes subject matter expertise on the array of systems they must evaluate, while translating acquisition lingo into operational-speak and vice versa. To that unit, the Trail Bosses are the acquisition corps, and we will continue to evolve to live up to our task.
Lt. Col. Keith Taylor oversees the NIE Trail Boss Team as product manager, capability package integration for the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology System of Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate. He holds a B.A. in criminal justice from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in acquisition and contract management from Florida Institute of Technology. Taylor is Level III certified in contracting and project management as well as a certified project management professional.
By Claire Heininger
ARLINGTON, Va. (April 30, 2013) — The U.S. Army has been named one of the world’s most innovative research organizations, after earning more than 300 patents for new technologies in a three-year period.
The Army joins the ranks of private companies such as 3M, Apple, AT&T, Dow Chemical, DuPont and General Electric as one of the 2012 Top100 Global Innovators named by Thomson Reuters, the multimedia and information conglomerate. The U.S. Navy was also named, making the two service branches the first government agencies to make the list.
“This recognition is shared with the members of our Army Science and Technology community who perform research relevant for the Army and our important mission, and provide the innovation that contributes to a strong national security posture,” said Heidi Shyu, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)), who accepted the award on behalf of the service during a small ceremony at the Pentagon. “Nearly 12,000 scientists and engineers perform their work daily knowing that it will benefit our Soldiers by providing them with the best technology available to successfully accomplish their mission.”
The award focused on all organizations having 100 or more “innovative” patents, defined as the first publication in a patent document of a new technology, from 2009-2011. Thomson Reuters then used its proprietary methodology to measure the organizations’ success on a variety of metrics, such as “influence” — how often their research was cited by other innovators in their subsequent inventions — and “success,” the conversion rate of patent applications to granted patents.
The Army scored well in both of those categories, with more than 8,500 citations of its inventions published from 2007-2011, and 327 granted patents out of 436 published inventions from 2009-2011. The service also stood out for the broad range of subject matter covered in its inventions portfolio, ranging from training software that uses virtual robots to dispose of simulated explosives, to a folding shield that protects the operator of a tank weapon station, to a vaccine guarding against infection by the Ebola virus.
“This illustrates how we attack many Army-unique problems, yet also contribute in wide-ranging areas,” said Dale A. Ormond, Director of the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM). “Our portfolio was heavy in weapons, ammunition and blasting, but also pharmaceutical products, polymers and computing.”
More than 900 individuals contributed to the Army’s patents, including personnel from RDECOM, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, as well as some of their partners from industry, government and academia. Three of those individuals, representing all the Army innovators, were honored at the award ceremony, including Ronald E. Meyers of the Army Research Laboratory, who was the top innovator with 11 patents; John E. Nettleton of the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center; and Bartley P. Durst of the Engineer Research and Development Center, Corps of Engineers.
The recognition by Thomson Reuters illustrates the depth, skill and dedication of the Army science and technology community and the impact of their efforts both within and beyond the military, leaders said.
“Our people operate in the space between the state of the art and the art of the possible where innovation is paramount and focused on addressing needs unique to the Army,” Ormond said. “We also develop technologies that have a major impact once they leave the military world. It’s an incredible value for the taxpayer.”
In a constrained budget environment, deliberate investment in science and technology is essential to drive continued innovation, Shyu said. The Army is developing a strategic plan that will protect and facilitate science and technology efforts that are essential to Army modernization, addressing the state of emerging and evolving threats; trends in commercial technology; current and emerging equipment requirements; and research in core priorities that address Army-unique challenges.
While it is difficult to predict future technology developments, leaders expressed confidence in the Army workforce to continue accelerating innovation to give Soldiers the decisive edge.
“Army Science and Technology cannot survive without innovative scientists and engineers,” said Mary J. Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology. “We are lucky to have an amazing group of scientists and engineers to invent, innovate, mature and demonstrate technology that provides increased capability to the Warfighter.”
By Skip Vaughn
The Army acquisition executive looked out over the classroom of contracting student Soldiers and told them how valuable they are.
“Thank you for what you guys do every single day,” Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology, said. “You guys are the future of our acquisition work force.”
Shyu visited the Army Acquisition Center of Excellence on April 3 at its building on the campus of the University of Alabama-Huntsville. The center is under the Acquisition Support Center, out of Fort Belvoir, Va.; and its classes fall under the Army Logistics University, Fort Lee, Va. The 47 students, most of whom are military, represent three classes which last from 3-4 weeks. The center has been located on the UAH campus since 2006 and in Madison Hall, 301 Sparkman Drive, since January 2011.
