• 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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  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Soldier, now Army civilian, finds his place after 9/11

     

    By Tara Clements

     

    BACKGROUND
    After 20 years of military service as a U.S. Army Soldier, Jorge Caballero discovered what he wanted to do—program management. Caballero discovered his interest during his last job as a Soldier working for the Pentagon Renovation Program (PENREN) in August 2000, but found even greater clarity after 9/11.

    For Caballero, “9/11 changed everything.” On that day, just 20 minutes before the plane hit, he was working at the side of the building. After the attack, Caballero worked as the only noncommissioned officer in charge of the PENREN coordination cell for the Phoenix Project; named for the western side of the building that was hit and known for its aggressive goal to rebuild and fully restore the section within one year. The more Caballero learned about program management and the dedication involved, the more he found it was what he was meant to do.

    A few years and two masters’ degrees later, he joined the civil service in September 2005, working for the Information Technology System Product Office at the Pentagon, charged with modernizing IT infrastructure, applying new technology, and finding efficiencies during the Pentagon renovation. Caballero managed multiple projects in signature areas including the Pentagon Press Briefing Room and conference rooms for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of defense, to name a few.

    Colleague Bill Williams provides Caballero with an overview of a manhole distribution system project in Afghanistan. (PdM P2E courtesy photo)

    He currently serves as integrated product team lead, working for the Army’s Product Manager, Power Projection Enablers (PdM P2E) office within the Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS), charged with ensuring Soldiers across the globe have the communication infrastructure they need to be effective and complete their mission. Projects include managing the infrastructure requirements in areas such as indoor and outdoor networks, routers, switches, cable installs, electrical engineering, phone and online capabilities—just to name a few.

    His approach to success is simple and clear: “Everything is built on the give and take around teamwork—I am a firm believer in the three “C’s mantra”: Coordination, coordination, and coordination!”

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

    “Being part of a group of people putting their lives on the line, whether they’re in uniform, civilian or a badged contractor, to ensure that projects are completed—all while leaving their home and families—is compelling. No other job has that opportunity or gives the same profound sense of accomplishment.”

    CABALLERO: I oversee projects being executed by defense contractors and industry partners and ensure that the government receives what it’s invested in and that acquisition rules are followed. A major part of my job is to be ready to tackle any obstacles—so projects can move forward and be completed on time.

    FOTF: What kinds of obstacles do you face in your job?

    CABALLERO: I’m a firm believer in face-to-face meetings to resolve issues and overcome obstacles in a timely fashion. While I was in Kandahar, [Afghanistan], I was called to resolve an issue with a contract in Kabul since I was the only forward liaison for P2E. There was an issue with documentation and deliverables for a receiving command. By working together with all parties in person, and hearing the back stories that may not have been factored in or mentioned remotely, we were able to resolve the issue at hand, adjust processes in real time, and give that unit what was needed to do their job.

    A believer in teamwork, during Caballero’s (right) last deployment to Afghanistan in March 2012, he ensured Maj. Kyle McFarland, P2E assistant project manager (center) was set up for success to assume responsibility as the P2E liaison and served as a mentor to counterpart Adam Babin (left) who had been deployed with Caballero since January. (Photo by Dave Holmes, PdM P2E)

    Currently, I’m part of the [PEO EIS] Pacific team supporting Korea. When I first joined, a few of my projects were underfunded and behind schedule. The warfighter needed several capabilities, but several contract requirements weren’t funded. I was able to find the funding and move the project forward and deliver the necessary capabilities for the Soldier.

    FOTF: Where have you deployed?

    CABALLERO: I’ve actually deployed more as an Army civilian than I did as a Soldier. Since April 2011, I have deployed to Afghanistan two times for an average of three to five months at a time, and traveled several times after for shorter periods, in addition to visits to Kuwait. As an active duty Soldier, I deployed in support of the Gulf War.

    As much as I loved my military career, it’s a very different environment when deploying as a civilian employee. I’ve more of a varied mission as a civilian, and appreciate the flexibility to visit sites supporting the warfighter. Being able to travel back and forth from the field to my headquarters and back again allows for a more holistic viewpoint and can bring about a better understanding for everyone involved. My mission also allows me to share what is taking place in the field so leaders can understand all hardships and obstacles involved.

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

    CABALLERO: I enjoy the teamwork and camaraderie inherent in working for the Army, as well as working with industry partners. One of the most surprising and fulfilling things was to experience the teamwork and camaraderie while deployed to Afghanistan. Being part of a group of people putting their lives on the line, whether they’re in uniform, civilian or a badged contractor, to ensure that projects are completed—all while leaving their homes and families—is compelling. No other job has that opportunity or gives the same profound sense of accomplishment.

    The Tech Control Facility at Sharana, Afghanistan, is one of the many projects Caballero was involved with during his deployments. (PdM P2E courtesy photo)

    FOTF: What is the relationship like working with industry partners in an overseas environment?

    CABALLERO: When you’re in a foreign environment, especially a war zone, you’re all working towards the same mission. My job is to break any barriers that might exist so our contractors can do their job to the best of their abilities, and with the needed resources. I believe in maintaining a good rapport with our contract partners and customers working with PdM P2E and actively work to break through barriers to complete the overall mission of our organization.

    FOTF: What were some of your greatest challenges?

    CABALLERO: I don’t think everyone understands what the “acquisition” [career] is. I think we have a very well-trained acquisition workforce, especially contractors, but I think we need to do a better job to educate within the Army about what we do and what is involved in handling our roles. For example, if the requirement is to build a house, as the program manager, I know what is needed. I’ll build that house working with the experts and adjust only if necessary on contingency plans. In an era of shrinking budgets and limited personnel, we all need to be especially cautious of solicitation timeframes and requirements that are late and or poorly defined which will cost more in the long run.

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

    On his first deployment to Afghanistan as a civilian, Caballero accepts a challenge to take a physical fitness test with a Soldier from 335th (T) FWD, a main customer in SWA, noting that it was “one of the most enjoyable experiences I had in theater.” (PdM P2E courtesy photo)

    CABALLERO: When I retired from the Army in 2003, I spent two years as a contractor working on the Pentagon renovation project and fell in love with project management. I wanted to be able to make decisions and have the responsibility to be held accountable for projects. I felt I could work better for the taxpayer, ensuring that requirements were met and represent the government’s requests directly.

    The greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army has been the sense of camaraderie that is extended to the entire team. The Army cares about the civilians, supports camaraderie and collaboration, and demonstrates that especially well in a combat zone. Every day is an adventure, good and bad, and I’m always presented with a new challenge to tackle, learn and grow from.
     

    Related Links:
    PEO EIS
    PDM P2E
    Article: P2E achieves full operational capability of the main communications facility, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

     


    • “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.

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  • P2E Achieves Full Operational Capability of the Main Communications Facility, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

    MCF, Camp Arifjan
    The PdM P2E team achieved FOC for the MCF three days ahead of schedule and approximately $3 million under budget. (Photos courtesy PdM P2E)

    By Courtney N. Cashdollar

     

    FORT BELVOIR, Va. — The Product Manager Power Projection Enablers (PdM P2E) team, led by Lt. Col Mollie A. Pearson and Art Olson, achieved full operational capability (FOC) of the Main Communications Facility (MCF) on Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Dec. 28, 2013, three days ahead of schedule and approximately $3 million under budget.

    PdM P2E initiated the contract on Sept. 14, 2012. The project aimed to increase efficiency, performance, data security and command and control of the information technology (IT) environment on Camp Arifjan. The previous environment, a largely ad-hoc build without coordinated architecture, included a main data processing facility with several data storage sites that provided limited support for the increased volume of Soldiers, a high risk of data loss or corruption, insufficient maintenance support, and a lack of integrated data storage capability. Now, the IT environment is much more efficient, maximizes virtual applications and provides services to joint customers.

    PdM P2E MCF Team at Camp Arifjan
    The P2E team accomplished its mission despite austere working conditions inherent to the SWA region.

    DOD has been working toward a joint information environment (JIE), incorporating the separate networks within the DOD into a shared architecture. Expected to reach full capability between 2016 and 2020, the JIE will enable all DOD personnel to access the network from any approved device, anywhere they are, to get information securely and reliably. The JIE will provide full-spectrum support to the DOD in the operation, procurement, and maintenance of information technology systems.

    “The enhanced and modernized capabilities of the Camp Arifjan MCF provide forward capability to support JIE for the U.S. Central Command,” said Product Manager, Lt. Col Mollie Pearson. “The MCF computing environment provides the ability to deliver a standardized, agile and ubiquitous set of computing capabilities available to all authorized users as part of a services-based information enterprise.”

    MCF also supports strategic continuity of operations (COOP) initiatives for mission command nodes and serves as a prototype model to emulate and capture lessons learned across global strategic networks. It supports strategic diversity between Bahrain, Qatar and Camp Arifjan, and is a global access point in support of Defense Information Systems Administration (DISA) architecture as well.

    MCF Ribbon Cutting at Camp Arifjan
    Douglas Wiltsie, executive officer, PEO EIS, in civilian clothing and wielding scissors, and Brig. Gen. Christopher Kemp hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 14.

    “Without a doubt, the Camp Arifjan MCF will have a significant impact on laying the foundation for the JIE, as well as being a critical component for all of our future activities in the region,” said Douglas Wiltsie, executive officer, Program Executive Office-Enterprise Information Services (PEO EIS). “JIE is an important vision for DOD and requires seamless teamwork across the services to achieve success. We are already working with our partners across the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and DOD to make the incorporation of separate service networks into a shared architecture a reality, and the MCF is the first step,” he added.

