Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Focus on Value: Light Vehicle Obscuration Smoke System (LVOSS) Grenade Launcher Upgrade

The ECBC Sustainment Engineering Division was called into action by the Joint Program Manager, Reconnaissance and Platform Integration when the M1114 HMMWV was replaced by the M1151 HMMWV. A new version of the LVOSS was designed, the M327 LVOSS. The primary purpose of the LVOSS is to provide a smoke screen and/or riot control deterrent to assist Military Police Units in the performance of their duties.

The main challenge during the development of the M327 LVOSS was the lack of space to mount a discharger on the roof of the HMMWV. The ECBC engineers designed a bracket to hold the front firing discharger in front of the HMMWV windshield; the rear firing discharger was moved to the left rear shoulder of the HMMWV. Moving the rear discharger created a new challenge: the M1151 HMMWV incorporated more antennas than its predecessor model, and it was impossible to aim the dischargers in order to miss the antennas. A test plan was devised to identify the impact the smoke system would have on the antennas. The system was tested by repeatedly launching the M90 smoke grenade rounds aiming directly at the antennas of the M1151 HMMWV at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Edgewood, Maryland. The test results confirmed that, despite cosmetic damage to the antennas, there was no degradation in the radio signal due to the grenades colliding with the antenna.

In 2009 a production contract was awarded on a Best Value Evaluation. Substantial savings over previous versions were realized. In addition to full scale procurement, a program to convert excess M310 LVOSS into M327 LVOSS was implemented. New interface brackets, hardware and wiring harnesses were provided by the manufacturer. The Design Engineering and Test Facility at Rock Island Site converted the excess M310 LVOSS into M327 LVOSS. Since the M310 and M327 have nearly 80% common components, the cost of 570 M327 LVOSS converted was significantly reduced and a savings of $571,578.90 was realized.

Friday, November 18, 2011

ECBC Scientist Leads Discussion at Science Cafe

Photo Peter Emanuel, Ph.D., presents Contagion: Fact and Fear during a recent Science Café.
Peter Emanuel, Ph.D., chief of the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s (ECBC) BioSciences division, led an open discussion at a recent Science Café event at Harford Day School in Bel Air, Md.

Emanuel described how science and policy shaped the nation’s response to the global flu pandemic of 2009 – 2010. The H1N1 flu pandemic was used as an example of how science and policy are intertwined, and how complexities were created by budgets and international policy.

As the former assistant director for chemical and biological countermeasures, Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the White House, Emanuel shared stories of his tenure at the White House helping form U.S. policies and decisions about the flu and flu vaccine dissemination.

The Science Café events are hosted by the Northeastern Maryland Technology Council and are a way for the general public to hear scientists talk about their work in a relaxed, fun and informative setting. The events are free and offered monthly from September through June at public venues in Harford and Cecil counties.

“The NMTC Science Café seeks to have our community learn about science and its influence on our everyday life,” said John Casner, NMTC executive director. “We are fortunate to have such an articulate, engaging expert as Dr. Emanuel to help us do that. His evening's topic, Contagion: Fact and Fear, is of great concern as the flu season comes 'knocking' and was reassuringly explained. We were all highly entertained as he punctuated his talk with his interesting experiences working in the glow of the White House. The audience, captivated for the entire hour as time flew by, included Dr. Emanuel's former mentor, also from ECBC, Dr. Harry Salem. The informal conversation afterwards saw both Dr. Emanuel and Dr. Salem staying to answer the many good questions that evening's discussion encouraged.”

“Hearing first-hand how scientists, analysts and policy leaders reached the decisions they did regarding developing a separate H1N1 vaccine during the 2009-2010 global flu epidemic was eye-opening and, in spite of all the uncertainties inherent in such an event, reassuring,” said Nina Lamba, Ph.D., president and chief scientist of CCL Biomedical, Inc., and chair of the NMTC’s Science Café committee.

NMTC is Maryland’s fast growing technology association with over 140 members and supporters providing member access to technology, industry, academic and government leaders in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Northeastern Maryland, the Greater Baltimore area and beyond.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In the Army Now: Chow Halls

The Engineering Edge features a regular series titled "In the Army Now," featuring information pieces addressing frequently asked questions about Army culture and structure. In this month’s "In the Army Now," we look at the Army’s "chow halls."

