Monthly Archives

December 2012

Redstone Test Center logo

Future looks bright for Redstone Test Center

By | General

Ashley Crick

 

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – The Redstone Test Center celebrated a successful 2012 with new capabilities, facilities, and a committed work force.

In 2012, the center improved its test capabilities by adding more than $13 million in new and modified facilities. These include a new Climatic Multi-Chamber Test Facility, an aviation parts storage facility, an aircraft parking area, a reconstruction of the Tactical Test Facility, entry control point facility, a transient test facility and an aircraft towpath just to name a few.

Additionally, the center worked with the Garrison Department of Public Works by inspecting more than 300 RTC-managed facilities and participated in two Garrison Area Development Plans and three Military Construction Projects. The center also worked with the Naval Construction Battalion Two-Four to provide valuable training opportunities on more than a dozen projects which in return provided $150,000 of services to sustain RTC facilities.

The five subordinate directorates of RTC continued to provide outstanding support to the war fighter in 2012.

The Aviation Flight Test Directorate continued to ensure safety and reliability for the Army’s aircraft inventory. AFTD provided more than 350,000 maintenance man-hours in support of approximately 2,000 test events that included in excess of 5,500 aircraft flight hours with 200 highly trained and experienced personnel.

The Flight Test Control Center, which supports the tracking of two separate and simultaneous flight tests, was completed in April 2012 and represents the final major project to be completed as part of the BRAC relocation from Fort Rucker. AFTD also designed and developed a highly automated and mobile Field Equivalent Bar Target and successfully tested the most recent version of the Common Missile Warning System aircraft survivability equipment.

The Systems Engineering Directorate continued to establishing their role as “force multipliers” for the RTC test mission. A number of highly qualified systems engineers provided horizontal coordination and integration for more than 473 test projects including leading Integrated Project Teams for critical programs such as Aviation Survivability Equipment and Force Protection Systems. SED also provided program support and technical expertise for more than 50 test customers.

The Environmental & Component Test Directorate, responsible for developing and conducting environmental testing on weapon systems, completed two new facilities — the Tactical Test Facility and the new Multi-Chamber Facility. ECTD supported multiple tests which included the Orbus 1A motor qualification test, Shadow Unmanned Aerial System E3 Qualification Test and participated in the Coalition Attack Guidance Experiment II Coalition-Level Test Experiment.

The Missiles & Sensors Test Directorate continued to be the source of the many “booms” on Redstone Arsenal. The Propulsion Test Division coordinated with the Air Force Research Lab to conduct static firing tests of four ATACMS rocket motors. This test required coordination between several teams, including the RTC Propulsion Division static firing crew, RTC Missions Operations and Control Center, the AFRL sensor engineers, the AFRL satellite engineers, and AFRL headquarters. According to AFRL, this test series was “a rare confluence of events (i.e. weather, rocket, satellite) unique observations that have never been done before in military history, and potentially ground breaking for national defense and missile warning.”

Although the center’s mission is testing, 2012 was a great year for community support and employee wellness. In August, employees across the center enjoyed RTC’s third annual Safety & Wellness Day. Employees participated in a wide range of sports activities while visiting exhibitor booths emphasizing healthy eating, exercise and safety. As the holidays approached, staff members showed support for RTC’s first Alabama/Auburn Can-a-thon by donating about 1,524 pounds of canned goods to the Food Bank of North Alabama and pet food and supplies to the Ark Inc. The center also supported the Salvation Army Angel Tree by selling T-shirts with proceeds going to support a local child.

Even in this tough economic climate, the future continues to look bright for Redstone Test Center but changes are imminent. The center, along with the Army Test and Evaluation Command, will both undergo changes in leadership in the coming year. Col. Steve Kihara, the first commander of Redstone Test Center, will retire after 29 years of service, His successor will undoubtedly take this world-class test center to the next level.

The Redstone Test Center is a subordinate unit of the Test and Evaluation Command headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. RTC is the premier Army agency for testing military aircraft throughout the acquisition, modernization and sustainment life cycle in support of America’s war fighters.

 

Iowa Army Ammunition Plant professionals earn Lean Six Sigma belts

By | General

Annette Parchert

 

MIDDLETOWN, Iowa — Staff members with the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant recently completed a Lean Six Sigma black belt project designed to decrease excessive transportation costs to ship ammunition with no, or a long, lead-time required-delivery date to storage facilities.

Previously, the process relied on a single mode of transportation, which may not have been the most-efficient mode of transportation. The project title was “IAAAP Improves Transportation Mode Efficiencies.”

In early 2011, former commander, Lt. Col. Tommie Hewitt, asked for cost-cutting ideas from IAAAP staff. Ideas were gathered from a focus group and IAAAP Installation Transportation Officer Robert Brewster presented an idea that was selected as a Lean Six Sigma project.

Debbie Wirt, who is a contract price/cost analyst and an LSS green belt at IAAAP, led the LSS project in an effort to earn an LSS black belt. Brewster participated as a subject matter expert on the team in an effort to earn an LSS yellow belt. In addition to working on the project, both were required to complete additional training on LSS concepts.

The goal of the project was to improve the efficiencies and reduce cost for transportation of munitions out of IAAAP, bound for any of four ammunition depots. Additionally, the goal to reduce annual cost per short ton by five percent was a major focus.

The project used the Electronic Transportation Acquisition® system to pull historical transportation data from previous years for analysis. Some of the changes that were implemented included the use of integrated applications such as Defense Connect Online®.

The nine-member team assembled to carry out the project along with black belt coach, William “Tad” Holburn, from Joint Munitions Command headquarters, was made up of personnel from JMC headquarters, IAAAP, American Ordnance and Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.

American Ordnance is the operating contractor at IAAAP.

Improvements made included regular scheduling of meetings via DCO and establishing a rail-car pool. Communication and time management was essential in this project. The pilot lasted six months, allowing the test team to conduct analysis of historical data to new data gained during this test.

“These improvements did not come without challenges,” said Wirt. “All of our weekly communication was done via telephone or email. This additional element was very difficult. My only regret is that I never got to meet Coach Holburn in person. He passed away October 21, before I had a chance to thank him.”

The project, when finished, was a great success because the original goal of five percent cost reduction was exceeded. The pilot resulted in a reduction in cost per short ton by 13.4 percent and a cost avoidance of $176,514.59 over six months.

JMC’s continuous process improvement office awarded an LSS yellow belt certificate to Brewster, Oct. 23, 2012. The award citation states, “In recognition of Mr. Brewster’s contribution and participation as a core Team Member on the Black Belt Project: Iowa Army Ammunition Plant Improves Transportation Mode Efficiencies.” Brewster’s knowledge as the subject matter expert had a significant impact on the success of this project.

Wirt was awarded a black belt and is the only black belt in a government-owned, contractor-operated installation. Her guidance as a facilitator kept the 17-months-long process on track.

“She takes great pride and ownership of the improvement process and focuses on recognition of team members. She used her own resources to travel to Scott Air Force Base, near St. Louis, to recognize a team member with a certificate and a commander’s coin. She went that extra mile for her team,” said Julie Solinski, chief of contract management.

IAAAP is a subordinate organization of JMC, and responsible for producing tank practice rounds, artillery rounds and 40 mm grenades, and for pressing missile warheads.

From its headquarters in Rock Island, Ill., JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. JMC’s customers are U.S. forces of all military services, other U.S. Government agencies, and allied nations.

 

DCGS_A

Army deploying service-wide intelligence system

By | General

David Vergun

 

WASHINGTON — The Army has been given the green light to fully deploy a combat-proven intelligence system to globally network forces with mission-critical information.

On Dec. 14, the Distributed Common Ground System – Army, or the “DCGS-A,” as Soldiers call it, was approved for full deployment by the Defense acquisition executive, also known as DAE.

DAE is the highest approving authority in the Department of Defense for new systems.

“Previously, DCGS-A was a quick-reaction capability used successfully and extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management. “DCGS-A is now approved for use across the entire Army, which will allow standardized training, programs and future upgrades.”

“Quick-reaction capability” refers to a system that is rapidly deployed to meet the most immediate and urgent needs of the Army, such as in a combat operations environment, but it is not necessarily approved for service-wide deployment.

DCGS-A is designed to task, process, exploit and disseminate intelligence throughout the Army, with other services, federal intelligence agencies and coalition partners, according to Greene.

DCGS-A replaced nine different legacy systems, he said, adding that it “is a critical component of the Army’s modernization program.”

Life before DCGS-A could be difficult at times, according to Maj. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, commander, Intelligence and Security Command.

Use of legacy systems developed before DCGS-A sometimes resulted in “intelligence snow fights,” Fogarty said. Each had “proprietary formats and protocols which were managed differently across the services and even within each service.

“They were hard to understand, databases were incompatible with one another and could not be shared across the enterprise,” he continued. “A lot of intelligence was lost because of that. The majority of time was often spent trying to find data rather than analyzing it.”

Fogarty used the smartphone analogy in explaining how DCGS-A works. He said users of smartphones are able to communicate with other smartphone users who are on other networks, say Verizon or AT&T.

But he said DCGS-A goes even further. Users can share apps, text documents, diagrams, photos, maps and more.

The system “gives Soldiers and commanders the intelligence they need for enhanced situational awareness,” he said.

The DCGS-A technology was Soldier-tested and was developed by the best minds in government, academia and the private sector, according to Greene. He said there were 40 business partners working on the software development alone. They and others will be consulted in years to come, he said, for new solutions as capability gaps are identified.

Deployment of DCGS-A will result in cost savings, according to Greene. He said having one system reduces the hardware and software that needs to be purchased. The DCGS-A efficiencies will result in about $300 million in savings from fiscal year 2012 to 2017, he said, and about $1.2 billion from FY 2012 to 2034, the expected lifetime of the system.

