Project Management Institute

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a bold new vision of military procurement policy

Showcase Project

Albert A. Dettbarn, GTE Mobile Subscriber Equipment Division

Richard E. Little, GTE C3 Systems Sector Headquarters Group

A. Dale McMullan, GTE C3 Systems Sector New Business Department

SCOPE OF THE PROJECT

GTE's Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE) system is intended to become the centerpiece of the U.S. Army's battlefield radiotelephone network. Awarded in 1985 at $4.2 billion by the U.S. Army's Communications and Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, the MSE contract is reportedly the largest communications program ever placed by the Army.

MSE replaces many nonintegrated, uncoordinated pieces of telecommunication equipment, some of which date back to the 1950s. Our first delivery was made in February 1988, just 22 months after program startup; the Army's procurement schedule calls for MSE equipment to be fielded to one corps per year during the period 1988-1993. Beyond that date, the contract requires that GTE provide operation and maintenance training, spare parts provisioning, hardware and software maintenance, and depot and regional support center management through 2009. Program funding is requested from, and appropriated by Congress annually.

When fully fielded, MSE will supply survivable, secure voice, data, and facsimile service to the Army's five corps and the 28 active, National Guard, and reserve divisions. The entire system will connect upwards of 8000 cellular-like mobile radio and 30,000 landline telephone subscribers (users).

With MSE, field commanders can send and receive calls, electronic mail, and facsimiles without interruption over an entire five-division corps area, spanning 37,500 square kilometers (an area about the size of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut combined). MSE also connects with, and is replacing, the Army's corps-level Tri-Service (Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps) Tactical (TRI-TAC) communications equipment, much of which is GTE supplied. MSE also interoperates with the Army's Combat Net Radio (walkie-talkie) network, with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) telecommunication systems in Europe, and with commercial satellite and landline telephone networks around the world.

The system offers a new dimension in military communications by providing telephone services to mobile subscribers even while vital connective elements of the system are on the move. The division-level Army Tactical Communications System (ATACCS), which MSE is also replacing, does not allow commanders to communicate while their command posts are being relocated.

To accomplish this prodigious program, GTE Government Systems Corporation's Mobile Subscriber Equipment Division (MSED), headquartered in Taunton, Massachusetts, leads a team of 32 subcontractors, 700 vendors, and several internal GTE suppliers who, together, will produce MSE'S more than 8000 mobile radios, 1400 telephone switching centers, and 25,000 telephones.

MSE received many and highly enthusiastic commendations from its operators and users during the Persian Gulf War; and, in 1989, GTE earned the DOD's Value Engineering Contractor of the Year Award for realizing $21.7 million in cost savings on the program. Our MSE program is providing a high-quality, high-performance tactical communications system on schedule and under tight cost control.

Evolution of the Requirement

MSE replaces two earlier and only partially successful tactical communications programs that, by 1980, had saddled the military community with a hedge-podge of aging and not always interoperable telephone equipment.

In the 1960s, the Mallard Program set out to develop a corps-level tactical communications system. But, because each service purchased its own telephone switch, interoperation with ancillary equipment was problematic at best, given this segmental approach to system procurement.

In the 1970s, the requirement for inter-service communications capability prompted the Department of Defense (DOD) to designate the Tri-Service Tactical (TRI-TAC) office as communication systems coordinator. However, development responsibility for the telephone switch remained with the Army; the Air Force purchased the man-pack telephone switchboard (GTE's 30-line “smallboard”); the Marine Corps procured the facsimile machine. Responsibility for ancillary equipment was parceled out among the cooperating services, each program being administered by the “host” service, again with problematic results.

The Army's TRI-TAC circuit (voice) and message (data) switches, together with the existing smallboard, both developed by GTE, were successfully fielded at corp level (division-level communications were handled by the Army Tactical Communications System). Other equipment programs lagged one to several years behind schedule; some never matured under the TRI-TAC umbrella. And there was still no firm assurance that the resulting pieces would work together.

MSE System Acquisition: A New Concept

In 1981, James Ambrose, then Undersecretary of the Army, convinced the DOD to put the systems coordination/integration responsibility for the Army's post-ATACCS communications suite out to bid. His initiative mandated six acquisition guidelines that would distinguish MSE from earlier procurement programs:

Cradle-to-Grave Contractor Responsibility. The contractor is responsible for all aspects of systems acquisition/production, integration, fielding, training, and logistic support, including ownership and management of the maintenance support system. The Army does not assume ownership of any MSE system until it is fieldtested and proven to work and until the contractor has trained the Army's “gaining” unit (users) to operate and maintain it.

Feature-driven Statement of Work. The contractor provides 19 required design and functional features and as many as possible of 82 desired features. The Army supplies no detailed design specification; the contractor is free to meet the functional requirements in the most cost-effective manner possible consistent with system reliability standards.

Nondevelopmental-item Procurement. The contractor provides only fully developed equipment that is already working in the field. Engineering development is restricted to mechanical integration of shelter equipment and to interface (interconnection) software.

Accelerated Fielding Schedule. The contractor demonstrates the system during the competitive proposal phase, begins fielding the first 85-shelter system 22 months after contract award and completes user training on that system in month 26. MSE is to be completely fielded during the contract's basic and five option years (“from scratch” developmental projects such as ATACCS typically require a decade or more to complete).

All-inclusive Equipment Warranty. The contractor buys every piece of equipment needed for each system, even equipment the Army already has in use.

Firm Fixed Price Contract. The contractor accepts all cost risks; profit depends on productivity and attention to cost control.

The discussions that follow identify the cost, schedule, and quality management issues, risks, approaches, and accomplishments of the MSE program that, to this day, are still being driven by Jim Ambrose's bold new vision of military procurement policy.

ACQUISITION MANAGEMENT

As soon as MSE entered the DOD's early planning stages in 1981, GTE began following the opportunity closely. When, in 1984, the DOD invited qualified defense contractors to bid the program, we submitted a bid proposal and successfully negotiated the contract. Our proposal covered issues such as teaming agreements, technical approach, program management, program cost and schedule, and system demonstration.

Teaming Issues

Undersecretary Ambrose's non-developmental-item procurement strategy virtually dictated that the winning contractor would have to team with an established supplier of tactical communications equipment. In planning our team, we sought a partner whose products and overall technical competence would best complement our own. Our own strengths in telecommunications switching and system integration project management, when measured against the overall system requirements, led us to seek partners who had off-the-shelf capability in radio communications and network control.

The search for the technological “best fit” led us eventually to Thomson-CSF, headquartered in Coublay near Paris, France. Integral to their Reseau Integre de Transmissions Automatiques (RITA) system (already fielded to the French and Belgian armies), Thomson had an excellent radio and system control center that had been engineered to interoperate with the NATO communications suite.

While Thomson has a $1.6 billion stake in MSE (about 25 percent of the total), in contract years three to five, the RITA radios are being assembled, at the Kansas City facility of Wilcox Corporation, thus securing about 80 percent of the MSE effort to U.S. firms.

