Thursday, August 25, 2011

JPM NBC CA and ECBC – Bringing Operational Capability to the Warfighter: An Interview with JPM NBC CA COL Daniel J. McCormick and Deputy JPM NBC CA Nancy Kammerer

Joint Project Manager for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Contamination Avoidance (JPM NBC CA) COL Daniel J. McCormick and Deputy JPM NBC CA Nancy Kammerer discuss the JPM NBC CA and Edgewood Chemical Biological Center's working relationship and their common mission to provide operational capability to the Warfighter.

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center: How long have you worked with JPM NBC CA?
Nancy Kammerer: I’ve worked in the chemical community for almost 30 years, and I’ve worked for the JPM NBC CA for most of the past 20 years. A large portion of that time I worked as an ECBC matrixed employee. I am in a unique position because I’ve been on both sides – core staff of JPM NBC CA and a matrixed employee of ECBC.
COL Daniel McCormick: In 2001, the anthrax letters hit, and I was pulled in by MG Reeves to run CB defense operations in the Capital region. That was my first shot over the bow with the CB defense community. In 2003, I came to Edgewood to serve as the Joint Product Manager of Reconnaissance. I did that for three years. Nancy and I have been leading this great team together for the last couple of years.
ECBC: How does the partnership between ECBC and JPM NBC CA contribute to the JPM’s capability offerings in the development, production, integration, testing and fielding of NBC detection, obscuration and reconnaissance systems?
NK: Our primary workforce that executes the JPM NBC CA program consists of ECBC matrixed employees. In particular, JPM NBC CA has a unique relationship with ECBC in the test capability area. We are building some of the test infrastructure that supports areas that ECBC executes and runs. We also use Engineering’s Advanced Design and Manufacturing Division (ADM) to build prototypes in addition to equipment that goes directly into the field, such as the Dismounted Reconnaissance Joint Urgent Operational Needs Systems. We have also developed a very strong relationship with the ECBC Engineering Obscuration and Nonlethal Engineering Branch. Our established relationships with the Center, and in particular within the Engineering Directorate, span the full lifecycle. They provide a critical foundation for the mission capabilities of JPM NBC CA.
CDM: JPM NBC CA’s sole purpose is to bring operational capability to the Warfighter. The relationship between JPM NBC CA and ECBC is not an enabling relationship; it is the foundation. JPM NBC CA could not do our mission to bring capability to the Warfighter without ECBC. It’s probably a stronger relationship than with any other PM. Although the entire Chemical Biological Defense Program (CBDP) benefits from it, our shop is almost all ECBC matrixed employees, and we have cross-level expertise across the two workforces in and outside of the labs. We partner with the Engineering Directorate on a variety of experiments as we move forward to shape the technology that comes through our shop, developing the equipment that goes into the hands of our Warfighters. Whether it’s lending capability-based expertise to further our mission or providing support in our weekly staff phone calls to ensure that inter-organizational activities are in sync, we would not exist – people or capability – without ECBC.

ECBC: How has JPM NBC CA approached recent challenges that have emerged during this era of budget cuts and requirements to “do more with less?”
CDM: We’re stepping into transformational times. As our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan shift, the needs of the Warfighter continue to evolve. Faced with the challenges of having to “do more with less,” we see an opportunity to become even more efficient. The relationship between ECBC and JPM NBC CA has already allowed us to take steps in that direction. There are mandates from the highest levels in the government, and their guidance states that we will have whole of government capabilities – both Homeland defense and outside the Continental United States – for our Warfighters. ECBC also has ties into the highest levels of government; they work on the same threat that we work on. We’ve been able to use each other’s relationships with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Staff to strengthen our relationships at this level of government. This has allowed us to ensure that our product goes to the Warfighter but also appropriately benefits our DHS partners. Our organizational partnership allows us to ensure that our core competencies are maintained. We are able to jointly work a larger mission set, ensuring that we go through these challenging years maintaining the capabilities that ECBC and JPM NBC CA represent.
ECBC: How has being co-located allowed JPM NBC CA to better partner with ECBC?
CDM: ECBC and JPM NBC CA are two organizations that are closely tied in mission and are interdependent on each other. Being co-located adds to that unified approach to our work within the CBDP. When you put the two organizations together to form a center of excellence (COE), you have a better understanding of each other’s capabilities and limitations. In this case, we are forming a critical COE for the CBDP. We have been able to use the capabilities of one organization in order to meet possible limitations of the other, resulting in a more efficient approach to the challenge.
ECBC: Any closing thoughts about the people and the mission of JPM NBC CA?
NK: Part of the reason I’ve stayed here for more than 20 years is because of the strong working relationship that exists between ECBC and JPM NBC CA. People are dedicated and hardworking, and more than that, these organizations work well together. During a recent review of one of our programs, several employees that had worked long days and nights on the program refused to take credit for a significant cost reduction. They felt that it was “just my job.” You don’t get that everywhere.
CDM: I’ve been in the Army for 27 years and have done acquisition for 19 of those years. Leadership isn’t just solving problems. It’s about the people who solve difficult problems. The ECBC JPM NBC CA relationship is “family.” We are one core family. It’s the strongest professional atmosphere that I’ve seen in my career, made up of people dedicated to getting the job done. That is why I love being here. We are a strong CB defense family that gets the job done.

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