Monthly Archives

December 2013

Capability Set 13

Army fields 101st Airborne new tactical network with integrated training approach

By | Acquisition

By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, PEO C3T

 

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2013) — With the Army’s newest set of tactical network systems now in the hands of Soldiers who could be among the last to deploy to Afghanistan, the service is ensuring users master the power behind their communications gear.

To do this, the Army established a new System of Systems, or SoS, training concept drawing on lessons learned from previous units fielded with the integrated communications package known as Capability Set 13, or CS 13, including two brigade combat teams, known as BCTs, of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) that are now deployed to Afghanistan. The new approach embraces instruction on integrated systems capabilities, leverages Soldier knowledge and creates an underlying familiarity with how the equipment supports operations.

Using a train-the-trainer concept, the Army is instructing a “slice” of about 125 Soldiers from the 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), in order to establish proficiency with the network communications systems known collectively as CS 13, before introducing the gear to the full brigade for collective training events.

“We’re the fourth brigade to have CS 13, but the first to go through the SoS training,” said Capt. Justin Zevenbergen, communications officer with 3/101. “As signal Soldiers, we’re being trained first on CS 13 before the whole brigade is out there, so when we do begin our event training we can then say, ‘We’re going to rock-n-roll this because we know it, we’ve done it.'”

Led by the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications – Tactical, or PEO C3T, the SoS training is based directly on user feedback and marks a key step in increasing unit proficiency and network performance. CS 13 marked the first time the Army has delivered network systems not on an individual basis, but as an integrated communications package that spans the entire BCT formation, connecting the static tactical operations center to the commander on the move to the dismounted Soldier.

“At first it’s overwhelming because there are so many moving pieces, but as time goes on and we keep working with the equipment, I think it will get easier and easier,” said Sgt. Brandon Pieper with the 3/101, who is also taking the training. “The systems are pretty easy to use and we’re moving forward from the lessons learned.”

As the Army continues to incrementally modernize the network and fields the follow-on CS 14 to additional units, including BCTs from the 82nd Airborne Division, this training concept will give Soldiers more time to learn the new systems and capabilities and maximize their effect. The right mix of technology and training will continue to evolve as the Army works to simplify the network, making it easier to use, train, maintain and sustain.

“We continue to incorporate lessons learned from Capability Set fieldings and drive those into our processes so we get better every time,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel P. Hughes, program executive officer for C3T. “Now we are focusing on simplifying our communications systems for the end user while delivering a pervasive network that meets their needs.”

Also included in the SoS training is an overview course so commanders understand the network as an integrated combat multiplier and not just a collection of separate signal capabilities. A weekly technical “trail boss” meeting was added to keep training on schedule and troubleshoot any issues that arise.

“The idea is to get the brigade involved as much as possible, because that leads to good outcomes with CS 13,” said Tom Eberle, PEO C3T’s technical “trail boss” assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. “What the training allows them to do is to identify how the system is supposed to work. We wanted to help them help themselves. So we’re training the units to do that.”

The SoS training also focuses on “crew drills” that cross-train a collective crew on CS 13 systems — both mounted and dismounted — to ensure an overall understanding of how the systems function as a group in various mission scenarios.

CS 13 systems provide mobile satellite and robust radio capability connecting all echelons of a brigade combat team down to the dismounted Soldier, while improving battlefield awareness and reducing units’ reliance on fixed infrastructure. This becomes increasingly important as U.S. forces continue to draw down and carry out advise-and-assist missions with the Afghan National Security Forces, turning over many of their Forward Operating Bases and other infrastructure and gradually losing fixed network locations.

Using CS 13, the 4th and 3rd BCTs, 10th Mountain Division (4/10 and 3/10) are exchanging information while on the move in treacherous terrain and digitally tracking and communicating with small groups of dismounted Soldiers who have spread out to remote locations as they advise their Afghan partners.

As the Army’s first two units to receive CS 13 over the past year, both 4/10 and 3/10 faced an accelerated timeline for training with the equipment prior to deployment. As they completed their training exercises, the units recorded their experiences to pass along to their counterparts in 3/101 and 2/101. This input directly influenced the new SoS training concept, and highlighted the need for the Army to simplify network systems for the end user.

“Our big focus with this equipment is effective management of communications,” said Chief Warrant Officer II Johnathan Bradley, a network technician with the 3/101. “It’s making it possible for anybody to operate the equipment that needs to operate it. The end state is to get these guys familiar enough with the equipment that they know when something is wrong and can mold it where it needs to go.”

