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MCTSSA Personnel Help Strengthen Acquisition Workforce

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.—On a rather secluded and undeveloped piece of southern California coastline lies a succession of nondescript buildings that seem unremarkable to the naked eye. Yet, inside these structures, sophisticated laboratories are housed with highly skilled engineers and technical experts testing the very limits of battlefield communications, and they need to train their replacements.

Building the future acquisition workforce is an important initiative within the Department of the Navy, which is why Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity personnel provided technical demonstrations and briefings to approximately 80 Naval Acquisition Development Program entry-level employees from across the country Feb. 26, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Ric Gay (left), Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity satellite communications laboratory engineer, recently discussed satellite communications and operations with Naval Acquisition Development Program entry-level employees during a tour of the command Feb. 26, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

The NADP is a two- to three-year development program that recruits and trains future acquisition workforce members. New employees receive detailed training in contracting, finance, cost estimating, engineering, facilities engineering, IT, logistics, program management, and test and evaluation.

“NADP helps new employees in various career fields become future acquisition leaders for the Department of the Navy,” said Shelly Best, Naval Acquisition Career Center NADP career manager.

There are currently around 1,000 NADP participants across the continental United States, Hawaii and Guam.

“MCTSSA has been a beneficiary of this program for 15 years, and several of our co-workers are current or former NADP participants,” said David Yergensen, MCTSSA senior principal engineer.

During the most recent hiring season, NACC received 34,000 applicants. Among those, 15,000 were highly qualified for only 600 positions.

“It is our goal to introduce these new acquisition professionals to the Sailors and Marines at various activities and give them a chance to ‘see and touch’ some of the hardware used by the warfighter and acquired through their acquisition efforts,” said Ron Fevola, NACC career management division head.

Command customers heavily rely on NADP to assist with the replenishment and development of their future acquisition workforce members, said Fevola.

“Our goal is to hire the best of the best,” he said.

NADP is a great source for entry-level technical talent, said Yergensen.

“These are highly motivated and enthusiastic employees typically in their first professional position,” he said “Getting good employees into the government early increases the probability that they will stay with the government, even if they move on to other agencies.”

The one-day event at MCTSSA highlighted current technical objectives involved in supporting the command, control, computer and communications—or C4—systems used by expeditionary warfighters.

“I appreciate everyone’s patience and the knowledge they shared with not only me, but the whole NADP team,” said Christina Berenato, Naval Sea Systems Command NADP participant. “Exploring behind the scenes, and witnessing the hard work and dedication put into keeping our nation safe was extraordinary, truly a day I will never forget.”

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Caleb Wu (left), Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity naval systems integration officer, speaks to Naval Acquisition Development Program entry-level employees during a tour of the command’s Landing Force Operations Center laboratory environment Feb. 26, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

Whether learning about combat operations centers, satellite communications, Networking On-the-Move, cybersecurity, networks, radars or amphibious vehicles, the participants saw a large breadth of systems and how they relate to warfighter support.

“MCTSSA is a great place to start a technical career in the Department of Defense,” said Yergensen. “We have a majority of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force C4 systems integrated into a realistic test environment.”

NADP employees at MCTSSA get to work with a variety of systems at multiple stages in the acquisition life cycle and perform hands-on experiments, trade studies, test and engineering assessments, installation, configuration and troubleshooting in a lab environment, said Yergensen.

“We also get them into field support to experience the operational environment firsthand,” he said. “Our NADP employees get to work closely with active-duty Marines, which helps them understand who and how the systems are used. This would be hard to find in any other C4 organization.”

Many of the NADP tour participants appreciated learning about the development of C4 equipment.

“It was interesting to see the advancement in technology benefitting COC operations and their forward-deployed elements as they maneuver through the battlespace,” said Jason Fraker, Naval Facilities Engineering Command NADP participant.

Berenato echoed similar sentiments.

“I learned about Networking On-the-Move,” she said. “It is reassuring to know the new technology no longer geographically tethers commanders to the COC.”

From viewing improvements in technology to getting a better understanding of the big picture as it relates to the acquisition workforce, participants walked away more prepared to support the warfighter.

“Any command could benefit from learning about both the research done at MCTSSA and the manner in which MCTSSA operates with precision,” said Brooke Didier, Naval Sea Systems Command NADP participant. “MCTSSA is a leading force for military research and development, and quite frankly, as an entity of the Marine Corps, MCTSSA runs like a well-oiled machine.”

Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity hosted 80 Naval Acquisition Development Program entry-level-employees during a tour of the command Feb. 26, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

Tucked away at this inconspicuous beachside facility, MCTSSA has over 40,000 square feet of engineering and lab spaces operated by Marines and technical experts with the sole purpose of making Marines more capable. The future acquisition workforce that bared witness was impressed.

