• GOOD FELLOWS

    Competitive Development Group welcomes 2014 fellows

    The Director, U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC), Craig Spisak, welcomes seven new Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellowship (CDG/AAF) fellows during an orientation meeting at Defense Acquisition University on April 1, 2014. The three-year fellowship program offers developmental assignments in program executive offices, assistant secretary of the army for acquisition, logistics and technology offices, U.S. Army Materiel Command Headquarters and functional organizations providing expanded training and leadership development for future Army acquisition leaders.

    From the left: Walter Hamm, U.S. Army Contracting Command; Maurice Stephens, Engineering Center and Communications Electronics Command; Kyle Bruner, Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T); Monica Clemons, U.S. Army Contracting Command, Chandra Evansmitchell, CDG/AFF program manager; Craig Spisak, USAASC director, Lauren McNew, PEO C3T; Kelly Courtney, PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support and David Oatley, PEO Ammunition. (Photo by Bob Coultas)

    For more information on the CDG/AAF program go to http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/competitive-development-group-army-acquisition-fellowship/


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

    EDITOR AND REPORTER
    Army AL&T magazine Senior Editor Peggy Roth talks about working with contributors to shape their stories to fit an issue’s theme at the magazine’s second annual writer’s workshop. At right is Claire Heininger, editor/lead writer for PEO C3T, who was guest speaker at the workshop. (Photo by Catherine DeRan, U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center)

     

    By Steve Stark

     

    FORT BELVOIR, Va. — The award-winning Army AL&T magazine announced the winners of its annual “ALTies” awards, celebrating the best article, commentary, graphic, ad and photograph from 2013. Editor-in-Chief Nelson McCouch III presented the awards here today, following Army AL&T magazine’s second annual writer’s workshop at the U.S. Army Acquisition Service Center (USAASC) headquarters.

    “Each issue of Army AL&T is a collaborative process, a team effort,” McCouch said. “Without our contributors, who help us continually raise the bar on quality, we would not have a magazine. But we have a great one that gets better with every issue.” Claire Heininger, editor/lead writer for Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), and a regular Army AL&T contributor, was guest speaker at the workshop.

    McCouch also announced the new online version of Army AL&T, available at http://usaasc.armyalt.com/. The new online version of the magazine offers a significantly improved interface, simpler navigation, and enables users to share stories with friends and colleagues and through social media.

    This year’s ALTies went to:

    HONORABLE MENTION
    Writers workshop guest speaker, Claire Heininger, receives her ALTies runner-up award for best photograph from Editor-in-Chief Nelson McCouch III at the second annual Army AL&T writer’s workshop, March 27. (Photo by Uri Bombasi, U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center)

    BEST ARTICLE (tie)
    Wired for Success, by Lt. Col. Jeffery T. Yon and Mr. Jeffrey C. Faulkner, Reserve Component Automation Systems, Program Executive Office (PEO) Enterprise Information Systems, October–December 2013 issue.

    Path to Success, by Ms. Kelly Courtney, PM Force Projection, PEO Combat Support and Combat Service Support, January–March 2013 issue.

    First Runner-up
    It Takes a Team, by Col. (now Brig. Gen.) William E. Cole, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (OASA(ALT)), July–September 2013 issue

    BEST COMMENTARY
    Speaking of Savings, by Mr. Thom Hawkins, PEO Command, Control and Communications – Tactical, and Mr. Vince Dahmen, PEO Ammunition, October–December 2013 issue

    First Runner-up
    Driving Competition, by Lt. Col. T.J. Wright, Product Manager for Precision-Guided Missiles and Rockets, PEO Missiles and Space, April–June 2013 issue

    BEST PHOTO
    Total Logistics Integration, Product Director, U.S. Army Logistics Modernization Program, January–March 2013 issue

    First Runner-up
    Introducing Capability Set 13, by Ms. Claire Heininger, OASA(ALT), January–March 2013 issue

    BEST GRAPHIC
    The Five Phases of the Unit Set Fielding Process, PEO Command, Control and Communications – Tactical, April–June 2013 issue

    First Runner-up
    Tiered Technical Knowledge, C4ISR Integrated Process Team, July–September 2013 issue

    BEST AD
    U.S. Army Logistics Modernization Program, PEO Enterprise Information Systems, October–December 2013 issue

    First Runner-up
    Connecting Tomorrow’s Warriors, PEO Command, Control and Communications – Tactical, October–December 2013 issue

    Army AL&T Magazine Writers Workshop Slide Presentation


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  • Security Cooperation – A Case Study

    Members of the CSTC-A NET team receive U.S. M224 60 mm mortar systems at Kabul, Afghanistan. The last 92 weapon systems were delivered to Afghanistan in Sept. 2013, two months ahead of schedule. (Photos courtesy of Program Executive Office Ammunition)

     


    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.