Before addressing the students, Shyu met briefly with the staff and faculty. She called the three classes – including Project Management, Contracting Level-2 and Contract Pricing — very important. “What they’re learning is valuable, it’s incredibly marketable,” she said.
She gave an overview of the international environment, her role as the Army acquisition executive and the need to take lessons learned from the last decade of war.
The Army’s spending reflects the declining budget. In fiscal 2011, the Army did 470,000 contracting actions and obligated $124.3 billion. That declined in fiscal 2012 to 412,000 contracting actions and $107.5 billion obligated.
Shyu pointed out that 64 percent of the Army’s contracting actions are competed. Last year 27.2 percent of contracts went to small businesses and “that’s huge,” she said.
She told the students that contracting or acquisition isn’t a job they can do by themselves. It entails the requirements, the money and an acquisition plan. “It’s got to all come together,” Shyu said.
She invited questions from the students; and the first dealt with the budget and sequestration. “We’re trying to make the smart decisions,” she said.
Among the students was Staff Sgt. Trevor Dodge, 27, from Windsor, N.H. He is midway through the four-week Army Basic Contracting Course. At the end of April, he will be leaving Fort Hood, Texas, for Fort Belvoir, Va.
“I thought it was great,” Dodge said of Shyu’s presentation. “She gives a view we don’t get very often. She hinted at things that are coming in the future so that kind of gives you a purpose in your job.”
Fort Belvoir, Va. (March 18, 2013) – The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) convened a 51C Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) reclassification board, administered by the 51C Proponent Office, Feb. 26-27, 2013 at Fort Belvoir, Va.
“This was a very competitive board and we received the largest number of applications than ever before,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Maneri, FA 51C Proponent Officer. “The selection rate was only 28 percent,” he said.
Out of 182 candidates, 44 were selected for reclassification.
The purpose of the board was to ensure the best qualified NCOs from across the Army were 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.
“We have a great representation of different Army specialties among the selected candidates,” said Maneri. “Of the 44 selected, we have 28 military occupation specialties represented, with most coming from the Infantry,” he added.
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.
The USAASC 51C Proponent Office would like to congratulate the following NCOs on their selection:
Staff Sgt. Reginald D. Alexander Staff Sgt. Shantae R. Jenkins Sgt. Ambrosio C. Alvarez Sgt. Catherine-Tehila O. Johnson Staff Sgt. Jenny G. Alvarez Staff Sgt. Zandrea J. Landor Staff Sgt. Lee J. Andrews Staff Sgt. Adriane L. Lewis Staff Sgt. Alfredo Avila Sgt. Parquette J. Magee Staff Sgt. Brandon L. Barber Staff Sgt. Ashly N. Martin Sgt. Cedric R. Belmont Sgt. 1st Class Mary E. Matthews Sgt. James P. Bradshaw Staff Sgt. Enes Memic Sgt. Richard A. Burns Staff Sgt. Sabriya F. Mitchell Staff Sgt. Jesse A. Campos Sgt. 1st Class Tamisha B. Patterson Sgt. Jene A. Carter Staff Sgt. Darius T. Porter Staff Sgt. Jenny A. Cisneros Staff Sgt. Johnathan D. Robbins Sgt. Arthur J. Dominguez Sgt. Steven T. Schoening Sgt. Mark H. Fitzgerald Staff Sgt. Orlando R. Serna Sgt. Francis S. Frenette Staff Sgt. Scott J. Smith Staff Sgt. Matthew F. Girard Staff Sgt. Richard J. Thorpe Sgt. Kailey A. Good-Hallahan Staff Sgt. Nicholas S. Tollett Staff Sgt. Gregory M. Hamilton Sgt. Brandon K. Wilkinson Sgt. 1st Class Chan D. Has Staff Sgt. Brian P. Williams Sgt. 1st Class Megan A. Hobbs Sgt. Tornita Williams Staff Sgt. Destin S. Howell Sgt. Ashley R. Woods Staff Sgt. Young C. Jang Sgt. William J. Yongue
For more information on MOS 51C, visit http://asc.army.mil.
Claire Heininger, U.S. Army
RED RIVER ARMY DEPOT, Texas — The Army is preparing to deploy the first Security Forces Advise and Assist Team to Afghanistan equipped with the latest suite of integrated network communications gear, but first the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), must train on the new equipment and learn how it will aid in the advise and assist mission.
To get the brigade’s Soldiers quickly trained and ready for the deployment, the Army has integrated some of the network capability into a familiar vehicle platform.
