Editor's Note: "Civilians Down Range" is a new group at Picatinny Arsenal to support civilians who deploy to support Soldiers.
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (March 4, 2015) -- I am a former Army civilian employee of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, where I worked as a Product Quality Manager (PQM) for the Quality Engineering and System Assurance Directorate.
During my time at Picatinny, there was no opportunity for me as a PQM to deploy, so I accepted a job with Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), which had a deployment mission.
DCMA audits defense contractors to make sure they meet the requirements of DOD contracts.
In the U.S., DCMA provides oversight of commodity contracts. In Afghanistan, DCMA provides oversight of service contracts.
On Nov. 7, 2014, I reported to the CONUS Replacement Center at Ft. Bliss, Texas, for one week of training, which included several deployment briefings, first-aid class, a medical exam and a dental exam.
The most challenging and unique experience was the vehicle rollover training.
A special HUMVEE and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle were used for rollover training. Wearing my body armor and helmet, I did my rollover training in the HUMVEE with three Army Soldiers.
The week in Texas came to an end, and 35 hours of flight time later, I landed in Kuwait. After a two-hour bus ride, I arrived at Ali Al Salem (the Rock) to wait for a flight to Afghanistan. I flew out two days later to Afghanistan.
I am currently deployed to Bagram Air Field as the QAR for LOGCAP (basic life support) service contracts. DCMA in Afghanistan conducts audits of the contractors that provide basic life support services.
My primary responsibility is to train and manage my Contractor Officer Representatives, who perform audits on an estimated two-thirds of my LOGCAP audit workload. I also do investigative audits and work on inventory audits.
Several individuals in our DCMA office started "Operation Win Hearts and Minds," where we distributed donated clothing and toys to the children of the village outside of the T-walls of Bagram Air Field.
Over the holidays, I received two "care packages" from Civilians Down Range, which my civilian and military coworkers truly appreciated.
The Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center 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.
The research center, also known as ARDEC, is the largest organization at Picatinny Arsenal, which is a major employer in northern New Jersey. The center has acquired a reputation for quality improvement and plays a vital role in developing superior armament technology for the U.S. Army and other branches of the nation's military.
ARDEC is one of the largest employers in northern New Jersey, employing 3,378 people on site here, with an additional 377 at other locations. More than 2,481 ARDEC employees are scientists or engineers.
By designation of the Secretary of Defense and an act of Congress, Picatinny Arsenal is the Department of Defense's Joint Center of Excellence for Armaments and Munitions. Picatinny's portfolio comprises nearly 90 percent of the Army's lethality and all conventional ammunition for joint warfighters.
A 6,500-acre military installation located in Morris County, the Arsenal contributes more than $1.3 billion to New Jersey's economy.