    This $50 million, 20,000 square foot facility will serve as the hub for all voice, data and video-teleconferencing capabilities across Southwest Asia (SWA), including all 19 countries in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. The MCF project, including the migration of an entire communications facility, is the largest and most complex project ever completed by P2E. This important undertaking is critical not only to the region, but to the future DOD communications structure around the world. This project will increase efficiency, performance, data security and the command and control for the IT environment on Camp Arifjan and throughout SWA.

    CHALLENGES OVERCOME
    The heavy lifters of the PdM P2E MCF Team were on-site project lead Pam Warren; Contracting Officer’s Representative Rey Quebral; assistant project managers Maj. Kyle McFarland and Maj. Peter Moore; and PdM P2E SWA Director Mike Moseley. The team accomplished the mission despite austere working conditions inherent to the SWA region; long hours over holidays and weekends; an eight hour time difference from leadership and higher headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va.; and coordinating across multiple time zones to manage requirements, schedules and approvals from numerous stakeholders, including SWA Cyber Center; the 160th, 54th, and 335th Signal Commands; U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Central Command.

    “The MCF computing environment provides the ability to deliver a standardized, agile and ubiquitous set of computing capabilities available to all authorized users as part of a services-based information enterprise.”

    Additional challenges included a complex contract; a volatile military mission and political landscape in theater; coordination complexities because of multiple stakeholders and business areas; complex dependencies with receipt of equipment; and technical complexities involving power generation, cooling and capacity, services migration, and circuit cut-over from the old facility. Furthermore, six- to nine-month stakeholder rotations in theater, including three transitions in the leadership of the 335th Signal Command (Theater) (Provisional) throughout the life of the project, and the lack of flexibility to hire additional government personnel on the ground in theater challenged the continuity of operations.

    Awards Presentation
    Lt. Col Mollie Pearson, PdM P2E, with award winners Pam Warren, on-site project lead; Rey Quebral contracting officers’ representative, and Douglas Wiltsie, executive officer, PEO EIS at Camp Arifjan, Jan 14.)

    Finally, the team faced unforeseen disruptions including unplanned power outages, changes in policy that required the replacement of two thirds of the batteries for the uninterrupted power supply system before it could be certified, flooding and two fires on Camp Arifjan that detrimentally affected the schedule.

    “We are extremely proud of the challenging, arduous work accomplished by the team, especially by those on the ground in Kuwait,” said Pearson. “This complex project required dedication, the ability to bring teams together, and the ability to think outside the box to accomplish the mission—everyone involved exhibited these traits and I am awed by what they accomplished,” she added.

    MCF represents a significant step in enhancing the capabilities and capacity of IT service provision in SWA. This is also the first time since 1992 that the bulk of IT services emanate out of one facility, providing critical communications capabilities in support of coalition operations in Kuwait. The MCF will now connect thousands of Soldiers across SWA and the globe with increased efficiency, performance, data security and command and control of the information technology (IT) environment on Camp Arifjan.

    TEAM RECOGNITION
    Brig. Gen. Christopher Kemp, commander, 335th Signal Command (Theater) (Provisional), and Douglas Wiltsie, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 14 where they presented Department of the Army awards and PEO EIS coins to Warren and Quebral for their outstanding achievement throughout the duration of the project.

    “I am really proud of the work that the team did to accomplish this mission,” said Wiltsie.


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  • Faces of the Force

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    Army engineer powers remote bases

     

    By Steve Stark

     

    Steve Smith volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan from May 2012 to February 2013 as the government lead logistics manager for Project Manager Mobile Electric Power (PM MEP) Forward Theater Team to field the Army’s new advanced medium mobile power source and to serve as the contracting officer representative. Remarkably, he was the first representative from headquarters, PM MEP in Afghanistan. “Our equipment’s been out there,” he said, “but we didn’t have a presence out there from the project office.” The task was to establish a presence in theater and set conditions to “right-size” mobile electric power in support of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Teams’ (BCT) special operations village stability platforms and conventional forces outposts. “That’s why they asked me to go out there.”

    The right-sizing effort, called Operation Dynamo, initially for the 173rd Airborne’s BCTs, was an attempt to match the BCTs’ operational power equipment with the power they actually needed, which included new, highly fuel-efficient power generation, distribution and environmental-control equipment. In a sense, that operation was an experiment to see if it could be done as efficiently as PM MEP projected.

    The benefits would be manifold. More fuel-efficient military generators would require considerably less fuel, which meant a lower risk profile for the personnel who have to deliver fuel by greatly reducing the number of fuel resupply missions to remotely located bases. There were also large sustainment savings in the operation of these bases.

    The right-sizing program was a success, Smith said. How it was done—by factually assessing the power requirements of the units and analyzing many different variables and use cases, then creating a well-crafted plan to meet power, delivery and environmental controls, and then implementing the plan—ought to be Army doctrine, Smith said.

