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Test and Evaluation - Where the Rubber Meets the Road in Digital Engineering and Evaluation - Where the Rubber Meets the Road in Digital Engineering2021-12-15T17:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClassA0A3E88D0FFF47B799A4936AFE37B7EA">“Accelerate change, or lose” is an imperative for the Department of Defense (DoD) if we expect to counter our competitors’ rapid development pipelines. Accelerating change isn’t about a change in mindset—after all, we’ve been trying to go faster for decades—it’s about the need for a true transformation in the way DoD buys things.<br> <br> The key to delivering capabilities at the speed of relevance for our future force is the use of integrated digital ecosystems to design, test, and modernize systems. The elements of this integrated digital ecosystem—the “digital trinity” of digital engineering, agile software, and open systems architecture—are spelled out by Dr. Will Roper, former Air Force Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in Bending the Spoon: Guidebook for Digital Engineering and e-Series (inspired by the film The Matrix. See guidebook <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>). Although there is a role for test and evaluation (T&E) in all three legs of the digital trinity, our largest impact is on digital engineering, where we are a provider of data used to validate and update system models and simulations.<br> <br> Digital engineering is about more than just digitizing traditional test processes and products such as test plans and reports. Instead, digital engineering requires us to think digitally from the beginning of a program: How does the test community contribute to developing and maintaining a system’s “digital twin”? This is a fundamentally different problem than the traditional T&E question of “How well does this system work?” Digital engineering requires the T&E community to shift our mindset from providing data that supports decision making at discrete intervals to a mindset of providing a knowledge base as an authoritative source of truth (ASOT). The ASOT validates and updates the digital twin in a continuous evaluation process throughout the life cycle of a system.<br> <br> Let us demonstrate how this paradigm shift in T&E can work. We first set the stage by briefly discussing what digital engineering is trying to achieve within the larger acquisition process. We then articulate the T&E community’s role in that process through continuous evaluation, uncertainty reduction, and rapid feedback. Finally, we describe current Air Force Test Center (AFTC) efforts to embrace digital engineering. <h2>A Quick Introduction to Digital Engineering</h2> The vision of digital engineering is the digital twin: models, simulations, and digital environments so good that they accurately replicate complex systems before anything is physically built. The comprehensive virtual environment just described will allow designers to massively iterate all aspects of a system’s life cycle without the shackles of real-world issues such as runtime, risk, and cost. To implement this vision, the Air Force has fully embraced the five goals in <a href="" target="_blank">DoD’s Digital Engineering Strategy</a>: <ol> <li>Formalize the development, integration and use of models.</li> <li>Provide an authoritative source of truth.</li> <li>Incorporate technological innovation.</li> <li>Establish infrastructure and environments.</li> <li>Transform the culture/workforce.</li> </ol> The Air Force guide There is No Spoon: The New Digital Acquisition Reality explains that digital acquisition is about more than just building better systems; it’s about building systems better and allowing the acquisition community to design faster, enable seamless assembly, test more efficiently and effectively, and provide easier upgrades to maintain our competitive edge. But how will we decide when a model becomes so realistic that we accept it as a complete substitute for reality? The answer: when you have real-world data that anchors your models; otherwise, you have nothing but a fancy video game. And that real-world data comes from T&E, whether conducted in a pristine laboratory setting or on a complex open air range (OAR).<br> <br> Formula 1 (F1) racing provides a good example of digital engineering. In his January 2021 Popular Mechanics article “Exclusive: The Air Force’s Secret New Fighter Jet Uses F1-Syle Engineering,” Dr. Roper wrote, “[In F1 racing] there are no physical prototypes today. Every car feature and all physics governing it—even the rubber literally meeting the road—is painstakingly virtualized and anchored by authoritative test data (emphasis added).” But even without prototypes, F1 designers still collect plenty of physical data—they just do it on the real race car after it hits the track (or in wind tunnels akin to those the AFTC operates at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex). And the data collected on the real car is fed forward into real-time tweaks of the existing car and improvements for the next model. For military applications, the operating environment is much more complex and changes more rapidly than an F1 racetrack, but the same principles of continuous and rapid improvement apply, as long as the digital twin and its environment are grounded in real-world data. <h2>Digital Engineering/Role of T&E</h2> As a provider of the authoritative source of truth, T&E is at the center of digital engineering. The knowledge gained through T&E is critical for the continuous evaluation, uncertainty reduction, and rapid feedback necessary to develop and deliver a better product faster than our competitors. The specifics of the role of T&E are outlined in the “Digital Building Code for Digital Engineering” released in May 2021 by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. The overall guidance and relationship to items specific to T&E are summarized in the table below.<br> <br> In the future, the test enterprise will work with program offices to marry the digital twin with the physical system design via the design, test, and validate process. T&E must be integrated with the larger digital engineering campaign to validate technical models that provide baselines for weapons system life-cycle sustainment.<br> <br> In a typical design-test-validate cycle, physical system models are used to provide initial estimates of system performance. Data collected during tests in various environments—such as installed system test facilities or open-air ranges—demonstrate actual system performance and is fed back into the modeling process to validate or update models. These validated models then form the basis for refining system designs or informing other modeling and simulation requirements, such as determining how system performance contributes to mission and campaign-level effectiveness. <hr /> <table border="1" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="5" style="width:500px;"> <caption>Table 1. Overall Guidance and T&E Specifics</caption> <thead> <tr> <th scope="col">Blueprint Element</th> <th scope="col">T&E-Related Guidance</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td>1. Develop digital models of systems</td> <td>1.3 Clearly link [model] requirements to planned verification activities (e.g., technical reviews, certification, testing plans, procedures).<br> 1.5 Include capabilities to predict operational performance and quantify uncertainty in models of a system or subsystem in a simulated, representative environment.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2. Develop a digital twin and digital thread</td> <td>2.1 Establish and manage a digital thread that links models and digital artifacts and creates an authoritative source of truth. Update digital artifacts throughout the system life cycle to maintain a digital twin of the system.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3. Implement an integrated digital environment (IDE)</td> <td>3.1 An IDE is a compilation of data, models, and tools for collaboration, analysis, and visualization across functional domains.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>4. Employ a tailored digital strategy for contracting with industry</td> <td>To be determined—guidance is rapidly evolving, but in general, T&E requires access to contractor models and data</td> </tr> <tr> <td>5. Ensure organizational readiness for Digital Engineering</td> <td>5.1 Access to tools and infrastructure, including SysML-based tools, CloudONE and PlatformONE services, DevSecOps processes, and applicable modeling techniques for applications such as structures, design/analysis, embedded software, electronics, and other disciplines as appropriate.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>6. Implement Digital Acquisition</td> <td>6.1 All acquisition plans, program and technical reviews, and testing and certification processes will shift from a fundamentally document-based construct to one based on models and digital artifacts. This includes the T&E Master Plan.<br> 6.1.5 The developmental and operational test communities should engage early to determine strategy and planning for employing model-based T&E activities. Verification and validation of models is critical to achieving authoritative virtualizations of systems.<span style="display:none;"> </span></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h6>Source: Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.