At warfighters’ request, Army delivers award-winning ration enhancement to help them in extreme conditions
By Mr. Joseph Zanchi and Ms. Alexandra Foran
Warfighters in extreme, demanding operational environments need additional sustenance to complete their missions successfully—they simply need MORE. In this case, MORE is the Modular Operational Ration Enhancement, developed by the Combat Feeding Directorate (CFD) at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) as a direct result of requests from warfighters deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We received feedback from the field that some warfighters were losing weight and they needed extra calories,” said Julie Smith, a CFD senior food technologist. Smith, along with Jim Lecollier, chief of the Individual Rations Branch, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Troop Support, worked with their respective teams from 2008 through 2013 to develop the MORE family of ration supplements specifically to meet this need.
MORE provides additional nutrition to warfighters operating in high-stress environments when their caloric requirements exceed those provided by their daily operational rations. MOREs are designed to augment the Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE), First Strike Ration (FSR) and Meal, Cold Weather/Long Range Patrol, as well as the family of Unitized Group Rations.
The MRE satisfies the Army surgeon general’s strict requirements for nutrition in operational rations. Each MRE provides approximately 1,300 calories. An FSR, which replaces three MREs, has an average of 2,900 calories per ration. The MORE has an average of 1,110 calories per package.
Army Regulation 40-25, “Nutrition Standards and Education,” a joint regulation of the surgeons general of the Army, Navy and Air Force, establishes nutritional standards, termed “military dietary reference intakes,” for military feeding. Among these are nutritional standards for operational rations and restricted rations.
When warfighters conduct dismounted operations in challenging terrain, carrying more than 100 pounds of equipment up and down the mountains of Afghanistan with elevations as high as 12,000 feet, they can burn significantly more calories than when operating at sea level.
The MOREs are designed to provide the additional calories and nutrients to supplement their MREs or FSRs and give them the nutrition they need.
MORE, HOT AND COLD
Currently, there are two types of MOREs targeted for the different extremes of operational environments—high altitude and cold weather, and hot weather. Each type has three different varieties, for a total of six different MORE packs.
CFD collaborated with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine to understand the unique nutritional needs of warfighters in these operational environments, said Smith.
“We reviewed literature and conducted focus groups to identify food preferences of warfighters when conducting missions in high altitude and cold weather, and hot weather environments.”
Three MREs a day provide warfighters with a minimum of 3,600 calories, satisfying their nutritional needs for most missions. “However, there are some instances during exceptionally heavy activity where warfighters will need between 4,500 and 6,000 calories per day,” said Smith. MORE provides that additional nutritional “oomph,” giving warfighters approximately 1,000 extra calories in a balance of carbohydrates, caffeine, electrolytes and vitamins for these operational environments.
The first MORE enhancement pack developed by CFD was the MORE – High Altitude/Cold Weather. At the time, military service representatives tasked CFD to develop an enhancement pack to counter weight loss and fatigue, and to improve the cognitive and physical performance of warfighters operating in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. Increased energy requirements during high-altitude operations, coupled with symptoms of acute mountain sickness, made this a challenging requirement to meet.
Acute mountain sickness, with symptoms including anoxia, headache, nausea and vomiting, is caused by reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. The faster you climb to a high altitude, the more likely you are to get acute mountain sickness. “The MORE is designed to be high in carbohydrates to combat acute mountain sickness. Research has shown that consuming a diet high in carbohydrates can lower the symptoms,” said Smith.
In hot weather environments, hydration is particularly important, which is why the MORE – Hot Weather includes two carbohydrate-and-electrolyte beverages. These two drinks are similar to sports drinks, providing not only pure energy in the form of carbohydrate, but also electrolytes such as potassium and sodium that warfighters sweat out. The electrolyte beverages are energy gels that come in mixed berry, orange and lemon-lime flavors. The carbohydrate beverages come in mixed berry, fruit punch and lemon-lime flavors.
MORE RESEARCH, TEST AND DESIGN
During the course of research and development on MORE, CFD conducted several focus groups and field evaluations. NSRDEC’s Operational Forces Integration Group and the Consumer Research Team collected feedback and input. Small focus groups involved warfighters from the 10th Mountain Division’s Light Fighter School at Fort Drum, NY, units that had deployed to Afghanistan and Army medical personnel.
Additional component selection and survey participation on the design selection, acceptability, convenience and benefit involved warfighters from the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare Training School at Camp Ethan Allen, Vt., and the Connecticut National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry Regiment Mountain Training Group.
CFD received an urgent-need request from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in 2009 for 10,000 units of MORE – High Altitude/Cold Weather to support the increase in troops deployed to Afghanistan.
MORE – Hot Weather prototypes were field-tested with the 75th Ranger Regiment at the Pre-Ranger Course at Fort Benning, Ga.. MORE prototypes were also provided to special operations forces during high-altitude training in Colorado; deployed units of Combined Joint Task Force 82 in Afghanistan; and to Engineer and National Guard Scout units at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, during Operation Enduring Freedom.
“We assessed results from individual ration field evaluations to identify ration components with the highest acceptability and consumption rates,” said Smith. “Feedback from warfighters indicated they preferred ration components that were easy-to-consume, eat-on-the-go, snack-type foods, rather than meals that would require time to heat and prepare.”
Each pack is calorically dense and weighs only three quarters of a pound. Packs are filled with popular items including caffeinated pudding, energy gels, carbohydrate-enhanced beverages, First Strike bars, nut mixes, crackers, caffeinated gum and Zapplesauce, which is applesauce fortified with maltodextrin, an energy-dense carbohydrate and a source of energy to help maintain physical performance.
“Zapplesauce and First Strike bars provide the warfighter with essential complex carbohydrate,” said Smith. Each food item serves a specific purpose for the warfighter. As with other operational rations, the goal is for the warfighter to consume every item to meet appropriate caloric needs.
For their work in developing MORE, Smith and Lecollier received the prestigious Col. Rohland A. Isker Award in 2013 for leading their respective teams in developing, transitioning, acquiring and fielding MORE. The award is an annual honor from the Research and Development Associates for Military Food and Packaging, better known as R&DA, to recognize civilian employees of the federal government or military personnel for outstanding contributions to national preparedness. Isker, a pioneer in Army food service research and development, founded R&DA in 1946.
“Our review board at R&DA felt the MORE project and the ultimate fielding of the ration supplement itself had the most beneficial impact on warfighters (Soldiers, Marines and special operators) of any recently introduced operational ration product,” said John McNulty, executive director of R&DA.
“MORE met a very compelling need to introduce much-needed calories and other nutrients into the diets of these warfighters during particularly stressful situations on the battlefield during extreme weather conditions. It was a success story that worked and received very high accolades from the field,” McNulty said.
MORE also provides warfighters with important enhancements to improve mental alertness and physical endurance and, like all CFD products, is “Warfighter Recommended, Warfighter Tested, and Warfighter Approved.” MORE is currently available for procurement through DLA Troop Support at http://www.troopsupport.dla.mil/subs/.
For more information, contact Joseph Zanchi at firstname.lastname@example.org
MR. JOSEPH ZANCHI is a logistics management specialist assigned to CFD at NSRDEC. He has a B.S. in business administration from Babson College and a certificate in project management from Boston University. Zanchi is Level III certified in life-cycle logistics.
MS. ALEXANDRA FORAN is a public affairs contractor at NSRDEC. She holds a B.A. in writing and journalism from Eastern Nazarene College.
- Previoulsy published in Army AL&T magazine (Jan-March 2014 edition).
Directorates of logistics become logistics readiness centers for more effective access to services and supply
By Col. Dan J. Reilly
When the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) rebranded the installation directorates of logistics (DOLs) as logistics readiness centers (LRCs) on Oct. 1, 2013, the rebranding not only culminated the formal transfer of 73 DOLs worldwide from the U.S. Army Installation Management Command to AMC, but also established a vision to integrate and optimize AMC capabilities on installations.
This transformation enables AMC to focus on materiel and services support, allowing installation commanders to focus on managing their installations. It also optimizes the LRCs’ capability and capacity, improves contract management, and enhances quality and visibility of services. The LRCs provide the command additional field maintenance expertise, transportation services and base logistics support. This aids the U.S. Army Sustainment Command (ASC) in its mission to support the Army Force Generation process.
The LRCs are designed to provide an AMC presence on every installation. Today, the LRCs manage installation supply, maintenance and transportation. This includes food service, ammunition supply, clothing issue facility and initial issue point, hazardous material, bulk fuel, personal property and household goods, passenger travel, nontactical vehicles, rail and garrison equipment maintenance.
As a result of the transfer of installation DOLs to AMC a year earlier on Oct. 1, 2012, the DOLs became separate activities on their installations. This uniquely identified each DOL as an Army operational unit. The change in the DOLs’ status on the installations required an official name change on authorization documents. It also marked a change in their mission as AMC’s “face to the field,” which necessitated realignment with DA and the renaming from DOL to LRC.
