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C4ISR Maintainer Frank W. Zardecki Deputy Commander Tobyhanna Army Depot

2013

U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command


U.S. Army Communications-electronics command

C4ISR Maintainer

Q& A

Largest Full-Service Electronics Maintenance Facility Serving DoD Frank W. Zardecki Deputy Commander Tobyhanna Army Depot Frank W. Zardecki has served as the deputy commander to the commanding officer of Tobyhanna Army Depot since 1990. An organization of approximately 5,000 personnel performing diversified logistics, administrative and related support missions. In this position, he participates fully in the overall administration and operation of the entire depot. He provides professional guidance and assistance on all matters pertaining to depot missions, operating goals, and determination of depot resource requirements in terms of funds, facilities and personnel. He reviews and evaluates the effectiveness and efficiency of all depot missions. He also identifies and resolves critical operating problems, and determines and directs special studies and management improvement reviews. Zardecki is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He began his depot career in 1966 as an electronics-mechanic helper. Since 1972, he has held a wide variety of management positions, beginning as a first-line supervisor in the Avionics Branch. He has since progressed through increasingly responsible managerial positions in the electronics maintenance field. These included avionics section chief, chief of the Radio and Radar Branches, Electronics Division chief, and deputy director of maintenance. He was the depot’s first force modernization officer. He served as chief, Production Engineering Division, based on his experience, technical ability and managerial skills. In 1985, Zardecki was selected for a special assignment as the civilian executive assistant at Sierra Army Depot, Herlong, Calif. This assignment included directing the ammunition and special weapons missions performed at the installation. Zardecki attended Wilkes College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and the University of Scranton, Scranton, Pa., completing courses in business administration. He also has completed many Air Force and Army electronics and other technical training courses. In addition, he has attended numerous government-sponsored courses in the field of management, including supervision, leadership, labor relations, maintenance management, the environment, automation, and Lean. He is a 1995 graduate of the Senior Executive Fellowship Program, JFK School of Government, Harvard University. Throughout his career Zardecki has been selected to serve on numerous Department of the Army and Department of Defense special studies on military logistics. He is recognized as a leader in the area of depot maintenance, labor relations and interservicing. He was responsible for the transfer of the Air Force Ground Communications Electronics workload to the Army as a result of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. www.MLF-kmi.com

Awards and decorations include two Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service Awards, Meritorious Civilian Service Award, four Superior Civilian Service Awards, Commander’s Award for Civilian Service and numerous performance and special service awards. In January 2012, he was recognized for 50 years of federal service. Q: Could you first give us a broad-brush look at the depot including its size, budget and workload? How does this compare to let’s say three years ago? A: Before we start, let me give you a little background. What most people don’t understand is that depots are really the closest thing to the private sector, because we operate under working capital fund—there is no money appropriated by Congress for the operation of depots. We get paid for products we produce and services we render. We need to be competitive, especially in today’s environment, because customers can shop around and compete workloads. It’s imperative that we maintain efficiencies and keep our cost of operations down. If you look at the depot today, our workload for fiscal year 2013 is about $740 million, and our population is about 3,511 people. We’re U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command | MLF 7.7 | 1


U.S. army Communications-electronics command CECOM HQ Leadership

Maj. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell Commanding General

Gary P. Martin Deputy to the Commanding General

Col. Charles Gibson Chief of Staff

Sgt. Maj. Kennis J. Dent Command Sergeant Major

CECOM Centers and Commands

Col. Anthony Wizner Director Central Technical Support Facility

Lane D. Collie Director Logistics and Readiness Center

Gary Lichvar Director Software Engineering Center

Col. Gerhard P.R. Schröter Commander Tobyhanna Army Depot

Col. Patrick L. Kerr Commander U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command

CECOM G-Staff

Charles J. Glaser G1 Director for Personnel and Training

James Lint G2 Director for Intelligence and Security

Kent Woods G3/5 Director for Operations and Plans

Michael Vetter G4 Director for Logistics and Engineering

Patricia L. O’Connor G6 Chief Information Office

Liz Miranda G8 Director for Resource Management

CECOM Special Staff

Maria Esparraguera Chief Counsel

Maj. Young D. Kim Chaplain

Karen Quinn-Doggett Director Corporate Communications

Steve Hart Director Directorate for Safety

Neslie Etheridge Director Equal Employment Opportunity

Melvin Graves Inspector General

Dominic D’Orazio Director Internal Review Office

Kenyata Wesley Director Office of Small Business Programs

Gene Catena Secretary to the General Staff


Tobyhanna Army Depot 2013

Col. Gerhard P.R. Schroter Commander Tobyhanna Army Depot

Frank Zardecki Deputy Commander Tobyhanna Army Depot

Heb Shirey Chief of Staff Tobyhanna Army Depot

Tobyhanna Directors

James Antonelli Director of Resource Management

George Bellas Director of Command, Control and Computers/ Avionics [C3/Avionics]