Technical Strategy

GTE's proposal met the MSE program's 19 required features with nondevelopmental-item equipment. We additionally satisfied 69 of the 82 desired system options. Of the 13 options we did not have for our bid, most involved then leading-edge technologies that were not matured at the time.

During the proposal effort and pre-award period, we engineered solutions to requirements in mobile subscriber area coverage; equipment integration and interoperability; system performance, survivability, and endurability; logistics support; and cost containment.

MSED Org Chart

Figure 1. MSED Org Chart

Our most significant post-award engineering effort has focused on network control. To live within the contract's nondevelopmental-item restriction we adapted RITA's system control center hardware to fit into MSE's smaller S-250 shelters (a cubical approximately 5.8' x 7.6') and adjusted RITA's electrical interfaces to operate with our circuit switches. Because U.S. Army corps are twice the size of their French counterparts, we developed a new magnetic disk to store the larger U.S. network control data base.

Also in the post-award phase, we engineered the packet switching option, giving MSE the ability to move standard-sized data packages rapidly through the network via store-and-forward memory cells at each switch node. MSE's packet network supports a number of useful data services including electronic mail. Systems delivered since January 1991 have the packet capability.

Management Strategy

A key element in GTE's strategy was to dedicate an entire new business unit to lead the MSE program effort. GTE would charter a single-program division reporting directly to the president and general manager of GTE Government Systems Corporation. Such an organizational relationship invests the highest levels of corporate management with responsibility for (1) assigning any needed human, technical, and financial resources to the program; and (2) closely monitoring program status to take prompt corrective action in the event that program deficiencies should develop. The new division would be tasked to

  • Direct and coordinate the program efforts of all participating GTE business units, team members, and subcontractors.
  • Provide a single management focus for the efficient and economical performance of all GTE and subcontractor assembly, integration, test, and delivery tasks.
  • Coordinate all logistics support tasks with the U.S. Army's in-place logistics structures and resources.

Cost/Schedule Strategy

Our winning proposal price of $4.2 billion undercut the competition by over $3 billion, largely because our system was based on already fielded GTE TRI-TAC corps-level switches and on other division-level ATACCS equipment as well as on the NATO-compatible RITA components. By baselining our system on equipment already in use by the Army, we enhanced the credibility of our control over schedule risk. Additional elements of our cost/schedule strategy included

  • Pre-award completion of substantially all system engineering at our own cost
  • Maximized use of standard non-developmental-item equipment
  • Maximized use of in-place Army logistics support facilities and organizations
  • Minimized retraining requirements for system operators, maintainers, and subscribers
  • Minimized impact of system fielding on each Army gaining unit's combat readiness

Demonstration Strategy

MSE being a largely nondevelopmental-item program, the bidders were asked to field a pre-award system demonstration.

We arranged to have our MSE system deployed throughout 4200 square kilometers of wooded hill country around Nancy in eastern France in the late winter of 1985. We hired a U.S. Army Signal company from its base in nearby West Germany to learn and operate the system. Military units from France and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization also participated in the exercise.

For a period of ten days, mobile subscribers careened down slushy roads, across snowy fields, and from one mobile radio coverage area to another, automatically “reaffiliating” (reconnecting) in each new area. Node switches were repeatedly “jumped” (moved) to simulate the movement of an Army corps.

Overall, the GTE system performed well; workarounds were proposed and accepted for the few “glitches” that developed. The Army was immensely pleased with the demonstration, presented, as it was, under the most inhospitable conditions of weather and terrain. But the really unique happening in the GTE exercise was that a number of high-ranking Army officers voluntarily spent an extended week in the dank, misty French countryside to be the first to try out the new communications system (see page 10).

PROGRAM MANAGEMENT

GTE has an extensive body of program management policies and procedures that have been developed and refined over more than 35 years of defense contracting. Our implementation of such guidelines for operational methodology, program planning, work package structure, program scheduling, requirements control, engineering, and automated project control is discussed here. Subcontracts, production, and integrated logistics support management issues and solutions for MSE are detailed in subsequent parts of our report.

Operational Methodology

Success on a program with the scope and complexity of MSE requires that working associations be founded on open-communication, win-win relationships. At the same time, all exchanges having contractual impact (such as those related to program scope, schedule, and cost) must be formally structured. GTE's standard policies and procedures have been applied to our business relationships, both internal and with our customer, with these principles in mind.

Internal GTE relationships are governed by the following procedures.

  • All GTE Mobile Subscriber Equipment Division (MSED) management and performing organizations are collocated in a single building in Taunton, Massachusetts with the exception of production support organizations in other GTE divisions.
  • MSED's general manager and his senior staff meet weekly to review program status and identify problems within each manager's area of responsibility. Informal staff communication between meetings is encouraged; formal program direction/redirection is documented.
  • The general manager's monthly staff meeting reviews trends identified in the Management Information Center to plan any needed adjustments to program direction, organization, personnel, and operating methods.

The president and general manager of GATE Government Systems Corporation (GSC) chairs an MSE program steering committee that is available to MSED's general manager for coordinating resources from both GSC and other GTE business units as needed for successful program completion.

Communication between GTE and the Army's Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) follow these guidelines:

  • Each MSE manager is expected to be in constant contact with their CECOM counterpart to maintain a common understanding of program status, problems, risks, action items, etc., in their area of responsibility.
  • MSE technical specialists and management personnel frequently visit Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, for informal informational exchanges with their CECOM counterparts.
  • MSE personnel take technical direction from the Army through CECOM only; formal contract direction is taken only from the Army's procurement contracting officer via the MSED Contracts office.

Program Plans

Our efforts to meet the program requirements on schedule and within budget were channeled through a series of plans proposed by GTE and accepted by the Army during contract negotiations. Each plan is documented to identify the appropriate standards, schedule and cost milestones, and review and audit procedures. Each is the responsibility of a separate MSED staff function that coordinates activities under the plan with all participating internal GTE organizations, with all subcontractors, and with the Army.

  • Configuration Management Plan. MSED Configuration Management ensures that the impact of each proposed hardware or software change to any part of the system is assessed and that authorized changes are documented and incorporated into the deliverable product.

Production Plan. MSED Production management schedules the human and materiel resources needed to deliver products on time, in the required quantities, and within budget.

  • Quality Program Plan. MSED Quality Assurance develops inspection standards, trains inspectors, schedules inspections and tests, and audits incoming and in-process test results.
  • Material Fielding Plan. MSED System Support supervises all aspects of fielding, training, and logistics support, including post-development software support.

Work Breakdown Structure

Our work breakdown structure (WBS) reorganizes the MSE statement of work into a hierarchy of work packages down to the lowest manageable task. Developed initially during the proposal phase as a basis for cost estimating, the MSE program WBS has evolved, in the contract phase, into a total program plan and a means for projecting, controlling, and reporting schedule status and resource application.

The WBS provides a structure for documenting, for both GTE and the Army, exactly who is doing what, with what, when, and at what cost throughout the entire program. It further serves as a basis for costing potential future orders for increments of equipment or services not covered by the basic contract.