ASC, as AMC’s operational arm, assumed responsibility for the LRCs during the 2012 transfer. ASC’s mission is to sustain Army and joint forces throughout the world in support of combatant commanders, so this additional mission fit perfectly with its capabilities.
Upon transfer, AMC did not implement the name change because the focus was on a seamless transition. One year later, AMC believed the timing was right to formally rebrand the DOLs as LRCs.
This transition results in a single entry point to access AMC capabilities. It best postures AMC to support the vision outlined in Globally Responsive Sustainment 2020, Army 2020 and Defense Support to Civil Authorities, setting conditions to optimize AMC capabilities from power projection platforms to forward operating bases.
Globally Responsive Sustainment 2020 is an approach that seeks to produce a sustainment system that is optimized, integrated, synchronized, affordable and relevant to support unified land operations and the joint warfighter while minimizing redundancy.
Army 2020 is an initiative to transition the Army to address future security challenges. The sustainment initiative develops and implements the Army 2020 Sustainment Strategy through its ongoing efforts in the area of tactical sustainment force structure.
ONE LOGISTICAL HUB
The LRCs are AMC’s single face-to-the-field on installations, through which customers can access, integrate and synchronize AMC capabilities to support senior commanders, installation tenants and units’ priorities. Each LRC acts as the single hub on an installation for customers to access the Army sustainment base, giving Soldiers, commanders and joint partners on Army installations the full power of a globally networked logistics command with responsibility for Soldier services, supply and maintenance support.
Installation-based LRCs, forward-deployed Army field support brigades, ASC and AMC together control the supply chain “from factory to foxhole,” including forward operating bases. LRCs enable AMC to bring its full capabilities to the decisive point on an installation in support of Army power projection platforms, training requirements and no-notice contingency missions, as the Army transitions to a globally deployable force based in the continental United States.
EAGLE CONTRACT STRATEGY
In the future, the transition to LRCs will result in efficiencies and increased effectiveness. Before the transition, each installation managed its own contracts. Currently, the Army has more than 250 contracts for the acquisition of LRC installation logistics services. That has resulted in redundant capabilities and excess capacity. In response, ASC developed a contracting strategy called the Enhanced Army Global Logistics Enterprise program (EAGLE), to address inconsistencies in requirements and levels of service.
The EAGLE program focuses on material maintenance services, retail and wholesale supply services, and transportation support services. It also executes logistics services and requirements using an innovative strategy designed for flexibility. The EAGLE program fundamentally changes the way that the Army acquires installation logistics services, by increasing competition and small business participation, reducing the number of contracts to award and oversee, and reducing the acquisition timeline by using task order competitions under multiple basic ordering agreements.
In addition, EAGLE task orders can expand or contract based on funding and requirements—that is, the Army pays only for the services it needs and receives. Currently, 128 contractors, 78 of which are small businesses, are qualified to compete for EAGLE task orders.
EAGLE can be scaled and adapted as needed, which makes it ideal for the current fiscal environment as well as the overall defense resource strategy. EAGLE contracting strategies align with those of DA and DOD.
Five EAGLE task orders were awarded in the fourth quarter of FY13. Through contracting strategies such as EAGLE, AMC is expecting at least a 15 to 30 percent savings on contracts. Those five EAGLE task order awards in Q4 of FY13 reflect an 18 percent reduction from previous contracts.
As the LRC concept matures, it will continue to set the conditions to integrate all AMC capabilities under one roof. Through consolidation of AMC mission command, ASC will increase flexibility, eliminate redundancy, standardize processes, ensure reachback through our life-cycle management commands and other AMC major subordinate commands, and meet the challenges of a constrained fiscal environment, all while continuing to sustain the Army and joint forces worldwide in support of combatant commanders.
For more information, contact ASC’s executive director for field support at 309-782-4815 or email@example.com.
Col. DAN J. REILLY is director of the Installation Logistics Directorate at ASC, Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.. He holds a B.A. in communications from Eastern Illinois University, an M.S. in administration from Central Michigan University and an M.S. in national strategic studies from the U.S. Air Force Air University.
Army educational outreach to build science, technology, engineering and math talent helps grow the workforce of tomorrow
By Mr. Jeffrey D. Singleton and Ms. Andrea Simmons-Worthen
The Army employs more than 800,000 military and civilian personnel, 96,000 of whom occupy science, technology, engineering or mathematic (STEM) positions, according to Defense Manpower Data Center classifications. Of that 96,000, more than 16,000 are world-class scientists and engineers within the Army’s 16 laboratories and research centers. These scientists and engineers develop leading-edge technologies and advanced capabilities that give our Soldiers, the Army’s greatest asset, the decisive advantage in the face of our adversaries and keep them safe from harm.
Broadly defined to include jobs such as technicians that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, science and technology (S&T) occupations make up 21 percent of the nation’s workforce, and that percentage is increasing steadily, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. The Army and the nation have a growing need for highly qualified, STEM-literate technicians and skilled workers in advanced manufacturing, logistics, management and other technology-driven fields.
But the need for STEM literacy—the ability to understand and apply concepts from science, technology, engineering and mathematics in order to solve complex problems—goes well beyond the traditional STEM occupations of scientist, engineer and mathematician. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that in the next decade, 80 percent of jobs will require STEM skills, yet only 16 percent of college students pursuing bachelor’s degrees will be specializing in STEM fields.
Emerging mission requirements further complicate the challenges for the DOD STEM workforce. Multidimensional and cross-disciplinary STEM competencies are essential to supply technical talent in our research centers for emerging fields as well as to provide STEM-literate talent for the research and analysis work that the Army does continually across every field. In other words, the Army must prepare human capital for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t yet been invented. The success and sustainment of this STEM infrastructure depends on the STEM-literate community to support innovation, further adding to the demand for STEM talent and accentuating the STEM challenge.
The growing demand for STEM competencies, the global competitiveness for STEM talent and the unbalanced makeup of STEM fields have led to President Obama’s call for an all-hands-on-deck approach to the STEM challenge. Developing a highly competent STEM workforce requires partnerships among government, industry and academia. The Army makes a unique and valuable contribution to the national STEM challenge by providing access to its world-class technical professionals and research centers for students and teachers.
The Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) manifests the Army’s STEM education strategy to ensure enduring access to highly qualified U.S. talent. AEOP provides a coordinated portfolio of STEM programs across S&T commands as well as government, university and industry partners. It offers students and teachers a collaborative, cohesive array of programs that effectively engage, inspire and attract the next generation of STEM talent from kindergarten through college, thereby exposing students to STEM careers in DOD.
Using the Army S&T workforce as mentors (either directly or through a near-peer mentor model), as well as our laboratories and research assets, the Army strives to build a diverse, well-prepared, STEM-literate talent pool to supply current and emerging workforce needs. This strategy, directed by HQDA, allows the Army to capture measures of success, identify program gaps, leverage resources and defend a sustainable STEM infrastructure.
A STUDENT’S STORY
A young scientist’s experience illustrates the powerful potential of AEOP.
Saumil Bandyopadhyay, a freshman at MIT, didn’t wait until graduation from Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond, Va., to begin developing novel technologies for use by cutting-edge organizations.
Bandyopadhyay became interested in optical processes in semiconductors at a young age, after reading about photodetectors and their use in lifesaving applications such as car-collision-avoidance systems, mine detection, night vision and missile defense. After learning about the challenges of making infrared photodetectors, he set out to solve one of the problems: to create a photodetector that could work at room temperature. He immersed himself in research over two summers. Bandyopadhyay’s dedication to the problem, several days a week, resulted in four peer-reviewed journal publications (he is lead author of two) and a provisional U.S. patent for his discovery of a novel photodetector.
His research—under the mentorship of Dr. Gary C. Tepper, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University, where Bandyopadhyay’s father, Supriyo, is Commonwealth Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering—led to a new capability: a universal photon and particle detector built with semiconductor nanowires that can operate at room temperature and detect the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Its infrared detectivity is at least 10 times higher than that of other state-of-the-art equipment.
Bandyopadhyay focused on making his detector ultrasensitive, rugged, reliable, inexpensive and mass-producible. Potential applications include detection of buried mines, monitoring of global warming, radiation therapy and homeland security.
In all, Bandyopadhyay spent an estimated 1,600 hours on the project, all before his senior year. He immersed himself in research starting in seventh grade, including several years at the U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center in Alexandria, VA, through an AEOP high school internship initiative, the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program. He plans to major in electrical engineering and enter a career as a scientific researcher. By supporting Bandyopadhyay with the mentorship and facilities to expand his knowledge and allow him to explore solutions, we have capabilities today that we did not have just a couple of years ago.
