Short-cutting T&E can have big consequences

Short-cutting T&E can have big consequences

Skimping on test and evaluation in defense acquisition is not a recipe for effective reform, it’s a recipe for disaster. by Robert F. Mortlock, Ph.D., Col., USA (Ret.) From 2009 to 2015, the Army conducted the most comprehensive testing of combat uniform camouflage in history, leading up to its selection of the Operational Camouflage Pattern on the Army combat uniform. The testing included a combination of controlled testing—relying on photo-simulation techniques (Soldiers viewing photos of camouflage uniforms on computer screens) that used modeling and simulation—and Soldier field testing. The testing measured the performance of camouflage patterns based on probability of detection and blending, with performance scores depending primarily on distance, […]

USAASC director details new advanced degree programs

USAASC director details new advanced degree programs

Mastering acquisition The DACM Office and the Naval Postgraduate School realign degree programs to boost technical education of civilians and officers. Earlier this year, I was in beautiful Monterey, California, to help put the final touches to a new effort for the Army Acquisition Workforce at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). Starting this fall, the civilians that the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center’s Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) Office sends to NPS will be pursuing an M.S. in systems and program management. Officers will pursue an M.S. in systems engineering management starting this summer. Previously, the professionals we sent to NPS were seeking an MBA. The new programs that […]

‘Burn-Off’ brings Army RCO, SOCOM together to test PNT systems

‘Burn-Off’ brings Army RCO, SOCOM together to test PNT systems

RCO joins SOCOM in early assessments of new or emerging technology from defense industry, tech startups and academia. by Ms. Nancy Jones-Bonbrest On a rainy afternoon in March, technology developers gathered to show their latest position, navigation and timing (PNT) solutions. There were no traditional marketing brochures, trade show booths or giveaway trinkets. Instead, these developers—from big industry, tech startups and academia alike—were there to demonstrate emerging capabilities and get feedback directly from the operators who may one day use the technology on the battlefield if their GPS is ever jammed, tricked or dropped. To carry out the event, organizers found a former Indiana state hospital, now a National Guard […]

Faces of the Force: How important relationships are to building a successful career

Faces of the Force: How important relationships are to building a successful career

COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology POSITION AND OFFICIAL TITLE: Department of the Army system coordinator YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 13 YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE: 12.5 DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in program management and Level I in engineering EDUCATION: M.S. in engineering management, Missouri University of Science and Technology; master’s certificate in program management, Villanova University; B.S. in mechanical engineering, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; Project Management Professional AWARDS: Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service; Army Meritorious Service Medal (3); Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal; Field Artillery Honorable Order of St. Barbara; NATO and Kosovo Ribbons for Operation Joint […]

PEO Ammunition, ARDEC and the Army Rapid Capabilities Office come together at Picatinny Arsenal

PEO Ammunition, ARDEC and the Army Rapid Capabilities Office come together at Picatinny Arsenal

Long range, short term PEO Ammunition, ARDEC and the Army Rapid Capabilities Office come together at Picatinny Arsenal with near-term plans for improving long-range precision fires. by Capt. Steve Draheim and Maj. Paul Santamaria Of the Army’s “big six” priorities driving its new modernization strategy, long-range precision fires is at the top of the list. The ability to execute accurate strikes at significant distances is critical to ground operations in any theater, against any adversary—especially a near-peer threat that can restrict U.S. maneuver through anti-access and area denial systems and techniques. Now, the experts at Picatinny Arsenal, known as the Army’s Center of Excellence for Guns and Ammunition, and the […]

Innovation in the Army needs to come from the top down and the ground up

Innovation in the Army needs to come from the top down and the ground up

Culture as an offset Innovation in the Army needs to come from the top down and the ground up, and Soldiers at all levels need freedom, time and equipment to make it happen. by Col. John P. Cogbill Maintaining overmatch against any and all potential adversaries—known as an offset strategy—places a premium on new, potentially disruptive technologies. However, technology alone will not maintain the offset. An effective and enduring offset will require a culture of innovation that enables critical thinking and the application of the myriad emerging military and commercial technologies to address the full spectrum of national security challenges that exist in an increasingly hostile and complex world. In […]

Finding acquisition skills in unexpected places

Finding acquisition skills in unexpected places

COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care Product Management Office, Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems POSITION AND OFFICIAL TITLE: Assistant product manager YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 12.5 DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in program management and in engineering; Level I in test and evaluation EDUCATION: MBA with specialties in finance, public management and human resources management, Hood College; Graduate Certificate of Science in marine biology, James Cook University; B.S. in computer engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology; Project Management Professional certification AWARDS: Commander’s Award for Civilian Service (3); Achievement Medal for Civilian Service (3); Army Medicine Wolf Pack Award   by Ms. Susan l. Follett Cat herder, line dancer, […]

War game introduces early synthetic prototyping

War game introduces early synthetic prototyping

Game. Mission set. Overmatch. War game introduces early synthetic prototyping, which enables the Army to explore thousands more ideas than what is possible today before acquiring new capabilities. by Dr. Robert E. Smith and Maj. J. Peter Barnhart A group of cadets has some rare downtime, and they log into their favorite war-themed video game. The team has to capture a watch-list terrorist in a 40-story high-rise building in Mumbai, India. It’s rainy season in the game, meaning that sometimes the streets flood en route from the edge of town. After everyone logs in, the team receives a virtual budget and must first choose its base vehicle from three options: […]

PEO CS&CSS throws experimentation into the mix to speed acquisition

PEO CS&CSS throws experimentation into the mix to speed acquisition

PEO CS&CSS product management team utilizes OTA, technical demonstrations and Soldier feedback to speed acquisition of robotic ‘mule.’ by Ms. Angela Schubel and Capt. Erika Hanson Current Army acquisition standards are simply unable to keep pace with the robotics industry’s rapidly advancing autonomous behaviors and use of technologies such as cameras, radios and sensors. At a time when commercial industry thrives on updates and the development of new technologies, the military struggles with the status quo. Further complicating efforts to modernize U.S. military equipment is a complex Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)-based approach to acquisition, which has resulted in technology that becomes obsolete before it is even in the hands of […]

PEO IEW&S contract planning tool shows the way to successful execution

PEO IEW&S contract planning tool shows the way to successful execution

Delivering now PEO IEW&S contract planning tool literally shows the way to successful execution of myriad actions at once. by Mr. John Higgins “Deliver now” has become an unofficial motto of the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S). So what does that mean? If you’ve heard the phrase “live in the now,” you have an idea. But PEO IEW&S deals with a very specific part of “now”—the now where our warfighters are at risk. In order to keep pace with threats from the intensely detail-oriented vantage point of contracting, the PEO headquarters’ Contract Planning Division has implemented several tools to help program managers (PMs) understand […]