The 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), will continue training on CS 13 for the next several months prior to possible deployment in 2014.

The SoS training will evolve as the Army incorporates additional lessons learned from Afghanistan and from the Network Integration Evaluations, semi-annual events that leverage the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, conducting rigorous mission scenarios in a realistic operational environment at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. Those lessons are continuously folded into the Army’s tactics, techniques and procedures, so each unit can make optimal use of the equipment they receive and innovate new methods of use.

As it continues for future units, the SoS training will empower Soldiers and leaders with the technical knowledge to ensure the right information is delivered at the right time to make crucial mission command decisions. By fielding the network in Capability Sets, the Army is providing scalable and tailorable equipment that is responsive to what the commander needs to execute current and future missions.


Acquisition Education and Training Corner

By | Career Development

Education and training opportunities

Congratulations to Newly Selected Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellows:
Congratulations to the Year Group 14 (YG 14) CDG/AAF inductees. The YG 14 inductees are:

  • Kyle Bruner, Program Executive Office (PEO) Combat Support & Combat Service Support
  • Monica Clemons, Army Contracting Command
  • Kelly Courtney, Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM)
  • Walter Hamm, Army Contracting Command
  • Lauren McNew, PEO Command, Control, Communications-Tactical
  • David Oatley, RDECOM
  • Maurice Stephens, Communications-Electronics Command

The CDG/AAF Program is a three-year leadership program that offers competitively selected GS-12/13s (or broad/pay band equivalent) expanded leadership training and experience opportunities.

Defense Acquisition University-Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF): The DAU-SSCF announcement will open Jan. 29 and close April 2, 2014. This Military Education Level One (MEL-1) Army approved Senior Service College Fellowship provides SSC equivalency at your local commuting area if you live in either Maryland (APG), Alabama (Huntsville) or Michigan (Warren). The purpose of the SSCF Program is to provide leadership and acquisition training to prepare senior level civilians for senior leadership roles such as product and project managers, program executive officers and other key acquisition leadership positions. Participants not only graduate from a SSC, but will also complete the Army Program Managers Course (PMT 401), and have the option to complete a master’s degree. For additional information on this great GS-14/15 Senior Service College, go to the DAU-SSCF website.

The announcement will be offered through the Army Acquisition Professional Development System (AAPDS). To access AAPDS, login at the Career Acquisition Management Portal (CAMP). Next, click on Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAPPMIS). Once in CAPPMIS, select the “AAPDS” tab, and then select the “Application Module” link. Click on “Apply” and view all Army DACM available opportunities.

REMINDER: Applicants must to complete Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course prior to the start of the fellowship.

School of Choice (SOC): There will not be a SOC Announcement in FY14 due to the current fiscal environment. Should a command have an urgent need to send a high performing workforce member to obtain his/her Bachelor or Masters Degree during duty-time, please contact the AET Branch Chief, Scott Greene, to discuss potential for the DACM office to fund.

Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program (ALCP):
Now in its 4th FY, ALCP is quickly becoming the foundation of Army acquisition civilian leadership development. This two-and-a-half day leadership experience challenges students to examine themselves and their environments in order to become stronger leaders within their current and future organizations.

The Army Director, Acquisition Career Management (DACM) Office has split our FY14 offerings into four quarters. The announcement for Q3 will be open Feb. 10 – March 10, 2014.

NOTE: ALCP will not be announced using AAPDS. If interested, please contact your command/organization Acquisition Career Management Advocate (ACMA) or Organizational Acquisition POC (OAP) to obtain a command allocation.

 