While every student who takes advantage of AEOP’s programs isn’t necessarily a Saumil Bandyopadhyay doing cutting-edge research in middle school, exposure to the STEM field and STEM professionals is critical to growing the next generation of STEM-literate young men and women who will form the Army’s workforce of tomorrow.
Looking at the STEM challenge, John W. Gardner, former U.S. secretary of health, education and welfare, captured it best: “We don’t even know what skills may be needed in the years ahead. That is why we must train our young people in the fundamental fields of knowledge, and equip them to understand and cope with change. That is why we must give them the critical qualities of mind and durable qualities of character that will serve them in circumstances we cannot now even predict.”
For more information on the AEOP, go to www.usaeop.com. For more information on the STEM challenge, see the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce report “STEM”; and “An Interim Report on Assuring DoD a Strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce,” by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council.
MR. JEFFREY D. SINGLETON is director for basic research in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology (DASA(R&T)). He holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering from West Virginia University and an M.S. in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech. Singleton is Level III certified in science and technology management and Level I certified in test and evaluation.
MS. ANDREA SIMMONS-WORTHEN of Camber Corp. supports the DASA(R&T) as a senior program analyst. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Eastern Washington University.
Assessing the health of the Army’s industrial base is a complex task
By Mr. Juan L. Millan
The Army industrial base of today is more global, commercial and financially complex than that of 10 or 15 years ago. Prime suppliers have increased their role as integrators and delegated key innovation and development roles to a vast and complex network of sub-tier suppliers. Sub-tier suppliers have responded with their own complex network of suppliers, some of which are small, highly skilled and defense-dependent firms. These small, specialized firms serve as the warning indicator for the health of the overall industrial base.
The Army understands that the industry supporting defense is reshaping itself to respond to significant changes in military missions that translate to a sizable reduction in the demand for supplies and equipment. Major defense firms are responding by reducing excess capacity, streamlining processes and revamping supplier relationships. In addition, the financial uncertainty of sequestration will affect the future demand for new systems.
All of these factors create a high-risk environment for manufacturers and suppliers. The key question is: “How is the Army addressing the challenges to maintain the industrial base that supports the warfighter?”
First, the Army must determine which industrial capabilities are unique and vital to our national defense, and whether the military and its capabilities will be in jeopardy when a company decides to terminate a vital activity or move production offshore. Second, the Army must determine how major players can support the smaller force so that it remains credible and capable. Doing this requires involvement from multiple organizations at the strategic, tactical and operational levels, developing strong, ongoing and mutually beneficial joint relationships with their counterparts in the private sector to help minimize the impact of a potential loss in capabilities.
The Army is taking a proactive approach to ensure the preservation of those critical and essential capabilities needed for future short- and long-term operations. In order to identify the risks and issues impacting the industrial base, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (OASA(ALT)) has established collaborative efforts with major players such as the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, the U.S. Army Materiel Command, the Defense Logistics Agency, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Defense Contract Management Agency.
ASSESSING THE RISKS
As the Army draws down from contingency operations, some of the industrial base issues being addressed include excess capacity, limited incentives for private investment, commercial sources exiting the defense business, a growing dependence on foreign suppliers, shrinking and aging stockpiles, and declining commercial research and development capabilities.
For assessment purposes, the Army has organized its industrial base into five sectors, following the way program executive offices (PEOs), life cycle management commands (LCMCs), and research, development and engineering centers (RDECs) are structured by commodity. (See Figure 1.)
The Army is also fully engaged in joint assessment efforts focused on the identification of risks and issues impacting the industrial base’s ability to sustain readiness. They are:
1. The Sector-by-Sector, Tier-by-Tier (S2T2) Assessment—S2T2 seeks to establish early-warning indicators of risk, particularly at lower tiers, to promote policies to mitigate potential points of failure, reduce overreliance on foreign sourcing and identify areas of limited competition. The S2T2 assessment, which started in 2011, entails surveying, collecting and analyzing data from the commercial sector, reviewing outside expert reports and assessing challenges to the manufacturing community. A critical part of the S2T2 effort is the series of fragility and criticality (FaC) assessments. The FaC assessments map fragile and critical niches in the defense industrial base, to facilitate risk-mitigation investment decisions. The information generated will allow program offices to accurately gauge how potential reductions in funding could affect suppliers who provide the capabilities, products, skills and services needed to support requirements. Below are some recent products of the S2T2 FaC process:
Qualitative superiority in weaponry and other key military technology has become an essential element of American military power in the modern era, not only for winning wars but also for deterring them.
- The M1 Abrams tank assessment enabled the team to narrow down a list of thousands of suppliers to a manageable number. As a result, a supplier of critical components (tank periscopes) was identified and a project funded to keep this fragile capability available for future ground vehicle programs.
- The Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) assessment revealed specialized skill sets and a critical supplier at high risk of being lost due to decreased funding.
- The rotary-wing and missile sector’s Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) assessment provided a list of critical skills or production capabilities at high risk of being lost due to decreased funding. The assessment will facilitate the development of strategies to mitigate these risks.
2. The Industrial Base Baseline Assessment (IBBA)—The IBBA is another effort to evaluate the ability of the Army’s production base to sustain acquisition and readiness, and to provide recommendations for risk mitigation.
Through the integration of program inputs from each LCMC, RDEC, PEO and senior Army leadership, the IBBA focuses each organization’s assessment on critical industrial base capabilities, technologies and capacities.
It takes a joint approach by major players to assess the many challenges faced by the defense industrial base and find solutions that will preserve its health, integrity and technical superiority in support of the warfighter.
There is no doubt that the current wave of defense cuts, combining predictable effects of the drawdowns from Iraq and Afghanistan with the unpredictable consequences of sequestration, is very different from past defense budget reductions, and its impact on the industrial base is going to be significant. This impact calls on the Army to balance cuts across all parts of acquisition and force structure and to limit million-dollar problems to million-dollar solutions.
The challenges are forcing the Army to take a deep, hard look at the firms that supply the technologies our armed forces use, as they are important to national security.
Qualitative superiority in weaponry and other key military technology has become an essential element of American military power in the modern era, not only for winning wars but also for deterring them.
To be successful, the future industrial base must be capability- and capacity-based, using innovative practices to achieve integrated capabilities that are both flexible and responsive.
In the short term, the Army should focus on identifying only those truly critical and essential capabilities that it will need to preserve for regeneration purposes. In the long term, the Army should focus on identifying potential capability gaps and target its investments based on key fragile industrial capabilities needed now and in the future.
MR. JUAN L. MILLAN serves as a senior industrial base policy specialist in the Acquisition and Industrial Base Policy Directorate of OASA(ALT). He holds a B.S. in industrial engineering from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, a B.B.A. from Puerto Rico’s State University and an M.S. in management from the Florida Institute of Technology. Millan is Level III certified in program management and in production, quality and manufacturing. He also holds a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt, and is a member of the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps.
How the workforce of Corpus Christi
Army Depot repositioned itself for tighter times
By Mr. Curtis Titus and Ms. Brigitte Rox
Since 2011, Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) in Texas has made sweeping changes to its business culture and practices that not only reduced the depot’s consumption of government funds and material resources, but also positioned CCAD to continue providing top-quality support to the nation as military spending diminishes.
The U.S. government cannot afford to purchase new aircraft for each mission. Rather, it must rely on the organic industrial base (OIB) to modify aircraft and components to handle the specific needs of the next mission. As the largest helicopter, engine and component maintenance facility in all of DOD, CCAD has a number of capabilities found nowhere else, including its state-of-the-art bearing reclamation facility and transmission test facility, the only one capable of testing AH-64D Apache, UH-60A/L Black Hawk, CH-47D Chinook and OH-58 Kiowa transmissions. It can also provide overhaul, repair and modification of rotor heads and controls for any joint-service helicopter. CCAD’s workforce of some 5,000 civilians continues to evolve by adding capabilities that will be needed for the future of defense.
The drawdowns from Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with reduced budgets, have signaled a number of challenges for the Army and for CCAD. The depot’s workforce has met those challenges by treating the OIB as a business and finding smarter, more efficient ways to invest in its people and technology, in the spirit of better buying power.
With a complete organizational restructuring, strategic planning and fundamental cultural change, CCAD shook off a complacency that had developed over years of high-volume operations and prepared the organization to weather current and future storms.
THE PRICE OF PROSPERITY
After 9/11, CCAD thrived in a war-driven climate for 10 years, maintaining the Army’s aviation capability for the UH-60, CH-47, AH-64 and OH-58. CCAD experienced exponential growth, with a tenfold increase in production orders and a sixfold increase in revenue between FY03 and FY11.
CCAD welcomed this spike in production, but the volume created process and capacity issues that had to be resolved quickly. Initially the depot responded by spending more money and hiring more contractors to alleviate the issues, but this strategy could not be a stable, long-term solution while the root of the issues remained. Meanwhile, labor rates shot up. This push to produce also compromised the depot’s financial responsibility to the customer, employee development, product quality and continuous organizational improvement.
