2020 Army Acquisition Achievements By Army Acquisition Exec., Dr. Bruce D. Jette
Video: Raytheon Engineers Develop New Infrared-Acoustic Sensor to Stop RPGs & ATGMs
ACHIEVEMENTS IN MODERNIZATION
IN THE FEEDBACK LOOP: A rifle squad from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, visit Bell Flight’s Arlington, Texas, facility in October. The Soldiers provided crucial feedback on the V-280 Valor cabin configuration, to inform Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft requirements from the user perspective. (Photo by Luke J. Allen, Army Futures Command)
From the Army Acquisition Executive Dr. Bruce D. Jette
For nearly a year, COVID-19 has taught us many things, including that the Army’s ever-resilient acquisition enterprise delivers even when times are tough.
As the new year begins and we continue to face the challenges of COVID-19, I want to take this opportunity to express my deepest thanks to the entire Army acquisition, logistics and technology community for the creative and collaborative ways you are finding to accomplish every task—for our Soldiers, the Army and the nation. This crisis has given us an opportunity to be our very best, and I am reminded daily of the critical nature of our work and the excellence of our workforce. I could not be more proud of your extraordinary efforts to get the job done.
The Army’s most important resource is our people, and your well-being and the well-being of family remains my top priority. In order to defeat COVID-19, we must remain healthy and engaged until we are all eligible for a vaccine. We must also remain steadfast in our mission to continuously modernize the force and ensure that our organizations, policies, processes and tasks that consume time, money and manpower deliver real value. As we begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel, we must stay informed, flexible and always work as a team.
Our industrial base partners are doing an exceptional job keeping us informed about their operations. Contractually, they don’t have to do that, but this isn’t business as usual. While there have been impacts to some Army programs, I am confident that in the long run we will overcome them. As we work to identify and mitigate risk, it is important to maintain constructive and continuous communications.
As the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology (ASA(ALT), I function as the Army acquisition executive, the senior procurement executive, the science adviser to the secretary of the Army, and the Army’s senior research and development official. I am also principally responsible to the secretary of the Army for all department matters related to logistics.
We have accomplished a lot of important things worth recounting. Though the ensuing list of accomplishments is quite lengthy, it is not exhaustive. I ask that you review what we have achieved together and reflect on your important role in the success of Soldiers—and in many cases our Sailors, Airmen and Marines.
ARMORED UP: This past summer at Fort Carson, Colorado, modified Bradley Fighting Vehicles, known as Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrators, and modified M113 tracked armored personnel carriers, or Robotic Combat Vehicles, were used to further develop learning objectives for the Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) concept. (Photo by Jerome Aliotta, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command)
THE PROGRAM EXECUTIVE OFFICES
The Joint Program Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) has been on the front line in defense against COVID-19, providing experts and project managers to Operation Warp Speed. JPEO-CBRND’s role at the center of the DOD acceleration of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics is truly one for the history books. Working hand in hand with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, it has been at the center of U.S. efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Both have also continued their regular work toward Army modernization at the highest level while also dealing with the variety of difficulties inherent in mass telework.
In direct support of the Army’s No. 1 modernization priority, long-range precision fires, the XM1113 program within the JPEO for Armaments and Ammunition is developing a new 155 mm high explosive projectile to demonstrate the capability of the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) system to engage targets at more than twice the current range.
And the XM1147 Advanced Multipurpose round is the latest tank ammo modernization effort that will soon deliver overmatch lethality to our M1 Abrams fleet. We expect this capability to be in full-rate production by mid-2022.
At the PEO for Aviation, significant progress is being made to deliver aviation capabilities to the Army by 2030 in the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and Future Long Range Assault Aircraft programs. The FARA competitive prototype effort completed both the initial design and risk reduction as well as the final design and risk reduction phases in 2020. The first one of those, in March 2020, resulted in the selection of Bell Textron Inc. and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. to enter the second phase.
In May 2019, I gave the go-ahead for the PEO for Command, Control and Communications – Tactical (PEO C3T) to use the middle-tier authority process to rapidly prototype the Integrated Tactical Network (ITN), which comprises a flexible commercial-solutions kit that can be rapidly inserted into the existing network. Since that time, PEO C3T has collaborated with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division to conduct multiple Soldier exercises and experiments to refine its Capability Set (CS) 21, which is the first instantiation of the network.
