1
Introduction

This report contains the results of the National Research Council1 (NRC) assessment of the U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center (RDEC). It was prepared by a committee of the NRC known as the Natick Standing Committee, whose formal title is the Standing Committee on Program and Technical Review of the U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center.

In this chapter the committee first discusses the background of the study, including the phased approach. Next, the committee addresses the statement of task that governed the committee's activities during the second phase of the study, explains the study approach, and describes the principal features of the Natick RDEC.

Background

The Natick RDEC, located west of Boston near Natick, Massachusetts, is a major component of the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Command, a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. The RDEC's vision is to be the ''world-class research, development, and engineering team'' (Brandler, 1996) within the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) that provides customers worldwide with the essentials of life (see Box 1-1). Its mission is to develop products that "maximize the soldier's survivability, sustainability, mobility, combat effectiveness, and quality of life" (Business Plan, 1995).

The objective of being a world-class organization has also been expressed by the Department of the Army, the secretary of defense, and the National Academy of Sciences. The Department of the Army voiced a strong need during 1995 for world-class research. "The Army research mission is to identify and conduct world-class research in areas having a high potential to significantly improve land warfighting capability, to include leveraging the research efforts of other government agencies, academia, and industry" (Army Science and Technology Master Plan, 1995). The secretary of defense, in a strategy statement

1  

The National Research Council is the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 14
--> 1 Introduction This report contains the results of the National Research Council1 (NRC) assessment of the U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center (RDEC). It was prepared by a committee of the NRC known as the Natick Standing Committee, whose formal title is the Standing Committee on Program and Technical Review of the U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center. In this chapter the committee first discusses the background of the study, including the phased approach. Next, the committee addresses the statement of task that governed the committee's activities during the second phase of the study, explains the study approach, and describes the principal features of the Natick RDEC. Background The Natick RDEC, located west of Boston near Natick, Massachusetts, is a major component of the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Command, a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. The RDEC's vision is to be the ''world-class research, development, and engineering team'' (Brandler, 1996) within the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) that provides customers worldwide with the essentials of life (see Box 1-1). Its mission is to develop products that "maximize the soldier's survivability, sustainability, mobility, combat effectiveness, and quality of life" (Business Plan, 1995). The objective of being a world-class organization has also been expressed by the Department of the Army, the secretary of defense, and the National Academy of Sciences. The Department of the Army voiced a strong need during 1995 for world-class research. "The Army research mission is to identify and conduct world-class research in areas having a high potential to significantly improve land warfighting capability, to include leveraging the research efforts of other government agencies, academia, and industry" (Army Science and Technology Master Plan, 1995). The secretary of defense, in a strategy statement 1   The National Research Council is the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

OCR for page 14
--> Box 1-1 Organization of the Natick RDEC The mission is reflected in the organization of the Natick RDEC, which consists of five directorates: the Mobility Directorate (MobD), the Survivability Directorate (SurD), the Sustainability Directorate (SusD), the Science and Technology Directorate (STD), and the Advanced Systems Concepts Directorate (ASCD). The first three are called commodity directorates because they are responsible for RDEC products, such as rations, food-service equipment, clothing, shelters, and airdrop systems. The last two are called support directorates because they assist the commodity directorates with, among other things, scientific and technical support and modeling and simulations (e.g., of the soldier as an integrated system). of DOD science and technology, established the objective of "maintaining a world-class base of people and facilities." (Defense Science and Technology Strategy, 1996). The Governing Board of the NRC issued a series of policy statements during 1997 on Preparing for the 21st Century. One of these documents, Science and Engineering Research in a Changing World, stated that "world-class research is critical" (NRC, 1997). The committee's phase-one report, published in 1996, defined world-class research and development (R&D) (NRC, 1996). Drawing on materials from industry, academia, and government (e.g., discussions, literature, and the experiences of organizations in the private sector that have been recognized for excellence with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award), the phase-one report identified the major components of a world-class R&D organization and their interrelationships. It also identified five "pillars" of a world-class R&D organization and established 25 characteristics that further define those pillars. To measure performance (e.g., of an Army research, development, and engineering [RD&E] organization) relative to those pillars and characteristics, detailed tables containing four metrics for each characteristic were developed. (The essential elements are reproduced in Appendix C of this report.) Over the past several years, the Natick RDEC has often been recognized for superior performance. For example, the RDEC was the Department of the Army Research and Development Organization of the Year in 1993 and the Department of the Army nominee for the President's Quality Award in 1996 (Brandler, 1996). In 1995, Malcolm Baldrige Award winner Motorola contacted the RDEC to benchmark the RDEC's R&D processes (Natick RDEC, 1995). This kind of recognition suggests that the RDEC's vision of being a "world-class RD&E team" is plausible. The RDEC's ability to realize its vision is not entirely under its control, however. The RDEC must operate effectively and efficiently in the current defense environment, which is characterized by constrained budgets, reductions in force, and numerous uncertainties. These external pressures have presented