</h6> <hr /> We envision that the data collected, across all phases of T&E, in the future will be more widely available as one component of an authoritative data source that is fed into, and managed by, an enterprise data management system used to validate and update a system’s digital twin. Using models throughout the life cycle to digitally represent the system of interest in the virtual world requires a continuous evaluation process such as that shown in Figure 1. This process generates the authoritative source of truth that determines system requirements, aids acquisition decision-making, and matures robust operational tactics, techniques, and procedures.<br> <br> As illustrated by Figure 2, T&E also adds value to the interface between digital tools by sharing authoritative source data from tests and models, validating models, and integrating data sets up and down the Systems Engineering “V.” This minimizes duplication and increases consistency. T&E takes requirements and data from a system’s digital twin and tests the models, prototypes, and physical articles to provide performance data to support the digital twin’s verification, validation, and accreditation. <h2>AFTC Digital Engineering Initiatives</h2> A few years ago, the AFTC experienced what we now call digital engineering “in the small” and “in reverse.” In 2016 and 2017, two AFTC units—the 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and the Arnold Engineering Development Complex at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee—tested the climb performance of a commercial off-the-shelf T-53A aircraft modified with a new propeller. Since no government-owned models or data existed, the two AFTC units collaborated to develop high-fidelity aircraft models from scratch by beginning with a scan of the physical aircraft. Using the model-test-validate approach depicted in Figure 3, the test team then validated the digital model and used the model to accurately predict rate-of-climb performance. In addition to addressing the program manager’s concerns, the digital model also can be used, if desired, to update aircraft performance information in the manuals that pilots use for planning flights. Although the program was small in scope, it showed the incredible promise of digital engineering as a concept, and the central role T&E plays in it.<br> <br> <img alt="Figure 1. Models and Continuous Evaluation" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/DefAcqNov-Dec21_article2_figure1.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <br> The next section highlights a few corporately sustained, recognized, and viable capabilities essential in the generation of good models to support Air Force processes as authoritative source data from within the Air Force. First, let’s look at the Joint Simulation Environment (JSE), and its physical counterpart, the Multi-Domain Test Force (MDTF). Next, we will discuss a few targeted efforts within the MDTF portfolio and the deep-learning analytics (machine learning data fusion) critical for authoritative decision making and model accreditation. Through these efforts, T&E is transforming itself and fostering digital engineering in the conduct of evaluations in more integrated (and virtual) environments.<br> <br> Just like in the race car world, the JSE represents the digital track in the virtual world—the operational environment’s digital twin. The JSE is being developed as a high-fidelity simulation using aircraft operational flight program software. The environment can be accredited for a test as a supplement to the traditional OAR. JSE’s three goals are to do the following: <ol> <li>Perform developmental and operational activities, especially those that cannot be performed on an OAR.</li> <li>Conduct high-end advanced training and tactics.</li> <li>Support experimentation of future weapon systems, warfighting, and employment concepts.</li> </ol> Just as T&E is the process by which the digital twin is married to the physical design, JSE is marrying a digital range to the OAR environment. The JSE enables high density, high-end threat replication and allows for a better test of fifth- and sixth-generation aircraft and weapon capabilities. It is a scalable, open architecture environment that integrates live, virtual, and constructive models. It is government-owned and operates as a multi-domain battlespace environment—a virtual test and training range. JSE enables a continuous development and delivery pipeline with common models and analysis tools and current threat data that operates in multi-level security environments. To sum up, JSE gives programs the ability to robustly test models on a validated digital test range, against a representative threat, before bending metal.<br> <br> <img alt="Figure 2. T&E’s Multiple Interfaces in Program Management" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/DefAcqNov-Dec21_article2_figure2.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <br> The MDTF functions as the integrative and administrative hub for test programs to accelerate change in the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) environment. The MDTF integrates the teams and resources currently used to execute Orange and Emerald Flag test events, JADC2 demonstrations, and other test events in the open-air environment. Orange Flag started three years ago to assess the integration of warfighting systems in a dense threat, operationally representative environment to identify and analyze kill-chain strengths and weaknesses with a data-driven approach.<br> <br> Similarly, Emerald Flag is a collaborative multi-Service effort focused on increasing the joint domain Warfighter’s effectiveness, incorporating ground, space, cyberspace, and air platforms to improve information speed and flow. Orange Flag, Emerald Flag, and the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center’s 53rd Wing’s Black Flag work in concert as a test triad to provide robust test environments supporting JADC2, advanced battle management system, and validation of new tactics and technologies for the warfighting force.<br> <br> <img alt="Figure 3. The Model-Test-Validate Approach" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/DefAcqNov-Dec21_article2_figure3.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <br> The synergistic goals of JSE and the MDTF enable continuous evaluation and rapid feedback. That synergism is essential in a digital engineering world where engineers will use MDTF test event data to validate the digital range of the JSE, and the JSE will augment tests that cannot execute in the OAR. The integrated developmental and operational test environments are essential in accelerated combat capability fielding, and JSE and MDTF form a circle of verification that is indispensable to model validation at program offices.<br> <br> Continuous evaluation that reduces uncertainty, drives value-added test events, and rapidly integrates T&E across the life cycle, requires the ability to integrate data sets up and down the Systems Engineering “V.” Therefore, the Air Force T&E community is developing machine learning fusion models that blend data from multiple sources to create more accurate models. Those data sources can be manufacturing and component-level testing (like the National Radar Test Facility and Wind Tunnels), hardware in the loop facilities (like the Guided Weapons Evaluation Facility), installed system test facilities (like the Benefield Anechoic Facility), and open-air flight test. Machine learning will help quantify the uncertainty, improve model validation, and aid in transferring knowledge from a digital environment to the real world, or vice versa. <h2>Conclusion</h2> Digital engineering holds the promise to deliver better capabilities faster. But the need for trustworthy data lies at the heart of digital engineering. For digital engineering to fulfill its promise, T&E must be embraced as the authoritative source of truth. T&E is no longer just a data source for validating individual models and evaluating system performance; it’s the knowledge source necessary to validate, calibrate, and improve the digital twin through continuous evaluation. <hr />Bjorkman is the Executive Director of the Air Force Test Center (AFTC) at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Her role involves long- and short-range planning, policy development, determination of program and center goals, and overall management of the AFTC. She has a doctorate in Systems Engineering from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT).<br> <br> Grigaliunas is the AFTC Technical Advisor for Flight Test and Evaluation on airframe, avionics/cyber, propulsion, electronic warfare flight, and supporting ground test capabilities. He holds a master’s degree in Systems Engineering from AFIT and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.<br> <br> The authors can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a> and <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>.<br> <br> The views expressed in this article are those of the authors alone and not of the Department of Defense. Reproduction or reposting of articles from Defense Acquisition magazine should credit the authors and the magazine. <hr /><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="tweet" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/tweetbutton.jpg" style="width:125px;height:50px;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="subscribe" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/suscribebutton.jpg" style="width:125px;height:50px;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Test-and-Evaluation
The Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance — a Successful Interagency Collaboration Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance — a Successful Interagency Collaboration2021-12-08T17:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClassFB9F2D6AA9544691BA091A1FDC17964D"><img alt="Spc. Michelle Metzger, a motor transport operator with 1487th Transportation Company, Ohio Army National Guard, lubricates her vehicle." src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/DefAcqNov-Dec21_article4_image01.jpg" style="border-width:0px;border-style:solid;margin-left:5px;margin-right:5px;width:50%;" /> <h6>Spc. Michelle Metzger, a motor transport operator with 1487th Transportation Company, Ohio Army National Guard, lubricates her vehicle.<br> Source: U.S. Army National Guard photo.</h6> <hr />The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DoD) have long been involved in significant research in energy use reduction for commercial and military vehicles, respectively. In 2010, the two departments formed the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance (AVPTA) to co-fund research of value to both partners.<br> <br> Great effort went into developing a charter including the guidelines and structure of AVPTA, which has now existed for a decade and is considered a model for such relationships. This article examines the history of AVPTA, the technical areas covered, and the issues involved with interagency collaboration.<br> DOE has had many successful programs with the commercial automotive industry. The United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), formed in 1992, has worked closely with the DOE. That collaboration spawned many programs, such as a Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles in 1993 and the 21st Century Truck Partnership in 2000.<br> <br> Meanwhile, DoD was addressing issues for military vehicles similar to those DOE addressed for commercial vehicles. But there was no structure for sharing information and leveraging their combined resources. This led to the DoD and DOE decision to form AVPTA. Many lessons have been learned and problems overcome throughout AVPTA’s formation and existence. Although there were many similarities in the need for improved fuel economy, there also were significant differences between commercial and military requirements. AVPTA’s challenge, in part, was to sort out these differences and select areas of common interest and goals.<br> <br> <img alt="Soldiers of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team." src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/DefAcqNov-Dec21_article4_image02.jpg" style="width:50%;" /> <h6>Soldiers of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.<br> Source: U.S. Army photo</h6> <hr /> <h3>History</h3> The auto industry had significant structured interactions with DOE, whereas the military’s interactions with the DOE were mostly ad hoc and uncoordinated. Yet both groups—the DOE in cooperation with the commercial auto industry and DoD primarily through the Army—were strongly motivated to significantly reduce fuel consumption. The commercial auto industry had to meet increasingly stringent fuel economy standards (or CAFE—Corporate Average Fuel Economy).<br> Although the military did not have to meet CAFE standards, DoD operates the world’s largest fleet of vehicles, about 470,000 at the start of AVPTA—58 percent tactical transport and 42 percent combat vehicles. The burdened fuel cost during conflict was about 5 times the commodity price for a total of $30 billion in 2010. More than 70 percent of the cargo shipped in convoys was fuel and water and 18 percent of U.S. casualties were related to convoy resupply.<br> <br> The DoD Quadrennial Defense Review in 2010 made two points that related to this discussion: the need for a strategic approach to reduce energy consumption and for strengthened interagency partnerships. This eventually led to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the DOE and DoD titled “Concerning Cooperation in a Strategic Partnership to Enhance Energy Security” signed July 22, 2010, by Deputy Secretaries of Energy Daniel B. Poneman and Defense William J. Lynn III. This was the first official document for formation of AVPTA. It acknowledged that the DOE was the lead federal agency for developing and deploying advanced energy technologies and that DoD needed to invest in many of the same technologies.<br> <br> The advantages of forming AVPTA were that it: <ul> <li><em>Creates a partnership with true collaboration to enhance national energy security</em></li> <li><em>Demonstrates federal leadership</em></li> <li><em>Shares capabilities and access to resources</em></li> <li><em>Accelerates technology development</em></li> <li><em>Drives innovation</em></li> <li><em>Increases the value of research investments</em></li> <li><em>Addresses national energy needs</em></li> </ul> With the MOU in place, work began to develop a framework for AVPTA, culminating in a workshop, July 18–20, 2011. The Detroit workshop was attended by the Michigan Congressional Delegation and senior executives and subject-matter experts from industry and academia. The lead organizations were the Army’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC)—formerly the Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center—and the DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO).<br> <br> A five-year charter was written and signed on July 18, 2011, by Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu and Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal. The charter laid out a general framework for AVPTA and specifically outlined six Technical Focus Areas (TFAs): <ul> <li><em>Advanced combustion engines and transmissions</em></li> <li><em>Lightweight structures and materials </em></li> <li><em>Energy recovery and thermal management </em></li> <li><em>Alternative fuels and lubricants </em></li> <li><em>Hybrid propulsion systems</em></li> <li><em>(including batteries/energy storage)</em></li> <li><em>Analytical tools </em></li> </ul> The 2011 workshop began with VIP briefings on the critical energy needs of the U.S. military and industry, including presentations by Sen. Carl Levin, Dr. Chu, Dr. Westphal, General Motors Vice President Dr. Alan Taub, GVSC Director Dr. Grace Bochenek, and DOE Program Manager Mr. Patrick Davis.<br> <br> After the general session, the technical experts broke into six working groups to cover the six TFAs. At a high level, DoD and DOE strategic goals and strategic drivers, or dominant concerns, were delineated. In some cases, they were very similar, such as the goal of reducing fuel usage. Sometimes, they diverged, as in the case of the DoD driver to lighten logistics requirements in order to save lives.<br> <br> Eventually, the TFAs expanded to seven with batteries and energy storage separating from hybrid propulsion systems. A technical lead was assigned from each agency for each of the seven TFAs. The two leads for each area developed a coordination plan, including opportunities for joint meetings, project integration, and possible joint endeavors. <h3>Structure</h3> Despite the strong start, it took time to develop a viable working structure. In the first phase, DOE’s VTO and the Army lab, GVSC, identified already established projects of mutual interest. These projects were upgraded with additional subject-matter experts and resources. By 2013, new projects of mutual interest to the Army and DOE were being initiated.<br> <br> The TFAs that were delineated in the 2011 Charter continued throughout with relatively few changes (Figure 1). Typically, there would be about 30 subprojects each year divided among the seven areas. The most active TFAs with the most subprojects were lightweight structures and materials, alternative fuels and lubricants, and energy storage and batteries.<br> <br> A new category labeled “Extended Enterprise” was added in Fiscal Year 2017 and included projects technically “endorsed” by DOE, but not directly aligned with its Funding Opportunities Announcement Areas of Interest. GVSC funded the projects, but DOE representatives had access to the meetings and received technical reports. The Extended Enterprise projects centered on fuel cells and a lightweight steel-aluminum alloy, FeMnAl.<br> <br> GVSC subject-matter experts were invited to attend the VTO Annual Merit Review during which GVSC personnel were exposed to the complete VTO project portfolio while participating as review panel members. Joint participation in the review helped to identify areas of mutual technical interest for future new-start projects.<br> <br> A proposed new project needed the approval of both parties, DOE’s VTO and the Army’s GVSC, to become an active AVPTA project. GVSC had a very rigorous internal project review-approval process to initiate a new project. A technical council was briefed by subject-matter experts proposing the projects. Each project had to have an identifiable path to deployment with an accompanying timeline, and a work product consistent with GVSC’s 30-year strategy. There then followed an AVPTA new-start project review and selection process during the VTO’s annual project selection meeting, jointly attended by GVSC and VTO directors and subject-matter experts. Selected projects were publicized based upon VTO’s annual process and timeline for Advanced Vehicle Technologies Research Funding Opportunity Announcements.<br> <br> The approval process leveraged DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory Contract Office to rapidly obligate and efficiently track project funding by individual performers. Selected investigators came from auto companies, auto suppliers, defense industry original equipment manufacturers and suppliers, DOE National Laboratories, universities and colleges, and other businesses. Millions of dollars were jointly contributed to AVPTA, with a resulting level of effort and output that neither agency would have realized alone.