Program Scheduling

Using the WBS as a basis for defining MSE tasks and products, we networked the program schedule using the commercially available Artemis™ scheduling and project management support system. The total program schedule network is actually a hierarchy of schedule networks that tracks the WBS. The highest level network or “Program Master Schedule” summarizes the critical paths from all lower levels.

As effort is expended on tasks, the schedule networks are updated to reflect the “actuals.” Changes in the program plan are also incorporated as they are approved. These schedule networks are maintained and displayed in the MSE Management Information Center (MIC).

Artemis™ and the MIC are treated further in our discussion of Automated Management Tools.

Requirements Control

A major concern on a firm fixed price contract is exposure to “requirements creep,” the situation in which the customer asks you to do more work than you believe the contract requires.

On the MSE program, we respond to requirements changes by developing and submitting formal engineering and value engineering change proposals whose goal is to better define the requirements in question and to evolve a mutually advantageous resolution of the associated technical, schedule, and cost issues.

Engineering Change Proposals. We respond to any significant requirements change by submitting an Engineering Change Proposal (ECP). An ECP must convince the Army (1) that their “interpretation” of a particular requirement amounts to a new requirement and (2) that our approach will result in a significant benefit to the Army. When the Army accepts an ECP, it becomes the subject of a contract modification (whether or not it affects cost). We “retrofit” (recall the equipment and insert) the change in all fielded equipment either at our regional support centers or at the Army gaining unit's post, and incorporate it into all subsequent deliveries from the factory.

Value Engineering Change Proposals. A Value Engineering Change Proposal (VECP) is usually initiated by the contractor, generally lowers the contract cost, and may provide more functionality than that required by the contract. The customer typically shares the savings with the contractor.

In 1989 alone, we incorporated a number of VECPs with the Army that, together, resulted in cost reductions of $21.7 million and for which we received the DOD Value Engineering Contractor of the Year Award (refer to the sidebar on the Value Engineering Award).

Engineering Management

Because MSE is a largely non-developmental-item program, we designed and demonstrated most of the system during the proposal and pre-award phases. Hence, post-award engineering work has been directed mostly to designing installation kits and to developing new, or applying existing, technology to meet the requirements of the system options desired by the Army such as the packet switching capability. Other technical activities have focused on Value Engineering initiatives to improve the manufacture, test, fielding, and support of MSE hardware and software products.

“Matrix” organization of projects is the norm throughout GTE Government Systems Corporation, a structure in which project staff are assigned from the central Engineering organization only for the duration of the program. On programs as large as MSE, we have found that “project” organization is a more effective approach to the use of Engineering resources. Consequently at the inception of the program, MSE's staff engineers were permanently reassigned from our central Engineering organization to the newly-forrned GTE Mobile Subscriber Division.

Automated Management Tools

To capture, and provide rapid access to, program information needed to deliver all MSE products on schedule, to specification, and within budget, we established a Management Information Center (MIC) at MSED headquarters. MIC consolidates and coordinates several automated management tools:

  • Material Information Data System (MIDAS)
  • Artemis™ Project Scheduler (Artemis is a trademark of Lucas Management Systems)
  • Automated Cost Estimating (ACE) application
  • Integrated System for Line Item Processing (ISLIP)
  • SprintMail

Material Information Data System. GTE developed MIDAS as an integrated materials management system comprising several discrete but linked applications: Engineering Data Control, Material Procurement Control, Incoming Inspection Control, Inventory Control, Manufacturing Planning and Control, and the Quality Data System. Together, these applications track and control materials handling from Engineering data release through component purchase to product assembly integration, and test.

Artemis Project Scheduler. Artemis is a production scheduling and control tool, one of a number of such tools used throughout GTE. On the MSE program, in addition to being the primary schedule networking tool (refer back to our discussion of Program Scheduling), the Artemis data base is loaded with make/buy lead times and material, labor, and overhead costs for all shelter components, together with shelter integration and test requirements. When delivery requirements are input, Artemis outputs a production plan that includes schedule milestones, staffing and overtime requirements, and action item reports. If delivery requirements or production schedules should change during a particular build, Artemis automatically adjusts the staffing and other requirements.

Automated Cost Estimating. ACE is a GTE-developed cost estimating application. ACE accepts work breakdown structure and cost-to-date data and outputs proposal, plan, or program cost-to-complete reports.

Integrated System for Line Item Processing. The ISLIP application tracks deliverable products shipped under government Form DD 250 documentation from the moment the products are signed off by a government representative on the GTE ship ping dock through GTE invoicing.

SprintMail. SprintMail is a service of US Sprint that is used on MSE to provide a programwide, on-line message and data network. It is used for gathering subcontractor status information and for other internal and external communications. In addition to receiving contractually required status reports from GTE over the network, the Army's MSE program office at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, has access through the network to project data bases made available by GTE.

SUBCONTRACTS MANAGEMENT

Our current MSE program team embraces 32 subcontractors, 700 vendors, and a number of internal GTE suppliers. In addition to the French firm of Thomson-CSF, key members of our program team include AM General for trucks, Gichner for shelters, Libby Welding for power generators, Litton for telephone switch processors, General Electric for communications security equipment, Magnavox for telephones and facsimile machines, Bolt Baranek & Newman for packet switches, and Canadian Marconi and Ericsson (in addition to Thomson) for radios.

Team Management

Our approach to MSE subcontractor management assigns a project manager to direct, monitor, and control each subcontractor's technical and schedule performance and to provide in-house coordination of subcontractor activities. These project managers are assigned by the MSE Acquired Systerns office; some individual project managers supervise more than one subcontractor.

The GTE-Thomson partnership is the sole exception to the subcontractor management scheme. Responsibility for this partnership was assigned at program inception to MSED's assistant general manager; all other subcontractors report through their respective project managers.

In recognition of Thomson's significant program contribution, we negotiated a formal Memorandum of Understanding with our partner during the proposal phase. This agreement covers technical and schedule performance and evaluation; progress reporting; program status reviews; the exchange of resident technical and management personnel; the disposition of Thomson's engineering change proposals and requests for deviations from, or waivers of, subcontract provisions; and configuration management.

To maintain important personal contacts, our technical people visit Thomson's plants as needed to support the three liaison people permanently resident there. By sending quality inspectors to Thomson's plants to witness factory tests, we dramatically reduce the time needed to perform incoming inspection at the Taunton plant. Our Thomson program manager exchanges visits with his counterpart in France for progress reviews and briefings. These meetings occasionally include the Army's MSE procurement contracting officer and program manager.

Similar contacts are maintained with all of our subcontractors. Beyond simply facilitating the exchange of program status information, such meetings generate goodwill among MSE program team members and with the Army. Our good rapport with our MSE teammates grows from the perception that they are as eager as are we to make the program work.

All of our subcontractors have direct access to MSED's Artemis project scheduling tool, an arrangement that enables both GTE and the subcontractors to identify delivery problems early and to take appropriate corrective action.

Internal GTE Team

Several GTE Government Systems business units participate in the MSE program.

Our major internal subcontractor, GTE Communication Systems Division (CSD), produces sheet metal parts, printed circuit cards, and telephone switch subassemblies for MSE. To expedite production, CSD loads parts kits for each assembly operation it supports onto transportable carts for “just-in-time” delivery to the Taunton assembly teams.

