• Tobyhanna lands Gray Eagle Ground Control Station repairs

    Repairs on the Ground Control Stations for Gray Eagle (MQ-1C) UAS are scheduled to begin at Tobyhanna Army Depot in FY16. (U.S. Army photo)


    By Justin Eimers


    TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. — The Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy have named Tobyhanna the Depot Source of Repair (DSOR) for the Gray Eagle (MQ-1C) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Ground Control Stations (GCSs).

    The decision by the four services’ Maintenance Interservice Support Management Offices recognizes the depot as the installation best suited for these repairs.

    “Through the acquisition process, there is a lot of assessment that takes place, including core logistics analyses that look at our capabilities,” said Nick Caprioli, chief of the Business Development Division. “Tobyhanna was selected based on infrastructure, training and technical expertise for this type of work.”

    Repair work will begin in FY16 with 19 GCSs scheduled per year, totaling more than 75 systems through FY18.

    The Gray Eagle system is a long-range, high-altitude UAS that provides the capability to perform wide-area reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition. It is also capable of relaying communications and can be equipped for attack missions. The system consists of the aircraft, GCS, data terminals and data links. Each GCS controls one Gray Eagle aircraft and is used by the operator to perform command and control, payload control and weapon launch operations.

    Because of their complexity, Gray Eagle systems and components are currently replaced rather than repaired, exhausting money and resources. Depot personnel are developing cost-effective solutions to repair GCSes and increase capability. Tobyhanna recognizes that the assignment of this DSOR will enable the depot to be selected for additional DSORs for UAS equipment.

    Katlin Edmunds, business development specialist, noted that revamping the DSOR decision process will also help substantially reduce costs and bring more UAS work to the depot.

    “DSOR selection helps ensure effective use of commercial and organic depot maintenance resources,” she said. “We have been aggressively trying to streamline processes, find inefficiencies and figure out the best way to accommodate new UAS workloads.”

    Based on trends in the market, business management analysts anticipate that UAS will be the depot’s largest commodity in the future. As the only Army depot involved in the integrated product team (IPT) for Air Force and Army UAS, Tobyhanna is well positioned to receive workloads for additional UAS component repairs. The IPT is working with Tobyhanna to identify the need for any new test equipment, facilitation or training necessary for additional UAS work.

    “Part of the planning process to bring in this workload is to have our engineers work with the program offices to make sure our capabilities are sufficient to provide the best solution for everybody involved,” said Caprioli. “The depot’s all-hands-on-deck approach to secure this DSOR selection has helped to increase our marketability and should open doors for future UAS workloads.”

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  • Zardecki secures highest DoD civilian employee award

    Zardecki, resident of Cresco, Pa. and Tobyhanna Army Depot Deputy Commander accepted the 58th Annual Distinguished Civilian Service Award during a ceremony in the Pentagon on Nov. 18.

    By Jacqueline Boucher


    TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. — A winner of this year’s Defense Department’s highest civilian employee award could be described as a product of evolution.

    Deputy Commander Frank Zardecki, whose unwavering commitment to Tobyhanna Army Depot has ensured its position as a leader within the Army’s organic industrial base, accepted the 58th Annual Distinguished Civilian Service Award during a ceremony at the Pentagon on Monday.

    “Frank’s achievements exemplify the highest standards of public service,” said Col. Gerhard P.R. Schröter, depot commander. “He devotes his career to individual and organizational excellence and inspires others to settle for nothing less.”

    Armed with a long-term vision and the ability to affect change, Zardecki is guided by a mission that is integral to the accomplishments of the joint warfighter, depot employees and local communities.

    “The importance of what we do demands success,” Zardecki said, adding that he maintains high expectations for himself and the depot. “Leaders must be willing to change with the times and technology to set the stage for future generations.”

    Personnel familiar with Zardecki’s leadership style are witness to his initiatives to transform depot maintenance from traditional repair and overhaul facilities into networks of technology and sustainment in the organic industrial base, enhancing joint warfighter readiness.

    “From a mission perspective, it is primarily ensuring that we produce high-quality equipment and services at the lowest cost to our customers,” Zardecki said. “Equally important to me is ensuring the long-term viability of the depot and posturing ourselves for the future.”

    In a letter, CECOM commanding general Maj. Gen. Robert Ferrell “wholeheartedly” recommended Zardecki for the civilian service award. During the nomination process, the general spoke highly of the deputy commander’s years of service to the nation.

