Throughout his 20 years as a commissioned officer in the Army, serving in units from armor to special operations as well as in a myriad of acquisition assignments, Lt. Col. Michael L. Rodriguez has helped redefine many of the readiness operations and procedures that prepare Soldiers for the fight.

"He is an outstanding leader, clearly defining roles and responsibilities for three diverse branches and synchronizing efforts across RMD on a daily basis to ensure mission accomplishment," said Joseph Hollenbeck, Readiness Management Division (RMD) chief for Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T).

Rodriguez, RMD military deputy, held his official retirement ceremony on April 25 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. He received several honors including a Legion of Merit Award, a certificate of appreciation from President Obama and a One Star Note from Brig. Gen. N. Lee S. Price, PEO for C3T.

"What I will miss most is working with Army units and seeing the impact and the contributions that the PEO makes on a daily basis, knowing that what we do is important," Rodriguez said. "I would like to thank the PEO for the opportunity to serve, grow and contribute as a member of this workforce."

The PEO C3T RMD oversees logistics, policy and sustainment for the PEO and its organizations. The division coordinates and prioritizes the planning, training and fielding for the PEO\'s products in conjunction with the Department of the Army (DA) and the Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) staff. It also provides high-level field support.

As the RMD military deputy, Rodriguez served as the PEO's Soldier representative for Unit Set Fielding (USF) --the Army's premier process for fielding and training a multitude of complex, state-of-the-art command, control, and communications systems under a unified System of Systems approach. He represented the PEO's commanding general at USF conferences with unit leadership, providing guidance and initial oversight. Personally spearheading USF to more than 270 active and reserve formations during his assignment, he ensured that Soldiers and units at all echelons were operationally ready to execute their assigned missions in each theater of operation.

"Unit Set Fielding provides a synchronized, coordinated fielding effort that logically ties into the unit's master training calendar," Rodriguez said. "We have serialized the fielding process in the best manner possible so that the unit can maximize the training opportunities that are presented."

Rodriguez was the catalyst in expanding USF synchronized fielding and training process beyond PEO C3T to include PEO Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S) and PEO Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS). These efforts minimized the impact to units as they prepared to deploy in accordance with Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) timelines, Hollenbeck said.

"His attention to detail in planning and executing unit synchronization conferences allowed for a handoff of total package fielding requirements and individual systems training, culminating in comprehensive Battle Command system of systems integration training events," Hollenbeck said.

Among his many accomplishments, Rodriguez served as the PEO C3T executive agent responsible for ensuring deployed and deploying units in Afghanistan were capable of operating on the U.S. portion of the Coalition's Allied Mission network, or the CENTRIX-International Security Assistance Force (CX-I) network. The initiative required the fielding of additional communications and other C4ISR hardware to more than 60 division and brigade-size units, as well as three combat training centers. All forces in theater and those preparing to deploy were fielded the CX-I capability on time and to standard, reflecting the success of this multimillion-dollar effort.

From their respective secure networks, and at their individual discretion, separate Coalition forces can now share data, situational awareness and Commander's intent across the battlefield on a centralized network. Nearly 85 percent of the data in Kabul, Afghanistan available for U.S. forces on U.S. Secure Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRnet) is now available on CX-I.

"CX-I has opened up information sharing with Coalition forces so it is not just inter-service or inter-nation exchanges," Rodriguez said. "It provides for true Coalition collaboration."

RMD's Field Support Branch, headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas, works directly with prioritized Army units that are going through training and fielding to make sure that all of the users' needs are met. Part of this support includes a 24/7/365 help desk, the Support Operations Center (SOC), in addition to PEO C3T's Digital Systems Engineers (DSE) program.

"Lt. Col. Rodriguez managed our DSE program to perfection, ensuring optimum fielding, training, reset and field support are provided to Army formations worldwide as they move through each phase of the ARFORGEN model," Hollenbeck said.

Identifying a resource gap to supported units, Rodriguez redesigned the DSE program so that all deploying Army, National Guard and Reserve units fielded with Army Battle Command Systems would receive dedicated DSE support both in preparation for deployment and in their respective contingency theater of operation. Expanding the utility of the DSEs, he instituted a program to ensure DSEs were cross-trained in not only PEO C3T systems, but in C4SIR systems fielded by PEO IEW&S and PEO EIS as well. These initiatives were executed without additional cost to PEO C3T and resulted in a 300 percent increase in combat unit readiness, according to the RMD office.

As the DSE effort matured and Army demands increased, Rodriguez developed an improvement to the DSE stationing initiative that provided more responsive and highly trained support at lower cost. The culmination of this effort will lead to the conversion of 125 contractor billets to government service positions, at a cost savings to the taxpayer of more than $5 million per year.

"I think one of my big contributions to the DSE program was to regionalize the plan," Rodriguez said. "We reworked our model and changed the embedded commitment to the unit, so that when the unit is not conducting training or fielding events, or is not deployed, their DSE is available to help different organizations."

To further advance the field support provided by PEO C3T, working with the Single Interface to the Field (SIF) team, Rodriguez was also directly responsible for the development of a Secure Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRnet) database capability that provides and enhances the deployed Army Commander's ability to report trouble tickets/incident reports with any of the PMs/PEOs systems. The Army works on a classified network in theater, and prior to the SIPR capability it was difficult to report issues on the SIF.

"In some instances Commanders viewed that information as essential elements of friendly information; revealing a system vulnerability could reveal a unit's vulnerability," Rodriguez said. "So there was a definite need to have a secret classified network for incident and trouble ticket reporting."

The variety of operational and acquisition assignments held by Rodriguez was broad, with deployments throughout his career, including Turkey, Kuwait, Iraq and Korea.

Rodriguez volunteered to deploy in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom to fill the requirements of both the PEO C3T Liaison Officer (LNO) to Army Central Forces Command, as well as the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology [ASA(ALT)] LNO in theater. There he managed a contracting effort to establish guarded secure permanent housing for contractor personnel operating in theater, as well as a personnel tracking effort to ensure 100 percent accountability of the deployed ASA(ALT) workforce. By streamlining reporting and tasking requirements, he was able to consolidate the two LNO missions into one, with PEO C3T as the lead for all ASA(ALT) requirements.

"Every LNO rotation gives you a real world appreciation for just how critical the work we do as PMs before equipment goes downrange, really is," Rodriguez said. "What we do as PMs is important in saving lives."

Amy Walker is a staff writer for Symbolic Systems, Inc. supporting the Army's Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T).

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16