    CSTC-A, composed of a mix of active-duty and former Soldiers, and all graduates of the Army’s Infantry Mortar Leader Course, conducts U.S. 60mm mortar training with ANA soldiers, allowing them to train their own soldiers in the proficient use of the weapons.

    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.

    The ANA learns how to operate the U.S. 60mm mortars during a training exercise.

    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.

    CSTC-A, composed of a mix of active-duty and former Soldiers, and all graduates of the Army’s Infantry Mortar Leader Course, conducts U.S. 60mm mortar training with ANA soldiers, allowing them to train their own soldiers in the proficient use of the weapons.

    LESSONS LEARNED
    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.

    CONCLUSION
    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.


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  • Picatinny scaling up in-house chemicals production to shun higher costs

    The 30 Gallon Glass-Lined Nitration Reactor. (Photo by Todd Mozes)

    By Audra Calloway

     

    ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (March 10, 2014) — Picatinny scientists and engineers have established a pilot production facility to create the Army’s only in-house process for scaling up chemical compounds, a move that could save money by not having to rely on costlier compounds from outside suppliers.

    The Picatinny engineers are manufacturing tetranitrocarbazole, or TNC, the compound that serves as the “first-fire” composition for pyrotechnics, such as illumination rounds, signal grenades, mortars and artillery rounds.

    The “first fire” is what starts ignition within the system.

    “This is the only pilot facility like it in the Army, and ARDEC is trying to leverage its expertise for developing manufacturing processes,” explained Stacey Yauch, chemical engineer with the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC.

    “Most of the military’s explosive manufacturing processes are developed by the contractors,” explained Yauch.

    “An ARDEC engineer might develop the compound, but the manufacturing process is typically developed by the contractor,” Yauch explained. “It’s difficult for the government to find competition between sources to get a better price because the contractor who develops the process always has an upper hand in the competition.

    “If we develop the process here, we can then provide it to industry to attract potential manufacturers, which would mitigate risk to manufacturers on process development cost and time.”

    Development of the process to produce TNC scale up is being done by ARDEC and the Program Executive Office Ammunition’s Project Manager Joint Services.

    The pilot-scale production process will be developed in the Flexible Nitration Facility at ARDEC. The production process will be optimized, documented, and transitioned to a full-scale facility to produce TNC at Crane Army Ammunition Activity, Crane, Ind.

    PILOT FACILITY
    The pilot “scale up” first began in a lab with chemists creating grams of TNC initially, eventually working up to two pounds of the substance. While in the lab, the engineers recorded data such as heat rates, reaction times and temperature, and optimized the process as best they could.

    Next, ARDEC transitioned the lab scale process to the pilot manufacturing facility that includes crystallization and nitration equipment.

    “At this point it’s not a lab anymore,” Yauch said, “You’re not working with beakers and test tubes. It’s regular equipment used in industry, but at a smaller scale. Once it leaves this stage it evolves to full-scale production.”

    So far, Yauch and her team have successfully produced small quantities of TNC. The next step is to reproduce a couple of batches at the 10-to-20-pound scale.

    “Right now we’re in 20- or 30-gallon reaction sizes,” Yauch said. “When you’re at a 10 or 20-pound scale you can start modeling what will happen at full scale when you’re making thousands of pounds.”

    However, the process at the pilot production facility is different than the process working in a lab due to the nature of the different equipment.

    “You have a general optimization of your temperatures and times, but it will change when you bring it up to this scale,” Yauch explained. “There’s a learning curve. Initially we didn’t get amount of TNC expected, so we stopped to determine the cause we were able to determine the reaction was not complete due to low temperature and short residence time. Once the problem was identified, we were able to obtain purer product on the second trial.”

    The TNC process created by ARDEC could be ready to transition to manufacturers by the end of March 2014.

    Once the TNC production process is completed, it will be transferred to the Project Manager Combat Ammunition System for use in mortar and illumination rounds.


    • ARDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers.

      RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness — technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment — to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.


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  • Direct fire munition increases lethality, reduces collateral damage

    The backpack-size drone can be deployed within a two-minute time frame and is destroyed upon hitting its target. (CCWS courtesy photos)

    By The Close Combat Weapon Systems Project Office

     

    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — Engaging the enemy effectively without a clear line-of-sight is an ongoing challenge for Soldiers serving in small, outlying posts in theater. One solution is the Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS), a not-within-direct-fire-line-of-sight, single-use munition system that is launched from a small tube. The entire system is carried in a Soldier’s backpack.

    Equipped with optical sensors, LMAMS transmits live color video wirelessly to a display on a ground control unit. The technology allows the Soldier to find the enemy and ensure positive identification before engaging. LMAMS deploys within two-minutes and can fly for up to fifteen minutes.
    The advantages? Increased support and lethality while limiting unintended damage.

    “It is a very sophisticated bullet with eyes,” said Bill Nichols, acting product director for LMAMS at the Army’s Close Combat Weapons Systems (CCWS) project office.

    Fulfilling a Requirement
    LMAMS is the product of an Army requirement submitted to the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) in January 2011. The request for an improved aerial munitions system was based on the results of a limited Block 1 Switchblade assessment, completed in the fall of 2010. Switchblade was the most mature technical solution available at the time. LMAMS, the resulting upgraded capability, includes an enhanced day camera and the addition of an infrared camera for night operations. It also comes with a tailored training package.

    “… With all the limitations on resources, this team has performed a superb job in their ability to produce the kind of efficiencies that made it possible to get this system into theater rapidly.”

    “Once the development work was completed, we took that configuration and put it through an extensive production verification test to ensure reliability of the system and to basically ‘shake out’ the system,” Nichols said.

    That shaking out of the system included more than 100 test flights for the LMAMS. Once the test flights were completed, full-system munitions were produced and vetted through safety confirmation tests. The tests included limited environmental testing, electromagnetic interference testing and full, live firefight flight tests. Once LMAMS was deemed safe for use by Soldiers, the Army started equipping the system to support operations in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in August 2012.
    “By partnering with the REF, we were able to deliver the capability to Soldiers in combat within14 months of receiving the original requirement” said Nichols.

    Bill Ruta, program manager for CCWS added, “This has been a shoestring operation. With all the limitations on resources, this team has performed a superb job in their ability to produce the kind of efficiencies that made it possible to get this system into theater rapidly.”

    LMAMS is launched from a small tube and viewed from the ground control unit.

    Unique Capability
    Although the aerial munition is designed for non-line-of-sight targets, it’s categorized as a direct fire asset. When the munition reaches the target, the cameras on LMAMS allow the Soldier to have “eyes on” the target, which provides the required positive identification. If the situation or target changes, then the operator can wave the munition off and either continue to view or re-approach the target or look for a secondary target.

    “It is one of the few—if not the only—munition that can be moved off of its intended target, directed to a safe place, and detonated or destroyed after it is launched. There is no other munition in the inventory that I am aware of that allows us to do this in real time and with such precision. It limits unintended casualties and collateral damage,” Nichols said.

    LMAMS has allowed Soldiers to engage the enemy in the open, in narrow village corridors, or where other civilians are present within a small radius of where the target is to be engaged or neutralized. In instances where the primary target has been lost, the Soldier has been able to divert the munition to a secondary target or detonate, preventing civilian casualties.

    Flight Path
    LMAMS is ground-launched from a static position at a forward operating base or at a small post in a ready-to-fire or standby mode. In the future, it may be possible to have several munitions fired from a pod in an effort to provide base defense or to have the system launched from a vehicle.

    “I’d say that with this type of munition and capability, although we have learned a lot, we are at about the second day of the Wright brothers’ first flight. We’ve got that much left to learn with this once we put it into the hands of the great Soldiers we have,” Nichols said.

    Feedback from Soldiers who’ve used the munition is critical in determining the future of LMAMS, and there are systems in place to ensure that CCWS can collect crucial data. CCWS is already looking at feedback from each engagement and identifying potential improvements. There are also two formal field operating assessments going on as part of the feedback processes. These assessments, along with the individual engagement feedback process, will provide CCWS information critical to determine any future material changes, methods of employment and more effective system training.

