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Army recognizes best Lean Six Sigma initiatives

WASHINGTON -- Saving millions of dollars, the recipients of this year’s Lean Six Sigma excellence awards reduced processing times, improved health of the force and increased readiness.
 
This year’s awards program recognized 13 of the best process-improvement initiatives completed during fiscal year 2016. The ceremony was hosted by Karl Schneider, the senior career official performing duties of the under secretary of the Army, and Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, director of the Office of Business Transformation.
 
Jason Drenzek, TACOM Integrated Logistics Support Center, and Jared McCallum, Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support, produced an automated process for updating 90 percent of an interactive electronic technical manual in eight hours. The old process used an average of 2,500 hours of manual labor. The initiative will generate an estimated net financial benefit of $16.4 million for FYs 2016 to 2018.
 
That initiative earned them one of four awards in the Non-Enterprise Non-Gated Level category, which recognized projects that do not follow the formal Lean Six Sigma methods.
 
“We are here to recognize some very extraordinary organizations and extraordinary individuals for the work they have done,” Schneider said to a packed room in the Pentagon.
 
The money saved by the 11 organizations and their 13 initiatives can be “ploughed into war readiness,” Schneider said. He stressed that in order to pay for readiness, the military must reform the way it does business.
 
“We want people to think the way these people thought and do what these people did,” Schneider said of the recipients who used Lean Six Sigma principles and practices to adopt new ways of doing business and streamlining processes.
 
“The Army makes a conscious effort to analyze and improve the processes that undergird our core mission to fight and win our nation’s wars,” said Dr. Charles Brandon, director of the Continuous Process Improvement Office within the Army’s Office of Business Transformation.
 
“Eliminating billions of dollars in waste and delivering readiness at best value makes us Army Strong,” Brandon said
 
Three organizations won the prestigious Process Improvement Deployment Excellence Award:
  • The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller executed improvements for FY 2016 that resulted in an estimated cost avoidance of $1.7 million, cost savings of $9.5 million and revenue generation of $55 million.
  • The U.S. Army Medical Command executed initiatives ranging from improving Relay Health enrollment to improving Transition Care. During FY 2016, the projects resulted in an estimated net financial benefit of $5.7 million.
  • The 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe, successfully transformed its Lean Six Sigma program with greater emphasis on commander involvement and introduced several problem-solving tools. For FY 2016, the projects resulted in an estimated net financial benefit of $2.9 million. 
Ten Process Improvement Program Team Excellence Awards were presented at different levels.
 
Two awards at the Enterprise level were presented to the Human Systems Integration Directorate, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs/Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1. One team reduced the process lead time in transferring the remains of service members to families from 22 days to 14 days.
 
Another team from the same office received an award for increasing its engagement on Soldier for Life programs by 60 percent. They improved awareness about employment, education and health care opportunities.
 
“We spent many hours trying to figure out how we could reach more civilians, more veterans and retirees,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Young, who accepted the award for the team. He pointed out that the office is now reaching nearly three times the audience it did just a year ago.
 
Non-Enterprise Black Belt Level Projects:
 
  • 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army Forces Command, reduced internal lateral transfer process times by 97 percent from 245 days to 7 days with an estimated net cost avoidance of $943,3000 for FYs 2016 to 2021. 
The 82nd CAB streamlined the handling of thousands of helicopter parts, electronic components, tools and machinery.
 
“We developed better processes to make our unit more healthy and highly combat effective,” said Army Black Belt champion Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mandee Mintz, 82nd CAB property-book accounting technician. “Going through the Lean Six Sigma process allowed us to use these improvement tools effectively to enhance our lateral transfer of excess property, and fill to critical shortages in supplies and equipment.”
  • The 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe, improved accuracy in personnel tempo reporting from 0.75 percent to 60 percent for unit readiness, resulting in a net cost avoidance estimate of $703,000 for FYs 2016 to 2022.
Non-Enterprise Green Belt Level Projects:
  • Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Regional Health Command--Europe, U.S. Army Medical Command, improved the screening time for patients with traumatic brain injury by 50 percent, decreasing the wait time for Soldiers to be evaluated.
  • Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2, U.S. Army Forces Command, improved the G-2X performance reporting time by 63 percent from 39.5 hours to 16 hours and improved the defect rate from 13.9 percent to nearly zero, thereby improving unit readiness.
Timothy Mersereau at FORSCOM G2 took his green-belt Lean Six Sigma training in Spring 2016 and soon began working with his colleagues on how to improve G-2X performance reporting.
 
“The biggest take-away from this project was communications and the importance of communicating clearly,” Mersereau said. “It saves valuable time every month. This was a good learning experience and a great chance for my team as we worked together.”
 
“Anything we can do that frees up time to allow Soldiers to conduct training is significant for Army readiness,” said FORSCOM G-8’s Steven Sawicki, a Master Black Belt specialist with the Business and Readiness Improvement Division.
 
For example, the 82nd Airborne Division conducted its Deployment Readiness Exercise in January 2017. About two months before that exercise began, FORSCOM and the 82nd Airborne Division’s Operations Research and Systems Analysis, or ORSA, and Lean Six Sigma team began planning. They ultimately had 12 to 15 people located at sites during the training exercise to collect over 40,000 data points -- particularly studying six nodes of exercise activities.
 
Non-Enterprise Non-Gated Level awards recognized projects that do not follow the formal Lean Six Sigma methods:
  • TACOM’s automated process for updating 90 percent of an interactive electronic technical manual in eight hours.
  • U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, Tobyhanna Army Depot, U.S. Army Materiel Command, reduced labor hours for Joint Precision Air Drop, or JPAD systems from 28.9 hours to 17.6 hours, thereby generating an estimated net savings of $1.1 million for FY 2016 to 2017.
  • Army Public Health Center, U.S. Army Medical Command, reduced the process cycle time of its conference request and approval process from 22 days to 11 days, and reduced defects caused by lost conference request packets.
  • The Great Lakes and Rivers Division, Nashville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, reduced its contracting office labor burden from 45 hours to 25 minutes per supply order and acquisition costs from $4,365 to $41 through using a Defense Logistics Agency program. The project enabled contract specialists to focus on more complex procurements, resulting in an estimated net cost avoidance of $1.7 million for FY 2016 to 2020. 
This was the first LEAP award received by the Army Corps of Engineers’ Nashville District, officials said. The district implemented a pilot program to use the Defense Logistics Agency’s Facilities Maintenance, Repair Operations Program to purchase supply items faster and save funds. The items ranged from crane cables to air winches, remote switches and sump pumps.
 
