• USAASC Employees Donate $15,000 to Charity

    Sue Follett

     

    FORT BELVOIR, Va. – The employees of the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) outdid themselves in generosity this year, contributing more than $15,000 to the 2012 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and far exceeding fundraising projections.

    USAASC employees donated $15,830 to the CFC, the only authorized charitable-giving drive for federal employees. That total surpasses this year’s goal of $9,146 as well as last year’s donations of $12,826.

    Keith Butler served as USAASC’s CFC campaign manager. “I’m very proud of the support our community has shown to the CFC,” he said. “We kicked off our fundraising effort in October with a four-part campaign, and had a steady level of giving throughout. I think our email blasts were key in reminding people of the importance of donating.”

    Established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, the CFC gives donors the option to direct their donations to more than 4,000 local, national, and international charities that provide a range of services, including health care, disaster relief, housing, and youth development.

    “Our donations will do a lot of good for a lot of people,” said Butler, who joined USAASC just eight months ago. “It’s very impressive to me, as someone who’s new to this community, to see how generous this organization is when it comes to helping those who need it,” he added.

     
     


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  • JCRX-13 expected to draw more than 200 contracting professionals

    ACC public affairs

     

    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – Contracting professionals will begin to converge onto Fort Bliss, Texas, starting Jan. 15 to participate in what military officials are calling the premiere Department of Defense contracting readiness exercise.

    For the fourth consecutive year, the Army Contracting Command is conducting a contracting readiness exercise for military and civilian personnel. Formerly called Joint Dawn, the Joint Contracting Readiness Exercise or JCRX-13 will be conducted at Fort Bliss Jan. 15-31.

    “We’re expanding the scope of this year’s training,” said Col. Timothy Strange, commander, 412th Contracting Support Brigade, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. “Participants can look forward to working on more than 100 contracting actions, not to mention some hard-to-handle injects.”

    The 412th is the lead organizer for the exercise.

    The number of exercise participants has increased each year. In 2010, 34 contingency contracting officers attended the training held at Fort Riley, Kan.; in 2011, training at Fort Campbell, Ky., included 115 participants; and the 2012 training at Fort Bliss had 159 military and civilian trainees. Exercise coordinators expect more than 200 participants at this year’s exercise.

    “We’re anticipating visits from a lot of senior leaders,” said Lt. Col. Joshua R. Burris, commander, 905th Contingency Contracting Battalion, and JCRX-13 officer-in-charge.

    “We’re set up to handle visits from senior DOD and DA officials. Last year, Mr. (Kim) Denver, deputy assistant secretary of the Army (procurement); and Rear Adm. Allie Coetzee, executive director, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy (acquisition and procurement), came by. This year we’re planning visits from the Hon. Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army acquisition, logistics and technology and Army acquisition executive; the Hon. Dr. Sally Matiella, assistant secretary of the Army financial management and comptroller; and Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion, deputy commanding general, Army Materiel Command.”

     
     


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  • ACC integrates contracting Soldiers into stateside operations

    Valerie Tipton provides Staff Sgt. Wallace Newton some advice on a contract. Newton is a member of the 626th Contingency Contracting Team, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., and has been a contracting specialist for four months. Tipton is a contracting officer in the Base Operations Division, Army Contracting Command-Redstone Arsenal. (Photo by U.S. Army)

    Edward G Worley

     
    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.–In an effort to streamline command and control of its military contracting Soldiers, the Army Contracting Command is attaching portions of its Expeditionary Contracting Command forces to several of ACC’s stateside organizations.

    The action reduces the ECC span of control from the day-to-day oversight of Soldiers executing their stateside contracting mission, allowing the ECC commander to focus on overseas installation and contingency support, explained Lt. Col. Kevin Nash, ACC Integration project officer.

    It also gives the Mission and Installation Contracting Command and ACC contracting centers direct supervision of Soldiers supporting stateside operations within their organizations, he said.

    Maj. Gen. Camille M. Nichols, ACC commanding general, said her intent is to “streamline mission command, better manage our military contracting Soldiers’ workloads and enhance contracting Soldier professional development.

    “This action provides greater predictability for our civilian contracting leaders in assigning work to Soldiers in their offices,” she said. “It also provides greater professional development opportunities for contracting Soldiers as they are offered increased contracting experiences.”

    Nichols said it also allows ECC to focus on the day-to-day overseas contracting mission and operational contract support tasks associated with Army Service Component Commands.

    Brig. Gen. Ted Harrison, ECC commanding general, said the realignment will help 51C contingency contracting Soldiers develop their contracting skills.

