POSITION: System Acquisition Manager for the Joint Assault Bridge
UNIT: Product Manager Bridging, Project Manager Force Projection, Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support
YEARS OF ARMY SERVICE: 5 as an Army civilian, 5 as an Army contractor and 31 with the Army Reserve
AWARDS: Bronze Star (2), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal (6), Army Commendation Medal (9), Army Achievement Medal (2), Humanitarian Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Meritorious Unit Citation (2), Order of the Marechaussee; Distinguished Alumni Award, Western Michigan University Haworth College of Business
EDUCATION: Master of Strategic Studies, Army War College; MBA, Wayne State University; B.A., business administration, Western Michigan University. Level III certified in acquisition program management. Other military schools and courses include Quartermaster Officer Basic Course, Ordnance Officer Advanced Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Command and General Staff Officer Course, Military Police Officer Qualification Course.
Rod Faulk’s Career Moves from Bank to Bridge
By Susan L. Follett
Roughly 10 years ago, Rod Faulk left banking to capitalize on the chance to combine his experiences in the Army Reserve with his work in systems development. Banking’s loss is acquisition’s gain: Faulk, system acquisition manager for the Joint Assault Bridge (JAB) in Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Services Support’s (PEO CS&CSS) Product Manager Bridging, was recently recognized by PEO CS&CSS staff for his briefing of the JAB requirements in support of drafting the JAB request for proposal.
Faulk first came to Army acquisition as a contractor in 2004, joining PEO CS&CSS five years later. “Before that, I had spent four years in branch banking, and then managed technology projects for Comerica Bank in Detroit. My career there culminated as the manager for branch automation technology, where I supported 4,000 users at 400 locations nationwide with new technology. From there I spent a year as a consultant before joining IBM in data management and business intelligence software,” said Faulk, who has been in the Army Reserve for more than 31 years and serves as the deputy commander for the 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Des Moines, Iowa.
“In 2004, the opportunity presented itself to synergize my civilian employment with what I felt was going to be a recurring requirement to deploy as a citizen Soldier. I also thought it would be interesting and rewarding to help build and support systems for Soldiers,” said Faulk. The 103rd ESC consists of 5,600 Soldiers assigned to five brigade headquarters in five Midwestern states.
How does his reserve work dovetail with his day job? “It’s always a challenge to balance work with my reserve commitment, but I think synergy is a good way to describe it,” said Faulk. “When we’re dealing with an issue at work, I can represent the voice of the Soldier, and I can apply my deployment experiences. Because of my work, I know the challenges that come with putting big programmatic changes in place, so during deployment I can explain why we made those changes and how things work to Soldiers in the field.”
What do you do in the Army? Why is it important?
I am working on the acquisition of the JAB for the Army. This is an important program to modernize the assault bridging fleet by replacing the Armored Vehicle Launch Bridge (AVLB), a 50-year old platform built on the M-48 and M-60 tank chassis. The JAB will provide the maneuver force with a gap-crossing capability that is more maneuverable, survivable and sustainable, because of its commonality with the Abrams platform. In addition, the program is leveraging existing assets, including the older M1A1 chassis and the AVLB MLC-85 scissor bridge, rather than designing and buying new ones and discarding the older, still serviceable assets.
What has your experience been like? What has surprised you the most?
It has been very interesting to actually work the acquisition process that I studied in the Defense Acquisition University coursework. And with resource challenges, there’s never a dull moment in the program. I’ve been surprised at how much the team has had to create customized approaches to steps in the acquisition process for which it seems there should be a standardized solution. Currently, we are working on the JAB request for proposal. Our team is doing a lot of work to create hybrid solutions using products from other systems as a starting point. We also spend a lot of effort in communicating with various constituencies, and reviewing draft products as a team. I would have thought that the process of creating and reviewing products would be less cumbersome. But I am confident that this effort will result in best value for the Army and for our Soldiers in the field.
Sometimes it surprises me the number of hoops that we have to jump through for what is an intuitively obvious program decision. There tends to be a lot of debate and discussion over decisions of all types and sizes for the program, even when it would seem that while pressed for time we should make a decision and move forward.
Why did you join the Army Reserve?
I joined the Army Reserve in 1983 to help pay for college. Sometimes it seems like I was destined to be in the Army: I had initiated contact with recruiters to get recruiting giveaway items when I was 13 years old. As I got older, I found that the Army was a noble calling and the environment provided me with just enough structure and a whole lot of freedom to exercise creativity.
Please describe your deployment experience. What stands out to you the most?
I mobilized four times and deployed overseas three times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. I served as the deputy inspector general for Joint Task Force Guantanamo in 2002-2003; battalion commander for the 785th Military Police Battalion in Iraq in 2005-2006; and chief of staff for the 300th Military Police Brigade in Iraq in 2007-2008 as part of the Iraqi Surge.
During my first trip to Iraq, the improvised explosive devices threat was emerging and growing; during the second trip, I saw and benefitted from the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle fielding. I was always impressed at how rapidly the fielding happened and how well supported the systems were.
- “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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