<br> <br> <img alt="Figure 1. Project Areas at the Start of Alliance" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/DefAcqNov-Dec21_article4_figure01.jpg" style="width:100%;" /> <h3>Challenges</h3> As the MOU and charter were being written, there was an obvious common goal of reducing energy usage by ground vehicles. But as the participants began developing project ideas, they also found obvious major differences between the commercial market and military vehicles. Figure 2 shows the divergent paths for commercial and military in fuel economy, emissions, and electrical power. The industry drivers are emissions, CAFE, and profit. The Army drivers, or dominant concerns, are survivability, mobility, lethality, and operational energy. Even the fuel mixes are different, commercial gasoline and diesel versus military jet fuel.<br> <br> As shown in Table 1, the goals, materials, applications, and manufacturing processes are similar in the commercial and military markets, but as shown in Table 2, significant differences are in play. Developing mutually beneficial programs required a detailed understanding of the technologies and constant coordination between the subject-matter experts to ensure maximum benefit to both organizations. <h3>Examples of Successful AVPTA Projects</h3> Numerous research projects were initiated and conducted under AVPTA’s umbrella. Some examples are provided below, showing the diversity, depth, and breadth of the projects.<br> <br> <img alt="Figure 2. Divergent Paths of Commercial Industry and Military" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/DefAcqNov-Dec21_article4_figure02.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <br> <strong>Lightweight Structures and Materials</strong><br> This TFA was probably the most active of all the groups, and it advanced this research area at GVSC far beyond where it started. A primary challenge was to accomplish dissimilar metal joining, specifically to join a ferrous material (high-strength steel or rolled homogeneous armor) to aluminum. The two metals have very different melting points, so traditional welding is difficult. This is even more difficult when thick sections are used, as required for military vehicles. One group from Pacific Northwest developed a successful method known as friction stir dovetailing, which employs a special tool with a spinning head that generates enough friction to heat and form aluminum into a dovetail that fits into a mechanically cut dovetail groove in a piece of steel. <table border="1" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="5" style="width:500px;"> <caption>Table 1. Examples of Commercial and Military Vehicle Similarities</caption> <thead> <tr> <th scope="col">Goals</th> <th scope="col">Materials</th> <th scope="col">Applications</th> <th scope="col">Manufacturing Processes</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td> <ul> <li>Reduce fuel usage</li> <li>Reduce vehicle weight</li> </ul> </td> <td> <ul> <li>Advanced High Strength Steels</li> <li>Aluminum</li> <li>Composites</li> </ul> </td> <td> <ul> <li>Vehicle structure</li> <li>Diesel Engines</li> <li>Advanced Batteries</li> <li>Energy Storage</li> </ul> </td> <td> <ul> <li>Welding (Friction stir welding, MIG, TIG)</li> <li>Multi-material joining</li> <li>Forming</li> <li>Casting</li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <table border="1" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="5" style="width:500px;"> <caption>Table 2. Examples of Differences Between Commercial and Military Vehicles</caption> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;"><strong><em>Characteristic</em></strong></td> <td style="text-align:center;"><strong>Commercial</strong></td> <td style="text-align:center;"><strong>Military</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;"><strong><em>Fuels</em></strong></td> <td style="text-align:center;">Gasoline</td> <td style="text-align:center;">JP-8</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;"><strong><em>Vehicle Weight</em></strong></td> <td style="text-align:center;">2 tons</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Over 70 tons (tank)</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;"><strong><em>Materials</em></strong></td> <td style="text-align:center;">Thin sheet metal</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Thick armor</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;"><strong><em>Volume</em></strong></td> <td style="text-align:center;">High volume</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Low volume</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;"><strong><em>Built to Withstand</em></strong></td> <td style="text-align:center;">Crash</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Blast, Ballistic</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h6>Source: U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center</h6> <br> <strong>Alternative Fuels and Lubricants</strong><br> This TFA funded several groups to improve fuel efficiency through friction reduction using various methods, such as lubricant formulation, lubricant delivery, and surface treatment of engine parts. Methods also were developed to measure and predict the relationship of friction to fuel economy. The investigators came from a range of organizations including George Washington University, Northwestern University, Ford Motor Company, Valvoline Inc., and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The goal was to improve fuel economy by 2 percent, and the various efforts were successful.<br> <br> <strong>Energy Storage and Batteries </strong><br> DOE had an ongoing project with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) titled “Computer-Aided Engineering for Electric-Drive Vehicle Batteries” or CAEBAT. GVSC joined the effort through AVPTA in 2013 with the aim of using computer-aided engineering to accelerate the development of Li-ion battery systems for military vehicles while reducing the need for expensive, time-consuming physical testing. Through CAEBAT, numerical design tools were developed to optimize batteries for improved performance, safety, long life, and low cost. The CAEBAT program allowed GVSC to leverage about $20 million in DOE investments.<br> <br> <strong>Electrified Propulsion Systems </strong><br> Due to energy and environmental concerns, electric propulsion systems are becoming more common and are the subjects of continuing research. One part of an electric system is the integrated starter-generator (ISG), which replaces the starter and alternator in a single electric device.<br> GVSC led a project to replace traditional ISGs with ones that don’t require rare-earth magnets. The primary source of rare earths is China, and the supply is subject to disruption. This project aimed to use different types of magnets or even eliminate permanent magnets. GVSC, in cooperation with the University of Akron and DCS Corporation, completed the design, building, and testing of a Switched Reluctance Machine (SRM) that was superior to other non-rare-earth devices. The groups reduced the torque ripple and acoustic noise, common problems in non-rare-earth systems. <h3>Successes</h3> In many cases, internal projects at DOE or GVSC were successful enough to expand to both organizations through AVPTA. One example was an internal GVSC Innovation Project on Engine Combustion Chamber Design. This evolved into an AVPTA project titled “Physics-Based Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Sub-Model Development” to develop more accurate sub-models for the processes within the combustion chamber. An impressive array of scientists from eight different universities worked on the project, each working on a different sub-model: The University of Alabama, Boston University, Georgia Tech, University of Wisconsin, Michigan Technological University, Ohio State, Penn State, and the University of Illinois.<br> <br> In July 2014, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz wrote Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, seeking to explore major new collaborative efforts. As a result, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Operational Energy Plans and Programs (OSD/OEPP) proposed a significantly expanded program for more energy-efficient ground vehicles, called “Increasing the Fuel Efficiency of the Current Ground Tactical Fleet” (IFECGTF). The plan was to build on and strengthen existing AVPTA relationships, program, and funding. The program was awarded to GVSC by OSD/OEPP in April 2015. Approximately $25 million of 2015 Operational Energy Capabilities Improvement Funds (OECIF) was allocated for four diverse IFECGTF projects: JP-8 Based Fuel Cell Power; Tactical Vehicle Electrification Kit; Flame Spray Coating for Piston Friction Reduction; and Autonomy to Increase the Fuel Efficiency of Tactical Vehicles.<br> <br> As shown above, there are many benefits to interagency programs. Resources can be leveraged on common problems and money isn’t wasted on duplicating others’ research. Research issues can be considered from a different point of view, which can be illuminating and help drive innovation.