    “Future military operations will continue to demand expeditionary contracting Soldiers who are trained and ready to meet Army Service Component Command needs,” Harrison said.

    “ACC integration allows the Expeditionary Contracting Command’s 51Cs to hone their skills in day-to-day contracting missions in Mission and Installation Contracting Command installation contracting offices as they support the Army’s generating force. This ‘work as they fight’ strategy will prepare them to deploy and support Army operational forces anywhere in the world. ECC is confident that the MICC civilian contracting experts will equip our contracting Soldiers with technical knowledge and provide hands-on experience through coaching, teaching and mentoring.”

    Brig. Gen. Kirk Vollmecke, MICC commanding general, said the integration improves both the civilian and military contracting workforce.

    “The synchronization and integration of uniformed members across the Mission and Installation Contracting Command provides indispensable technical, hands-on contracting training and experience for Army contingency contracting Soldiers,” Vollmecke said.

    “Soldiers and contracting civilians working alongside one another drives positive change and brings balance, skill and depth to the acquisition workforce. This unified teamwork and collaboration with ACC and our Army customers is a key to continued success.”

    Nash said the operation will occur in four phases. It began in December with the realignment of MICC contracting offices under four field directorate offices. MICC FDOs are aligned at sites with their major customers, and the 34 MICC subordinate contracting offices are grouped by customer to bring consistency to operations and improve contract administration and oversight.

    Phase 2 begins in February, Nash said, attaching MICC-associated contingency contracting battalions, senior contingency contracting teams and contingency contracting teams to the MICC. ACC contracting center-associated contingency contracting teams will also be attached to their corresponding contracting centers during Phase 2.

    “Attaching a unit to another unit means that, while the attached unit still ‘belongs’ to its higher headquarters, it takes its daily taskings from the unit to which it is attached,” Nash explained. “The units we’re attaching still ‘belong’ to ECC, but they are working directly for the organizations they are attached to.”

    Phase 3 begins in April, he said. ECC will add two contracting support brigades that will be attached to the MICC headquarters. The 418th CSB will be headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas, and the 419th CSB will be headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C.

    The final phase calls for the 412th CSB, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to be attached to the MICC headquarters on Oct. 1.

    Nash said ECC will retain assignment of the CONUS-based CSBs and continue to be the ACC lead for operational contract support activities.

    In the event of a mission requiring CONUS-based ACC units attached to the MICC or centers, Nash said ACC will publish an operation order that detaches those selected units back to the ECC for execution of the required mission. Upon completion of the mission, units would redeploy and be re-attached to the MICC or centers as required, he explained.

    ECC will continue to be the ACC lead for all contingency contracting Soldier individual and unit training functions, he said.

     
     


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  • Automated chemistry system enhances lab results

    Army Capt. Karen Thomas, core lab chief, checks samples for testing on the new automated chemistry system recently acquired by Walter Reed Bethesda's Department of Pathology. (Photo by Bernard S. Little).

    Bernard S. Little

     

    BETHESDA, Md. — To better serve Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) beneficiaries, staff members of the Department of Pathology have started using a fully automated chemistry system in its lab.

    Army Capt. Karen Thomas, who was instrumental in acquiring the new multi-million dollar system and bringing it online at WRNMMC, explained it will further ensure an efficient workflow and reduce turnaround times for STAT (Short turn-around time) and routine work requiring a high rate of production.

    “The College of American Pathologists (CAP), considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance by lab professionals, recently inspected the WRNMMC lab, including the automated Chemistry Section. Even though this new major system was implemented only shortly before the inspection, the inspectors nonetheless confirmed that Capt. Thomas and her staff had validated all elements of system performance and completed numerous quality assurance checks to ensure safe and effective function,” according to Navy Capt. Larry R. Ciolorito, assistant chief of the Department of Pathology.

    He added the lab performs approximately 3.5 million tests annually, and transfuses approximately 9,000 units of blood products each year. “Of the 3.5 million annual tests, over half will be performed on the new analyzer.”

    Thomas explained the new automated system should result in more reliability in lab results because its pre- and post-analytics eliminate the need for manual manipulation of samples prior to analyzing and automated storage of samples occurs once they are loaded on the system. “Automated de-capping and re-capping also make the instrument safer for staff to use.”

    She added the new system integrates pre-analytical elements such as centrifugation and aliquoting, a very large inventory of automated testing, and post-analytical data analysis and reporting.