The depot’s rate of production would not be sustainable in the long run if the workforce failed to adapt its business practices to peacetime operations and limited budgets. This would compromise CCAD’s status as a premier aviation maintenance facility, which could lead to a loss of work, capabilities and human capital.
CCAD responded to this challenge in 2011 with an organizational restructuring to shore up weak points in internal communication. Depot personnel paired this with the launch of an internal messaging campaign encouraging a professional recommitment to the depot’s core values of financial responsibility, customer service, product quality, employee empowerment and organizational improvement.
This outline, known as the balanced scorecard, became the CCAD standard by which all production and support areas were measured continually. (See Figure 1.) This plan would enable the depot to achieve organizational change, increase production rates and lower costs to survive the effects of reduced budgets and fewer troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The plan called for:
- A depotwide evaluation and reorganization based on benchmarking commercial industrial organizations.
- Business metrics of performance.
- Organizational culture change.
- Continuous process improvement.
- Investment in human capital, including leadership and professional development.
BUILDING A NEW CULTURE
CCAD’s long-term viability required a comprehensive reorganization to align its processes while ensuring integration of the Logistics Modernization Program (LMP) into its core business functions. A team of experts designed a new organizational structure that would better align with the six core processes of LMP (order fulfillment, demand and supply planning, procurement, asset management, materiel maintenance and financial management). They reviewed organizational studies and interviewed subject-matter experts and aerospace industry leaders. They developed a business case, rules for change and a staffing plan based on the new structure.
As the largest helicopter, engine and component maintenance facility in all of DOD, CCAD has a number of capabilities found nowhere else, including its state-of-the-art bearing reclamation facility and transmission test facility, the only one capable of testing AH-64D, UH-60A/L, CH-47D and OH-58 transmissions.
The team also developed an Army staff structure for industrial support operations by coordinating with the depot’s higher headquarters at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Command and Army Materiel Command. Then they adjusted the Table of Distribution and Allowances to conform with the new structure, and rewrote CCAD’s missions and functions.
Any change of the magnitude of deploying an enterprise resource plan (ERP) requires a depotwide culture overhaul.
To achieve this, CCAD needed a sound and established method to guide the organization toward the business’s new direction. Inspired by the leadership and business theories taught by Dr. John P. Kotter, professor of leadership, emeritus, at Harvard Business School, CCAD developed a plan to lead change. With a goal to be better, faster and cost-effective, depot leaders introduced the workforce to Kotter’s concept of “the big opportunity” to create a sense of urgency.
CCAD’s former commander, COL Christopher Carlile, implemented a strategic internal communications campaign through his public affairs team to achieve visibility and strengthen the sense of urgency within the workforce. The commander made sure that he had senior leadership buy-in to successfully deploy the reorganization. He communicated the overhaul to his workforce at every level, actively engaging with employees to incorporate their feedback and suggestions in developing the plan.
One aspect of this campaign involved a depotwide survey to evaluate the workforce’s attitudes toward the current organizational structure. The results showed that 98 percent of employees were dissatisfied with the current work climate and wanted to see improvements that would maximize production and support at the lowest cost and with the quickest turnaround possible. At that point, the commander deployed a program to encourage employees to volunteer their ideas for improving and shaping the products and processes they knew best. Teams of volunteers, known as “leading change teams,” became active in clearing obstacles and achieving quick wins more effectively than any methods used in the past.
CCAD previously had established an Office of Continuous Improvement with staff specially trained to streamline processes. While the office achieved savings through a number of “quick win” efforts such as hosting projects in production shops, these event-driven projects fell short of promoting a cost-conscious culture at the shop-floor level. The change teams were much more successful, as they relied on employees with the drive to improve the jobs they were doing. The depot invested in these teams by providing them Lean Six Sigma training and by joining teams of like-minded employees so they could ignite improvements in their shops.
This concept had an immediate impact on the workforce as they turned their ideas into reality. One change team resolved long wait times at base gates by staggering work shifts. Another team made quality improvements in aircraft assembly and flight test. One team reduced equipment duplications and established a free-issue site to redistribute available equipment effectively. By the official launch of the reorganization on Sept. 1, 2012, the CCAD workforce was already demonstrating how effective an employee-led, cost-conscious culture could be.
CASE IN POINT: BLACK HAWK RECAP
These organizational strides were key to the success of CCAD’s UH-60 Black Hawk recapitalization program, which represents just one example of how CCAD is achieving the highest possible return on capital assets and investments.
The depot has become the cornerstone of sustainment for the Army’s Black Hawk fleet. The Black Hawk recap program, introduced more than a decade ago, maintains the Army’s combat readiness by updating aircraft already in the inventory to meet the evolving requirements of modern warfare. Recap, part of the Army’s efforts to reduce platform sustainment costs, avoids the expense of replacing aging helicopters with new ones.
Specifically, CCAD’s Black Hawk recap program saves taxpayers approximately $12 million with each rebuild. Since 2003, the program has saved the taxpayer more than $20 billion, cutting time and costs while making smarter choices in workload.
CCAD’s new proactive and efficient culture enabled the workforce to recapitalize more Black Hawks than ever—50 A-to-L models—by improving systems and processes in workshops with innovative technology, lean methodologies and best business practices. The Aircraft Support Division, for example, reduced turnaround time 17 percent in FY12, and the trend continues today.
CCAD did not expect to have the capability to produce 50 A-to-L-model Black Hawks until FY15, having achieved only 48 aircraft the year before. Now the depot is also rebuilding U.S. Air Force Pave Hawks, as well as Customs and Border Protection Blackhawks, and is in talks to include the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard in the recap program.
In another example of newfound efficiencies at CCAD, during FY12, UH-60 main rotor blades were not available in sufficient quantities to maintain fleet readiness. Despite numerous space and capacity constraints, the depot ramped up output within 90 days. By maximizing workflow and increasing productivity, CCAD was able to increase monthly production on Black Hawk blades from 120 to 160.
Measured another way, in FY11 the Rotary Wing Division increased monthly production of Black Hawk main rotor blades by 43 percent, from 70 to 100 blades. In FY12, UH-60 tail rotor blade production increased 18 percent, from 85 to 100. AH-64 main rotor blade production increased 50 percent, from 40 blades in FY11 to 60 in FY12. Altogether, the division increased production by 30 percent in one fiscal year without incurring any additional cost or expansion.
Overall, FY12 was CCAD’s best year for continuous improvement in its history. The workforce shattered the original goal of achieving $50 million in financial benefits by executing 49 projects valued at $65.1 million in internal cost avoidances and savings to their customers.
The CCAD workforce has demonstrated the synergistic effects of an enterprise approach to operations. By reorganizing and transforming its business culture, CCAD has positioned itself to survive the drawdowns and the downturn in military spending and be ready for the future, reducing the overall costs of aviation and turning every dollar saved into more capability for the Army.
Leaders now have a way to measure depot operations against commercial industrial benchmarks using a proven ERP. An established balanced business scorecard allows leadership to routinely assess the depot’s commitment to and success of its priorities and values. Managers and leaders can measure individual and team performance through transparent business metrics, enabling them to reward top performers and correct areas of concern.
By transforming their collective mindset from a culture of complacency to one of activism and cost-consciousness, the CCAD workforce achieved savings in cost, schedule and human capital while maintaining the superior quality for which CCAD is known.
For more information, go to http://www.ccad.army.mil/ or call the CCAD Public Affairs Office at 361-961-3627.
MR. CURTIS TITUS is chief of CCAD’s Administrative Support Division. He served as management analyst for the CCAD Reorganization Team and later as executive assistant to the commander. He has a B.A. in general science from Excelsior College. Titus is a retired NCO who served in the Army for 20 years as a counterintelligence agent.
MS. BRIGITTE ROX is a public affairs specialist at CCAD. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in English from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, where she also studied journalism.
AMC works to preserve OIB capabilities through cooperative arrangements with industry and others
By Mr. Mark L. Morrison
Among the challenges faced by the Army’s organic industrial base (OIB), as it transitions from combat to sustainment, is allocating diminishing workload within the depots and arsenals of the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC). Capitalizing on private-sector capabilities through public-private partnerships (P3), such as work share, teaming, direct sales, facility use and leasing, is one key way to preserve the OIB’s unique capabilities while ensuring its viability as an enterprise in the near term and its long-term ability to meet surge requirements.
To support the warfighter during the past 12 years, AMC has invested in tooling, specialty equipment, training and the professional development of a deployable, skilled and award-winning OIB workforce. Among the honors AMC has received are 27 of 47 Shingo awards; Lean Six Sigma and value engineering awards; selection as a Reuters Top 100 Global Innovator; Secretary of Defense Environmental awards; and presidential rank and civilian service awards.
