A lot of soldiers join the Army to impact real change and only some of those soldiers end their service making that dream a reality. For Staff Sgt. Andrew Hill, acquisition, logistics and technology contracting specialist assigned to the 1955th Contracting Support Detachment, 213th Regional Support Group, he was able to do just that.
This year’s Reserve Component Acquisition Summit in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, was a chance for over 200 contracting professionals across the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves to gather and improve their craft, network and discuss policies, procedures and more.
Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were one such group in attendance. The USACE provides public engineering services in peace and war to strengthen national security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters.
In the USACE’s brief on Active Duty Operational Support opportunities for Army Acquisition Corps Noncommissioned Officers, presenters discussed job requirements and policies around the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Contracting Noncommissioned Officer role. And while talking about the minimum experience needed to apply, the presenter highlighted why the group was moving away from the regulations—and it’s all because of Staff Sgt. Hill’s work.
Hill is a member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Contracting Team and has singlehandedly made contracting professionals at the highest level in the Guard and Reserves reconsider the policy through his outstanding performance.
Hill applied to a job he wasn’t qualified for on paper, and through networking and perseverance, won the interviewers over so much so that they were willing to take a risk on hiring him. And since that day, Hill has knocked it out of the park.
“Contracting Team Leaders have a difficult task obtaining limited funding at the State level. SSG Hill took it upon himself to create his own path towards completing his contracting certification requirements,” said Capt. Darrin J. Weaver, operations officer for the 1955th Contracting Support Detachment, 213th Regional Support Group.
“His networking efforts with USACE – Pittsburgh District and his outstanding performance during his ADOS assignment have created new pathways forward for future 51C Officers and NCOs,” said Weaver. “USACE is now actively recruiting new graduates from the eight-week Army Acquisition Training Course with no previous contracting experience, thanks to his effort. SSG Hill has proven the AATC course provides the essential contracting knowledge USACE can leverage to achieve win-win-win outcomes for the agency, the Soldier, and the overall readiness of ARNG Contracting Teams.”
Staff Sgt. Hill acknowledges the value of the education he was provided with and credits the organization for his success.
“My performance and accomplishments are a testament to the quality education received from the Army Acquisition Center of Excellence,” Hill said. “The 12-month on-the-job training for the 51C MOS is a requirement for acquisition professionals."
Hill says that his experience serving the commonwealth through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Reserve Component Broadening Program has been a very rewarding experience.
"We provide opportunities and jobs to the American people to ensure the security and wellbeing of our waterways, locks, dams and parks. It is a worthwhile undertaking, which I am honored and proud to be a part of,” said Hill.
Because of the outstanding work Staff Sgt. Hill has done, a memorandum from USACE, Pittsburgh will release across the USACE enterprise to recommend graduates of the AATC course who pass the certification exam for USACE Active Duty Operational Support opportunities. The recommendation includes waiving the 1-year minimum contracting experience.
“Modern armies project power by relying heavily on assistance from contractors,” said Lt. Col. Terry Fetterman, commander of the 1955th Contracting Support Detachment, 213th Regional Support Group. “SSG Hill is a member of one of the Contingency Contracting Teams that award and manage the contracts for supplies, services, and construction. The learning curve for this field requires navigating over 10,000 laws and regulations. That skill can only come through training and experience. Obtaining that experience is not easy for the CCT members. It is only through SSG Hill's tenacity that he managed to overcome the roadblocks thrown his way in getting the necessary experience. His superior efforts and accomplishments bring strong credit to his team and to the 213th Regional Support Group. We are very proud to have him as part of the Pennsylvania CCT team."
And through all of the praise and excitement, Staff Sgt. Hill has kept a level head and nose to the grindstone.
His advice for soldiers looking to make an impact? “The prospects for promotion in the military are high, especially in the acquisitions field, but the dream of making rank should not be the main driver for your efforts.”
Hill continued, “Do all you can to set yourself up for success, develop a passion for your craft, learning and making mistakes are a vital part of growth, and endeavor to excel.”
Reducing the Army’s carbon footprint is at the center of its open, sustainable building materials solicitation — an effort that seeks small businesses developing environmentally friendly construction solutions to meet the goals of the Department of Defense Climate Adaptation Plan and Army Climate Strategy.
While the open-topic solicitation will accept a variety of proposals that help reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions, solutions that prioritize sustainable materials such as precast concrete and recycled steel, low-logistics construction applications and the support of long-lasting, infrastructure technologies are at the forefront of the Army’s $13.3 million investment.
“With the continued release of open-topic solicitations, we hope to attract valuable innovations from small businesses that do not typically compete for SBIR awards,” said Dr. Matt Willis, director of Army Prize Competitions and the Army Applied SBIR Program. “At the same time, these novel companies could address the carbon-intensive aspect of military operations through disruptive materials, logistics and technologies.”
The Army will assess small businesses that submit proposals for sustainable building materials and technologies based on the following criteria:
Up to $13.3 million in total Army funding
Through the clean tech solicitation, up to 15 companies will receive Phase I Army SBIR awards of up to $250,000 each to develop and deliver sustainable building materials and technologies.
Over the anticipated six-month period of performance, Phase I awardees will secure access to Soldier touchpoints that offer developmental and evaluation-based feedback on technologies in practical settings.
Additionally, Army SBIR will award up to five companies Direct to Phase II contracts, up to $1.9 million over an expected 18-month period of performance. During this time, small businesses will advance research and development efforts for eventual prototyping.
The solicitation begins pre-release on April 25 and lasts through May 17. Qualified small businesses can submit proposals between May 18 and June 13, with submissions closing at noon Eastern Time on June 13. Applicants must submit full proposal packages through the Defense SBIR|STTR Innovation Portal.