“Purchasing simple supply items (this way) typically also reduces procurement lead time, resulting in the receipt of supplies, material and equipment significantly faster,” said Tim Dunn, deputy chief of the Operations Division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District.
 
The initiative reduced the time for orders to be processed by 50 percent from an average of 75 days to 37 days, said Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander. “More importantly, because of the efficiencies gained … our projects across a seven-state area are getting the supplies they need much faster.”
 
(Paul Boyce at FORSCOM Public Affairs contributed to this article)
 

Readiness: Why AMC exists

(Editor’s note: This article is reprinted from the May-June 2017 issue of Army Sustainment Magazine. Perna is the commander of the Army Materiel Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.)
 
As the Army Materiel Command commander and the Army’s senior logistician, my number one job is to synchronize and integrate the total capabilities of the vast materiel enterprise in support of the chief of staff of the Army’s priorities and combatant commander requirements. My intent is to operationalize the enterprise by focusing the Army’s efforts on output to ensure Army materiel readiness.
 
At the AMC Senior Leader Forum in February, I introduced six strategic objectives: materiel readiness, Sustainable Readiness, force projection, battlefield sustainment, materiel development, and Armywide sustainment. These strategic objectives synchronize Army and AMC priorities and establish AMC’s organizational strategy to operationalize the command as the Army’s materiel integrator.
 
In the next few editions of Army Sustainment, I will explain and expand on each strategic objective. In alignment with this edition on readiness, the first two objectives are materiel readiness and Sustainable Readiness.
 
MATERIEL READINESS
 
Materiel readiness means providing the right equipment, materiel, and capabilities to ensure the Army’s ability to fight and win. We achieve materiel readiness when combat-ready forces are sustained and equipped to support global requirements through the provisioning of materiel that is synchronized from the strategic level to the tactical level. Materiel management is capabilities-centric, and it requires the life cycle management commands to actively and effectively manage the Army’s fleets of equipment.
 
Strategic initiatives within the materiel readiness objective further define how the Army will achieve its end state. First, we must optimize the supply chain, energizing and focusing the wholesale supply system on critical warfighting fleets. To do this, we will optimize supply availability, working toward having 100 percent of requisitions filled by the required delivery dates. Additionally, maximum use of the Materiel Common Operating Picture will provide predictive readiness for units and commanders.
 
Second, we will plan and execute redistribution to build equipment on hand and divest and demilitarize excess items to best meet Army needs and requirements. Through fully funded and executed demilitarization, we will reduce required storage space and care of stocks.

Third, the Army must aggressively shape sustainment modified tables of organization and equipment in order to support the requirements of future land forces.
 
SUSTAINABLE READINESS
 
The sustainable readiness objective ensures the readiness of total-force formations through the delivery of required capabilities. Sustainable readiness is unit and brigade combat team-centric and driven by the Sustainable Readiness Program to enable combat power. The end state is that Army formations are ready to deploy immediately and are postured to meet combatant commanders’ requirements.
 
Key to the sustainable readiness objective is ensuring unit equipment is ready to use for Army missions. By providing stable and predictable workloads for the depots, arsenals, and ammunition plants, we ensure a viable organic industrial base to meet current and future requirements.
 
We must decisively link OIB outputs with SRP priorities. Aligning the workload to brigade rotations through the SRP will allow the Army to reset brigade fleets to ensure they are ready when needed, rather than when funding is available for individual types of equipment.
 
Likewise, the SRP focuses on managing workload to ensure the right work is done to contribute to Army readiness. Optimizing the OIB also includes assessing and scrutinizing the infrastructure and leveraging product-support capabilities.
 
To achieve materiel readiness and sustainable readiness, leaders must enforce standards and discipline, be experts in the Army’s processes, and ensure that Soldiers across all formations are trained and equipped to sustain the forces on the battlefield. Across the materiel enterprise, commanders must clearly identify requirements, conduct risk assessments, develop courses of action, and ultimately provide the right output. When this is done we will be successful at providing materiel readiness for the Army and joint force.

TACOM commander holds town hall and awards ceremony

TACOM LCMC commander, Maj. Gen. Clark LeMasters, hosted a town hall and awards ceremony May 24 at the Detroit Arsenal. It was broadcast live to our off-site locations. Major topics discussed included senior appointee changes, TACOM leadership changes since last town hall, personally identifiable information, Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, results of 2016 CFC campaign, and summer safety.
 
2017 senior appointee changes
  • Secretary of Defense, James Mattis
  • Acting Secretary of the Army, Karl Schneider
  • Acting Under Secretary of the Army, Robert Speer 
TACOM leadership changes
  • Acting Deputy Chief of Staff, Annette Riggs
  • Acting Executive Director for Integrated Logistics Support Center, Marion Whicker
  • Safety Director, Adam Crafard
  • Deputy Chief of Staff for Resource Management, G8, Keith Berman
  • Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, G3/5, Col. Clark Barrett 
LeMasters stressed the importance of protecting personally identifiable information and referred to the three safeguarding and handling requirements for medium and high impact PII sent by email.
  • Recipient(s) MUST have an authorized need to know.
  • Email subject line MUST include “FOUO-PII” prefix or must cite the “UNCLASSIFIED/FOUO PROTECTED BY PRIVACY ACT” suffix.
  • Email MUST be encrypted.
Email messages containing PII that are sent without all three of the above requirements are reportable PII violations.
 
SHARP is everyone’s business
“Sexual assault. Sexual Harassment. Not in our Army.” Supervisors must report any SHARP incident that they are aware of to their sexual assault response coordinator within 24 hours.
 