Other GTE business units with roles in MSE are the Electronic Systems and Services (ESS) organization in Needham, Massachusetts; the Electronic Defense Sector in Mountain View, California; and the C Systems Sector's North Carolina Systems Center at Research Triangle Park.

PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT

The nondevelopmental-item nature of MSE focused our concern on production management issues affecting facility task, process, resource, and integration and test management.

Facilities Management

Our approach to MSE project management identified several factors that drove the decision to construct a new production facility for MSE; the design of the facility was also strongly influenced by these same factors:

  • The bulk of the work content was to be system assembly and integration into shelters, test, and preparation for shipping. Subassemblies (circuit cards, nests, wiring harnesses, and backplanes) would continue to be manufactured at other GTE facilities where they were already in production.
  • We recognized the need to avoid impacting ongoing production commitments in our existing facilities.
  • Our approach to resource management included the use and empowerment of self-managed, self-paced assembly teams.
  • We required an available, appropriately skilled labor pool.
  • Our continuous-flow manufacturing philosophy, focusing on eliminating loops and back-tracks, required a production floor layout not then available at existing GTE facilities.

The location chosen was Taunton, Massachusetts, just over 30 miles from Needham, the site of our existing production facility.

MSED Production Floor Work Cell

MSED Production Floor Work Cell

&factory is housed in a 300,000-square-foot building, with another 88,000 square feet of warehouse and depot space in three adjacent buildings. The factory receiving bay and shipping dock are collocated on one side of the plant; work cells are arranged in the middle of the production floor, flanked on one side by the stockroom and kitting station and by the test area on the other.

We evaluated two factory floor layouts for their suitability to support continuous flow manufacturing. One was the assembly line approach, typical of the automobile industry, in which a product moves through successive stages of assembly. At each stage, one or more persons assemble one or more parts of the product. The other was the work cell concept in which the product—in this case an equipment shelter—stays in one place while successive kits of material cycle through the cell. We selected the work cell approach because

  • The MSE communications suite has 17 types of shelters, several or all of which can be on the floor simultaneously. Assembly lines are not well suited to handling multiple products.
  • The assignment of a small group of people to assemble each shelter increases productivity and instills pride of ownership and pride in quality workmanship.

Today, our factory is delivering over 80 shelters each month (90 per month in 1990). We have not missed a contractual delivery date since operations began in 1987. Credit for this accomplishment is owed primarily to our people but also in some small part to the design of their physical environment.

Task Management

Task management responsibility rests with the project control manager, who

  • Prepares and issues task authorizations that define and authorize work packages and their associated budgets for work to be done by the Engineering and Production organizations
  • Maintains the Task Authorization File and documents changes in work content, budgets, and schedules to reflect directed changes
  • Maintains and updates the work breakdown structure as needed to reflect directed changes
  • Maintains the master program schedules; reviews them to resolve any discrepancies with task authorizations, task planning sheets, and detailed operational schedules

The equipment manager supervises a group of task managers, each of whom is responsible for the completion of work to be done under one or more task authorizations. These task managers participate in weekly and monthly program progress reviews and initiate changes in work package content in response to changes in the product mix or production schedules.

ASRS Robotic Equipment

ASRS Robotic Equipment

Process Management

GTE has combined four individual production concepts into a state-of-the-art, integrated, computer-controlled system that saves money, time, and effort and significantly improves our product quality:

  • Just-in-time (JIT) scheduling
  • First-in, first-out (FIFO) lot control
  • Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS)
  • Paperless factory

Just-in-Time Scheduling. JIT eliminates costly stockpiling of equipment components. MSE inventory is procured from 32 subcontractors and 700 vendors, and several internal GTE suppliers, to be assembled into transportable shelters at the Taunton factory. JIT schedules these purchases to save stockroom space by concentrating each purchase on one specific assembly task at a time and it eliminates duplication of stockroom capacity elsewhere within GTE.

We actually use a modified JIT approach. Rather than use the pure “deliver at 2 p.m., use at 2:05 p.m.” JIT standard, we schedule small lots of material, in conjunction with a small buffer inventory Internal GTE components (sheet metal parts, printed circuit boards, and subassemblies) are delivered in single-shelter kit carts designed especially for transporting MSE parts.

With this approach, inventory is minimized; work-in-process inventory is practically nonexistent. A side benefit of JIT scheduling is the early identification of quality problems. Because we have low stock levels, such problems surface rapidly and are resolved quickly rather than remaining buried in large, aging inventories.

First-In, First-Out Lot Control. Selection of components from the stockroom is computer controlled to send the oldest parts in stock to the kitting station first. This practice reduces the risk of prolonged storage for sensitive parts such as integrated circuits and batteries that can deteriorate over time. Computerized FIFO kitting also provides traceability to fielded shelters in case component quality defects are identified after shipment.

Automated Storage and Retrieval System. An important element in the MSE factory is mechanized/robotic material handling and kitting. In older factories, kitting is done manually, with people walking up and down stockroom aisles to retrieve components and bring them to kitting stations. We knew at the outset that this approach would not keep pace with the Army's delivery requirement for a mix of up to 17 different types of shelters at a rate of from 80 to 100 shelters per month.

Our Automated Storage and Retrieval System eliminates manual handling of components and, thereby speeds up production. ASRS consists of a network of conveyors that transport materials on totes from Receiving through Incoming Inspection to the stockroom for direct storage in three carousels. When a factory order comes onto the floor, robots remove the required components from the stockroom carousels and move them to the kitting station.

After these components are transferred to the kit cart, a conveyor sends any surplus parts back to the robot for return to the original location on the carousel. ASRS debits the inventory data base for the quantity of components kitted and later credits the data base for surplus parts returned to the stockroom.

The alternative to ASRS is to do everything by hand: stocking, recording location, kitting from kit lists, and keyboard entry for crediting and debiting inventory. The manual approach would require three times MSE's current stockroom staff and would critically impede production.

Paperless Factory. Extensive use of single-sheet barcoded factory orders permits a virtually paperless factory and real-time computerized control of production. Each kit cart contains all the components needed to perform one operation in a single shelter. When a cart is moved or an operation is completed, the responsible worker uses a laser reader to scan the accompanying factory order barcode, thus eliminating the need for component transfer documents and move tickets.

Because the status of the work in process is instantaneously sent to the MIDAS application running on the central computer (refer back to our discussion of Automated Management Tools), time-consuming, error-prone keyboard entry is eliminated. Real-time status for all production is thus available to anyone with access to the computer network, including our customer.

We generate inspection records in the same way, and deficiencies become part of the computer quality data base used to evaluate and correct defects.

The alternatives to barcoded factory orders are traveler cards, component transfer documents, and manually-generated inspection records, all stapled to voluminous move tickets. In a less automated factory mountains of paper are created and inaccuracies resulting from manual recording creep into the database. Worst of all, because the accumulated documents are entered into the data base on an overnight batch basis, real-time status visibility is never truly achieved.