The Army Applied SBIR Program awards Phase I contracts to small businesses and nontraditional companies with technologies that show technical merit, feasibility and commercial potential. It gives Phase II awards to those that can address Army needs and gain further federal support. Direct to Phase II awards are for technologies already mature and ready for demonstration.
Small businesses can coordinate with technical, acquisition and operational subject-matter experts. These specialists provide information about the Army’s technological needs and guidance from the Army research and development ecosystem.
Companies capitalize on this by collaborating with technical points of contact that serve as resources for businesses as they mature their technologies for eventual insertion into Army acquisition programs.
The Army Applied SBIR Program releases contract opportunities on a flexible schedule to respond to the current and anticipated warfighting technology needs. For eligibility information and a list of open topics, please visit armysbir.army.mil.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology leverages technologies and capabilities to provide U.S. Soldiers a decisive advantage in any environment by developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining the world’s finest equipment and services. For more information, visit army.mil/asaalt and follow @ArmyASAALT.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers delivered a 117,034 square-foot maintenance complex to the Army Field Support Battalion during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, March 15, 2023.
The project, with a programmed amount of $44.7 million, consisted of the construction of four general purpose maintenance facilities that includes an allied shop building, engine auto shop, production control building and a paint booth building. The project also included 42,110 square feet of concrete parking.
The new complex consolidates 28 AFSBn maintenance shops, which were in 11 separate locations, into a single complex consisting of seven buildings.
The project focused on cost savings by consolidating and replacing many of the aging WWII-era buildings with energy efficient facilities that would accommodate the maintenance of large equipment used by the garrison.
“It’s been great to have the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers come up with a plan to make this facility,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Dwayne Terry, Army Field Support Battalion commander. “It’s a one stop shop. Soldiers can come here, and they can drop off their vehicles, radios, weapons, and so forth all in one location as opposed to being spread out throughout Fort Campbell.”
One of the challenges during the project was the regional cement shortage that prevented the timely receipt of concrete. Through additional planning and communication, the required amount of concrete was obtained to finish the project.
“With every success, there are bound to be challenges,” said Jason Phillips, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Fort Campbell resident engineer. “The Fort Campbell team consistently overcomes obstacles by leveraging the skills of our diverse professionals, using the best engineering practices and fostering strategic partnerships.”
Interested in doing business with the Federal Government? The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Memphis District is hosting an Industry Day on May 23rd, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Renasant Convention Center, 255 North Main Street, Memphis.
Register now for this great opportunity to showcase your business's unique capabilities and hear from speakers representing the private and public sectors discussing best practices and upcoming USACE projects. The event will include opportunities to meet one-on-one with Government representatives and other businesses. This event is open to all businesses, small and large, who are interested in doing business with the federal government. Register for the event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/usace-memphis-small-business-industry-day-2023-tickets-593276876107?fbclid=IwAR3_xN7a_gP6ZJ1imoFQmv4wPbXqCgbZ5IERFPTHFS7LAu8rnws5yzb82pA
Questions pertaining to this event can be directed to Sherrie Cordi by email at email@example.com or by telephone: (901) 544-4520.
When could a computer simulation substitute for a wind tunnel or flight test?
It is the hot topic today in research and development circles. And there are many spirited opinions on the subject matter. If you speak with a flight test engineer, they might say never. The wind tunnel engineers could possibly agree. If you ask the same question of a modeling and simulation engineer, they could have a different answer for you.
To learn more, we went to Dr. David O’Brien, subject matter expert for aerodynamics in the Systems Readiness Directorate – Aeromechanics Division at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center.
O’Brien has a unique perspective, coming up in the modeling and simulation world and getting his bona fides through the Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence while matriculating at Georgia Institute of Technology. But at the DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center his role is in airworthiness, as SRD is the delegated authority for the Army to measure its aircrafts’ suitability for safe flight. Which he said provided him a different perspective on the matter.
“In my field, we always want more information than we ever can truly get,” O’Brien said. “At the end of the day there's a cost and schedule associated with testing, so anywhere you can save a program cost and schedule there's an advantage to doing a virtual test. However, we need to complement it with enough physical testing to trust the models to make sure that they're giving us what we expect.”
One such information gathering simulation is DEVCOM AvMC’s revolutionary HELIOS, which models the coupled aerodynamic and structural dynamics response of a vehicle using computational fluid dynamics codes for aerodynamics, computational structural dynamics to model structural bending, and vehicle trim software with multi-body dynamics to set the controls to achieve vehicle trim. Not just a tool for the Army, in 2022, DEVCOM AvMC researchers applied its software to model the impact of recirculation on Navy aircraft performance for various static and dynamic flight conditions.
HELIOS and programs like it can influence early in the design process, reducing costly, time-consuming changes later in development. But even if modeling and simulation provides reliable data, researchers are still extrapolating unknown data and one key challenge will be convincing the stakeholders in the program that data is actionable. That is where verification, validation and accreditation comes into play. To build trust, computer simulations need to go through a rigorous VV&A process.
“In verification we're asking, ‘Did we build it right?’ And we can check that out. But then in validation, we are asking, ‘Did I build the right thing?’” O’Brien said.
Much has been said about the Army of 2030 and 2040 lately, and while that seems a long way off, the science for those transformations is happening now. Expanding the modeling and simulation infrastructure will benefit an aircraft in its design process, helping engineers test different ideas and theories. But replacing wind tunnel and/or flight testing?
“There's a big push to field faster,” O’Brien said. “But at the same time, we want to do it right. And we want to do it safely.”
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.