Printer Friendly

The business of government.

For the first time in at least a generation, the average citizen is more concerned with the economy, education, health care, infrastructure, and competitiveness than with military strength and national defense. As the government reacts to this change in national priorities, the Department of Defense (DoD) is particularly affected. The era of increasing, or at least predictable, fiscal resources has ended. DoD now must compete for scarce funds. Its efforts to operate like a business, however, may mitigate any negative impact of these budget cuts.

The Air Force's Electronic Security and Communications Center of Excellence (ESCCE) at Hanscom Air Force Base (AFB) in Massachusetts, has taken the first steps. The ESCCE's responsibilities include research and development (R&D), acquisition, deployment, and support of physical security systems for the Air Force's nuclear weapons. Keeping nuclear security as its number one priority, the ESCCE decided to break into the burgeoning nonnuclear security issues in the government.

To make the transition, the ESCCE is concentrating on issues such as overhead reduction, market share, strategic planning, and customer satisfaction. To reduce the overhead in the organization, a painful restructuring and refocusing of longtime teaming arrangements was necessary. For example, work in association with a renowned national laboratory was lowered by 25 percent between 1991 and 1992. Over the same period, the number of contractor personnel supporting the ESCCE's test site was reduced by 40 percent. Overall, during the last fifteen months, the ESCCE's overhead rate declined from 15 percent to 5 percent.

Next, the ESCCE needed a constant or growing customer base. A full-time marketing group was established to seek out new opportunities. To do this, a strategic plan was outlined, customers were targeted, a capabilities brochure was developed, and an aggressive effort to find new business was launched. The Electronic Security Advisory Board was created, largely made up of executives from private industry, to periodically review the effort. The board proved invaluable because it furnished a non-government perspective. By the close of 1991, almost $6 million worth of business had been secured. Since then, a customer in the Air Force has asked that a dedicated security system be installed to secure the headquarters buildings of four different commands - a $1 million job. Other efforts are on the drawing board, and the ESCCE has entered into an arrangement with DoD's Office of Special Events that could lead to involvement in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Work has already begun on the 1993 World University Games in Buffalo and on the multilocation 1994 World Cup Soccer events. ESCCE will be involved in system design, installation, and support for all these events.

The marketing group and program managers - the people who deliver the product - do not work in isolation. They need a good product to sell and deliver, so the entire ESCCE operates under the old cliche that the customer is always right. A satisfied customer is the best and most effective advertising. Receiving all that is promised and personal touches are the integral parts of customer satisfaction.

With this in mind, the ESCCE's project and program managers sign their names to schedules that reflect promised delivery dates. The intent is to personalize working within the government and to make a commitment to customers that a quality product will be delivered when it is expect and at the price quoted.

The ESCCE also believes that customer satisfaction is a cradle-to-grave responsibility. It recently fixed sensors that were installed as far back as 1984. The ESCCE stood behind its product and showed allegiance to those customers using it.

Although the human element will always be the most important component of security, it is also essential that the technology of security products keep pace with new threats and the technology of the weapon systems being protected. Because security systems have become software intensive, the ESCCE has teamed with the Systems and Software Design Center at Hanscom AFB. During an evaluation, the Systems and Software Design Center helps to determine the capability of potential contractors to develop software.

Hardware also has to be considered. At present, many security systems, although effective, depend on the completion of considerable preparatory work before being installed. The systems require extensive excavation and construction, and this is extremely expensive. The ESCCE has made an effort to use tailored, relocatable systems.

The Tactical Automated Security System (TASS) and Relocatable Sensor System (RSS) are two coming acquisitions that address this need. The first will allow DoD clients to customize security for a fixed or temporary location and will make considerable use of communications and command center technology. The latter will provide a family of relocatable sensors that can be used to meet specific security needs.

Changing the manner in which the ESCCE works and increasing the role of technology also required a purging of the parochialism. Each branch of the armed forces prefers equipment that it invented over equipment invented by another branch. This can lead to overlap. The ESCCE has turned to the Army's Belvoir Research Development and Engineering Center for its thermal imagery and annunciator products. The Army's Low Cost Uncooled Sensor Program (LOCUSP) thermal imager and Integrated Commercial Intrusion Detection System (ICIDS) annunciator will appear for the first time in support of flightline security for the new B-2 weapon system at Whiteman AFB.