DCGS-A is now being deployed to all brigades going through the Army Forces Generation cycle and will eventually be the de facto intelligence network for the entire service, according to Greene.

ARFORGEN is a model the Army uses in its unit deployment schedule. The ARFORGEN cycles are: reset, train/ready, and available for any mission.

The DCGS-A is not a magic bullet, however, according to Col. David Pendall, Army War College fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the former division intelligence commander of the 1st Cavalry Division.

“You still need human judgment,” he said, meaning that it takes a well-trained Soldier to mine the intelligence, analyze it and derive useful information from it.

Also, he said DCGS-A “must be integrated into the demands and processes of the organization and its mission and intelligence requirements.”
 

Newly minted engineer tracks environmental regs for JAMS

By | Faces of the Force, Talent Management

Faces of the Force: Mary Ingram

 

POSITION: Systems Engineer/Value Engineering Lead
UNIT: Joint Attack Munition Systems (JAMS), PEO Missiles and Space Redstone Arsenal, AL
TOTAL YEARS OF SERVICE: 5
AWARDS: DOD Value Engineering Award, 2011
EDUCATION: B.S. Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Alabama Huntsville; M.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alabama Huntsville

By Susan L. Follett

 

FOTF: What do you do in the Army?

INGRAM: I facilitate environmental requirements for programs related to the Army’s aviation rockets and missiles, including the Hydra 70 family of rockets, the Hellfire family of missiles, and the joint air-to-ground missile. I review contract deliverables, statements of work, program plans, and acquisition strategies. I also support Foreign Military Sales customers in resolving questions related to environmental regulations and oversee material release requirements—documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) so that a weapon system can be released into the field.

FOTF: Why is your job important?

INGRAM: Our work is important in making sure that the programs are compliant with environmental guidelines for hazardous materials, mainly NEPA.

FOTF: What has your work experience been like?

INGRAM: I first started working here when I was an undergrad, as part of an internship that eventually transitioned into a full-time position. As someone with no military background, I definitely encountered a learning curve. The Army has a language and a culture all its own, and it took me awhile to become fluent in it. But I really enjoy the work I do and the people I work with.

FOTF: What has surprised you most?

INGRAM: One of the most surprising things to me was the tremendous support I received in pursuing an advanced degree. My coworkers and leadership encouraged me to pursue my master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering and were incredibly supportive during that process, providing work schedule flexibility as well as a great deal of moral support.

FOTF: What is your greatest satisfaction being a part of the Army?

INGRAM: As a civilian, I’m proud to help support our men and women in the field who are putting themselves in harm’s way to benefit our country.

FOTF: What are some recent achievements?

INGRAM: I’ve served as the Value Engineering (VE) Team Lead for JAMS since 2007. The VE program aims to identify and implement ideas that provide better solutions at lower costs across all of our systems, processes, and organizations. Our VE efforts have resulted in more economical circuit card repairs for the Hellfire launcher, more durable containers for the Hydra rockets, increased missile availability, and more efficient missile assembly.

Over the past five years, we’ve saved nearly $150 million while improving the quality of the products we provide, and for our efforts, our team received DOD’s Value Engineering Award in 2011.

FOTF: What do you enjoy most about your work?

INGRAM: As odd as it seems, one of the things I enjoy most is the opportunity to do the work that falls outside of my job description: helping with configuration management, reviewing change proposals, or assisting with a technical evaluation. Those tasks really help me understand the different functions here at JAMS and give me insight into how all of our jobs fit together to effectively support the Soldier.

For more information on JAMS visit http://www.msl.army.mil/.

 

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  • “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.
Two UH-60M helicopters

USASAC looks back at busy, productive 2012

By | General

Mr. Paul J Stevenson (USASAC)

 

Redstone Arsenal, Ala. — By all accounts 2012 was a banner year for the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command in terms of carrying out its mission of overseeing the Army’s Security Assistance Enterprise and managing its Foreign Military Sales program. In reviewing the year’s accomplishments by USASAC and the entire Security Assistance Enterprise, start by looking at the numbers.

In Fiscal Year 2012 USASAC managed and oversaw active FMS cases in 144 countries. During that time they added 620 new FMS cases with almost six-thousand lines to the workload, totaling $19.7 billion worth of new business, the second highest year ever in terms of FMS sales. At the same time, case workers closed out almost 700 cases.

Title 10 (1206/1207) program efforts, which equip and train coalition partners for theater operations, more than doubled this year, going from $100 million in FY 11, to adding almost $209 million worth of capabilities to our foreign partners this FY to support the Global Train and Equip mission.

All told, at the end of FY 12 USASAC was overseeing more than 4,500 FMS cases valued at $135 billion, including more than $58.6 billion worth of products and services yet to be delivered to foreign customers. There were an additional 136 cases worth $ 9.4 billion cases “on offer” to countries, awaiting the final agreement of terms in order to begin implementation.

But the success of the past year runs much deeper than dollar figures and case numbers.

DACM

Instructors Chief Warrant Officer 3 Randall Jaynes, left, and Lt. Col. Jeffery Bouma, right, from the Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization, stand beside the first Afghan air force pilot candidates training on the MD-530 helicopter at the Rotary Wing Flight Training Program in Shindand, Afghanistan. In 2012 SATMO established and conducted the first rotary wing flight and logistics training for Afghan pilots and support staff held in that country in more for than 30 years. (Photos courtesy of U.S. Army)

“We all know in USASAC, and we all know in the broader Security Assistance Enterprise, that all this work is toward the end of building and maintaining strong relationships with our foreign partners and our future allies,” explained Maj. Gen. Del Turner, commanding general, U.S. Army Security Assistance Command during a recent gathering of the USASAC workforce. “The dollar amounts of these programs are not nearly as important as the strong association the United States of America enjoys with countries around the world and those countries that you work with day-in and day-out.”

USASAC is known as “The Army’s Face to the World” because its engagements with 144 countries throughout the world are many times the first or most consistent relationships they will have with the U.S. Army. During 2012, the USASAC and Security Assistance Enterprise workforce at all levels actively engaged with foreign partners and customers using the consistent themes of building partner capacity, supporting combatant commander engagement strategies and strengthening U.S. global partnerships.

DACM

Two UH-60M helicopters are folded for transport in preparation for shipment to Linkoping, Sweden as part of an ongoing Foreign Military Sales case to support the Sweden Armed Forces. A Security Assistance Training Management Organization TAFT deployed to Sweden in January to provide technical assistance to the Swedish military during its fielding of the aircraft and in preparation for the Swedish Air Force deployment of the aircraft to Afghanistan in 2013.

While USASAC key leaders significantly increased the amount of strategic engagements with senior U.S. and foreign military officials within the separate Combatant Command (COCOM) areas of responsibility, country program managers and case managers conducted approximately 20 program reviews with FMS customers each month to ensure implemented sales were keeping on track with requirements, and in the process, developing and cultivating strong relationships with those customers.

“These program management reviews are critical to our CH47 acquisition in that it allows us to go over our case line by line to verify requirements and sync our efforts,” Lt. Col. Tyron de Boer, Australian Defense Force (ADF) CH-47 project manager, said during a July program management review in Dallas, Texas. “Because we have an established working relationship with the people at AMCOM SAMD (Security Assistance Management Directorate) and USASAC, I have no problem picking up the phone and calling whoever I need to speak with in order to get answers when there are questions about the case.”

If USASAC is “The Army’s Face to the World,” then the face of USASAC is the Soldier of its Security Assistance Training Management Organization (SATMO), USASAC’s subordinate organization located at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

During the past year SATMO deployed 45 teams to 29 different countries providing tailored training to FMS customers. The instruction provided to foreign customers ranged from small unit tactics, to major systems fielding, operation and maintenance. During FY 12 SATMO Soldiers and civilians trained more than 11,000 students.

Some of the SATMO’s engagement and training highlights were:
• Established and conducted the first rotary wing flight and logistics training for Afghan pilots and support staff held in that country in more than 30 years.
• Provided technical assistance to the Swedish military during its procurement of 15 UH-60M helicopters in preparation for the Swedish Air Force deployment of the aircraft to Afghanistan in 2013.
• Oversaw the training and mentoring of a select group of non-commissioned officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) as they set up and conducted the first ever AFL warrior leadership course run solely by AFL NCOs.
• Conducted training in Kosovo to prepare Kosovo Security Force Soldiers to attend the U.S. Army Ranger Course.

Additionally, SATMO reached a significant “building partner capacity” milestone on July 29, when the M1A1 Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT) concluded its mission in Egypt. One of the longest continuous SATMO missions, the M1A1 TAFT had served continuously in Cairo, Egypt since October 1989, when the Egyptian government took delivery of its first M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. Throughout the 23-year history of the TAFT, the team trained thousands of Egyptian military personnel in the operation, implementation, and maintenance of the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank and the M88A2 Hercules Recovery Vehicle.

In addition to all of the successes executing the security assistance mission around the world in 2012, there were also a number of significant events which took place within the organization.

On March 2, Col. Joseph Bovy assumed command of SATMO from Col. Pete Aubrey, who retired after 34 years of military service.

In August, USASAC initiated a Security Assistance Enterprise developmental assignment program. The program, which allows employees to travel to other organizations within the enterprise, provides opportunities to broaden the participant’s knowledge and understanding of the roles and functions of other organizations throughout enterprise.

On Aug. 24, USASAC welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Mansker as the first ever command sergeant major to serve as the senior enlisted advisor to the commander.

2012 was truly a tremendous year for USASAC and the entire Security Assistance Enterprise. Heading into 2013, USASAC is dedicated to building on the accomplishments achieved over the past year, and focused on continuing its strategic mission in support of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense and the National Security Strategy.

 

November Shipper Session

SDDC teleconference fills void in DOD shipper training, education

By | General

Mark Diamond

 

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill – When the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Training Symposium and Traffic Management Workshop were cancelled this year, a vital link between the command and its customers was severed.