OCR for page 14
--> challenges for the RDEC, such as upheavals in personnel, hiring and promotion freezes, and difficulties attracting and keeping highly skilled employees. In 1995, in response to these challenges and in recognition of its goal of becoming a world-class organization, the technical director of the Natick RDEC requested that the NRC assess the RDEC. The project was divided into two phases, the first to establish the assessment criteria and the second to conduct the assessment. The criteria were established in 1996, and the assessment took place during 1996 and the first half of 1997. Statement of Task The phase-one report, World-Class Research and Development (NRC, 1996), provided the foundation for the second (present) report by defining world-class R&D. In response to the statement of task for phase one, which directed that "the metrics derived from the committee's definition will be used as the benchmark by which the business areas and core technologies will be evaluated" (see Appendix A), this second study applies the results of phase one and documents the committee's assessment. The committee conducted the second study according to the statement of task2 that follows. The Natick Standing Committee will examine the Natick RDEC's directorates and provide assessments and recommendations to the technical director. These assessments and recommendations will assist the RDEC in determining its future corporate strategy, technology thrusts, and related plans. As part of its work, the committee will address the extent to which the Natick RDEC has attained the level of performance of a world-class research, development, and engineering organization. Committee findings, assessments, and recommendations concerning the directorates will focus on the following three topics: (1) effectiveness and adequacy of organizational structure and resources; (2) quality of, and customer satisfaction with, Natick RDEC products; and (3) adequacy of the research and technology programs. The committee will identify opportunities for reengineering in areas judged deficient or worthy of improvement. This statement establishes two different stages of the assessment. The first consists of assessing the RDEC in terms of the five pillars and the associated characteristics and metrics established in phase one (NRC, 1996). The second 2   This approved, abbreviated statement of task was synthesized from (1) the lengthy statements contained in precursory documents (see Appendix A for details) and (2) discussions with the technical director and his staff during the committee meeting at the Natick RDEC on February 25-27, 1996 (see Appendix B). Management of the RDEC particularly wanted the committee to assess the commodity directorates, which are responsible for Natick's key business areas.

OCR for page 14
--> consists of assessing the RDEC in terms of ten key issues that are related to, but somewhat different from, the pillars and characteristics. Both stages are discussed below. Pillars and Characteristics The pillars and characteristics are described in the phase-one report. (The committee strongly suggests that readers not familiar with the phase-one report review Appendix C, which. contains the executive summary of that report and information on the pillars, characteristics, and metrics.) As shown below, the underlying principle of a world-class R&D organization is demonstrated commitment, which is the foundation of the five pillars, which in turn support the competitive advantages (see Figure 1-1). The five pillars are Resources and Capabilities, Strategic Vision, Quality Focus, Customer Focus, and Value Creation. Based on the phase-one report and knowledge of the Natick RDEC, the committee prepared the following brief description of an ideal world-class RDEC (Box 1-2). The pillars are defined by characteristics, which can be measured by metrics designating poor, adequate, good, or excellent performance. The characteristics are listed in Figure 1-2. Figure 1-1 The major components of world-class research and development organizations.

