Research center counts on government flight representatives
June 12, 2013
- The skill set is in short supply, aviators say.
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (June 19, 2013) -- For aviation professionals, safety is job one. At the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's aviation and missile center, only the most highly qualified men and women work as Government Flight Representative and Ground Government Flight Representative.
GFRs serve as the approving authority for contractor operation locations where the government has assumed some of the risk of loss for aircraft. In this role, they have been delegated the responsibility for approval of contractor flights, procedures, crew members and engine run certifiers, and ensuring contractor compliance with applicable provisions of the contractors flight and ground operations.
A key GFR requirement is to be a rated U.S. military officer or government civilian in an aviation position with five or more years of experience as a military pilot and aviator.
One of the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center's GFRs is Paul Anderson. A native of Hastings, Fla., he is a retired chief warrant officer 4 with 23 years experience as an Army aviator and test pilot, and has been working as a GFR in the Quality Management Division for 26 months.
"My role as a GFR allows me to interact with both the warfighter and the contractor supporting the warfighter," Anderson said. "This interaction allows me to provide real time feedback to the project office so that decisions can be made and properly resourced in support of the Global War on Terrorism."
The skill set is in short supply, aviators say.
"Because of the current budget situation, the need for GFRs has an even greater importance," Anderson said. "AMRDEC QM Division currently provides GFR surveillance on five continents to both U.S. and allied forces. We also provide GFR coverage for other services and agencies within the DoD as well as some very significant testing at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah."
Anderson added that it is important to have GFRs because they ensure that the government and taxpayers get the services that were contracted. More importantly, ensure the quality of those services through evaluations and site visits of contractor facilities and personnel.
Ground Government Flight Representatives are responsible for reviewing the Ground Operations Procedures and overseeing their implementation. The requirements for this position include military aviation maintenance, officer or NCO (E-7 or above) level or government civilian equivalent. These requirements equate to about 10 to 13 years of aviation maintenance experience.
Within AMRDEC's Engineering Directorate, the Quality Management Division has developed an in-house training plan to provide additional training for current employees in the area of Ground Government Flight Representative.
The training plan, which consists of formal training conducted by Defense Contract Management Administration and on-the-job training, allows quality assurance specialists, with an aviation background, the opportunity to gain experience in a growing field while providing additional opportunities for career advancement.
"QM's commitment to develop this new function is in direct support of delivering a responsive mission excellence with a focus on providing a highly skilled quality management work force to assure product compliance to customer requirements and promote continuous improvements," said Jim Redmon, chief of the Quality Management Division..
"This new mission also promotes ED's initiative of growing deep and wide in our discipline while building trust and value with our customer base," Redmon said.
In the past six months, three QM Division employees have successfully completed the formal training with DCMA and two additional employees are enrolled.
QM's short-term goals are to continue to encourage participation in the DCMA/GGFR formal training which is a requirement for all GGFRs. Another short-term goal is to provide training for recent graduates of the GGFR course in a direction of developing on-the-job training plan for aspiring GGFRs who have completed the formal training that will increase awareness to customers of the GGFR mission and capabilities.
Ultimately, the long-term goal is to continue providing customers with increased GFR/GGFR support to meet the demands of this growing field.
AMRDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.