Kirsch, Smith and JPO JLTV tapped for acquisition awards

By November 13, 2015September 3rd, 2018Events
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By Susan L. Follett

Dr. James C. Kirsch, Everett F. “Frank” Smith and a team from the Joint Program Office for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JPO JLTV) have been recognized for logistics, engineering and contract management efforts that aimed to get vehicles, missiles and unmanned air systems to warfighters quickly and economically.

Kirsch and Smith are among 16 individuals and five groups receiving Defense Acquisition Workforce Development and Achievement Awards from the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. The JPO JLTV team received the David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award, its second such honor in three years.

“It is important that we continue to recognize the outstanding contributions of our acquisition, technology and logistics professionals who are critical in supporting our warfighter and the defense mission,” said the Hon. Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Kirsch, chief engineer for the Joint Attack Munition Systems (JAMS) Project Office in the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space (PEO MS), received the Workforce Achievement Award for Engineering for his support of the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM). “Simply stated, Kirsch is the single greatest contributor to the JAGM program’s continued resurgence and success,” stated Maj. Gen. Neil Thurgood, PEO Missiles and Space, in nominating Kirsch.

Kirsch led efforts to move the $4.6 billion JAMS program through the technology phase and into the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase, ensuring that the technology will be fielded in time to mitigate emerging technology gaps. He had a hand in developing an incremental capability strategy for JAGM that balances the technical risk of each added capability against schedule and affordability goals, reducing program costs and cutting the EMD schedule by a full year.


Smith, a logistics management specialist for Project Manager Unmanned Aircraft Systems, under the PEO for Aviation, received the Workforce Achievement Award for Logistics for his work on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in Afghanistan. Working with the forward operations team from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, Smith oversaw UAS forward repair activity operations in support of Army, Special Operations Command, Army National Guard and coalition forces. Smith managed more than 400 deployed contractor personnel—more deployed contractor personnel than all of the other program management offices in PEO Aviation combined—across 17 forward operating bases, supporting the Gray Eagle, Hunter, Sky Warrior A, Shadow, Raven and Puma UAS fleet.

Thanks in large part to Smith’s work, UAS operational readiness rates consistently exceeded 95 percent. He led the rapid transition of a radar sensor from a Navy platform to the Hunter UAS, and assisted UAS retrograde planning efforts by helping leadership understand employment and support considerations related to supply chain operations and logistical support.


JPO JLTV received the David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award, for innovative approaches to cost, schedule and performance execution and management. The team, which also received the award in 2013, created contractual incentives for vendors to achieve the highest possible degree of parts commonality across the JLTV fleet and mandated high fuel efficiency standards, ensuring that the new vehicles would place a smaller logistical burden on Army and Marine Corps units than the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles being replaced.

Despite funding reductions related to sequestration, the team designed an aggressive two-year EMD effort that included extensive testing and production of 66 JLTVs to fill a capability gap in Army and Marine Corps vehicles. To keep the program under budget and on schedule, JPO JLTV funded test sites on a monthly basis, and the Army Testing and Evaluation Command (ATEC) and the Product Manager for Test closely tracked test progress and completion. Those efforts netted a test cost avoidance of $14 million and allowed ATEC to complete all planned tests on schedule and within budget. (Editor’s Note: For more on the JLTV testing program, go to

The complete list of award winners is as follows:

2015 David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award
Space Based Infrared System Geostationary Earth Orbit 5/6 Team, U.S. Air Force
Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar Team, U.S. Marine Corps
Joint Program Office Joint Light Tactical Vehicles Team, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps

2015 Should Cost and Innovation Award
Armament Directorate, Air Force Materiel Command
E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Program Office, Naval Air Systems Command

Defense Acquisition Workforce Individual Achievement Award Winners
Acquisition in an Expeditionary Environment: Maj. Rowdy E. Yates, U.S. Air Force
Auditing: Peter Herman, Defense Contract Audit Agency
Contacting and Procurement: Ryan Connell, Defense Contract Audit Agency
Engineering: Dr. James C. Kirsch, U.S. Army
Facilities Engineering: 1 Lt. Jose R. Peña, U.S. Air Force
Financial Management: John R. Carlson, U.S. Air Force
Industrial Property: Rodney D. Felder, Missile Defense Agency
Information Technology: Cpt. Ryan Atkinson, U.S. Air Force
Life Cycle Logistics: Mr. Everett F. Smith, U.S. Army
Production, Quality and Manufacturing: Marsha Barron, Defense Logistics Agency
Program Management: Laura M. Price, U.S. Air Force
Requirements Management: Cmdr. Scott Wilson, U.S. Navy
Science and Technology Manager: Dr. David M. Hone, Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Services Acquisition: Emilio Varacarcel, U.S. Air Force
Small Business: Douglas Packard, Defense Information Systems Agency
Test and Evaluation: Anastasia Dimitriu, U.S. Navy

Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Award (Large Organization)
Gold: Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, California
Silver: Missile Defense Agency, Fort Belvoir, Virginia

Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Award (Small Organization)
Gold: U.S. Special Operations Command – Special Operations Forces Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Center, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida
Silver: Engineering and Technical Management Division, Air Force Sustainment Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma
Bronze: Sea Warrior Program, U.S. Navy, Arlington, Virginia

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