POSITION: Systems Acquisition Manager for Mobile Strike Force Vehicle
UNIT: Product Manager Allied Tactical Vehicles (PdM ATV), Project Manager Transportation Systems, Program Executive Office Combat Support & Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS)
TOTAL YEARS OF SERVICE: 9
AWARDS: Achievement Medal for Civilian Service
EDUCATION: M.S., engineering management, University of Michigan – Dearborn; B.S., mechanical engineering, GMI Engineering and Management Institute (now Kettering University)
Childhood fascination leads to grown-up career
By Susan L. Follett
Howard Rosbury, systems acquisition manager (SAM) for PEO CS&CSS, has an issue we’re all familiar with: too much to do and not enough time. Faced with the current climate of shrinking budgets and hiring freezes, he and his team do battle with the challenge of getting more done with less. For Rosbury, a transplant from the automotive industry, meeting that challenge requires expectation management and solid communication.
He has definitely been busy. As a SAM for Mobile Strike Force Vehicle (MSFV) platform, Rosbury led and managed integrated product team (IPT) planning sessions with PdM ATV and the TACOM Acquisition Contracting Center (ACC) to integrate Afghan theater requirements and finalize the performance work statement for a $420 million long-term MSFV sustainment contract that’s critical to sustaining combat power for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Working with TACOM’s Security Assistance Management Directorate, he led and managed an urgent foreign military sales (FMS) procurement action from Bulgaria for the MSFV that resulted in a contract award and loss avoidance of more than $10 million in expiring funds, and increased the Bulgarian Army’s combat capability for supporting the International Security Assistance Forces coalition in Afghanistan.
The work is offset by the reward, noted Rosbury, who recently received the Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service for his efforts. “The greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army is that I get to use my automotive and acquisition knowledge and experience to provide our Soldiers with effective vehicle platforms and ultimately save lives.”
What do you do in the Army? Why is it important?
I am the SAM for the MSFV platform, managing the cost, schedule, performance and risks associated with procuring and sustaining the fleet. The MSFV fleet is being fielded to the ANSF in support of Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan to provide the ANSF with a rapid mobility and quick reaction force capability to combat terrorism.
How did you end up in your current position?
I grew up in Detroit, the automotive capital of the world, and decided to pursue a career in the automotive industry by focusing my undergraduate studies on a mechanical engineering degree. After graduating, I worked in the automotive industry for six years before taking advantage of an opportunity to apply my engineering experience to the Army’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) platform. I grew up down the street from the Selfridge Air National Guard Base [in Harrison Township, Michigan], and I’ve been fascinated with military vehicles and aircraft since my early childhood. Working for the Army was an opportunity I could not pass up, especially in light of the troubles that the automotive industry was going through at the time.
What has your experience been like? What has surprised you the most?
Early on, making the transition from the automotive industry to the federal government was very surprising. The pace at which the automotive industry and the federal government move are very different, and it’s almost counter-intuitive, considering we are here to support Soldiers. In the automotive business, product changes happened very quickly and on the fly, which usually meant that suspense dates were “yesterday” most of the time. Not so much on this side of the fence.
But since making the transition from the automotive industry to the Army, I haven’t looked back once. My experience as an engineer on HMMWV program and as a SAM working on tactical wheeled vehicle armor before coming to the MSFV program has been invaluable. Also, with the MSFV program being almost like an FMS effort, I’ve been able to get additional acquisition experience in an area not normally encountered when working on a traditional Army program of record.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your work? How do you overcome it?
One challenge I currently face is the reduction in team members coupled with a constant, or somewhat increasing, workload. Due to well-deserved promotions, a few of our business, engineering and logistics team members have moved on, leaving vacancies on our IPT. Combined with a restricted hiring environment, this has created a challenge to continue the same level of effort with fewer team members. In an effort to overcome the situation, the remaining team members, including me, have taken on additional work to minimize schedule delays. This creates other areas of concern with team member morale and maintaining focus. At the end of the day, it comes down to well-being and expectation management by keeping upper management and the customer informed.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get where you are today?
We all know the saying about all work and no play. Have goals and work hard to meet them but also have separation between work and personal life. Creating a balance between the two is important for your mental and physical health.
- “Faces of the Force” is an online series highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce through the power of individual stories. Profiles are produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication and Support Branch, working closely with public affairs officers to feature Soldiers and Civilians currently serving in a variety of AL&T disciplines. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.
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