Civilians now have the option of Sexual Assault Restricted Reporting within the current trial periods through 2017. To elect this option, the victim can only report this to a SARC or victim advocate. If the state you work in is a mandatory reporting state, such as Michigan, and you seek medical attention, you may not be able to use the Restricted Reporting option.
 
No retaliation or reprisal from supervisors or coworkers will be tolerated.
 
Combined Federal Campaign
Contributions to the 2016 CFC totaled $345,873.76; goal was $350,000. LeMasters thanked everyone who supported the CFC and presented certificates to the CFC volunteers during the awards ceremony immediately following the town hall.
 
Finally, LeMasters emphasized the importance of summer safety for all Soldiers, civilians and their families. Areas discussed included safety while driving, water safety and safety while participating in outdoor sporting activities. 
 
“While spring and summer are a time for fun in the sun,” LeMasters said, “they’re some of the most deadly months for the Army, with notable increases in off-duty fatalities. Army safe is Army strong.”
 
The town hall concluded with a question and answer period followed by an awards ceremony that recognized more than 125 individual and group accomplishments.

Two staff organizations merge under new leadership

The TACOM Life Cycle Management Command Operations (G3) and Strategic Planning and Transformation (G5) organizations recently merged under the leadership of Col. Clark Barrett, deputy chief of staff for TACOM LCMC Operations and Plans, G/3/5.
 
According to Barrett, prior to his arrival in March, the commanding general had a vision to join the two directorates together.
 
“The two organizations ought to work hand in hand with one another,” Barrett said, “because the planning function of the G5 ultimately gets executed and supervised by the G3.” He also stated that merging the two organizations would make better use of available personnel and facilitate cross training for the members of both organizations. He said he does not anticipate any increases or reductions in personnel, but he does plan to move everyone to one location as soon as space becomes available.
 
Barrett joined the TACOM LCMC team after having served in the active Army for nearly seven years from 1993-2000 and 16 years in the Army National Guard from 2001-2017. He worked as an engineer for a defense contractor for more than 15 years.
 
Barrett began his Army career following graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1993. He says he was a “military brat.” His father and brother also were West Point grads, and he credits a large part of his motivation to join the Army to being brought up in a military family.
 
His Army career has included a variety of assignments in infantry, armor and cavalry. He deployed to Bosnia in 1996, Egypt in 2004 and Iraq in 2008. He says his experience during these deployments and the opportunity to lead soldiers have been the highlights of his military career.
 
In addition to graduating from West Point, Barrett earned a master’s of science in technical management from Embry-Riddle University in 2003, doctorate in leadership from Andrews University in 2007, and a master’s of science in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2012.
 
He has also written a number of articles on motivation, leadership, ethics and combat stress. He and his wife have been married for 20 years and have three children.

Senior Service College fellows graduate

On May 23, Michael Fraley and John Gates, TACOM Life Cycle Management Command; Paul Coles and Kathleen Lytle, Program Executive Office Combat Support & Combat Service Support; and Chad Stocker, PEO Ground Combat Systems graduated from the Defense Acquisition University Senior Service College Fellowship.
 
The DAU-SSCF provides leadership and acquisition training to prepare senior level civilians for key acquisition leadership positions and is the premier program for the development of DoD civilian acquisition leaders. This year marked fellowship’s 10th year in Warren.
 
Core areas include university studies, executive leadership, research, program management and national security. In addition to completing the DAU-SSCF requirements, graduating fellows earned master’s degrees in Global Leadership and Management from Lawrence Technological University through a DAU partnership with the Southfield, Michigan, school.
 
The graduation ceremony was held at TACOM and included a congratulatory video message from U.S. Senator Gary Peters. Remarks were provided by Dr. Virinder Moudgil, President and CEO of Lawrence Technological University; Dr. Thomas G. Marx, Director, LTU SSCF Program and Center for Leadership; and Carl D. Hayden, Associate Dean of Academics, DAU - Midwest Region. Ross Guckert, deputy Program Executive Officer for Combat Support & Combat Service Support, provided the keynote address. Maj. Gen. Clark LeMasters, TACOM LCMC commander, offered his congratulations. LeMasters; Marx; Hayden; and Deborah DiCesare, SSCF Midwest director, presented certificates and diplomas.
 

Logistics Modernization Program changes processes from last century at Army arsenal

WATERVLIET, NY – When the Arsenal went “live” in May 2016 with a new logistics program, 40 years of managing 11 inde­pendent manufacturing platforms migrated into one centralized process called the Logistics Modernization Program Increment 2.
 
Scott Shadle, the Arsenal’s chief of the Business Transformation team that has the responsibility for bringing LMP on line, said at the time that the transformation would be difficult.
 
“We knew it would be difficult to replace a 40-year-old system,” Shadle said. “And the difficulty would not lie so much with trying to change the cul­ture of several generations of Arsenal workers, but in the retention of knowledge.”
 
The first increment of LMP, which was implement­ed here in 2010, helped shape the environment for Increment 2, Shadle said. With LMP Increment 2, ev­erything from managing special tooling for production to tracking the maintenance status of machines to identifying shortfalls in raw material inventory began to be tied into one logistics system.
 
Shadle explained that his main concern last year was trying to ensure that hundreds of workers on the production floors, quality control inspection sta­tions, and in production planning and control shops retained the LMP training that they had previ­ously received. For some workers, it may have been months between the dates they received training to the date of implementation.
 
So, here it is 12 months later and the question is: Has the second increment of LMP worked?
 
“The launch of LMP 2 had a few challenges, but the Business Transformation team moved out of their offices and onto the production floors during the early months to solve problems as they arose,” said Jordan Selin, a production controller for Business Transformation. “In fact, the workforce implement­ed LMP 2 so well that we were able to launch a new process earlier this year called ‘digital travelers.’”
 
Until this year, travelers were hard-copy docu­ments that tracked every operation, from machining to quality control, on every product and became part of a gun records book, Selin said. As can be imag­ined in a manufacturing center, travelers were prone to oil and grease stains, tears, illegible entries, and were sometimes misplaced.
 
But, according to Alex Gardner, an industrial en­gineer who works with Selin on the Business Transformation team, all those ills with travelers were cured with the digital traveler.
 
