Balancing Platform Diversity for Multi-Mission Success

Lt. Col. Raymond Feltham
Program Manager
Family of Special Operations Vehicles
U.S. Special Operations Command`

From Armor & Mobility, May/June 2019 Issue

Armor & Mobility spoke recently with Lt. Col. Raymond Feltham, Program Manager, Family of Special Operations Vehicles (FOSOV), U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), MacDill AFB, Tampa, FL, regarding SOCOM’s objective applications for its FOSOV assets as they evolve to meet the demands of global, multi-terrain operations.

Lt. Col. Feltham is a native of Virginia Beach, VA and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, Management and Organizational Development from Mount Olive College after being accepted to the Meritorious Commissioning Program (MCP).

He first entered the U.S. Marine Corps in 1989 when he began his career at Parris Island, SC as an Enlisted Marine and was subsequently assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point as a Crash Fire Rescueman. After completion of this assignment and nearly twenty two months as a civilian, he reentered the USMC as an Air Traffic Controller and was assigned to Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico, VA earning an Approach Control Qualification. After completion of this assignment, he and his family received orders to Marine Air Control Squadron (MACS) 4, Okinawa, Japan. While stationed at MACS-4, then Staff Sergeant Feltham would earn a Federal Aviation Administration Qualification as a Certified Tower Operator and an arrival qualification, deploy with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit to Kuwait as part of Operation Desert Fox and selected to the Meritorious Commissioning Program; Officer Candidate Class 175 and commissioned a Second Lieutenant December 15, 2000.

From 2000 to 2003, he was assigned to MACS-2, Cherry Point NC as an Air Traffic Control (ATC) officer. While assigned to MACS-2 he would deploy as a Facility Watch Officer in support of (ISO) Operation Enduring Freedom to Kyrgyzstan. From November 2003 to May 2005, then Captain Feltham served as the Detachment Commander for MACS-2 Detachment Bravo and deployed ISO Operation Iraqi Freedom to Camp Korean Village. From May 2005 to July 2007, as the Air Traffic Control Facility Officer at MCAS New River he deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan ISO Operation Enduring Freedom as the Deputy National Security Planner for the Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan. From July 2007 to May 2008 he attended Expeditionary Warfare School at Quantico VA.
Lt. Col. Feltham began his acquisition career June of 2008 as a Contingency Contracting Officer; graduating with honors from school and selected to serve as the Deputy Chief of Contracting for II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Al Asad, Iraq. In addition, during the drawdown from Iraq, he was retained and redirected to serve as the Chief of Construction for the Second Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Camp Leatherneck Afghanistan, ensuring the construction of forward operating bases and airfields. From 2010 to 2012, he was assigned as the Ground Based Air Defense Product Manager and June 2012 to July 2013, then Major Feltham was assigned as the Block IV Project Officer for the Ground/Air Tasked Oriented Radar with Program Executive Office Land Systems and selected to the 8061 profession. After completion of Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Lt. Col. Feltham reported to PMA-213 as the Deputy Program Manager for ATC Systems. Lt. Col. Feltham was selected as Team Lead for MCSC Radars and then slated for Command as Program Manager, Family of Special Operations Vehicles (FOSOV).

A&M: Can you tell a little bit more about yourself and your career background?

Lt. Col. Feltham: Most of my acquisition career has been in the radar community. However, my first assignment as an enlisted Marine in the early nineteen-nineties was as a crash fire rescueman (airfield fireman) and is where my interest in ground mobility began with the employment of the P-19 fire truck on airfield hotspots and emergencies. Also, I was an air traffic controller and then selected to attend Officer Candidate School at Quantico in 2000. With multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11 as a detachment commander and contracting officer, my transition into acquisitions was with ground-based air defense, as the team lead (TL) managing the command and control platforms and stinger missile for the Low-Altitude Air Defense community at Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC). My next assignment was as a team lead within the Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar Program Office (G/ATOR) with Program Executive Office Land Systems followed by an assignment at PMA 213 air traffic control systems as a deputy program manager. After working at NAVAIR, I was selected as TL for the Radars MCSC. My tenure there was only a year as I was selected to assume command of PM Family of Special Operations Vehicles (FOSOV) here at U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in Sept 2019. The FOSOV team is comprised of military, government civilian and contractors, both CONUS and OCONUS, who are dedicated, professional and extremely mission focused patriots who care about the capability they provide to the operators. I am proud of the work they do!

A&M: As program manager for FOSOV, what are your priorities?

Lt. Col. Feltham: As program manager here at FOSOV, my direction has been relatively simple and direct since assuming command. I’ve expressed to the team our focus is to do our part, in everything we do, to save lives with the vehicles that we provide to the operators while equipping the vehicles when able and as directed with lethal weaponry and high tech mobility capabilities to give our operators the advantage over the enemy. We can leverage commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology to aid in modernization of vehicle platforms, for example, heavy-duty suspension or engine repower.