    Smith routinely coordinated for the reception, staging and integration of the advanced medium mobile power sources generator fielding in support of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Afghanistan.

    By giving Soldiers (and Marines) the power they needed, their quality of improved significantly, Smith said. “There are Soldiers out there that don’t have any power. They’re going day-to-day with nothing. The current [power] equipment they have out there is in poor condition. It’s been out there for the entire Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and [it’s in] ill repair, and we’re going out there and improving their quality of life 100 percent.”

    That, Smith said, “is job satisfaction. It’s what makes everything worth it. I want to provide whatever it takes to do the best job that I can do and make it better for somebody else out there. Those guys are living outside the wire. They’re running convoys, they’re doing combat operations. They’re in harm’s way constantly out there. And when they go back to their base at the end of their mission, they don’t want to go back and eat cold food and have cold showers. Their lives are on the line. They’re giving their all. When they get back from those missions, we want to make their quality of life as favorable as possible. If you give your all to help their quality of life, it makes you feel good.”

    PM MEP’s job of providing operational power to Soldiers and Marines isn’t just a matter of lining up a bunch of generators and dropping them off, either, he said. The right-sizing includes the modeling and simulation of a base’s power and infrastructure needs, and delivering a solution that fits that the base, including environmental equipment, which, Smith said, can be thought of as operational HVAC—or heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

    Smith is recognized by the Army’s Acquisition Executive, the Hon. Heidi Shyu in support of his contributions to Operation Dynamo earlier this year. (Photos courtesy of PM MEP)

    But the effort includes even more. “We’re not just going out there and giving it to them and then they’ve got it. We’re a phone call away. If they run into additional issues out there, they contact us, and we come over and we provide them assistance. No matter what it is, if it means bringing a piece of equipment in there or replacing an existing piece of equipment or a component, or they need additional training because they’ve got new personnel on board, we’re the total package, providing all of that. And they love us.”

    Neil Cooper, another acquisition professional deployed to Afghanistan to support PM MEP and featured in Faces of the Force last month, said that Smith “did a great job” of bringing him up to speed in country. For a while, Cooper said, they were the only two government people there for the MEP program. According to Smith, the deployment was the “experience of a lifetime” for Cooper who, unlike Smith, does not have a military background. His time in Afghanistan gave him an up-close-and-personal crash course in how the operational Army works, and a chance to work with the end user—the warfighter.

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

    “I want to provide whatever it takes to do the best job that I can do and make it better for somebody else out there.”

    SMITH: I recently returned from serving as a logistics management specialist with the PM MEP Medium Power Sources Team, providing tactical operational energy to Soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan.

    Simply put, it’s important because, without energy, servicemen and women’s lives are placed at greater risk; tactical capability and advantage is diminished; training and combat effectiveness is degraded; quality of life is reduced and mission accomplishment is no longer achievable.

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

    SMITH: Of my 32-plus years of active duty and civilian service, it’s been a remarkable journey of learning the acquisition process, beginning with where the capability is actually needed in the field, maintaining and sustaining weapon systems, to coming full circle back to the project office where solutions are developed, produced and deployed. I’ve recently returned from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of fielding a new generation of medium tactical power sources, the Advanced Medium Mobile Power Sources (AMMPS).

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

    SMITH: To serve, to make a positive difference in the lives of those I support. My greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army are the professional relationships, lasting, meaningful friendships and the experiences I have had the privilege to be a part of.
     


    • “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.

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  • Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Mechanical engineer’s ‘shock’ing deployment

     

    By Steve Stark

     

    Neil Cooper is an engineer who spent several months deployed to Afghanistan performing power assessments of austere base camps in support of Project Manager Mobile Electric Power (PM MEP) and its effort to “right size” mobile power equipment. In an unusual twist, Cooper deployed while he was an intern in the TARDEC [U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center] intern program. ”I was told they do not deploy interns but after some research I found it was possible,” he said in an interview. Prior to his deployment, he had been working on modeling and simulation of expeditionary contingency bases.

    Cooper was working two projects, designed to “investigate the implications of changes to systems and how they impact the logistic system and the resource demands of bases. The CBI [Contingency Base Infrastructure] effort’s initial focus was on 50, 300 and 1,000-Soldier bases. We modeled and simulated changes to these bases to see what effect changes to base systems would have on resource consumption using a system-of-systems approach.” In a framework developed by Sandia National Laboratories, he said, “we modeled laundry, vehicles, repair parts, repair times, generators and any kind of system we could with scientifically sound data,” that could affect resource consumption.

    “You can have many different systems, [included in the simulation] run it thousands of times and get a picture of how resources are used.” In effect, modeling and simulation, Cooper said, helps to validate or invalidate assumptions using vetted data—a crucial step in the planning effort. According to Cooper, the practice could significantly aid acquisition decisions, no matter what the system, by helping to evaluate and inform requirements in every aspect of acquisition. Then, when acquiring a system, the program would have real data that the system would meet the mission. “After modeling bases on their own, we began to look at how the changes to the sustainment concept or one base affect another base with the JOEI [Joint Operational Energy Initiative].