OCR for page 14
--> BOX 1-2 An Ideal World-Class RDEC An ideal world-class RDEC shows clear evidence of (1) demonstrated commitment to being one of the best research, development, and engineering centers in the world; (2) strong performance in each of the major pillars: Resources and Capabilities, Strategic Vision, Quality Focus, Customer Focus, and Value Creation; and (3) development of competitive advantages that put the organization in the forefront of its field. To attain the ideal, special attention must be paid to the five pillars, which are the critical supports of world-class performance. The Resources and Capabilities pillar reflects the assets and talents with which the RDEC creates value for its customers. This pillar includes the quality of personnel, as measured by both technology-based output and the talents, skills, and abilities of the personnel. A world-class RDEC must focus on developing and retaining its people and its corporate memory. Another key factor is the physical environment, the facilities and infrastructure in which the personnel operate. State-of-the-art machinery and equipment are vital. The Strategic Vision pillar is management's mental view of the type of organization it wants to create. Realization means aligning the vision, mission, plans, and programs of the enterprise so that everyone in the organization knows what these are and can clearly communicate the links between them. It also means providing charismatic leadership that elicits the strong commitment of personnel to the organization and its goals, so-called stakeholder buy-in. The Quality Focus pillar is the commitment to quality reflected through actions, such as frequent technological breakthroughs and dedication to continuous improvement. One way to improve quality is by continually measuring the quantity and quality of the organization's products to ensure customer satisfaction. Another is by reviewing and streamlining current operations and eliminating non-value-added activities. The Customer Focus pillar involves identifying, anticipating, and responding to the current and future needs of the customers receiving RDEC products. There are two important parts to the Customer Focus pillar. One is the careful identification of each customer group and establishment of a comprehensive feedback system for measuring customer satisfaction. A second, related, step is to involve customers in the formulation,design, and implementation of customer-related strategies. The Value Creation pillar is the ability to increase the benefits perceived by customers so they feel that they are getting more value than they expected or received previously. One way to create value is by reducing the cycle time of products in progress and bringing them to market faster. A second way is by creating products that users consider to be better in terms of functionality, ease of use, and reliability. Ten Key Issues During the contract negotiations between the Natick RDEC and the NRC that preceded phase one, ten key issues to be addressed by the NRC in the study report were included in the statement of work. These issues were organized under three overarching headings—organization and resources, quality and customer

OCR for page 14
--> Figure 1-2 The five pillars and 25 characteristics. satisfaction, and research and technology—and are shown in Table 1-1. The ten key issues were addressed in the second stage of the committee's phase-two assessment. Table 1-1 is derived directly from Sections C-3.1a, b, and c of Appendix A, with only minor adjustments by the committee to accommodate its knowledge of the RDEC and its work in the phase-one report. Some of the key issues cover the same ground as the pillars, characteristics, and metrics discussed above. For example, the first issue under the organization and resources topic (see Appendix A, part C-3.1a of section C) is the question of adequate funding and personnel to conduct world-class R&D. In other cases, the key issues are very different (e.g., Appendix A, part C-3.1a: "How has the establishment of Soldier Systems Command affected Natick?"). Study Approach The committee's assessment of the Natick RDEC is a combination of the application of the characteristics and metrics from the phase-one report and judgments on the key issues enumerated in the contract. This approach has several virtues: it is consistent with the phase-one report, it meets contractual requirements, and it satisfies the statement of task. As directed in the statement of task for phase one, the metrics were to be used as "the benchmark" for phase two.