“We are way ahead of schedule in incorporating LMP 2 into the Arsenal and so, the team decided to take LMP to the next level by automating the travel­ers,” Gardner said. “At any given moment, there are roughly 3,000 travelers that are open, and in a mat­ter of two months, we have digitized about 1,600 of those and believe that all travelers will be digitized by this December.”
 
In addition to curing the ills previously men­tioned, Selin explained that there are other advantages to digitizing documents that go into gun record books for every product.
 
“By inputting all machining data, to include the machinists’ remarks, we will create a common operational picture for each product or a machine,” Selin said. “If a foreman or even the director of operations wants to see the current status of a product line, he or she could simply open up the data file on their computer and get real-time information. No longer will they need to send an expediter or a runner down to the production building to find out what the status is.”
 
Additional advantages to digitizing machin­ing data is that this historical record could then be reviewed by agencies that provide government oversight, as well as by those who conduct forensic analysis for weapon-related incidents in the field, Selin said. Instead of taking months requesting such information and pulling the data together, those who have access to the gun record books could retrieve that information in a matter of minutes.
 
Although digitizing the travelers is a great initial effort to enhance the benefits of LMP 2, it is only a first step, Gardner said. Within the next two years, every document in a gun records book will be digitized.

Business leader describes traits for success

TACOM Life Cycle Management Command observed Asian American Pacific Islander Month May 16 with a motivational speaker whose theme was, “Believe in Yourself.”
 
Linglong He, chief information officer for Quicken Loans, moved to the U.S. from China in 1991. She described five traits that successful people possess.
 
CARRY YOUR OWN SUNSHINE
Have a positive spirit. “Sometimes you are not going to find sunshine, and that’s OK. Make sure you are ready to handle anything.”
 
BE ALL IN
Be fully engaged in what you are doing. He described a time when her daughter invited her to a high school concert where the daughter had a violin solo. “She played beautifully but do you know what I was doing? Replying to emails,” she confessed. She said when her daughter was in college and needed someone to talk to, she called her dad because her mom was never there for her. She wasn’t all in.
 
TRUST
“Trust is everything,” she said. “If two people walk into a room and don’t trust each other … it’s going to take forever to get anything done. But when people really trust each other it doesn’t matter because I have your back and you have my back.”
 
ALIGNMENT
Move in one direction together. “Some people want to move in this direction, some people want to move in that direction. Everyone has a strength and a weakness. If we leverage our strength and move in one direction, that is alignment.”
 
SURFING AHEAD
Keep up to date with technology. “When you surf, you really have to jump on the board before the wave comes or it will just push you away,” she said as she motioned behind her. “If you jump on the board after the wave comes, you’re too late.” Technology is like surfing, she said. “If you’re not savvy you’re going to be left behind, like on the surfing board.”
 
He followed those traits with words that have special meaning to her.
 
PASSION
Have fun with things. “It is so important, whatever you do every single day, you have to have fun with that, you need to enjoy that. You have passion for doing that. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you don’t have passion for that.”
 
OWNERSHIP
Finish what you start. “Sometimes we give people small (projects) but they say, ‘No, I want to do the big projects.’ But if you can’t take care of the small things, who tells you that you can do the big things? Ownership means everything. Sometime your leader … may give you a small project just to see how much you can be trusted to get to that finish line. At the finish, it’s really important to have real, full ownership.”
 
CREATIVE
Think outside the box. “Sometimes we draw our own boxes. We never had iPhones, but we have iPhones today. We never had the Internet, but we have the Internet today. It’s OK to think outside the box or even throw the box away.”
 
IMPACT
Do something positive for people every day. “Every day you impact people around you. Whatever you do, you impact your coworker … your teammates. Do something positive for people. You do that because you have passion and have fun with that. Ultimately, you have fun for your life. That is actually my goal, to help everyone else.”
 
YOU
“When we wake up every day we make a choice: are we going to carry our own sunshine today? Are we actually going to have passion to do what we do? Are we going to take ownership of what we do? Are we taking initiative by asking the company what we can do? At the end of the day, how do we impact other people’s life? What is fulfilling to you? If you can help others, that is a real fulfillment.”

Heads-up display to give Soldiers improved situational awareness

WASHINGTON -- A novel technology called “Tactical Augmented Reality,” or TAR, helps Soldiers precisely locate their positions, as well as the locations of friends and foes, said Richard Nabors.
 
It even enables them to see in the dark, all with a heads-up display device that looks like night-vision goggles, or NVG, he added. So in essence, TAR replaces NVG, GPS, plus it does much more.
 
Nabors, an associate for strategic planning at U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, spoke about TAR at the Pentagon’s Lab Day, May 18.
 
Most Soldiers use a hand-held GPS system that approximates their position, he said, but only if their device is geo-registered to their location.
 
Geo-registration is the alignment of an observed image with a geodetically-calibrated reference image.
 
TAR does the geo-registration automatically, he said.
 
Staff Sgt. Ronald Geer, a counterterrorism noncommissioned officer at CERDEC’s Night Vision and Electronics Sensors Directorate, said that with TAR, Soldiers don’t have to look down at their GPS device. In fact, they no longer need a separate GPS device because with TAR, the image is in the eyepiece, which mounts to the Soldier’s helmet in the same way NVG is mounted.
 
So what they would see, he said, is the terrain in front of them, overlaid with a map.
 
TAR is also designed to be used both day and night, he added.
 
Furthermore, Geer pointed out that the eyepiece is connected wirelessly to a tablet the Soldiers wear on their waist and it’s wirelessly connected to a thermal site mounted on their rifle or carbine.
 
If a Soldier is pointing his or her weapon, the image of the target, plus other details like the distance to target, can be seen through the eyepiece.
 
The eyepiece even has a split screen, so for example, if the rifle is pointed rearward and the Soldier is looking forward, the image shows both views, he said.
 
Also, a Soldier behind a wall or other obstacle could lift the rifle over the wall and see through the sites via the heads-up display without exposing his or her head.
 
Finally, Geer said that TAR’s wireless system allows a Soldier to share his or her images with other members of the squad. The tablet allows Soldiers to input information they need or to share their own information with others in their squad.
 
