Army logistician keeps the Soldier at the forefront of his efforts
October 26, 2011
As the readiness management chief for the Army's situational awareness system, Mr. Jeffery Forgach was recently honored by the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps for his contributions, but the ultimate winner is the Soldier on the battlefield.
"Through his leadership, vision and foresight, Jeff Forgach is a critical link in providing life-saving situational awareness to our Soldiers in harm's way," said Col. Thomas Olson, project manager for Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (PM FBCB2). "His devotion to the mission ensures excellent support to those commanders and Soldiers who depend on these technologies."
The 2011 Army Life Cycle Logistician of the Year Award was awarded to Forgach, readiness management division chief for PM FBCB2, which is assigned to the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T). Forgach was commended for his extraordinary performance in the equipping, training and lifecycle management of C3 products and systems. From the recent fielding of the second increment of FBCB2, to fulfilling requirements in Afghanistan with retrograde equipment from Iraq, Forgach's extensive accomplishments have provided invaluable support to the Soldier in the field. His leadership and creative vision in product support and distribution coupled with exemplary business practices have avoided tens of millions of dollars in cost for the Army. The U.S. Army Acquisition Corps Annual Awards Ceremony was held on Oct. 9 in Alexandria, Va.
"Jeff has a unique ability to build teams and processes, both driven towards the common goal of enhancing support to our deployed forces," said Brig. Gen. N. Lee S. Price, program executive officer for C3T. "He is a humble leader who ensures that each member of his team knows the value of their role in our overarching objectives and how an individual effort is enhanced through collaboration and synchronization."
Soldiers in combat rely on FBCB2 for situational awareness, viewing blue icons on a computer screen inside their vehicle to locate their teammates, whether staging an attack or rescuing an injured Soldier. They can plot improvised explosive devices and enemy locations with red icons on the same computerized topographical map, alerting other friendly units nearby. When Soldiers travel beyond a radio signal's reach, they keep in touch by sending text messages through FBCB2's Blue Force Tracker (BFT) satellite network.
"Jeff Forgach is the best logistician I know, because he cares so much about the Soldiers he supports," said Mary Woods, chief of staff for PEO C3T. "He has a teleconference 365 days a year with all his deployed field support representatives to ensure there are no problems. I don't know of anyone else who does that."
As the PM FBCB2 chief logistician, Forgach integrated, organized and managed the team to support deployed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations, along with supporting Unit Set Fielding (USF) and sustainment under the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model. USF is a synchronized, coordinated fielding effort that logically ties into each unit's master training calendar, while ARFORGEN is the Army's core process of building trained and ready forces.
"The role of the readiness management chief is a combination of product support and product distribution that helps us deliver timely and effective capabilities to our customers," Forgach said. "It's like a delicate ballet of timing and coordination."
According to Forgach, the most significant recent accomplishment for his team has been the "timely and effective" release of the Joint Capabilities Release (JCR) -- the second increment of FBCB2 that includes new software, encryption features and network improvements. The JCR fielding commenced in January of 2011, while the next increment of FBCB2 -- Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) -- is on target to be fielded in Capability Set 13.
Among his many accomplishments, Forgach developed an unprecedented fielding and training strategic plan that supports USF. He orchestrated a fielding-training strategy which led to the fiscal year 2011 fielding of 15,521 FBCB2/BFT systems to Army formations. These fieldings were followed up with extensive training activities in support of scheduled deployments and the ARFORGEN process.
In parallel to FBCB2/BFT fieldings, Forgach set the conditions to successfully field, train and support 13,402 commercial off the shelf radio systems to Army units worldwide. This includes the fielding of 1,995 AN/PRC 117G radios with the Adaptive Networking Wideband Waveform against nine validated Operational Needs Statements (ONS). He was instrumental in securing, placing on contract, and managing more than $16 million in overseas contingency operations funding and other resources to expeditiously execute these missions.
Without increasing payroll costs, Forgach cross-trained existing PM FBCB2 personnel in advance of their deployments using partnership agreements with prime radio Original Equipment Manufacturers to be subject matter experts on the radios as well. So at any point if an issue arose, the team could effectively reach down "the FBCB2 hierarchy and put their fingers on any unit anywhere in the Army. That really came in handy and was certainly a big efficiency," said Michael Mercurio, fielding and training branch chief for Product Director Network Systems (PD NS), who worked closely with Forgach for nearly three years.
"He is always looking for the smarter way to do something, the better way to do something, and not accepting standard practices -- which even if they work, he looks to see if they can be made to work better," Mercurio said.
During the past year, Forgach led his team to rapidly and efficiently satisfy 61 separate ONS involving more than 2,900 FBCB2/BFT and AN/PRC 117G radios in support of overseas contingency operations for U.S. forces and coalition partners. His personal involvement from ONS inception, through the validation and resourcing, and subsequent actions to rapidly develop an execution plan were instrumental in quickly satisfying requirements. He implemented a weekly forum with deployed points of contact from the major commands and representatives from the Department of the Army staff along with PM product representatives to coordinate, monitor, and track each ONS from submission to closure.
"Jeff has clearly excelled in demonstrating leadership qualities in managing the challenging tasks which have enabled PM FBCB2 to support current operational needs as well as position FBCB2 to meet future requirements in a more efficient manner," Olson said.
These ONSs were, and continue to be, sourced not only from PM new production assets, but also satisfied with equipment reset from Operation New Dawn. The disciplined processes of screening, condition coding and reutilization/redirection of retrograded equipment from Iraq and Kuwait to Afghanistan resulted in an estimated $35 million in cost avoidance to the Department of Defense. The strategy has reduced Central Command's theater reliance on production assets, which in turn will be used to satisfy existing Army USF requirements and reduce the continued dependency on production assets for contingency operations.
"Roughly 80 percent of the equipment coming out of there (OND) is reusable," Forgach said. "It just made a lot of sense."
He developed a strong doctrinal training base for PM FBCB2 products, including automated lesson plans furnished to the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and computer-based training available via the Army Learning Management System. His division has worked tirelessly with TRADOC proponents including the Armor Center, Signal Center and Ordinance Center to ensure that critical battle-focused BFT tasks are taught to the general purpose users and field maintainers. Moreover, his team has continued to develop a robust library of technical publications to support PM FBCB2 equipment.
"Training is integral from the very beginning of the life cycle of the product, all the way through to its grave," Mercurio said. "There is never going to be an end to it or a reduced need for it."
Despite rapidly changing conditions across all spectrums of operations, Forgach continues to develop an FBCB2 global support infrastructure, but he attributes the success of the PM office to the entire FBCB2 team.
"The FBCB2 workforce is an incredible workforce, motivated and invigorated to continue to deliver our capabilities," Forgach said. "While this award may be an individual recognition, it is really indicative of everyone in the entire origination. I am just genuinely proud to be part of the team."
Amy Walker is a staff writer for Symbolic Systems, Inc. supporting the Army's Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T).