OCR for page 14
--> TABLE 1-1 Ten Key Issues Addressed by the Committee in Stage 2 of the Assessment Organization and Resources 1. Does the Natick RDEC have adequate funding and personnel (e.g., technical specialties and critical mass) to conduct world-class research, development, and engineering for military products and systems? Are the RDEC's facilities and equipment adequate? 3. What new organizational approaches might be beneficial (include consideration of elements of the federated laboratory concept)? 2. How effective is the current organization structure? 4. How has establishment of the Soldier Systems Command affected the Natick RDEC? Quality and Customer Satisfaction 5. Are the Natick RDEC's outputs (e.g., products, systems, and research and development results) deserving of the label world-class? Is the RDEC's system to measure the quality of its outputs adequate? 7. Are the RDEC's outputs marketable to customers outside the Army? Outside the DOD? Is this marketability appropriate and adequate for an RDEC? 6. (i) Do the outputs of the RDEC meet the customers' materiel requirements? (ii) How well does the RDEC support the battle laboratories and its higher-level customers (e.g., Soldier Systems Command, Army Materiel Command, and DOD)? (iii) Is the RDEC's system to determine customer satisfaction adequate?   Research and Technology 8. Are the core and supporting research and technology programs world-class (or merely adequate)? 10. Are the models and simulations and other analytic methodologies used by the RDEC appropriate for the commodity areas and research and technology programs? 9. Should all current research and technology programs be continued? If not, which ones should be eliminated? Should any new ones be adopted?   The extensive literature on what characterizes good R&D supports results of the committee's phase-one report. In phase one the committee consulted with representatives of industry, academia, and government concerning the essential elements of world-class performance and reviewed several leading organizations and their paths to success (three of these organizations were winners of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award). Finally, the committee drew upon the considerable expertise of its members.

OCR for page 14
--> An alternative approach would have been for the committee to visit a number (undetermined) of organizations that do work similar to the Natick RDEC. The "world-class" aspects of those organizations could then have been used as benchmarks for phase two. The problem is that this kind of benchmarking requires, first, selecting organizations doing similar work, which would be difficult because the Natick RDEC has a relatively unique mission to serve the U.S. Army. Second, this alternative requires judgments that the organizations being visited are indeed world-class, which implies the application of explicit criteria to all of the organizations selected as candidates. Thus, the committee would have had to assess many organizations to decide which ones exhibit world-class performance in the areas of interest to the RDEC. Next, the committee would have had to assess the RDEC against the benchmarks represented by each of the world-class organizations. Setting aside the controversies that could have arisen in connection with a committee determination that organization A is world-class and worthy of being used as a benchmark for the RDEC whereas organizations B and C are not, the committee notes that its time and resources for this study were limited. The committee found it difficult enough to assess the RDEC as directed (i.e., using the results of phase one as the benchmark). It would not have been possible to do this study using the alternative benchmarking approach. The committee's fundamental assumption was that one needs to evaluate the work processes of an organization—as is done in major quality award programs (e.g., the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award)—to determine if an organization is performing at a world-class level. During the first phase, which was completed in 1996, the committee defined the important work processes (along with some inputs and outputs) from its experience in doing RD&E, its knowledge of the literature, and its discussions with other experts. The committee also found a way to characterize levels of performance. The phase-one report contains the characteristics and metrics that were used as the benchmarks for the committee's assessment in this second phase. (The essence of the phase-one report is elaborated in Appendix C.) Because the Natick RDEC's main products and principal business areas are embedded within the three commodity directorates, the committee decided to concentrate its attention on them. The support directorates were considered primarily in the context of providing assistance to the commodity directorates. To reflect this focus, the committee formed three panels to review the three commodity directorates. These panels were led by committee members with expertise in the products and technologies of each commodity directorate (e.g., parachutes, textiles, and food and food processing). However, each panel also included members who reflected the broad expertise of the full committee, including expertise in managing and conducting R&D, assessing technical organizations, and systems engineering and modeling and simulation. Members of the committee participated in fact-finding meetings and in-formation-gathering sessions at the Natick RDEC prior to the assessment. Their familiarity with the organization was bolstered during the assessment by visits to