    “At a JOEI meeting at Fort Lee,” Cooper said, “we saw an operational needs statement (ONS) stating that the way we do power distribution at contingency bases is inefficient, and there is a lack of a champion tasked with optimizing bases. I expressed to my supervisor an interest in working on this. I wanted to work on a project using my experience to directly improve things for the warfighter.” While he was working with JOEI, Cooper said, his supervisor was on a telephone conference in which it came up that PM MEP needed a volunteer to go to Afghanistan to help fulfill this ONS, “So I volunteered.”

    He got a week’s worth of training on “military generators, power distribution and environmental control equipment, and the software to determine the right sized generators and distribution systems you need along with the best way to hook them up,” he said. Then he went to Bagram, Afghanistan to help units quantify their energy consumption, and provide support in upgrading their assets from older commercial units to newer, more efficient and supportable military equipment.

    “… the thing that surprises me the most is how little the American public knows about our world. We are the largest employer in the world but most of the general public has no idea about what we do and how the government acquisition system works.”

    Helping units right-size and optimize their generation not only helps reduce logistics burdens, it also improves the quality of life for the Soldiers, Cooper said. The improvement in quality of life included replacing broken air conditioning equipment and sizing it correctly so it works like it should. “Reducing the logistics footprint,” Cooper went on, provides additional help to Soldiers because it “translates to fewer convoys transporting fuel and equipment, which translates to fewer to fewer Soldiers being placed in harm’s way.”

    In his position, Cooper designed plans for power, distribution and environmental equipment for expeditionary bases, including small special operations “village stability platform” bases that often support fewer than 50 people. Designing the grids, he said, means “determining the best way to design the power grids on expeditionary bases so that generators are used as efficiently as possible and all systems get the power they need.”

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

    A Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion, a heavy-lift cargo helicopter, delivers a replacement generator to a contingency base in Afghanistan. Throughout his deployment, Cooper helped units right-size and optimize power grids to increase generator efficiency and ensure all base systems get the power they needed. (Photos by Neil Cooper)

    COOPER: I support the force by providing engineering support to PM MEP, which is fielding the latest generation of tactical mobile electric power and environmental control units. These units are more efficient and supportable than legacy units that have been in use by the troops in Afghanistan. At many bases, equipment has been added and removed over time creating inefficient power grids with little attention being paid to the operational energy aspects of these actions. U.S. Forces – Afghanistan has recognized the issue and created multiple operational needs statements to address it.

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

    COOPER: My experience has been great and has taught me many things. As an intern and co-op, I’ve worked as a staff engineer in a program executive office; a program engineer for a product manager of a Milestone C program; an engineer on a Pre-Milestone A program; and in Afghanistan as power assessment engineer working directly with Soldiers and Marines in their operational environments directly supporting and improving their capabilities to operate.

    Stopping to reflect on this, the thing that surprises me the most is how little the American public knows about our world. We [the Army] are the largest employer in the world, but most of the general public has no idea about what we do and how the government acquisition system works.

    FOTF: Why did you go to work for the Army? What is your greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army?
    COOPER: I began working for the Army in 2010 as a co-op [in what is now the Presidential Pathways Internship program] halfway through earning an engineering degree. At a job fair, I met someone from TARDEC, and she asked me to send her my resume. Three or four months later the phone rang asking me to come in for an interview. They presented me with an offer I couldn’t refuse: “We will pay for the rest of your college and, also, if you do a good job, offer you a job on graduation.” At the time, I had no real grasp of how large the world of government acquisition was and, over the years, I’ve gained a great appreciation for how much our acquisition workforce is capable of accomplishing and how much we help the warfighter by developing and fielding so many different items that affect every aspect of his or her life and how we are always striving to provide better materiel support to the force.

    Cooper’s convoy travels through the Afghanistan terrain on its way to a contingency base earlier this year. Cooper visited several bases in support of Operation Dynamo to maximize energy efficiency, reduce the logistics footprint, and improve the quality of life for Soldiers.

    FOTF: What was your deployment like?

    COOPER: I deployed to Afghanistan from January to June this year. I was based out of Bagram for a couple weeks and then in the remote Paktika province from mid-January through the end of February. I went back to Bagram for a week before going to Camp Leatherneck in March through the end of June. In that time, there was a lot of bouncing around to small bases in the area. Volunteering to go, my thoughts were to do something like this while I’m young without any serious responsibilities at home.

    Before traveling to Afghanistan, the threat was a concern. While there is a threat present, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. Also, the living conditions were better than expected. I envisioned living in a tent and eating MREs, [meals ready-to-eat] but it was more like living in a bloc apartment complex at the beginning. It was interesting and a good opportunity to gain experience.