It is key that we as USSOCOM acquisition leaders communicate with industry at SOFIC and other venues to maintain an understanding and appreciation for emerging capabilities available in order to align and enhance our technology insertion roadmap.

A&M: What types of SOF-peculiar (SOF-P) vehicles are in the Family of Special Operations Vehicles (FOSOV)?

Lt. Col. Feltham: The SOF-P FOSOV vehicles are specifically developed to operate in the Range of Military Operations (ROMO) that our operators will use during missions. The LTATV is a SOF-modified, COTS, lightweight vehicle that is internally air transportable via V-22, H-53 and H-47 aircraft. It consists of two and four seat variants with the ability to change configuration based upon mission and/or threat. It’s intended to perform a variety of missions to include offset infiltration, reconnaissance and medical evacuation.

The current Non-Standard Commercial Vehicle (NSCV) is based on commercial vehicle platforms that are enhanced with mission-specific modifications to increase protection, mobility performance, and durability.

The Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.0 (GMV 1.0) is a medium-class, high mobility, multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV) with SO-P modifications. Several variants have supported special operators reliably for more than 12 years in contingency and combat operations.

The GMV 1.1 is a highly mobile, CH-47 internally transportable special operations combat vehicle with the operational flexibility to support a wide range of lethal and non-lethal missions and core activities.

The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) family of vehicles currently consists primarily of the MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV), and RG-33-A1. Vehicles are modified to meet SOF-P requirements.

A&M: Are there any program of record milestones coming up in the near future?

Lt. Col. Feltham: There have been several recent program of record milestones and in the near future. As for the GMV 1.1 team, they recently executed a modification to the USSOCOM GMV 1.1 contract with General Dynamic-OTS adding the Army GMV 1.1 variant and associated support. This contract modification was in support of the Army Directed Requirement (DR) to accelerate fielding of nearly 300 Army GMV 1.1s to Army’s Airborne Infantry Brigade Combat Teams with First Unit Equipped (FUE) milestone of September 2018. This joint effort between USSOCOM GMV 1.1 Acquisition Programs Management Team and the Army’s GMV Program Office takes advantage of previous USSOCOM investments resulting in Department of Defense realizing investment dollars in RDT&E and PROC as well as cost avoidance and significant schedule reduction estimated to be at least 4 years. Additionally, in October 2018, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Presidential Guard Command signed the Letter of Offer and Acceptance under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Case for the procurement of the GMV 1.1 vehicles. This FMS case was initiated in May 2018 to GMV 1.1 vehicles to operate in areas where the GMV 1.1 is going to prove its mobility capability. Furthermore, in January 2019, optional kits were installed for the UAE FMS case vehicles at Letterkenny Army Depot, PA. The following month, UAE representatives visited Letterkenny Army Depot to inspect and accept GMV 1.1s.

The NSCV team transitioned to the NSCV-II contract to provide enhanced vehicles with mission-specific modifications in protection, mobility, C4ISR, and other enhanced capabilities. Also, a relatively new acquisition avenue being used within Department of Defense (DoD) acquisitions are Other Transaction Agreements (OTA), the NSCV team initiated a prototype – OTA competition for the purpose built NSCV (PB-NSCV) platform using the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC) OTA. The PB-NSCV is built from the ground up, which improves durability and reduces the reliance on the original equipment manufacturer model changes per year and increases the lifecycle to an expected 15 years (a $2 million per vehicle savings over that period).

Probably one of the most enjoyable vehicles in the family of vehicles to drive is the Lightweight Tactical All-Terrain Vehicles (LTATV). The LTATV team commenced efforts to obtain industry involvement for the LTATV follow-on contract to meet Special Operations Forces (SOF) emerging requirements. Two specific requirements were identified: (1) two-seat and four-seat Diesel powered LTATV variants which shall provide a larger payload, greater range, and modular flexibility, and (2) two-seat and four-seat next generation diesel and electric hybrid powered LTATV variants. Information was received from Industry through the acquisition planning phase, including Sources Sought / Request for Information (RFI) at the November 2018 Industry Day conference. We expect the solicitation to be released in Spring 2019.

There are discussions and planning currently underway to identify how the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) will fit in to the family of vehicles at FOSOV. If the way ahead is for the JLTV to become part of FOSOV the team is excited to continue to provide highly capable tactical mobility to the operators. Additionally, you will see in the briefing this year at SOFIC not only insight on the JLTV but also the potential of a new armored personnel carrier as part for future in the FOSOV portfolio.