While no one of the four production management techniques described above is original to GTE, our integrated use of them is so effective that production managers from both our MSE subcontractors and our Army customers have asked to visit MSED's factory to learn about them.

Resource Management

At GTE, we are implementing the government-sponsored manufacturing guideline known as Total Quality Management (TQM). With the goal of continuously improving all processes to satisfy customer needs, TQM is standard practice at GTE Government Systems and has particularly broad applications in Production, where it is both a process and a manufacturing culture.

TQM replaces the traditional production-floor culture in which work planning, scheduling, and problem-solving are handed down line management's chain of command and in which the worker knows only one process or function on the assembly line. TQM places production responsibility and decision-making squarely on the collective shoulders of the people doing the work.

Under TQM guidance, Production personnel are organized into self-managing work teams. These teams include specialists from all departments who contribute to the work being performed. Assembly teams are typically supported by people from Production Control, Manufacturing Engineering, and Quality Assurance and Test.

Taunton's equipment assembly and shelter integration tasks are performed by six teams of, typically 15 people each. Each team is responsible for producing a certain quantity of assemblages each month (a switching shelter takes about six weeks to build from date of factory order to shipment; other shelters are completed in two to four weeks, depending on complexity).

Teams meet each morning at 7 a.m. to decide what skills are needed for that day's task completion and to schedule personnel assignments. Assignments are rotated so that each member works on a variety of jobs rather than performing the same task day in and day out.

Assemblages are built under a “pull” policy—each team pulls the components and tools it needs rather than waiting for the kitting station to “push” them out onto the production floor. Teams are taught that quality is “built” into their product rather than “inspected” into it. They get it right the first time by exercising the factory's “self-stop” policy that authorizes the responsible team to stop production any time a problem arises that needs to be solved.

To meet production goals, teams initiate solutions to problems, track production and quality, and identify and implement methods and processes to improve productivity. Team members are in close daily contact with each other, as well as with line managers as needed to request resources to implement the team's suggestions and solutions.

Thus, task order decisions are developed from the bottom up, not directed from the top down. In the weds of Al Dettbarn, former director of MSED Production and current director of Total Quality Management, “The assembly teams are really the key to our success on the MSE program. Everyone else here, including the division's top managers, is playing a supporting role.”

Barcoded Factory Order

Barcoded Factory Order

We recognize and reward team and individual performance and contributions to improved productivity and quality through team-of-the-month and individual superior performance awards and through employee appreciation exercises. Everyone takes a personal stake in being a member of the “best team on the floor.”

In a program that includes community college involvement and career development, we encourage MSED's workers to train for job enrichment and career advancement beyond the “learning curve” required for their particular function

Of the major corporate resources— technical, financial, and human—available to the MSE program, our people, working under TQM, are making by far the greatest contribution to our outstanding performance of the contract.

Integration and Test Management

To incorporate a new communication system into a military unit's operational machinery, the gaining unit must “stand down” (become inactive) for that period of time in which system fielding, integration, and training are taking place. Because of the significant impact this standdown could have on national defense readiness, the MSE contract requires that such downtime be held to an absolute minimum. System integration and test planning became the focus of our efforts to ensure that fielding of the system goes as smoothly and expeditiously as possible and that the equipment works from the very beginning. Salient features of the integration and test plan are

  • We test equipment at several stages of the production and integration process, including acceptance testing, on fully integrated equipment and shelters in our plant.
  • Subcontractor-provided equipments tested before shipment to our factory.
  • We confirm interoperability by testing equipment at the subsystem and system levels.
  • Before shipment to the Army's gaining unit, we give all assemblages a final product assurance and evaluation test, a formal process witnessed by government representatives.
Assembly Team of the Month

Assembly Team of the Month

  • In the field, each MSE system undergoes acceptance testing in the form of a field training exercise conducted by the gaining unit.

Through careful execution of our integration and test management plan, every MSE fielding date has been met and no Army unit has been required to stand down for longer than expected.

However, as the following story suggests, MSE, like most projects, experienced its share of problems in the early going, and it was only through the exceptional effort of many dedicated people on both the customer and contractor sides that we managed to meet our objectives.

In February 1988, we shipped the first 85-shelter MSE system to the 13th Signal Battalion, attached to the 1st Cavalry Division of the 3rd Army Corps at Fort Hood, Texas, just 22 months after contract award. It was to be operational at 26 months. To meet this schedule, we had to ship four shelters a day for several weeks before the deadline. To complicate matters, engineering change notices (CNs) were being written almost daily in the first months of the contract.

Each morning, we decided which shelters were to be delivered the next day. When all the available CNs were installed in a given shelter, the plant-resident government representative witnessed the final test and we readied the shelters for transit. Once the shelters were secured for transit, any late-arriving CNs were held for installation at Fort Hood between months 22 and 26.

Not unexpectedly, we shipped some shelters that had noncritical CNs missing. So, as month 24 approached, we transplanted a production team from Taunton, together with tools and parts kits, to Texas for six weeks to incorporate the missing CNs. This was done, with the Army's approval, so that we could mount the shelters on HMMWVs [the Army's High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle] while waiting for our CN kits to arrive.

To house this effort, we erected a huge tent capable of sheltering four trucks, tools, kits, and people. The tent had three canopied ports on each side to partially shelter six other trucks so that we could work on ten shelters at a time. Our team worked a 12-hour shift, or until the day's goals were met, sometimes late in the evening or early the next morning.

On the last night, we worked round the clock installing and testing the last CNs. We got down to one shelter with one cable that the customer representative charged with acceptance responsibility refused to sign off. Our parts man had gone back to the hotel; so we called him back to the tent “and went through parts boxes until, about 7 a.m., we found a good cable. At 9 a.m., 15 hours ahead of the contract schedule, the 13th Signalers arrived and took possession of their system.

In the end, we delivered a totally integrated, tested, signed off, and operational system in 26 months after award and without so much as a detailed written specification for the delivered system configuration. Meanwhile, our work area had earned the sobriquet “Merlin's Tent” for the magical things we did there.

On 19 April 1988, the Army signed a DOD ownership transfer for the system, and on 9 August, the 1st Cavalry accepted the entire system, including training and logistics support.

Our fielding effort demonstrated that a major communications program need not take a decade or more to move from requirements definition to initial operating capability in the field.

LOGISTICS SUPPORT MANAGEMENT

MSED'S System Support Organization plans, schedules, and supervises the work of GTE Electronic Systems and Services (ESS) organization in providing fielding, training, and integrated logistics support (ILS) for equipments built for the MSE program. System Support is tasked to

  • Define procedures to facilitate system deployment, operation, and maintenance.
  • Assign maintenance and repair responsibilities for the MSE system to appropriate facilities.
  • Provide operation and maintenance data, training programs, and depot management plans.
  • Provide for the orderly transition of MSE system support tasks from GTE facilities to the Army's in-place logistics support system.
MSED Systems Support

Figure 3. MSED Systems Support

ESS's ILS team is staffed with highly qualified personnel with practical experience in planning, fielding, and supporting tactical switching systems.

