Tag Archives: DoD

Managing the Transition: Matching Army Robotics Force Structure and Strategy

LTC Stuart Hatfield Army RoboticsLieutenant Colonel Stuart Hatfield is the Robotics Branch Chief, Dominant Maneuver Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, Department of the Army in the Pentagon, where he manages the Army’s $800 million budget for Robotics and Unmanned Ground Systems. LTC Hatfield is the Army Staff lead integrator for Unmanned Ground Systems, and he co-chairs the Joint Staff Unmanned Ground Systems Integrated Product Team to synchronize concepts, requirements, technology, and standards for remote and autonomous systems across the Department of Defense. LTC Hatfield was honored by the National Defense Industrial Association as the 2012 Ground Robotics Champion.

Interview by UTS Editor George Jagels

(more…)

SOF Acquisition: Streamlining Processes to Maximize Readiness

geurts_jf

An interview with the Special Forces’ acquisition executive James Geurts.

A&M: How well does the acquisition structure you have in place work in terms of ensuring U.S. Special Forces get the equipment they need, when they need it, no matter where they are? 

Geurts: The structure works exceedingly well. The direct line of communications between the SOCOM Commander and me, as the Acquisition Executive, leading the Special Operations Research, Development, and Acquisition Center (SORDAC) team, streamlines the process for systems acquisition and ensures a thorough and complete understanding of the Commander’s guidance and intent. This directly translates into the accelerated fielding of the Special Operations Forces (SOF)-unique systems and equipment which provide our operators with the capabilities required to accomplish their assigned missions. It also allows me to continually shape SORDAC so that it is synchronized and responsive to dynamic SOF operational needs.

(more…)

Target: Warfighter Health


The Military Operational Medicine Research Program Brings Science to the Soldier

By George Jagels

During the thirteen years of U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, servicemembers were exposed to psychological and physical strains common to warfare and  yet unique to their wars. Survival rates from combat wounds are currently at their highest levels in history, which is a remarkable scientific and organizational feat; at the same time, concerns over traumatic brain injury and a lack of psychological healthcare as well as scandals at DoD health facilities dominate headlines related to military medicine. Clearly, there is more work to be done.

The DoD’s Military Operational Medicine Research Program (MOMRP) is one joint effort to improve the lives of warfighters in theater and back home. With a mission “to develop effective countermeasures against stressors and to maximize health, performance, and fitness,” MOMRP works to identify issues that affect soldiers now and in the future, resulting in research efforts that will be relevant long after the last American forces have left Afghanistan.

(more…)

GMV Moves Forward

Flyer Gen III GMV

By Kevin Hunter

Now that disputes over the award of the Integration and Test (I&T) phase contract for Special Operations Command’s Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) 1.1 program are resolved, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GDOTS) is readying up to nine prototype vehicles. This will allow the company to conduct design reviews and finalize configuration for the Low-Rate Initial Production phase, which is scheduled to begin in 2015, or at the end of the I&T phase. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has indicated it might purchase up to 1,500 vehicles if all options are exercised, a prospective value of $562 million.

“We’re excited to finally move forward with the GMV 1.1 program,” Colonel Joe Capobianco, Program Executive Officer-Special Operations Forces (SOF) Warrior told A&M. “We see this vehicle design as the material solution that will close the validated SOF-peculiar capability requirement. GMV 1.1 will be the future centerpiece of SOF ground mobility, not only for its capabilities but also for its affordability.”

(more…)

Optimizing Healthcare for a Maritime Force

pecha_brian_marine_uncovered2

C&CC magazine sat down with RDML Pecha in order to give readers insights into how USMC Health Services views it challenges for the present and future.

Though significantly smaller than the Army, RDML Pecha reminds us the Marine Corps is nevertheless an important expeditionary force always prepared to be sent abroad on short notice for combat operations, and as such faces its own battlefield medicine challenges. Like other services, the USMC must also address trials on the home front. To this end, the admiral also discusses the continued health and healing of garrisoned Marines and Wounded Warriors and the programs—some of which are in partnership with civilians his office is working on to improve their lives.

(more…)

The Missing Piece: Micro Wind Turbines In Theater

SW crop

By George Jagels

For years now, the Pentagon has been trying to make renewable energy a significant part of battlefield electricity generation. Successes appear neither elusive nor numerous; like most programs, these department-wide efforts have proceeded in fits and starts. Micro wind turbines (producing less than 2,000 watts) have made appearances in a few cases (for example, CERDEC’s RENEWS system), but they are far from ubiquitous at forward operating bases and combat outposts. Once deployed, many small wind turbines are finicky and prone to breakdowns, too often wilting under the stresses of military life.

