Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Supporting the Warfighter, One Partnership at a Time: An Interview with COL Alfred Abramson III, JPM NBC CA

Colonel Alfred Abramson III, the new Joint Project Manager for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Contamination Avoidance (JPM NBC CA), avid golfer, and father of four, discusses his background, new role and JPM NBC CA’s longstanding relationship with the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC).
Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC): How long have you been the JPM NBC CA?
COL Alfred Abramson III (AA): I started my current role as JPM NBC CA on June 19, 2012, but I have held three other positions with the organization in the past. I first started working with what ended up becoming JPM NBC CA in 1996 as an Assistant Team Leader, then in 2002 as an Assistant Product Manager and lastly in 2007 as a Joint Product Manager. I returned for my current role this year in 2012.
(ECBC): What roles did you have previous to becoming the PM of JPM NBC CA, and how did those roles lead you to your current position?
(AA): My educational background is in chemistry. I initially began my military career as a Chemical Corps officer and in 1996 switched over to the Acquisition Corps. In the Army, a Chemical Corps officer provides a Warfighter perspective of how these emerging capabilities will eventually be used. Having this background allows one to appreciate the full impact of your work; it adds true value to the project at hand.
I have also held other great positions that have ultimately groomed me to take on this new role, and increased level of responsibility. My indoctrination, so to speak, was working on the early version of the Joint Lightweight Standoff Chemical Agent Detector project. This was the first time I worked with government civilians serving as the bulk of the workforce.
I’ve had two experiences, not directly related to any type of specific work, that were really valuable for my professional development. One was my position as Aide-de-Camp. I had the opportunity to accompany the Commanding General on many trips and witness a variety of strategic level discussions. What I received was a “birds-eye” view of how Army senior leaders conduct business on a daily basis. I greatly benefitted from witnessing decision making at this level. The other position was my role as Military Assistant to the Under-Secretary of the Army. I received similar experience, as with the Aide position, except I experienced senior level decision making at an even higher strategic leadership level. It was here where I learned the relevance of the civilian-military relationship within the Army and the Department of Defense as a whole.
(ECBC): What are your goals in this new position?
(AA): Entering this position, I have one mission - develop and field a capability to the Warfighter. In order to accomplish that mission, we must continue to maintain the trust, integrity and excellent working relationships with our stakeholders –the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center being one of those big stakeholders – as well as taxpayers, customers and other partners. We must continue to do the same great work we have been doing, and seek opportunities to find efficiencies in our work.
One of the ways we are working to create efficiencies is the establishment of the Trail Boss construct, where we collaborate with other PMs within the organization as well as other governmental agencies focused on the Chemical Biological Defense mission. This construct allows PMs to look across portfolios to ensure that efforts are not being duplicated. With this construct, along with our continued excellence, we can make any success possible.
(ECBC): How do you expect to continue the partnership that ECBC has with the JPM NBC CA?
(AA): Ever since I began working within JPM NBC CA in 1996, ECBC has been a critical partner in the PM mission. We rely on ECBC for a variety of requirements, and they have always provided the PM with some sort of assistance – the bulk of the civilian workforce consists of actual ECBC employees; we rent office space from ECBC; we utilize ECBC labs and test facilities to name a few. Our ability to achieve our objectives are directly related to our continued use of this partnership. One example that sticks out to me is how the Advanced Design and Manufacturing (ADM) Division used their rapid prototyping capabilities. This great group of folks can quickly turn around a prototype of a future project to determine its utility before we make a full commitment. This is an absolutely critical and affordable capability.
We must continue to foster this strong partnership by maintaining an open dialogue and remaining transparent, because without our partnership with ECBC, we cannot accomplish our mission.

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