    “We’re getting all of that great feedback because Soldiers are always brutally honest,” Nichols said. “That’s exactly what we need in order to continue to evolve LMAMS.”


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  • Crane Army completes GPS testing on vehicles

    Crane Army Ammunition Activity Depot Operations employees work to remove Navy torpedo warheads from storage and transport them to temporary storage before demilitarization. Crews such as this one would benefit from the use of GPS tracking on base which would allow the Operations Center to better track them in case of an emergency. Photo by Thomas Peske

    By Thomas Peske

     

    CRANE, Ind. – Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) completed a GPS pilot program that will help increase safety and efficiency for ammunition crews while working on the 100-square-mile, heavily-wooded Naval Support Activity Crane base.

    During the 60-day pilot program held under the supervision of the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command, 20 GPS devices were placed in vehicles and tracked by Crane Army Operations Center. The devices provide 100 percent visibility of all internal movement of munitions, crews and heavy lifting equipment.

    “With CAAA being in the business of receiving, shipping and storing of Class V (conventional ammunition) it is critical we have the ability of knowing the crews locations,” Crane Army Depot Operations Coordinator Steve Cummings said. “In past years we have had some weather incidents, such as snow, ice and tornados, where the command had to account for 100 percent of the personnel. With GPS we can isolate the non-responders’ location to check on their safety. GPS will help us better utilize the crews in a given area by minimizing their relocation time and distance to respond to a given task. It gives us the ability to utilize real time dispatching of crews and equipment.”

    Cummings said that due to the terrain and size of Crane, CAAA needed to perform the test to see if it was able to provide an acceptable level functionality and usability. The testing helps to identify and mitigate dead spots and ensure enough infrastructure is in place to effectively generate the hypothesized benefits.

    This is not the first time that Crane Army utilized GPS in tracking its crews, but a change in logistics-tracking software caused that system to be unsupportable. Cummings said, “This GPS system is similar but has newer technology incorporated. This is also a system that can be embedded into SAVI SmartChain. SAVI is developing technology to be able to link the GPS data to a task.”

    The technology will allow Crane Army planners to study results for efficiencies. According to Justin Farrell, a Joint Munitions Command employee whose role is to guide and facilitate the collaborative integration of GPS at Crane Army, the system will synergize the information about vehicles and tasks going into the operations center.

    Farrell said, “GPS allows managers to have total visibility of resources and infrastructure spread across the depot landscape. Leaning forward, you can capture dwell time, down time, average utilizations, and baseline work standards, while always maintaining real time accountability of infrastructure.”

    The use of technology to maximize efficiencies is seen as a key part of Crane Army’s effort to remain ready and reliant.

    “As the Army begins reshaping itself for the future, we must take extraordinary measures to maintain our best practices,” Crane Army Site Manager for SmartChain Victor Wampler explained. “Using technology is one way that we can help make this happen. By leveraging GPS technology, it will be easier and more efficient for Crane Army to ensure that we are utilizing our workforce and equipment in the most efficient way possible. The use of GPS would allow for the realization of cost savings in the new fiscal climate DOD now must work in.”

    Once the GPS system is worked out, it can be applied to all the government-owned, government-operated ammunition depots across the JMC enterprise. Farrell said, “JMC enterprise will benefit from enhanced force protection during weather/safety events, creating a baseline for time standards for executing logistics functions, and ensuring maximum utilization of precious resources and infrastructure.”

    Safety and funding are still questions that will need to be answered before implementation could happen. If the data from the testing proves successful, a system that is fully integrated with SmartChain could come online in 9-10 months.

    Established Oct. 1977, Crane Army Ammunition Activity maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure in order to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles and related components. Crane Army maintains up to one third of the DOD’s conventional ammunition inventory. The Activity also provides command oversight of Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, Letterkenny Munitions Center, Pa., and Milan Army Ammunition Center, Tenn.


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  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Working towards culture change

     

    By Tara Clements

     

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Two women with very different backgrounds come together to achieve a common goal: inform and educate the PEO Ammunition workforce to combat sexual harassment and sexual assault. But what started as an initiative for one community quickly grew into a larger challenge.

    Not having met prior to volunteering, Veronica Morgante and Brenda Eiseman acted as a team and volunteered to develop and implement a Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program for PEO Ammunition and later, for Picatinny Arsenal, to meet the Army’s requirement for the program.