Fielding

MSE fielding, which began at Fort Hood, Texas, in February 1988, will continue through 1993 at Army locations in the United States, Europe, and Korea. Systems are fielded to Signal Corps units and their associated non-Signal user units as a total package.

Typically, a fielding site is established in the vicinity of each Signal unit. The site includes the necessary assembly areas, equipment, and facilities, plus the storage, administration, and unit training space to effect the transfer of all equipments to the gaining unit and to provide it with a fully trained, staffed, and supported MSE system. There are 20 fielding sites within the continental United States and three overseas.

The fielding schedule is especially critical because each division of the Army is successively deactivated for MSE fielding and training. The unit may be able to perform routine equipment maintenance or training exercises during its standdown; but, bemuse its communications system is out of service, it is unavailable for active duty.

Once deactivated, the unit replaces its Army Tactical Communications System equipment with MSE, is trained in the use of the system, and conducts field exercises with the system. Equipment complements differ for, say, a cavalry, armored, or infantry division. Equipment generally flows first to the gaining unit's Signal battalion and then to the entire division or corps.

As shelter and other equipments begin to arrive on site, an ESS fielding team receives, inventories, and assembles all components to ensure optimum functionality. Destination and final acceptance testing and verification identify and correct any in-transit damage.

Before turning the system over to the gaining unit, we setup a subsystem in the field using a representative subset of the fielded shelters. All major assemblies are tested for full functionality using live voice, data, and facsimile traffic. When the network passes field testing, it is released to the gaining unit to begin training.

Following training and field exercises, the gaining unit is reactivated. Any deviation from the master schedule for one unit creates a domino effect of delays that would be unacceptable to the Army. Not once has GTE slipped a fielding start-up date or a training completion date.

MSE Fielding Site Layout

MSE Fielding Site Layout

The original MSE fielding start date sequence for the five U.S. Army corps is listed below; the accompanying table demonstrates the scope of the fielding effort:

  • 3rd Corps – February 1988 at Fort Hood, Texas
  • 5th Corps-March 1990 at Frankfurt, Germany
  • 7th Corps-January 1991 at Ludwigsburg, Germany
  • 18th Airborne Corps - December 1991 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina
  • 1st Corps - December 1992 at Camp Casey, South Korea

In January 1991, Camp Edwards on Cape Cod in Massachusetts was named the consolidated staging site for the assembly and processing of MSE systems for ship-merit around the world.

The fielding schedule has been subject to change by the Army. For instance, in December of 1990, we shipped systems to Germany to field the 7th Corps as scheduled. But, because the 7th's alternate mission is rapid deployment, the corps shipped out to Saudi Arabia the day after Christmas, leaving its MSE system in storage in Germany. When the 7th went stateside at the end of the Persian Gulf War, we had to ship their MSE suite back home for fielding.

Another factor expected to impact the fielding schedule is the newly legislated cuts in Army funding resulting in large shifts in troop assignments from regular Army units to reserve and National Guard units.

Training

The importance that the Army assigns to training on the MSE program is underscored by the fact that GTE can receive full payment only after completing two post-delivery program requirements: (1) acceptance testing of the fielded equipment and (2) unit training as evidenced by successful completion of the field training exercise.

MSED's System Support Organization plans and supervises the training of MSE users and operators in each gaining unit. Unit training is staffed by GTE Electronic Systems and Services (ESS) people.

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At the outset, we had to find and train civilian instructors to, in turn, teach the Army the ins and outs of the equipment and its support systems. In some units, we also trained Army personnel to conduct high-level indoctrination courses for infantry, quartermaster corps, and other unit commanders with communications management responsibilities.

GTE is under contract to train over 45,700 Army personnel to operate, use, and maintain the MSE system. Groups of from 20 to 70 MSE instructors are sent to each gaining unit as it stands down for fielding. The teaching schedule must be integrated with production and fielding plans so that we can provide adequate staffing levels for each fielding. When we fielded the first MSE system at Fort Hood, Texas, we provided training there for 3rd Corps active units, together with supporting reserve and National Guard units, from Texas and six other states. We had as many as 350 ESS people in Germany during 1990 for MSE fielding and training of the 5th and 7th corps.

GTE'S MSE SUPPORT TEAM MOVES WITH THE “STORM”

Hafar al-Batin RSC

Hafar al-Batin RSC

In operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, GTE's Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE) was supported on site by 46 GTE Electronic Systems and Services (ESS) personnel and other civilian volunteers from MSE regional support centers at Fort Hood, Texas, and in Frankfurt, Germany, who set up an MSE support center at Hafar al-Batin, Saudi Arabia, a scant 10 miles from the Kuwait border.

“GTE did something never done before in combat,” said regional support center manager Bob Dunn. Bob was at the time talking with us at GTE's MSE facility in Taunton, Massachusetts from an MSE phone linked to a GTE Spacenet Corporation satellite dish sited just outside Kuwait City. “We demonstrated to the Army that we could go anywhere they go-and do anything they needed—to keep their communications up and running.”

Mark Beranek, ESS field support technician, was one of the first two GTE people to enter Kuwait City. “Paul Thiffault and I were with the 142nd Signal Battalion supporting the Marine Corps Tiger Brigade's main thrust into Kuwait. The Marines had an MSE mobile subscriber radio terminal (MSRT) at the staging area right outside the city,” Beranek said.

“As the battle progressed, the node center switch and the large extension node leapfrogged to maintain links to our rear and the command center in Riyadh. Some of General Swartzkopf's orders to his commanders came over the MSRTs,” Beranek continued.

“The equipment worked well in its battlefield debut. We helped to interface the all-digital MSE equipment with the Marines' analog radiotelephones. In addition to on-the-ground command and control, the Marines received and beamed tactical satellite communications for battle damage assessments. They then called Air Force units with the battle damage assessment information so they could strike where necessary.”

“Our MSE equipment operated two weeks straight with only 45 minutes off. And it was true to the claim it could be set up and taken down in just 30 minutes,” Beranek remarked.

“Some of the Army units had MSE fielded to them when they got to Saudi—what you could call receiving mail-order MSRTs,” said Charlie Benjamin, logistics supervisor for the desert regional support center. “Gene Kocmoud, Cordie Dennis, and I trained the troops on the equipment when they arrived in the region.”

Our unit training curriculum employs multimedia and graphics training tools such as interactive video and training simulators. We also provide detailed, hands-on system management training for communications-electronics planners and operators who will be setting up the network and working in the system control centers:

  • We hold training sessions for the gaining unit's subscribers in classrooms and in the field to familiarize them with the system's user features.
  • We provide Signal Corps training exercises to train operators to work as a team to assemble, initialize, operate, and maintain the equipment in the field.
  • We assist the Army in a field training exercise in which the gaining unit conducts an extensive operational exercise in a simulated battle environment. We monitor the overall effectiveness of the exercise while the unit itself sets up and operates the system.

A major constraint on the fielding schedule is staffing over the basic and option years of the contract. Staffing is a significant factor in making adjustments to the fielding and training schedules resulting from unforeseen events such as the 7th Corps' reassignment to Operation Desert Storm.