P3s enable our partners to take advantage of these investments, capabilities and workforce skills. Partnerships provide access to advanced technology; state-of-the-art equipment; secure AMC facilities that are ISO (International Organization for Standardization)-certified and comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations; the potential use of hard-to-obtain hazardous waste permits; and Lean Six Sigma processes. Partnerships also allow industry to leverage long-term use agreements and reduce their capital investment and overhead costs.
For the Army, P3s offer the benefits of improving operational efficiencies, lowering costs of products and services, accelerating innovation, sustaining critical skills and capabilities, and ultimately reducing our expensing rates, thus making our depots and arsenals more cost-competitive. In FY13, AMC had 205 partnerships, representing total revenue of $203 million while sustaining 1,800 jobs. (See “Conserving Capabilities,” Army AL&T magazine, January-March 2013, Page 160.)
DOD has endorsed the continued use of partnerships as a critical part of President Obama’s national security strategy. In a July 2012 report to the secretary of the Army, the Defense Business Board, tasked with providing recommendations on how to exploit the benefits of these partnerships more fully, noted: “Public-Private Collaborations leverage the resources of the private sector and other collaborating agencies and allies. As the department enters a decade of austerity, collaborations are a cost-wise process that usually results in a significant return on a relatively modest investment.”
The same report also noted departmentwide challenges that can undermine partnership efforts. Top among the challenges DOD faces is that there is no overarching P3 doctrine, no standard approach for industry-DOD partnerships. Consequently the private sector does not know how to go about partnering.
AMC’s experience echoes some of those themes, notably the lack of a standard approach to partnering. Currently, AMC organizations are as diverse in their P3 approaches as each installation’s capabilities. As Gen. Dennis L. Via, AMC commanding general (CG), has observed, “Fostering partnerships calls for a more responsive approach on AMC’s part.” The private sector is a fast-moving entity that calls for a receptive and timely government response.
A STANDARD APPROACH
To address these concerns, AMC is working on a new business development strategy that will focus on the benefits and pitfalls of partnering, to establish a standard approach to attracting partnerships and reaching agreements.
The new business development plan will lay out a standard policy, metrics, tools and training that will enable the OIB to speak with one language when it comes to attracting new business. As the plan is finalized, the focus is on standardizing efforts and applying the required levels of AMC attention and resources at all sites.
In devising this new approach, AMC examined where and how partnerships have worked especially well. The most successful arrangements have developed when the collaboration took a “triad” approach. This method includes a business development professional, legal advisor and contracting officer at the initial stages of a relationship, as follows:
- Business development, to reach out with the concept of partnering, determine scope and garner concept approval.
- Legal, to analyze the environment and bring a solid understanding of applicable law, regulation and policy, with the aim of maximizing flexibility to the business development professional and the contracting officer.
- Contracting, to determine the best interests of the government and thus ensure that the partnering effort achieves its stated goals through rock-solid agreements and supporting documents that define applicable terms and conditions such as direct labor structure and costs.
Not only is integrated coordination a must from the beginning of a partnership, but AMC needs to go even further by looking toward a larger definition of partnership. Beyond the traditional arrangements with industry and small business, partnering should involve a larger concept of “public” that includes other services, the Defense Logistics Agency and other countries as well.
In addition, the continued growth in foreign military sales (FMS) offers a promising venue for partnerships. In FY13, FMS support resulted in $190 million in revenue for the OIB.
Our industrial capabilities and capacities should make us an attractive partner. Ultimately the best, most successful partnerships are those that add value to the OIB and bring profit to the private-sector partner. We must team with industry to create win-win opportunities.
As AMC’s new business development plan advances, its rapid execution will support the preservation of unique OIB capabilities, so that the OIB can remain effective, efficient and poised to provide the timely, high-quality support that our warfighters have come to expect and demand.
For more information, contact the AMC G-3/4 Industrial Base Capabilities Division at 256-450-7087 or Ramon Campos at Ramon.Campos.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- MR. MARK L. MORRISON is the director of industrial base and infrastructure planning at AMC headquarters, Redstone Arsenal, AL. Morrison served for 29 years as an Army Ordnance Corps officer before retiring in 2009. Subsequently, he was selected as a highly qualified expert, and is responsible for leading AMC’s current industrial base optimization assessment. Morrison holds a B.A. in political science from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and an M.S. in national security and strategic studies from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
A host of stakeholders speak frankly on what the Army needs to do to preserve its industrial base
By Army AL&T magazine staff
Preserving the unique and often highly specialized skills and capabilities of the Army industrial base is critical to the Army and to the nation. In addition to the organic industrial base, companies both large and small in the commercial base offer critical or hard-to-make products and services that ultimately result in critical systems that help maintain the U.S. military’s superiority.
Yet fiscal austerity is likely to constrain U.S. spending on national security even as the Army faces growing complexities and multifaceted dangers. Some of those companies may be at risk of losing their indigenous capabilities to develop and produce critical goods and services. So, too, may some of the Army’s own organic capabilities be at risk of ramping down to the point that they are no longer readily available.
“Critical Thinking” generally offers the perspective of a single thought leader from outside DOD and the defense industry on issues faced by the Army AL&T community. Our intent is to provide fresh opinion and expertise on difficult challenges. However, for this issue, we took a slightly different approach.
It’s clear that, just as the Army’s industrial base is broad and complex, so, too, are the interests and concerns of those who work in and around it. With that in mind, rather than reach out to a single individual with multiple questions, Army AL&T magazine reached out to multiple individuals with one question:
In your opinion, what does the U.S. Army need to do in the very short term, in the near term and in the long term to protect the skills and capabilities of its industrial base?
Here are the answers from 10 individuals representing a cross-section of big and small defense businesses, think tanks and interest groups. These views are the opinions solely of the individuals and do not reflect the policy or viewpoints of Army AL&T, the U.S. Army or DOD.
Seal Science Inc.
The United States’ ability to provide for the safety and security of its citizenry is being significantly impacted by a silent killer that has received almost no attention—the loss of critical engineering talent and the inability to attract the next generation of scientists and engineers who will make up the Army industrial base.
Misunderstood by many, the industrial base is not just six large prime contractors focused on producing equipment for the Army. The Army industrial base comprises mostly small to mid-sized companies that possess the intellectual property, specialized skill sets and unique technical capabilities necessary to develop the products used by our nation’s military. Small businesses employ most of America’s best scientists, engineers and skilled craftsmen to deliver products that make our military the best equipped, most advanced and most effective in the world.
Fiscal austerity is permanently crippling the Army industrial base, specifically the attraction and retention of the high-tech, highly skilled workforce that is the real foundation of the industrial base. The Army will not be able to be reconstitute that workforce when times require.
The defense industrial base has become the consummate underdog in the competition for our nation’s best and brightest young engineers entering the workforce. Top graduates who historically entered the defense industry were driven by a desire to serve, an opportunity to work on cutting-edge technology and a reasonable expectation of job security—all at a discount in salary to the private sector.
Today’s fiscal crisis is driving an industry drawdown that is different from those in the past. Fewer public dollars means fewer contracts, but it also means less private investment. Investment is needed to hold on to the defense industrial base’s essential infrastructure—its people.
Engineers, as very rational individuals, are deciding en masse to leave careers in the Army industrial base as further cuts in defense and reductions in workforce are forecast. Moreover, because of the already scarce supply of STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] graduates, the heavily recruited best and brightest engineers and scientists are choosing careers in social media and in nondefense-related industries.
In order to attract and retain the technical workforce required by the Army industrial base, resources are required to conduct the research and development (R&D) that allow our scientists to deliver the cutting-edge technology as well as to innovate and deliver future solutions and capabilities that our uniformed military uses in the field. R&D funding is critical in attracting the next generation of scientists and engineers, by providing them with the opportunity to learn on the job from our nation’s elite “retiring” engineers and to work with cutting-edge technology.
The Army industrial base, with its specialized workforce, must be treated as a national asset and insulated from furloughs, job “insecurity” and funding uncertainties. Moreover, DOD must develop a long-term industrial base strategy focused on core capabilities that are critical to maintain technological superiority.
For the first time in modern history, U.S. security is at risk due to the weakness in the total defense industrial base. As a consequence, the nation may no longer be able to produce certain essential military systems and capabilities. Facilities and equipment can be built and replaced relatively quickly—people and skills cannot.
Sikorsky Military Systems
To protect the skills and capabilities of its industrial base, the Army needs to focus on two critical areas.
First: Protect your multiyear commitments to the industrial base, even in this fiscally constrained environment. Multiyear contracts allow the Army to reap significant savings through quantity pricing. And they give companies the short-term financial security to continue investing in new technologies and more efficient manufacturing processes.