A&M: Where do each of the FOSOV vehicles fall in the Protection, Performance and Payload “Iron Triangle”?

Lt. Col. Feltham: It is understood that capability requirements expressed within the CPD are informed and generated on expressed threats and mission needs. Therefore, the trade space within the Iron Triangle of protection, payload and performance generate the sustainment of a family of vehicles. Because there is not one vehicle that provides one stop shopping for all mission sets, through conveyed requirements, FOSOV provides a family of vehicles that allow the operators to employ their unique mobility needs as the mission requires. It should be underscored that the Iron Triangle is relative to our Family of Vehicles. Our medium ground vehicles, to include our NSCV leverage the performance and payload aspects of the Iron Triangle. Additionally, the protection capability is always a desire to continually improve and lighten, often constrained by GVW directly related to suspension and power technology. The MRAPs were devolved by the big service at a Joint Program Office to provide maximum protection to forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The FOSOV team has leveraged this technology and sought to increase the protection to enhance the operator’s mobility protection in support of operations in all theaters.

A&M: How do C4ISR capabilities factor into the design and functionality of FOSOV vehicles? What challenges are there with C4ISR?

Lt. Col. Feltham: Albeit each of our vehicles are unique, the challenges with the installation of C4ISR capability within the family of vehicles revolve around two main considerations: (1) power demand and its impact to the vehicle’s architecture and impact to the C4ISR itself and (2) the limited space and weight allotment available to install the C4ISR is crucial so that the impact to the operators is minimized.

First, most of the power demands of our C4ISR systems performance specifications typically require a specific amperage output in both 12 and 24 VDC. Therefore the impact and demand on batteries, alternators and power distribution systems increase above the vehicle’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) operational demand and increase system failure if not properly addressed. Furthermore, most would not realize the radiation hazards (RADHAZ) the C4ISR capability itself brings into the equation. Considerations of Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation to Ordinance (HERO) and Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation to Personnel (HERP) across the family of vehicles are many. All of these and several other constraints require experienced and trained professionals to manage with effective mechanical and electronic engineering solutions to prevent performance degradation of the C4ISR system or the vehicle itself.

Lastly, the space and weight constraint for each of the vehicles is unique. For example, the available space and weight impact of C4ISR of the NSCV and MATV to most would be obvious; the NSCV is constrained as compared to the larger tactical MATV, however, the design and system layout solutions in each of the vehicles are extremely different, and are not interchangeable. As such, separate internal designs require its own solution set. What may work within the confines of the NSCV will most certainly require a separate design solution to accommodate the mission set of the MATV. It should be noted that, because of limited MFP-11 funding or SOF-P equipment we avoid the acquisition of new vehicle development and attempt to leverage existing service capabilities to save on vehicle investment cost when a SOF-P variant is required. Consequently, we lose the ability to impact C4ISR integration complications at vehicle development.

A&M: How does industry interaction at SOFIC help you as a program manager?

Lt. Col. Feltham: SOFIC provides an effective forum to allow the FOSOV team and industry to interface directly with one another rather than over the internet abyss. Moreover, small businesses because of their agile intellectual solution based development have material solutions across the spectrum of our program. Unfortunately, these small businesses are often constrained by funding or forum to market their technical solutions to the military. SOFIC is one of these venues that allow industry to enlighten SOF acquisition professionals and users on their technology advancements. As a program manager, the interaction at SOFIC with industry is extremely beneficial and has often yielded solutions. Likewise, from an industry perspective, SOFIC provides a unique and transparent opportunity between government and industry to listen directly from program managers explaining a technology gap and capability need that industry can either provide or develop.

A&M: What would you say to a new industry attendee at this year’s SOFIC interested in FOSOV?

Lt. Col. Feltham: I would suggest to a new industry attendee at this year’s SOFIC interested in FOSOV to actively engage and seek us out – our team is excited to hear what you can bring to ground mobility to increase our vehicles in capability, durability and sustainment. Specifically, FOSOV is seeking these technologies: Lightweight Armor for Ground Mobility Platforms; current armor solutions are heavy, limit available payload options and decrease vehicle durability, Lightweight and cost effective technologies that can replace current armor solutions; Lightweight Vehicle Components/Mods; advanced tires for all aforementioned platforms; Low SWAP / High Output Alternators; Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Capabilities; Alternative Fuel Sources; Autonomous / Semi-Autonomous Vehicle Capabilities; Semi-Active Suspension Capabilities; Advanced Situational Awareness (M-ATV/AGMS) – Battlefield Awareness; Telepresence for remote vehicle operation and/or Situational Awareness (SA). Finally, I would suggest to interfacing with other industry representatives may be of value to you. Robust cross communication may provide an avenue, resourcing or technical collaboration for future opportunities.