Ron Cappellini Director of Business Management

Patrick Esposito Director of Production Management

Lorraine Henry-Hunt Director of Communications Systems

Brad Jones Director of Productivity Improvement and Innovation

Robert Katulka Director of Production Engineering

Jody Oustrich Director of Systems Integration and Support

Suzanne Rudat Director of Field Logistics Support

George Salitsky Director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance

Martha Verbonitz Director of Industrial Risk Management

Richard Woodworth Director of Public Works

John Howard Director of Information Management


U.S. army Communications-electronics command going to execute about 4.2 million man-hours of direct labor work this year. When you look at that in comparison to FY10, our budget was $980 million, so our budget, like everybody else’s, is declining. We’ve come down a little over $200 million in the last three years. Our population in FY10 was about 4,586, so again you can see that we’ve come down about 1,000 people. It’s a sign of the times as the budget reduction, sequestration and taking brigade combat teams out of the Army, that the workload is going to go down for the next few years. That’s what we’re looking at and how we plan on operating. Q: As the largest full-service, electronics maintenance facility within DoD, how much work do you do with and for the other services? What are some examples? A: Currently, Tobyhanna’s business is C4ISR; that’s our focus. If you look at that $740 million that I just talked about, about 30 percent of our workload is done for other services, specifically for the Air Force as a result of BRAC 95 when the work was transferred here. We do all of the Air Force deployable air traffic control systems, the air defense radars and the threat emitters they used in their electronic warfare training, among a number of other items. For the Marine Corps, and that’s a fast-growing workload for us, we do all of their air defense and counter-fire radars. That just started within the last two years and we’ve been very successful there. Overall, we’ve developed a good relationship with the Marine Corps. For the Navy we also do some interesting and nontraditional Army work; we do some depth detectors for the submarines and we’re doing some refurbishment on the rolling air frame missile launchers. Q: Is all of your work accomplished here at Tobyhanna or do you have staff forward deployed? A: We have quite a few forward deployed personnel, especially in the last few years; field support was our fastest-growing business area. Right now we have 66 forward repair activities around the world. On average, about 645 people a day work outside the gates of Tobyhanna. We have approximately 150 people in southwest Asia, at 23 different locations in Afghanistan and Kuwait. Since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, we’ve had about 3,000 people—civilians—deployed to southwest Asia for six-month rotations, all volunteers. We also have about 300 or so personnel permanently assigned to locations around the world. Q: How have the budget tightening and sequestration furloughs affected your ability to stay ahead of the work flow? A: Quite frankly, it’s just the opposite. With the declining workload, we’ve had to readjust, lower the amount of people we have. Because cost is so important and the hourly rates we’ve charged, we’ve had to do a lot of analysis of our workload and our costing. This year to date we’ve reduced about $20 million in overhead cost. Through our lean initiatives and efficiency studies, we’ve been able to decrease the product cost of systems we overhaul or maintain. It’s really imperative that we maintain comparative rates so that our customers can afford to come here, especially in the time of 4 | MLF 7.7 | U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command

declining budgets. That’s something that Tobyhanna works on really hard, all the time, in trying to keep our rates down and be competitive. Q: What is your role with the OEMs and other commercial industry? Do you have partnerships with them that harness their expertise and background? A: Absolutely, we’ve been doing this for a number of years now. Just this year alone, we have about 30 ongoing partnerships of various sizes. One of the interesting things about Tobyhanna is our workload is so diversified that we have a lot of little partnerships utilizing our production lines because of the nature of the work. We have partnerships that encompass unmanned systems, UH-60 Black Hawk avionics, radios and a host of other equipment items. We have a number of ongoing proposals that we work with the OEMs or other contractors. The value is that we partner together to do something that we can’t do independently. For the future, partnerships are where we’re going so that we can maintain technologies and have workload to share with our partners. We can do things they can’t do, and we can offer those services. Q: What is your ratio of Army personnel to civilian personnel? Do you use outside contractors for surge capabilities or specific skill sets that you may not need full time? Will your use of contractors go up or down in the coming year? A: Well, when you look at the Department of Defense industrial base of any of your depots, about 99.9 percent of the depots are civilians. At Tobyhanna we have three military—the commander, a sergeant major, and one or two other folks. Primarily we’re a civilian organization. Do we use contractors? Yes. Back in 2008, that was really our biggest year for production, and we hired a number of contractors to help us through that surge. Over time, we have reduced the number of contractors. With the workload going down, we’ll continue to use contractors, but not at the same level that we did in the past. Q: As new devices come online, such as smartphones and tablets, are those falling under your wing as well? Is there anything particularly challenging about the devices different from other electronics that you are charged with? A: It’s interesting—the technology is really good, it’s really good for the warfighters and the reliability of the new systems is really tremendous. If I can take you back and give you an example of technology and how it has changed and how it impacted depot maintenance because requirements go down. From an Army standpoint, tactical FM radios are the primary means of communication in the field. Back in the ’70s and ’80s, we had what was known as the VRC-12 series of radios that was in all the vehicles and that’s how we all communicated. Well, that was the only time that Tobyhanna ever had a production line; we would do about 900 of these radios a month and we had about 300 people. The mean time between failure [for the VRC-12] was about 200 hours. Then we went to SINCGARS, a good and reliable radio, so meantime between failure went to over 6,000 hours. Today, www.MLF-kmi.com