Very few significant technologies can be developed in the course of a single year, so a revenue stream over more than one year raises the certainty that companies will fund technology development projects that take longer than one year to mature.
More importantly, multiyear contracts allow prime contractors to provide a high degree of certainty to their own supply base. For many of Sikorsky’s small and medium-sized suppliers, predictable revenue maintains company viability.
Secondly, even with the short-term fiscal challenges, the Army cannot lose sight of its longer-term needs. The Army must clearly define the capabilities needed to prevail on the 21st-century battlefield, and allow industry to compete with innovative solutions and advanced technologies.
Without definition, the danger arises that those who work projects within a constrained budget environment will bring an unprecedented level of influence to a short-term focus.
The long-term view will mean protecting future programs like the Army’s Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) helicopter, or the Joint Multi-Role/Future Vertical Lift (JMR/FVL) program that seeks to replace the Black Hawk and Apache helicopter fleets in the mid 2030s.
Programs like AAS and JMR/FVL stimulate industry’s top technical minds to develop game-changing technologies.
Currently, an entire generation of engineering and technical talent could languish without ever working on a new-start, next-generation rotary-wing program. That is dangerous and shortsighted, and could “level the playing field” as it relates to our country’s current and future combat operations.
A clearly defined long-term view is required if companies are to continue their willingness to speculatively invest millions of dollars in R&D, without which our nation’s industrial base and long-term military superiority are at risk.
GEN Gordon Sullivan (USA, Ret.)
Association of the United States Army (AUSA)
As I reflect upon my time as chief of staff, I can remember an important message I shared with representatives of industry at AUSA’s Winter Meeting two decades ago. It still rings true today: “We must combine forces, leverage our resources and make the best decisions for the welfare of our Army and our nation.” Now, as AUSA’s president, I’m even more convinced that the Army’s partnership with the industrial base is key to success.
Many of the unsung heroes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan reside within the industrial base, which includes the 23 geographically dispersed government ammunition plants, manufacturing arsenals and maintenance depots that comprise the Army organic industrial base (AOIB), as well as commercial enterprises small and large. Their significant contributions to materiel readiness ensured that members of the joint force had the tools needed to accomplish the mission.
A healthy industrial base with the depth, breadth and diversity needed to support the joint warfighter—today and in the future—remains paramount to sustaining military operations in an uncertain, complex national security environment. Senior leaders face a difficult fiscal environment that requires hard decisions about how to prioritize spending on personnel, readiness and modernization.
A focus on four key areas—capacity, capital investment, modernization and workload—will chart a path for the future of the AOIB. This will allow the Army to leverage best business practices; maintain an experienced, skilled and specialized workforce; make prudent investments in modern, safe and capable infrastructure and equipment; and ultimately provide the capability for the joint force. Likewise, commercial enterprises that best meet the emerging readiness and modernization requirements of the joint force and embody best business practices to maximize return on investment of taxpayer funds will have the best prospects, now and in the future.
The secretary of the Army and the chief of staff of the Army said it best when they testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in April 2013: “The ability to reduce the industrial base in times of peace but surge as required remains essential to equipping the Army, the Joint Force and, in many cases, our allies and coalition partners.”
For more information, see “The Army’s Organic Industrial Base: Providing Readiness Today, Preparing for Challenges Tomorrow,” online at http://www.ausa.org/publications/ilw/DigitalPublications/Documents/tbip-aoib/index.html.
President and CEO
A capable, responsive and resilient industrial base is essential to the national security of the United States. In order to retain the essential skills that underpin the base, there are five fundamental enablers that should be considered and incorporated into the Army’s approach, now and in the future.
First, maintain and expand an open and active dialogue between the Army—particularly acquisition managers—and industry. With data points that include product inventories, consumption rates, potential impacts due to force size reduction, and training or doctrine requirements, industry can make informed decisions that support the preservation of industrial base capability. To assist in the open dialogue, use and improve industrial base tools developed by joint life-cycle commands. One example is the Minimum Sustaining Rate database that helps identify the production and support levels necessary to avoid placing the industrial base at serious risk.
Second, an acquisition policy that incentivizes innovation, preserves intellectual property rights and streamlines contracting practices would improve and sustain the industrial base. Meaningful dialogue on long-term plans, ensuring a steady flow of information to inform industry planning and investment, is a necessary element of this policy. Also, it is necessary to address Army and DOD policy regarding competition and maintaining multiple sources for products. History demonstrates that repeated competitions and smaller awards to multiple suppliers present serious challenges for industry, which can swiftly erode capability and threaten the health of the supply chain.
Third, adequately funded programs and realistic requirements are essential. With clear and concise program requirements and plans, industry not only focuses on delivering key performance parameters and controlling cost, but also can more efficiently identify and develop critical skills to meet current and emerging needs.
Fourth, increasing the Army’s support for international sales could reduce and/or sustain current production costs. The resulting expanded market for U.S. military products would help lower procurement costs to the Army while helping sustain the domestic manufacturing base.
And finally, the Army, along with the other services, should continue to explore new ways to work productively with industry, academia and local communities to support STEM education. Investing in STEM education initiatives will help our nation attract, train and retain the next generation of innovators and skilled workers needed to lead the industrial base of the future.
Michelle J. Lohmeier
Vice president, Land Warfare Systems
Raytheon Missile Systems
I believe the Army and industry face similar challenges associated with sustaining the defense industrial base, and share responsibility for putting together collaborative, forward-leaning solutions that establish the right balance of investments in technology and talent.
In the case of technology, the Army must fully implement the recommendations put forward in its latest industrial base study. For example, the Army has made protection of the Abrams main battle tank industrial base a priority and is investing in key subsystems accordingly. The precision munition and missile industrial base is particularly reliant on technologies that exist in the sub-tier supplier base. Going forward, Army and industry must work jointly to identify critical, at-risk companies and develop roadmaps for sustaining investment in them during the downward trend in defense spending.
In addition, industry must challenge itself to retain a tight focus on evolving core capabilities and products in a way that increases capability and reliability while reducing cost. This aligns well with our desire to further optimize operations and deliver even more value to the Army acquisition customer.
DOD and industry must also face head-on the dual challenge of a decline in new college graduates with technical degrees and the aging of our respective workforces. Companies like Raytheon have launched STEM initiatives, ranging from middle school to university, that encourage young Americans to enter math and science fields. In addition, we need to find ways to make a career in defense more appealing to young, tech-savvy people with lots of career options. We have a compelling story to tell about developing innovative solutions that protect our warfighters and secure America and our allies in an uncertain world.
Combined with a focus on sustaining key technologies, a joint approach to building the defense workforce of the future will be critical to protecting our industrial base.
Dr. Ron Rosemeier
Brimrose Corp. of America
The global battlefield as we know it is changing rapidly, and the American Soldier must be equipped to stay ahead of the enemy. As global technology and information become more commonplace, the ability to stay ahead is becoming more challenging. Therefore, it makes sense for the Army to look to smaller companies as it faces reduced funding allocations, because they don’t require the larger funding leads that bigger companies do.
At Brimrose, we are focused on helping the Army stay ahead in the technology race, to keep its edge in terms of critical battlefield thinking. We place tremendous effort in moving rapidly from concept to instrumentation. If we receive $500,000 to $1 million, that goes a lot further than it would for a larger company, which might require several times that amount to do the same thing.
For example, we are studying our leading-edge unmanned aerial vehicles and exploring innovative ways to use and control them. Further out, we have initiated tests in which drones can literally be controlled by the brain waves of Soldiers in the field. This kind of technology already is being used to help wounded warriors control artificial limbs with their thoughts. Complementary to that, we are studying how a Soldier thinks in the field, how he or she responds to stress, and what he or she can and cannot handle.
Are these at the outer limits of conventional warfare thinking? The answer is yes. But a lot of people thought Thomas Edison was crazy because he was ahead of his time. Smaller companies can move faster and move resources more rapidly, and they are unlikely to have resources tied up by the bureaucracies that plague some larger companies.
Michael E. O’Hanlon
Senior Fellow, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence
Director of Research, Foreign Policy Program
In assessing the health of the national security industrial base, we can take several approaches, each of which has its own value:
- Try to preserve defense employment in general, especially in a time, like the present, of national economic difficulty and need for federal fiscal stimulus. In other words, try to save jobs.
- Seek to preserve the immediate capacity of our industrial base to ramp up production fast in the event of a national security surprise.
- Attempt to keep key manufacturers in crucial areas of industrial capability as healthy as possible.
- Promote ongoing technological advancement by paying special heed to those parts of industry that are also pushing forward scientific and technological frontiers, with linkages to R&D and basic science activities.
Because these industrial base goals are quite different from one another, it is important to be clear about which ones a given policy might support. As a general proposition, the latter two are of greater concern to me than the first two, in light of scarce defense dollars and downward pressure on Pentagon budgets, combined with our generally adequate inventories of advanced military gear today. This is especially true for many ground combat systems, which, while extremely important to our nation, may not always be as technologically sensitive or advanced as, say, stealth aircraft or nuclear submarines or tilt-rotor aircraft.