OFFERING DATE COURSE LEVEL LOCATION WHO MAY ATTEND ANNOUNCEMENT DATES*
Jan. 13-15, 2014 ALCP I Atlanta, Ga. All-WF GS12/13 Closed
Jan. 15-17 ALCP II Atlanta All-WF GS14/15 Closed
Feb. 24-26 ALCP I Alexandria, Va. Local-WF GS12/13 Closed
Feb. 26-28 ALCP I Alexandria Local-WF GS14/15 Closed
March 3-4 ALCP B Aberdeen, Md. Local-WF GS07-11 Closed
March 17-19 ALCP I Orlando, Fla. Local-WF GS12/13 Closed
March 19-21 ALCP I Orlando, FL Local-WF GS12/13 Closed
April 28-30 ALCP I Aberdeen Local-WF GS12/13 Feb. 10 – March 10
April 30 – May 2 ALCP I Aberdeen Local-WF GS12/13 Feb. 10 – March 10
May 19-21 ALCP I Atlanta All-WF GS12/13 Feb. 10 – March 10
May 21-23 ALCP II Atlanta All-WF GS14/15 Feb. 10 – March 10
June 9-11 ALCP I Warren, Mich. Local-WF GS12/13 Feb. 10 – March 10
June 11-13 ALCP II Warren Local-WF GS14/15 Feb. 10 – March 10
June 23-24 ALCP B Huntsville, Ala. Local-WF GS07-11 Feb. 10 – March 10
July 28-30 ALCP I Huntsville Local-WF GS12/13 TBD
July 30 – Aug. 1 ALCP I Huntsville Local-WF GS14/15 TBD
Aug. 18-20 ALCP I Atlanta All-WF GS12/13 TBD
Aug. 20-22   ALCP II Atlanta All-WF GS14/15 TBD
Aug. 25-26 ALCP B Atlanta All-WF GS07-11 TBD
Aug. 27-28 ALCP B Atlanta All-WF GS07-11 TBD

 

Having trouble keeping the dates straight? All of the opening and closing dates are also posted to the USAASC Events Calendar.

 
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Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Training

  • FY14 DAU Course Registration: Students should continue to apply to the FY14 schedule using AITAS. 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. Supervisors must approve the training request in Army Training Requirements (ATRRS) and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) for application processing by USAASC registration office. Students should view the DAU iCatalog to ensure they meet the prerequisite(s), prior to applying to a DAU course. Workforce members and their supervisors should plan their training and ensure they have adequate time to complete prerequisite training prior to attend the follow on course. Reservations in follow on courses are cancelled if prerequisite requirements are not met.
  • It is imperative the student and supervisor email address is listed correctly on the AITAS student profile. Please apply through the AITAS. For more information on DAU training to include, systematic instructions, training priority definition or FAQs, please visit USAASC’s DAU Training webpage.
  • TDY Funding for DAU classes: Students should apply to the classes available in the next cost-effective location. We received reduced DAU travel funds for FY14. USAASC will only fund Priority 1 and 2 students travel to cost effective locations.
  • Low fill Classes: A weekly low-fill listing, posted weekly on DAU’s website, allows students the opportunity to attend classes coming up in the next 60 days. Low-fill classes within 60 days from the start date of the class are available on a first-come, first-served basis for students priority 2 and 40 days for priority 3-5 students. Please remember that even if a class is on the low-fill list, students must choose the designated cost-effective location for their training.
  • Alternate Delivery Method Courses: In a constrained fiscal environment, DAU is looking at using innovative delivery methods to provide the same level of seat capacity of 57,000, at the same time providing effective learning assets. Alternate delivery methods for student pilots include video teleconferencing (VTC), Telepresence using high definition resolution, Defense Connect Online (DCO), and flipped classroom. The pilots will continue to run until the end of FY14. DAU hopes to offer alternate delivery courses on the FY15 schedule. Upcoming pilots include Telepresence for three FE 301 offerings (Fort Belvoir, Huntsville, Ala., and California, Md.) and PMT 401 (Kettering Ohio). ACQ 370 will be conducted in April 2014 at Chester Va. using flipped classroom format.
  • College of Contract Management (CCM): CCM is now a new business unit under DAU with the primary goal to support tailored training for Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) employees. DAU will deploy two new resident courses offered under CCM, CMA 211 – Joint Government Flight Representative (GFR) and CMA 221 – Joint Government Ground Representative (GGR). This is a certification course, which is intended for those who will serve as an appointed GFR, or GGRs. If you are a supervisor/commander, contracting officer, contractor employee, or of another nonaircraft-operations discipline who is interested in this subject matter, please pursue the Continuous Learning Module, CLX 110, “Fundamentals of GRF and GGR.”
  • FY15 Schedule Build: The Army DACM is responsible for submitting the Army’s DAU training demand. Commands and PEOs are solicited to host DAU onsites in FY15. Army DAU onsites are classes hosted by a command or organization. The intent of the onsites is to bring localized required DAU Training to the students to save on travel cost. Onsites are ideal locations where DAU main or satellite campus is not available locally. Army onsites will be included in the Army’s consolidated seat demand to DAU. Once finalized, the FY15 schedule will be available for student registration on Thursday, 15 May 2014.