    Thomas explained the prior chemistry system had reached its life expectancy, necessitating routine service calls and causing downtime and delays. The multi-year, multi-million acquisition placed similar systems and capabilities at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (FBCH) are in line with the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region Medical’s guidance for standardization of services throughout the joint operating area.

    “Having the same platforms at FBCH and WRNMMC has enabled the National Capital Area to provide consistent results between the two hospitals – methods for analytes, reference ranges, standard operating procedures, and lab test files are the same,” Thomas said. “Therefore, if a patient is drawn at one hospital on one day and another hospital another day, the results will be comparable.”

    Training for employees who currently use the new system was initially conducted on site and is on-going, Thomas continued, adding approximately 25 staff members currently use the system on a 24/7 basis.

    She said the initiative is part of an effort by the Department of Pathology to move the lab to total automation.

    “This was an enormous undertaking for our staff at a time when we were still absorbing and managing the effects of integration,” Ciolorito added. “This was a multi-year process that included requirements development, significant facilities modifications, extensive staff training, and numerous adjustments to staffing and shift assignments. It would not have been possible without a truly joint and unified approach on the part of our staff, whose goal is the delivery of world-class patient-centered care,” he concluded.

     
     


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  • Army medical advancements highlighted in industry journal

    In an effort to document military trauma medical advancements made in the last 10 years of war-time experience, the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research has published three articles in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery related to pre-hospital care, deployed hospital care, and trauma systems and restorative medicine.

    Steven Galvan

     

    SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (ISR) has announced the release of a capstone publication in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery that summarizes key medical advances from the U.S. military’s war-time experience over the last 10 years. The publication, which is comprised of three articles, describes military medical revolutions in three key areas of military trauma medicine: pre-hospital care, deployed hospital care, and trauma systems and restorative medicine.

    As a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Md., the ISR strives to be the nation’s premier joint research organization planning and executing registry-based and translational research providing innovative solutions for burn, trauma, and combat casualty care from the point of injury through rehabilitation.

    “The goals of this publication are twofold: to document the landmark medical advances from this war and the gaps along the continuum of combat casualty care from a historical perspective so that in the future, medical personnel can bridge these gaps and save lives,” said senior editor of the publication and former ISR Commander, Col. (Dr.) Lorne H. Blackbourne. “Documenting the revolutionary advances from these wars can also help with the translation of military advances to civilian trauma care so that all Americans can benefit in addition to our wounded warriors.”

    Director of ISR Combat Casualty Care Research Directorate David G. Baer, Ph.D added, “This publication documents the extraordinary progress in saving lives on the battlefield that combat casualty care research has affected during the last decade.”

    To ensure the widest distribution possible, the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery has made these three articles available on an open-access basis at http://journals.lww.com/jtrauma/toc/2012/12005.

    These articles are based on focused reviews of tactical combat casualty care as well as analyses of peer-reviewed combat trauma literature, burn care, coagulation monitoring, causes of death on the battlefield, amputations, blood product use, head and neck injuries, trauma training programs, innovations in treatment for pain, and moderate to severe brain injury.

    “The best way to optimize and direct research and trauma system efforts for the greatest good is to review evidence-based information on the burden of injury and capability gaps extrapolated from outcome data. The articles in this publication provide the data to help guide all future efforts in these areas,” said Blackbourne, who also serves as the current director of the U.S. Army Trauma Training Center in Miami, Fla.

    Together, these articles document extraordinary progress in saving lives on the battlefield and highlight areas for continued innovation.

    “We’re dedicated to optimizing combat casualty care,” said ISR Commander, Col. (Dr.) Michael A. Weber. “The research that we are conducting at this institute is saving lives—on and off the battlefield.”

     
     


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  • Future looks bright for Redstone Test Center

    Ashley Crick

     

    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – The Redstone Test Center celebrated a successful 2012 with new capabilities, facilities, and a committed work force.

    In 2012, the center improved its test capabilities by adding more than $13 million in new and modified facilities. These include a new Climatic Multi-Chamber Test Facility, an aviation parts storage facility, an aircraft parking area, a reconstruction of the Tactical Test Facility, entry control point facility, a transient test facility and an aircraft towpath just to name a few.

    Additionally, the center worked with the Garrison Department of Public Works by inspecting more than 300 RTC-managed facilities and participated in two Garrison Area Development Plans and three Military Construction Projects. The center also worked with the Naval Construction Battalion Two-Four to provide valuable training opportunities on more than a dozen projects which in return provided $150,000 of services to sustain RTC facilities.