In July 2020, ITN CS 21 capabilities were the first in the Army to transition from middle-tier authority rapid-prototyping to rapid-fielding status. As the Army fields that capability set, it can now focus on CS 23, which is also approved for middle-tier rapid prototyping and will expand ITN capabilities to additional units.
GPS NOT REQUIRED: A Soldier from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat team conducts hands-on training on the Mounted Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing System, Generation 1, a powerful suite of new hardware and software that will ensure Soldiers have assured position and timing to navigate in a GPS-degraded or -denied environment. (Photo by Sgt. Timothy Brokhoff, 1st Infantry Division)
At the PEO for Combat Support and Combat Service Support, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program transitioned into full-rate production, improving both mobility and survivability for our Soldiers and Marines. The JLTV family of vehicles gives commanders an improved protected mobility solution and is the first vehicle purpose-built for modern battlefield networks.
The Infantry Squad Vehicle provides an increased ability to quickly move Soldiers and their equipment over complex and difficult cross-country terrain, allowing them to close on objectives with less fatigue and greater readiness. The vehicle can be delivered by airdrop or helicopter, which increases the flexibility of Soldiers on the move. It is based on the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 architecture, which will derive 90 percent of its parts from commercial off-the-shelf components. Using an innovative acquisition approach through an other-transaction authority agreement, its team awarded the production contract for this capability in just 16 months.
At the PEO for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS), the General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS), a web-based system that supports more than $164 billion in transactions, migrated to the cloud in July 2020, seven months ahead of schedule. The cloud-based data is more visible, accessible, understandable, trusted, interoperable and secure; and more easily maintained by a service provider.
PEO EIS also delivered the initial software release and deployed as scheduled the Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army to the entire Army National Guard (50 states and four territories) in March 2020, providing integrated personnel, pay- and talent-management capabilities in a single system. The program is on schedule to bring all Army Soldiers into one single talent-management system in December 2021.
In June 2020, the PEO for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PEO ACWA), reached the halfway point of its mission to destroy the remaining U.S. chemical weapons stockpile at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent – Destruction Pilot Plant in Richmond, Kentucky, and the Pueblo Chemical Agent – Destruction Pilot Plant in Pueblo, Colorado, in line with the congressionally mandated completion date of December 2023.
PEO ACWA has overcome challenges presented by an aging and obsolete stockpile of chemical weapons set for destruction using two highly automated pilot plants. During the past three years, an innovative acquisition strategy and proactive stakeholder involvement process have resulted in the acquisition and assembly of three static-detonation chamber units at the Colorado site and a larger, advanced static-detonation chamber unit at the Kentucky site. They, along with critical upgrades to the nerve agent rocket processing strategy at Blue Grass, have also helped ensure timely elimination of the chemical weapons stockpile.
SEEING IN THE DARK: Soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment began training on the new Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – Binocular (ENVG-B) in June 2020. The ENVG-B low-rate initial production contract was awarded 10 months ahead of schedule. (Photo by Christy Graham, Fort Polk Public Affairs Office)
The PEO for Soldier oversaw the rollout of the Army Green Service Uniform (AGSU) to recruiters, drill sergeants and select Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores, and prepared for the uniform’s issue to initial entry trainees at brigade-combat training and one-station unit training locations.
Also, PEO Soldier achieved a first unit equipped for the Joint Effects Targeting System with a unit at Fort Benning, Georgia, in July 2020. The system is an Army-led, joint interest program with the Air Force and Marine Corps to develop and field a one-man-portable, handheld capability to rapidly acquire, precisely locate and accurately engage targets with precision-guided munitions, and to improve the effectiveness of engagement with unguided munitions.
In addition, PEO Soldier awarded a low-rate initial production contract for the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – Binocular (ENVG-B) system 10 months ahead of schedule, and continued to field directed requirement ENVG-B systems to units.
The PEO for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S) partnered with Army Futures Command’s Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing Cross-Functional Team to field one of the Army’s directed requirements, the Mounted Assured Position, Navigation and Timing System (MAPS). MAPS was fielded to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany, ensuring that Soldiers have assured position and timing to navigate in a GPS-degraded or -denied environment.
In addition, PEO IEW&S successfully completed the Common Infrared Countermeasures Free Flight Missile Test and equipped the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade three months ahead of the acquisition program baseline objective date. This system will provide protection for air crews from enemy threats while offering a lightweight solution that assists with size, weight, power and cost challenges on aircraft.
The PEO also completed successful fielding of the full fleet of 24 Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS) aircraft and Mission Equipment Packages. EMARSS is a manned aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system that provides a persistent capability to detect, locate, classify, identify and track targets of interest timely and accurately.