The Humvees rolling off the line here — more than 330 over the course of four months — are equipped with data radios, situational awareness software and other network systems that will be used by lower-tier echelons in the brigade. Two brigade combat teams, or BCTs, of the 10th Mountain Division are using the Humvee vehicles for their Mission Rehearsal Exercises and other stateside training before deploying to Afghanistan, where they will receive mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs, All-Terrain Vehicles, M-ATVs, and MaxxPro vehicles with the same lower-tier network package for use in theater.
“The Humvee training sets have the same systems and configurations that the units will see in theater, so it’s a good way to familiarize Soldiers with how to employ the network while taking advantage of the vehicles the Army has available in the U.S.,” said Maj. Rick Wilkins, the Army’s assistant product manager for light tactical vehicles, who is overseeing the production effort. Network components on the lower-tier MRAP vehicles will be integrated in theater, allowing for the units to ‘fall in’ on the equipment once they arrive later this year.
The quick-reaction project to complete the Humvees reflects a strong partnership between the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, known as ASA(ALT), and Army Materiel Command, or AMC, to leverage expertise across both communities and deliver a needed capability to support Operation Enduring Freedom.
The training vehicles are one part of the service’s comprehensive effort to quickly field Capability Set 13, known as CS 13, to select BCTs, who will deploy to Afghanistan to support the drawdown of U.S. forces. CS 13 is the Army’s first integrated communications package that spans the entire BCT formation, connecting the static tactical operations center to the commander on-the-move to the dismounted Soldier. The network will provide on-the-move voice and data communications over vast distances, which will be critical as U.S. troops work closely with the Afghan forces, take down fixed infrastructure and become increasingly mobile and dispersed in their operations.
The first recipients of the Humvees are the 4th and 3rd BCTs, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), who are now training with those vehicles as well as higher-echelon MRAPs integrated with Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2, the mobile network backbone of the capability set, and the latest tactical data radios and Mission Command software. These M-ATV “Key leader” vehicles were first equipped with Underbody Improvement Kits, or UIKs, at the Fort Bliss, Texas, MRAP facility and subsequently shipped and integrated with the communications suite at Space and Naval Warfare, or SPAWAR, Systems Center Atlantic in Charleston, S.C. When the brigades deploy, they will take the higher-tier MRAPs with them and augment them with the lower-tier vehicles they will receive in theater. Meanwhile the Army will then rotate the Humvees to the follow-on units receiving CS 13, who will also be provided their own set of key leader MRAP vehicles.
“Rotating the networked Humvees among units allows the Army to cost-effectively train thousands of Soldiers on the capability set, and do it in a way that makes sense for the brigades’ training and deployment schedules,” said Col. Rob Carpenter, Army director of System of Systems Integration.
Similar to the SPAWAR team’s work to network the MRAPs, the integration work at Red River Army Depot to prepare the Humvees is a complex effort that the Army is executing for the first time.
The Humvees are integrated in multistep process. Seats and armor are stripped from each vehicle and brackets to hold the network capabilities are installed. Holes are drilled in the exterior to let air flow in and prevent overheating. Cables are measured, cut and connected. One of the more complex efforts involved switching out the Humvee alternator for a higher-output version, to help power the radios, antennas, switches, transceivers, computer screens and other network parts which are also precisely installed.
With a team of more than 25 skilled technicians, each day the line churns out an average of six vehicles. The training sets come in three different configurations of varying complexity, depending on the user’s role in the BCT, said Robert Vallee, the depot’s supervisor for Humvee reset. The Army leveraged the Humvee original equipment manufacturer to come up with an integration design, which was then validated and turned over to RRAD for physical integration.
“The timeline was very aggressive, and from a platform perspective it was a steep learning curve” to become familiar with and incorporate network equipment from several different sources, Wilkins said.
But leveraging the experienced technicians at Red River, the operation overcame these challenges and is on track to finish production by the end of March, he said.
“This was a great team effort across ASA(ALT), including Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical, and Combat Support and Combat Service Support, AMC depots and our industry partners to design build and deliver a cost-effective training solution on a tight calendar schedule,” Carpenter said. “These training sets are an essential asset as we continue to execute the CS 13 fielding mission.”
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya reinforced the need for U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) to have at its fingertips the ability to draw upon the most up-to-date detailed maps and imagery of any given region at a moment’s notice.
Project Manager Mission Command (PM MC) is helping to streamline the delivery of maps and imagery through the use of specialized geospatial products that work with the Army’s primary mission command information system, known as Command Post of the Future (CPOF).