    The five subordinate directorates of RTC continued to provide outstanding support to the war fighter in 2012.

    The Aviation Flight Test Directorate continued to ensure safety and reliability for the Army’s aircraft inventory. AFTD provided more than 350,000 maintenance man-hours in support of approximately 2,000 test events that included in excess of 5,500 aircraft flight hours with 200 highly trained and experienced personnel.

    The Flight Test Control Center, which supports the tracking of two separate and simultaneous flight tests, was completed in April 2012 and represents the final major project to be completed as part of the BRAC relocation from Fort Rucker. AFTD also designed and developed a highly automated and mobile Field Equivalent Bar Target and successfully tested the most recent version of the Common Missile Warning System aircraft survivability equipment.

    The Systems Engineering Directorate continued to establishing their role as “force multipliers” for the RTC test mission. A number of highly qualified systems engineers provided horizontal coordination and integration for more than 473 test projects including leading Integrated Project Teams for critical programs such as Aviation Survivability Equipment and Force Protection Systems. SED also provided program support and technical expertise for more than 50 test customers.

    The Environmental & Component Test Directorate, responsible for developing and conducting environmental testing on weapon systems, completed two new facilities — the Tactical Test Facility and the new Multi-Chamber Facility. ECTD supported multiple tests which included the Orbus 1A motor qualification test, Shadow Unmanned Aerial System E3 Qualification Test and participated in the Coalition Attack Guidance Experiment II Coalition-Level Test Experiment.

    The Missiles & Sensors Test Directorate continued to be the source of the many “booms” on Redstone Arsenal. The Propulsion Test Division coordinated with the Air Force Research Lab to conduct static firing tests of four ATACMS rocket motors. This test required coordination between several teams, including the RTC Propulsion Division static firing crew, RTC Missions Operations and Control Center, the AFRL sensor engineers, the AFRL satellite engineers, and AFRL headquarters. According to AFRL, this test series was “a rare confluence of events (i.e. weather, rocket, satellite) unique observations that have never been done before in military history, and potentially ground breaking for national defense and missile warning.”

    Although the center’s mission is testing, 2012 was a great year for community support and employee wellness. In August, employees across the center enjoyed RTC’s third annual Safety & Wellness Day. Employees participated in a wide range of sports activities while visiting exhibitor booths emphasizing healthy eating, exercise and safety. As the holidays approached, staff members showed support for RTC’s first Alabama/Auburn Can-a-thon by donating about 1,524 pounds of canned goods to the Food Bank of North Alabama and pet food and supplies to the Ark Inc. The center also supported the Salvation Army Angel Tree by selling T-shirts with proceeds going to support a local child.

    Even in this tough economic climate, the future continues to look bright for Redstone Test Center but changes are imminent. The center, along with the Army Test and Evaluation Command, will both undergo changes in leadership in the coming year. Col. Steve Kihara, the first commander of Redstone Test Center, will retire after 29 years of service, His successor will undoubtedly take this world-class test center to the next level.

    The Redstone Test Center is a subordinate unit of the Test and Evaluation Command headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. RTC is the premier Army agency for testing military aircraft throughout the acquisition, modernization and sustainment life cycle in support of America’s war fighters.

     
     


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  • Iowa Army Ammunition Plant professionals earn Lean Six Sigma belts

    Transportation via railroad was seen as vital in decreasing excessive transportation costs to ship ammunition with no, or a long, lead-time required-delivery date to storage facilities. (Photo Credit: Annette Parchert)

    Annette Parchert

     

    MIDDLETOWN, Iowa — Staff members with the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant recently completed a Lean Six Sigma black belt project designed to decrease excessive transportation costs to ship ammunition with no, or a long, lead-time required-delivery date to storage facilities.

    Previously, the process relied on a single mode of transportation, which may not have been the most-efficient mode of transportation. The project title was “IAAAP Improves Transportation Mode Efficiencies.”

    In early 2011, former commander, Lt. Col. Tommie Hewitt, asked for cost-cutting ideas from IAAAP staff. Ideas were gathered from a focus group and IAAAP Installation Transportation Officer Robert Brewster presented an idea that was selected as a Lean Six Sigma project.

    Debbie Wirt, who is a contract price/cost analyst and an LSS green belt at IAAAP, led the LSS project in an effort to earn an LSS black belt. Brewster participated as a subject matter expert on the team in an effort to earn an LSS yellow belt. In addition to working on the project, both were required to complete additional training on LSS concepts.