At the PEO for Missiles and Space, the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense program is developing an overarching system-of-systems capability with all participating Army air defense artillery components functioning interdependently to provide total operational capabilities not achieveable by the individual element systems. The program is set to start the initial operational test and evaluation in 2021. Soldiers will undergo training before conducting the test from the fourth quarter of the 2021 fiscal year through the second quarter of the next fiscal year, and is currently scheduled to achieve initial operational capability in the third quarter of the 2022 fiscal year.
The Initial Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD) is a directed requirement currently undergoing operational assessment. That program will field its first system in a few months, with a total of 144 systems fielded to four battalions. Also in development is a directed-energy variant. That early prototype is planned for transition in the 2023 fiscal year.
IM-SHORAD is an urgent acquisition program to deliver a near-term air defense protection that counters a wide range of air threats to the freedom of maneuver of brigade combat teams. To meet the immediate needs of the maneuver force, PEO MS is outfitting Stryker vehicles with a mission equipment package that includes a 30 mm cannon, Stinger missile system and Longbow Hellfire missiles.
The Precision Strike Missile (PRSM), the Army’s next-generation long-range missile, conducted three successful flight tests using the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launcher. The missile traveled 240 kilometers, striking the target with pinpoint accuracy.
The PEO for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) leads development of the Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE) system for the joint services, a platform for real-world defensive missions across boundaries and networks to sharpen readiness in cyber tactics, techniques and procedures. Currently, the system’s primary user is the U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and the services’ cyber components.
At the PEO for Ground Combat Systems (PEO GCS), innovation secured greater capabilities for the Stryker brigade combat teams, part of our broader strategy to ensure that the Army remains the most lethal ground combat force able to deploy, fight and win against any adversary anytime, anywhere.
The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, a replacement for the armored brigade combat teams’ M113 Family of Vehicles, continues to progress toward production and fielding. The new vehicle addresses the M113’s shortcomings in survivability and force protection, size, weight, power and cost, and its ability to incorporate future technologies.
This list is not all-inclusive, but merely highlights a few of the successes achieved by the Army acquisition enterprise.
HOT NEW WHEELS: Troopers with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, received the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) at the rail operations center in October at Fort Hood, Texas. These vehicles feature significant enhancements, such as a bigger payload, better occupant survivability and an all-terrain suspension system. (Photo by Sgt. Calab Franklin, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team)
I welcomed the idea of bringing procurement authority closer to my office for greater effectiveness and efficiency, and accomplished this by designating the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (DASA) for Procurement as the enterprise head of the DA’s contracting activity. Supporting this enterprise approach to Army contracting allows for greater engagement with the senior contracting officials to ensure contract actions align with the senior procurement executives’ priorities. I also designated specific projects as “special interest,” which facilitated my involvement at crucial intervals and enabled my ability to leverage subject matter experts to negotiate the customer’s best value.
I was an early proponent for numerous intelligent automation projects to both revolutionize the Army contracting processes and energize partnerships with industry to ensure the Army was moving toward cutting-edge and relevant tools such as these:
- Pricing Insight automates manual pricing lookup processes required to analyze contractors’ proposals.
- The Determination of Responsibility Assistant bot pulls contractor business information to populate a required memorandum to address contractor responsibility before making awards.
- Streamlining Acquisition Requirements auto-populates common data across all necessary contract documents.
By using these tools, Army contracting professionals save tremendous procurement acquisition lead times, decrease manual touch time, increase compliance, enhance user engagement and deliver operational efficiencies across the Army contracting enterprise.
Based on my experience as a small business owner, and with the help of the DASA for Research and Technology (DASA(RT)), I launched the Expeditionary Technology Search (xTechSearch) program, a competition targeting small businesses to uncover novel dual-use science and technology solutions to tackle the Army’s most critical modernization challenges. Initiated in 2018, xTechSearch has provided increasing non-dilutive seed prizes to select small businesses to proceed in the competition. In addition to the prizes, the xTechSearch program provides education, mentorship and networking opportunities to help integrate small businesses into the Army science and technology ecosystem. In 2020, we launched the xTech: COVID-19 Ventilator Challenge to innovators around the globe, to support our nation’s efforts to combat COVID-19 and to continually seek out innovative technologies to best protect Soldiers, civilians and their families, maintain force readiness to meet global challenges, and provide support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency-led national COVID-19 response. (See “Free, Urgent and Scarce,” Army AL&T Fall 2020, page 66.)
