One USASAC Employee, One Big Idea
April 7, 2011
REDSTONE ARSENAL, AL - In the world of Foreign Military Sales, doing the job better and more efficiently is essential to maintaining relationships with U.S. international partners and providing life cycle management for each sales case. At the U.S. Army Security Systems Command's Performance Management Office, one employee's big idea had an even bigger impact for regional case execution operations at USASAC's New Cumberland office.
In 2006, Dave Nicola, a program analyst for the USASAC's Performance Management Office, created a simple tool to enhance the Army's Foreign Military Sales, system of record, CISIL, Centralized Integrated System - International Logistics, to help accomplish his duties faster, more efficiently, and with greater accuracy.
That simple tool is now known as the Case Execution Analyzer (CEA) and is presented in a Windows-like environment and is a distinct change in usability from CISIL's "green screen" of decades past. The CEA provides a simple and intuitive way to analyze, summarize, query, retrieve, view and track case execution data for Foreign Military Sales materiel and services for USASAC, and particularly its Performance Management Office.
From those simple beginnings, the CEA was quickly expanded and is now in use by all regional personnel at USASAC New Cumberland and has incorporated specialized modules for key processes. Although it all began with Nicola's vision, the CEA has been a regional operations community project. According to Nicola, Tony Groft, central case manager, was invaluable in its initial development and trusted oversight from Don Butler, regional division chief, ensured a solid foundation that adhered to the principles and standards of USASAC.
The CEA continues to have community input. "I receive recommendations from all grade levels, from technician to division chief. We have routine meetings with the regional division chiefs to see which recommendations to implement and see where we can impact the process with the greatest effect to maximize efficiency," Nicola said.
Nicola, who is the lead on the CEA project, is quite proud of how the USASAC New Cumberland family has gathered to support this project and helped guide and shape it. "As the Performance Management Office recognizes over six years of CEA use, they look toward to the future and the exciting and truly innovative things that are in the works. We are also looking to more than double the amount of data accessible through the CEA as well as add some new functionality that users will find extremely helpful and expand to USASAC [Headquarters] Redstone," Nicola added.
Although the PMO also uses the CEA as a performance measurement tool and is seeking to incorporate many past and present review and analysis data points and metrics, the CEA still remains primarily a tool for regional operations [supporting the Combatant Commands]. "This tool will always be under the control of regional operations as far as new requirements and functionally go. We will build whatever they need to more effectively manage the [Foreign Military Sales] case execution process," John Neil, chief of the PMO, stated.
Nicola's program continues to grow in use among USASAC employees, and other USASAC field offices have also began incorporating it.
One employee's big idea allowed others to accomplish their jobs better and more quickly and in the world of Foreign Military Sales, help the command and the Army operate more efficiently.