The symposium and workshop were cancelled in response to Department of Defense guidance that promotes further efficiency and cost consciousness in federal government operations.

According to SDDC transportation experts, in years past, the symposium and workshop were conduits for the exchange of ideas and, more importantly, an avenue for education, training and policy updates related to the movement of DOD cargo in support of military contingency operations, exercises and humanitarian missions around the world.

To fill that void, SDDC’s Strategic Business Directorate (G9) recently began communicating with DOD shippers through massive, monthly teleconferences. DOD shippers include transportation and logistics personnel across the military Services and other government agencies, including Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Contract Management Agency, General Services Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, and more.

Within the G9 directorate, the Business Integration Branch (part of the Domestic Business Division) is responsible for organizing the monthly Shipper Sessions.

“With the cancellation of the symposium and training workshop, we had to look at another avenue to engage our customers — to keep them updated, to educate them, to train them — so they can maintain the proper policies and procedures when moving DOD freight,” said Chuck Morgan, Business Integration Branch team lead and acting supervisor.

Morgan and his team have already conducted two sessions, one in October and another in November. Because of the holidays, no Shipper Session will be held in December; however, he said the service will continue in 2013 with sessions scheduled for January, February and March.

If the first two Shipper Sessions are any indication, DOD shippers are eager to participate. According to Morgan, more than 100 DOD shippers dialed in during the first session, and more than 50 shippers participated in the November teleconference.

Jeffery Criger, a traffic management specialist who works for the Air Force Sustainment Center’s Transportation and Distribution Branch at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, attended the October Shipper Session. Because his office is responsible for developing proposals and recommending policy to the Air Staff in all areas of cargo movement, packaging, and cargo funding, he said someone from his office normally attends either the SDDC Symposium or the Traffic Management Workshop.

“The Air Force applauds SDDC efforts to keep the lines of communication open in response to ever tightening government budgets, which has forced the cancellation of [the symposium and workshop],” Criger said. “Additionally, the training provided and feedback received during these Shipper Sessions is invaluable to the entire DOD Transportation and Distribution community.”

Criger said he plans to attend future sessions, as well. “Since our office is currently leading the effort among all Air Force major commands to revise the Air Force Cargo Movement Policy, it is imperative that we continue to participate in every Shipper Session offered by SDDC. Moreover, the Air Staff has strongly advocated and publicly endorsed Air Force participation in these Shipper Sessions, from the MAJCOM down to the unit-level.”

With the cancellation of the SDDC Symposium and Traffic Manager’s Workshop, Morgan said using current technologies to interact with SDDC customers is more important than ever.

“We need to ensure our shippers are following the correct policies and procedures for shipping DOD freight,” he added. “If they don’t, the result could be damaged cargo, lost or delayed cargo, or other issues that could result in mission failure or additional cost to the government. The more we can educate our shippers, the smoother the process will be; it will be more efficient and more effective.”

He added that in today’s fiscally challenging environment, the monthly teleconferences are the best option for addressing DOD shippers’ needs. “We know the need [for training and education] is still there, but we don’t have the money, and they don’t have the money. We can’t get to them, and they can’t get to us. Using the Shipper Sessions, we can still provide the training, education and advice our shippers are looking for.”

DOD shippers interested in attending an SDDC Shipper Session can request a call-in number by e-mailing SDDC’s Business Integration Branch at usarmy.scott.sddc.mbx.workshop-registration@mail.mil. Morgan said his team will respond to each request by providing a call-in number, along with other details, including call-in times and instructions, a schedule of events, links to important or relevant information, and more.

“It doesn’t matter what [branch of service or government agency] you belong to,” added Morgan. “If you’re a DOD shipper who uses SDDC services, you can participate with us.”

Morgan said his team will cover two topics per session. The November session featured special requirements, to include rate negotiations and DD Form 1085 (Domestic Freight Routing Request and Order) processing, and the movement of Arms, Ammunition & Explosives and hazardous material. For the January session, he said topics will include carrier performance and Transportation Discrepancy Reports, or TDRs. Morgan said Shipper Session topics were determined based on feedback from a military shipper survey his office distributed prior to the cancellation of the SDDC Symposium.

He added that identical Shipper Sessions are conducted twice in the same day. A morning session (8 to 10 a.m.) is geared toward customers on the East Coast and in the European and Southwest Asia theaters; and an afternoon session (2 to 4 p.m.) is conducted for customers on the West Coast and in the Pacific theater.

Each session is attended by every member of the G9 Business Integration Branch, as well as specific SDDC subject matter experts (briefers). According to Morgan, a member of his team begins each session by discussing hot issues, followed by the two main topic briefings (30 to 45 minutes per topic), and every session ends with a question and answer period.

He also said participants are asked to review the briefing slides and have their questions ready prior to each session. Slides are published on the SDDC website at http://www.sddc.army.mil/GCD/default.aspx. The website also includes example forms, organizational e-mails, and a live FAQ page, which includes questions that have already been asked and answered. Morgan said the FAQ is a “live document” that will continue to grow as the branch receives additional questions during each Shipper Session.

 

The Best of Army AL&T Magazine

By | General

USAASC Public Affairs

 

McLean, Va. – Army AL&T Magazine’s first Annual Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Awards (ALTies) for magazine contributors were announced at SAIC Inc., January 17.

Nelson McCouch III, Army AL&T Magazine Editor-in-Chief, announced and recognized the ALTie winners for their outstanding articles and artwork in the categories of Best Article; Best Commentary; Best Headline; Best Photo; Best Graphic; and Best Advertisement.

“You have succeeded memorably in telling the many and varied stories of how the Army AL&T Workforce develops, acquires, fields, and sustains the world’s best equipment and services to our Soldiers,” McCouch said. In his remarks, he noted that the telling of those stories brings “news you can use and actionable intelligence” about programs and processes to the AL&T community to help them do their jobs better. The quality of the magazine, he added, would not be possible without the substantial contributions made by readers.

The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) established the ALTies, to recognize outstanding contributions to the quarterly professional journal of both written and visual content.

Over the past year, Army AL&T Magazine has won prestigious awards for outstanding content—the Public Relations Society of America’s Bronze Anvil Award in the Magazine category and the 2012 APEX Award for Publication Excellence in the category of Best Redesign.

“Your articles, photos, and graphics define Army AL&T Magazine as the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology’s (ASA)ALT) flagship publication, with topical, useful, actionable information that helps the AL&T Workforce execute their broad and diverse missions, overcome challenges, and be highly innovative.”

The ALTies were announced at the first Army AL&T Magazine writers workshop, held via video conference to enable participation by members of the AL&T Workforce from around the country. McCouch said he hoped to hold workshops on an annual basis to help continuously improve the content of the magazine and bring contributors together to celebrate its successes.

The winners will receive their awards by mail. Honorable mentions will receive a certificate of the award. First, second, and third prize winners will receive a handsome, glass award.

And the ALTies go to ….

DACM

Army AL&T Magazine Editor, Nelson McCouch III, announces the ALTies winners for 2012. (USAASC photo)

 

BEST ARTICLE

1st Place
BATTERY POWER
U.S. Army Research Laboratory scientists bring new energy to critical area of study
by Dr. Cynthia Lundgren, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, U.S. Army Materiel Command
October-December 2012

2nd Place
MATURING THE AGILE PROCESS
Army uses lessons learned from Network Integration Evaluations to institute faster, more flexible acquisition
by LTC Ken O’Donnell, System of Systems Integration Directorate, Office of the ASA(ALT)
July-September 2012

3rd Place
BREAKING IT DOWN
How stratified sampling of a bill of materials can help determine pricing for large government buys
by Anthony J. Nicolella, Defense Acquisition University
October-December 2012

Honorable Mention
SUSTAINMENT LESSONS LEARNED
From force structure to operations to accountability, after-action reports from Iraq and Afghanistan highlight challenges met while fighting two wars
by COL Scott Fletcher, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G-4; CW4 Wayne A. Baugh, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command; and Devon Hylander, L-3 MPRI, Army G-4
January-March 2012

MENDING THE MIND
Multidisciplinary efforts converge to help service members and veterans facing brain injuries
by COL Karl E. Friedl, Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
January-March 2012

WHAT THE CUSTOMER SEES
A capabilities approach to establishing a contingency contracting office
by LTC Vernon L. Myers, 916th Contingency Contracting Battalion
April-June 2012

 

BEST COMMENTARY

1st Place
REQUIREMENT PORTFOLIOS AND THE JOINT WARFIGHTER
Understanding the new methodology of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council
by Fred Gregory and Dr. Scott Maley, Joint Staff
July-September 2012

2nd Place
KNOWLEDGE BUILDING
Lessons learned from a contracting intern’s developmental assignment to Kuwait and Italy
by David M. Hampton, U.S. Army Contracting Command – National Capital Region
April-June 2012

3rd Place
CHANGING THE CULTURE
‘Making energy a consideration in everything we do’
From the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment, Ms. Katherine Hammack
April-June 2012

Honorable Mention
REPORT FROM AFGHANISTAN
Operational Contract Support Summit highlights the unique responsibilities of contracting in contingency operations
From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Procurement, Mr. Kim Denver
July-September 2012

 

BEST HEADLINE

1st Place
KILLING A FLY WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER
Combining mission command and actionable intelligence for overmatch at the tactical edge
by Osie David and LTC(P) (now COL) Richard J. Hornstein, Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center, U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command
October-December 2012

2nd Place
DOTmLPF + dotMlpf = DOTMLPF
ATEC, TRADOC join forces, perspectives, and expertise for an unusual combined in-theater assessment
by MAJ Marcus Grimes, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC); Paul Wallace, ATEC; Chris Warshawsky, U.S. Army Capabilities Integration Center; and James Brese, SAIC Inc., U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence
July-September 2012