"Chow halls" are the most common name for the Army’s dining facilities, which are free for Soldiers who are enlisted and live in the barracks. Most chow halls offer four meals per day (breakfast, lunch, supper and a "midnight meal"). There are even some chow halls that are open 24 hours a day.

Not too many years ago, meals consisted of one or two entrees, plus veggies and one or two dessert items. Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, cereal, bacon and toast. There were few choices, very little in the way of healthy choices and no junk food. Those days are long-gone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shelf-Life Surveillance: Extension Testing of Chemical-Biological Defense Equipment and Components at ECBC

Engineers of Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) perform essential roles to manage the testing and shelf-life extension for the vast quantities of Chemical Biological Defense (CBD) equipment in the Department of Defense (DoD) inventory. ECBC surveillance and commodity engineers help to ensure that the management of testing and shelf-life extension of CBD equipment is performed in the most effective and timely manner.

A key center of shelf-life surveillance activities is the ECBC Shelf-Life Surveillance Office in Rock Island, led by Mr. Hung Pham. In his role as the Shelf-Life Engineer for the Engineering Directorate, Mr. Pham provides guidance and support for CBD shelf-life surveillance issues affecting DoD organizations. Ms. Nicki Freeze, another member of the office, serves as a senior surveillance engineer. She coordinates and performs a wide range of functions for surveillance of all shelf-life CBD equipment.

“All CBD equipment has a shelf-life designation code that specifies how the equipment will be managed in the supply systems throughout their life cycle,” Pham said. “Most CBD equipment is coded as having an extendable shelf-life, which requires testing at set time intervals to assure that the equipment are still in issuable or usable condition.”

Friday, November 11, 2011

ECBC's Industrial Base Analysis and Information Technology Teams Increase Customer Satisfaction Through Matrixed Communications

The Edgewood Chemical Biological Center Industrial Base (IB) Program provides a solid foundation for IB support to the Army Materiel Command’s (AMC) and the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Communities.

The ECBC-RI IB Program gained significant capabilities in 2007 with the merger between the ECBC IB Team and the former U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity IB mission at Rock Island Arsenal. Since then, the program has been steadily expanding and encompasses functional team capabilities with an integrated suite of IB Program services. Eric Hoover is the Team Lead for the IB assessment functions, and Steve Beck is the Team Lead for the IB information management systems.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

ECBC-Rock Island Arsenal Welcomes First Army Headquarter, Gains Three-Star Command

Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) demonstrates its ability to adapt to change by contributing to the Army’s continuing efforts to reshape how the Army trains, deploys, supplies, equips and garrisons military personnel.
Recently, the Army converted First U.S. Army Headquarters into the single Headquarters for oversight of Reserve and National Guard mobilization and demobilization. To support this conversion the Army decided to relocate First Army to Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois, a more central location. Rock Island Garrison Manager Joel Himsl shared his insights on this and some significant changes that have occurred on Rock Island.
“The headquarters of First Army provides a totally new and different mission set to the Arsenal,” Himsl said.
First Army is responsible for the readiness, training, deployment and redeployment of all Reserve Component Soldiers including the Army National Guard.
“The Uncasing of the First Army red and white flag signifies that the unit, which moved from Georgia to the Rock Island Arsenal, is ‘open for business,’” Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek said. First Army now has over 300 soldiers and staff working in the Arsenal’s Building 68.

First Army is not the only transition that has occurred over the past year, “As a result of recent changes we have successfully completed the moves of five major organizations from Rock Island Arsenal to other locations and moved four new organizations to Rock Island Arsenal,” Himsl said.

To many civilian and military personnel on Rock Island Arsenal, these changes represent a new beginning of a new phase in their lives and careers. To others who transferred to jobs on or off the Arsenal, it means new associates at different organizations with new missions. To ECBC Rock Island, the addition of new missions means new opportunities and people to work with locally and stepping up efforts to enhance communication, technology tools, and business processes to provide service to both local, and worldwide customers.