“I appreciate all the hard work MCTSSA does to excel at their jobs and to showcase their spaces to the interns who will be assisting future missions,” said Yvette Tsui, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command NADP participant. “Thank you.”

MCTSSA, an elite, full-scale laboratory facility operated by the Marine Corps, is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Systems Command. MCTSSA provides test and evaluation, engineering and deployed technical support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems throughout all acquisition life-cycle phases.

By Sky M. Laron, Public Affairs Officer, MCTSSA

MCTSSA Briefs Industry Leaders During Partnership Event

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.— Marines, engineers and technical experts from Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity hosted nearly 200 business leaders from across the country during an Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry Feb. 6, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity hosted nearly 200 business leaders during an Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry Feb. 6 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. (Photo Illustration courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps)

The one-day event highlighted current technical objectives and associated challenges involved in supporting the command, control, communications and computers—or C4—systems used by expeditionary warfighters.

“The mutually beneficial partnership between private industry and the United States Marine Corps is our competitive advantage,” said Col. Robert Bailey, MCTSSA commanding officer. “Our talented business partners will be the ones creating the next generation of C4 systems, which must integrate seamlessly with the Marines operating at the tactical edge of the network.”

Specific areas discussed were, cybersecurity testing, wireless technology, advanced manufacturing, cloud computing, naval systems integration, automated testing, systems engineering, system and system of systems testing, data link analysis, tactical networking, and United States Marine Corps Operating Forces technical support.

Industry partners gathered with MCTSSA subject matter experts during an Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry Feb. 6 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

“MCTSSA is doing some exceptional 21st century work for our Marine Corps,” said APBI participant and marketing director Greg Goodman. “This was a superb event.”

Other participants sought to gain knowledge of the technologies and processes that are important to the United States Marine Corps.

“MCTSSA and industry are trying to solve the same problems, there is a significant opportunity for cooperation if a business model can be worked out,” said James Valentine, a business development director.

Col. Robert Bailey (left), MCTSSA commanding officer, spoke with business leaders during an Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry Feb. 6 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Technical briefs were conducted at various locations throughout the MCTSSA compound and put the command’s subject experts in direct contact with their business counterparts.

“I’ve been able to learn more about command requirements and how Hewlett Packard Enterprise can assist,” said Ray McCrea, an account manager and APBI participant. “By starting that dialogue and meeting these contacts, I’ve accomplished my goal here today.”

Hearing directly from requirements officers was beneficial to many of the industry participants.

“Partnerships are vital in creating win-win relationships,” said APBI participant Wil Granados. “I am extremely supportive of these type of events and would like to see more in the future.”

Buck Connally (right), a MCTSSA subject matter expert, briefs industry leaders on joint interoperability of tactical command and control systems during an Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry Feb. 6 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

MCTSSA leadership echoed similar sentiments.

“Cultivating and enhancing our relationship with industry will become even more essential as our nation faces new and evolving threats from a strategic and asymmetric adversary,” said Bailey. “We must make Marines more capable, enabling combatant commanders’ real-time command and control superiority and this industry event helps us strive to do just that.”

Business leaders taking part in the event equally expressed the importance of the day.

“These are valuable interchanges for industry,” said Valentine. “It ties industry into the Marine user through MCTSSA and will help steer our investment.”

MCTSSA, an elite, full-scale laboratory facility operated by the Marine Corps, is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Systems Command. MCTSSA provides test and evaluation, engineering, and deployed technical support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems throughout all acquisition life-cycle phases.

Story and Photos By Sky M. Laron, Public Affairs Officer, MCTSSA

USMC Mandates Woodland MCCUU For Year-Round Wear

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Last week, Gen Neller, Marine Commandant, issued ALMARS 038/16 which mandates year-round wear of the Woodland MARPAT version of the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform. While there are exceptions for commanders to continue to specify wear of the Desert variant based on the local environment, Marines will now swap between sleeves up or down on the same day the rest of the country switches back and forth from Daylight Savings Time.

This move makes me wonder if the Marines aren’t going to remove the Deserts from the Sea Bag and make them UIF gear.

USMC Photo by LCpl Caleb Maher – BAENGNYEONGDO, South Korea – U.S. Marines With Lima Company 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Regiment, train with Republic of Korea Marines During Korean Marine Exchange Program 16-15, Baengnyeongdo, South Korea, Oct. 3rd, 2016. KMEP offered realistic scenario training ensuring ROK-U.S. combined forces are trained and ready for urban warfare tactics. 