The ESCCE is also looking into more cost-effective ways to do testing. In addition to reducing overhead at the dedicated test site, an Army test facility close to home in Hanover, New Hampshire, is being used. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with the Army to use its Cold Region Research and Engineering Laboratory. This lab allows cold weather testing and access to special forces for various penetration scenarios. Most important, it allows the ESCCE access to a test location just one-and-a-half hours away.

Installations are also being handled differently. The ESCCE relied heavily on Air Force installation teams to get the job done. Although these teams do a good job, they are expected to do too many installations and are overbooked. This delays installations.

A contract is now in effect with Systems Planning Corporation to provide engineering and installation services. The company will augment installation capability already present in the Air Force. It should also give the ESCCE a cost-effective alternative for meeting quick reaction, critical mission requirements for weapon systems security. The ESCCE has filled other voids with private contractors. SMF System Corporation has been contracted to provide resource protection services to such military facilities as base exchanges, commissaries, and post offices. The awarding of these contracts should send a strong signal to industry that government organizations moving to become more efficient and businesslike does not have to mean more competition; it can mean more profits.

As DoD restructures and downsizes, many bases where physical security systems are installed are closing. A formal program has been implemented to recover these valuable assets. In 1991, almost $1 million in reusable equipment was reclaimed and put into storage to wait for later reinstallation. Another $8 million in equipment has already been targeted for recovery between 1992 and 1995, and the figure keeps going up as this initiative is explored.

Communications between the ESCCE and its industry partners also has been improved. Late deliveries have been reduced from approximately 30 to 40 percent one year ago to between 8 and 10 percent today. Critical system documentation, such as test plans and technical orders, are approved faster, and the acquisition of products is accelerated. In the case of the Weapon Storage and Security System ([WS.sup.3]) program, a process action team was established with Bechtel Corporation to determine the best way to handle test plans.

The ESCCE is even considering giving its industry partners access to its software cost-estimating model. This model was developed for the ESCCE by Horizons Technology and is based on the ESCCE"s twenty years of experience in installing security systems. It may save in delivery order negotiations.

Another cost-saving approach is called the 70 percent solution. The 70 percent solution means using systems that are adequate, but not everything the customer demanded. These systems offer enough protection, but save money by eliminating unnecessary features. Using the 70 percent solution in the private sector may not be feasible, but when taxpayer money is footing the bill, any savings are welcome.

Operating as a business also means minimizing government research and development (R&D) work by turning to industry for commercial, off-the-shelf products. Instead of government pursuing costly, in-house R&D, the market is being asked to furnish proven and available products. This is the case with the ESCCE's Advanced Entry Control System (AECS), TASS, and RSS programs.

Another business initiative that puts private industry on top is technology transfer. In the past decade, a combination of legislation and executive orders have created a framework under which industry and government can work together. This reduces the investment made by government during a developmental effort and allows industry access to technology that would not otherwise be available to it. Over the past year, a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRDA) has been negotiated with RACON to commercialize an Air Force/Sandia National Laboratories-developed sensor technology. The end result, hopefully, will be a future RACON product of use to the ESCCE and the security industry.

Operating the ESCCE as a business has not been easy, and all the results are not in. Nevertheless, the center is in its second year of operating under this philosophy. Its new director, Martha T. Evans, states that she is not inclined to change a policy that is right for its time.

Leo T. Carroll III is the director for programs of C-Q Construction Corporation in Watertown, Massachusetts. He was formerly the director of the Air Force's Electronic Security and Communications Center of Excellence.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Department of Defence
Author:Carroll, Leo T. III
Publication:Security Management
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Words:1631
Previous Article:Making employees part of the plan.
Next Article:Pentagon corner.
Topics:


Related Articles
Per ardua as astra (DND participation in Star Wars).
Too important to be left to the generals.
Return of the SDI: ballistic missile defence for North America.
Military work climbs as R&D spending falls.
Affordable Acquisition.
The bureaucracy's control over the Australian defence force.
While some say there's never enough, others say there's too much: in the fall of 2005, a Senate report called for a doubling of the Defence...
DEFENCE R&D CANADA SELECTS THIRD BRIGADE FOR RISK RSEARCH.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters