Got an idea' Want to make some extra cash'

The Army Suggestion Program is in full swing, and Picatinny employees are taking full advantage.

The program formerly known as the Army Ideas for Excellence Program encourages Soldiers and civilians to stimulate their minds and generate efficient and cost-productive procedures that can and will benefit the Army.

The ASP traces its roots back to at least World War I. The program gives Soldiers and civilians the opportunity to improve policy, practices and regulatory constraints. Additionally, it saves the Army millions of dollars annually.

Monetary awards are often given to those who can prove their suggestion will improve Army operations or the quality of life, said Linda Huff-Franey who manages the ASP here.

Huff-Franey says on average 100 suggestions are submitted to her each year here.

The last large award given to a Picatinny employee was in March of 2006 when Lark Berhman saved the Army $77,500 (first-year net-dollar value) when she found a manufacturer to design a machine capable of separating spent bullet casings from their links.

Previously the process was done by hand. The Casing and Link Extractor Machine, better known as CLEM, saves time and was approved by the Internal Review and Audit Compliance Office, which validates suggestions with an award of $5,000 or more.

For her efforts, Berhman received a monetary award of $4,025. The maximum award is $25,000.

While all suggestions are accepted and reviewed, few suggestions actually receive awards because, Huff-Franey said, one of the rules of ASP is that if the suggestion is within the scope of the suggestor's job description, then the suggestor is no longer eligible to receive a suggestion award. In other words, a suggestor cannot be paid twice for their work.

This stipulation also encourages suggestors to think outside their realms of expertise.

Huff-Franey added that everyone with an Army Knowledge Online account is eligible to submit a suggestion; however, not everyone is eligible for cash awards.

Cash awards are offered only to military members of the active Army, Army Reserve members in active status, Army National Guard members in active status, direct-hire appropriated funds Army civilian personnel, non-Army Federal employees paid from appropriated funds and members of other military services.

If an idea from a person not eligible for a cash award is adopted, the local command may choose to present appropriate non-cash recognition.

Retired or separated employees or Soldiers must have their suggestion entered into the ASP system before separation.

The ASP allows ideas to come to fruition and benefit not only the Army but the suggestor as well.