By Lt. Col. Will McDonough, Robert Ucci, Bill Webber and Ted Greiner
As defense budgets and military force structure are reduced, the United States must once again examine ways to maintain our defense industrial base. While budgets may not allow for the procurement of new weapons for our own military at the rate many would like, there can be no question that we need to maintain the ability to ramp up for a future conflict at a time and a place that may be totally unpredictable.
One very valuable tool for maintaining our domestic industrial base is to promote the sale of our defense materiel to friendly nations who may very well be allies in the next conflict. On Jan. 3, 2012, the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan requested the establishment of a foreign military sales case for 890 M224 60 mm mortar systems for the Afghan National Army (ANA). As is often the case, this initial requirement was later increased to include more weapons (up to a total of 918) and more accessories, support equipment and spare parts than originally requested. To put this in perspective, this represents a quantity that is more than half the total number of 60 mm mortar systems in the entire U.S. Army [inventory]. The team led by the product manager (PdM) for Precision Guided Munitions and Mortar Systems (GPM2S) not only delivered all required weapon systems ahead of schedule, but also $11 million under budget. The last 92 weapon systems were delivered to Afghanistan in Sept. 2013, two months ahead of schedule.
CONTRIBUTORS TO SUCCESS
Upon program initiation, PdM GPM2S formed an integrated product team (IPT) consisting of representatives from the Watervliet Arsenal, N.Y. (WVA), Anniston Army Depot, Ala. (ANAD), the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the Tank and Automotive Command (TACOM)’s Product Support Integration Directorate (PSID) and Security Assistance Management Directorate (SAMD), the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) at Fort Benning, Ga., the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), the deputy secretary of the army for defense exports and cooperation (DASA-DEC), and the Office of the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8.
The majority of the team members were already familiar with each others’ roles and capabilities because of the normal interaction required to support Army and USMC units that were deployed, or preparing to deploy to combat operations. The long-standing relationships formed through personal interactions at program management reviews (PMRs) enabled the rapid formation of a high-performing team without the traditional forming, storming, and norming phases of team development. While every organization performed a unique and invaluable role, the leadership role of the PdM as individually responsible for program execution, granted by his charter as a life-cycle manager, ensured the unity and focus of the entire effort.
In his Feb. 12, 2013 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama emphasized the strategic importance of transitioning the United States’ role in Afghanistan from leading the fight to equipping and training Afghan security forces to take the lead. He stated, “Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We are negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counter-terrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.” This address served to strengthen the team’s commitment to success.
This national-level emphasis on program success also allowed for creative, non-traditional solutions to providing weapon systems at an unusually high rate. For example, the Department of the Army allowed the diversion of Army-owned assets to this FMS case to fill immediate needs, with Army stocks to be replenished from new production using FMS case funding. Not only did this unusual step improve our responsiveness, it also provided the added benefit of updating the Army inventory with all new items.
Another contributor to the success of this program was the USMC. Over the past several years, the Army and Marines have cooperatively developed, qualified, and fielded a newer and lighter 60 mm mortar system, the M224A1. The Marines have been aggressively replacing their M224 systems with M224A1s, thus freeing up M224s for demilitarization. In large part as a result of the good will built up during years of interservice cooperation, the Marines allowed this excess inventory to be overhauled and sold, rather that demilitarized and scrapped, resulting in a very substantial cost savings.
The dedication of the workforce at WVA, New York, and at ANAD was also key to program success. WVA provided for new production of many components, as well as expertise in assembling kits, and staging and shipping systems into theater. ANAD was responsible for overhauling many of the weapons. Their tireless commitment to quality ensured the safety of the weapons and provided an added benefit of minimizing schedule risk due to unnecessary scrap and rework.
“The team led by the product manager (PdM) for Precision Guided Munitions and Mortar Systems (GPM2S) not only delivered all required weapon systems ahead of schedule, but also $11 million under budget.”
TACOM PSID played a key role in providing both new and used Army assets for the effort, purchasing new components using existing sustainment contracts, coordinating with the DLA for acquisition of DLA-managed items, and providing direct oversight and management of ANAD depot efforts.
The final enabler to program success was the PM’s ability to leverage a new equipment training (NET) team that was already in theater. This NET team, from Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A), was composed of a mix of active-duty and former Soldiers, all graduates of the Army’s Infantry Mortar Leader Course (IMLC). They were indispensible in writing the doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that the ANA would use in both training and in combat. After that, these military and civilian professionals actually trained their ANA counterparts to the highest standards to allow them to train their own soldiers in the proficient use of the weapons. If the team had not already been stood up and in theater, additional time and expense would have been incurred to form and deploy the necessary capability.
As is always the case with any successful program, the ANA 60 mm mortars case was the result of a very strong team effort. The lesson to be learned is that the strongest teams are the ones who are already used to working together. PdM GPM2S has had a history of cooperation with the USMC, MCoE, TACOM, WVA and ANAD to provide world-class equipment, training, and support to Soldiers and Marines. As the Army’s Product Manager for Mortar Systems, PM GPM2S was uniquely qualified and positioned to respond to the urgency and need for providing mortar systems to the ANA. The product manager immediately stood up an IPT of mortar system professionals with defined roles and responsibilities. Daily meetings were established and a management tool referred to as “the dashboard” chart was created to capture and present the key events and weekly accomplishments. The dashboard chart was also used as a communication medium to keep Army leaders closely informed of critical program milestones and weekly achievements.