    The Army SHARP Program reinforces the Army’s commitment to eradicating sexual harassment and sexual assault through a comprehensive policy that centers on awareness and prevention, training and education, victim advocacy and response, reporting, accountability, and program assessment. The Army SHARP Program promotes sensitive care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes.

    Morgante serves as the Victim Advocate (VA) and Eiseman as the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) for PEO Ammunition charged with coordinating and conducting SHARP training for all 330 PEO Ammunition civilian and military personnel. Because of the Army’s SHARP training requirements, the two also acted as the Picatinny Installation SARC and VA, supporting the 5,000-strong community, until the installation could hire qualified personnel.

    “As a SHARP VA, I train the PEO Ammunition workforce on how to identify unacceptable behaviors and ways to prevent sexual harassment and assaults.”

    And becoming certified in these positions is no small feat—to achieve the DOD level I certification, a mandatory two-week, 80-hour training course, including exams and practice exercises, is required. Any failing grade sends a trainee home. Although they didn’t attending the course together, they shared a similar perspective: “This is not an ‘easy’ course.”

    “There was so much information to absorb. I took home reading assignments each evening and there were tests that had to be passed. If you didn’t make the grade, you were sent home and I didn’t want that to be me,” added Morgante.

    “I thought it was top-notch training”, said Eiseman who, as a retired officer, has had her fair share of experience with Army training courses. “I’m an acquisition professional, but I have a degree in professional counseling and always had a goal to transition to something in the counseling field after retiring. I see this as something I could do to fulfill my goal, use my degree and stay connected to and support Soldiers. It’s something I’m very passionate about.”

    This year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in April served as a launching pad for their program including ensuring informational materials were accessible across the installation, providing informative briefings at town hall meetings, ensuring requirements for mandatory leader engagements and inspections were met and that program information was easily accessible throughout the local area. In addition, they ensured that the SAAM proclamation was signed by the commanding general and garrison leadership, demonstrating commitment to the program at the PEO and installation’s most senior levels.

    Their efforts to build and implement a SHARP program that increased awareness has proven effective – “people are talking about it…we’ve received a few calls from individuals inquiring about the program,” said Morgante.

    This program is a significant focus area for the entire DOD to achieve a culture change in the military and is an ongoing process. “Eliminating sexual assault from our Armed Forces remains one of our top priorities,” stated the Secretary of Defense, the Hon. Chuck Hagel, in his Aug. 14, 2013, memorandum, outlining seven measures to be in effect by Jan. 1, 2014 to strengthen the program.

    FOTF: How were the two of you selected to serve as advocates?

    MORGANTE: A request was sent out to the PEO Ammunition workforce for [two] volunteers. I had been a unit victim advocate under the previous program, Sexual Assault Prevention Response Program (SAPR), so it made sense for me to volunteer. Once the deputy PEO approved, I was on my way to the two-week training program.

    EISEMAN: I volunteered because I viewed this as an opportunity for me to stay connected with Soldiers and continue to serve Soldiers in a human capacity, which is a little bit different than what I do in my regular job [as an acquisition professional] and is something I am very passionate about.

    FOTF: Given geographical differences, what was it like working together to execute the program?

    MORGANTE: We always managed to tackle and complete what was required of us to execute SHARP at Picatinny, communicating by telephone and email. Brenda made trips to Picatinny when necessary, incorporating her trips with her regular duties (non- SHARP). Her trips coincided with the April Sexual Assault Awareness Month and training sessions she was conducting–we scheduled about a dozen of those training sessions to train our PEO Ammunition workforce.

    EISEMAN: Fortunately, Veronica and I work very well together and the PEO has had no incidences of sexual harassment or assault so all of our efforts so far have been focused on education, prevention, and preparation to respond in the event of any reported incidences. Plus, I’ve been able to share some of the great resources, ideas and knowledge coming from the Belvoir community to the Picatinny community so that’s been a benefit, I think.

    “I see this as something I could do to fulfill my goal, use my degree and stay connected to and support Soldiers. It’s something I’m very passionate about.”

    FOTF: What do you do in the Army? Why is it important?

    MORGANTE: Throughout my civilian career, I have had positions within the administrative field that support our Army civilians and Soldiers. In my current position as an organizational resources specialist, I manage human resource and manpower information for PEO Ammunition.

