Faces of the Force: Maj. Thomas Jagielski
POSITION: Assistant Product Manager (APM) for the One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT)
UNIT: OSRVT APM Common Systems Integration, Program Executive Office Aviation, Redstone Arsenal, Ala.
TOTAL YEARS OF SERVICE: 19
AWARDS: Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal (8), Army Achievement Medal (8), Combat Action badge
EDUCATION: B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Arizona; M.S. Business Management, Texas A&M Central Texas
By Tara Clements
For this Army-grown artillery officer, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and he keeps that in mind everyday as he uses his experience as a Soldier, a leader and an innovator to bring the latest technology to Soldiers on the ground and is striving to make it even better in the future.
The assistant product manager for the One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT), Maj. Thomas Jagielski ensures that deploying Soldiers and units are equipped with a valuable capability: “eyes in the sky” to maintain situational awareness. What does that mean? Without the situational awareness that technology can provide, a Soldier on a battlefield won’t know where the enemy is located. They’re out there, but if the Soldier can’t see them, they can’t know what capabilities they might have.
Now, give that same Soldier a visual, from a screen in his hands, of where the enemy is, what capabilities they might have, and the ability to coordinate with ground and aviation forces to address the threat—that’s tactical overmatch, and invaluable.
“When a Soldier is able to identify combatants, their position, any potential obstacles or changes in an area of operations prior to arrival at a location it allows for better planning and preparation for operations as well as better resource management,” said Jagielski.
And Jagielski speaks from direct experience. This Bronze Star Medal recipient’s deployment experience has given him the ability to provide the “Soldier’s perspective” when developing upgrades and requirements for the system.
FOTF: What do you do in the Army? Why is it important?
JAGIELSKI: As the assistant product manager for the OSRVT, I ensure that limited OSRVT assets reach Soldiers who are deploying as well as provide training to maximize system effectiveness. Additionally, I manage the OSRVT preplanned product improvement and interoperability with other systems that allows the OSRVT to remain on the cutting edge of technology. OSRVT’s common software can be integrated with any ground vehicle, tracked or wheeled, for comprehensive situational awareness. The user-friendly graphical user interface delivers information in live video or map views, and allows users to easily save, export and analyze data. The OSRVT is a proven combat multiplier for maneuver and aviation units by providing unprecedented situational awareness. This ultimately saves Soldiers as well as civilian lives.
FOTF: Can you give me a few examples of how this technology has benefited Soldiers on the ground?
JAGIELSKI: This system enables Soldiers on the ground to have the most current operational picture. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” That is never truer than when Soldiers are conducting operations. When a Soldier is able to identify combatants, their position, any potential obstacles or changes in an area of operations prior to arrival at a location, it allows for better planning and preparation for operations as well as better resource management. The OSRVT is used by intelligence sections to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance that formally had been accomplished by Soldiers. This reduces Soldiers’ exposure to hostile forces without a tactical advantage.
The OSRVT is also used by convoy commanders to identify danger areas, choke points, or areas of congestion, allowing them to maneuver and avoid those areas. Aviators use the OSRVT to conduct manned-unmanned teaming. In this teaming, an unmanned aircraft flies in front of a manned aircraft, extending the pilot’s range of sight. This allows the pilot to identify threats or objectives at greater ranges and maneuver to engage and or avoid the threats.
FOTF: What has your experience in the Army been like? What has surprised you the most?
JAGIELSKI: Transitioning from an artillery officer into Army acquisition has been an eye-opening experience. Learning the acquisition process and working through contract development and implementation has been one of the greatest challenges in my career. I have a great team in the OSRVT product office that works very hard to get equipment to the Soldiers who need it and make them successful. Many people on the team have prior military experience, but the battlefield has changed dramatically over the past few years. I’m able to provide the Soldier’s prospective for determining priorities and development and come to work every day knowing that I will learn something that will make me a better acquisition officer down the road.
The most surprising thing to me is the amount of effort and hard work by the whole team to maintain interoperability with all of the platforms in the U.S. military. The OSRVT receives data from manned and unmanned aircraft as well as robots across all services. These systems are continually working to provide better information to the end user but in doing so, communications profiles and specifications change making this a complex and challenging process. In order for the OSRVT to maintain communications with all systems, it is vital that interoperability profiles are current and future profiles are considered for future software. The level of effort to do this is far greater than I ever conceived.
FOTF: Describe the coordination process—how is this attempted across multiple technologies across multiple services?
JAGIELSKI: The first step is to maintain interoperability profiles. Common Systems Interrogation works extensively with other branches and industry to ensure that all unmanned aircraft systems are able to communicate with each other as well as not interfere with other battlefield operating systems. They prioritize and control communication spectrums to ensure that the limited spectrum provides maximum coverage.
FOTF: You mentioned that the battlefield has changed dramatically over the past few years—how does that impact you and your team?
JAGIELSKI: The first thing we do is prioritize which units will be fielded. We are here to support the warfighter and we make sure that units deploying in support of combat operations are given priority in fielding. Our team also provides forward support to Soldiers, meaning we have teams stationed in theater to provide technical and logistical support. Often, this requires them to travel to forward operating bases to provide that support or to train additional Soldiers on our system. We use these opportunities to learn from the Soldiers as well. The threat on the battlefield continually evolves. Our enemy is innovative and adapts to our tactics, techniques and procedures. Therefore, we are attempting to stay at least one step ahead of them. We take the lessons learned from the battlefield and incorporate them into our new equipment training when we field additional units.
FOTF: How have your deployments contributed to your job today?
JAGIELSKI: As an artilleryman it is imperative that I understand how maneuver forces operate and their scheme of maneuver. In the past we have focused on linear operations that emphasized force-on-force action. In my recent deployments [to Iraq in 2003 and 2006], I’ve operated in an asymmetric battlefield. Understanding both of these enabled me to explain how the system would be fought in each environment. The ground Soldiers’ perspective and priorities are vastly different than aviators. I provide the ground Soldiers’ perspective with regard to system upgrade priorities and requirements.
FOTF: What does the OSRVT’s future look like?
JAGIELSKI: Our next upgrade will allow OSRVT operators to accomplish interoperability level III. This means the Soldier will be able to control the payload of the unmanned aerial system (UAS) while the pilot of the UAS allows supervised access. The aircraft will fly in a Safe Air Volume (SAV), or the volume of airspace in which it is safe to operate an unmanned air vehicle, using a keep-in algorithm. The software determines and directs the UAS to a location to provide the best images from the angle as specified by the OSRVT operator.
It is the vision of the commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence to have full-motion video down to the squad level. To do this, we must continue to work to reduce the size and weight of our system. The OSRVT team is looking at ways to leverage emerging technologies to decrease the size and weight while providing all of the capabilities of our current system. The system of the future will be smaller, lightweight, and man-packable. The operating system will be intuitive allowing Soldiers to receive feeds from multiple sources with minimal training.
FOTF: Why did you join the Army? What is your greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army?
JAGIELSKI: The Army offered a career that is mentally and physically challenging. I am always looking for ways to push myself to the limits and see what I can accomplish. Throughout my career, the Army has allowed me to grow as a person and as a leader. I have been able to work with some of the greatest hardworking and dedicated people and together we have been able to impact people and create positive change all over the world.
For more information, visit PEO Aviation.
- “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.