TECHNOLOGY BREAKTHROUGH
 
David Fellowes, an electronics engineer at CERDEC, said that the key technological breakthrough was miniaturizing the image to fit into the tiny one-inch-by-one-inch eyepiece.
 
Current commercial technology compresses images into sizes small enough to fit into tablet and cell phone-sized windows, but getting a high-definition image into the very tiny eyepiece was a challenge that could not be met with commercial, off-the-shelf hardware.
 
Since about 2008, CERDEC, the Army Research Laboratory and industry have been working to make this miniaturization happen, he said.
 
By about 2010, the image was compressed enough to be shown in black and white, as well as a greenish monochrome version, he said.
 
Those systems have already been fielded to certain units, he said.
 
CERDEC is working on producing more advanced versions that are in full color and have a brightness display that can be seen in daylight. The monochrome versions are also bright enough to be seen in daylight.
 
Fellowes said he’s not sure when those will be manufactured and fielded, but during user testing, Soldiers expressed their deep appreciation of the image sharpness and contrast.
 
He added that the TARs will provide Soldiers with a much higher level of situational awareness than they currently have and he said he fully expects that the devices will save lives and contribute to mission success.

Investigators urge vigilance as 'sextortion' scam continues to target Soldiers

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- Social media has countless benefits for Soldiers, with finding romance being one of them. But the person on the other end of that so-called love connection may be a scammer.
 
With ongoing cases of "sextortion" occurring across the Army -- a cybercrime where someone threatens to expose a sexual image in order to gain money or something else from a victim -- Army investigators have issued a new warning to Soldiers so they don't fall prey to the crime.
 
"They know that service members often have security clearances and are held to a higher standard of conduct, so that's why they're vulnerable targets," said Chris Grey, spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Command, or CID.
 
Typically, a perpetrator quickly elicits a video chat or exchanges sexually explicit images with a victim. A criminal may also try to gain the trust of a victim by pretending to share a mutual friend found on their open social media account.
 
"Many times, it's a person who within just a couple of chats will immediately be in the state of undress or engaging in some type of sexual act and try to encourage the victim to do the same," Grey said Wednesday.
 
"It's not like this happens months later; it's pretty quick."
 
Once the criminal has compromising images of a victim, they try to blackmail the victim with threats of posting the images online or showing them to the victim's supervisors, friends or family members. Criminals have also been known to pose as law enforcement officials, attempting to get the victim to pay a fine for exposing themselves online.
 
"If the victim pays, then they're very likely to come back for more money," Grey said, adding that Soldiers could find themselves in a never-ending cycle of demands.
 
LARGER IMPLICATIONS
 
While some Soldiers have handed over thousands of dollars of "hush money" in the scam, others have looked to ending their lives as a way to escape from it. There have been documented cases of Soldiers who committed suicide or attempted suicide because of it, Grey said.
 
Besides money, criminals may also target Soldiers to gain sensitive military information.
 
"They have been targeted, like other scams, because the perpetrators know that they have money and have a career and may have military information and access to military installations," Grey said.
 
The scam is not just solely focused on the Army, but it also targets service members in the other branches, as well as the entire civilian population.
 
"It's a widespread scam," Grey said, "but we want to make sure the force is ready and this helps protect the force by getting the word out so our Army community doesn't become victims."
 
DON'T BE A VICTIM
 
In the Army, the crime has mainly targeted young males, although there have been reports of female victims, investigators say.
 
If a Soldier or an Army civilian employee is targeted, they should not send any money to the perpetrator. Instead, they should report the crime to the Army CID's Computer Crime Investigative Unit at usarmy.cciuintel@mail.mil or 571-305-4478.
 
Family members and others not associated with the military can report the crime to their local police department, to Department of Homeland Security investigators at Assistance.Victim@ice.dhs.gov, or the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
 
To help prevent the crime, the Army CID uses social media and press releases to get the word out, while agents often give sextortion briefings across the service. The Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, or SHARP, also educates Soldiers about the crime as part of their regular training.
 
The goal of these campaigns, Grey said, is to encourage Soldiers to remain vigilant when online.
 
"There are perpetrators trolling the internet just like there are people on the back alleys of streets," he said. "So [Soldiers] have to be extremely careful."

Cruisin’ at the D grows to almost 150 vehicles

Almost 150 drivers registered their military, private and commercial vehicles and motorcycles for TACOM Life Cycle Management Command’s 2017 Cruisin’ at the D June 7 at the Detroit Arsenal.
 
The event, an auto show where vehicles drive laps around the arsenal, is modeled after the famous Woodward Dream Cruise to promote fun and camaraderie among Soldiers and employees. Those Soldiers and employees supply their personal classic and contemporary automobiles and motorcycles for others to see.
 
Maj. Gen. Clark LeMasters, TACOM’s commanding general, hosted the half-day event. The first Cruisin’ at the D was held in September 2016.
 
Privately owned cars registered this year included models from every decade all the way back to a 1938 Chevrolet Master, and motorcycles from 2003 to 2016. Contemporary military vehicles included the Abrams tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Stryker, and the Marines’ Light Armored Vehicle. Vintage military vehicles included a 1942 and 1944 Ford GPW (jeep), 1949 M38 military tribute jeep, and a 1952 Dodge M37 truck.
 
Attendees voted on their favorite entries. Winners were:
  • Best Foreign Car: James Thomas, Volvo 240
  • Best American Car: Sarah Benkoff, 1961 Chevrolet Impala
  • Best in Show: Benkoff’s 1961 Impala
  • Best Motorcycle: Michael S. Frank’s 2007 Ural with sidecar.
Almost 100 of those drivers also took part in a cruise around the arsenal – two laps around the center of the installation so onlookers could see their favorites on the street.
 