    As a SHARP VA, I train the PEO Ammunition workforce on how to identify unacceptable behaviors and ways to prevent sexual harassment and assaults. SHARP has become a top priority program for the Department of the Army and is working towards achieving cultural change within the ranks that sexual harassment and sexual assault has no place in the military.

    EISEMAN: I am the business management officer for the Countermine Division of the Counter Explosive Hazard and also serve as the PEO Ammunition SHARP/Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC). As the business manager, I help coordinate and manage financial resources to project officers to successfully deliver capability to the warfighter. As the SHARP/SARC, I assist in promoting awareness and prevention of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the work place and help foster a positive climate that respects the dignity of all members of the Army family.

    FOTF: What has your experience been like? What has surprised you the most?

    MORGANTE: Working the SHARP Program has opened my eyes to the unacceptable behaviors that lead to harassment and assault. My SHARP training has spilled over into my personal life to educate my family and friends. What surprised me the most: In January, I was made aware that the Picatinny installation sought to leverage the PEO Ammunition SHARP resources (me and the SHARP SARC) to establish a program for the entire installation. [Brenda and I] were appointed the installation SHARPs through June while the garrison went through the process to hire their own personnel. The added responsibility became a major duty for me, but I took it all in stride knowing that I was part of the bigger picture to achieve the cultural change.

    EISEMAN: I just recently came off a two week vacation which I really enjoyed. In fact, my twin daughters and I met up with my son, who is also in the Army, in Cancun and we became certified scuba divers. However, I can honestly say that I was excited to come back to work. I love coming to work each day, I love the team that I work with, the mission that I perform, and the environment that I work in. This really isn’t a surprise to me though because every job that I’ve had throughout my military career has been that way and I didn’t expect my civil service career to be any different.

    FOTF: What was your deployment experience. What stands out to you the most?

    EISEMAN: I was deployed while on active duty from Aug. 2004-2005. My team and I established the RC East Joint Contracting Office in Afghanistan where I served as the chief of contracting. The camaraderie between all the services and local nationals supporting the mission inside the wire as well as outside the wire, and the eagerness of the local nationals to learn acceptable business practices and to conduct business with the U.S. contracting office, are among my most memorable deployment experiences.

    FOTF: Why did you join the Army? What is your greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army?

    MORGANTE: I took the federal civil service exam and was offered a position at Picatinny Arsenal. I had been unemployed for about five months from private industry when I was offered a position in the Picatinny civilian personnel office – the timing was just right. My greatest satisfaction is knowing that what I do is supporting our Soldiers.

    EISEMAN: I enlisted in the Army in the Army Reserves in 1982 as a way to get out of my hometown and explore life beyond rural Ohio. I was so excited about the opportunities the military had to offer and was encouraged by my supervisor to compete for an ROTC scholarship. My most rewarding assignments while on active duty included being the commander of a basic training unit and establishing the RC East Contracting Office in Afghanistan. Both of these assignments offered me the opportunity to be part of a team that positively impacted peoples’ lives. As a basic training commander it was tremendously gratifying to see young recruits transition from civilians to physically fit, confident soldiers. As chief of contracting, it was very rewarding to be an ambassador and to have a positive economic impact in the local community. As a Department of the Army civilian, I enjoy being part of a team responsible for delivering technology that is saving lives and limbs of our deployed warfighters.

    FOTF: As a retired officer, how was the transition to becoming an Army civilian?

    EISEMAN: For me, the transition was not difficult at all. I was unemployed for one whole day. The most challenging part for me was figuring out what I was going to wear! I still work with a great team of dedicated professionals on a very relevant mission. I have a bit more stability and predictability in my career, which is good since I am raising teenage twin daughters. Now, I experience the thrill of the military lifestyle vicariously through my son who is serving in the 2-1 Infantry.

    Learn more about:
    PEO Ammunition: http://www.pica.army.mil/peoammo/Home.aspx
    Picatinny Arsenal: http://www.pica.army.mil/PicatinnyPublic/index.asp
    SHARP website: http://www.preventsexualassault.army.mil/

     


    • “Faces of the Force” is an online feature highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce. Produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication Division, and working closely with public affairs officers, Soldiers and Civilians currently serving in a variety of AL&T disciplines are featured every other week. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.