    The goal of the project was to improve the efficiencies and reduce cost for transportation of munitions out of IAAAP, bound for any of four ammunition depots. Additionally, the goal to reduce annual cost per short ton by five percent was a major focus.

    The project used the Electronic Transportation Acquisition® system to pull historical transportation data from previous years for analysis. Some of the changes that were implemented included the use of integrated applications such as Defense Connect Online®.

    The nine-member team assembled to carry out the project along with black belt coach, William “Tad” Holburn, from Joint Munitions Command headquarters, was made up of personnel from JMC headquarters, IAAAP, American Ordnance and Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.

    American Ordnance is the operating contractor at IAAAP.

    Improvements made included regular scheduling of meetings via DCO and establishing a rail-car pool. Communication and time management was essential in this project. The pilot lasted six months, allowing the test team to conduct analysis of historical data to new data gained during this test.

    “These improvements did not come without challenges,” said Wirt. “All of our weekly communication was done via telephone or email. This additional element was very difficult. My only regret is that I never got to meet Coach Holburn in person. He passed away October 21, before I had a chance to thank him.”

    The project, when finished, was a great success because the original goal of five percent cost reduction was exceeded. The pilot resulted in a reduction in cost per short ton by 13.4 percent and a cost avoidance of $176,514.59 over six months.

    JMC’s continuous process improvement office awarded an LSS yellow belt certificate to Brewster, Oct. 23, 2012. The award citation states, “In recognition of Mr. Brewster’s contribution and participation as a core Team Member on the Black Belt Project: Iowa Army Ammunition Plant Improves Transportation Mode Efficiencies.” Brewster’s knowledge as the subject matter expert had a significant impact on the success of this project.

    Wirt was awarded a black belt and is the only black belt in a government-owned, contractor-operated installation. Her guidance as a facilitator kept the 17-months-long process on track.

    “She takes great pride and ownership of the improvement process and focuses on recognition of team members. She used her own resources to travel to Scott Air Force Base, near St. Louis, to recognize a team member with a certificate and a commander’s coin. She went that extra mile for her team,” said Julie Solinski, chief of contract management.

    IAAAP is a subordinate organization of JMC, and responsible for producing tank practice rounds, artillery rounds and 40 mm grenades, and for pressing missile warheads.

    From its headquarters in Rock Island, Ill., JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. JMC’s customers are U.S. forces of all military services, other U.S. Government agencies, and allied nations.

     
     


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  • Army deploying service-wide intelligence system

    On Dec. 14, 2012, the Distributed Common Ground System - Army, or the DCGS-A, as Soldiers call it, was approved for full deployment by the Defense Acquisition Executive. However, DCGS-A was used extensively in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Here, then-Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III (right), commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, Col. Jeffrey L. Bannister (center), commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and Iraqi Brig. Gen. Abdulah (left) discuss intelligence on an operation near Baghdad in 2007. (Photo Credit: Spc. Nicholas A. Hernandez)

    David Vergun

     

    WASHINGTON — The Army has been given the green light to fully deploy a combat-proven intelligence system to globally network forces with mission-critical information.

    On Dec. 14, the Distributed Common Ground System – Army, or the “DCGS-A,” as Soldiers call it, was approved for full deployment by the Defense acquisition executive, also known as DAE.

    DAE is the highest approving authority in the Department of Defense for new systems.

    “Previously, DCGS-A was a quick-reaction capability used successfully and extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management. “DCGS-A is now approved for use across the entire Army, which will allow standardized training, programs and future upgrades.”

    “Quick-reaction capability” refers to a system that is rapidly deployed to meet the most immediate and urgent needs of the Army, such as in a combat operations environment, but it is not necessarily approved for service-wide deployment.

    DCGS-A is designed to task, process, exploit and disseminate intelligence throughout the Army, with other services, federal intelligence agencies and coalition partners, according to Greene.

    DCGS-A replaced nine different legacy systems, he said, adding that it “is a critical component of the Army’s modernization program.”

    Life before DCGS-A could be difficult at times, according to Maj. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, commander, Intelligence and Security Command.

    Use of legacy systems developed before DCGS-A sometimes resulted in “intelligence snow fights,” Fogarty said. Each had “proprietary formats and protocols which were managed differently across the services and even within each service.

    “They were hard to understand, databases were incompatible with one another and could not be shared across the enterprise,” he continued. “A lot of intelligence was lost because of that. The majority of time was often spent trying to find data rather than analyzing it.”

    Fogarty used the smartphone analogy in explaining how DCGS-A works. He said users of smartphones are able to communicate with other smartphone users who are on other networks, say Verizon or AT&T.