Our team also implemented a Small Business Innovation Research program-portfolio management structure to meet Army PEO-identified technology capability gaps. Adoption of a transparent, accountability-driven process aligns the program with the highest technical quality and best emerging tech business partners, while lowering bureaucracy and improving transition potential. The xTech SBIR pilot demonstrated a significant decrease in the time from topic curation to contract award.
STEALTH SURVEILLANCE: Soldiers from the 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion, Delta Company, prepare to launch the Shadow unmanned drone in October at North Fort Lewis, Washington. (Photo by Capt. Daniel Mathews, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division)
Since 2017, the office of the DASA(RT) has provided oversight of the Army’s science and technology investments, and continues to work with Army Futures Command to ensure that our science and technology is fully aligned with the Army’s modernization priorities. This includes ensuring that all cross-functional team requirements have been fully funded, and shifting more than $2 billion over the last three fiscal years and beyond to meet modernization priority needs, while also maintaining investments in supporting technologies with leading-edge potential, including artificial intelligence, ultra-secure communications, robotics, virtual reality, the Internet of Things, energetics, directed energy and ultra-designed materials.
With the intent to provide system architects with a single environment within the programs and program executive offices where they can develop architecture artifacts with a common set of libraries, lexicons and style guides, the Office of the Chief Systems Engineer (OCSE) is piloting an Architecture Development Kit (ADK) effort. The ADK allows pilot users to build architecture products inside a single model to support their own systems engineering efforts, explore other system owners’ architectures for better understanding of interoperability and the aggregation of all the architecture data within the model into system-of-systems architectures products. The pilot effort is currently underway and will conclude in a few months with a full-scale version of ADK set for the end of the current fiscal year.
Recognizing that the use of modular open-systems approaches (MOSA) in Army systems is a warfighting imperative to enable incremental development and enhance competition, innovation and interoperability, we established policy directing its use in all categories of acquisition programs, as well as middle-tier efforts. To aid the PEOs and program managers (PMs) in implementing modular approaches, OCSE developed a MOSA implementation guide to serve as a reference for applying MOSA, and to clarify the process for formal assessments of its implementation.
To formalize and standardize independent assessment of technical risk, OCSE drafted policy for the conduct of independent technical risk assessments. The policy establishes common expectations for performing and supporting such assessments, which OCSE began conducting for Acquisition Category I and special interest programs under the milestone-decision authority of the Army, and began development of a guide to provide clear direction and consistency in their conduct.
The DASA for Plans, Programs and Resources (DASA PPR) established the organization’s first Managerial Accounting Cell, which is regionally based to support each of the PEOs in the areas of financial reporting, contracting, logistics, payroll and labor, and other transactions. The Managerial Accounting Cell successfully completed the year-end close for the 2020 fiscal year, reducing the number of errors left on the books by 81 percent with zero outstanding, as well as canceling open invoices and unmatched transactions. In addition, at my request, the PPR team completed two lengthy financial deep-dive inquiries and published fiscal guidance and financial risk reports for ASA(ALT) leadership. We are working closely with contracting officers to close out canceling year contracts and process de-obligations of outstanding ULOs (unliquidated obligations). Together with the PEOs, we are quickly clearing errors and aged accounts to preserve the Army’s buying power.
DASA PPR also assessed several significant investments in improving the ability of the organic industrial base to meet national security objectives. As a result, we are achieving steady progress in the development and implementation of the Organic Industrial Base Modernization Strategy.
The DASA for Acquisition Policy and Logistics conducted a successful operational stock review that included $19.5 billion of inventory and identified $1.6 billion of materiel for divestment or redistribution.
To comply with the Arsenal Act, which requires the secretary of the Army to have all supplies needed by the Army to be made in government-owned factories or arsenals if this can be accomplished “on an economical basis,” the Army has been working on implementing a make-or-buy policy. I ensured that a make-or-buy policy was crafted and signed within 90 days. The results have been impressive, showing a significant rise in work for the arsenals from $101 million in the 2018 fiscal year to $300 million in the 2019 fiscal year.
The DASA for Strategy and Acquisition Reform (DASA SAR) is leading the way in the implementation of two important policy initiatives: Army intellectual property management reform, and advanced manufacturing.