    Read more »
  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    ‘One shot stopping’

     

    By Tara Clements and Steve Stark

     

    FOTF Editor’s Note: At six inches in diameter and about 50 pounds, the 105 millimeter M1040 canister effectively turns the Stryker Mobile Gun System (MGS) into one of the world’s largest shotguns. David Oatley is a mechanical engineer who’s in charge of making the M1040 canister, the Army’s largest round. A few years ago, he was stopped in his tracks—but not by one of his own munitions. By a Soldier who made one comment that will stick with Oatley throughout his career…”that round saved my life.”

    That was a turning point for Oatley, who realized that there “is a face to what I do.” And what he does is manage the production and fielding of the firepower for the Stryker Mobile Gun Systems (MGS) that protects Soldiers in a warzone and helps them accomplish their mission….to ensure “our products work as intended on the first trigger pull.”

    As one of many experts who serve behind the scenes ensuring that Soldiers get what they need when they need it, this was the first time Oatley had any interaction with the end user – the Soldier. “I never went to any training events or saw the end product except for when it came off of the production line. When that Soldier came up to me, it truly refocused me on this is what I need to do and why.”

    FOTF: What do you do in the Army? Why is it important?

    OATLEY: I’m the item manager for the 105 millimeter M1040 canister cartridge, which is the anti-personnel round for the Stryker MGS. As the item manager, I’m responsible for acquisition, production and management of everything related to the cartridge. This includes the day-to-day management activities as well as special efforts such as failure investigations, product improvement initiatives, and risk mitigation. As a member of the Current Force team in PM-Large Caliber, I also work any ammunition issues reported by MGS units during training and operations. Many of these issues happen when using legacy 105-millimeter ammunition that hasn’t been produced in over 20 years. My work is important because it ensures we produce and field the highest quality ammunition. We want to make sure our products work as intended on the first trigger pull.

    FOTF: How would you describe the canister?

    OATLEY: The canister itself weighs about 45-50 pounds. It’s one of the largest shotgun-style rounds available, featuring a 105-millimeter diameter projectile filled with approximately 2,000 tungsten balls. When it’s fired, the projectile breaks apart on muzzle exit and releases the tungsten. The balls then spread downrange over 200-500 meters in front of the gun. It’s often used to ‘clear’ things, for example, if there were a lot of foliage, it could be used to clear an area, but that’s not what it was originally designed for. It’s the anti-personnel round for the Stryker MGS. It was designed to be used against massed personnel that are attacking the infantry.

    FOTF: How big is the program?

    OATLEY: The program is an acquisition category III program, so it’s not as big as something like a vehicle program. We average around 2,500-3,000 rounds per year that we build and field, and this year marks our seventh year of full-rate production. In December, this program will be ending for the near-term because we’ve built up our stockpile to the point where it will last for a few years at the current usage levels.

    FOTF: You mentioned issues reported by units. Can you give me an example?

    OATLEY: Some of the issues we have are on our legacy ammunition that was fielded 20 years ago. The Stryker MGS was recently fielded and uses the same gun that was originally used on the Abrams tank. The Abrams had a 105-millimeter gun instead of the 120-millimeter gun that it uses now. Back then, the Army built a bunch of ammunition for the Abrams that wasn’t used once they switched to the 120-millimeter gun. So, we’re now firing much of our stockpile ammunition. We’ll get reports from training events or the field and they’re finding indications of aging ammunition, for example corrosion and rusting. We have to track and figure out if there’s anything that can be done so it can be used. For the most part, if it’s bad, it’s not used. The Army conducts regular surveillance on our existing stockpile that will be fielded, but it’s just not possible to catch 100 percent of the issues. On the newer ammunition, we don’t have as many issues, but do address them as they come up.

    For example, we had an inadvertent firing and we worked with the vehicle developers at U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command to determine if it was an issue with the vehicle or the ammunition. We helped TACOM and the prime contractor understand the ammunition requirements and worked with them to test and implement a design solution on the vehicle to eliminate the issue.

    “We want to make sure our products work as intended on the first trigger pull.”

    FOTF: What has your experience been like so far? What has surprised you the most?

    OATLEY: I started at Picatinny straight out of college and my experience has been very rewarding. I’ve been fortunate to work on several successful programs in a short time. In a few cases the programs had very complicated failures that required extensive investigations. That gave me tremendous opportunity early in my career to learn on the fly. I quickly gained experience producing tank ammunition, working with international suppliers, performing lethality analysis, achieving user buy-in for requirement changes, writing contracts, and managing programs. I’ve also been very fortunate to work for team leaders who trusted me to make good decisions and gave me enough room to recover and learn from my mistakes.