R 082123Z DEC 16
ALMAR 038/16
REF/A/MSGID: BNO 1020.3G//
REF/B/MSGID: MCO P1020.34G CH 1-5//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. This ALMAR prescribes the seasonal uniform change and applies to all Marines and Navy personnel serving with Marine Corps units.
2. Effective immediately, the seasonal uniform changes are as prescribed below:
3. The seasonal uniform transitions will occur semi-annually on the weekend in the Fall and Spring concurrent with change to and from Daylight Saving Time (DST).
4.a. For all USMC Commands. During the winter season, the woodland MCCUU will be worn with sleeves down and the designated seasonal service uniform will be Service “B”. Upon transition to the summer season, effective with the move to DST, the woodland MCCUU will still be worn; however, sleeves will be rolled up and the designated season service uniform will be Service “C”.
4.b. OCONUS Commands/Bases/Units will differ to the policy/guidance as established by the their respective Marine Forces(MARFOR) Commander for their seasonal dress/uniform.
4.b.1. MARFOR Commanders, due to the breadth of their area of responsibility, are authorized to set policy/guidance that may vary throughout their region, to include the adjustment of dates of transition and the respective MCCUU for wear.
5. Exceptions:
5.a. MARFOR/MEF/Installation commanders may adjust the uniform for wear, from the dates established in this ALMAR within reason, to take into account seasonal weather patterns.
5.b. Commanders overseeing personnel in training (i.e. basic, MOS school, advanced MOS training) may set the MCCUU for wear as established by applicable order.
5.c. Commanders overseeing units/personnel in training for deployment may set the MCCUU for wear based on the mission requirements, and as deemed necessary to ensure effective pre-deployment training.
5.d. Units/personnel deployed will adhere to the policy/guidance as established by combatant commanders and the regional MARFOR commander.
6. Personnel serving in or visiting the National Capital Region will review reference (a), http:(slash slash), in its entirety to ensure compliance and uniformity of wear.
7. All other aspects of reference (b) apply.
8. Semper Fidelis, Robert B. Neller, General, U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps.//

Relax, They’re Just ‘Experiments’

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

You’ve probably read that the Marine Corps is looking at replacing the M4 with the M27 IAR, which is a variant of H&K’s 416. You may have also read that the Marines are going to issue suppressors to the GCE. We’ve known about both of those small unit experiments for awhile now. Thing is, there’s no requirement, and what’s worse, no money, for either. Consequently, we didn’t post a story telling you that the Marines are evaluating a new rifle or suppressors.

Our advice? Don’t hold your breath. If one or both of those happen, it won’t be anytime soon.

Mission Ready’s Protect The Force Develops the US Marines Next Generation Ballistic Base Layer

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

VANCOUVER, B.C. – November 22, 2016 – Mission Ready Services Inc. (“Mission Ready” or the “Company”) (TSX-V : MRS) is pleased to announce the successful completion of the Marines Next Generation Body Armor development project (the “Project”) for the United States Marine Corps (“USMC”). Following a contract award by the Marine Corps Systems Command (“MARSYSCOM”), the Project was completed on schedule and under budget.

Managed by Francisco Martinez, Chief Technical Officer of Protect The Force (“PTF”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, the two year Project was funded through the Department of the Navy (“DoN”) Office of Naval Research (“ONR”) Rapid Innovation Fund (“RIF”), the revolutionary combat shirt, the Ballistic Base Layer (“BBL”), is now being readied for field deployment in keeping with the RIF objective to accelerate fielding of innovative technologies into military systems.

Mr. Martinez states, “The Marines Next Generation Body Armor is a Marine-unique development that integrates a number of life saving features. The BBL is a First-of-a-Kind protective combat shirt, specifically tailored to the Marine Corps equipment requirements, that addresses deficiencies identified by injuries recorded through Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. PTF is honored to have been selected by ONR and MARCORSYSCOM to develop the Ballistic Base Layer.”

The BBL is a revolutionary armored shirt worn under the Marines Body Armor Vest that integrates modular deltoid, yoke and collar protection into an athletic flame resistant combat shirt. Newly developed breathable fragment protective knits were integrated into the sleeves and lower torso for additional protection against fragments resulting from Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonations.

The Marines Product Manager Clothing Infantry Equipment (“PdM ICE”) was the recipient of 100+ prototypes of the BBL and 6 additional prototypes with integrated micro climate cooling tubes.

Mr. Martinez further states, “The PM-ICE technical staff and all the contracting groups supporting the effort were a delight to work with and we are honored to have received their input and support. We look forward to working with the Marines PdM ICE as the requirements for the BBL are finalized and the item is fielded. Additionally, we wish to thank all of our employees, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers for their support in successfully developing the Marines Next Generation Ballistic Base Layer and look forward to continue working with them.”