As such, without disregarding the first two concerns entirely, I would submit that we focus more on advanced, avant-garde and/or endangered technologies. How to do this? In its “Annual Industrial Capabilities Report to Congress” (2012 edition), DOD lists a number of areas of military technology and manufacturing capacity that it deems to be at risk, given trends in overall defense budgets as well as specific developments within the Pentagon’s acquisition accounts. These areas of technology are rather specific in some cases and include the following:
- Heavy forgings.
- Heavy castings.
- High-precision bearings.
- High-temperature and low-temperature co-fired ceramics.
- Rare earth elements.
- Long-range cruise missile propulsion technologies.
- Tri-mode seekers.
- Solid rocket motors.
- Thermal batteries.
- Rayon precursor material.
- Triaminotrinitrobenzene (TATB) explosive.
- Advanced fuzes.
- Ammonium perchlorate.
- Butanetriol trinitrate propellant.
This list is a good place to start. It is not the end of the debate, to be sure. But by mapping various Army-related manufacturing capabilities against the above list, we can perhaps construct a first draft of those technologies that most require our vigilant oversight and perhaps even our nurturing. And then, with that first draft in hand, we can move on to a second draft. But there needs to be a place where we begin.
Lt Gen Lawrence P. Farrell Jr. (USAF, Ret.)
National Defense Industrial Association
The Army, like the other services, is facing a big hill. Continuing pressure from the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), combined with the sequester, is squeezing needed funds as the Army faces a tough transition from continuous war to the need to reset the force. One major issue in the transition is the health of the industrial base in a downsizing environment. The latest budget deal provides some breathing room in BCA budget caps. How, then, to protect critical capabilities in the base?
A first step is to recognize that company downsizing, defense business exits and consolidation are certain. So we need a way to assess the likely impact on critical suppliers of coming budget levels.
A model program for this already exists in the munitions area. A few years ago, the Joint Munitions Command (JMC) and industry undertook a collaborative project to develop assessment tools for the situation we face today. One of these, the Industrial Base Assessment Tool provides the ability to identify the impact of a given budget on a specific product area. Another tool, the Minimum Sustaining Rate tool, permits the JMC and the Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition to identify the impact on key production facilities (read: businesses).
These methods, if expanded and applied to other Army industrial base sectors, would go a long way toward ensuring the survival of critical indigenous capabilities in the Army industrial base.
In my experience as a former DOD executive and combat veteran, determining and defining an industrial base’s near-term and lasting value was critical to deciding how a requirement was established and to what extent the American industrial market could meet those requirements. There is a misperception in the defense community—both on the procurement side as well as the industrial base—that the commercial or defense market should be able to answer all requirement needs if DOD could just write a better requirement or invest in the necessary infrastructure absent a requirement.
Unfortunately, specifying a better requirement demands that those responsible for authorship are capable of predicting a future threat, and securing infrastructure investment assumes that the need will be imminent or takes years to procure. But the time invested in guessing about the future will not produce a better force structure—nor will it matter, if the nation pays for infrastructure designed for the wrong future.
The alternative approach to ensuring a responsive call to arms is based on investments in the practical sciences—electrical and mechanical engineering, electronic engineering and chemistry—rather than basic sciences. These skills serve to germinate a community that is available for today and is necessary to prepare a workforce for the future. Lasting employment in these science fields occurs through rapid fielding, constant experimentation and iterative designs for the creation of new products over time.
A lasting industrial base, then, is one that can employ and train these skills. It is one that allows for failure through trying, creation through doing, and success by iterating product design—without depending on a single funding source. An industrial base solely dependent on defense funding, making payroll by delivering existing products at a slow, steady rate, will not survive a competitive market.
In my experience as a current corporate leader, making payroll is accomplished by investing in the future through workforce education, steadily delivering new products and participating in or creating new markets. This is not done through reliance on grants by the federal government or by paying the high cost of doing business with the services, but by preserving and reinvesting profits in workforce skills and in new product development.
The question should be: To what extent has a company invested in its own future? How much does it cost to do business with the Army? How long does it take to get on contract? How many innovative, small and agile product-oriented companies are being nurtured?
Disproportionate payments to training serve to secure a workforce for today; service-related contracts solve current problems; and funding laboratory facilities keep bases open. But none of these fuels a future. Perpetuating a current product base made for a threat that is long past, rather than by investing in the future serves only to prolong the inevitable. The best near-term protection against an unknown future is through funding the practical science skills in engineering, and more reliance on industrial commercial standards as a guide.
Associate Professor of Public Affairs
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
University of Texas at Austin
(Editor’s note: From 2010 to 2012, Gholz served as senior adviser to the deputy assistant secretary of defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy.)
The Army needs a political game-changer. Too many of its proposed acquisition budget adjustments have foundered in Congress. For its part, Congress has seen too many well-intentioned but overambitious investment plans end in technological failures. Representatives are inclined to go with what they know works, which also happens to prop up government spending in their districts. Meanwhile, prime contractors’ experience tells them that continuing production is the reliable way to profits. The industry’s poor working relationship with its DOD customers in recent years makes it hard to trust an alternative path forward.
So when the Army proposes to temporarily suspend the production of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles or trucks—the warfighter has enough right now—the legislative process recoils. Rather than giving the Army authority for targeted investments to right-size facilities, improve the manufacturing process or allow workers to practice critical skills, Congress directs spending for procurement of long-lead items and otherwise ties the industrial base to current production.
The Army and the nation would be much better off with the targeted investments. This alternative would cost less, because it would not require as much material or large-factory overhead. And each dollar spent would be much more likely to go to a critical capability, whether in engineering, facilities improvement or high-end workforce skills. The Army would still allow prime contractors to profit. Critical subcontractors would also work directly with the team.
Everyone wants to help fragile niches in the defense industry. But instead of a three-way working relationship among industry, Congress and the Army, the Army has been the odd man out of the political coalition. The key remedy is for the Army to rebuild trust with its industry partners; if industry and the Army are on the same page, Congress will follow.
The Army has been working on it for several years, but the job is far from done. Badgering industry for short-term overhead savings, blaming industry for program difficulties and trying to shift program risk to contractors all just reinforce industry’s embrace of traditional lobbying strategies. It is time for a new partnership.
Changing times call for Army and industrial base to collaborate on solutions
From The Army Acquisition Executive
The Honorable Heidi Shyu
As we enter a new calendar year, the Army faces challenges of an evolving fiscal reality and the transition from wartime production to peacetime requirements. The Army and its industrial base must work together to address these issues head-on. The hard truth—sustaining readiness in this fiscally constrained environment—necessarily means fewer investments in the future. Budget uncertainty complicates the procurement landscape, but communication and cooperation will allow the Army and industrial base to meet our respective goals.
Although the organic and commercial industrial base sectors are often discussed as distinct communities, public-private partnership at Army depots and essential facilities is a potential core strategy to ensure that parts and materials are available to sustain platforms and equipment at appropriate readiness levels.
Defense spending is projected to make up only 12 percent of the federal budget in FY17, down from 17 percent in FY13. Those numbers are a world away from the 49 percent of the federal budget consumed by defense during the 1960s. At the same time, the budget for research, development and acquisition (RDA) is declining faster than the overall defense budget.
Nothing highlights this more concretely than the Army’s total obligation authority (TOA) for FY14, which, at $129.7 billion, is 15 percent lower than the FY12 Army TOA of $152.6 billion. Compare this to the FY14 Army RDA budget of $23.95 billion, which is down an amazing 28 percent from the FY12 RDA budget of $33.2 billion. A Nov 28, 2013, article in The Washington Post profiled members of the West Point Class of 2014 and gave a compelling description of the challenge. A 22-year-old cadet wisely noted that the key question is not how to do more with less, but how to determine “what we’re going to do and what we’re going to do well.” In other words: What’s going to be good enough?
Procurement budgets naturally contract after a war. The end of the Cold War saw a wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions in the commercial base. Although industry consolidation reduced duplication and redundancy, it also resulted in many of today’s critical defense assets being manufactured by only a limited number of firms. As the U.S. manufacturing sector has decreased overall, defense manufacturing has taken on a greater significance for remaining firms. But while there are fewer large players than in previous drawdowns, there has been a proliferation of small businesses working as subcontractors—providing engineering services, doing research and development, and manufacturing specialized components.
Today’s industrial base includes a large population of highly skilled technical and knowledge workers, many of them employed by specialized third- and fourth-tier subcontractors. Keeping these skilled employees within the industrial base has the added benefit of enhancing support for the Army’s small business partners. The rapid decline in our RDA budget creates significant challenges for small companies that must diversify quickly, but the Army has met its 25 percent small business goal for the past three years. This helps small businesses continue to innovate and deliver products and services to our warfighters.