    But he said DCGS-A goes even further. Users can share apps, text documents, diagrams, photos, maps and more.

    The system “gives Soldiers and commanders the intelligence they need for enhanced situational awareness,” he said.

    The DCGS-A technology was Soldier-tested and was developed by the best minds in government, academia and the private sector, according to Greene. He said there were 40 business partners working on the software development alone. They and others will be consulted in years to come, he said, for new solutions as capability gaps are identified.

    Deployment of DCGS-A will result in cost savings, according to Greene. He said having one system reduces the hardware and software that needs to be purchased. The DCGS-A efficiencies will result in about $300 million in savings from fiscal year 2012 to 2017, he said, and about $1.2 billion from FY 2012 to 2034, the expected lifetime of the system.

    DCGS-A is now being deployed to all brigades going through the Army Forces Generation cycle and will eventually be the de facto intelligence network for the entire service, according to Greene.

    ARFORGEN is a model the Army uses in its unit deployment schedule. The ARFORGEN cycles are: reset, train/ready, and available for any mission.

    The DCGS-A is not a magic bullet, however, according to Col. David Pendall, Army War College fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the former division intelligence commander of the 1st Cavalry Division.

    “You still need human judgment,” he said, meaning that it takes a well-trained Soldier to mine the intelligence, analyze it and derive useful information from it.

    Also, he said DCGS-A “must be integrated into the demands and processes of the organization and its mission and intelligence requirements.”
     
     


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  • USASAC looks back at busy, productive 2012

    Instructors Chief Warrant Officer 3 Randall Jaynes, left, and Lt. Col. Jeffery Bouma, right, from the Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization, stand beside the first Afghan air force pilot candidates training on the MD-530 helicopter at the Rotary Wing Flight Training Program in Shindand, Afghanistan. In 2012 SATMO established and conducted the first rotary wing flight and logistics training for Afghan pilots and support staff held in that country in more for than 30 years. (Photos courtesy of U.S. Army)

    Mr. Paul J Stevenson (USASAC)

     

    Redstone Arsenal, Ala. — By all accounts 2012 was a banner year for the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command in terms of carrying out its mission of overseeing the Army’s Security Assistance Enterprise and managing its Foreign Military Sales program. In reviewing the year’s accomplishments by USASAC and the entire Security Assistance Enterprise, start by looking at the numbers.

    In Fiscal Year 2012 USASAC managed and oversaw active FMS cases in 144 countries. During that time they added 620 new FMS cases with almost six-thousand lines to the workload, totaling $19.7 billion worth of new business, the second highest year ever in terms of FMS sales. At the same time, case workers closed out almost 700 cases.

    Title 10 (1206/1207) program efforts, which equip and train coalition partners for theater operations, more than doubled this year, going from $100 million in FY 11, to adding almost $209 million worth of capabilities to our foreign partners this FY to support the Global Train and Equip mission.

    All told, at the end of FY 12 USASAC was overseeing more than 4,500 FMS cases valued at $135 billion, including more than $58.6 billion worth of products and services yet to be delivered to foreign customers. There were an additional 136 cases worth $ 9.4 billion cases “on offer” to countries, awaiting the final agreement of terms in order to begin implementation.

    But the success of the past year runs much deeper than dollar figures and case numbers.

    “We all know in USASAC, and we all know in the broader Security Assistance Enterprise, that all this work is toward the end of building and maintaining strong relationships with our foreign partners and our future allies,” explained Maj. Gen. Del Turner, commanding general, U.S. Army Security Assistance Command during a recent gathering of the USASAC workforce. “The dollar amounts of these programs are not nearly as important as the strong association the United States of America enjoys with countries around the world and those countries that you work with day-in and day-out.”

    USASAC is known as “The Army’s Face to the World” because its engagements with 144 countries throughout the world are many times the first or most consistent relationships they will have with the U.S. Army. During 2012, the USASAC and Security Assistance Enterprise workforce at all levels actively engaged with foreign partners and customers using the consistent themes of building partner capacity, supporting combatant commander engagement strategies and strengthening U.S. global partnerships.

    Two UH-60M helicopters are folded for transport in preparation for shipment to Linkoping, Sweden as part of an ongoing Foreign Military Sales case to support the Sweden Armed Forces. A Security Assistance Training Management Organization TAFT deployed to Sweden in January to provide technical assistance to the Swedish military during its fielding of the aircraft and in preparation for the Swedish Air Force deployment of the aircraft to Afghanistan in 2013.