In addition to the training incident upon fielding, ESS will teach MSE systems courses to 5000 students a year for the next 20 years in our Resident School at Fort Gordon, Georgia. This effort is equivalent to founding a university, hiring 50 instructors, and educating a student body in highly technical subjects. Types of courses offered at Fort Gordon include

  • Operation and maintenance training
  • Digital and microwave technology training
  • Instructor and key personnel training
  • Staff planners training
  • Professional development

Maintenance

The MSE contract mandates a central maintenance facility that is to be separate from either of the Army's two in-place electronic repair facilities in California and Pennsylvania. This facility will support a worldwide network of regional support centers.

For convenience of maintenance management and control, we chose to collocate the central facility with our factory in Taunton, Massachusetts. Regional support centers are administered by ESS personnel at four domestic and three overseas locations. A temporary regional support center was set up in northern Arabia to service MSE systems used in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (refer to the sidebar on the GTE MSE Support Team).

FOLLOW-ON OPERATIONAL TEST AND EVALUATION

As part of the U.S. Army's Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation program, MSE was subjected to a formal Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation (FOTE) exercise. The exercise was conducted by the Operational Test and Evaluation Agency (OTEA), the Army's independent electronic systems testing service, from 9 August through 25 October 1988 at Fort Hood, Texas, using the system fielded to the 3rd Army Corps earlier that year. Because the results of this test would influence the Army's decision whether to fund option years 3-5 (1991-1993) of the MSE basic production contract, the FOTE was a program-critical milestone for GTE.

The FOTE assessed MSE's:

  • Overall suitability for, and effectiveness in, performing its intended functions
  • Performance against contractual-and subscriber-specified requirements
  • Deficiencies and consequent need for system modifications or improvements

Test Preparation

During 18 months of preparation for the exercise, GTE fielded an MSE system comprising nine different types of shelterized mobile communications assemblage (69 shelters), three types of user terminal (683 telephones), and four types of support equipment (13 units) for a total of 785 separate test items assembled onto 85 mobile vehicles.

The 1st Cavalry's 13th Signal Battalion was the principal test participant, augmented by other Signal units and some subscriber units. We trained 1st Cavalry subscribers in the use of the MSE system, 13th Signaleers in its operation, and OTEA test personnel in FOTE procedures.

We also “modeled” the network (through computer simulations) to identify the pathways and time periods that would experience various traffic loads. We checked out OTEA's instrumented call simulators. And we provided four technical assistants to perform any needed maintenance support throughout the exercise (no other contractor personnel were allowed to participate in the FOTE).

Test Results

The Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation exercise conclusively demonstrated MSE to be operationally suitable, effective, and superior to the Army's installed area communication system.

Operational Suitability. MSE's suitability was confirmed by:

  • The high level of availability and reliability of its assemblages;
  • The excellent performance of its support equipment;
  • The ability of soldiers to effectively install, operate, use, and maintain the system;
  • Its ease of transportability;
  • The effectiveness of its emergency power systems; and
  • Its ability to interoperate successfully with the Army's Combat Net Radio (walkie-talkie) equipment.

Operational Effectiveness. MSE's effectiveness was demonstrated by:

  • Its consistent call throughput;
  • Its high mobility;
  • Its ability to provide continuous service even while node center elements of the system were in transit;
  • Its interoperability with the communications equipment of Army higher echelons, with North Atlantic Treaty Organization communications suites, and with commercial systems; and
  • The ability of any extension node to be quickly reconnected to a neighboring node center when the connection to its assigned node center was interrupted.

Operational Superiority. MSE proved to be superior to the installed Army Tactical Communications System in:

  • Its higher call completion rate for a greater number of subscribers,
  • Its greater mobility,
  • Its faster service, and
  • Its requirement for significantly fewer support personnel:

At the conclusion of the FOTE exercise, key 1st Cavalry commanders and staff expressed the opinion to GTE Personnel that MSE provides effective support for their unit command and control requirements. The FOTE final report identified needed improvements in system control, logistics support, training, and communications security, all of which we have subsequently resolved to the Army's complete satisfaction.

BATTLEFIELD DEBUT IN THE DESERT

Early in September 1990, the Army's MSE-fielded 1st Cavalry Division joined the ATACCS-equipped 18th Airborne Corps already in Saudi Arabia [ATACCS is the Army Tactical Communications System that MSE is replacing]. When, in November, they were joined bY the ATACCS-equipped 7th Army Corps with its MSE-fielded 3rd Armored Division, a hybrid backbone communications system was deployed just south of the Saudi-Kuwait border that included 50 GTE-built TRI-TAC circuit switches, 20 message switches and 20 MSE node center switches. Scores of other MSE equipments were networked with these switches to provide wire and radio connection of all ground forces with each other and, through the TRI-TAC gateway, with General Swartzkopf's headquarters in Riyadh.

Once the 100-hour ground campaign had begun, the 3rd Armored Division, with its 143rd MSE Signal Battalion, led the attack on the Saudi-Iraqi border. After traveling north to cut off the retreat, the 3rd headed east to engage and crush Iraq's elite Republican Guard inside Kuwait. The 3rd's commander received many of his orders through his MSE radiotelephone, while the 143rd Signal Battalion kept in continuous communications with higher commanders so that battle plans could be adapted to exploit rap idly developing combat situations.

The MSE equipment performed superbly during the Gulf War, operating for two weeks straight with only 45 minutes of downtime. The system proved true to the claim that it can be set up and taken down in just 30 minutes. It fully achieved the stated goal of the TRI-TAC communications system: “Effective communications shall be provided from the foxhole to the theater commander to the President.”

Commendations on MSE's performance in the Gulf War began pouring in from subscribers and operators alike as the guns fell silent in the Persian Gulf: “[In Desert Storm, the Army] fought with MSE as our primary communications tool,” said Major General Paul E. Funk, commander of the 7th Corps' 3rd Armored Division, as quoted in Defense and Aerospace Electronics, 9/9/91. And, “MSE is far superior to ATACCS, especially in a highly mobile and intense conflict…. During Operation Desert Storm, the… [143rd] Signalers truly earned their combat pay.”

Radio Access Unit

Radio Access Unit

As reported in the Army Communicater, 16:2, Lieutenant General Franks, commander of the 7th Corps spent two days with his 3rd Division's field headquarters and was always able to communicate. He said of the experience, “This was the 3rd Armored Division's finest hour in any conflict…3rd Armored Division had the best communications in the Corps.” But perhaps the best commendation of MSE performance came from Lieutenant Duggan, a platoon leader with the 93rd ATACCS Signal Brigade, when he complained wistfully to his counterpart in the 143rd Signal Battalion, “We simply cannot keep up with you.”

Neil Munro, staff writer for Defense News reported enlisted soldiers and officers saying that, “Overall, the Army's command, control and communications system operated effectively.” One soldier with the 3rd Armored Division affirmed, “MSE is worth every dollar the Army paid for it.”

MSE PROJECT MANAGEMENT—A SUCCESS STORY

In its preproduction demonstration in the French countryside near Nancy; in its Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation trials at Fort Hood, Texas; and in its battlefield debut in the Persian Gulf, GTE's Mobile Subscriber Equipment has made its mark, has proved its worth, and has earned its accolades.