3rd Place
THE ‘NEW’ ACQUISITION WORKFORCE
Behind the Agile Process, individuals commit to getting dirty and making it work
by COL Gail Washington, Project Manager Current, System of Systems Integration Directorate, Office of the ASA(ALT)
July-September 2012

 

BEST PHOTO

1st Place
Supply Chain Coordination
By SPC Bryan Willis, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command
July-September 2012

2nd Place
PLASTIC + CIRCUITRY = FLEXIBLE DISPLAY
By Conrad Johnson, U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command
July-September 2012

3rd Place
TOTAL ASSET VISIBILITY
By SGT (now SSG) Shannon R. Gregory, 230th Sustainment Brigade
January-March 2012

Honorable Mention
EVOLUTION OF THE SOLDIER
By LTC Deanna Bague, Brigade Modernization Command
October-December 2012

TOWARD A SELF-SUFFICIENT SYSTEM
By SSG Tanya Green, 3rd Infantry Division
April-June 2012

DISMOUNTED DEFENSE
By Edric Thompson, Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center, U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command

 

BEST GRAPHIC

1st Place
Army S&T Investment Portfolios
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology
October-December 2012

2nd Place
The Agile Process and NIE Synchronization
System of Systems Integration Directorate, Office of the ASA(ALT)
July-September 2012

3rd Place
Capabilities Integration
Army G-3/5/7
July-September 2012

Honorable Mention
Engine History
Common Engine Product Office, Utility Helicopters Project Office, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command
October-December 2012

Product Line Management
Program Executive Office Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation
April-June 2012

 

BEST AD

UNDERSTAND the BATTLEFIELD
Enable Decisive Action.
Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors

 

Army AL&T Magazine Writer’s Workshop Presentation

 

ATEC shares opportunities, opens dialogue with contract partners

By | General

Robin Boggs

 

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Senior leaders from across the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command shared opportunities for test and evaluation contracts with members of industry and small business during the ATEC segment of the Advance Planning Briefing for Industry and Small Business Forum at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Dec. 5.

Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, commanding general of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, welcomed all contract partners from across the country as part of the three-day event that was the first of its kind at APG. The segment also included a command overview from Brian Simmons, ATEC executive technical director, and all of ATEC’s directors shared opportunities for contracts with the crowd.

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ATEC Commanding General Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco addresses contract partners during the Team APG Advance Planning Briefing for Industry Dec. 5. (Photo Credit: Mrs. Robin Boggs (ATEC))

The leaders hoped to not only provide information on contract opportunities, but to open dialogue with potential contract partners. Providing vendors with as much information needed to meet the command’s requirements for contract bids is critical as is understanding vendors and their needs. As ATEC strives to become more affordable and more effective, developing positive partnerships is more critical than ever.

Dellarocco provided potential vendors with two key takeaways: embracing interdependency and changing the way we do business, both while remaining affordable and effective.

“We’re looking for ways to become interdependent to be affordable and more effective,” Dellarocco told the members. “Not just more effective, but making testing and evaluation more efficient.” Now that Network Integration Evaluations are a part of Army acquisition, Dellarocco indicated that contract partners would see a change in the way ATEC, and the Army, does business.

One of those ways is by incorporating Lean Six Sigma, or LSS, practices to create efficiencies and aid in cost avoidance across the command. Efficiencies were not only developed in processes (with total savings to date at approximately $727 million), but ATEC was also able to harness that in human resource areas as well.

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Kelly Hacker, chief of the Small Arms and Head Protection Branch for Aberdeen Test Center, talks with a contract vendor sabout ATC during the Team APG Industry Day Dec. 5. (Photo Credit: Christina Bryant)

“We invest in our people. We’ve taken LSS and made it as much about taking care of people as finding efficiencies,” said Dellarocco. “We’re looking at how we train them; we send them to school; and we provide them developmental opportunities — all of these things serve to raise their skill levels.”

Harnessing LSS to create efficiencies and develop personnel provides a more affordable way for the command to do business with customers and potential contract partners.

Another important part of personnel development is ensuring the workforce, whether military, civilian or contractor, are cared for and free from harassment. “We’re taking harassment of any kind seriously to provide our workforces with a positive environment where they can thrive,” said Dellarocco. He expressed to vendors that the Army and ATEC are committed to a harassment-free environment, and he has an open-door policy for reporting incidents to ensure all are protected.

Embracing interdependency remains crucial for ATEC. Interdependency is a concept that has become increasingly popular during a time of fiscal austerity for the military.

“Overseas contingency operations money flowed in, customers came in with buckets of money, and we executed,” Dellarocco said. “It got sloppy sometimes, but we learned things we need not do any longer. We became dependent on each other, and that interdependency helped us structure contracts that would do everything so contracting remains affordable.”

As ATEC strives to keep things affordable and efficient, it’s the interdependency that has allowed the command to integrate testing to save customers and the Army money while delivering capabilities earlier to the warfighter. “Integrated testing reduces costs even more, reduces test design risk because we learn more earlier in the lifecycle of a system, and it provides more effective means to get the data we are actually seeking,” he said.

Across the board, ATEC is changing its culture and its thinking, to develop better business practices and relationships with contract partners. “We’re changing up how we manage contracts and providing a framework to help you achieve more successful bids,” said Brian Simmons, executive technical director of ATEC. “It’s a more corporate view.”

The change up is in part a response to contract partners needing a more user-friendly way to bid on opportunities with the command. Since ATEC touches nearly everything the Army needs to test, vice medical and uniforms, it is critical that discussions in ways to clarify bidding requirements are open and of value.

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A passerby drives the ATC Roadrunner simulated course, which is designed to showcase the US Army Aberdeen Test Center’s ability to test military vehicles. (Photo Credit: Christina Bryant)

Simmons also touched on the importance of interdependency. To support the Army’s new agile process, ATEC’s largest developmental test range now hosts the majority of the command’s operational tests. “It forces us to integrate in a healthy way and changes our interdependency,” he said.

ATEC has an intense workload conducting nearly 1,100 test events daily — a number that has been constant for nearly 20 years. Those test events correlate to roughly 10 million direct labor hours on ATEC ranges across the country. Those numbers have been decreasing steadily, but none of ATEC’s ranges seem to be adversely affected by the down turn. During a time of fiscal uncertainty, maintaining relevance is critical for business.

“No range goes out of business; no range falls [in direct labor hours] faster,” he said. The way ATEC manages the ranges is a reason for that stability. ATEC leverages its ranges to avoid duplicity, which has created an interdependency that allows the command to contract and operate like never before.

All the efficiencies ATEC creates aren’t just benefiting the command, they’re benefiting contract partners too. “Everyone sees big savings in not sending contractors on safari,” Simmons said. “We’re identifying where we already have capabilities on the front end, like during the NIE for example, so we aren’t duplicating efforts in three places.”

In addition to saving on contractor travel, ATEC is bundling multiple contracts rather than sending contracts piecemeal to the same contractor. It enhances accountability and visibility for ATEC and its contract partners.

“Bringing costs down while we’re on a mission and organizing contractors to package capabilities, requires interdependency,” said Simmons. “We’re an enterprise and engagement with industry is vital to what we do.”

It’s evident that ATEC leaders are dedicated to transforming business practices to stay affordable and effective, and contract partner feedback and participation will have an important role in shaping the future.

“It’s clear that we can’t execute this mission without you,” said David Jimenez, director of the Army Evaluation Center. “You’re integral to our being effective and we want to ensure that what we’re asking for is clear and you know what we’re looking for.

“Take advantage of the opportunities being presented here at the conference and ask questions — join the team.”

ATEC is the premier test and evaluation organization in the Department of Defense valued by customers and decision makers for providing essential information that ensures warfighters have the right capabilities for success across the entire spectrum of operations. For briefings of potential contracting opportunities and other APBI Industry Day content visit: http://cecom.army.mil/smallbusiness/teamapgapbi.html.

 

Operational Test Command completes Network Integration Evaluation 13.1

By | General

Eloise Lundgren

 

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Dec. 11, 2012) –Testers, Soldiers, engineers and combat developers completed the fourth iteration of a series of semi-annual field exercises, called Network Integration Evaluations, at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N. M., just in time to get everyone home for the holidays.

Managed by a group known as the Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, “TRIAD”– Army Test and Evaluation Command, System of Systems Integration Directorate and Brigade Modernization Command — NIE 13.1 included several program tests for record, additional tests for record from distributed sites and less formal assessments called SUEs, which is short for Systems Under Evaluation. NIEs are designed to integrate and mature the Army’s tactical network and accelerate the way network technologies are delivered to soldiers through integrated “capability sets” of communications gear.

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Testers, Soldiers, engineers and combat developers completed the fourth iteration of a series of semi-annual field exercises, called Network Integration Evaluations, at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N. M., just in time to get everyone home for the holidays. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo)

“The pace of NIEs is fast,” said Col. Joseph Martin, commander, U.S. Army Operational Test Command, an ATEC subordinate command. “With one NIE executed every six months and others simultaneously in various stages of planning, the coordination of effort among the multiple Army organizations and industry partners is monumental.”

“But with this iteration being the fourth in the series,” Martin continued, “we were able to apply lessons learned from the three previous NIE’s and streamline our integration efforts on this one.”

The Army applied several lessons learned from NIE 12.2, such as system of systems training for Soldiers, streamlined testing, upfront integration of hardware and instrumentation, increased industry participation, and reduced individual system costs, re-engineering costs and infrastructure costs, he explained.

With OTC’s Integrated Test and Evaluation Directorate, led by Col. Dave Wellons, taking the lead on NIE 13.1 for ATEC, nearly 5,000 Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilian employees and contractors converged in the desert along the borders of west Texas and eastern New Mexico, joined by the 1st Armored Division’s 2nd Brigade. Soldiers with 2/1 AD, as the test player unit, executed training scenarios that helped determine whether systems and equipment were effective, suitable and survivable, Martin said.