<br> <br> But investments in time and resources are needed to achieve these benefits. Developing programs of mutual benefit requires a solid understanding of the operational requirements for each situation and a decision about whether cooperation even makes sense. Buy-in from high levels is needed to show the importance of the partnership and to secure funding. An organizational structure must be built; official documents such as MOUs and charters need to be developed. After the guidelines are in place to initiate the partnership, internal structures at both agencies must be reorganized to manage the Alliance. At GVSC, one person worked full time on the AVPTA administration. Seven other subject-matter experts were responsible for coordinating with DOE VTO counterparts in charge of the Technical Focus Areas. Each of the 20 to 30 projects per year had at least one GVSC person administering or contributing to it. <h3>Summary</h3> In 2016, the original AVPTA charter was renewed/extended for five additional years. A third charter for five more years is in the planning stages.<br> AVPTA is an interagency cooperation success, in view of the impressive number of publications and patents generated through the program and the costs reduced by leveraging the benefits of cooperation. Between 2011 and 2020, DOE and the Army contributed a total of $150 million toward jointly funded AVPTA projects. These results could not have been achieved by either agency on its own.<br> <br> After 10 years, the benefits of the collaboration have far outweighed the investments in time and resources. Former Assistant Secretary of the Army Katherine Hammack commented that AVPTA has far exceeded all expectations for technical performance and has become the reference model for interagency collaboration. <h3>Acknowledgments</h3> Thanks are due to the following associates from GVSC, who generously shared their knowledge about AVPTA: Richard Gerth, Jay Dusenbury, Steve Thrush, Allen Comfort, Kevin Centeck, and Brad Brumm. GVSC would also like to acknowledge DOE’s Vehicle Technology Office for its part in ensuring the success of AVPTA—particularly Patrick Davis, Michael Berube, and Gurpreet Singh. <hr /> <h3><a href=""><strong>See related GVSC video from U.S. Army</strong></a></h3> <hr />Gorsich is the Chief Scientist for the U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) as well as the U.S. Army Scientific and Professional Chief for Ground Vehicles. He obtained his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from MIT.<br> <br> SCHRAMM is a Senior Collaboration Specialist for the U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR). Previously, he worked for GVSC where he managed the AVPTA program until 2019. He has a master’s degee in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin.<br> <br> Dasch is a Principal Scientist for Alion Science and Technology and has worked at GVSC for 10 years for the Chief Scientist. She has a Ph.D. in Nuclear and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Maryland.<br> <br> The authors can be contacted through <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a> or <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>. <hr /> <h5>DISTRIBUTION A. Approved for public release; distribution unlimited. OPSEC #5155.<br> The views expressed in this article are those of the authors alone and not of the Department of Defense. Reproduction or reposting of articles from Defense Acquisition magazine should credit the authors and the magazine.</h5> <hr /><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="tweet" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/tweetbutton.jpg" style="width:125px;height:50px;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="subscribe" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/suscribebutton.jpg" style="width:125px;height:50px;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Advanced-Vehicle-Power-Technology-Alliance
Ten Powerful Enablers of Functional Area Governance in the Defense Acquisition Workforce Powerful Enablers of Functional Area Governance in the Defense Acquisition Workforce2021-12-01T17:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass00706876A88344FDBCAE33C7924A438B"><br> The ability to design, develop, field, and sustain reliable, maintainable, available, supportable, and affordable weapon systems is nothing less than a national strategic imperative. This in turn is possible only if members of the Defense Acquisition Workforce possess the needed knowledge, understanding, expertise, leadership, motivation, values, and wisdom. While many of these traits are innate to individuals, workforce professional development—particularly that which is derived from education training, experience, mentoring, and coaching—is also a key enabler for achieving desired defense acquisition and sustainment outcomes.<br> <br> This is perhaps best conveyed in a single sentence from Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 5000.66 Defense Acquisition Workforce Education, Training, Experience, and Career Development, which simply states that “it is DoD policy that the Acquisition Workforce [AWF] Program support a professional, agile, and high performing military and civilian AWF that meets uniform eligibility criteria, makes smart business decisions, acts in an ethical manner, and delivers timely and affordable capabilities to the Warfighter.”<br> <br> <img alt="clockwork gears" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/DefAcqNov-Dec21_article5_image01.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <br> The statutory requirements in 10 United States Code Chapter 87: Defense Acquisition Workforce ultimately undergird both policy and professional development requirements at all levels, providing ample rationale as to why this matters and how this can be achieved. The requirements provide that: <ul> <li>“The Secretary of Defense shall establish policies and procedures for the effective management (including accession, education, training, and career development) of persons serving in acquisition positions in the Department of Defense.” (10 U.S. Code §1701)</li> <li>“The Department of Defense (shall) develop and manage a highly skilled professional acquisition workforce” and “The Secretary of Defense shall implement a certification program to provide for a professional certification requirement for all members of the acquisition workforce.” (10 U.S. Code §1701a)</li> <li>“The Secretary of Defense shall designate in regulations those positions in the Department of Defense that are acquisition positions for purposes of this chapter.” (10 U.S. Code §1721)</li> <li>“The Secretary of Defense, acting through the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, shall ensure that an appropriate career path for civilian and military personnel who wish to pursue careers in acquisition is identified for each acquisition workforce career field in terms of the education, training, experience, and assignments necessary for career progression of civilians and members of the armed forces to the most senior acquisition positions.” (10 U.S. Code §1722)</li> <li>“Policies established and guidance issued [by the Secretary of Defense, acting through the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment] … shall ensure…a career path in the acquisition field that attracts the highest quality civilian personnel, from either within or outside the Federal Government.” (10 U.S. Code §1722b)</li> <li>“The Secretary of Defense shall establish education, training, and experience requirements for each acquisition position, based on the level of complexity of duties carried out in the position. In establishing such requirements, the Secretary shall ensure the availability and sufficiency of training in all areas of acquisition, including additional training courses with an emphasis on services contracting, market research strategies (including assessments of local contracting capabilities), long-term sustainment strategies, information technology, and rapid acquisition.” (10 U.S. Code §1723)</li> <li>“The Secretary of Defense shall establish policies and procedures for the establishment and implementation of the education and training programs.” (10 U.S. Code §1741)</li> <li>“For each acquisition workforce career field, the Secretary of Defense shall establish, for the civilian personnel in that career field, defined proficiency standards and technical and nontechnical competencies which shall be used in personnel qualification assessments.” (10 U.S. Code §1765)</li> </ul> <hr /> <blockquote> <p>The more a functional area’s leadership team adheres to these tenets, the likelier it is to succeed.</p> </blockquote> <hr /> <h2>Functional Area Governance</h2> Successful Defense Acquisition Workforce functional area governance, however, is a bit more nuanced. It starts with some basic, overarching principles tied to workforce excellence. I contend that these principles include but are certainly not limited to: <ul> <li><strong>Commitment. </strong>Focus laser-like on developing and empowering a workforce capable of responding quickly in the face of rapidly evolving changes to funding, priorities, technologies, processes, policies, and threats.</li> <li><strong>Competence. </strong>Focus on key technical competencies within each of the acquisition workforce functional areas.</li> <li><strong>Teamwork.</strong> Recognize the criticality of workforce professional development that is multi-disciplinary, cross-functional, and based on an integrated product team.</li> <li><strong>Discernment. </strong>Develop the capability to analyze, evaluate, and implement what they learn. Knowledge and understanding are essential but are ultimately insufficient for ensuring successful acquisition outcomes if not coupled with the ability to apply that knowledge and understanding.