The event also included a contest to determine the teams that make the tastiest barbecued chicken and ribs. Winners were:
  • Best Dry Ribs: ILSC Field Support Operations/Readiness Operation Analysis Department
    • Stephen Schmoock
    • Steve Weidemann
  • Best Wet Ribs: The Meats Laboratory (Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center)
    • Chef Erik Berardi
    • Jake Bilinski
    • Tommy Berish
    • John Link
    • Bill Moore
  • Best Chicken: ILSC (Mine Resistant Vehicle Division)
    • Corey Woodruff
    • Jessica McGiness
    • Kurt Hunsanger
    • John Hazelton
    • Charles Ferrigno
  • Best Overall: ILSC (Mine Resistant Vehicle Division)
Judges included LeMasters; TACOM Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Sharpe; Donald Paple Jr., assistant Program Executive Officer, PEO Cround Combat Systems; and local celebrities Dean Bach, owner of Dino's Lounge and creator of the BBQ Burnout competition in Ferndale; Chef Layne, owner of Zeke's Rock ‘n’ Roll BBQ Restaurant in Ferndale; and Sam Sema, owner of JSP Penalty Box restaurant.

More photos of the cruise and cook-off are posted at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tacompao/sets/72157682088325454
 

ACC announces annual awards

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – The U.S. Army Contracting Command has recognized 29 individuals and five teams for excellence in fiscal year 2016.

Maj. Gen. James Simpson, ACC commanding general, announced the winners of the awards April 24.

Simpson said the individual and team awards winners “exemplify the highest level of performance and service excellence in the acquisition, non-acquisition, contracting, workforce development, and small business award categories.”

According to Kirk Martindale, ACC Human Capital G-1 Awards Program manager, selectees were recognized for their outstanding achievements between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sep. 30, 2016.

“ACC received 145 nominations consisting of both military and civilian personnel. These nominees were vetted by a panel of eight ACC senior leaders who identified individual and team winners,” said Martindale.

ACC conducts an annual awards program to recognize excellence in acquisition, contracting, small business and work force development within the command. According to the ACC command policy memorandum, “the goal of the program is to foster a sense of accomplishment and pride in the organization by acknowledging actions that encourage civilian and military employees to achieve the highest levels of performance and service.”

This year, teams and individuals from ACC-New Jersey received nine awards; ACC-Redstone received seven; ACC-Warren, Michigan, received six; ACC-Rock Island, Illinois, received four; the Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, received four; ACC-Orlando, received three and ACC-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, received one award.

The team award recipients are (recipient, location, and award):

Source Selection Support Center of Excellence Advisors Team; ACC-Warren; Outstanding Officer, Soldier or Civilian of the Year

Stryker Competition Campaign Team, ACC-Warren, Acquisition Change Advocate (Major Weapon Systems)
 
Property Support Team, ACC-Redstone Arsenal, Outstanding Achievement Award (Non- Acquisition)

Team MICC-Fort Knox, Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Customer Service Excellence Award (Team)

Defense Innovation Unit Experimental Team, ACC-New Jersey, Acquisition Change Advocate (Other than Major Weapon Systems)

The individual award recipients are:
  • John R. Lehman, ACC-Warren, Outstanding Price Analyst (Major Weapons Systems)
  • Kevin A. Kostka, ACC-Warren, Outstanding Price Analyst (Other than Major Weapons Systems)
  • Phyllis D. Withers, ACC-Warren, Outstanding Mission Support Business Operations (Non-Acquisition)
  • Sgt. 1st Class Jeanna N. McGinnis, ACC-Warren, Outstanding Active Duty Military Officer/NCO (Other than Major Weapon Systems)
  • Rachael L. Houle, ACC-New Jersey, Outstanding Contracting Officer (Major Weapons Systems)
  • Rachel M. Hickenlooper, ACC-Redstone, Outstanding Contracting Officer (Other than Major Weapons Systems)
  • Jason Santucci, ACC-New Jersey, Outstanding Contracting Specialist (Major Weapons Systems)
  • Michelle M. Talbot, ACC-Rock Island, Outstanding Contracting Specialist (Other than Major Weapons Systems)
  • Robert J. Verica III, ACC-Orlando, Outstanding Contingency Contracting (Civilian)
  • Sgt. 1st Class Christie L. England, MICC, Outstanding Contingency Contracting (NCO)
  • Maj. Matthew Webb, ACC-Redstone, Outstanding Contingency Contracting (Officer)
  • Ruby L. Mixon, ACC-Redstone, Outstanding Procurement Analyst (Major Weapon Systems)
  • Patricia Neal, ACC-Orlando, Outstanding Procurement Analyst (Other than Major Weapon Systems)
  • Kimberly A. Tedeschi, ACC-Orlando, Outstanding Workforce Development Specialist
  • Matthew P. Judd, MICC, Outstanding Intern of the Year (Other than Major Weapon Systems)
  • Travis T. James, ACC-New Jersey, ACC Innovation Award (Major Weapons Systems)
  • James P. Cummiskey, ACC-New Jersey, ACC Innovation Award (Other than Major Weapons Systems)
  • Guy Hunneyman, ACC-New Jersey, ACC Ability One Award
  • Adrianne R. Day, ACC-Redstone, Outstanding Mission Support Business Operations (Major Weapon Systems)
  • Derick S. Burton, ACC-Rock Island, Outstanding Mission Support Business Operations (Other than Major Weapon Systems)
  • Kathy B. Ray, ACC-Redstone, Excellence in Acquisition Leadership (Major Weapon Systems)
  • Guy Hunneyman, ACC-New Jersey, Excellence in Acquisition Leadership (Other Major Weapon Systems)
  • Debby C. Broyles, ACC-Rock Island, Excellence in Direct Sales Contracting
  • Anthony O. Mauriello, ACC-New Jersey, Contract Professional in Support of Small Business Program (Contract Officer)
  • Oddny G. Yerby, ACC-Redstone, Contract Professional in Support of Small Business Program (Contract Specialist)
  • Diane House, MICC, Small Business Specialist of the Year
  • Patrick J. Hamilton, ACC-New Jersey, Customer Service Excellence Award (Individual)
  • Tanya V. Peel, ACC-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Personal Development Achievement Award
  • Elizabeth A. Greenawalt, ACC-Rock Island, Public Affairs Liaison of the Year

Holocaust survivor describes experiences to TACOM audience

Martin Lowenberg remembers a tree in the small village of Schenklengsfeld, Germany, where he was born in 1928 and lived until he was 8. The tree is more than 1,000 years old now, but the generations of Jews who once celebrated its annual blooms are no longer there. “They were driven out,” Lowenberg said. “They were harassed, they were hated.” His family was among them.
 