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  • If you have questions on any Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience (AETE) programs or DAU Training, please contact the the AETE Branch Chief Scott Greene @ scott.greene4@us.army.mil
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DACM News


GoArmyEd released; soon to be linked to legacy systems

By | Career Development

By Susan L. Follett

 

Trying to determine the best way to manage civilian career development can be daunting, given the array of available tools and requirements. Staying current on the latest websites and their features is a vital part of that effort.

Scott Greene, Acquisition Education & Training Branch chief from the Office of the Army Director, Acquisition Career Management (DACM) at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center, recently took some time to explain how the newly released GoArmyEd can help the Army acquisition community with career development tasks.

GoArmyEd, which went live in September, is a role-based portal that centralizes and standardizes the management of education benefit policies and funds while coordinating the activities of key stakeholders. Soldiers and Army civilians may use GoArmyEd to electronically request tuition assistance, training, and leadership development programs as well as access and manage their education records.

Army G-3/5/7 administrative users, including supervisors, career program managers, training managers, and Headquarters, Department of the Army G-3/5/7, can use GoArmyEd to respond to support requests, manage funds, approve training applications and registration requests, record and track completions, and manage school and vendor invoices based on the permissions of assigned administrative role.

The system offers toll-free helpdesk support, automated email confirmations and alerts, and self-service registration for on-duty courses.

“GoArmyEd is a great tool,” said Greene, “but it’s important to note that it’s not yet integrated with legacy systems like the Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System [CAPPMIS] that are used by the Army Acquisition Workforce.

“Army civilians will continue to be required to maintain an Acquisition Individual Development Plan [IDP] in CAPPMIS,” he explained. “And until an IT solution is developed for our acquisition-unique requirements, they may be required by their career program, to also maintain an IDP in Army Career Tracker, the system of record for Army IDPs for enlisted soldiers, officers and Army civilians. Continuous learning points, IDPs, and certifications must also be kept current within CAPPMIS/ Army Civilian Training, Education and Development System (ACTEDS).”

Greene offered simple steps for which systems to use. For any DACM-sponsored tuition assistance program that requires an SF-182, the SF-182 must be created and processed within the CAPPMIS Army Acquisition Professional Development System.

For training, education or other non-DACM training funded through ACTEDS or your command or organization, apply for those courses in GoArmyEd. Any document generation—the SF-182, for example—will be done there.

Efforts are underway to integrate the legacy systems with GoArmyEd so users will have just one source to access. Once that’s complete, Army civilians will be able to use GoArmyEd to process online training applications, SF-182 authorizations, and certification of training requests for centrally and command-funded training and professional development classes. The timetable for that integration is currently under development and not expected until at least mid-FY15.

“We highly suggest exploring GoArmyEd to familiarize yourself with what it has to offer, so users will be ready to access it when the integration happens,” Greene said. GoArmyEd features roughly 20 training videos for Army civilians on the key functions they’re likely to use, and roughly 30 administrative user training documents guide users through each of the administrative GoArmyEd functions used to support Army civilians.

Additional information can be found on GoArmyEd and tutorial videos on YouTube.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity Depot Operations

Crane Army completes GPS testing on vehicles

By | Logistics

By Thomas Peske

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Army network stays connected even when ‘jumping the TOC’

By | Acquisition

By Amy Walker, PEO C3T

 

FORT BLISS, Texas (Dec. 9, 2013) — Brigade and battalion command posts, the heart of battlefield operations, are more mobile and agile than ever before, and through ongoing improvements in network capability, the Army is increasing their ability to move forward in the fight while retaining commanders’ critical situational awareness.

Current technologies such as Warfighter Information Network Tactical, known as WIN-T, Increment 2, the Army’s mobile tactical communications network backbone, and emerging solutions like the Modular Integrated Command Post, or MiCP — a vehicle that efficiently provides networking equipment and power to support a command post — are enhancing a commander’s ability to lead from anywhere on the battlefield.

“We are a maneuver unit that has to be mobile, lethal and expeditionary; if we are not able to move with our systems then we are really disadvantaged,” said Col. Thomas Dorame, commander for 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, the operational unit for the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, exercises. “Right now utilizing WIN-T Increment 2 and mission command on the move, I am able to extend the operational reach for the brigade, but more importantly, as units continue to move, to make contact with the enemy, we are able to provide them updated information from any location.”

