The Aviation and Missile Command held a ceremony Jan. 9 to recognize individuals who worked collaboratively to improve Soldiers’ lives through projects utilizing value engineering or funded through the Army Working Capital Fund investment program.
Value engineering is a methodology that uses a function-analysis approach to get the optimum solution for the lowest number of life-cycle resources. Teams throughout Redstone Arsenal worked together to seek solutions to reduce costs and mitigate obsolescence and other issues adversely impacting readiness. The Army Working Capital Fund is a revolving fund used to procure spare and repair parts for Army weapons systems. The fund sets aside yearly money to finance projects focusing on obsolescence mitigation, reliability improvement or cost reduction.
Value Engineering Manager Tom Reynolds said VE is a tool in a toolbox and is best used for complex issues.
“The cost savings are nice, but in reality, those other benefits – readiness, reliability, peace of mind – are way more important to the Soldiers out in the field, and that is why we do it,” he said.
AMCOM Commander Maj. Gen. Tom O’Connor was the keynote speaker at the annual event. He thanked the awardees for their creativity, innovation and dedication to finding better, smarter and more cost-effective solutions to complex problems.
“It’s people like you who have the creativity, the initiative, and the drive to find value and improve our processes and products,” he said. “That’s what makes our country great. That’s what makes our Army great. That’s what makes our Department of Defense great.”
Reynolds said the U.S. Army is the best in the world, but as our adversaries improve, the Army of today, as good as it is, will need to be better for the challenges of tomorrow. He said it will take people like the awardees, “who have a sense of wonder,” to think beyond what is possible and provide creative solutions.
“You will be the ones who will provide the enhanced capability for the Army of the future,” Reynolds said. “It takes this wonder and collaboration to utilize programs like value engineering and the Army Working Capital Fund investment program to improve our doctrine, infrastructure and weapons, so our Soldiers one year from now, 10 years from now, 50 years from now and beyond, will have the capability to still be the finest Army in the world.”
Eighty-four value engineering projects and five AWCF investment projects were completed during 2023. O’Connor and AMCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Bradford Smith presented awards to the top winners in each category. Organizations that surpassed their individual monetary goals for FY23 received plaques, and their VE coordinators received certificates.
Top value engineering awards
The Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Aviation & Missile Center Maintenance Engineering Division, the AMCOM Logistics Center and Corpus Christi Army Depot formed a partnership that identified potential repair candidates and developed new repair concepts through the use of VE methodology, saving operational and support costs for the Army. The team completed 73 projects, recovered more than 2,000 parts, saved $66 million and reduced repair/overhaul cycle times. Jeffrey Jenkins received the VE certificate for ALC, and Patrick Kelley received the VE certificate for AvMC.
The Integrated Fires Mission Command Project Office team needed to reconfigure the integrated air and missile defense battle command system in a way that would eliminate deficiencies caused by the engagement center trailer. In addition to saving $8.6 million, the action also provided additional square feet of surface area for growth and does not require depot support for assembly or disassembly. Matthew Spielman received the VE certificate.
The Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Project Office team developed and executed a new manufacturing plan for the missile billets. The new cut plan reduces the material required from 2.4 billets per unit to 1.9, saving $42 million over six years. Bradley Easterwood received the VE certificate.
The Strategic and Operational Rockets and Missiles Project Office team developed an inspection and minor repair of the performance-oriented packaging boxes, doubling their lifecycle, and saving $7.5 million. Alvin Gracie received the VE certificate.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Project Office team completed seven VE actions, producing $16 million in VE savings for FY23. Toni Hamilton-Datcher received the VE certificate.
Army Working Capital Fund investment program awards
The Apache Attack Helicopter Program completed the metal hydraulic filter project. The project was funded in FY13 to address hydraulic system contamination resulting from filter filament failure. Project lead Kora Davis received the award.
The Short and Intermediate Effectors for Layered Defense Project Office completed an AWCF investment project related to the Avenger transitioning from the geo-tester test set to the Army next generation automatic test system at Letterkenny Army Depot. The initiative was funded in FY20/FY21 to address obsolescence with the current test set, which is the only way of testing the three critical Avenger circuit card assemblies. Project lead Duane Baugher received the award.
The Tactical Aviation and Ground Munitions Project Office completed a project funded in FY22 that developed and tested a depot-level repair procedure to harvest and reutilize obsolete prism glass. Project lead Barry Thrower received the award.
The Utility Helicopter Project Office completed two projects. The first was related to the UH-60 caution/advisory panel. This project was funded in FY17 to address obsolescence issues. Project lead Nolan Tallman received the award.
The second UHPO effort was the UH-60 pneumatic engine starter redesign. This project was funded in FY17 to address issues related to excessive torque due to high dynamic load. Project lead Maj. Eric Page received the award.
“Awards, savings and recognition are important, but more important is the impact these projects have on our Soldiers’ lives,” Reynolds said. “As we all know, our products are expensive. However, these are not luxury items, but equipment that our Soldiers literally bet their lives on every day.”
To watch the ceremony, visit www.facebook.com/usarmyamcom