Despite times of constrained resources and reduced travel budgets, true team building requires at least some face-to-face contact to foster trust and communication. For example, members of the IPT from PM GPM2S and TACOM-Warren travelled to ANAD, a key location in the process, to ensure the urgency of the mission was well understood, along with establishing the process map for refurbishment and shipping. In addition, periodic face-to-face meetings are also required after the team is formed and working to ensure that project status is tracked accurately and that priorities are properly communicated.
A specific lesson for time-sensitive cases is the existence of the Special Defense Acquisition Fund (SDAF). This is a revolving fund administered by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) that may not be familiar to many program managers. Authorized in 1981, it was specifically created to allow for the acquisition of defense articles and services in anticipation of a future FMS sale. Tapping into this fund allowed PdM GPM2S to order some long-lead items early, thereby shaving approximately one month from the program schedule.
Finally, PdM GPM2S learned the value of indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contracts in responding rapidly to a surge in requirements. PdM GPM2S’ parent organization, Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems (PM CAS) maintains numerous ID/IQ contracts for artillery and mortar munitions, both at the subcomponent level and for the load, assemble, and pack (LAP) of all-up rounds. Once established, these contracts allow for the rapid procurement of parts, projectiles or cartridges from any one of several qualified suppliers to meet surge demands. Traditionally, the procurement of major weapon systems have been focused on meeting U.S. requirements only and therefore have not required this flexibility and responsiveness.
The Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) and Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution System (PPBES) processes normally provide PMs with years to decide on a contracting strategy, build the required procurement packages, and perform competitive selections. If a PM wants to be able to respond quickly to future foreign demands, they must have more foresight and be willing to put in the extra work up front to ensure that more flexible and responsive contract vehicles are available to them when needed.
As the nation winds down from the latter of two large conflicts, our need to procure large numbers of weapons will taper off. This may lead to a risk of losing valuable parts of our military industrial base. At the same time, however, many of our potential allies now recognize more than ever that the United States has the best-equipped Army in the world. As a result, they would now like to equip their own forces with weapon systems that are as safe, effective and reliable as ours. This situation offers up the opportunity to supplement domestic weapons procurement with foreign sales to maintain our own ability to respond to future conflicts. Wherever possible, PMs should prepare in advance to respond to security cooperation and security assistance cases with high-quality, timely, and cost-effective support so that we are the supplier of choice.
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).
By Jacqueline Boucher
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. — For years, military assets have moved in and out of Tobyhanna Army Depot at the direction of customers from every branch of the service.
Tobyhanna has partnered with DLA Distribution Tobyhanna, a tenant organization here, since the early 1990s to receive, store and issue a wide range of military systems. Over time, materiel has accumulated in outside storage areas, resulting in rows of excess equipment and dormant stock taking up space that could be used to store new revenue-generating workload.
Members of a Lean Six Sigma team, representing the depot and DLA, conducted a rapid improvement event (RIE) and earmarked more than 100 items for disposal — an effort that will clear in excess of 48,000 square feet of space—about the size of a football field.
Military systems are normally repaired and returned to the customer or placed in storage until needed to meet mission requirements.
“We’re pleased with the outcome of the event,” said Kimberly Appel, process improvement specialist, Productivity, Improvement, and Innovation Directorate. “We’ve got the support of the services buying in and getting rid of dormant stock.”
Within three years, the Communications Electronics Command (CECOM) has reduced stock stored here by nearly 40 percent, according to Bryant Anderson, CECOM Field Office chief.
“This was a long overdue event,” Anderson said. “Accurate property accountability records are vitally important in order to make appropriate disposition decisions.”
He explained that some of the assets targeted by the team were not on record, which made it more difficult to determine disposition.
The removal of items from the installation is a complex and lengthy process, and it could take up to 18 months to complete. Part of the process even includes other services bidding on the items before disposal.
Item managers direct the disposition of materiel by submitting a disposal requisition, which DLA Distribution Tobyhanna and DLA Disposition will execute upon receipt. Tobyhanna manages special handling requirements, i.e. hazardous materiel and demilitarization (DEMIL) efforts. All funding is provided by the customer, according to Appel.
Anderson pointed out that despite everything involved in divesting assets, eliminating unneeded stock from storage is a relatively easy way to avoid extraneous costs.
Officials here have provided written requests for disposition instructions to individual item managers, along with photographs showing the condition of the assets. Included in the correspondence is a report listing projected storage costs for the next 10 years, estimated costs of disposal, plus the amount of money already spent on storage fees.
“We’re hoping the customers will agree with what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Arlene Scutt, distribution facility specialist for warehousing for DLA. She noted that the assets identified for disposal are considered major end items — shelters, humvees, vans and cargo trailers.
The goal of the RIE was to reduce dormant stock and assets found on the installation by 25 percent. The team identified assets for disposal, resulting in a cost avoidance of $255,509.
“CECOM and DLA Disposition were immediately able to dispose of 7,699 square feet during the Lean event,” Appel said.
DLA uses supply condition codes to classify materiel in terms of readiness for issue and use, or to identify actions underway to change the status of materiel. When materiel is determined by DLA to be in excess of approved stock levels or no longer serviceable, it uses supply condition codes A (issuable to all customers without limitation or restriction) through H (not serviceable and to be destroyed) and S (not serviceable and to be scrapped) to reflect materiel condition prior to turn-in to DLA Disposition.
In addition, DEMIL codes are assigned to an item by the item manager when all military presence or function needs be removed from a system.
“It was great to see the partnership of the two agencies working hard to provide better support to the warfighter,” said Keith Weinschenk, lead process improvement specialist. “Problems were identified as a team and solved as a team.”
Tobyhanna Army Depot is DOD’s largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna’s missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.
About 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of CECOM. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command’s mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.
For more information, go to http://www.tobyhanna.army.mil.