U.S. Army Communications-electronics command with a much bigger fleet of SINCGARS radios than in the past, we have about 50 people doing what 300 people did. Today, going with the joint tactical radio, the technology is a lot different, the reliability is much greater, and a lot of it is really throwaway; some of it is just not reparable because of design, integration, new components ... So we do a lot different than in the past. You can’t truly overhaul a handheld radio; you can make minor repairs and things like that. So technology has really, really changed what we do here at Tobyhanna It has improved the system so much that we have less people working on the same systems that we had years ago, even though our portfolio has really expanded. We have more than 4,000 different contracts, whether it’s handheld radios, strategic satellite terminals, threat emitters, air traffic control systems. Our diversity in our field is really different than you would find in most places.

Task Force Observe, Detect, Identify, and Neutralize – Afghanistan’s primary mission depends on properly functioning ISR equipment. [Photo courtesy of U.S. Army/by Staff Sgt. Jack Carlson III]

Q: Upon receiving a piece of equipment in disrepair, what is the process to determine if repairs are warranted or if it would be more cost effective to destroy it and replace it with new? A: Well there’s two ways we do that. The first thing we do, especially when we get the major systems in here, we would do an evaluation of the system to determine what the repair costs would be. Within the Army we have the MEL—maintenance expenditure limit—and generally that’s in the neighborhood of 65 percent of the procurement value. So we do an evaluation of what it would cost to repair or overhaul a system based on the procurement value, and if it’s going to exceed 65 percent, then we need permission from the item managers, from the major subordinate commands, to determine whether they want to do that based on the availability of systems. In a lot of cases, we deal with low-density systems. But generally, our overhaul cost is significantly lower—generally in the neighborhood of about 20-25 percent of the procurement value. Q: Does your facility have a role in foreign materiel sales equipment? A: Yes, we do foreign military sales. We have a number of programs, especially with some radars, counter-fire radars, mortar tracking and other similar programs. Tobyhanna has a really, really interesting program—Language Labs, which we do through the State Department and our headquarters [Communications-Electronics Command]. We take the Language Labs, assemble them, and take them to various foreign countries to help teach the foreign military how to learn how to speak English so that they can operate American systems. We’ve been doing this for a number of years; we’ve been in numerous, numerous countries. For example, we’ve had two trips in the last year to Vietnam. It’s really interesting; if you want to see the world, that’s the job to have. www.MLF-kmi.com

Q: What is your training regime to make sure that your staff stay current on equipment technologies and on maintenance best practices? A: Keep in mind the conversation about depots and the working capital fund. We train our own people, and we pay for that out of our lease. We spend in the neighborhood of $8 million a year. We have our own facility we affectionately call Toby Tech, where we keep people trained and current, whether it’s computer systems, radar systems, management information systems. Especially, again, in our field of C4ISR, Technology in the C4ISR field continues to advance rapidly, so we need to keep people current. This means not just with equipment, but also with our business systems, because they’re just as important in how we measure ourselves and determine how we’re doing as a business. Education is very important to us, and we continually train our people to upgrade their skills. Q: Any closing thoughts about the men and women of the depot? A: Well, I think obviously everybody’s aware of the budget reductions and the impacts of sequestration, so the next two years are going to be difficult for us, but I think our folks will rise to the occasion. We have a lot of good, dedicated employees who are working hard to keep our costs down. I think Tobyhanna has a very good reputation around the world and we’re going to maintain that reputation. We continue to look at how we can improve our efficiencies, how we can reduce the repair cycle time of some of the systems. We do this so that we can remain competitive and remain valuable to DoD, especially in C4ISR—our area—because today it’s an electronics battlefield. The things we do are important—our counter-mortar systems, our IED protection systems, they save lives, and people know that, and the workforce is very proud of the things they do to help the warfighters. O U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command | MLF 7.7 | 5


