Guest Article by Mark R. Hamel and Charles J. Wolfe
Tofukuji Reiun-in Gaun-no-niwa
Kaizen events often represent the initial rapid deployment vehicle for lean transformations. Effective events drive step-function improvement, momentum and organizational learning and engagement. But while many people gravitate to the technical side of kaizen events (hey, check out this cool kanban system!), it’s as much, if not more, about embedding lean principles and capabilities within the culture.
Only then can improvements become sustainable. Only then can the organization move from purely event driven kaizen to the much more powerful combination of (occasional) events and true daily kaizen – the frequent, small, process focused improvements conducted by engaged and enabled employees in their everyday work. This is what separates the lean pretenders from the lean practitioners.
In November 2005, the Australian Government, Tenix Defence and Eurocopter subsidiary Australian Aerospace (AA) have signed the P3 Accord Master Agreement to provide capability upgrades and Through Life Support (TLS) for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The three parties have established a Joint Management Office (JMO) to supervise all Accord activities under a unique risk-sharing contractual arrangement. The JMO will develop and implement all RAAF AP-3C capability upgrades and TLS solutions through to the aircraft’s planned withdrawal date – at which point it will likely be replaced by the 737-based AP-8A MMA.
The combined value of the TLS and block upgrades to the aircraft is expected to be more than A$ 1 billion, and the project is moving on to a new phase – even as some of the efforts that led to the most recent announcement win Australian awards…
As video communications is integrated into robots, soldiers, and UAVs, and network-centric warfare becomes the organizing principle of American warfighting, front-line demands for bandwidth are rising faster than the US military can add it. The Transformation Communications Satellite (TSAT) System is part of a larger effort by the US military to address that need, and close the gap.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record – and TSAT is certainly significant. The final price tag on the entire program has been quoted at anywhere from $14-25 billion through 2016, including the satellites, the ground operations system, the satellite operations center and the cost of operations and maintenance. Lockheed Martin and Boeing each won over $600 million in risk reduction contracts to develop key TSAT SS satellite system technologies, and TSAT’s $2 billion TMOS ground-based network operations contract was already underway.
The TSAT constellation’s central role in next-generation US military infrastructure makes it worthy of in-depth treatment – but its survival was never assured. There was always a risk that outside events and incremental competitors could spell its end, just as they spelled the end of Motorola’s infamous Iridium project. This FOCUS article examines that possibility, even as it offers an overview of the US military’s vision for its communications infrastructure, how TSAT fits, the program’s challenges, and complete coverage of contracts and significant events.
The latest developments revolve around the end of the program. Despite a positive recent report from the GAO, TMOS/TSAT are being canceled outright as part of the program’s planned termination:
The U.S. Army’s Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado is another such site, which currently stores 2,611 tons of mustard agent contained in 155mm and 105mm artillery shells, and 4.5″ mortar shells. Decontamination is supervised by the PM Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA), using a biochemical process rather than incineration; the CMA is still responsible for safe storage until the munitions can be decontaminated. This article discusses mustard agent’s effects and place in the history of warfare, and takes a look at the efforts underway to destroy the Pueblo stockpile between 2015-2023. An effort that recently featured a contract worth over half a billion dollars…
Mustard Gas: A Quick Primer
The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP)
In 2005, the US military and NASA announced the kickoff of the Army-led Joint Heavy Lift program, with the award of 5 contracts for the Concept Design and Analysis (CDA) of a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) rotorcraft. This is a futuristic aircraft that’s imagined as having the C-130 Hercules aircraft’s 20 ton cargo capacity, but with the ability to take off and land like a helicopter. No current US military helicopter platform even comes close to that vision, and so the competitors are deploying some radical and different technologies in their attempts to meet these goals.
CH-53E Super Stallion
At the same time, the US Marine Corps’ vital medium-heavy lift CH-53E Super Sea Stallion helicopters are beginning to to wear out their airframes. Hence the HLR Heavy Lift Replacement (HLR) program, aimed at fielding new-build CH-53K aircraft beginning in 2013-2015. The US Air Force, meanwhile, has its AJACS program, which aims to produce a C-130 replacement beginning around 2020.