However, the military itself, as well as industry, is successfully using durable micro wind turbines—in fact, they have for years. The Superwind 350 has been quietly deployed by the DoD, just as it has for well-known commercial users in the oil and gas, mining, security, and telecom industries since 2004. For companies like ITT, Rio Tinto, and Raytheon, reliable autonomous operation is crucial to power communications equipment, cameras, optics, and numerous types of sensors in remote areas.

(more…)

The Institutional Advantage: Building an Energy-informed Military

Asst Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Sharon Burke

Asst Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Sharon Burke

We interviewed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs Sharon Burke in October 2013. Clearly passionate about the subject and deeply engaged in making energy a priority in planning, Ms. Burke discussed a wide range of problems and solutions that the Pentagon is addressing to make sure the lessons learned from the past 13 years are applied to future operations.

DoD PEP: Please describe your office’s background and basic functions.

Ms. Burke: Operational energy is the energy used to move, train, and sustain military forces. This comes out to about three-quarters of the energy the Department uses in any given year. Last year, this cost about $16 billion. One-quarter is facilities, or installation, energy used to heat, cool, and light buildings. This is not an inconsequential bill for us; we’re a big business, and it’s a variable cost, so we manage using a variety of methods. In this space, we must also comply with laws, executive orders, regulations, and so forth, whereas operational energy is generally exempt from these regulations because it is so closely tied to military operations.
(more…)

New Magazines Are Up

Take a look at our latest editions of Armor & Mobility and DoD Power, Energy & Propulsion at our website and issuu.com. These appeared as a “flipbook” double issue and went out to subscribers of both magazines. See features on Blue Force Tracking, vehicle ID, biofuels, and austere power. We also interviewed two luminaries in the maneuver warfare and operational energy field, respectively, BG David Bassett and Asst. Sec. Sharon Burke.

November A&M

November A&M


(more…)

Electrons to the Lowest Echelon

The Army and USMC Get Power to Dismounted Troops

By George Jagels

Over the past ten years, American warfighters have become increasingly technologically advanced. More and more soldiers and Marines carry GPS, smartphones, networked radios, nightvision systems, and laptops. These devices give Americans an edge on the battlefield few can match; from long-distances to the darkest night, U.S. personnel talk to and see each other remarkably well. Through this interconnectedness and awareness, the dismounted squad, which the Army has been focusing on beefing up, might be able to achieve a major goal: supremacy over adversaries in the same way U.S. armor and air branches face no peer competitors.

This equipment, however, does not come “free.” With more power, so to speak, comes more responsibility—much of which literally ends up on the backs of soldiers and Marines. Though their capabilities are improved, the overall weight carried by warfighters changed little during the last decade (the soldier humps about 16 pounds of batteries, according to the Army). As a result, the DoD must strive for a near perfect balance: lower weight and greater capability.

(more…)

The A-10’s Swan Song?

Should the USAF replace the long-serving Warthog with the F-35?

By George Jagels

An A-10 Thunderbolt in Afghanistan. Beloved by troops and acknowledged as highly capable, the Warthog might leave the arsenal in the next 15 years. (USAF)

An A-10 Thunderbolt in Afghanistan. Beloved by troops and acknowledged as highly capable, the Warthog might leave the arsenal in the next 15 years. (USAF)

Aerospace is one of the few areas where beauty and utility often coexist, but there are exceptions. The Air Force’s main ground attack aircraft, the A-10 Thunderbolt, serves as one: The aesthetically unpleasing “Warthog” flies low, slow, and does the humble work of close air support and tank killing. I do not mean to imply this work is not heroic, as recent reports[1] highlighted two Warthogs rescuing 60 soldiers in Afghanistan through use of their devastating 30mm cannon and conventional bombs. A-10 pilots are also credited with destroying 4,000 Iraqi vehicles in 1991[2]. To use a DoD watchword, this is a “proven” platform. So why does the Air Force want to retire a third of its Warthog fleet (and eventually all 349) without a similar replacement?

The USAF has actually been trying to do this since the late eighties. A variant of the F-16, called the A-16, was tested to replace the A-10, but Congress squashed the effort in November 1990[3] (right around the time the Thunderbolt scored a major success in the Persian Gulf). Since then, the Warthog has flown thousands of sorties and undergone upgrades to lengthen its life by decades. The plane can loiter for long periods and sustain absurdly extensive damage without crashing[4]. In 2006, a British Army major vented after a botched air support operation by Harriers in Afghanistan, “I would take an A-10 over [a] Eurofighter any day.”[5] At a cost of around $13 million (in 1998 dollars) per plane[6], it seems to be an ideal aircraft in budget-constrained times. Current plans do indeed call for many upgraded A-10s to stay in service until 2028.[7]
(more…)