Although CPOF users have an initial set of digital maps at their disposal, there is usually not enough storage space to keep the latest and most detailed maps for every contingency across the globe. For combatant commands such as USARAF, which covers most of the African continent, sometimes the need arises where they must request customized map sets.
Within days of the flare-up in Libya, PM MC coordinated the creation and installation of a specialized map set providing the most recent imagery and detailed maps of that area in support of USARAF.
“When the incident happened we identified the need and got the maps out to them,” said Lt. Col. Tom Bentzel, the Army’s product manager for Tactical Mission Command (PdM TMC), part of PM MC. “We recognize there’s use for both broad map coverage and detailed map imagery of specific areas of interest. When a new area of interest emerged in Libya, we were able to build a CPOF map set to cover it.”
The maps sent were of several countries in northern Africa, including Libya, and offered sub-meter imagery that was orthorectified to allow for terrain displacement.
“The maps are used on the Soldiers’ CPOF systems to plan, fight and coordinate the common operating picture,” said Matthew Tessier, map manager for PdM TMC and who developed the map sets in response to the flare up in Libya. “Without this technology and the accuracy of it, we could be putting our fighting forces in harm’s way. Getting them the most up-to-date maps for their mission was and is essential to saving lives.”
To continue supplying detailed map data sets in shorter turnaround times, PM MC, assigned to the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical, is building an expanded map library. So when conflicts arise, like the recent situation at the Amenas gas plant in Algeria or the clash in Mali, USARAF has detailed imagery if needed.
Tessier works closely with the Army’s Geospatial Center and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to gather map data, then using specialized software converts it for CPOF users.
CPOF allows units to plot real-time operations like firefights on a three-dimensional map, and instantly see updates.
A recent switch by PdM TMC from proprietary software to a commercial mapping capability for the CPOF system has allowed more options when it comes to the data resources used to pull together maps and imagery. For example, PdM TMC can now take an online, commercially available map of a building or site of interest, such as a university or office complex, and combine it with existing military map sets.
“We switched over to commercial software that allows us to be more flexible with raw data,” said Tessier. “We can now gather different types of data available either through military channels or civilian, and have the flexibility to incorporate that onto our map sets.”
PdM TMC is also working with Army terrain teams within USARAF to equip them with the same ability to build maps based upon their tactical needs, significantly shortening the amount of time needed to convert and ship the map sets.
Leslie Call, a PM MC field service representative with USARAF, said the new technology allows the unit to load five times more data onto each hard drive and equips USARAF geospatial engineers with the ability to quickly convert additional imagery for CPOF as hotspots arise.
“We are effectively cutting out the middle man and giving ownership of the maps where it belongs, with the unit,” said Call. “The unit can accomplish in hours what used to take a week.”
As CPOF continues to evolve, it is embracing the next generation of mission command technology with Command Post Web, a web version of CPOF offering similar capability to users with access to the Army’s tactical network. This will also allow CPOF users to pull feeds from other map-based, mission command systems such as Tactical Ground Reporting (TIGR), Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) and Joint Battle Command — Platform (JBC-P).
“One of our goals is to have the best maps out there,” said Bentzel. “So in addition to deploying our own map servers we’re making it possible to access other map services like DCGS-A and TIGR. Every commander wants great maps because they help visualize the battlefield and make better decisions. The tools we’re building make great maps the norm, not the exception.”
WASHINGTON – Army acquisition officials are pursuing an effort to identify solutions able to help aircraft crews navigate through a Degraded Visual Environment (DVE), a circumstance wherein weather, obscurants or obstacles thwart the ability of a crew to see properly or accurately know where they are in relation to surrounding terrain, service officials explained.
Army officials view potential DVE solutions through what could be called a three-pronged approach; solutions include improving the existing flight controls systems and handling characteristics to assist the pilot in managing workload when vision or situational awareness is challenged or obscured, examinations of “queuing” technologies able to give pilots needed information to make decisions regarding the aircraft, and various sensors able to help aircraft crews see through obscurants.
“One of the key efforts from Program Executive Office Aviation (PEO AVN) is to make sure we take a holistic approach within DOD, so that we fully understand all of the ongoing efforts that are contributors toward a DVE solution,” said Mike Herbst, Assistant PEO, Engineering and Technology,
The Army’s strategy for approaching DVE emerged, in part, from the services participation in an Office of the Secretary of Defense-led Helicopter Survivability Task Force which launched a rotorcraft survivability study in 2009, Herbst explained.
“One of the results of this effort,” Herbst added, “was that the individual services were asked to conduct their own studies to see where and how helicopter mishaps occurred.”
