The ‘OTHER’ Acquisition Phase

The ‘OTHER’  Acquisition Phase

Focusing on better buying power and value engineering efforts By Lt. Col. Elliott R. Caggins, Mr. Jason R. Middleton and Maj. Demond J. Merrick The vast majority of the acquisition workforce has a great understanding of the life-cycle management process, including designing, developing, procuring, producing, fielding and sustaining military equipment. The defense acquisition life-cycle model goes into great detail on the operations and support phase, but it barely covers the cycle’s end—divestiture. In fact, the Defense Acquisition University’s life-cycle management chart simply lists divestiture as “disposal,” even though it’s much more than that. With its focus on life-cycle phases from design to sustainment, formal acquisition training often neglects disposal, which […]

Training on the Virtual Net

Training on the Virtual Net

Video game-like approach reduces classroom time, increases engagement By Maj. Naim R. Lee, Ms. Caroline McCarthy and Dr. Samuel Johnson Today’s Soldiers have grown up in the digital age. They play video games that enable friends and even strangers to team up online to slay aliens, combat terrorists and save the world. They take advanced high school and college classes online, and their smartphones are almost an appendage. “Death by PowerPoint” is no longer an effective means of training, especially on the Army’s advanced network and communications equipment. Soldiers are now learning faster and more efficiently, immersed in operational scenarios within virtual training environments and using the power of their […]

May the Force Be Ready

May the Force Be Ready

By Steve Stark   FORT BELVOIR, Va. – The July – September electronic edition of Army AL&T magazine is now online at http://usaasc.armyalt.com/, with the print edition coming to you shortly. The theme of this issue is training and force readiness, and it’s packed with must-read material, from how the Army trains and “grows” contracting professionals, to a deep dive into the Training with Industry program to how a Soldier amputee invented his own prosthesis so he could run again. As the on-the-job training in the “schoolhouses” of Southwest Asia ends, the Army must find other ways to keep the force trained and ready. The magazine will take you into […]

The Academic Angle

The Academic Angle

Leveraging students’ engineering expertise to bridge the gap between Soldier and system By Col. Michael E. Sloane, MAJ Toby Birdsell and Capt.(P) Tom Beyerl   Project Manager Soldier Sensors and Lasers (PM SSL) is in the business of developing the most advanced maneuver and targeting sensors ever fielded. A sometimes unwanted adjunct to advancement, however, is complexity, one of the greatest enemies of usability. Recognizing this critical relationship, the PM SSL team continuously seeks opportunities, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Maneuver and Fires Centers of Excellence, to connect with current and prospective warfighters through “touch points,” warfighter juries that enable the PM SSL team to tailor equipment designs to […]

Evolving Innovation

Evolving Innovation

A new look at fostering cutting-edge thinking in Army science and technology   By Lt. Col. Joel Dillon, Dr. Jason Augustyn, Ms. Julia Kim and Mr. Dominic Ju   Science and technology (S&T) innovation is an uncertain road, with “failure” often a step on the path to a breakthrough. However, in a resource-constrained environment, planners must make the smartest possible investments of taxpayer money in S&T programs, balancing risk with the potential for transformational new capabilities. A good place to start striking this balance is at the “fuzzy front end” of innovation, the initial period of exploration preceding the development of new materiel solutions. For many years, the acquisition community […]

Getting a Fix on the Future

Getting a Fix on the Future

Even as it closes the books on the longest war in U.S. history, the Army must plan, in difficult circumstances, for what is to come   By Ms. Margaret C. Roth   As the Army draws down to what could be its smallest size in nearly three-quarters of a century, the focus is squarely on the future. So, what does the Army need to do today to get where it wants to be 30 years from now? In a word: Plan. But it’s more complicated than it sounds. A year and a half ago, the Army initiated a new strategic modernization planning process that combines a detailed analysis of investments […]

Research Resource

Research Resource

Rapid detection devices for pathogen vectors are case study in leveraging small business innovation funding   By Maj. Vanessa R. Melanson   When military forces arrive in a new operational area, military preventive medicine personnel—preventive medicine specialists, entomologists and environmental science engineers—assess the environment, identify health threats and propose mitigations. Vector-borne diseases are one of the primary readiness threats, and the arthropods (insects and arachnids) that transmit pathogens to people account for about 60 percent of the military’s priority pathogens list. Vector pathogen detection (VPD) provides military preventive medicine personnel the information necessary to implement specific vector-control measures and disease prevention countermeasures. VPD can minimize disease by sampling arthropods for […]

Passing the iPhone test

Passing the iPhone test

Advancing the Common Operating Environment to support current and future Soldiers   By Ms. Portia I. Crowe   Apple’s iPhone took a standard architecture and improved it, then provided a software development kit (SDK) that enabled third-party developers to quickly and inexpensively create applications, or “apps,” that deliver weather, social media, games and more. It worked intuitively, at the touch of a finger and with little or no instruction. By delivering the power of the Internet when and where we wanted it, apps revolutionized information delivery and had us all saying, “There’s an app for that.” That kind of “smart” is the Army’s objective as it moves forward with its […]

A Plan to Make — and Break

A Plan  to Make — and Break

By Mr. Dale A. Ormond, Director, U.S. Army Research, Development And Engineering Command Most planning involves developing a series of concrete steps and conditional decision points that together define a good way ahead, and then—as no plan survives contact—adjusting that. As director of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), when I contemplate the Army’s 30-year plan to modernize the force, I see our goal as not only to break that plan, but to break it often and before anyone else does. It is our job to make the Soldier’s kit obsolete. This we must do if we are to help the Army maintain its unparalleled dominance on […]

THE WRITE STUFF: Army AL&T Magazine Announces Annual ALTies Winners

THE WRITE STUFF: Army AL&T Magazine Announces Annual ALTies Winners

  By Steve Stark   FORT BELVOIR, Va. — The award-winning Army AL&T magazine announced the winners of its annual “ALTies” awards, celebrating the best article, commentary, graphic, ad and photograph from 2013. Editor-in-Chief Nelson McCouch III presented the awards here today, following Army AL&T magazine’s second annual writer’s workshop at the U.S. Army Acquisition Service Center (USAASC) headquarters. “Each issue of Army AL&T is a collaborative process, a team effort,” McCouch said. “Without our contributors, who help us continually raise the bar on quality, we would not have a magazine. But we have a great one that gets better with every issue.” Claire Heininger, editor/lead writer for Program Executive […]