    While USASAC key leaders significantly increased the amount of strategic engagements with senior U.S. and foreign military officials within the separate Combatant Command (COCOM) areas of responsibility, country program managers and case managers conducted approximately 20 program reviews with FMS customers each month to ensure implemented sales were keeping on track with requirements, and in the process, developing and cultivating strong relationships with those customers.

    “These program management reviews are critical to our CH47 acquisition in that it allows us to go over our case line by line to verify requirements and sync our efforts,” Lt. Col. Tyron de Boer, Australian Defense Force (ADF) CH-47 project manager, said during a July program management review in Dallas, Texas. “Because we have an established working relationship with the people at AMCOM SAMD (Security Assistance Management Directorate) and USASAC, I have no problem picking up the phone and calling whoever I need to speak with in order to get answers when there are questions about the case.”

    If USASAC is “The Army’s Face to the World,” then the face of USASAC is the Soldier of its Security Assistance Training Management Organization (SATMO), USASAC’s subordinate organization located at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

    During the past year SATMO deployed 45 teams to 29 different countries providing tailored training to FMS customers. The instruction provided to foreign customers ranged from small unit tactics, to major systems fielding, operation and maintenance. During FY 12 SATMO Soldiers and civilians trained more than 11,000 students.

    Some of the SATMO’s engagement and training highlights were:
    • Established and conducted the first rotary wing flight and logistics training for Afghan pilots and support staff held in that country in more than 30 years.
    • Provided technical assistance to the Swedish military during its procurement of 15 UH-60M helicopters in preparation for the Swedish Air Force deployment of the aircraft to Afghanistan in 2013.
    • Oversaw the training and mentoring of a select group of non-commissioned officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) as they set up and conducted the first ever AFL warrior leadership course run solely by AFL NCOs.
    • Conducted training in Kosovo to prepare Kosovo Security Force Soldiers to attend the U.S. Army Ranger Course.

    Additionally, SATMO reached a significant “building partner capacity” milestone on July 29, when the M1A1 Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT) concluded its mission in Egypt. One of the longest continuous SATMO missions, the M1A1 TAFT had served continuously in Cairo, Egypt since October 1989, when the Egyptian government took delivery of its first M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. Throughout the 23-year history of the TAFT, the team trained thousands of Egyptian military personnel in the operation, implementation, and maintenance of the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank and the M88A2 Hercules Recovery Vehicle.

    In addition to all of the successes executing the security assistance mission around the world in 2012, there were also a number of significant events which took place within the organization.

    On March 2, Col. Joseph Bovy assumed command of SATMO from Col. Pete Aubrey, who retired after 34 years of military service.

    In August, USASAC initiated a Security Assistance Enterprise developmental assignment program. The program, which allows employees to travel to other organizations within the enterprise, provides opportunities to broaden the participant’s knowledge and understanding of the roles and functions of other organizations throughout enterprise.

    On Aug. 24, USASAC welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Mansker as the first ever command sergeant major to serve as the senior enlisted advisor to the commander.

    2012 was truly a tremendous year for USASAC and the entire Security Assistance Enterprise. Heading into 2013, USASAC is dedicated to building on the accomplishments achieved over the past year, and focused on continuing its strategic mission in support of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense and the National Security Strategy.

     
     


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  • SDDC teleconference fills void in DOD shipper training, education

    Traffic management specialists assigned to the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's Strategic Business Directorate, prepare for the November Shipper Session. The Shipper Sessions were created as a replacement for the SDDC Symposium and Traffic Management Workshop. Both events were cancelled this year in response to Department of Defense guidance that promotes further efficiency and cost consciousness in federal government operations. (Photo Credit: Mr. Mark Diamond, SDDC)

    Mark Diamond

     

    SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill – When the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Training Symposium and Traffic Management Workshop were cancelled this year, a vital link between the command and its customers was severed.

    The symposium and workshop were cancelled in response to Department of Defense guidance that promotes further efficiency and cost consciousness in federal government operations.

    According to SDDC transportation experts, in years past, the symposium and workshop were conduits for the exchange of ideas and, more importantly, an avenue for education, training and policy updates related to the movement of DOD cargo in support of military contingency operations, exercises and humanitarian missions around the world.

    To fill that void, SDDC’s Strategic Business Directorate (G9) recently began communicating with DOD shippers through massive, monthly teleconferences. DOD shippers include transportation and logistics personnel across the military Services and other government agencies, including Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Contract Management Agency, General Services Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, and more.