    “Frank has significantly contributed to Defense Department depot maintenance evolution and transformation throughout his 50-year career,” he said. “His vision has led to dramatic changes in logistics processes and structure, improving readiness and delivery of products and services to all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.”
    The general also pointed out that as a “widely-recognized” leader in the DoD maintenance community, Zardecki exemplifies the highest level of civilian service. “He is a critical member of the CECOM team and deserving of this prestigious award.”

    Several events have charted the course of Zardecki’s career; first as an active-duty member of the Air Force, then as an entry level employee at Tobyhanna. His steady climb through the ranks culminated with the depot’s top civilian post; each job progressively increased his reputation for innovative approaches to depot-level repair of communications electronics equipment.

    Zardecki’s expertise in depot operations and maintenance policies is a commodity often sought by organizations throughout the DoD. A long list of special assignments, task forces, study groups and panels is testament to his willingness to foster improvements in depot maintenance and logistics support.

    “Leaders must be willing to change with the times and technology to set the stage for future generations.”

    Highlights of a decades-long career include serving as the avionics representative for the Army on Inter-Service studies, a tour at the former Depot Systems Command (DESCOM) to participate in the Logistics 81 study, and the strength of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s standing with Tobyhanna during the Base Realignment and Closure years.
    Ideas that came to fruition during the course of Zardecki’s career include the adoption of new approaches to enhance mission performance that led to the Army Materiel Command’s confidence in selecting Tobyhanna as the pilot depot for implementing the Logistics Modernization Program in fiscal 2003.

    Plus, there was a logistics transformation initiative that included the expansion from a facility in Northeast Pennsylvania to a global enterprise of 70 forward repair sites, including Southwest Asia, that provide on-site support at U.S. Army installations as well as to U.S. Army units deployed for overseas contingency operations.

    “As an individual you can make a difference,” Zardecki said. “It takes commitment, hard work, perseverance and the courage of your convictions.”
    The DoD Distinguished Civilian Service Award is the highest honor given by the Secretary of Defense to a DoD career civilian. It is presented in an annual ceremony to a small number of DoD civilian employees whose service reflects exceptional devotion to duty and extremely significant contributions of a broad scope to the efficiency, economy or improvement in the operation of the department.

    Ashton Carter, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, will present the awards to the eight recipients; Zardecki is one of two Army winners.
    This award recognizes career employees at all levels for their exceptional achievements and honors performance characterized by extraordinary, notable or prestigious contributions that impact the DoD as a whole.

    Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department’s largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna’s missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.

    About 3,700 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command’s mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.

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  • Depot, DLA target excess, dormant material for disposal

    Henry Klimek, rigger worker, DLA Distribution Tobyhanna, checks the readiness condition of military assets held in storage at Tobyhanna Army Depot. (Photo by Kimberly Appel)

    By Jacqueline Boucher


    TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. — For years, military assets have moved in and out of Tobyhanna Army Depot at the direction of customers from every branch of the service.

    Tobyhanna has partnered with DLA Distribution Tobyhanna, a tenant organization here, since the early 1990s to receive, store and issue a wide range of military systems. Over time, materiel has accumulated in outside storage areas, resulting in rows of excess equipment and dormant stock taking up space that could be used to store new revenue-generating workload.

    Members of a Lean Six Sigma team, representing the depot and DLA, conducted a rapid improvement event (RIE) and earmarked more than 100 items for disposal — an effort that will clear in excess of 48,000 square feet of space—about the size of a football field.

    Military systems are normally repaired and returned to the customer or placed in storage until needed to meet mission requirements.

    “We’re pleased with the outcome of the event,” said Kimberly Appel, process improvement specialist, Productivity, Improvement, and Innovation Directorate. “We’ve got the support of the services buying in and getting rid of dormant stock.”

    Within three years, the Communications Electronics Command (CECOM) has reduced stock stored here by nearly 40 percent, according to Bryant Anderson, CECOM Field Office chief.

    “This was a long overdue event,” Anderson said. “Accurate property accountability records are vitally important in order to make appropriate disposition decisions.”

    He explained that some of the assets targeted by the team were not on record, which made it more difficult to determine disposition.
    The removal of items from the installation is a complex and lengthy process, and it could take up to 18 months to complete. Part of the process even includes other services bidding on the items before disposal.

    Item managers direct the disposition of materiel by submitting a disposal requisition, which DLA Distribution Tobyhanna and DLA Disposition will execute upon receipt. Tobyhanna manages special handling requirements, i.e. hazardous materiel and demilitarization (DEMIL) efforts. All funding is provided by the customer, according to Appel.

