The Army Acquisition Executive’s (AAE) Excellence in Leadership Awards recognize the performance of an individual or team who achieve exceptional mission accomplishment, and extraordinary service to the United States. This year, Monica Griffin won the Engineering and Technical Manager Professional of the Year Award. She will be celebrated with other winners at the Pentagon during the award’s ceremony on January 9, led by the Honorable Douglas R. Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)).
Griffin is the Lead Systems Engineer for the Limited Interim Missile Warning System (LIMWS) for Project Manager Aircraft Survivability Equipment (PM ASE). LIMWS answers the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Directed Requirement to rapidly develop, procure, and field an advanced missile warning system. LIMWS protects the aircraft from guided and unguided hostile fire indication by deploying flares through laser-based countermeasure systems for Army aviation platforms. The system uses machine learning to discriminate threats and improve performance in various conditions. This new system provides better detection times and range, providing greater protection of aircraft and aircrews.
Griffin’s efforts contributed to the culmination of over 6,000 flight hours in theater with no mission affecting failures and demonstrated the latest missile warning technologies to maximize aircraft survivability. She expertly mitigated multiple supply chain challenges by engaging with stakeholders including suppliers to mitigate risks and established a plan to deliver the necessary products to deployed units.
Griffin worked with multiple external stakeholders to achieve urgent material releases for Black Hawk and Apache helicopters resulting in equipping and fielding of LIMWS to two Combat Aviation Brigades (CABs). She developed work performance statements, product reviews, weekly updates, and risk management review boards. She coordinated with the test community to achieve proof of system performance and briefed at senior executive levels. “In layman’s terms, I lead a team of engineers for missile warning, making sure that we have the capability to protect our aircraft with the hardware and software that senses and defeats threats,” said Griffin.
She provided programmatic and technical oversight for the Functional Configuration Audit (FCA) for the latest software, ensuring time was allotted in the schedule to mitigate errors and apply fixes that were discovered during the preceding software FCA while maintaining requirement traceability. Her efforts resulted in a successful validation, verification, and qualification of the software. In an interview with Griffin, she stressed the importance of traceability as it provides the fidelity needed to be able to go back and review to mitigate errors. According to Monica, pausing during a review has value to quality data collection as opposed to rushing through. “That's some of the fidelity that I would try to keep up with during the functional configuration audit and is basically making sure that all requirements could be traced and verified that they've been tested”, she said.
“Monica's devotion to the mission, willingness to perform, technical acumen, and leadership abilities are peerless. She is a consummate professional, whose work ethic and dedication to mission assisted the product office in accomplishing the mission. Her efforts have been, and will continue to be, instrumental in providing the Army and Department of Defense with the most advanced Aircraft Survivability Equipment to protect Army aircraft and Soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Sean Quinn, Product Manager for Missile Warning, PM ASE.
Griffin credits her family and her teammates for her success. “We’re a strong team and we're motivated to try to make sure that the best things get put forth out there and I enjoy working with them day to day and it's been a blessing to have the aircraft, survivability equipment team behind me as well as my product office,” said Griffin. This was undoubtedly a proud moment for Monica, who is also a mother of three and community volunteer. She noted how proud she was to receive the award and knows that her work mattered in the lives of Soldiers.