    Within the G9 directorate, the Business Integration Branch (part of the Domestic Business Division) is responsible for organizing the monthly Shipper Sessions.

    “With the cancellation of the symposium and training workshop, we had to look at another avenue to engage our customers — to keep them updated, to educate them, to train them — so they can maintain the proper policies and procedures when moving DOD freight,” said Chuck Morgan, Business Integration Branch team lead and acting supervisor.

    Morgan and his team have already conducted two sessions, one in October and another in November. Because of the holidays, no Shipper Session will be held in December; however, he said the service will continue in 2013 with sessions scheduled for January, February and March.

    If the first two Shipper Sessions are any indication, DOD shippers are eager to participate. According to Morgan, more than 100 DOD shippers dialed in during the first session, and more than 50 shippers participated in the November teleconference.

    Jeffery Criger, a traffic management specialist who works for the Air Force Sustainment Center’s Transportation and Distribution Branch at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, attended the October Shipper Session. Because his office is responsible for developing proposals and recommending policy to the Air Staff in all areas of cargo movement, packaging, and cargo funding, he said someone from his office normally attends either the SDDC Symposium or the Traffic Management Workshop.

    “The Air Force applauds SDDC efforts to keep the lines of communication open in response to ever tightening government budgets, which has forced the cancellation of [the symposium and workshop],” Criger said. “Additionally, the training provided and feedback received during these Shipper Sessions is invaluable to the entire DOD Transportation and Distribution community.”

    Criger said he plans to attend future sessions, as well. “Since our office is currently leading the effort among all Air Force major commands to revise the Air Force Cargo Movement Policy, it is imperative that we continue to participate in every Shipper Session offered by SDDC. Moreover, the Air Staff has strongly advocated and publicly endorsed Air Force participation in these Shipper Sessions, from the MAJCOM down to the unit-level.”

    With the cancellation of the SDDC Symposium and Traffic Manager’s Workshop, Morgan said using current technologies to interact with SDDC customers is more important than ever.

    “We need to ensure our shippers are following the correct policies and procedures for shipping DOD freight,” he added. “If they don’t, the result could be damaged cargo, lost or delayed cargo, or other issues that could result in mission failure or additional cost to the government. The more we can educate our shippers, the smoother the process will be; it will be more efficient and more effective.”

    He added that in today’s fiscally challenging environment, the monthly teleconferences are the best option for addressing DOD shippers’ needs. “We know the need [for training and education] is still there, but we don’t have the money, and they don’t have the money. We can’t get to them, and they can’t get to us. Using the Shipper Sessions, we can still provide the training, education and advice our shippers are looking for.”

    DOD shippers interested in attending an SDDC Shipper Session can request a call-in number by e-mailing SDDC’s Business Integration Branch at usarmy.scott.sddc.mbx.workshop-registration@mail.mil. Morgan said his team will respond to each request by providing a call-in number, along with other details, including call-in times and instructions, a schedule of events, links to important or relevant information, and more.

    “It doesn’t matter what [branch of service or government agency] you belong to,” added Morgan. “If you’re a DOD shipper who uses SDDC services, you can participate with us.”

    Morgan said his team will cover two topics per session. The November session featured special requirements, to include rate negotiations and DD Form 1085 (Domestic Freight Routing Request and Order) processing, and the movement of Arms, Ammunition & Explosives and hazardous material. For the January session, he said topics will include carrier performance and Transportation Discrepancy Reports, or TDRs. Morgan said Shipper Session topics were determined based on feedback from a military shipper survey his office distributed prior to the cancellation of the SDDC Symposium.

    He added that identical Shipper Sessions are conducted twice in the same day. A morning session (8 to 10 a.m.) is geared toward customers on the East Coast and in the European and Southwest Asia theaters; and an afternoon session (2 to 4 p.m.) is conducted for customers on the West Coast and in the Pacific theater.

    Each session is attended by every member of the G9 Business Integration Branch, as well as specific SDDC subject matter experts (briefers). According to Morgan, a member of his team begins each session by discussing hot issues, followed by the two main topic briefings (30 to 45 minutes per topic), and every session ends with a question and answer period.

    He also said participants are asked to review the briefing slides and have their questions ready prior to each session. Slides are published on the SDDC website at http://www.sddc.army.mil/GCD/default.aspx. The website also includes example forms, organizational e-mails, and a live FAQ page, which includes questions that have already been asked and answered. Morgan said the FAQ is a “live document” that will continue to grow as the branch receives additional questions during each Shipper Session.

     
     


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