All 3 programs may face a rough ride ahead. Runaway cost growth on numerous US defense programs, operational demands, and a looming demographic crisis in social programs all work to create budget squeezes, and hence pressures for program consolidation. The USMC’s affordable CH-53X track upgrade was very nearly sidetracked via a merger with he R&D heavy, schedule-uncertain, JHL, and may not be in the clear yet. The USAF’s AJACS program to replace the C-130 Hercules with a modern 20+ ton transport is also facing scrutiny of this sort, and those pressures, too may increase. Conversely, it is also possible that the JHL program could find itself edged out by a pair of more conventional helicopter and aircraft solutions from the USMC and USAF. DID notes the technologies, the politics, and progress to date.
Recent news includes a report that shows just how far away the US military is from a viable competition and winning design.
The UK’s Parliamentary Defence Committee has released its 2007-08 Session report that looks at the UK’s new merged Defence Equipment & Support organization (formerly DPA and DLO), and assesses Britain’s major procurement programs. The “Tenth Report of Session 2007-08, Defence Equipment 2008, HC 295” offers conclusions on a number of fronts, beginning with this general philosophy and then moving on to specific programs:
“We note that the MoD is preparing advice to Ministers about the defence budget for the three years 2008-09 to 2010-11 and that the MoD acknowledges that there are likely to be cuts or delays to projects in the Equipment Programme. The MoD needs to take the difficult decisions which will lead to a realistic and affordable Equipment Programme. This may well mean cutting whole equipment programmes, rather than just delaying orders or making cuts to the number of platforms ordered across a range of equipment programmes. While it is the natural inclination of all governments and departments to avoid bad news by “moving programmes to the right” rather than by cutting out an entire capability which has many supporters, such an approach can cause in the long run more financial and operational damage than confronting the perennial problem of an over-ambitious Equipment Programme. A realistic Equipment Programme will give confidence to our Armed Forces that the equipment programmes that remain will be delivered in the numbers and to the timescale required, and will also allow industry to make informed investment decisions.”
Back in March 2005, DID noted that the US Army had narrowed the field for its $20 billion ITES-2 IT contract to 17 potential prime contractors. At the time, we also noted the Army’s plan to issue the formal RFP in May 2005. Later, in April 2005, DID covered Kevin Carroll, “the $36 billion man” who leads the office in charge of ITES and ITES-2 as the Army pursued its vision of a major long-term contract vehicle for a wide range of information technology and computing services.
In September 2005, the U.S. Army released its RFP for its $20 billion Information Technology Enterprise Solutions-2 Services program via the Army Small Computer Program, the Army Contracting Agency, and the Information Technology, E-Commerce, and Commercial Contracting Center. After that, things didn’t go as well. A major kerfuffle and 2 rounds of GAO protests followed the award, which led to a revised list of winners in November 2006.
Field testing of Spin Out 1 technologies went well during “Experiment 1.1” in July 2006 – February 2007, and a recent Critical Design Review of confirmed that they meet design requirements and are ready for integration. Now the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology has approved sole source justification for Future Combat System technology Spin Out Low-Rate Initial Production effort, and for the Non-Line of Sight Cannon (NLOS-C).
In English, the Army has authorized future contracts and planning for FCS low-rate initial production by the Boeing/SAIC Lead Systems Integrator team, who have been managing many of the selection and testing elements of the program and issuing contracts. This will include…
The US Army’s $120+ billion Future Combat Systems program has been subject to a great deal of criticism over its history. It was always planned as a development process with staged spinoffs, but a combination of pressure on the program and the field needs of the troops on the front lines is pushing that schedule. As FCS hits the 2 1/2 year mark in its System Design and Development (SDD) phase, there are plans to start delivering some of its elements beginning in 2006, for fielding and then upgrading as the program continues.
According to eDefense Online, the spinouts will occur progressively but can be broadly grouped into four main waves for timing purposes:
One challenge was cost-growth, and it has now come firmly home to roost for Team Lockheed. DID reported the January 12, 2007 stop-work order on LCS 3, and we will continue to update this article as new developments arise. In the latest development, the Navy and Lockheed could not come to agreement – and so the contract for LCS 3 has been terminated part-way through construction. The General Dynamics/Austal team will continue with construction of LCS 2 & 4, but a warning has been issued in that direction as well…