U.S. Marine Corps Orders 144 Diesel MRZRs from Polaris Defense

Friday, November 11th, 2016

In late September, I met with Polaris Defense and learned that the Marine Corps had evaluated at the Diesel MRZR during the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) MAGTF Integrated Experiment at Camp Pendleton in California which was a component of exercise RIMPAC 16. The Marines even displayed the MRZR at Modern Day Marine to showcase its capabilities. They didn’t waste any time deciding that it was what they wanted to adopt for their Utility Task Vehicle program.

MINNEAPOLIS (November 10, 2016) — Polaris Defense, a division of Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII), has received an order from the United States Marine Corps to deliver 144 four-seat diesel MRZR™ vehicles as part of the utility task vehicle (UTV) program, which will provide MRZR-D4s to each of the Marine Corps’ active-component infantry regiments. The contract also includes spare parts blocks in support of the vehicles.

This vehicle procurement follows successful testing and integration exercises, such as the recent RIMPAC 2016 where the Marine Corps experimented with new technologies, tactics and operational concepts during force-on-force training.

“We introduced the diesel MRZR earlier this year and the Marines were among the first to purchase vehicles for test and evaluation,” said Joaquin Salas, business development manager, Polaris Defense. “The MRZRs off-road mobility, heavy fuel compatibility and internal transport certifications on vertical-lift aircraft make it a force multiplier for Marine infantry units.”

The UTV program is designed to provide company-level operations with logistics support, filling a critical capability gap at the tactical level. The MRZR-D4 delivers a proven solution that is cost-effective, reliable, easily maintained, and certified for internal transport in MV-22 and CH-53 aircraft.

MRZRs have redefined ultralight, off-road mobility for military vehicles and are mission critical for expeditionary forces in the U.S. and more than 20 allied countries to meet mission demands and threats. The flexible vehicle platform can be configured a number of ways to fulfill rapid personnel deployment, casualty evacuation and supply transport missions.

Polaris Defense vehicles deliver a coveted combination of deployability, versatility and off-road mobility, forged from more than 60 years of off-road vehicle experience that is simply unmatched. Vehicles include the rugged Sportsman MV 850, the modular and nimble MRZR, and the DAGOR, which expands upon the range, payload and off-road mobility of any previous tactical off-road vehicle. The enhanced tactical mobility provided by Polaris Defense gives an advantage back to dismounted troops, allowing formations to move faster, carry more and significantly reduce combat fatigue. Polaris FSR support is scalable worldwide and includes military vehicle training, service and maintenance. It also can be supplemented internationally through the Polaris network of distributors. And because Polaris vehicles are in service throughout the world, there is a high degree of interoperability and commonality among U.S. and allied forces.

Happy Birthday Devil Dogs!

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Since 1775, Marines have been there when your nation called.

On behalf of the United States of America, Thank You!

Marines Seeking Enhanced Flame Resistant Combat Ensemble

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

FROG Banner sm

In January, MARCORSYSCOM released a pre-solicitation for an “Enhanced Flame Resistant Combat Ensemble” or EFRCE. While it sounds like something completely new, really what the Marines are looking for is a version of the Blouse and Trouser from the Flame Resistant Organizational Gear (FROG) that incorporates but improved fabrics and Permethrin treatment. There are no plans to alter the current cut or design of this popular uniform.

In terms of a general description, EFRCE is similar to the current Flame Resistant Combat Ensemble (FRCE) in the Marine Corps inventory; however, the design and fabrics used to construct the FRCE have been modified to increase durability (as such, producing the EFRCE)…Also, of note, following contract award, each shirt and trouser of the EFRCE must be factory permethrin treated and must conform to the permethrin concentration levels and percent bite protection requirements, as established by the Marine Corps.

They want vendors to use the following fabric types:

Cloth, Type I – Woven, Woodland, Marine Corps Pattern (MARPAT) Camouflage Printed
Cloth, Type II – Woven, Desert, MARPAT Camouflage Printed
Cloth, Type III – Woven, Navy Working Uniform (NWU) II, Desert Digital Camouflage Printed
Cloth, Type IV – Woven, NWU III, Woodland Digital Camouflage Printed
Cloth, Type V – Knit, Coyote, Solid (All Uniform Types)

Based on this, as you can imagine, the EFRCE will be offered in 4 variants:

As you can see, the Marines and Navy have no plans to abandon their camouflage patterns anytime soon. But, Marines and Sailors will have a great uniform in both woodland desert variants.

Class 1, Type I EFRCE Blouse and Trouser, Woodland MARPAT, with Durable Insect Protection
Class 1, Type II EFRCE Blouse and Trouser, Desert MARPAT, with Durable Insect Protection
Class 2, Type III EFRCE Blouse and Trouser, NWU II Desert Digital Camouflage Printed, with Durable Insect Protection
Class 2, Type IV EFRCE Blouse and Trouser, NWU III Woodland Digital Camouflage Printed, with Durable Insect Protection

As of now, the EFRCE will be produced by Hub Zone-based small businesses.