Armor & Mobility

MAY 2016

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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Page 12 of 35 Unmanned Tech Solutions | Armor & Mobility | May 2016 | 11 The MH-47 "Chinook" supports special operations by conducting overt and covert infltration, exfltration, heavy assault, resupply, and sling load operations. (USSOCOM) integrated in our SOF acquisition network. Which brings us to "trusted." The SOF community is fairly small but very diverse, with four component commands from each of the Services, one Joint sub-unified command, and seven theater special operations commands supporting each of the geographic combatant commands around the globe. Likewise, the SOF portfolio is very diverse. We have everything from undersea systems to satellites, so our industry partners are many. All this is to say that we operate in a fairly complex acquisition space and we wouldn't be able to maneuver effectively and efficiently in that space without earning and maintaining the trust of the operational community and industry partners alike. Our acquisition environment allows the Acquisition Executive to empower his subordinates to an extraordinary extent and they, in turn, work very hard to ensure their teams are trusted partners in that network. A&M: Can you speak to some current efforts that USSOCOM acquisitions is undertaking in the way of streamlining processes from prototype development to fielding? Mr. Smith: First, the way we're organized allows for efficiencies. With the Directorate of Science and Technology and the USSOCOM J4 part of SOF Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L), the Acquisition Executive has direct oversight of every phase of the acquisition life cycle; from technology development through sustainment. Our engineers, program managers, contracting officers and logisticians work as a team within the same chain of command. Within the technology lane, we're pursuing multiple avenues. We've dramatically increased the numbers of cooperative research and development agreements in order to provide more venues for our industry partners to team on SOF technology challenges. Likewise, we made full use of our Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funds to advance technologies. Last year our SBIR program was recognized as the best in DoD for commercialization rate; a measure of the number of programs that started life as a SBIR and went on to receive non-SBIR funding to advance the technology. Our Director for Science and Technology also runs three to four Technical Experimentation (TE) events each year. These events provide a forum for industry partners to bring their technologies to a field environment and get invaluable first-hand operator feedback. Each TE event is focused on a capability area. In July, we'll invite unconventional warfare and urban operations capabilities to Camp Atterbury, Indiana and we'll look at maritime surface capabilities at Little Creek, Virginia in September. These events are announced in FedBizOps and on our website ( For acquisition programs, we are primarily focused on improving our communications with industry. The Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in May in Tampa is our capstone event. We host industry days prior to the release of a major contract request for proposal, and this year we've introduced Capability Collaboration Events. These will bring together a wide variety of USSOCOM staff members, acquisition professionals, industry partners and operators to focus on a specific capability area. In April, we focused on ISR sensors for small fixed-wing aircraft. Again, like the Technical Experimentation events, these will be announced through FedBizOps and our website. Finally, in the logistics lane, our Special Operations Forces Support Activity in Lexington, Kentucky is integral to our sustainment activities. This facility combines design and rapid prototyping, production and integration and life cycle sustainment activities in one footprint. We do everything from tearing down Army CH-47 Chinooks and rebuilding them as SO-peculiar MH-47's, to maintaining our Joint Operational Stock of equipment

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