Members of the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center were recently recognized for their efforts to keep the Army's aircraft and missiles operational all while saving taxpayer's dollars.

Led by Lynne Marinello, Product Availability and Obsolescence Management Branch Chief in the AMRDEC's Engineering Directorate, the team received the 2011 Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages Organization Achievement Award.

The DMSMS Achievement Awards, sponsored by the Department of Defense, recognize teams and individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in providing Warfighters with increased operational readiness and capability through proactive management of DMSMS.

To many, managing obsolete parts would seem like something the federal government should not do because who needs anything that is obsolete.

According to the DoD Guidebook for Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortage obsolescence is the loss, or impending loss, of a manufacturer of items or suppliers of items or raw materials.

Marinello further explained that the military "loses a manufacturer when that manufacturer discontinues, or plans to discontinue, production of needed components or raw materials."

Everything from raw materials, to nuts and bolts can become obsolete almost overnight and vital for the Army to maintain in its inventory for overall readiness; especially as the lifespan of many weapons systems has been increased.

"Electronics obsolescence management is critical to the Army and is one of the Engineering Directorate's core missions. We are the center of excellence for electronics and manufacturing technologies. Weapon systems are being used for decades, while the lifespan of electronics is less than one year. Therefore, in order to sustain our weapon systems, we must have a process in place, and mitigation plans for risks associated with obsolete electronics," said Patricia Martin, Director of the AMRDEC's Engineering Directorate.

This is exactly what Lynne's team was recognized for and does every day.

"The goal of the team is to be proactive; identify the risks before they are an impact, evaluate the most cost effective solutions based on life cycle requirements, make sure solutions are implemented, then, start all over again," said Marinello

This year's panel focused on DMSMS activities exhibiting accomplishments in exceptional DMSMS management of a defense system, significantly improved quantifiable readiness levels, substantial cost avoidance, life cycle management of DMSMS issues, and implementation of a DMSMS best practice.

The Obsolescence Management Branch supported multiple missile and aviation platforms and implemented the use of a centralized data clearinghouse, collaboration with other services and industry, and other automation processes that worked to minimize the impact of obsolescence and lower the cost of ownership.

The result of the team's efforts over the past 5 years is the capture of over $300M in cost

"The Electronics Obsolescence Management Team proactively monitors the status of electronic components and assemblies. Before a part becomes obsolete, they work with the PMO and OEMs/contractors to formulate a plan to mitigate the impacts of the obsolescence. This could be a life time buy of the part, a re-design, or a form-fit-function replacement.

"The key is determining the appropriate solution based on the life cycle status of the weapon system and identifying the risk early enough to plan and budget for the most cost effective long term solution," said Martin.

This award means a great deal for the team members and their work has wide sweeping implications for America's Armed Forces.

"Through this award, our Obsolescence Management Team have gained national recognition as a world-class workforce that is setting the standard in efficiently and effectively sustaining our weapon systems, not only for the Army, but also for the DoD," said Martin.

Members of the Obsolescence Management Branch from the Manufacturing Science and Technology Division are Lynne Marinello, Michele Ozier, Tabitha Stebbins, Andrew Mullins, Ray Morgan, Bethany Jenkins, Rese Stevens, Kelly Ward, Rebecca Arnold, Bob Hawkins, BJ Neely, Thomas Hibbett, Melissa Hildreth, Tekesha Milton, Brooke Nix, and Hu Hyde.