Some of the equipment, systems and technology operational testers looked at included Nett Warrior (ground soldier communication system), M109 Paladin Integrated Management, or PIM, artillery system, Spider networked munitions system, Joint Battle Command-Platform communication system, and the RAM Warn (counter rocket, artillery, mortar system), Wellons said.

Col. Quinton Arnold, director, OTC’s Maneuver Test Directorate, led the efforts of managing systems under test.

DACM

Testers, Soldiers, engineers and combat developers completed the fourth iteration of a series of semi-annual field exercises, called Network Integration Evaluations, at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N. M., just in time to get everyone home for the holidays. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo)

“It’s all about the data and operational realism,” Arnold said. “Our test teams, working with BMC and the player unit, did a lot of excellent work to ensure these two elements were maintained, resulting in a successful operational test.”

The final report by ATEC-AEC will help Army leaders to make acquisition decisions, according to Robin Boggs, ATEC public affairs officer.

NIE 13.1 was Martin’s first experience with the semi-annual series since taking command of OTC in July, and it was truly a team effort, he said.

“Everyone involved in this effort makes each NIE successful because they are willing to put aside their organizational allegiances for the sake of a better-integrated solution for the soldier,” Martin said. “Everyone realizes the importance of remaining flexible as the NIE process continues to evolve.”

According to Martin, although ATEC was the senior TRIAD partner, ATEC’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, gave OTC the primary role of executing the NIE mission.

“I don’t think we could find a more professional group of people than those from the System of Systems Integration Directorate, Brigade Modernization Command and of course the Army Test and Evaluation Command to execute this mission,” Wellons said.

 

Fort Bliss Soldiers first to fire Army’s new near-precision artillery rounds

By | General

Audra Calloway

 

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Dec. 11, 2012) — Soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment from Fort Bliss, Texas, this October became the first troops to fire the Army’s upcoming near-precision projectile, the XM1156 Precision Guidance Kit (PGK), during tests at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz.

“PGK is a global positioning system guidance kit with fuzing functions that turns the U.S. Army’s conventional stockpile of 155mm high explosive M549A1 and M795 cannon artillery projectiles into near precision munitions,” said Joseph Galyean, Test & Evaluation Integrated Product Team Leader.

The Program Executive Office for Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is scheduled to begin fielding the Precision Guidance Kit to troops in spring 2013, via an Urgent Material Release (UMR), Galyean said. Materiel releases signify that new and upgraded Army systems are fit for Soldiers to use.

The PGK corrects the ballistic trajectory of the conventional projectile to improve the round’s accuracy to less than 50 meters Circular Error Probable (CEP). Fifty meters CEP means that if you drew a circle around a target at 50 meters radius, the rounds have to fall inside the circle 50 percent of the time.

Its near-precision accuracy will reduce the number of projectiles required to hit targets, which in turn reduces collateral damage.

The Fort Bliss Soldiers helped Picatinny representatives successfully complete an Early User Assessment (EUA) and Sequential Environmental Test for Performance (SET-P) of the kit.

“The SET-P component of the test demonstrated the reliability of the PGK after being subjected to tactical adverse environmental conditions,” said Galyean. The EUA evaluated potential operational effectiveness and suitability of the system.

In total, the Fort Bliss unit fired 24 PGK-equipped projectiles, as part of digital fire missions from the forward observer, through the fire direction center, to the weapon system. Twenty of these rounds were in support of the EUA and SET-P.

In addition to the EUA/SET-P firings, an additional four PGK equipped projectiles were fired by the Soldiers to support a Program of Instruction Excursion. This demonstrated a completely digital sensor to shooter call for fire, and resulted in 4 for 4 successful guidance and effects. It demonstrated that the PGK can be used by a downrange observer using a Lightweight Laser Designator/Rangefinder, sending target locations to the gun via Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System.

PGK is compatible with existing high-explosive, 155mm M795 and M549A1 High Explosive (HE) projectiles fired from the 155mm M109A6 Paladin self propelled howitzer and the 155mm M777A2 towed howitzer.

The prime contractor for PGK is Alliant Techsystems.
 

Contracting for Soldiers

Strategic approach drives MICC realignment

By | General

Daniel P. Elkins, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs Office

 

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — Mission and Installation Contracting Command officials realigned six field directorate offices into four Dec. 4 in a strategic effort to bring consistency to its operations and improve contract administration and oversight.

The four field directorate offices will be located at Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Eustis, Va., Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Knox, Ky.

Of the two other field directorates, MICC-Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington was realigned under Fort Bragg, and MICC-Fort Sam Houston is serving as the headquarters’ activity responsible for acquisitions not normally provided by other MICC elements as well as specialized contracting assignments for the MICC leadership. The command’s remaining 34 subordinate contracting offices located throughout the country and Puerto Rico will be administratively and operationally realigned under the four directorates.

“The MICC continues to mature its oversight and responsive capabilities to meet the growing demands of our Soldiers and the acquisition community,” said Brig. Gen. Kirk Vollmecke, the MICC commanding general. “The realignment of contracting offices under field directorate offices restores a command-wide focus that supports our core mission of providing responsive contracting solutions and oversight for our customers.”

Analysis for the organizational realignment began in mid-2012 and included an assessment of the command’s operational efficiency to determine a structure that would improve contract compliance and oversight of operations, provide strategic support to customers, and effectively utilize existing resources.

Sarah Corley, a senior contracting professional in the MICC who helped lead the realignment integrated process team, said the selection of locations for field directorate offices came after thorough mission analysis and was based on their link with the command’s major customer groups.

“The realignment provides a more strategic alignment with the customer base, in order to provide optimum opportunity for standardization of processes and products,” Corley said. “The realignment strikes a core balance between horizontal and vertical spans of control, leverages the strengths of pre-existing organizational components, enhances the ability to streamline and standardize MICC’s processes, achieves consistency of operations, enhances support to core customers, and provides a mechanism to measure results.”

MICC officials met with field directors and their deputies here in October to conduct roundtable discussions on realignment that included procurement authorities and roles and responsibilities for the four field directorate offices to support their customers.

The MICC’s major customers include the U.S. Army Forces Command and Reserve Command supported by MICC FDO-Fort Bragg; U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command supported by MICC FDO-Fort Eustis; U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command supported by MICC FDO-Fort Hood; and Department of the Army-level customers in the Military District of Washington supported by MICC FDO-Fort Knox.

At the same time, the MICC is transferring Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Fort Dix, N.J., and Miami to other areas of the U.S. Army Contracting Command. California’s MICC-Moffett Field will assume oversight of contracting support actions at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif.

For the most part, the realignment should be transparent at the installation contracting officer and customer levels, according to Albert Jacob, the chief of MICC Contract Operations. He added that in the transition, some MICC offices reporting to a different field directorate office should coordinate with the staff at MICC Contract Operations to ensure proper visibility and compliance with acquisition and contracting procedures.

The MICC is responsible for providing contracting support for the warfighter across Army commands, installations and activities located throughout the continental United States and Puerto Rico. In fiscal 2012, the command executed more than 58,000 contract actions worth more than $6.3 billion across the Army, including more than $2.6 billion to small businesses. The command also managed more than 1.2 million Government Purchase Card Program transactions valued at an additional $1.3 billion.
 

Deborah Ault

MICC member earns Army award

By | General

Daniel P. Elkins, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs Office

 

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — The chief of the contracts division for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Fort Knox, Ky., is a winner of the 2012 Secretary of the Army Award for Excellence in Contracting for her efforts to increase contract opportunities for people with significant disabilities.

Deborah Ault was recognized for her support of the AbilityOne Program, which offers several products and a wide range of services to the federal government. She worked closely with National Industries for the Severely Handicapped, or NISH, managers to identify contract requirements to be added to the procurement list increasing employment opportunities not only for the blind and severely handicapped, but also for wounded veterans.

“I feel honored and am very pleased to have been selected for this award,” Ault said. “Support of the AbilityOne Program is the easiest part of my job and, in my opinion, one of the most important.”

Ault, who has more than 30 years of acquisition and leadership experience, is responsible for reviewing incoming contract requirements to identify those that may be suitable for the procurement list. The federal procurement list identifies supplies and services that are required to be purchased from AbilityOne and its participating nonprofit agencies.

“This is a win win,” she said. “The AbilityOne mission is to provide employment opportunities for people who want to work, are very capable of working, but have difficulty finding or competing for jobs on their own.”

She was instrumental in the award of two contracts — one to the NISH and one to a NISH nonprofit agency — following a market research and education process between both the requiring activity and NISH managers to add contracted services to the procurement list.

“The misperception is that work can’t be accomplished, or accomplished well, by people with disabilities. I believe many people assume that individuals with disabilities have limited skills,” Ault said. “Additionally, many people seem to be uncomfortable around individuals with disabilities. Disabilities can be physical or cognitive, and there are not many jobs that these folks can’t do as well as people without disabilities. It is part of my job to help educate our customers and to make them feel more comfortable with this program.”

A contract for facilities maintenance services was awarded to the NISH that was combined with the Fort Knox custodial services requirement valued at approximately $121 million for the base and four one-year option periods. Award of this contract led the NISH to identify the installation as its center of excellence for total facilities management and begin the standup of a training program at Fort Knox for its nonprofit partners at no cost to the government. The aim of the center of excellence is to expand business opportunities for the NISH and its participating nonprofit agencies across the Department of Defense.

Additionally, she played a critical role in the award of a contract for Human Resources Command call center services to be awarded to a NISH non-profit agency valued at $17 million for the base and four one-year option periods.

Ault said both of the contracts provide great potential for employment of people with significant disabilities. The facilities maintenance services contract includes the employment of about 200 people, and the call center services contract employs another 65-70 people.