U.S. army Communications-electronics command

Right Sizing CECOM right-sizes field support entities to match the current environment. By Lane Collie, Director Logistics Readiness Center, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command As the Army redeploys from Afghanistan and overseas contingency operations funding dries up, the Army’s Force Generation model no longer dictates nine-month deployment cycles. Soldiers are home longer between duty stations, allowing more time to train on the equipment at the home station before deployments. This change in battle rhythm prompted leaders from the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command’s (CECOM) Logistics and Readiness Center (LRC) to explore ways to improve our field support strategy in a post-war environment for execution in fiscal year 2015. We’re getting back to the basics. The new strategy calls for soldiers to be the primary field service components for the operation and maintenance of C4ISR equipment and systems at the unit level, just as they were before the conflicts started. During the height of the conflicts, soldiers were focused on training for deployments and the execution of soldier combat-related activities, leaving a void for field support representatives to fill. With soldiers focused on theater operations, the sustainment and maintenance mission was left to the LRC’s civilians and contractor support to execute. However, that often left the LRC operating in a reactive mode, filling in supportability gaps wherever and whenever needed to support the boots on the ground. Because of the way we grew our field support infrastructure for the last 12 years—delivering quick reaction capabilities and support at a moment’s notice—civilians and contractors supplemented the field support gaps that soldiers (before Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom) would typically fill in a garrison environment. Soldiers will now, like before, be expected to provide unit-level field support and maintenance activities. In fact, about 85 percent of field level issues can be solved at the operator/maintainer level in the unit. The LRC has begun to use a three-tier approach to provide field support services. At Tier 0, or at the field support level, formerly embedded civilians are being replaced by soldiers already assigned to the unit who are trained to operate and maintain the equipment, capable of resolving most technical issues. Issues not resolved at Tier 0 will be addressed by a field representative at the Tier 1 field level. What cannot be resolved on-site will be sent to Tier 2, which functions much like a regional help desk. All issues not resolved regionally will be sent to Tier 3, where the original equipment manufacturer or the research and development component can address the most complex issues. The idea is to ensure soldiers are trained to recognize, troubleshoot and resolve issues at the Tier 0 level. LRC experts would come to conduct over-the-shoulder training and mentoring, lending greater capability to the soldier, allowing the command to decrease the field support footprint in the region. 6 | MLF 7.7 | U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command

CECOM is not alone in tackling the issue of training soldiers to use and maintain equipment at the unit field level. AMC and the Army logistics community are using the Global Logistics 2020 and Beyond concept to develop a strategy that ensures global logistics capabilities are properly structured, aligned and positioned to provide responsive support to the Army and joint force of the future. In an effort to support this direction in Army logistics, we have made it a top priority to work with command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance partner organizations, to develop methodology for determining the optimum field support structure for fiscal year 2015 and beyond. Among the list of goals is to find efficiencies; investigate the concepts for application to enduring systems; and create a regional field support map to provide “right-sized” support. Part of the reason we are doing the right-sizing is that if, in the future, we encounter a higher operational tempo scenario, we can ramp up again—and back down—but in a more structured way, as opposed to what happened before … a lot of patchwork solutions. Although those solutions worked in the near term, planning ahead will position the command to operate more proactively in how it delivers field support in both war and peacetime environments. We have a chance to take lessons learned from our work during operational contingencies, and incorporate them into the way we do business. The future force will be much different than before, according to Army 2013 strategic guidance. Units will be smaller, leaner, more agile and responsive, therefore the LRC’s services must compliment the new strategy and be the “right size” to support the new way our Army will be organized to fight and operate. CECOM and its LRC are posturing themselves, now, to be ready and relevant to the Army of the future. Right-sizing efforts would be directed in four areas: creation of multi-functional field service representatives; increased regionalization; strategic consolidated contracting; and optimization of internal management structure. Right-sizing is similar to industry’s just-in-time concept used to replenish stock, while keeping costs down, enabling companies to buy only what is needed, when it is needed. With soldiers taking the lead for field support at the unit level, the concept would call for the LRC to deliver field support personnel as needed, rather than those personnel being available at the field level indefinitely, even when there is no immediate mission at hand. It’s a matter of resources and the ability to balance resource efficiency with meeting the units’ readiness requirements. It’s a balancing act. At the end of the day, it’s really about being the most efficient steward of the resources and doing it smartly. O www.MLF-kmi.com

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