DOD VALUE ENGINEERING CONTRACTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD

In a ceremony at the Pentagon Auditorium on 24 July 1990, the Honorable Donald Atwood, Deputy Secretary of Defense, presented GTE Government Systems Corporation with the Department of Defense (DOD) Value Engineering Contractor of the Year Award for 1989. The award was received for GTE by Government Systems President Francis Gicca, accompanied by other members of the company's management team.

This major DOD quality award recognized GTE's Value Engineering achievements on the Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE) contract for the U.S. Army.

Value Engineering is a systematic functional analysis leading to actions or recommendations to improve the value of defense electronics systems, equipment, facilities, services, and supplies. Its objective is simultaneously to improve product quality, shorten delivery schedules, and reduce cost.

This awards program was instituted in 1982 to call attention to the potential of Value Engineering to contribute to the DOD's efforts to increase defense procurement efficiency and economy, as well as to encourage the development of productivity and cost reduction programs within the military services and among defense contractors.

GTE's accomplishment typifies the ongoing commitment of its Mobile Subscriber Equipment Division to Total Quality Management principles and practice. Total Quality Management is a major DOD initiative in human resources management,

At the division's factory in Taunton, Massachusetts, self-managed and self-paced engineering, manufacturing and quality work teams meet production goals by devising solutions to problems, tracking production and quality and then identifying and implementing methods and processes to optimize productivity.

GTE's commitment to Total Quality Management has yielded strong results in employee productivity and morale, in product quality, in cost reduction, and in customer satisfaction at the Mobile Subscriber Equipment Division and at other Government Systems Corporation business units.

GTE's Value Engineering Contractor of the Year citation read in part, “In FY 89, GTE made a significant contribution to reducing the cost of the Department's [Army] material [procurement] programs, which resulted in savings to the government of $21.7 million. These savings were the culmination of Value Engineering Change Proposals submitted on the Mobile Subscriber Equipment contract.”

Mr. Atwood's presentation concluded with, “I look forward to GTE's continued support and achievement in [Value Engineering], with benefits to both the Department of Defense and your company” The accompanying plaque reads:

In recognition of Outstanding Achievement in Value Engineering GTE Government systems Corporation 1989

The accomplishments of our MSE program to date reflect in no small measure its carefully crafted project plan; the implementation of many innovative and sophisticated project management techniques; and the commitment of the men and women of GTE, its MSE partners and subcontractors, and their counterparts in the Army's program office to excellence in cost, schedule, and quality performance.

MSE Desert Shield/Desert Storm Awards

GTE Government Systems Corporation provided most of the command, control, and communications (C3) systems used by U.S. ground forces during the 9-month Persian Gulf crisis. The performance excellence of C3 systems produced by GTE Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE) Division (MSED) of Taunton, Massachusetts, has been honored in four U.S. Army awards.

Pictured left to right: GTE Government Systems President Francis A. Gicca; Vice President and General Manager Bernard Resnick; and U.S. Army General William G.T. Tuttle, Jr., Commander, Army Materiel Command

Pictured left to right: GTE Government Systems President Francis A. Gicca; Vice President and General Manager Bernard Resnick; and U.S. Army General William G.T. Tuttle, Jr., Commander, Army Materiel Command

The 57th Signal Battalion conferred its Certificate of Achievement (undated) on GTE for “Superior performance and support of the [57th's] soldiers and families…before, during, and after Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.”

The 3rd Army Corps' 1st Cavalry Division awarded GTE a Certificate of Achievement, dated 17 May 1991, for “Outstanding support…from October 1990 though April 1991 during the division's deployment… for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.”

In a ceremony at Fort Gordon, Georgia, on 28 May 1991, General Albert J. Myer of the United States Signal Corps Association, invested current MSED vice president and general manager Bernard Resnick with the honorary rank of Brevet Colonel for his leadership role as “… a supporter and contributor to the enhancement of the United States Army Signal Corps.”

On 28 Tune 1991, General William G. T. Tuttle, Jr., commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, presented GTE with the Army's'' Certificate of Recognition…for Outstanding Cooperation and Exceptional Response to U.S. Army Requirements in Support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.” The award was received for GTE by Bernard Resnick, vice president and general manager of MSED; guests at the ceremony held in the division's Taunton, Massachusetts facility included Taunton mayor Richard Johnson and U.S. Army officials.

In remarks prepared for MSED's “Employee Appreciation Day” exercises, General Tuttle lauded “…this group of Americans who could put this [system] together, solve the complex problems, produce it on time and under cost…that's a success story that goes even beyond the desert…. Your care, your concern for quality, for getting things done on time, [and for] figuring new ways to do the job-all of that has been a vital part of the success of MSE on the battle-field…. You have made it possible for soldiers to use an absolutely marvelous system in the desert.”

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Albert A. Dettbarn is director of total qualify management for the Command, Control and Communications Systems Sector of GTE Government Systems Corporation. He previously was director of operations for the Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE) Division of GTE Government Systems, with responsibility for manufacturing, quality assurance, procurement, and operations project control of the MSE system.

Since joining GTE in 1950 as an industrial engineer, Mr. Dettbarn has held positions of increasing responsibility as division industrial engineer and in numerous manufacturing and program management positions, including manufacturing manager, and program manager of the Tri-Service (Army, Navy, and Marine Corps) tactical communications program, called TTC-39, a forerunner of MSE.

Mr. Dettbarn earned an electrical engineering degree from Clarkson University, a graduate degree in industrial engineering from Columbia University and a graduate degree in computer science from Boston University.

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Richard E. Little directs the Management Systems office of the Command, Control and Communications System Sector of GTE Government Systems Corporation, where he is responsible for project management methodology and the development of project management teams for a portfolio of more than 100 projects having a total value of more than $5 billion. He has 35 years' experience in engineering design, software development, and engineering and project management. Since 1985, he has been with GTE Government Systems Corporation as a program manager for command, control and communications (C3) contracts for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Mr. Little holds an A.B. degree in mathematics from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, is a member of the Corporate Steering Committee of the Boston University Center for Project Management, and has been an invited speaker at Boston University and at the Massachusetts Bay Chapter of the Project Management Institute. He holds several patents in the field of network management and control and is a certified Project Management Professional.

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A. Dale McMullan is a proposal specialist in the Command, Control and Communications Systems sector of GTE Government Systems Corporation. He has more than 35 years' experience in various disciplines of the communications industry: first as a medical writer for the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmay, then as an English teacher at college preparatory schools in New Jersey, Texas, and Massachusetts; and, more recently, as an engineering writer/editor and editorial group supervisor at, successively, Raytheon, Digital, and Honeywell corporations in Massachusetts.

Mr. McMullan has published company newsletters, style guides, and business plans, as well as the monthly newsletter of the Boston Chapter, Society for Technical Communications. He has worked as a city desk editor for the Worcester Telegram-Gazette in central Massachusetts.

Educated at Milton Academy and Harvard College, Mr. McMullan holds a master's degree in business administration from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and has credits in education of Boston University.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

JANUARY 1992 pm network

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