    FOTF: What was your most memorable day?

    COOPER: The day I found out the first VSP [village stabilization platform expeditionary base] power grid design-and-push package I created on my own worked. It’s kind of an architectural diagram of power, distribution and environmental equipment for something like a small campus. We sent it out to our guys and they would call every day and give us a status, and the design succeeded. That was a good day.


    • “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.

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  • Army completes migration to DOD Enterprise Email

    Personnel at the Defense Information Systems Agency command center at Fort George G. Meade, Md., March 13, 2013, keep constant watch over global operational networks and computing centers. This enabled the Department of Defense Enterprise Email system to reach one million users March 12, 2013. Reaching this milestone meant that DEE became one of the largest independent e-mail systems in the world. (DoD photo by Thomas L. Burton/Released)

    By Margaret McBride

     

    WASHINGTON — The Army successfully completed the bulk of its migration to one of the Army’s highest priority IT initiatives, DOD Enterprise Email, at the end of July.

    Army users can now access their email securely from anywhere in the world at any time.

    This effort began in January 2011 and improves operational effectiveness, security, and efficiency. Before migration, the Army spent considerable resources managing and securing disparate legacy email systems.

    More than 1.43 million Army users migrated on the unclassified Non-classified Internet Protocol (IP) Router Network, or NIPRNet, and 115,000 users on the classified Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, or SIPRNet. This includes Active Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Army Medical Command, and Army civilians and contractors. The Joint Staff, Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, U.S. Africa Command, and U.S. European Command have also migrated to DOD Enterprise Email, or DEE.

    “I want to thank our mission partners around the world who helped us reach this milestone,” said Mike Krieger, the Army’s Deputy Chief Information Officer/G-6. “It’s been a learning experience for all of us, the Army, the Defense Information Systems Agency, Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM, the Defense Manpower Data Center, industry, and other IT professionals.”

    DISA, the service provider, hosts the DEE’s cloud-based email, calendars, and supporting global address list, or GAL. The Defense Manpower Data Center provides a data feed to the GAL.

    With enterprise email, the Army greatly increases management and control of IT resources and improves execution and performance of IT services. The DEE also eliminates inefficient network configurations and many administrative costs, freeing resources for other priorities.

    The Army is saving $76 million in fiscal year 2013 and expects to save $380 million through 2017.

    DEE is the first DOD service to use a single authoritative identity management capability that is foundational for moving to other IT enterprise services such as collaboration, content management, and an enterprise service desk. Identity credentials embedded in Common Access Card, or CAC, and public key infrastrure, or PKI, cards guarantee the identity of all DOD personnel and greatly improve security.

    More than 43,000 participants from across the Army are currently participating in the Enterprise Content Management and Collaboration Services, or ECMCS, pilot. Begun in May 2013 and running through January 2014, the pilot is evaluating content management and records management services using the DOD Enterprise Portal Service, a DISA hosted and managed solution for enterprise collaboration. The pilot will inform an acquisition decision for enterprise services.

    The Army also plans to roll out Unified Capabilities, or UC, the integration of real-time communication services that include finding people online and communicating instantaneously over text, voice, and video. UC bridges the gap between Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, and other computer-related communications technologies. A request for proposal is planned for fiscal year 2014.

    “We are leveraging lessons learned as we implement other enterprise services,” said Krieger. “We’ve still got plenty of work left to institutionalize DEE and enterprise services in general.”

    The Army DEE team has shifted to sustainment operations, continuous improvement through performance metrics, and re-engineering enterprise business processes. In addition, the team is migrating personnel who had deferrals or extensions.


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  • Product Manager Power Projection Enablers support retrograde operations in Southwest Asia

    By Erin E. Rusnak and Aurora V. Speed

     

    A recent DOD report estimates that more than 750,000 major end items, worth in excess of $36 billion remain in Afghanistan, much of which must be brought back to the United States by the end of 2014. The sheer amount and value of equipment make this operation one of the largest retrograde efforts in U.S. military history. Over the past several months, the Power Projection Enablers (P2E) program has been heavily involved in mission support for the return of a portion of that staggering number of end items.

    The proof of success is a recorded increase in lateral transfers for repurposed IT equipment for SWA valued at $53 million.

    Overview for Success
    To meet this demand, P2E organized an integrated logistics support (ILS) team to operate throughout Southwest Asia (SWA). The ILS team inventoried and marked for repurpose approximately $16.8 million worth of IT equipment throughout the region, with the bulk of the equipment consolidated in Afghanistan. The ILS team was chartered to work quickly, and within a six-month period identified, inventoried, loaded, shipped and re-issued myriad serviceable IT equipment sets to the troops in Afghanistan.

    Major IT equipment serving entire installations was arranged for lateral transfer. Most notably, the 335th Signal Command (Theater) (Provisional) at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, employed transferred equipment to support the Theater Enterprise Capabilities (TEC) effort and to provide strategic connectivity throughout SWA.

    The Methodology
    Working in a decentralized manner, the ILS team created detailed property accountability checklists and particularized instructions for warehouse personnel to refine IT equipment maintenance and management accountability. With this resolution of detail, the warehouse personnel can better maintain stored equipment, allowing for faster re-inventory, repurpose and reissue.

    Further, the ILS team worked to improve customer service and continuously refined their training program for everyone from warehouse personnel through to the unit logistics personnel to ensure a shared understanding of the ILS process for re-purposed IT equipment. The ILS team has established a reputation among its customers for good communication that begins with the first phone call and continues through the required customer briefing and process orientation meetings to the training sessions, which often find attendance levels at 100 percent participation. The proof of success is a recorded increase in lateral transfers for repurposed IT equipment for SWA valued at $53 million.

    The Mission Continues
    Continuing its work throughout SWA, the ILS team assists organizations to offset costs by repurposing and, in some cases, salvaging IT equipment. Recently, ILS worked with the U.S. Air Force to provide a large shipment of equipment including computer servers, switches and routers, netting $3.1 million in cost savings.

    The sheer amount and value of equipment make this [retrograde] operation one of the largest retrograde efforts in U.S. military history.

    In Kuwait, the ILS team located 17 large shipping containers filled with surplus IT equipment that was inventoried, updated and then repurposed for use in the Main Control Facility (MCF), a five-year, multimillion dollar P2E project in SWA that will soon be the region’s largest theater hub for voice, data and video services. The work of the ILS team in Kuwait re-purposed $2.5 million worth of equipment for the MCF.

    Postured for Success
    Continuously evolving, the ILS team is enhancing productivity and conducting process improvement checks along the way. The team developed a matrix to identify ILS support to the various directorates, area product managers and their customers. The matrix outlines each area by specialty asset and field management support expert. This document is then provided to the customer so that the organization has a person it can call upon for accountability and support.

    This communication and tracking of goods and services ensures successful repurposing of equipment and cost savings to the customer. The P2E ILS team will continue operating in SWA for the foreseeable future and, following the established Afghanistan drawdown plan, will work to repurpose all surplus IT equipment in theater.


    • Erin E. Rusnak is the initiatives coordinator at Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS), PdM P2E, Fort Belvoir, VA. She received her bachelor’s in business administration, from Youngstown State University, OH and is Level 1 certified in Program Management (PM).

      Aurora V. Speed is the chief of integrated logistics support, PEO EIS PdM P2E, at Fort Belvoir, VA. She received her bachelor’s of in business management, from National Louis University, and her master’s in quality systems management, from National Graduate School. She is also Level 2 certified in PM and Level 1 certified in Life Cycle Logistics.


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  • AcqBusiness rolls out the Army Acquisition Dashboard

    BUSINESS (or ACQUISITION) INTELLIGENCE
    The AAD provides Army acquisition leaders with critical data from all levels including associated assessments, contracts, funding, risks, and schedules that provides consistent program data across the acquisition community.

    By Carla Faison

     

    FORT BELVOIR, Va. – For the last year and a half, the AcqBusiness program office has been hard at work prototyping, developing and piloting an executive dashboard to support the Army acquisition community. The Army Acquisition Dashboard (AAD) provides Army acquisition leaders with critical data from the program executive office level down to the program level including associated assessments, contracts, funding, risks, and schedules.

    The goal is to leverage outputs from existing authoritative data sources to allow for consistent views across programs to Acquisition community senior leadership.

    “The Army Acquisition Dashboard introduces a fundamental change to how Army Acquisition Leaders manage and convey information,” said Mr. Douglas Wiltsie, program executive officer, Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS), “Not only will this dashboard dramatically reduce the administrative overhead associated with preparing monthly or quarterly PowerPoint briefings, it will also provide senior leadership with ubiquitous access to critical acquisition information when they need it.”

    The AAD was developed in response to a request from the Honorable Heidi Shyu, the Army acquisition executive and assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology (ASA(ALT)). Dashboards permits users to access raw data through a user-friendly computer interface, combining authoritative data from many functional areas with custom data visualization. This visualization allows leaders to advance directly to decision making.

    The AAD’s capability needs statement was developed in August of 2011, initiating a series of prototype demonstrations with Army acquisition leaders. The feedback gathered during these demonstrations incorporated the needs of acquisition leaders and helped to fine tune the dashboard.

    “Not only will this dashboard dramatically reduce the administrative overhead associated with preparing monthly or quarterly PowerPoint briefings, it will also provide senior leadership with ubiquitous access to critical acquisition information when they need it.”

    In October of 2012, PEO EIS and AcqBusiness provided a status briefing and a live demonstration on the progress of the AAD’s development to acquisition leadership. The briefing highlighted AcqBusiness’ recent accomplishments to include the consolidation of portals and the reduction in servers, and key time and cost drivers for the AAD effort. Following the approval to move forward, the AAD was released on a limited basis in late October and then made available to a wider community of acquisition professionals in December 2012.