It is just as important to note the opportunities created by the coming drawdown. The Army and industry can begin a new level of dialogue around modernization, which technologies best meet national security needs and how to integrate new technologies into existing infrastructure. Although the organic and commercial industrial base sectors are often discussed as distinct communities, public-private partnership at Army depots and essential facilities is a potential core strategy to ensure that parts and materials are available to sustain platforms and equipment at appropriate readiness levels.
As the Army assesses and identifies capabilities and competencies at its depots and arsenals, the commercial base is a vital stakeholder. The commercial base, in particular, is well-positioned to help the Army better use commercial off-the-shelf products and production techniques that can yield new efficiencies and increase the buying power of the defense dollar.
Consider an example from Program Executive Office Ammunition: Staff implemented a long-term strategy for recurring procurement of artillery and mortar components. A $2.7 billion small business set-aside strategy eliminated the need for more than 100 separate market surveys, synopses and requests for proposals, and reduced average delivery time from 18-24 months to 45-60 days. This efficient new procurement strategy will help the Army avoid $60 million in costs while supporting small business.
Multiyear procurement (MYP) is another proven strategy for lowering cost to the taxpayer while reducing financial uncertainty for industry. The CH-47 Chinook MYP has saved taxpayers nearly $500 million to date while enhancing the environment for sharing lessons learned between the Army and industry, and incentivizing quality assurance.
As President Ronald Reagan observed, “no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.” We remain committed to providing the best equipment to the warfighter at the best value for the taxpayer. Painful choices will have to be made on force structure, readiness and modernization. The Army’s desired end goal is to meet the nation’s and world’s security needs while we invest in emerging technologies to develop the next generation of capabilities.
By Ms. Susan L. Follett
Some of Jared Higgs’ earliest memories are of time spent with his father in his shop at the Red River Army Depot (RRAD), in Texarkana, Texas. So it’s no surprise that when the time came to determine his own career path, he followed his father and grandfather and became a heavy equipment mechanic. Altogether, three generations of his family have worked at the depot for a total of 60 years.
“My dad has always been a mechanic, and since I was little, I was with him, working and watching. I can remember coming out to the depot to see his shop. I’ve always had some type of interest in it, and I enjoy working with my hands,” said Higgs, 30, a native of Texarkana.
“When I was 8 or 9 years old, we came out for a Christmas event, and I got to take my first ride in an Army tank. That’s a day I’ll never forget,” he said. “When I was older, we had what they called a shadow day, and I was able to come out and spend a whole day with my dad, walking with him to all his meetings and seeing what his job at RRAD entailed day to day.”
Higgs’ father, Eddie Higgs, recently retired from RRAD after a 37-year career that began in 1976. His grandfather, John Woodard, worked at the depot from 1974 until 1994. “He worked on Bradleys for as long as I can remember,” said Higgs. “It’s definitely a family affair. My great-grandfather worked for the depot, too, before I was born.”
A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE
The mission of RRAD, in operation since 1941, is to conduct ground combat and tactical system sustainment maintenance operations and related support services for U.S. and allied forces. RRAD repairs and rebuilds a variety of mission-essential combat and tactical vehicles and equipment, including the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) and the Bradley fighting vehicle system. The depot is the Army’s only two-time winner of the Robert T. Mason Award for Depot Maintenance Excellence, given by the secretary of defense. The award recognizes outstanding achievements by field-level units engaged in military equipment and weapon system maintenance within DOD.
In addition, RRAD is a Center for Industrial and Technical Excellence for several combat and technical vehicles, the Multiple Launch Rocket System, rubber products and Patriot missile recertification. Its HMMWV recapitalization facility can produce up to 40 vehicles per day, and its Rubber Products Division is the only DOD organization capable of remanufacturing road wheels and track.
SERVING THOSE WHO SERVE
Having joined RRAD in 2004, Higgs has worked on a variety of vehicles, including HMMWVs, Bradleys, the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles and several types of MRAPs. He currently works on the M1117 armored security vehicle. “I’m working on the CROWS, which is the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, checking the weapon systems out, making sure they have firing capabilities and that all the parts are functional.”
Although Higgs’ tenure is short by comparison to those of his father and grandfather, he’s seen his share of changes in the past decade. “I think more than anything, the protective armor has progressed the most. When I first started on the HMMWVs, they were not outfitted with any armor at all, and as our involvement in Iraq continued, I saw things shift, first to up-armored vehicles and from there to the MRAPs.”
In 2008, Higgs volunteered for overseas deployment and was deployed to Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq. Over the next three years, he would also see deployments to Forward Operating Base Speicher in Tikrit and Camp Stryker in Baghdad. “I saw it as an opportunity to help where it was needed, and to serve the warfighter. It was also a chance to serve along with my brothers, who were in the Air Force at the time.”
Since 2001, RRAD has deployed more than 3,000 personnel to various areas in Southwest Asia in direct support of warfighters in the field. The facility, with a government civilian workforce of about 4,500, has deployed more employees than any other civilian organization in the world since the beginning of overseas contingency operations, staffing roughly half of all U.S. Army Materiel Command civilian deployments. It has spearheaded numerous depot-level logistics and maintenance missions in Southwest Asia, including Heavy Equipment Transporter, Stored Theater Provided Equipment – Iraq, Forward Repair Activity and Mobile Maintenance Team.
“Being away from home is always a challenge. I missed my family and friends, and I realized that it was important to make friends quickly and find people there you can trust. Overseas, we’re around our co-workers day in and day out, 24 hours a day, so finding people you can rely on is vital,” he said.
The work itself was a challenge, he said. “Every day, we’d have vehicles coming into us in all kinds of condition—convoys, blown-up trucks, you name it—and the challenge was to get them fixed and back out so the Soldiers could continue on their mission. During my time overseas, I really valued the ability to work directly with Soldiers—to meet them and talk with them, and to know that we were helping get them back out in the field,” he added.
HARD OR EASY, ALWAYS GOOD
“My dad and grandfather didn’t have too much advice when I started working here,” Higgs said. “They said that sometimes the work would be hard and sometimes it would be easy, but it was always a good place to work. Looking back over the past 10 years, I can definitely say they were right.”
His own advice for anyone interested in becoming a heavy equipment mechanic is simple. “Stick with it and be knowledgeable about what you’re working on. Always go the extra mile to learn something more about the vehicle.”
MS. SUSAN L. FOLLETT provides contracting support to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center for SAIC. She holds a B.A. in English literature from St. Lawrence University. She has more than two decades of experience as a journalist and has written on a variety of public and private sector topics, including modeling and simulation, military training technology and federal environmental regulations.
By Steve Stark
FORT BELVOIR, Va. – MoBs, FaCs, STEM and FMS—these are just a few of the ways that the U.S. Army, along with DOD and others, is working to preserve the knowledge, skills and capabilities that make up its industrial base. You can read about them all in the new edition of Army AL&T magazine, available online now.
Keeping the industrial base healthy—the theme of the January – March issue of Army AL&T magazine—is crucial to keeping the Army healthy: maintaining its superiority, its overmatch, its edge. Keeping that base “warm” means that the Army has to understand where the must-have capabilities lie—no small task, given its size and complexity. Read how the Army is working with DOD to establish the “big picture” clearly in “Layers of Concern” on Page 8.
One of the specific ways the Army is grasping the industrial base is through fragility and criticality, or FaC, assessments. How critical is a capability, and how fragile is it? Learn all about this approach in “FaC-torial Analysis” on Page 42.
Keeping the industrial base healthy is also about dollars and cents—how the Army marches into the future even as a drawdown in Afghanistan is underway and shrinking budgets are projected to shrink even further. Partnerships with private industry and foreign military sales (FMS) are two ways to support the base economically. (See the articles on Pages 36 and 32, respectively. Learn about how the Army is continually improving its decision-making processes with respect to acquisition in “ ‘MoB’ Rules” on Page 102 in our BBP 2.0 section. “ ‘MoB’ Rules” is all about how Product Manager Sets, Kits, Outfits and Tools developed rigorous metrics for make-or-buy (MoB) capability decisions.
Even as the Army recovers from more than 12 years of war, it must also prepare for future conflicts, and a healthy industrial base is crucial to those eventualities. Learn how the Army is planning for the future, not only by preserving existing capabilities in the industrial base, but also by growing the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals (Page 72).
Last but hardly least, what does the Army industrial base think about how best to preserve the Army industrial base? In “Critical Thinking,” 10 industrial base stakeholders—executives of major defense firms, small-business owners, leaders of key trade associations and national security scholars—offer their views on what the base most needs from the Army in order to withstand the multiple challenges of today.
Army AL&T magazine is available in hard copy, online in our e-version, and as an app for your mobile device:
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