</li> <li><strong>Leadership. </strong>Develop and hone leadership skills, by leading change and leading people; developing results-driven, coalitions building business acumen; motivating public service; improving interpersonal skills; clarifying oral and written communication skills; maintaining integrity and honesty; and pursuing continual learning.</li> <li><strong>Life-long learning.</strong> Focus on professional development, continuous skills refresh, and life-long learning at every level from the individual to the department.</li> <li><strong>Embrace “silo-smashing”. </strong>Commit to cross-functional engagement and teaming with other functional areas. Support shared activities in areas such as risk management, software life-cycle management, cybersecurity, obsolescence, diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages, configuration management, data management, digital engineering, and supply chain risk management.</li> <li><strong>Measure and incentivize desired outcomes. </strong>Use competition, data-driven metrics, and clearly understood incentives to achieve desired acquisition and product support outcomes. If you subscribe to the old adage “what gets measured gets managed,” incentivize what you measure. The same goes for workforce performance. Clear, compelling technical and professional competencies are an integral part of workforce and organizational success.</li> <li><strong>Resource management.</strong> Prioritize well. There rarely are ever enough people, money, or time.</li> <li><strong>Customer and stakeholder focus. </strong>Strive for excellence in both. Communicate, communicate, and most importantly, communicate.</li> </ul> <img alt="clockwork gears" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/DefAcqNov-Dec21_article5_image02.jpg" style="margin:5px;float:left;width:50%;" />While these overarching principles are essential, they are not sufficient, at least not for achieving the needed acquisition outcomes. Powerful foundational tenets must be leveraged to undergird successful functional area governance.<br> I have had the opportunity to support a succession of life-cycle logistics functional area leaders and served in various oversight roles in the life-cycle logistics functional community for nearly two decades. This has afforded me a unique perspective and insight into what works and what doesn’t, as well as which processes contribute to and which may impede success.<br> <br> In the intervening years, I’ve identified, assembled, and gradually refined a list of 10 key, foundational enablers and tenets that I am convinced support successful functional area outcomes. Some of these tenets are strategic in nature; others are more tactical. Some are organizational and structural; others (leadership and style) are more intangible in nature. Regardless, I contend that the more a functional area’s leadership team adheres to these tenets, the likelier it is to succeed. Conversely, the less the team adheres to these tenets, the less likely positive outcomes become. And when those tenets are not adhered to at all, teams often devolve into dysfunction and discord and are very likely not to achieve their professional goals. For clarity, I’ve grouped these 10 tenets into two separate but highly integrated and tightly aligned groups, with five tenets tied to organization and five others tied to leadership. <hr /> <blockquote> <p>The ability to design, develop, field, and sustain affordable, reliable, maintainable, available, supportable, and affordable weapon systems is nothing less than a national strategic imperative.</p> </blockquote> <hr />Starting with leadership-related tenets, the five primary executive core qualifications (ECQs) outlined by the Office of Personnel Management all come into play to a large degree. Available <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>, they comprise ECQ 1: Leading Change, ECQ 2: Leading People, ECQ 3: Results-Driven, ECQ 4: Business Acumen, and ECQ 5: Building Coalitions. These skills are consistently reflected by successful Defense Acquisition Workforce functional area leaders and executive secretaries, as well as primary Service and agency representatives. This, in turn, contributes to successful functional area governance and workforce members, and, ultimately, successful defense acquisition and sustainment outcomes. The tenets tied to leadership include: <ol> <li>Strong, committed, knowledgeable, actively engaged leadership and team members—with high, outcome-based expectations.</li> <li>Regular, timely communication and outreach in preparation for and in response to key initiatives, including read-aheads, background materials, and an easily accessible web-based information repository.</li> <li>Empowered team members representing key stakeholders, all of whom recognize the value of active involvement and the importance of collaborative and active participation.</li> <li>Tight alignment between the respective functional area leader, Service and agency representatives, DAU functional area faculty, and other key participants.</li> <li>Multi-disciplinary engagement across a range of other acquisition and sustainment functional communities to address key interdisciplinary competencies, training, and related professional development initiatives and issue resolution.</li> </ol> How might this successful functional area leadership manifest itself? Terms like synergy, collaboration, teamwork, communication, and delivering tangible results, products, and outcomes immediately come to mind. Adherence to these tenets also lends itself to potential participants wanting to join the team and actively engage, rather than view meetings as just another activity on an already over-crowded calendar. They often will find themselves gravitating toward enthusiastic leaders who not only lead by example but are themselves active and engaged, articulating a strategic vision while delivering a series of tactical successes. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” as the old proverb says. Or put another way, “The results begin to speak for themselves!”<br> <br> The second group of key governance tenets that enable functional area success are tied to organization, or structure: a governance framework built on a foundation of teamwork, trust, communication, and collaboration, along with a regularly scheduled battle rhythm of meetings with clearly defined outcomes, a regularly updated charter, and a clear purpose. Rounding out this list of 10 enablers, these five tenets include: <ol> <li>Competency-based, Warfighter-grounded, outcome-focused life-cycle management perspective.</li> <li>Broadly based human capital strategic planning coupled with aligned, integrated, cross-functional workforce membership focused on professional excellence.</li> <li>A well-crafted, well-organized, regularly updated charter that clearly and succinctly articulates both the purpose of the team and the framework by which it operates.</li> <li>A sustained “battle rhythm” that includes regularly scheduled meetings (in our case, quarterly), organized around a clear agenda and well-understood expectations.</li> <li>A broad mix of key functional areas and Directors of Acquisition Career Management, stakeholders representing the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Service and agency headquarters, Service secretariats, major commands, Joint Staff, other functional communities, and federal agencies with similar workforce considerations such as the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Veterans Affairs, or NASA.</li> </ol> <br> For the life-cycle logistics community, this often means 40 or more attendees. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and arguably so are perceived value, tangible outcomes, and important deliverables that result. In such an environment, administrative products such as workforce competencies, functional area governance documents, and professional development requirements ultimately serve as a roadmap for workforce success rather than just another bureaucratic requirement or an additional check-in-the-block demand on the already scarce time in our overcrowded calendars. The bottom line in my mind is that successful adherence to these tenets leads to successful weapon system product support results. <hr /> <h2><img alt="clockwork gears" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/DefAcqNov-Dec21_article5_image03.jpg" style="margin:5px;float:left;width:50%;" />How Might This Work?</h2> Regarding the life-cycle logistics functional area and the integrated product support element-based competencies identified by DoD in 2019, how can we leverage the products derived from these proven practices? What skills, expertise, abilities, experience, and knowledge might workforce members embrace as they advance in their careers? Start with key requirements outlined in 10 U.S. Code 2337 to “a) maximize competition and make the best possible use of available Department of Defense and industry resources at the system, subsystem, and component levels; and b) maximize value to the Department of Defense by providing the best possible product support outcomes at the lowest operations and support cost.” Building on this solid foundation of proven practices, successful life-cycle logisticians and product support managers continue to grow professionally as they advance in their careers. <ul> <li>They understand and are able to positively affect product support outcomes across a system life cycle, from requirements to system retirement and disposal.