The work by Ault also indirectly benefits this nation’s wounded warriors. The NISH works closely with Fort Knox veterans support groups, including the Warrior Transition Unit, to identify potential employees for these and other Ability One contracts at Fort Knox. To date more than 15 service-disabled veterans have been hired and more are being identified, said Ault.

“A very small percentage of government contracts are in the AbilityOne program. I consider it part of my mission to increase that number,” she said.

As contracts division chief for MICC-Fort Knox, Ault is responsible for managing the work of her team, which includes 23 civilian employees and 10 contingency contracting Soldiers. She works closely with division team leaders to allocate workload assignments ensuring an opportunity to learn a variety of contracting processes. In support of the MICC’s integration efforts, she helps ensure military members assigned at Fort Knox receive the technical, hands-on training necessary to prepare for their contracting roles during deployment. She is also responsible for providing guidance and advice to co-workers, team members, customers and contractors.

The MICC is responsible for providing contracting support for the warfighter across Army commands, installations and activities located throughout the continental United States and Puerto Rico. In fiscal 2012, the command executed more than 58,000 contract actions worth more than $6.3 billion across the Army, including more than $2.6 billion to small businesses. The command also managed more than 1.2 million Government Purchase Card Program transactions valued at an additional $1.3 billion.
 


Acquisition team develops innovative purchasing approach to meet demand and budget challenges

By | Faces of the Force, Talent Management

Faces of the Force: Tim Joens

 


 
POSITION: Acquisition Manager
UNIT: Project Manager (PM) Combat Ammunition Systems (CAS), Picatinny Arsenal, NJ
TOTAL YEARS OF SERVICE: 31
AWARDS: Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, PM CAS Outstanding Professional of the Year, 2012 Packard Award (Combat Ammunition Systems team)
EDUCATION: East Stroudsburg State, PA


 

By Teresa Mikulsky Purcell

 

FOTF: What do you do in the Army?

JOENS: As an Acquisition Manager, I am responsible for planning and managing procurement activities for PM CAS, Acquisition Category I, II and III artillery, mortars, munitions and weapons systems in the development, production, fielding, and sustainment phases. Given the range of tasks we work with, it’s a complex task.

FOTF: Why is your job important?

JOENS: Soldier safety is paramount in the development and production of our products. We deliver the highest quality, most affordable conventional and advanced munitions and combat power to our warfighters to give them the materiel edge over real and potential adversaries. Our products enable Soldiers to execute their missions with superiority.

FOTF: What has your work experience been like?

JOENS: The work has always been challenging. I’ve seen a lot of cyclical changes, such as budget cuts, hiring freezes, and difficulties in steadily growing the workforce. The level of management oversight and review has increased and decreased over the years as well. One of the challenges we face right now is long acquisition lead times. It currently takes two years from requirement definition to contract award. I believe the solution for this, considering decreasing budgets and manpower, is to streamline our processes so we can continue to deliver quality, cost-effective products on time. At the end of the day, though, it has been rewarding knowing I support our Soldiers who defend our freedom.

FOTF: Why did you choose a career with the Army?

JOENS: My father was a World War II veteran and career Department of the Army civilian. I also chose a civilian career with the Army because it offered many opportunities and a place where I could serve those who serve our country.

FOTF: What is your greatest satisfaction being a part of the Army?

JOENS: I am always heartened when I hear positive feedback from Soldiers about the weapons, fire control, and ammunition we provide. Helping them execute their missions and return home safely is my greatest reward. They are the true heroes.

FOTF: Your team recently received the prestigious Packard Award for establishing and implementing an efficient buying approach for critical ammunition. Tell us a little about the strategy you developed.

JOENS: The new strategy was developed out of necessity. Previously, we executed basic contracts with four option years to single vendors for products. We saw the effectiveness of that change of approach, especially with all of the overseas requirements and reduced budgets. We exhausted five years of production options within two years to try and fill customer orders for ammunition. To address this, we set up multiple contractors to hold basic delivery order contracts for the products, and now they all compete to meet requirements. We are seeing strong price competition, with the savings being invested in additional products for our Soldiers. We have also added flexibility in meeting required delivery schedules, helping to eliminate single-point failures, and we’ve added some new quality DOD contractors to the industrial base.

FOTF Editor’s Note: The Packard Award, which was presented on Nov. 2 by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, recognizes an organization that has demonstrated superior management and accomplishment in the successful execution of one or more of the Better Buying Power acquisition efficiency initiatives.

FOTF: What was your reaction to the news that your team had received the Packard Award?

JOENS: Initially, it was disbelief we had actually won such a prestigious award! Once I knew it was for real, I felt satisfaction. We knew when we started to develop this vision that it would be a long road with many challenges, but in the end, we were able to respond much better to our customers’ needs while strengthening our industrial base.

For more information on PM CAS, visit http://www.pica.army.mil/peoammo/Home.aspx.
 

[rule type=”basic”]
  • “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.
Army Acquisition Civilian Leadership Development Plan

Acquisition Education and Training Corner

By | Career Development

Army Acquisition Civilian Leadership Development Plan
The Army Director of Acquisition Career Management (DACM) recently published our first leadership development plan for civilians. Unfortunately, there is not one clear path for civilians…that would be too easy! Unlike the military, civilians can/will take hundreds of different routes in their quest for upward mobility. This plan is meant to serve as a guide for all levels of our acquisition workforce. Using this model, each workforce member may see what the training requirements are at each level. In addition, they may also use this plan to identify desired training opportunities available at upper levels and each opportunity is hyperlinked to an information page for the program. Please take some time to review programs of interest to you and put any on your Individual Development Plan (IDP) and discuss with your Supervisor.

DACM

The model is broken into Four Sections (from bottom to top):
1. Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act/Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Training – functional REQUIRED training from left to right from Level I through 400 Level courses.
2. Continuing Education System Courses – Army G-3/5/7 REQUIRED courses from left to right from Foundation Course, Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Continuing Education are for Senior Leaders depending on your rank.
3. Leadership Training – Includes all the leadership opportunities available in our Army Education, Training and Experience (AETE) portfolio as well as a few DOD and U.S. Army Materiel Command programs.
4. Higher Education – Bachelor, Masters Degrees as well as Senior Service Colleges (SSC) and SSC Fellowships (SSCF); please note that all courses are hyperlinks which will take workforce members to dedicated pages to each course/program where they may find additional information. Above is an image of the Development Plan; however, you may view the full version and download a copy here: https://asc.army.mil/career-development/civilian/career-planning-steps/.

The 2013-14 DAU-SSCF announcement is open January 22-March 28 to all eligible GS-14s and 15s who have met their current position certification requirements. For more information, visit https://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-senior-service-college/. This program offered in Aberdeen, MD, Huntsville, AL, and Warren, MI provides a great opportunity for our civilians to attend a SSC within their local area.

The “Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program” (ALCP) is the newest program to the AETE Portfolio for the Army. Based upon the huge success our sister service the Air Force has had with ALCP, we piloted multiple offerings of the 2.5 day course in FY12. For FY13, we are bringing the course to you. For more information on how to apply, visit https://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-leadership-challenge-program/. Below is the FY13 ALCP training dates (by location):

FY13 ALCP Plan

DATE Offering TYPE
(ALCPI or II)
LOCATION
Jan. 14-18 Level I & Level II Atlanta, GA
Feb. 25-March 1 Back-to-back Level I offerings Atlanta, GA
March 11-15 Back-to-back Level I offerings Huntsville, AL
April 29-May 3 Back-to-back Level I offerings Aberdeen, MD
May 20-24 Level I & Level II Atlanta, GA
June 10-14 Back-to-back Level I offerings Warren, MI
July 29-Aug. 2 Level I & Level II Atlanta, GA
Aug. 19-23 Back-to-back Level I offerings Aberdeen, MD

 
Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Training

The Army DACM office will start working with DAU to project the FY14 demand. On May 16, 2013 the FY14 schedule will be available for students to apply for classes. If students are unable to attend an FY13 course, they need to review and complete the required course prerequisite(s) now for a course they intend to take in the future. Students should continue to apply for FY13 courses available on the schedule. Planning and applying early will afford students better opportunity in obtaining a class in the timeframe requested. Encourage your supervisor to approve your training request as soon as you apply. Students should view the DAU I-catalog at http://icatalog.dau.mil to ensure they meet the prerequisite(s), prior to applying to a DAU course. A weekly low fill listing posted weekly at http://icatalog.dau.mil/onlinecatalog/tabnav.aspx to allow students opportunity to attend classes coming up in the next 60 days. Low fill classes within 60 days of the class start date are available on a first come, first served basis.

Applications cannot be processed by the Army registrar office until the training has been approved by the supervisor. It is also imperative the student and supervisor email addresses are provided correctly on the Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) student profile. Please apply through the Army Training Requirements and AITAS at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. For more information on DAU training to include, systematic instructions, training priority definition or frequently asked questions, please visit: https://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training. Once you receive a confirmed reservation in the requested class, ensure you attend the class as scheduled. Cancellation requests for a confirmed reservation must be submitted at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or by the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier, to avoid a ‘no show.’

DAU provides a listing of equivalencies (http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx) for all courses delivered by DAU and/or predecessors courses, which are considered acceptable towards meeting current acquisition career field certification requirements. To document equivalencies, accepted by DAU that are obtained from other institutions, open a helpdesk ticket at: https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/index.cfm?fuseaction=support.helpRequest and request your Acquisition Career Record Brief be updated to reflect DAU equivalent course(s) completion. On September 4, DAU approved the very first DAU equivalent vendor, Trio Consulting accredited to teach BCF 211 – Acquisition Business Management. Students interested in taking BCF211 DAU equivalent course, should apply and contact the vendor directly. Trio Instructors can bring the course to your Organization to teach the course locally onsite. Please contact Trio directly at www.trio-consulting.com.