As part of the Army’s modular expeditionary force, brigade Tactical Command Posts, referred to simply as TACs, replicate the critical mission command and communication systems found in units’ much larger Tactical Operations Centers, known as TOCs. Both TACs and TOCs are stationary and don’t possess full operational capability when in transit to new locations, but the TAC’s robust at-the-halt network capability can be torn down, moved and set up in a fraction of the time that it takes to reconstruct the full blown TOC.

The smaller TAC’s mission command and communications capabilities are tailorable and scalable and can be rearranged depending upon mission requirements. When the commander needs to move his main TOC forward on the battlefield, he will send the TAC ahead first to retain the unit’s operational network capability. Once the TAC is set up in its new location, the larger TOC can then move forward with minimal disruption to battlefield operations.

“WIN-T Increment 2 improves commanders’ flexibility since they can ‘jump’ their TACs and the TOCs much faster now, without loss of situational awareness,” said Lt. Col. LaMont Hall, product manager for WIN-T Increment 2. “They can simultaneously command and control from either location, or from their WIN-T Increment 2 -equipped vehicles.”

DACM

During the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation 14.1 at Fort Bliss, Texas, which wrapped up in mid November 2013, the brigade Tactical Command Post was integrated into a new mobile command post based on a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle with expandable sides that could be set up or torn down in under an hour, making it even more maneuverable, scalable and agile than the traditional Tactical Command Post tent.

Fielded since 2004, WIN-T Increment 1 provides Soldiers with high-speed, high-capacity voice, data and video communications down to the battalion level. WIN-T Increment 2, which began fielding last year, enhances these capabilities by providing an on the move network that extends down to the company level. Both increments are deployed in Afghanistan today as part of the Army’s interoperable tactical communications network architecture.

WIN-T Increment 2- equipped TACs and TOCs leverage Tactical Communications Nodes and advanced Satellite Transportable Terminals for satellite communications, which enable them to cover greater distances. In the past commanders could only jump their TACs as far as they could get their line-of-sight radio relay set up, approximately 10 to 15 kilometers. Now with WIN-T Increment 2’s beyond line-of-sight satellite communications, a commander can move his TAC an unlimited distance, Hall said.

“The commander is able to keep full situational awareness at all times,” said Lt. Col. Ernest Tornabell, brigade communications officer for 2/1 AD. “He can go from the stationary TOC or TAC into his WIN-T Increment 2 Point-of-Presence-equipped vehicle, which has virtually everything [communication and mission command capabilities] that he had at the stationary locations; it gives him the ability to be driving on the road at 25 mph and continue to command the fight.”

To help incrementally advance network technologies such as WIN-T, the Army leverages its NIEs, semi-annual Soldier-led evaluations in the realistic operational testing environments of Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The Army also uses the events to introduce emerging industry solutions that could potentially satisfy network capability gaps.

DACM

The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2 Tactical Communications Node provides the Tactical Operations Center and Tactical Command Post with communication and networking equipment (line-of-sight and satellite communications) both on the move and at the halt to battalion and above echelons. While at the halt, the Tactical Communications Node is equipped with a 10-meter extendable mast to improve line-of-sight connectivity.

During NIE 14.1, which wrapped up in mid November, the brigade TAC was integrated into a new mobile command post based on a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle with expandable sides that could be set up or torn down in under an hour, making it even more maneuverable, scalable and agile than the traditional TAC tent. When the brigade TAC was set up in its stationary location, its communication and mission command laptops and screens were connected to the MiCP, an NIE system under evaluation, which provided the servers, network connectivity and power to the TAC. Since the TAC servers were located on the MiCP vehicle, they were always ready to be quickly reconnected with the network equipment in the TAC directly after a jump, instead of having to be torn down and set up again.

Integrated onto a survivable MaxxPro mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle, the MiCP solution significantly reduces size, weight, and power — thermal and cost requirements. The capabilities of two legacy Command Post Platforms, currently used to provide the necessary communications equipment to operate and support a TOC or TAC, were combined into just one mobile platform. MiCP provides advanced communication through a modern suite of information systems, networking devices and tactical radios, as well as the unique ability to generate electrical power from its own transmission through its On Board Vehicle Power system. MiCP will also be evaluated at NIE 14.2 this spring.

“MiCP helps the commander be more flexible in where he can go and how quickly he can set up and establish [operations] at the halt by having to just connect a few cables instead of two sets of vehicles coming to the halt and setting up both of those,” Tornabell said.