“The Army brought Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) together and assembled a working group to dig into accident circumstances. Many turned out to be DVE-related, and this has helped shape the Army’s resolve in addressing this problem,” Herbst explained.
“This working group included experts from the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), the Army’s Aviation Center of Excellence and the Army Combat Readiness Center, Fort Rucker, Ala., and the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala., as well as program safety officers across the service,” Herbst said.
“Various technological capabilities and “sensor” solutions are a critical component to the Army’s DVE strategy. The approach is to create a common set of technical standards so that different sensing solutions can more quickly and easily be integrated within a common architectural backbone,” said George O’Boyle, Aviation Network & Missions Planning DVE Project Lead, Aviation Systems Project Office.
“With any type of future capability, we want to use commonality to leverage software solutions in a modular fashion,” said O’Boyle.
In fact, the overall effort to build hardware and software to a specific set of common Internet Protocol (IP) standards is a large part of what Program Executive Office Aviation calls Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE), explained Col. Anthony Potts, former Project Manager, Aviation Systems and current Director, Plans, Programs and Resources, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology.
According to Potts, the FACE effort involves a collaborative effort between government and industry to identify an established set of technical standards so that new software and hardware can seamlessly connect with existing systems on aviation platforms.
The FACE effort has already resulted in substantial savings; it is a key portion of the Army’s Common Operating Environment (COE) approach, a method of identifying and implementing a common set of IP standards as a way to better facilitate integration of emerging capabilities, quicken the developmental cycle and lower costs wherever possible, Potts stated.
“The common set of standards for FACE has to do with the process by which software is built and documented. Previously we had to do a lot of code re-writing for every platform because each one had a different operating system,” Potts said.
As a result, the Army’s DVE sensor plan is to establish a common software architecture that is “sensor agnostic,” meaning it will be engineered with a “plug-and-play” capability to accommodate a wide range of sensor applications. This plan will create an open architecture backbone able to keep pace with rapid technological change and quickly integrate new solutions as they emerge, Potts added.
In response to an U.S. Central Command Operational Needs Statement issued in 2011, the Army is acquiring a limited number of sensors. These sensors are designed to help crews navigate through “brown-out” or DVE-type circumstances. The Helicopter Autonomous Landing System (HALS) sensors use 94 Gigahertz millimeter wave radar technology to provide helicopter crews with an ability to see through obscurants, O’Boyle explained.
“The millimeter wave radar technology provides a known penetrating capability,” O’Boyle said.
Over the longer term, however, HALS and other millimeter wave radar technologies will be evaluated by Army developers alongside a wide range of other sensing capabilities. Some of these capabilities may include Forward Looking Infrared technologies as well as Laser Detection and Ranging sensors which use applications to “paint” or provide a detailed picture of a given landing area.
“Our concept is to move forward with a sensor integration program, depending upon resources and technology. The first phase of the DVE sensor program will be to study all these alternatives once a Materiel Development Decision is completed. We will then turn to the Project Manager to develop solutions. We’ve got technology in the pipeline to execute a program like this,” Herbst explained.
Various “queuing” technologies can also help helicopter pilots by providing air crews with key navigational information designed to greatly assist efforts to address DVE conditions.
“For instance, Program Manager Air Warrior, with Program Executive Office Soldier, is currently developing a Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) technology able to provide air crews with a 3D symbology,” said O’Boyle and Herbst.
“This symbology, which provides aircrews with information from inertial navigation and GPS sensors, is designed to assist pilots in flying the aircraft to the ground,” O’Boyle said.
“This helmet mounted display is an upgrade to the current heads up display system. The current system is a single monochrome display fixed to the helmet, whereas the new one has a color display so the pilot will get a clearer picture and be able to see the symbology much better,” said Fred Reed, DVE SME from the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center.
“Also, drawing from inertial navigation as well as information from a Digital Terrain Elevation Database which contains maps of most of the earth’s surface, pilots using this new helmet mounted display are able to see where they are in relation to the ground and surrounding terrain,” O’Boyle said.
Overall, the Army’s approach to DVE is oriented toward leveraging the best available sensor technologies while simultaneously engineering a technical environment wherein next-generation capabilities can easily be integrated at lower costs. At the same time, the approach is multi-pronged, meaning it will emphasize sensor technology solutions alongside advanced flight controls, and key advances in “queuing” technologies.
In total, this integrated approach is, quite naturally, aimed at increasing air-crew safety and survivability while also hoping to help provide them every conceivable tactical and operational advantage, service officials emphasized.