Intellectual property (IP) plays a critical role in the Army’s ability to develop and maintain technological superiority. In December 2018, the secretary of the Army signed Army Directive 2018-26, “Enabling Modernization through the Management of Intellectual Property.” The policy alters the Army’s approach to IP management through four key principles: (1) early planning for long-term IP requirements; (2) tailored IP strategies that seek only the necessary, not all, IP; (3) negotiation of prices for license rights early in the process when competition exists; and (4) open communication with industry throughout the process.
We are leading a number of implementation efforts to ensure Army-wide adoption of the policy, including a series of roadshows at key Army installations to educate local-level program, contracting and legal offices. As of this writing, DASA SAR has conducted seven roadshows at key Army installations across the country, and has reached nearly 1,500 members of the acquisition community.
Advanced manufacturing refers to new ways to manufacture both new and existing products from advances in technology. Advanced manufacturing includes additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing), AI, robotics and high-performance materials.
In September 2019, the secretary of the Army signed Army Directive 2019-29, “Enabling Readiness and Modernization through Advanced Manufacturing.” The directive establishes a unified Army strategy for using advanced manufacturing to enable two of the Army’s top priorities—modernization and readiness. This will be accomplished by incorporating advanced manufacturing into all aspects of the materiel development life cycle, from early design and development through production and sustainment, modernizing the organic industrial base to supplement the supply chain, and encouraging, through contract incentives, the defense industrial base to invest in advanced manufacturing.
According to the DASA for Defense Exports and Cooperation(DEC), the U.S. Army has averaged $16 billion in new sales per year, and managed an average of 6,000 foreign military sales cases annually since 2018. This goes a long way toward improving interoperability with our allies and partners.
DASA DEC developed and concluded the first-ever agreement to continuously develop a virtual cyber training range in collaboration with Australia, the Persistent Cyber Training Environment. We also developed, negotiated and concluded the Advancing Wounded Soldier Care Through Robotics project agreement with Italy, on behalf of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. This is a collaborative project to develop and test advanced robotic devices and novel human-machine interfaces to restore upper and lower limb function for wounded Soldiers with amputation, paresis, and paralysis.
In addition, an overarching, 20-year research, development, test and evaluation agreement with Brazil concluded in early 2020 as the framework to conduct cooperative activities and pursue joint research-and-development projects. These include bilateral cooperation in basic research, applied research, advanced technology development, test and evaluation of systems and subsystems, and spiral development efforts.
TACTICAL NETWORKING: Soldiers from the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) participate in September in advanced communications training on the Integrated Tactical Network (ITN) at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington. SFABs across the Army are the first to field test the ITN as a replacement communications system for the previously utilized Warrior Integrated Tactical Network. (Photo by Spc. Joseph E. D. Knoch, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
In response to the 2019 terrorist attack at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, we led the Army response to a tasking by the secretary of defense by writing and overseeing implementation of Army policies to improve security at all Army training installations hosting international military students. This effort required the engagement and oversight of a broad coalition of experts from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Army Cyber Command, Human Resources Command, the Army Provost Marshal, the Army Staff, as well as the Security Assistance Enterprise. The resulting policies and procedures, affecting thousands of international military students and dozens of Army training activities, resulted in improved security at over 40 Army installations while simultaneously ensuring the Army’s uninterrupted support of the DOD security-cooperation strategy.
The vision for establishing the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) centered on the need for an organization that could conduct rapid prototyping to address priority efforts and, if required, pivot on a moment’s notice to address emerging threats and meet Army strategic objectives. What makes the organization unique is its structure and mission to deliver rapid experimental prototypes with residual combat capabilities in support of the Army Modernization Strategy and the National Defense Strategy, ensuring success in critical firsts that include hypersonics, directed energy, mid-range capabilities, counter-small unmanned aircraft systems and emerging technologies.
In hypersonics, for example, RCCTO is fielding a prototype Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon at the battery level by the 2023 fiscal year. In 2019, the office awarded key contracts for this effort, moving the program forward and creating the beginning of a new industrial base for the country. In March 2020, together with the Navy, the Army conducted a very successful hypersonic flight test. In 2021, the RCCTO hypersonics office will conduct more joint flight tests and deliver the first hypersonic equipment to Soldiers who will start to train and work with it firsthand.
With directed energy, RCCTO leveraged proven technologies that have been developed in the science and technology community, increased their power and adapted them for use on Army vehicles. These directed-energy prototypes fall into three main categories: directed energy – maneuver short range air defense, indirect fire protection capability – high energy laser, and indirect-fire protection capability – high power microwave. Each of these areas has been accelerated from the previous timeline, and in the 2022 fiscal year, RCCTO will provide the first platoon of four prototype Stryker vehicles integrated with 50 kilowatt-class lasers.
