Army leverages Guard and state-facilities for communication equipment reset
July 8, 2011
ELEANOR, W.V., July 12, 2011 -- The Army’s Project Manager Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or PM WIN-T, teamed up with the National Guard and the state of Maine to upgrade key communications equipment. Leveraging the strengths of U.S. services and state-owned capabilities, these mutually beneficial partnerships highlight the efficiency of a united force.
“These partnerships are a physical substantiation of ‘one team, one fight,” said Col. William C. Hoppe, project manager for WIN-T, which is assigned to the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T. “It doesn’t matter if you are active (duty), Guard or Reserve. At the end of the day whether you are in Iraq, Afghanistan or the Horn of Africa, you have to be able to fight together with the same kit. And these efforts are another example of how we have pulled that together.”
Hoppe toured the sites and presented achievement awards to key personnel at the West Virginia Army National Guard maintenance facilities in both Eleanor and Point Pleasant, W.V., on June 7, 2011, and also at the state-owned Maine Military Authority, or MMA, in Limestone, Maine, on May 23, 2011. Both West Virginia Army National Guard and MMA supported PM WIN-T by providing modification upgrades of the High Capacity Line-Of-Sight, or HCLOS, shelter system, with the Guard resetting the system’s generators as well.
“The most important thing about the work provided by the West Virginia National Guard and the Maine Military Authority was quality,” said Lt. Col. Raymond Compton, product manager for WIN-T Increment 1. “That level of professionalism and quality ensures that we give Soldiers highly reliable equipment.”
Providing services similar to a home Internet connection, WIN-T Increment 1, the Army’s current tactical communications backbone, provides at-the-quick-halt, over the horizon (satellite), high-speed, high-capacity voice, data, and video communications to units on the battlefield. Augmenting the WIN- T over the horizon SATCOM network, the HCLOS Radio program provides the tactical line of sight transmission equipment and is currently being upgraded with additional capabilities.
Legacy HCLOS radios are being replaced with the newer HCLOS radio to provide higher bandwidth efficiency and a lower bit-error rate, as well as increased data transmission across greater distances. In support of this effort, the West Virginia Army National Guard retrofitted 28 AN/TRC-190(V)1 audio transmission shelters and 176 PU-797 HCLOS variant generators.
“For every brigade combat team, every battalion, every division and corps headquarters, the TRC-190 is a critical component to their communications -- they can’t operate without it,” Hoppe said to the workers on the floor at the Guard’s Eleanor facility. “I want to let you know that this is a big deal in terms of PM WIN-T being able to provide a quality product, and you have done a phenomenal job.”
During his tour of the Guard’s Point Pleasant facility, where the generators were upgraded, Hoppe examined the metal data plate attached to each piece of equipment. The plate notes that the equipment was reset by the West Virginia Army National Guard, the date of reset, and provides contact information.
“You have so much pride in your work that you are willing to put your name on it, and that says a great deal about the quality of the work and the character of the people doing it,” Hoppe said.
“The West Virginia National Guard represented an outstanding opportunity for PM WIN-T to partner with an organization that is Soldier-managed, Soldier-focused, and extremely capable to react in a compressed timeframe,” said Timothy Fitz Maurice, project lead for Product Manager WIN-T Increment 1 HCLOS/TRC-190. “They produced quality repeatable results in a timely manner and at an affordable cost to the government.”
The West Virginia Army National Guard has a three-fold mission. As a Reserve Component of the Army, it maintains combat-ready units and Soldiers who are available to mobilize in support of the U.S. National Military Strategy. It also has a statewide mission to provide units domestically when called upon by the governor.
The third branch of its mission is to add value to the community, and the state adjutant general charged the organization with employing the West Virginia Army National Guard and their families, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Samuel Tatalovich, West Virginia National Guard.
“We are not here to make money. We are here to simply build the best product for the military at a significant cost savings and to employ people,” he said. “Our first area of significant savings is our labor costs, and we are also constantly looking at how to streamline our processes.”
The West Virginia Army National Guard is certified by the International Standards Organization, whose quality management standards are designed to help organizations ensure they meet the needs of customers and stakeholders.
“We hold ourselves to a high standard of operations by streamlining our processes, and providing like-new products in a cost-effective and timely manner,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Peal, West Virginia Army National Guard, deputy chief of staff logistics. “Several of our managers have received training in Lean Six Sigma and have taken what they learned to their programs and staff.”
LSS is a comprehensive process improvement methodology that has been deployed by the Army to boost efficiency and quality while eliminating non-value-added activities
The West Virginia Army National Guard has 11 facilities in the state with three more scheduled to open in the next few months. It could potentially save the government $87 million per year in reset costs by providing its services in partnership with other U.S military organizations such as PM WIN-T, Peal said.
“We have come a long way since I first came to the Army in terms of how the Guard, Reserve and active (component) work together,” Hoppe said. “I think we are a more formidable force because of it, and to me that is the significance of this partnership.”
While the West Virginia Army National Guard reset the HCLOS shelter’s V1 configuration, which contains one radio, MMA retrofitted 60 of the V3 configuration, which contains three radios. It converted the tactical shelters to the correct configuration and refurbished the shelters as well as the Humvees that support them. It also installed all of the radio and communication systems and other ancillary equipment.
“Two things about this effort are most important. Number one: cost savings. And number two: having quality, delivery time and everything else fall into line,” said Timothy McCabe, MMA director of business development.
MMA is a state of Maine entity assigned to the state’s adjunct general, Gen. Bill Libby, who is responsible for emergency management including the state’s National Guard.
Two phases of the MMA contract are near completion, and MMA is starting work on resetting another 80 Humvees for another Army customer, which should be complete in the fall.
For MMA, this effort helped to diversify its base of expertise. Prior to the partnership with PM WIN-T, it specialized in large volumes of vehicle systems -- Humvees, trucks, construction equipment -- for as many as 2,000 vehicles in one year. Its partnership with PM WIN-T allowed it to expand into the electronics and the installation end of the business, McCabe said.
“Both the West Virginia National Guard and the Maine Military Authority gave us another quality source to work on needed line-of-sight systems for OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) and OND (Operation New Dawn),” Compton said. “The quality of their workmanship and pride in their jobs says everything.”
As the Army moves forward with its modernization efforts, it strives to develop and field a versatile and affordable mix of networked equipment that will enable Soldiers to succeed in full-spectrum operations. The mutually beneficial partnerships with West Virginia Army National Guard and MMA support these continuing efforts to modernize the total force.
“Your hard work and dedication contributed directly in providing improved line-of-sight communication capabilities to the Soldier and execution of the WIN-T Increment 1 mission,” Hoppe said to the workers at MMA. “Your outstanding efforts will enable the United States Army to achieve modularity, information security superiority and mission success on the battlefield.”