BCF 211 will split into two courses: BCF 220 (Web) and BCF 225 (classroom). BCF 211-Acquisition Business Management transition to BCF 220 & BCF 225 will start for classes starting January 7, 2013. Students with reservations in classes starting that day and thereafter have been notified directly by DAU of the change and the requirement to complete the prerequisite course, BCF 220 prior to attending the resident portion, BCF 225. Students must successfully complete BCF 220 prior to applying to BCF 225. Students completing BCF 220 in advance, must review the course material at a minimum two weeks prior to start of date of the resident BCF 225 course to ensure successful completion. Taking the time to focus and successfully complete prerequisite course BCF 220 will likely determine the success of the resident portion (BCF 225).

DAU course management has a new process to allow higher priority, specifically Priority 1 students, first preference in the DAU resident courses. As result, students in Priority 2 through 5 will be waitlisted for classes showing available seats. When a student is placed in a wait status, they will roll into a reservation 65 days prior to class start date if a Priority 1 does not encumber a seat. They could still be bumped up to five business days before the class reservation cut-off date or start date, whichever is higher if a higher priority student applied within the 65 days. The new process minimizes bumping and allows Priority 1 students to see which courses actually have seats available for them to obtain their required position certification.


Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System

Army Developing Next-Generation Surveillance Aircraft

By | General, Science and Technology

Kris Osborn

 

Army scientists, engineers, and program developers in a laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md. are making substantial progress with efforts to build and integrate a sophisticated battlefield surveillance aircraft called the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS), service officials said.

The initial task, now underway at Aberdeen’s Joint Test and Integration Facility (JTIF), is aimed at engineering and integrating an EMARSS fuselage with cameras, sensors, software, antennas, intelligence databases, and electronic equipment so the Army can deliver four Engineering Manufacturing Development (EMD) aircraft to Afghanistan as part of a forward assessment of the capabilities, said Raymond Santiago, deputy product manager, Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems.

“An EMARSS Forward Operational Assessment will place this system in the hands of our Soldiers, allowing them to inform an assessment as to whether the system meets the approved requirements. We will get to see the system being used to gather real-world data in a combat environment, with a high op-tempo. This will help us refine and establish the architecture for the platform,” an Army acquisition official explained.

The Army plans to complete the EMARSS EMD Phase with a minimum of four systems (aircraft). Overall, the EMD contract has options to procure two additional EMD systems and four to six Low Rate Initial Production systems.

Plans for the EMARSS aircraft include efforts to engineer a surveillance aircraft with a wide range of vital combat-relevant capabilities such as the ability to quickly gather, integrate and disseminate intelligence information of great value to warfighters in real time. It is being built to do this with an integrated suite of cameras, sensors, communications and signals intelligence-gathering technologies, and a data-link with ground-based intelligence databases allowing it to organize and communicate information of great relevance to a Commander’s Area of Responsibility, Santiago explained.

The work at the JTIF laboratory, involving a significant development and integration-related collaborative effort with Army and industry engineers, is aimed at reducing risk through rapid prototyping and software and sensor integration. The EMARSS fuselage in the laboratory is a built-to specification model of a Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350.

“The laboratory gives us the flexibility to try things out with the fuselage. This helps us with how we configure the equipment,” Santiago added.

A key aim of the effort is to engineer and configure a modular aircraft designed with “open architecture” and a plug-and-play capability, allowing it to successfully integrate and function effectively with a variety of different sensor payloads, software packages and electronic equipment, he said.

“We want to build one bird with as many common capability packages on it as well as a full-motion video camera. We want it to be sensor agnostic,” Santiago said.

For example, the EMARSS aircraft is being configured to integrate a range of sensor packages such as Electro-Optical/Infrared cameras, MX-15 full-motion video cameras, and an imaging sensor known as the Wide Area Surveillance System, a technology able to identify and produce images spanning over a given area of terrain, explained Army acquisition officials.

The EMARSS capability is unique in that it is engineered with a data-link connecting the aircraft to the Army’s ground-based intelligence database called Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A). DCGS-A is a comprehensive integrated intelligence data repository that compiles, organizes, displays, and distributes information from more than 500 data sources. DCGS-A incorporates data from a wide array of sensors, including space-based sensors, geospatial information, and signal and human intelligence sources. A data-link with information from the ground-bases DCGS-A, will enable flight crews onboard EMARSS to use display screens and on-board electronics to receive and view intelligence information in real-time pertaining to their Area of Operations.

“As they are flying over an area, the EMARSS crew is able to immediately pick up the latest information from what other nearby intelligence assets are picking up. They can immediately get results from DCGS-A and see it on their display screens. Intelligence experts on the ground are doing analysis, and they can send relevant information back up to the aircraft,” Santiago explained.

Also, EMARSS’ plug-and-play, open architecture framework is being engineered so that the aircraft could potentially accommodate certain radar imaging technologies in the future, such as Ground Moving Target Indicator, a radar imaging technology able to detect moving vehicles and Synthetic Aperture Radar, a radar system able to paint an image or picture of the ground showing terrain, elevation, and nearby structures, Santiago said.

Given that all the sensors, antennas, cameras, and electronics are designed to operate within a common architecture, one possibility is to strategically disperse various sensor capabilities across a fleet of several EMARSS aircraft, thus maximizing the ability to gather and distribute relevant intelligence information, Santiago explained.

The Army Training and Doctrine Capability Manager for Intelligence Sensors is also working on the Capabilities Production Document which, according to plans, will eventually be submitted to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council before the EMARSS program can achieve a Milestone C production decision paving the way for limited rate initial production of the system in FY 13, Army acquisition officials explained.
 


  • KRIS OSBORN is a Highly Qualified Expert for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Office of Strategic Communications. He holds a B.A. in English and political science from Kenyon College and an M.A. in comparative literature from Columbia University.

Soldier uses Nett Warrior handheld

NIE drives technology growth, cost savings

By | General

Claire Heininger, ASA (ALT)

 

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (December 4, 2012) — Initial findings from the Army’s latest Network Integration Evaluation show steady progress toward improved, user-friendly tactical communications systems, as well as new efficiencies from the consolidation of test practices.

Although the final technical evaluations and responses are still pending, the Army is reviewing early assessments from NIE 13.1, which concluded Nov. 17, and planning for NIE 13.2, which gets underway in May 2013. Observations from NIE 13.1 included a more stable network backbone, demand for a “mid-tier” networking radio for use by lower echelons, and better user collaboration through a common framework for operations and intelligence tools. Several systems that participated in previous NIEs had incorporated Soldier feedback into updated versions with software and hardware enhancements.

“With each NIE, we get better — the technology improves, Soldier proficiency increases and we become more efficient in how we execute,” said Col. Mark Elliott, director of the Army G-3/5/7 Landwarnet-Mission Command Directorate. “Doing these events every six months allows us to keep pace with technical advances and address new requirements and capability gaps as they arise.”

DACM

Soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division drive a vehicle equipped with Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 during the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 13.1 on Nov. 9, 2012. The next NIE, 13.2, will focus on the continued solidification of the network baseline, including the Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation for WIN-T Increment 2. (Photo Credit: Claire Heininger, U.S. Army)

During the month-long NIE event held at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M., the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division evaluated five systems under formal test and 21 under evaluation. NIE 13.1 offered an early look at network enhancements that will be provided by Capability Set 14, helped to integrate mobile network technologies on armored platforms such as the Stryker, evaluated the requirements for a mid-tier radio within the network architecture, and hosted a formal test for Nett Warrior, a smartphone-like device that allows dismounted leaders to navigate terrain, exchange messages and digitally track one another’s locations.

NIE 13.1 was the fourth NIE conducted, and the Army continues to apply lessons learned in an effort to make each NIE more effective. Through streamlined NIE testing practices, the Army has realized $86.2 million in cost avoidance and savings by evaluating multiple systems in an integrated setting, rather than holding multiple independent events, and by improving processes such as data collection and instrumentation planning. Requiring all systems to go through a laboratory assessment and integration phase prior to NIE operations has also reduced NIE risk and cost.

“Doing a system of systems evaluation is what we’re driving toward, because that’s how we’re going to fight,” said Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, commander of the Army Test and Evaluation Command. “The beauty of this is we’re shaking off these systems stateside, not on the battlefield. And that’s saving money.”

To date, the NIEs have also yielded more than $6 billion in overall programmatic cost avoidance. Driven by Soldier feedback, NIE lessons-learned have allowed the Army to restructure certain programs, terminate others, and re-allocate resources to other priorities — while providing more network capability more quickly to operational commanders.

Two brigades of the 10th Mountain Division are now training on Capability Set 13, the Army’s first fully-integrated communications package to emerge from the NIE process. The 4th BCT, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo., will be the next to get the new gear starting early in 2013.

DACM

A Soldier from 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division uses a Nett Warrior handheld connected to a Rifleman Radio to pass information during operations at the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 13.1 on Nov. 9, 2012. Although the final technical evaluations and responses are still pending, the Army is reviewing early assessments from NIE 13.1, which concluded Nov. 17, and planning for NIE 13.2, which gets underway in May 2013. (Photo Credit: Claire Heininger, U.S. Army)

NIEs have not only allowed for Soldier-driven evaluations and assessments of network technologies, they have also aided the Army in development of Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for using Capability Set 13 as a holistic network. Training best practices for CS 13 systems — individually and as an integrated set — were also developed through the NIE. The training is designed not just to make Soldiers proficient on the systems within their individual specialties, but also to understand how those systems fit in with the rest of the brigade network structure.

“The value of the NIE lies in obtaining early Soldier feedback to improve systems, integrate them as a complete Capability Set prior to fielding, and develop training and TTPs for the whole package — rather than testing and fielding individual technologies as was done in the past,” said Col. Rob Carpenter, Army director of System of Systems Integration. “The key is to make sure this equipment is useable, trainable, supportable and sustainable.”