</li> <li>They understand and can operate successfully within each of the six Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF) pathways.</li> <li>They are cognizant of and understand the interrelationship between the 12 Integrated Product Support Elements, and implications of how decisions made for one element impact each of the others.</li> <li>They can develop and execute product support business case analyses-based product support strategies.</li> <li>They are valued, sought-after core members of a program office team or directly support it.</li> <li>They provide high-impact strategic/senior leadership, including success as a product support manager, assistant program manager for logistics, or senior life-cycle logistician in a program or staff.</li> <li>They recognize that successful product support and sustainment outcomes don’t just happen; they involve getting the requirements right, selecting the appropriate adaptive acquisition pathway(s), and making design for supportability an integral part of acquisition and sustainment strategies.</li> <li>They understand and are able to apply key interdisciplinary technical skills in areas such as software/information technology support, sustainment and life cycle management, reliability, availability, maintainability and supportability analysis, maintenance planning and management and public-private partnering, condition-based maintenance plus, reliability centered maintenance, supply chain management, and provisioning.</li> <li>They are able to resource and fund product support strategies across the 12 Integrated Product Support elements, accompanied by a broad understanding of product support affordability analysis, Operations and Support cost management and should-cost initiatives.</li> <li>They craft and execute outcome-based/performance-based life-cycle product support strategies, product support arrangements, as well as product support metrics and incentives.</li> <li>They understand, apply, and influence key interdisciplinary processes, including configuration management, data management, digital engineering, supply chain risk management, cybersecurity, data analytics, intellectual property, as well as obsolescence, diminishing manufacturing sources, and material shortages and parts management.</li> <li>They understand intuitively and commit to life-cycle management principles. Successful acquisition strategies do not end with deployment of the system. Long-term sustainment is not solely the purview of program or product support managers but is truly a multi-disciplinary, cross-functional endeavor.</li> </ul> Often the desired outcomes discussed in this article are realized and applied through experience or the “school of hard knocks.” Some are gained on-the-job from supervisors, colleagues, coaches, and mentors. Some come from education and training. Some are captured and ensconced in statute, policy, and organizational guidance. Some are conveyed from program, command, Service, agency, or DoD leadership. In any event, competency-based Defense Acquisition Workforce proficiency, enhanced professional development, and improved acquisition outcomes are ultimately rooted in a powerful strategic vision enabled by the fundamental tenets of strong leadership and accelerated by leveraging proven processes of successful functional area governance. <hr />Kobren, the Director of the Logistics and Sustainment Center at DAU, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, has been a certified Department of Defense (DoD) Life Cycle Logistician since 1993. He currently serves as a member of the DoD Life Cycle Logistics Transformation Team and is the newly appointed Executive Secretary of the Life Cycle Logistics Functional Integration Team, a position he also held in 2007-2012. He has supported myriad DoD human capital initiatives including two DoD Logistics Human Capital Strategy development projects, the 2009 DoD Weapon System Acquisition Reform: Product Support Assessment Implementation Team, two Service-level workforce reconstitution teams, and three life-cycle logistics functional area competency reviews since 2008.<br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>. <hr /> <h5>The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the Department of Defense. Reproduction or reposting of articles from Defense Acquisition magazine should credit the authors and the magazine.</h5> <hr /><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="tweet" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/tweetbutton.jpg" style="width:125px;height:50px;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="subscribe" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/suscribebutton.jpg" style="width:125px;height:50px;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a> <hr /></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Ten-Powerful-Enablers
Product Support - The Key to Warfighter Readiness Support - The Key to Warfighter Readiness2021-11-30T17:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClassF824B275CDE147B691E826DED512A67E"><img alt="Soldiers perform maintenance checks while loading trucks with heavy military equipment." src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/6441184303_c26ced0a31_o.jpg" style="margin:2px 6px;width:50%;" /> <h6>Soldiers perform maintenance checks while loading trucks with heavy military equipment.<br> Source: U.S. Army photo</h6> <br> There has been a lot of discussion lately about “product support” and its role in effectively and affordably ensuring our weapon systems meet Warfighter needs. Congress has placed additional emphasis on product support and our ability to sustain our weapon systems. This started with mandating that Major Defense Acquisition Programs have a product support manager (PSM) assigned to support the program manager (PM) in developing product support solutions.<br> More recently, Congress directed that the Department of Defense (DoD) report annually on how programs’ product support solutions perform once fielded. Furthermore, the new DoD Instruction (DoDI) 5000.91 is dedicated to developing, implementing, and managing product support solutions for our weapon systems. DoDI 5000.91 addresses product support for each of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF) pathways. This article highlights the importance of product support and will improve the reader’s understanding of product support and its role in sustaining our weapon systems.<br> <br> What do we mean when we say “product support”? Congress defined the term as: “The package of support functions required to field and maintain the readiness and operational capability of covered systems, subsystems, and components, including all functions related to covered system readiness.” (10 U.S. Code 2337(d)(1))<br> <br> Some may ask what we mean when we refer to a “package of support functions.” The support functions are those activities associated with the product support elements. Collectively, these activities or functions are known as the integrated product support (IPS) elements. The 12 elements are: <ol> <li>Product support management</li> <li>Design interface</li> <li>Sustaining engineering</li> <li>Maintenance planning and management</li> <li>Supply support</li> <li>Support equipment</li> <li>Technical data</li> <li>Training and training support</li> <li>Information technology systems continuous support</li> <li>Facilities and infrastructure</li> <li>Packaging, handling, storage, and transportation</li> <li>Manpower and personnel</li> </ol> Effective product support solutions address these 12 elements in an integrated, comprehensive fashion. You may have heard of the previously used term “Integrated Logistics Support Elements” (ILS) and noted that they look very similar. So what is the difference? There are two major differences between the ILS and IPS elements. First, “product support management” and “sustaining engineering” were added to the original 10 ILS elements. And, second, implementation and management of the activities across the system life cycle were added to all of the elements. This reflected a fundamental change from “acquisition” logistics to “life cycle” logistics and the responsibility of the PM and PSM for life-cycle management of the weapon system, including product support. With product support management and sustaining engineering added, product support now is broader than the traditional logistics elements but certainly includes them in its definition. However, “Logistics” may be associated with personnel, food services, medical, and various other areas that do not involve a weapon system.<br> <br> Figure 1 emphasizes the importance of product support for Warfighter readiness and the relationship between the product support elements, the acquisition pathways, and the life-cycle phase of a weapon system. DoDI 5000.91 addresses the PS elements and associated activities across the life cycle for the various pathways.<br> <br> Product support and sustainment planning occurs throughout the life cycle; and cost savings, though typically realized in sustainment, are greatly impacted by decisions made early in development. Therefore, it is critically important to have a life-cycle management perspective when assessing design trades during development and the return on investment when considering product support solutions. We must design for sustainment and begin planning for product support solutions as early as possible to shape sustainment costs over the life cycle.