As the Army continues to modernize its network and make it easier for Soldiers to learn and operate, the force will increase its agility and ability to conduct current, evolving and future missions. The depth and breadth of information available at Soldiers’ fingertips, both in and out of the TOC, is also increasing, facilitating collaboration down to the lowest echelons and across the entire brigade combat team.

“Operationally, we want to fight to the fullest extent with our great network and communication capabilities, and now we are able to extend out a lot further,” Dorame said. “We are able to receive back reports with a better clarity and fidelity to allow commanders at battalion and brigade level to make faster decisions with better resolution and less risk to the overall force.”

Faces of the Force

By | Faces of the Force, Talent Management

Template for Faces of the Force

Working towards culture change

 

By Tara Clements

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHARP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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.
visual inspection

‘FOCUSING ON SOLUTIONS’

By | Contracting

An interview with Mr. Charlie E. Williams Jr., outgoing director, Defense Contract Management Agency

 

Mr. Charlie E. Williams Jr. was director of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) from May 2008 until his retirement on Dec. 3, 2013. In that capacity, he led a DOD agency of more than 10,600 civilians and military personnel who execute worldwide contract management responsibilities, covering more than 19,800 contractors and more than $236 billion in unliquidated obligations. This Q&A was originally published in the Fall 2013 edition of ACC Today magazine (http://www.acc.army.mil/news/today/).

Q. How does the Defense Contract Management Agency mission support the Soldier in the field?

A. Our mission is to ensure the delivery of quality products and services to the warfighter on time and on cost. This includes providing products that range from boots to weapon systems, and most everything in between. Today’s operational forces rely on contractors for much of the support they receive on the battlefield. DCMA delivers on-the-ground contingency contract administration services in support of those contracts.

DACM

A COMMON GOAL
DOD and industry share the goal of supporting the warfighter and work together to accomplish it. SGT Sharmella Andrews discusses the status of shipments of crates and containers off Kandahar Air Field with a civilian contractor. Soldiers and civilian contractors are working together conducting retrograde operations as the drawdown in Afghanistan continues. (U.S. Army photo by CPL Clay Beyersdorfer)

Q. What is the relationship between U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) and DCMA?

A. DCMA supports the Department of Defense acquisition enterprise. As a part of the DOD acquisition enterprise, ACC is a primary customer for DCMA. The agency supports ACC in a variety of ways: providing insight through our integrated cost analysis teams [ICATs], up-to-date information on contractors with the consolidated business analysis repository, and other contract administration services for a wide variety of Army contracts.

DCMA has customer liaison representatives [CLRs] located at each of the Army Contracting Command centers. Having the CLRs at the various ACC locations allows them the ability to provide real-time support when a real-time need arises. Our CLRs provide feedback to our agency on initiatives, goals and objectives. We can then adjust as necessary.

Additionally, DCMA interacts with ACC at the most senior levels. I have met with MG Camille Nichols [ACC commanding general until October 2013] and her senior leaders on two separate occasions to discuss common challenges. Together, we identify opportunities that enable mission success. Our most recent discussions have been focused on topics such as enduring contingency contracting support in a post-overseas contingency operations environment, DCMA’s ICATs, support to the Army’s should-cost initiatives, financial improvement audit readiness and other critical DCMA pricing efforts. As we continue these meetings, we will be focusing on solutions for the challenges that we collectively face.

DACM

CLOSER INSPECTION
DCMA constantly evaluates requirements and balances them against resources. PFC Dewayne M. Johnson, a fuel noncommissioned officer with the 1438th Transportation Company in support of Task Force Lifeliner, conducts a visual inspection of a fuel distribution point during their monthly fuel audit, Sept. 17, 2013, at Forward Operating Base Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan. The purpose of this audit is to ensure gain and losses are being tracked. (U.S. Army photo by SGT Sinthia Rosario, Task Force Lifeliner Public Affairs)

Q. What is an integrated cost analysis team?

A. As a contribution to DOD’s Better Buying Power initiative aimed at driving affordability and achieving program cost objectives, DCMA has instituted ICATs. The teams are comprised of both business and technical personnel dedicated to all facets of proposal pricing engagement and continuous evaluation of the contractor’s proposal pricing process, with the goal of providing timely support and comprehensive analysis of proposals. The teams are located on-site at specified contractor facilities and are actively engaged with, and knowledgeable of, contractors’ systems. DCMA ICAT assistance ranges from a top-to-bottom proposal pricing report to a specifically tailored pricing product that covers only certain requested evaluation elements.