Now 89, Lowenberg was the keynote speaker for TACOM Life Cycle Management Command’s Holocaust Days of Remembrance observance April 25. He described his life experiences from ages 5 to 17, including the years he fled from the Nazis or fought to survive slave labor, starvation and other abuses at six concentration camps.
 
“Jews were hated,” he said, “and ‘hate’ is the worst word in the dictionary.”
 
As a Jewish boy in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, Lowenberg knows the damage hate can do. He relates each letter of the word to the way Adolph Hitler and other Nazis treated Jews during the Holocaust.
 
To Lowenberg, the H represents harassment, horror, humility, hunger. A is atrocities, anger, awful. T is for torture, torment, terror. E is execution, elimination, evil.
 
“I’ve seen that evil,” he said. “I met that evil when I was 5 years old,” the year Hitler came to power in Germany. “For 12 years, I saw that evil every day. It wasn’t so much in the beginning, but after 1939 that devil was there all the time. … And of course we all know who that devil was, who poisoned everyone’s minds, and there were many, many people who played along with him with the word ‘hate.’
 
“I feel very well protected here,” he told the audience at the beginning of his presentation. “I wish that had happened more than 80 years ago, that I felt protected; however, unfortunately I was not that lucky, I was not that happy.”
 
Born as the fifth of seven children, Lowenberg said his family life was normal until he was 5. His father sold goods to farmers, just as his grandfather and great grandfather had done in the same village. But Hitler turned people against them because of their religion and his supporters burned the Lowenberg’s house down with everything in it. Already poor from the fire, matters got worse when people stopped buying goods from them and selling them food.
 
In 1933 or 1934, Lowenberg’s two oldest siblings, Berta and Hans, left Germany for Palestine as part of a Zionist youth movement after experiencing their own abuse. Margot, the third-oldest sibling, later emigrated to the United States with the family for whom she worked as a nanny. With three of her five children safely out of the country, his mother gave birth to children number six and seven, twin boys, in May 1934.
 
Lowenberg left public school in his hometown when he was 8 after his teacher instructed several students to beat him up because the teacher said the Jewish boy had stuck out his tongue at a picture of Hitler. The teacher meted his own punishment by placing a board covered with tacks and nails onto a chair and pushing the young Lowenberg onto it. He never went back to that school.
 
For the next two years he attended a Jewish boarding school in Bad Nauheim, Germany, 150 miles from home. As a 10-year-old, he remembers people throwing rocks through his school’s windows, injuring classmates with flying debris. He saw Jewish people accosted in the middle of the street. With a synagogue burning near the centralized Jewish housing, Lowenberg was afraid that flames would spread to the apartments.
 
In December 1941, Lowenberg, 18-year-old sister Eva, their 7-year-old twin brothers and their parents were shipped in railroad boxcars with about 1,000 other Jews to Latvia, a four-day trip. The train was so crowded the 13-year-old Lowenberg had to stand the whole time. “Older people and women with children were scattered all over the floor,” he said. “People were nervous and afraid of what would happen to us.” When they arrived, they were marched 5 miles to a camp for Jews in Riga known as the “Ghetto.” The Latvian Jews who lived there before them were slaughtered to make room for the newcomers; their blood and personal belongings were frozen to the snow and ice. Lowenberg’s family of six shared a room with a couple. He said they washed and fed themselves with snow for two weeks before they received any rations. He also stole food, mostly spoiled and frozen, from empty houses to feed his family.
 
In 1943, male and female Jews between the ages of 15 and 50, including Eva and Lowenberg, were sent to separate slave labor camps – Jungfernhof and Kaiserwald, respectively. Their heads were shaved and their hair was used for bedding. Children younger than 15 and adults over 50, including the Lowenberg parents, father Sally and mother Klara, were shipped to Auschwitz, where they were immediately sent to the gas chambers. The twins also went to Auschwitz, where they were killed along with 1.5 million other Jewish children under the age of 14, including 300 twins. The 9-year-old Lowenberg twins never met their three oldest siblings who were able to escape Germany before the atrocities started.
 
“Where did the youth go?” Lowenberg asked. “What happened to them? Imagine what would have happened later if they had been given the chance to live. But unfortunately, they didn’t have that chance.
 
“It’s very difficult to understand the reason why,” Lowenberg continued. “What had they done? The reason was because they didn’t want them to have an education, they didn’t want them to enjoy life, they didn’t want them to produce more children. So they took them to Auschwitz where they gassed and burned them.”
 
Eva and Lowenberg were held separately at another Latvian camp in September 1944 but were reunited in the Fuhlsbuettel prison and concentration camp in Hamburg, Germany, a few weeks later. They survived a four-day death march in April 1945 to Kiel, Germany, where they were forced to use their fingers to clean off bricks from bombed-out rubble so they could be used again.
 
After three weeks in Kiel, on May 5, 1945, the siblings were told to stand by the entrance of the camp, by the trucks. The covered trucks had hoses running from the tail pipe to the passenger compartment. “As soon as they went a few miles the people inside were gassed and killed. Then they came back for more,” Lowenberg said. “Fortunately, I was taken (on an open truck), and they took us into Sweden where we were quarantined for five weeks and then to rehabilitation centers for nine months.” He was free. He soon reunited with Eva and came to the United States in 1946 to reunite with Margot in New York. All the surviving Lowenberg children were together again when Berta and Hans came to the United States in 1951 from Palestine. Berta and Hans, have since passed away. Margot is 97, Eva is 95.
 
By the end of the war, 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews had been killed in the Holocaust. “People think there were just a few camps, but there were hundreds of camps and millions of people perished, were killed, or starved and nobody could do anything about it,” Lowenberg said. “Nobody could lift a hand. Most people didn’t even know what was happening.”
 
Lowenberg has been back to his hometown village but he finds that people who live there now have a hard time understanding what happened in their village so many years ago.
 