In its newest mission, mid-range capability, RCCTO marked a key achievement in 2020 by awarding a contract that will lead to the development and delivery of a new mid-range fires system for the Army. For this effort, RCCTO is developing a ground-launched prototype for an operational battery by the 2023 fiscal year. In support of multidomain operations, the mid-range capability will complement other critical systems in the Army’s fires portfolio, including the Precision Strike Missile and the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon.
RCCTO also executed numerous projects in other areas to accelerate innovation to Soldiers. These include counter small-unmanned-aerial systems, hybrid-electric vehicle technologies, advanced radars, platform protection, cyber resiliency and many more. The office awarded multiple rapid prototyping contracts, several to small businesses, as a result of its innovation days—a partnership with Army Futures Command that aims to quickly identify and transition good ideas into operational prototypes.
VIRTUAL TRAINING: U.S. Cyber Command is employing a new virtual training platform, the Persistent Cyber Training Environment, during the Cyber Flag 20-2 exercise. Over a period of two weeks, Cyber Flag 20-2 will host more than 500 personnel worldwide, spanning nine different time zones and 17 cyber teams. (Photo by U.S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jon Dasbach)
THE ARMY DACM OFFICE
I have often said, and I firmly believe that people are the Army’s greatest asset. The acquisition workforce is absolutely essential to Army modernization, and that is why I made it a priority to ensure that our professionals receive the training, education and experience they need to fulfill their duties and responsibilities. Working with the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) Director of Acquisition Career Management (DACM) and the USAASC team, we are becoming more successful at managing the talent within our workforce.
The Army Acquisition Workforce Human Capital Strategic Plan (AAW HCSP) was first published in October 2016. Over the last four years, we implemented the plan and, simultaneously, our strategic environment has evolved while Army policy in the human capital space has matured. Accordingly, USAASC’s Army DACM Office has refined the AAW HCSP to more intentionally align with Army policy, specifically the Army People Strategy and its Civilian Implementation Plan.
To preserve and grow readiness in the AAW, and as part of the Army’s wider readiness building effort, a human capital strategy is imperative. Moreover, the contemporary global security environment necessitates an acquisition human capital strategy that is oriented to build a ready, professional, diverse and integrated AAW. This plan is a reflection of our commitment to the AAW to develop the next generation of leaders and advance the Army acquisition profession. The updated AAW HCSP was published in October 2020.
In November 2020, the inaugural Acquisition Leader Assessment Program (ALAP) was held at Fort Knox, Kentucky. ALAP is the acquisition version of the Army’s Command Assessment Program (Battalion Commander Assessment Program and the Colonels’ Command Assessment Program), which is designed specifically for acquisition command-selection list candidates. ALAP is an assessment-driven effort to add data points to the traditional command-selection list program.
While ALAP is currently for military officers only, the goal is for civilian CSL candidates to participate in future programs.
The Army Acquisition Corps Training With Industry (TWI) program is a one-year fellowship designed to expose officers to corporate culture, best business practices and corporate decision-making processes. In fiscal year 2020, the program nearly tripled in size, going from 11 participating companies to 30. This expansion effort focused on pursuing partnerships with companies that support Army modernization priorities from multiple industries and ranging in size from small businesses to large corporations.
The Naval Postgraduate School 815 Program was established in the 2020 fiscal year for 51C noncommissioned officers (NCOs) using the Advanced Civil Schooling program. The 51C Proponent recognized the need for an advanced education opportunity for NCOs in the 51C career field. The NPS 815 program will allow 51C NCOs to obtain a graduate degree in Acquisition and Contract Management while simultaneously training to the Level III Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act standards in contracting.
The Army is replete with dedicated, talented people. It is my hope that I have provided, and will continue to provide, the senior leadership guidance, encouragement and reassurance that allows our team to be innovative, understand and accept responsibility, and reduce a risk-averse culture. In doing so, the ultimate beneficiary of our success is the Soldier.
In closing, let me repeat something I have said often. Many of us in ASA(ALT) serve in uniform. Many of us in ASA(ALT) serve in civilian clothes. All of us clearly see service to this nation as a calling, demonstrating it through unwavering accomplishment of our duty despite even personal risk.
Thank you for your dedication, patriotism and example of selfless service. I am proud and honored to serve with you.
Happy New Year! Please take care of yourself and your loved ones.
From the Army Acquisition Executive Dr. Bruce D. Jette