Q. What is the contract business analysis repository [CBAR], and how is DCMA training ACC personnel on CBAR?

A. DCMA established CBAR to assist procurement contracting officers with contracting efforts, primarily negotiations, through controlled access to timely and comprehensive contractor information to support effective price negotiation prior to contract award. It provides the latest contractor business systems status, and the latest forward pricing rate recommendations and agreements. It also has the most current contractor disclosure statements on file. DCMA has offered CBAR training to ACC contracting personnel. We have provided this training in person and online. We are in the process of scheduling more of these training sessions with each ACC location.

Q. How is DCMA working with ACC in the development of the virtual contracting enterprise (VCE)?

A. DCMA is providing support to ACC as the VCE is under development. The DCMA Information Technology Directorate is sharing some lessons learned and source code for our DCMA property administration eTool with the ACC. Working together like this will enable ACC to build a similar tool in VCE. The long-term vision of the project is to create a data exchange capability that allows information to flow freely between our eTool applications and the ACC’s VCE tools.

DACM

SKYFALL
Looking for better ways to do things is just good business. For example, using air rather than ground transportation for supply delivery in Afghanistan increased efficiency and kept Soldiers off the road and out of harm’s way. U.S. Army SGT Justin Allen, left, a wheeled vehicle mechanic and SPC Ariel Napoles, an artillery mechanic, both assigned to the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, tighten parachute cord around a cargo bundle used in low-cost, low-altitude aerial resupply missions, at Fort Hood, TX, July 15, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by SSG John Couffer)

Q. How do you think the budget cuts and furloughs will affect the growth of the contracting community?

A. While it is likely that undetermined budget cuts will impact workforce growth in the coming years, substantial progress has already been achieved in areas that provide value-added results to the department’s acquisition enterprise. The work we have done to enrich our overall contracting, pricing and quality assurance workforce is indeed paying dividends. Depending on the size of the yet-to-be-determined budget reductions, we will make appropriate course corrections that seek to first protect the services we deliver that provide the biggest return on investments to the department. When you add planned business efficiencies and other operational improvements, I think we will get through the coming challenges.

Q. How do you view the relationship between DOD and defense suppliers in providing the nation’s warfighters with the services and products they need?

A. I believe the relationship is strong. Both DOD and industry have a common goal of supporting our warfighter, and I don’t think anyone would question the sincere desire to do so in a very big way. That said, as it should be, there is always a healthy set of debate about how best to achieve the national defense capability we need. This tension is necessary to ensure that we strike a healthy balance between many competing priorities.

Q. How is DCMA responding to the automatic budget cuts?

A. As stewards of taxpayers’ dollars, we all must evaluate the requirements and balance them with available resources. The challenge is to provide the goods and services the warfighter needs within the available budget. We must look for ways to meet those needs with fewer dollars. The agency is proactively analyzing and evaluating all services we provide and products we support in the DOD acquisition enterprise. We are being challenged at every level to reduce costs as we look for efficiencies. As we consider the portfolio of services the agency provides, our objective will be to deliver those services in the most efficient manner possible and to deliver value for the DOD dollars invested in the agency.

Q. What changes are ahead for DCMA?

A. While we are planning for and adjusting to future financial pressures, we are also proactively looking for cost-effective solutions and efficiencies to continue the mission with as little disruption as possible. DCMA will continue working through the challenges of consolidating our headquarters functions into the Fort Lee [VA] footprint. Our role in Iraq and Afghanistan will adjust to support the changing DOD requirements in that area of responsibility. Our duties will evolve as the global acquisition enterprise evolves. Lastly, information technology advances will promote effectiveness and productivity within DCMA and for the DOD acquisition workforce.


  • MR. CHARLIE E. WILLIAMS JR. entered federal service in 1982 through the Air Force Logistics Command’s Mid-Level Management Training Program and from there served in a variety of contracting and procurement roles for the Air Force, culminating in his assignment as deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for contracting in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, prior to being named DCMA director. A member of the Defense Acquisition Corps, he earned Level III certification in contracting. He holds a B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University, a master of public administration from Tennessee State University and a master of public administration in national resource management from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Williams’ awards and recognitions include a Special Service Award, Meritorious Civilian Service Award, Exceptional Civilian Service Award and Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award.