“We have been improving our work processes in several areas in response to our commitment to customer service and continuous improvement,” ECBC Associate Director at Rock Island Nannette Ramsey said. “As the Chem-Bio engineering services provider to TACOM-LCMC, our sustainment engineering group and support teams are developing innovative technology and implementing collaboration tools to provide even better levels of support to our customers who have relocated to the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Michigan and with the Defense Logistics Agency Defense Supply Center team in Columbus, Ohio.”

RIA has added the following new mission sets to its already diverse cross-section of Defense organizations:
  • First Army increases the Soldier population by approximately 150, so the Military strength on RIA will be almost 900.
  • The Quad City Cartridge Case Facility (QCCCF) adds a new dimension in manufacturing. The QCCCF is the DoD’s single manufacturer of large caliber cartridge cases such as the 105mm case for the Stryker main gun and the 5-inch cartridge for the Navy’s 5-inch gun.
  • The Network Operations Center’s move to Rock Island provides the strategic long-haul communications capability for logisticians which directly support the Army Sustainment Command.
  • The Army Contracting Command-Rock Island is adding 50 new employees and is renovating space to accommodate that growth with the potential for additional growth. The North Central Civilian Human Resources Agency is also adding 75 new employees as that organization restructures.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to move about 25 of its employees to Rock Island Arsenal from the Chicago area to establish a presence in the Quad City area.
  • The Civil Support Readiness Group-East is responsible for training and certifying the readiness of Weapons of Mass Destruction response teams. Each State has such a team.
“The addition of First Army, which greatly enhances the training and readiness of our Reserve Component Soldiers and is critical to the combat readiness of our Army as a whole brings a three-star General,” Himsl said. “Not only did we gain a three-star, but he has two two-star deputies as well. As I think about it, we originally had two General Officers -- the two-star Army Sustainment Command (ASC) Commander and the one-star JMC Commander. End-state, we will have seven General Officers stationed at Rock Island Arsenal....and that is huge.”

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Legend Retires…

Sandra Thomson, Ph.D., chief of ECBC’s Toxicology and Obscurants Division, retired on Sept. 30 after 32 years of service.

The Research and Technology (R&T) Directorate recognized Thomson’s contributions during a brief celebration held in her honor. “Sandi asked that we not hold any events for her,” said Steve Lawhorne, R&T deputy director. “But we had to ignore this request.”

Lawhorne presented Thomson with awards and letters, including a star note from MG Nick Justice, commanding general of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, a Commander’s Award and a Certificate of Retirement.

“She managed complex programs with highly hazardous materials, led a culture of safety in the workplace, and delivered the data needed to protect our soldiers and fellow workers. We’ve always looked at Sandi as the beacon for our safety program,” said Lawhorne.

“I was fortunate to work with Sandi on a project early on,” said Wienand. “Early as a young lieutenant, I learned to lead, follow or get out of the way. When I worked with Sandi, most of the time I did the latter two of those. When it’s about safety for employees or soldiers, she’s going to lead. She would fight for her team, for safety, for the workers in the lab, and for the soldiers. Thank you, Sandi, for your leadership here and all the people who are safer because of you.”

Wienand presented Thomson with an ECBC coin and a historical photo collage.

“The most important thing to me is to take care of the people – they are like family. That goes hand in hand with safety. You can’t have a productive workplace without safety. It’s important to speak truth to power,” Thomson said.

“We hope you will remember us. We will certainly remember you for the many, many good things you’ve done here,” said Lawhorne.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Emphasis on Education: Local Student’s Award-Winning Research on Chemical Warfare Policy

The Edgewood Chemical Biological Center Rock Island site shared in Edgewood’s commitment to education by inviting Quad City, North Scott High School Senior, Sarah Riedel, to present her award-winning research project, "Stuffing the Genie Back into the Bottle: A Century of Diplomatic Efforts to Ban Chemical Weapons," on August 10, 2011. Riedel’s presentation was chosen to compete in a National competition. One-hundred twenty entries from across the country, Department of Defense (DoD) Schools, Guam, International School of Shanghai and American Samoa were in Riedel’s division. She placed sixth in the 2011 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park last June.