    Anderson pointed out that despite everything involved in divesting assets, eliminating unneeded stock from storage is a relatively easy way to avoid extraneous costs.

    Officials here have provided written requests for disposition instructions to individual item managers, along with photographs showing the condition of the assets. Included in the correspondence is a report listing projected storage costs for the next 10 years, estimated costs of disposal, plus the amount of money already spent on storage fees.

    “We’re hoping the customers will agree with what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Arlene Scutt, distribution facility specialist for warehousing for DLA. She noted that the assets identified for disposal are considered major end items — shelters, humvees, vans and cargo trailers.

    The goal of the RIE was to reduce dormant stock and assets found on the installation by 25 percent. The team identified assets for disposal, resulting in a cost avoidance of $255,509.

    “CECOM and DLA Disposition were immediately able to dispose of 7,699 square feet during the Lean event,” Appel said.

    DLA uses supply condition codes to classify materiel in terms of readiness for issue and use, or to identify actions underway to change the status of materiel. When materiel is determined by DLA to be in excess of approved stock levels or no longer serviceable, it uses supply condition codes A (issuable to all customers without limitation or restriction) through H (not serviceable and to be destroyed) and S (not serviceable and to be scrapped) to reflect materiel condition prior to turn-in to DLA Disposition.

    In addition, DEMIL codes are assigned to an item by the item manager when all military presence or function needs be removed from a system.

    “It was great to see the partnership of the two agencies working hard to provide better support to the warfighter,” said Keith Weinschenk, lead process improvement specialist. “Problems were identified as a team and solved as a team.”

    Tobyhanna Army Depot is DOD’s largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna’s missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.

    About 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of CECOM. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command’s mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.

    For more information, go to http://www.tobyhanna.army.mil.

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  • Tobyhanna Army Depot Earns Shingo Silver Medallion

    Jeff O’Neill, Chief of the Mini-MUTES Branch at Tobyhanna Army Depot, explains improvements to the overhaul process to Shingo examiners, who were interested in all facets of the operation, including support shops such as the Component Preparation Branch and employee morale programs. (U.S. Army photos by Tony Medici)

    Anthony Ricchiazzi

    The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) is preparing for an environment of budgetary restraint, and the employees at CECOM’s Tobyhanna Army Depot, PA, have put to use an effective weapon in DOD’s war on waste: the proven operations strategy known as Lean Six Sigma (LSS). Depot employees wield that weapon so well that they have earned their first Shingo Silver Medallion, and sixth Shingo medallion overall, for improved support of a weapon system used to train aircrews to avoid threats.

    The Shingo prize recognizes world-class organizations for creating a culture of continuous improvement through employee empowerment and effective leadership. Increased efficiency and decreased cost for the AN/MST-T1 (V) Mini-MUTES (Miniature – Multiple Threat Emitter System) overhaul mission earned the prize. The Mini-MUTES is an Identify Friend or Foe tracking and training simulator that provides realistic threat signals for pilots and aircrews.

    “The Mini Mutes Team has worked very hard for several years to improve all aspects of their support for our Air Force customers,” said Robert Katulka, Director, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance. “The Shingo Prize recognition is well-deserved and indicative of the culture of continuous improvement we need to foster and continue to grow. The entire depot team should be very proud of their accomplishments; I know I am.”

    Shingo examiners ask Electronics Mechanic Brian Medwetz about a process that is part of the Tobyhanna Army Depot’s support for the Mini-MUTES overhaul mission.

    Savings achieved from implementing LSS methods in the Mini-MUTES mission was $2.8 million in FY11 and a cost avoidance of $1.53 million since FY05. This, coupled with a 50 percent decrease in repair cycle time, results in warfighters’ receiving critical command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems faster at reduced cost.

    “We are very pleased with Tobyhanna’s support of the Mini-MUTES system,” said Lt Col Jesse F. Warren, Chief, Combat and Mission Support Branch, Hill Air Force Base, UT. “Tobyhanna’s process improvements translate to greater availability of systems for warfighter training. Providing high-quality threat systems for aircrew training is a team effort, and Tobyhanna’s efforts are critical to the team’s success.”


    • ANTHONY RICCHIAZZI is a Public Affairs Specialist at Tobyhanna Army Depot, where he serves as Editor of the depot’s newspaper, The Tobyhanna Reporter. He holds a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he also minored in writing. Ricchiazzi is the recipient of two Commander’s Awards for Civilian Service and two Achievement Medals for Civilian Service, as well as several Keith L. Ware journalism and newspaper awards.

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