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.
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:
iTunes (for iPad and iPhone)
Google Play (Non-Kindle Android Devices)
Amazon (for Kindle)
WASHINGTON – Award-winning former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation, Mr. Keith B. Webster, will build upon his many successes as he transitions to a new role with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).
Webster, who now serves as Director, International Cooperation, OSD, is in charge of managing a host of key issues for Mr. Frank Kendall, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Issues within his purview include international partnerships with key global allies, significant acquisition and technology-related matters affecting U.S. global military development and coordination with OSD policy personnel.
“Inside Mr. Kendall’s portfolio of AT&L and inside the broader context of OSD, we will decide our priority activities and examine how we should be organized and engaged globally. Within AT&L, we are here to inform the requirements process with the J8 and ensure timely consideration of foreign technology opportunities and foreign product opportunities. We want to make sure that the JCIDS [Joint Capabilities Integration Development System] process is well-informed—to include international cooperation,” said Webster, while expressing enthusiasm for his new role.
In particular, Webster’s role will call upon his considerable expertise in technology- and acquisition-specific international cooperation issues, Foreign Military Sales, Direct Commercial Sales and international policy issues, among other things.
“I am chartered to advise him [Kendall] on all international matters and to be knowledgeable of global political military events–and to be in contact and in touch with those in OSD policy who have a pre-eminent role in international policy formulation here in the Pentagon,” Webster added.
That means advising Kendall on the international aspects of key programs like the multinational Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) effort and the acquisition of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. In many instances such as these, Webster will examine the possibility of connecting with foreign research and development during the developmental process to further collaborate with allies and improve the development of next-generation capabilities.
In fact, international developmental partnerships can be a key to sustaining production capacity for significant U.S. programs and technologies, Webster added. Along these lines, Webster’s duties will include research and academic pursuits aimed at examining industrial base issues in partnership with those in AT&L chartered with working industrial base matters.
“FMS and Direct Commercial Sales programs are critical as they address potential gaps in production. How do we appropriately generate international interest in a product so that we don’t have a break in production? We will partner with our OSD policy colleagues to see where we can leverage engagement to help Mr. Kendall and help the industrial base,” Webster added.
Webster’s expertise is informed by a distinguished career, spanning a range of high-profile, high-responsibility assignments. Most recently, he managed the Army’s Security Cooperation programs as the DASA (DE&C), the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology’s deputy for international acquisition. This involved policy generation and execution oversight of Army security assistance, direct commercial sales, and international armaments cooperation. In this role, Webster supervised more than $18 billion in annual sales, managed programs that involved more than 2000 Army civilian and military personnel, and worked to identify those critical capabilities which will need to be sustained into the future.
In addition, Webster oversaw the development and maturation of significant large-scale U.S. Army Foreign Military Sales cases, many of which helped build partner capacity and solidify important relationships with important international coalition members—to include sales of CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopters, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, Patriot missiles, Excalibur 155mm precision artillery shells and Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, among others.
These efforts were recognized by some of his foreign counterparts, and Webster was awarded the rank of Chevalier (Knight) in the French Order National du Merite. The ceremony took place June 8, 2012, and was officiated by the Ambassador of France to the United States, Francois Delattre.
On Tuesday, Jan. 22, Director General Lena Erixon presented the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration’s Medal of Merit (Silver), specifically recognizing Webster’s efforts on behalf of Sweden in acquiring UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters through FMS, and for being instrumental in obtaining training seats for Swedish pilots and maintainers. The entire process from Sweden’s submission of a formal Letter of Requirement to initial operating capability was completed in record time, resulting in the helicopters being deployed to Afghanistan. His continued efforts to develop strong relationships and support the overall mission will continue to be remembered.
Before joining ASA(ALT), Webster held several positions with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), including Principal Director for Business Operations and head of the agency’s Policy, Plans and Programs Directorate.
Webster has an MA in International Relations from Catholic University, a BS in Business/Finance from Towson State University, is a Level 3 Certified Acquisition Professional and is a Fellow of the Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.