    The biggest surprise in my career is the complexity of our acquisition process and the time it takes to get a contract awarded. I’m also surprised at how much I enjoy the “soft skills” of program management. As an engineer I gravitate toward the quantifiable, but program management requires much more than that. You have to learn how to deal with different personalities, avoid group-think and manage a team. That’s not something that comes naturally to most engineers and it’s been fun to develop that side of the job.

    FOTF: You mention enjoying the ‘soft skills’ of program management. Are there any particular instances that stand out to you?

    A Stryker equipped with a Mobile Gun System fires a round of high explosive ammunition July 26, 2011 at Yakima Training Center, Wash. Stryker crews with 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, are conducting crew gunnery qualification as a semi-annual requirement. By Sgt. Mark Miranda.

    OATLEY: As an engineer, you’re used to concrete facts and being totally objective—when you’re managing a team and handling many different issues, it can’t always be explained that way. It’s been challenging figuring out how to work with different personalities and to find a compromise between all the stakeholders and do what’s best for the Soldier. Finding a balance has been a challenge. I came in with the perspective of an engineer—very technical. But I quickly realized there are many more constraints. You have to know when it’s important to make a quick decision and when you need to do more analysis. Sometimes you just have to move forward with the best info available at that moment.

    FOTF: Is there any particular challenge you’ve been faced with that really sticks out in your mind?

    OATLEY: On the program side, we’ve had some technical issues that were challenging, but all in a day’s work. Changing the location of the contractor’s production line and subcontractors would be the most significant technical challenge with the program in recent years. It requires additional oversight and there’s also higher risk of damaged equipment. Another challenge was on the personnel side. For a number of years, we didn’t have a consistent government and contractor team due to turnover, retirements, etc. So, each year we had to train new people on the program’s needs. Despite the challenges, we’ve been successful.

    FOTF: Coming into the Army right out of college, what would you say to a student interested in a career in Army acquisition?

    OATLEY: The Army offers more opportunities than you’d originally think. While salary may seem lower initially than private sector, there’s so much more to working in the Army than in a private industry job. And you have a lot of opportunity for personal and professional development that you wouldn’t get elsewhere because the Army makes it a priority and has the ability to support you in that way. So if you think long-term, there are ways you can advance faster than in private industry. In my experience, you also have the ability to move around a little easier and explore areas of interest to you. I’ve been at Picatinny my entire career, but not within the same office. I started at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center working a couple of production programs and after two years, I saw an opportunity in the program management (PM) office and knew that was an area I wanted to pursue. While at the PM I’ve been able to work several programs and even took on a developmental assignment working in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition Logistics and Technology at the Pentagon.

    FOTF: Why did you join the Army? What is your greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army?

    OATLEY: I joined the Army as a civilian because it meant I would work on extremely interesting programs. Ammunition development isn’t something I was taught in college so it was exciting to learn something so completely different. I also joined because the Army offers a lot of professional development that other jobs weren’t offering at the time. And there was definitely a sense of working for a higher purpose that really attracted me to the position.

    My greatest satisfaction is when I talk to Soldiers about our ammunition and receive their feedback. The most satisfying moment occurred at a conference a few years ago when a young Soldier pointed to one of our bullets and said, “that round saved my life.” That moment really gave me perspective on why we do what we do—everyone who works on these programs should have that interaction. It made me proud to be part of the Army.

    FOTF: Do you have any family history of service?

    OATLEY: My grandfather was a Navy pilot and when he retired, he took a position in Watertown Arsenal, Mass. When Watertown Arsenal closed, he was reassigned to Picatinny, N.J. I never expected to be working here, but that’s where I ended up and it’s kind of funny it worked out that way.

    FOTF: What are your career aspirations?

    OATLEY: It’s hard to say sometimes [chuckles]…but I’d like to be a program manager, which is the path I’m pursuing at the moment.

    Link: http://www.pica.army.mil/MAS/Home.aspx


    • “Faces of the Force” is an online feature highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce. Produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication Division, and working closely with public affairs officers, Soldiers and Civilians currently serving in a variety of AL&T disciplines are featured every other week. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.

    Read more »