He and his wife, Carol, live in Southfield, Michigan. They have three daughters, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Senior Service College Fellows complete capstone

The Midwest Senior Service College Fellows completed military staff rides April 8-18. Kathy Lytle, Chad Stocker and Paul Coles visited the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility in coordination with Huntsville, Alabama, fellows. Michael Fraley and John Gates visited the U.S. European Command AOR in coordination with Aberdeen, Maryland, fellows. The visits exposed the fellows to Department of Defense combatant commands and component services, engagement with leadership, and visits to World War II historic sites where the fellows took lessons learned from historical events and discussed how they would apply them to leadership and acquisition today.
 
The Pacific trip included visits to USPACOM, Special Operations Command Pacific, Marine Forces Pacific, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Army Pacific. The group walked the battlefield of the attack on Pearl Harbor, visited to the USS Arizona Memorial, and toured the USS Missouri. Guides included faculty from the Army War College (Alfred Lord and Col. Douglas Winton) and Defense Acquisition University (Mark Lumb, Deborah DiCesare and Bill Colson).
 
The European trip included visits to geographical combatant commands, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, and multiple World War II battlefields. It began with staff visits and leadership roundtables with U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Army Europe, and SHAPE, NATO’s strategic military organization. The MSR included walking the battlefields of the Battle of the Bulge, Operation Market Garden, and the Battle of Fortress Eben Emael. Guides included faculty from the Army War College (Dr. Paul Jussel and Col. Gregg Thompson) and DAU (Jim Oman, Jeff Caton and Mike Roche).
 
This capstone event provided the fellows with a hands-on learning environment and leaves a lasting impression of the lessons learned that the fellows can take back to their organizations.

Army’s illustrated preventative maintenance magazine to go all-digital this summer

WASHINGTON –  For 66 years now, since the Korean War, the comic book-like “PS Magazine” has been published monthly to provide Soldiers with tips on maintaining their Army gear. This summer, the magazine will go digital only.
 
“PS Magazine” is available now in app form for both Android and Apple phones, said magazine editor Jonathan Pierce. The app first became available in June 2016 -- exactly 65 years after it was first published in print. The June 2017 edition of the magazine will be the last to be printed on paper. It’ll be the 775th edition.
 
“We wanted to reach out to Soldiers who have grown up in a generation that is used to using mobile apps,” Pierce said. “We wanted to extend the reach of the printed magazine and use the mobile app to reach this younger audience of Soldiers.”
 
After trying out the app version of the magazine, Pierce said, it was decided that eliminating the print version made sense.
 
“We have been pleased with what has happened with the mobile app,” he said. “And the commanders involved have decided we can just go with the mobile app. So the decision was made to stop printing the magazine and rely entirely on the mobile app.”
 
While Soldiers will still be able to download digital copies of the magazine from the PS Magazine website, accessing the content through the app will provide a much richer experience, Pierce said.
 
“What the mobile app does, is instead of being this 2D printed product, now we have a mobile app where we can add a video that will show a maintenance procedure, or add resource material that will for instance show sample preventive maintenance checks and services forms.”
 
Other resource material can be linked to though the app as well, Pierce said, and the app also includes a search tool to find related material from past editions of PS Magazine.
 
“The app actually enables us to provide more information to Soldiers than we were able to do with the printed publication,” he said. “The mobile app is really a fully functional tool that will provide much more than the printed publication could ever provide.”
 
PS Magazine was first published June 1951, during the Korean War, to help Soldiers better maintain their equipment. Today, the magazine has a staff of six writers and three editors. Illustration for the magazine is done via contract.
 
To get ideas for the magazine, “PS Magazine” writers regularly travel to the field to meet with Soldiers.
 
“They will talk with people who are actually doing maintenance on their equipment,” Pierce said. “They get them talking about what they are doing. And then it becomes a discussion of what problems have you had in the past? And from that discussion we gain these story ideas.”
 
Then his team finds the answers to those problems through their own research, and generate stories for the magazine.
 
“If one Soldier has the problem, it’s likely other Soldiers do too,” he said.
 
Pierce said ideas for “PS Magazine” also come from Army lifecycle management commands such as Tank Automotive Command or Aviation and Missile Command, for instance.
 
Pierce said he expects that “PS Magazine” characters Master Sgt. Half-Mast, Connie Rodd and Bonnie will continue to provide preventive maintenance advice to Soldiers for years to come.
 
“I fully expect this thing will continue on for the foreseeable future,” he said. “Because we are adding so many new features to what we are able to provide for Soldiers, I believe we will be around for a very long time. I think it’s the right move. I think that we are really going to provide a better product for Soldiers and they’ll enjoy and benefit from using it.”
 
The “PS Magazine” app is available now at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/p.s.magazine/id1082232259?mt:8 and
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id:mil.logsa.army.psmag&hl:en
 
Past issues of the magazine can also be viewed online at the “PS Magazine” website, located at https://www.logsa.army.mil/psmag/pshome.cfm.

Army Chief of Staff visits ANAD

ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. – U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley toured Anniston Army Depot April 17.
 
“Depots like Anniston provide an incredible capability to our Army that is absolutely critical to sustain,” Milley said. “From the skilled artisans at Anniston, to the scientists and engineers at AMRDEC, Army Materiel Command’s vast and diverse mission cannot be understated or replicated.”
 
Milley toured the Combat Vehicle Repair Facility, viewing the work performed on the M1 Abrams tank, Stryker repair and overhaul programs, the M113 family of vehicles and others.
 
He also was able to view work performed for Stryker lethality upgrades at General Dynamics Land Systems facilities on the installation.
 
“While far from the front lines, both Redstone Arsenal and Anniston Army Depot are directly linked to the battlefield,” Milley said.
 
Accompanying Milley on the tour were Rep. Mike Rogers from Alabama’s third Congressional District; Gen. Gus Perna, commanding general for the Army Materiel Command; Lt. Gen. Larry Wyche, AMC’s deputy commanding general; Lt. Gen. John Murray, deputy chief of staff G-8; Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, deputy chief of staff G-4; and Maj. Gen. James Richardson, director, Army Quadrennial Defense Review Office, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8; among others.
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