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C-DAEM program maximizes industry innovation to expedite capability to the warfighter.

by Lt. Col. Thomas D. Jagielski and James A. Sarruda

Evolving threats, complex requirements and a wary industrial base can delay capabilities from reaching the field to support the warfighter. For the 155 mm Cannon Delivered Area Effects Munition (C-DAEM), the Joint Program Executive Office for Armaments and Ammunition (JPEO A&A) developed an incremental acquisition approach to deliver anti-armor and anti-personnel munitions from 155 mm systems to achieve overmatch against adversaries. The acquisition strategy for C-DAEM communicates performance objectives and identifies trade space that incentivizes industry to invest, allows flexibility to leverage the newest technologies, and incorporates a modernization strategy that emphasizes open systems architecture and preplanned product improvement. The C-DAEM requirements development and evolution process limits constraints that gradually become outdated and restrict innovation. This unique approach to requirements development removes barriers and enables faster development of lethal capabilities to engage moved or moving targets at extended ranges, and ultimately the ability to differentiate between friendly and hostile vehicles.

Cost and schedule concerns have plagued acquisition for decades. JPEO A&A is implementing an innovative strategy to replace the Army’s 155 mm delivered Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM) that addresses both issues. DPICM, an artillery cannon-delivered cluster munition that delivers area effects, has served the Army well for many years as a means to compensate for imprecise target location, but it is not suitable for defeating advanced armored threats and does not meet requirements set forth by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) on cluster munitions. The JPEO A&A objective is to deliver the next generation of lethal effects capability to the warfighter, and to deliver it quickly.

ENTER THE C-DAEM PROGRAM

OSD has directed a phase-out of cluster munitions with dud rates greater than 1 percent, meaning more than 1 percent of their submunitions fail to function, leaving unexploded ordnance that is a threat to military forces and innocent civilians alike. Industry partners responded by quickly creating alternatives to address immediate requirements while maintaining a modular design to support the Army’s modernization plan. As a result, C-DAEM became one piece of the Army’s modernization triad of propellant, projectile and cannon to increase range and lethality of artillery systems.

The modernization plan requires the projectile to be compatible with more than just the current 39- caliber systems like the M109A6/7 Paladin. JPEO A&A plans for C-DAEM to enhance the Army’s next-generation 58-caliber long-range cannon system. In fact, JPEO A&A streamlined the acquisition process for C-DAEM to synchronize with the future weapon system. Until then, JPEO A&A will reward innovation by developing a bridging strategy to help smooth the transition to the program of record.

With a two-projectile solution, the C-DAEM program addresses both the armor defeat and anti-personnel mission sets served by cluster munitions. The Army has prioritized armor defeat as a key capability that requires immediate attention, and it is being addressed through a bridging strategy until a more effective solution is developed.

THE BRIDGING STRATEGY

Donald Rumsfeld correctly stated that “you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” Understanding this lesson from the Iraq War and acknowledging that even the most efficient path to an initial operating capability of the Army’s cluster munition replacements would require time to develop. JPEO A&A considered multiple anti-armor capabilities and determined the BONUS munition from Sweden provided the most timely and effective solution. The purchase of these projectiles as a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) item is the C-DAEM bridging strategy to fill the current need until a more effective solution is available.

Buying COTS items using the NATO Support and Procurement Agency allows the Army to take advantage of a known legacy solution that has established performance and few uncertainties. The BONUS projectile, produced by BAE Systems Bofors and Nexter, is a sensor-fused munition. Unlike conventional cluster munitions, the BONUS projectile releases two submunitions, each containing its own sensor to detect targets. Its ability to detect targets improves lethality while reducing collateral damage. Redundant self-destruction modes, including target engagement, point detonation, time out and battery drainage make it compliant with the new OSD directive. These features, along with others, set the minimal standards for C-DAEM follow-on efforts—whatever product the Army develops to replace the BONUS projectile will need to do what BONUS does, and more.

INCENTIVIZING INNOVATION

The C-DAEM goal is to encourage innovation by our industry partners. Rather than constraining creativity by defining an arduous requirement that sets thresholds and objectives, the C-DAEM team developed a hierarchy of objectives that communicates Army priorities and gives industry partners the flexibility to define their own trade space. Instead of working to the threshold value and never getting to an objective in any area, this approach incentivizes increased performance in all areas. This technique also encourages teaming between industry groups that specialize in unique technology areas that complement the development of the C-DAEM solution.

 

The only limitation placed on industry is that any proposed solution must be ready for a demonstration by the third quarter of FY21. The C-DAEM team will score each contractor’s performance at the demonstration against the objectives hierarchy to determine how well the concept meets the program’s priorities. In the end, however, only part of each competitor’s total score will derive from performance at the demonstration, as the C-DAEM team will incentivize a systematic approach to the demonstration by giving credit for modeling and simulation efforts that demonstrate a deeper knowledge of the system capability beyond the demonstration prototype.

The system or systems that perform better than the current solution (BONUS) and achieve the best results in the holistic competition will then proceed to urgent materiel release, under the authority of Section 2371b of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which states that successful prototyping efforts completed under an other transaction agreement may transition to a Federal Acquisition Regulation-based contract. The prototypes will also continue on to the engineering and manufacturing development phase, where upgrades described as part of the holistic evaluation will be integrated using a Defense Ordnance Technology Consortium (DOTC) contracting process. A DOTC contract enables the C-DAEM team to accept prudent risk, share communication, engage in transparent relationships, and build trust with industry.

Army leadership often asks: “What is the average time to award a Federal Acquisition Regulation- based contract?” Government contracting officials immediately respond, “It depends.” Industry partners answered more definitively: “Too long.” The simultaneous use of multiple contracting alternatives removes bureaucratic delay caused by burdensome regulation. Too often, government agencies limit opportunities because of resistance to change and reluctance to operate outside their comfort zone. Good risk—also known as opportunity—no matter how uncomfortable, is the genesis of process improvement. Brig. Gen. Alfred F. Abramson III, joint program executive officer for Armaments and Ammunition, often reminds acquisition professionals that they should “feel comfortable being uncomfortable” as they work to change the culture of risk aversion in Army acquisition.

CONCLUSION

The C-DAEM team considered multiple acquisition strategies to expedite leap-ahead technologies to the warfighter. Each program is unique and therefore must determine the optimal solution for its circumstances. There is no single right acquisition strategy.

Frank Kendall, former undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, preferred the term “acquisition improvement” rather than “acquisition reform.” It doesn’t matter what you call it—the one steady state in acquisition is change. Adaptability to change and knowledge of the current state of acquisition regulations equip decision-makers to determine an optimal solution that is legal, ethical and moral.

For more information, go to  https://jpeoaa.army.mil/jpeoaa.

COL. THOMAS JAGIELSKI is the product manager for Precision Artillery Cannon Munitions within PM CAS at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. He holds an MBA with an emphasis in finance from Texas A&M University and a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Arizona. He is Level III certified in program management and Level II certified in test and evaluation, and is a member of the Army Acquisition Corps.

JAMES A. SARRUDA works for the Mortars Division at the Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center, currently serving as branch chief for the C-DAEM program. He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Lafayette College. He is Level III certified in systems engineering.


This article is published in the Summer 2019 issue of Army AL&T magazine.

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