The next NIE, 13.2, will focus on the continued solidification of the network baseline, including the Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation for Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2. WIN-T Increment 2 is the backbone of the Army’s tactical network, providing key mission command on the move capability beyond what is available in today’s operational force.

The NIE construct will continue to expand in future exercises, including involvement by the joint services in 2014. By utilizing a two event process during each fiscal year, the Army will also leverage the NIE to help shape requirements, allowing for more targeted acquisitions. Going forward, the Army will conduct the first evaluation to assess broad industry capability gap solutions, and then use feedback to validate and refine the requirement prior to additional targeted gap industry solicitation for participation in the second NIE.

 

Abrams Engineering Change Proposal

Research & Development underway for Abrams Modernization

By | Acquisition

Bill Good

 

Over the past decade the only thing that has been able to slow the Army’s premier combat vehicle hasn’t been enemies on the battlefield, but rather the technological advancements added to the platform. While every vehicle is designed to have Space, Weight, and Power, or SWaP, margin for incremental improvements, recent upgrades made to the Abrams M1A2 System Enhancement Program Version 2 have left little margin for future improvements.

“The Abrams main battle tank was developed over three decades ago in response to a major Soviet threat. We were fortunate that engineers had the foresight to design in enough SWaP margin to enable us to host new capabilities needed during our recent missions in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Lt. Col. William Brennan, product manager for Abrams.

To help alleviate SWaP constraints, the Army has launched the Abrams Engineering Change Proposal, or ECP, program designed to reeestablish as much SWaP as possible by redesigning and modernizing many elements of the tank. This ECP is a modification to the system that leaves the essential capability unchanged. The Abrams ECP program will help ensure the Army can seamlessly incorporate other programs of record into the Abrams well into the future, without degrading operational performance.

“Right now the electrical power is in short supply on the tank. The centerpiece of the ECP 1 upgrade will be to restore lost power margin through the integration of a larger generator, improved slip ring, battery management system and a new power generation and distribution system,” said Brennan.

Other major Abrams ECP upgrades will focus on communications, data transmission and processing, and survivability. The communications upgrade will integrate the Joint Tactical Radio Systemand Handheld, Manpack, & Small Form Fit into the Abrams, replacing the current Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System.

The ability to incorporate the Army’s network is also a vital part of the ECP1 effort. To address network requirements the Abrams will integrate a gigabit Ethernet databus to allow greater data processing and transmission. The modified slip ring on the turret will provide the ability to transmit larger amounts of data into the turretand provide more power.

“The ECP1 upgrade will posture the tank to accept the Army network components in the near term, while building the necessary margin to accept future capabilities in the decades to come,” added Brennan.

While the Abrams remains the dominate vehicle on the battlefield, the ECP program will make it more formidable by including a new armor solution as well as an updated version of the counter-remote-control improvised explosive device electronic warfaresystem.

Initial production of tanks with ECP1 upgrades is slated to begin in 2017.

The Abrams ECP program is managed by Product Manager Abrams, which falls under leadership of the Project Manager, Heavy Brigade Combat Team within the Program Executive (PEO) Office for Ground Combat Systems (GCS).

 


  • Bill Good is with Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems Public Affairs.

Bradley Tank

Bradley Changes to Upgrade Vehicle Across the Board

By | Acquisition

Bill Good

 

Since the Bradley Fighting Vehicle was first introduced to the Army in 1982 it has been constantly modernized; however, the upgrades conducted over the past decade have been particularly taxing to the platform.

“It’s important to remember that armor improvements and the Bradley Urban Survivability Kit (BUSK) make today’s Bradley very different than the Bradleys that rolled into Iraq in 2003. The Army has not stopped improving its capabilities, but the Bradley has reached its limit of new capabilities it can accept without making some basic architectural improvements,” said Lt. Col. Glenn Dean, Product Manager for the Bradley and Armored Knight programs.

Space, Weight, and Power-Cooling, or SWaP-C, limits have been reached within the Bradley’s current configuration, leaving little room for integrating future capabilities. During the conflict in Iraq, the Army upgraded the Bradley to improve Soldier protection. These modifications included improved armor, BUSK integration, and counter-radio-controlled improvised explosive device electronic warfare (CREW) devices. The improvements, while extremely effective, increased the weight and electrical power consumption of the vehicle leaving little remaining margin to add new capabilities. This problem becomes compounded by the need to integrate the Army’s new network systems — the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, the Joint Tactical Radio System, and the Joint Battle Command-Platform software — and new systems such as next generation CREW devices, all of which require additional SWaP-C or computing capacity to operate.

To ensure the vehicle can enable the Army’s network investment and incorporate other Army programs of record without further degrading operational performance, basic improvements will be made as part of the upcoming Bradley Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) program. An ECP is a modification to a system that leaves the essential capability unchanged. So while the Bradley will maintain its classic look on the outside, under the hood will be a different matter.

The current Army plan breaks the Bradley ECP changes into two iterations. ECP 1 is designed to address the weight growth of the vehicle with early delivery of some mature products. It includes four capabilities — extended life; heavyweight track designed to handle larger vehicle weights; heavyweight torsion bars which will restore ground clearance lost to increased weight, improving cross-country mobility and underbelly blast protection; and improved durability road arms and shock absorbers, designed to reduce operating costs and maintenance intervals at increased vehicle weights.

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The Army has not stopped improving its capabilities, but the Bradley has reached its limit of new capabilities it can accept without making some basic architectural improvements.

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ECP 2 is focused on meeting electric power generation and computing requirements for network systems.

“The intent of the Bradley ECP program is not to degrade the performance of the vehicle. If we simply added a larger generator to the current vehicle, we would get more electrical power, but at the expense of less automotive power for speed, acceleration, and cross-country mobility,” said Dean.

To address this issue ECP 2 will include an upgraded generator and power distribution system, but will also require an engine and transmission modification to ensure automotive capability is not lost in order to power network systems.

“The last time we did an engine power upgrade was with the Bradley A2 in 1988. With the ECP program, the Bradley will be able to keep pace with Army modernization, remaining capable and relevant into the next decade and beyond,” added Dean.

Computing and data handling capability will also weigh heavily in the ECP effort. The digital bus architecture of the Bradley will be improved through incorporation of common intelligent displays, an improved slip ring, improved Ethernet switch, and VICTORY computing architecture standards, all of which will contribute to the integration and handling of the large volumes of data the new Army network systems require.

Current plans are to apply both ECPs to just over 15 brigades, or about 1,860 vehicles. Some ECP 1 components are projected to be fielded during FYs 14 through 18, depending upon future defense budgets. ECP 2 will begin engineering design in FY13, and is scheduled for initial fielding in FY18.

“The ECP effort is a total system solution to manage vehicle space, weight, and power to enable the network,” said Dean. “We’re taking the opportunity to deliver the weight management pieces early, since they are the most ready, while we complete the engineering of the rest of the changes. That way we can ensure a constant flow of improvements to the field.”

The Bradley ECP program is managed by Product Manager Bradley/Armored Knight, which falls under leadership of the Heavy Brigade Combat Team within the Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems.

 


  • Bill Good is with Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems Public Affairs.

Stryker vehicles

Team Stryker receives 2012 Secretary of the Army Excellence in Contracting Award

By | Contracting

Bill Good

 

The Stryker Life Cycle Requirements Contracting Team has received the 2012 Secretary of the Army Excellence in Contracting Award for outstanding Systems, Research and Development, and Logistics Support (Sustainment) Contracting as a result of its work on a complicated follow-on contract that included more than a dozen scopes of work.

“There were numerous submittals in this category, all of which exemplified contracting excellence in a teaming environment,” said Harry Hallock, Executive Director of the Army Contracting Command, in an email congratulating Team Stryker on its award. “Team Stryker’s selection as the ‘best of the best’ is a tribute to your professionalism and drive to accomplish the mission, as teammates and colleagues with individual and unique talents that are enhanced by working together for a common goal in support of your customer, every day.”

The Stryker team was nominated for the exemplary performance it demonstrated during the acquisition planning and pre-solicitation phase associated with the fiscal year 2013-2015 Stryker Life Cycle follow-on requirements contract. The contract will enable the Stryker Team to cost-effectively continue its mission over the next three years and includes key services such as new equipment training, fielding, logistics and engineering support, and possibly, production.

The entire program’s complement of life cycle mission requirements are contained under one base contract, with performance enacted by the issuance of delivery orders that are linked to 13 distinct scopes of work.

“This means that Stryker has one contract with 13 different sections, each of which supports continued real time execution of the Stryker mission,” said David Dopp, project manager for the Army’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team. “The planning and pre-solicitation effort associated with this contract required careful orchestration across the organization.”

The team developed several key elements needed to execute the project from start to finish, including an integrated master schedule and defined project organizational resource charts. Team Stryker created a specific working group for each scope of work —13 different working groups each responsible for their own scope of work and deliverables, and for developing, evaluating, and negotiating all elements of the proposed contract. “To say it’s a huge task would be an understatement,” said Dopp.

“This project was successful because of Team Stryker’s ability to define and communicate the details of a highly complex and integrated project,” said Scott Davis, the Army’s Program Executive Officer for Ground Combat Systems. “To increase efficiency and reduce cost, the team defined and obtained approval to implement a staggered proposal submission and award schedule for each of the 13 distinct scopes of work, allowing the project to be managed within existing resources.”

Davis added, “What is truly significant about this award is that it demonstrates the incredible attention to detail and adherence to best business practices that the Styker team goes through every day. Our most important mission is to provide Soldiers with ground combat systems that are adaptable, versatile, and affordable, all while ensuring we provide the taxpayer with the kind of value they deserve.”
 


  • Bill Good is with Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems Public Affairs.