    The initial release of AAD made available to end users all acquisition category (ACAT) I data for executive summary reporting on Army programs. ASA(ALT) is currently developing a policy and timeline to extend data reporting to include other Army programs. The ultimate goal is to have data for ACAT I, II and III programs available in the AAD and to conduct Army program reviews from the AAD rather than from manually-generated PowerPoint slides.

    AcqBusiness continues to add capabilities and new information from authoritative sources as data becomes available. Training opportunities are available via the calendar tab on the Army Acquisition Business Enterprise Portal (AABEP).

    To request access to the AAD, go to AABEP at https://acqdomain.army.mil and click on the “request access” link next to the “Army Acquisition Dashboard” link on the landing page.


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  • CHESS Adds Tablets and Slates for Consolidated Buy

    Leveraging the Army’s buying power, CHESS, the Army's designated primary source for procurement of commercial off-the-shelf information technology (IT) products, now makes tablets and slates available through its online ordering system, IT e-mart. (Image by David Baker, PEO EIS)

    Michael Dorsey

    The Project Director Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software, and Solutions (CHESS) opened the 15th Consolidated Buy (CB) for ordering June 18 with the announcement that tablets and slates are now available to all government organizations purchasing desktops, notebooks, and printers during CB-15. The ordering period runs through Sept. 30.

    Tablets offer a highly mobile platform that performs similar to laptops but weighs less and has touch-screen capability. Slates—smaller tablets with touch-screen imprint—are also being offered. Customers can choose from eight tablets and slates.

    Tablets offer a highly mobile platform that performs similar to laptops but weighs less and ha touch-screen capability. Slates—smaller tablets with touch-screen imprint—will also be offered. Customers can choose from eight tablets and slates.

    What distinguishes the tablets and slates offered in CB-15 is their ability to meet network standards and run the Microsoft Windows-based Army Golden Master. This means they can connect to the Army network, process For Official Use Only documents, and obtain standard security patches.

    The CB-15 is open to all government agencies and employees eligible to buy from CHESS, the Army-mandated purchasing program.

    For more information on the tablets and slates, go to https://CHESS.army.mil. For information on purchases by individual government employees through the Government Employees Purchase Program, click on “Resources.”

    CHESS has also established an Army Knowledge Online page where customers can review
    benchmark information for CB desktops and notebooks.

    The CB program offers substantial savings regardless of the quantities procured. CB products and prices are available on the CHESS website in the online comparison tool and in a downloadable spreadsheet file, making it easy for customers to compare products and prices by category and assess all eight Army Desktop and Mobile Computing 2 vendor product offerings.

     


    • MICHAEL DORSEY is the Strategic Communications Officer for CHESS within Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) at Fort Belvoir, VA. He holds a B.A. in communication studies from the University of Maryland. Dorsey is also a graduate of the U.S. Defense Information School. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran with more than 20 years’ experience in military public affairs.

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  • CHESS Saves Millions in Oracle Licenses and Maintenance

    Organizations that benefit from CHESS involvement in enterprise licensing agreements include AMC and users of the General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS), the Army’s new Web-enabled financial, asset, and accounting management system. GFEBS uses commercial-off-the-shelf software in transforming how the Army does business. (U.S. Army photo)

    Robert Grasso

    Project Director Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software, and Solutions (CHESS) has awarded an Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) for Oracle licenses and maintenance that consolidates more than 250 existing maintenance contracts across Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) and U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC), avoiding at least $10 million in costs and potentially as much as $50 million when taking into account contractual administration and other issues.

    The ELA, awarded May 29, affords all PEO EIS programs and AMC organizations the unlimited use of 11 licensed products, quantity buys for an additional eight products, and discounts on others.

    The Oracle product mix is based on the most commonly used products across PEO EIS and AMC, including Database Enterprise Edition, Advanced Security, WebLogic Suite, Real Application Clusters, Partitioning Identity and Access Management, Management Suite Plus Database Lifecycle, Management Pack, Diagnostics Pack, Tuning Pack, Spatial Business Intelligence, and the Server Enterprise Edition.

    The ELA consolidates existing Oracle maintenance agreements into one agreement with a standardized period of performance of Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 for each year of the performance period.

    All licenses will be owned, with a set amount for maintenance on licenses moving forward. The agreement should resolve any current compliance issues for the 11 ELA products. Overall benefits also include providing stable, locked-in prices for accurate budgeting, and a drastic reduction of administrative costs for tracking and monitoring the metrics.

    Further, the first Army-managed SharePoint licensing portal tracker is being created to allow ease of issuance and tracking.

     


    • ROBERT GRASSO is Deputy Project Director Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software, and Solutions. Grasso holds a B.S. in business from Monmouth University and an M.B.A. from Florida Institute of Technology. He is Level III certified in contracting and program management.

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