Acquisition team develops innovative purchasing approach to meet demand and budget challenges

Faces of the Force: Tim Joens

 


 
POSITION: Acquisition Manager
UNIT: Project Manager (PM) Combat Ammunition Systems (CAS), Picatinny Arsenal, NJ
TOTAL YEARS OF SERVICE: 31
AWARDS: Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, PM CAS Outstanding Professional of the Year, 2012 Packard Award (Combat Ammunition Systems team)
EDUCATION: East Stroudsburg State, PA


 

By Teresa Mikulsky Purcell

 

FOTF: What do you do in the Army?

JOENS: As an Acquisition Manager, I am responsible for planning and managing procurement activities for PM CAS, Acquisition Category I, II and III artillery, mortars, munitions and weapons systems in the development, production, fielding, and sustainment phases. Given the range of tasks we work with, it’s a complex task.

FOTF: Why is your job important?

JOENS: Soldier safety is paramount in the development and production of our products. We deliver the highest quality, most affordable conventional and advanced munitions and combat power to our warfighters to give them the materiel edge over real and potential adversaries. Our products enable Soldiers to execute their missions with superiority.

FOTF: What has your work experience been like?

JOENS: The work has always been challenging. I’ve seen a lot of cyclical changes, such as budget cuts, hiring freezes, and difficulties in steadily growing the workforce. The level of management oversight and review has increased and decreased over the years as well. One of the challenges we face right now is long acquisition lead times. It currently takes two years from requirement definition to contract award. I believe the solution for this, considering decreasing budgets and manpower, is to streamline our processes so we can continue to deliver quality, cost-effective products on time. At the end of the day, though, it has been rewarding knowing I support our Soldiers who defend our freedom.

FOTF: Why did you choose a career with the Army?

JOENS: My father was a World War II veteran and career Department of the Army civilian. I also chose a civilian career with the Army because it offered many opportunities and a place where I could serve those who serve our country.

FOTF: What is your greatest satisfaction being a part of the Army?

JOENS: I am always heartened when I hear positive feedback from Soldiers about the weapons, fire control, and ammunition we provide. Helping them execute their missions and return home safely is my greatest reward. They are the true heroes.

FOTF: Your team recently received the prestigious Packard Award for establishing and implementing an efficient buying approach for critical ammunition. Tell us a little about the strategy you developed.

JOENS: The new strategy was developed out of necessity. Previously, we executed basic contracts with four option years to single vendors for products. We saw the effectiveness of that change of approach, especially with all of the overseas requirements and reduced budgets. We exhausted five years of production options within two years to try and fill customer orders for ammunition. To address this, we set up multiple contractors to hold basic delivery order contracts for the products, and now they all compete to meet requirements. We are seeing strong price competition, with the savings being invested in additional products for our Soldiers. We have also added flexibility in meeting required delivery schedules, helping to eliminate single-point failures, and we’ve added some new quality DOD contractors to the industrial base.

FOTF Editor’s Note: The Packard Award, which was presented on Nov. 2 by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, recognizes an organization that has demonstrated superior management and accomplishment in the successful execution of one or more of the Better Buying Power acquisition efficiency initiatives.

FOTF: What was your reaction to the news that your team had received the Packard Award?

JOENS: Initially, it was disbelief we had actually won such a prestigious award! Once I knew it was for real, I felt satisfaction. We knew when we started to develop this vision that it would be a long road with many challenges, but in the end, we were able to respond much better to our customers’ needs while strengthening our industrial base.

For more information on PM CAS, visit http://www.pica.army.mil/peoammo/Home.aspx.
 

  • “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.