<br> <br> <img alt="Soldiers perform preventive maintenance checks and service on an M121 mortar system during a three-day drill. Source: Air National Guard photo" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/24892410947_cea7bfd8f7_o.jpg" style="margin:2px 6px;width:50%;" /> <h6>Soldiers perform preventive maintenance checks and service on an M121 mortar system during a three-day drill.<br> Source: Air National Guard photo</h6> Collaboration between the PM and PSM, product support providers, industry partners, and the customer for product support/sustainment requirements is the key to designing for sustainment and enabling reliability, maintainability, supportability, and affordability. Effective, affordable product support solutions start with well-defined requirements, but must also have accurate cost estimates that utilize historical and actual data. A product support strategy should have flexibility to adjust to changing requirements and constraints throughout a program’s life.<br> <br> The framework for product support within all six AAF pathways is provided by the new DoDI 5000.91, which will cancel and replace Appendix 3D of DoDI 5000.85 (the interim repository of product support policy formerly in DoDI 5000.02 Enclosure 6). That new framework provides the regulatory requirements for product support and enables tailored product support strategies and solutions for all six AAF pathways. With the ability now to tailor product support solutions, PMs and PSMs are better equipped to increase operational readiness and reduce sustainment costs.<br> <br> It is important to note that regardless of the pathway, all product support strategies should be performance-based solutions that effectively and affordably satisfy Warfighter requirements by optimizing readiness and operational capability. They should leverage the best mix of government and commercial providers’ capabilities, capacities, and expertise to deliver the “package of support functions required to field and maintain the readiness and operational capability of covered systems, subsystems, and components, including all functions related to covered system readiness.”<br> <br> <img alt="Figure 1. The Adaptive Acquisition Framework" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/DefAcqNov-Dec21_article1_figure1.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <br> The requirement for performance-based solutions is addressed in statute as well as DoD Directive 5000.01, which calls for performance-based life-cycle product support. Previous versions of acquisition policy (DoDI 5000.02) and initiatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense directed PMs and PSMs to develop performance-based logistics (PBL) strategies and solutions. The new DoDI 5000.91 uses “performance based life cycle product support” consistent with the current DoDD 5000.01. However, it is important to understand that regardless of which term is used, both refer to the same attributes and tenets. DoDI 5000.91 promotes the same critical thinking, attributes, and tenets used previously in referencing PBL strategies and solutions.<br> <br> So what is PBL? Is it a strategy, a solution, or a contract? It is all three. Programmatically, PBL is an outcome-based support strategy and associated solution that delivers integrated and affordable product support that satisfies Warfighter requirements while reducing operating and support costs.<br> <br> As an alternative to “transactional” product support (e.g., “paying for eaches,” or small units), PBL addresses a fundamental misalignment between product support providers and their customers by incentivizing providers to reduce demand for logistics (e.g., by improving system reliability) and reducing costs (e.g., through process improvement), or both. When applied to industry, performance-based logistics contracts deliver Warfighter requirements and incentivize product support providers to reduce costs through innovation. While programmatically all product support strategies should be performance based, performance-based logistics contracts are utilized when analysis indicates they can effectively reduce cost and improve performance. They are structured to specific program needs and may evolve throughout the life cycle. <blockquote> <p style="text-align:center;">All product support strategies should be performance-based solutions that effectively and affordably satisfy Warfighter requirements.</p> </blockquote> <p>A PBL contract is not synonymous with contractor logistics support (CLS). CLS signifies the “who” of providing support, not the “how” of the business model. CLS is support provided by a contractor, whether or not the arrangement is structured around Warfighter outcomes with associated incentives. PBL arrangements, on the other hand, are tied to Warfighter outcomes and integrate the various product support elements (e.g. supply support, sustaining engineering, maintenance, etc.) with appropriate incentives and metrics.<br> <br> PBL arrangements also may be memorandums of understanding or memorandums of agreement with government providers and integrators as well as contracts with industry. While public sector providers may respond to a different set of incentives than industry, incentives such as additional workload, capital investment, or training/upskilling are effective.<br> <br> <img alt="In troubleshooting lighting problems in trucks, mechanics often must remove the steering wheel to access the wiring. Staff Sgt. Kyle Owens designed a tool to do so that avoids damaging the truck. Source: U.S. Marine Corps" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/6641958.jpg" style="width:50%;" /></p> <h6>In troubleshooting lighting problems in trucks, mechanics often must remove the steering wheel to access the wiring. Staff Sgt. Kyle Owens designed a tool to do so that avoids damaging the truck.<br> Source: U.S. Marine Corps</h6> PBL strategies have been used throughout DoD for more than two decades, as noted in the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review, which stated, “DoD will implement PBL to compress the supply chain and improve readiness for major weapon systems and commodities.” Earlier this year in her memo requesting nominations for the DoD PBL Award, Stacy Cummings, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Acquisition) and Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, said: “PBL is a key DoD strategy for delivering integrated, affordable, performance-based product support solutions designed to deliver Warfighter requirements and reduce cost. The tenets of PBL incentivize productivity and innovation in industry and government.”<br> <br> The DoD PBL Award, given every year from 2005 to present (with the exception of 2018), has recognized PBL winners across the Army, Air Force, Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and Defense Logistics Agency for product support solutions that improved readiness at the same or better cost and demonstrated exceptional public-private partnering arrangements with industry at the system, sub-system, and component level.<br> <br> <img alt="An airman services the main landing gear of a C-5M Super Galaxy at Travis Air Force Base in California. Source: U.S. Air Force" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/210821-F-RU983-1451.jpg" style="width:50%;" /> <h6>An airman services the main landing gear of a C-5M Super Galaxy at Travis Air Force Base in California.<br> Source: U.S. Air Force</h6> A complete list of the DoD PBL Award winners and their accomplishments is available on the DAU website. For further information on performance-based logistics, please consult <a href="/training/career-development/logistics/blog/One-Stop-Shop-for-PBL-Resources-References-Training" target="_blank">“One-Stop Shop for PBL Resources, References, and Training”</a>.<br> <br> In summary, the new DoDI 5000.91 is dedicated to developing, implementing, and managing product support solutions for our weapon systems. It stresses that critical thinking and fact-based analysis are the keys to developing and fielding a successful performance-based product support solution that effectively and affordably satisfies Warfighter requirements.<br> <br> Product support is a key component of weapon system development, implementation, and management. PMs and PSMs are tasked with product support across the weapon system life cycle and will collaborate with many stakeholders to ensure that the Warfighter has the capability and readiness needed for success in any scenario.<br> <br> <img alt="A machinist’s mate checks the brine flow meter on a reverse osmosis unit aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin. Source: U.S. Navy" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Nov-Dec_2021/DefAcqNov-Dec21_article1_image05.jpg" style="width:50%;" /> <h6>A machinist’s mate checks the brine flow meter on a reverse osmosis unit aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin.<br> Source: U.S. Navy</h6> <hr />Smith is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Product Support.<br> <br> The author can be reached at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>. <hr /><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="tweet" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/tweetbutton.jpg" style="border-width:0px;border-style:solid;width:125px;height:50px;margin-right:5px;margin-left:5px;float:left;" /></a><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="subscribe" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/suscribebutton.jpg" style="border-width:0px;border-style:solid;width:125px;height:50px;margin-right:5px;margin-left:5px;float:left;" /></a></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Product-Support

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