OCR for page 14
--> the Natick RDEC and responses to questions3 (written and verbal) from Natick personnel during February, June, September, and December of 1996 and February 1997. (See Appendix B for details of these visits.) The first meeting, in February 1996, was a general discussion with the leaders of the Natick RDEC, who briefed the committee on Natick operations and responsibilities and established ground rules for the study. The panel visits in June, September, and December 1996 focused on the (MobD) mobility, (SurD) survivability, and (SusD) sustainability commodity directorates. Information was also gathered relative to the two support directorates. The visit in February 1997 focused on gathering follow-up data from the commodity directorates and filling in gaps on the support directorates. In addition, discussions were held with senior managers and strategic planners, primarily to update the committee on changes since the previous panel visits to determine trends suggesting improvements or declines in salient assessment characteristics. The panel visits in 1996 were preceded by lengthy questionnaires answered by the management of the Natick RDEC and reviewed by the panels before each visit (see footnote 3). The questions reflected the pillars, characteristics, and metrics established in phase one. The questions were also designed to illuminate the ten key issues in the statement of task. The committee conducted numerous on-site interviews with a broad cross section of personnel at all levels of the organization, including the administrative and professional levels. Among other things, these interviews provided information that the committee used to determine how well the written responses prepared by management corresponded to information from rank-and-file employees. The assessment by the first panel (MobD) was used as a "pilot run" to ensure that the committee's methodology was sound, that the questions were relevant, and that the time allotted for assessing each commodity directorate was reasonable. This pilot run was closely observed by the other panels so that lessons could be quickly absorbed and applied to the remaining assessments. All three panels employed a standard modus operandi. Specifically, taking into account all of the information received, they used the characteristics and metrics for a world-class organization from the phase-one study supplemented by their expert judgments on the ten key issues. Interactions between the panels were important to the process used by the committee to reach consensus on the assessments of the commodity directorates. The committee assessed STD and ASCD, the two support directorates, periodically through written responses to questions and as part of the visits to the 3   The written responses from the commodity directorates are available for review by contacting the Division of Military Science and Technology by phone at (202) 334-3118 or in writing to: National Research Council, HA258, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20418.

OCR for page 14
--> BOX 1-3 Assessment of Customer Satisfaction The committee assessed customer satisfaction for the Natick RDEC in the following way: The committee was briefed on customer satisfaction during the visit to Natick in February 1996 (Faulkner, 1996). The process to determine customer satisfaction was explained, and key performance indicators for RDEC products were described. The committee reviewed the RDEC's application for the President's Quality Award (Natick RDEC, 1995), which discussed customer focus and customer satisfaction surveys (e.g., 66 visits to customers at various locations and the collection of data from 40,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines in the past decade). The committee reviewed the written responses to its questions on customer satisfaction. The committee interviewed many individuals at the RDEC about customer satisfaction during the site visits. The committee are meals-ready-to-eat, packaged food for soldiers in the field. The committee sampled experimental new foods for soldiers, inspected various shelters and feeding facilities for soldiers, and examined displays of clothing to protect soldiers in different environments. The committee was made aware of improvements already completed or being considered by the RDEC in response to feedback from its customers. The committee contacted the U.S. Army Science Advisor for the Southern European Task Force deployed to Bosnia and reviewed the results of his findings regarding soldier satisfaction with equipment (see Chapter 2). The committee contacted the Program Manager of Soldier Support at the Soldier Systems Command during the February 1997 site visit to Natick (see Chapter 2). This Army official is one of the main clients of the RDEC. Against the backdrop of all of the above information, the committee applied the metrics of the Customer Focus pillar, especially the customer satisfaction characteristic (see Appendix C), to assess the commodity directorates. The committee made a summary assessment for the Customer Focus pillar with respect to the support directorates (see Chapters 2 and 3). These assessments became a part of the committee's judgments concerning the customer-satisfaction issues in the list of ten key issues (see Chapter 4). In view of the committee's understanding of customer satisfaction developed above, and in view of the limited time and resources available for this study, the committee decided not to design an independent survey and contact, on its own, individual soldiers or other customers regarding their satisfaction with Natick RDEC products or services. commodity directorates. The committee did not believe it was appropriate to subject the support directorates to the full range of inquiry used to assess the commodity directorates. The contributions of the support directorates to the overall performance of the Natick RDEC and its commodity directorates (who are the primary customers of STD and ASCD) were considered most relevant. Once assessments of the individual directorates had been made, the committee extended its judgments to the ten key issues, which spanned a broad range of RDEC operations. Finally, the committee integrated the findings of both stages to produce a comprehensive assessment of the entire Natick RDEC organization. Box 1-3 reflects the committee's overall approach by describing the way customer satisfaction was assessed.

OCR for page 14
--> Overview of the Natick RDEC This section provides an overview of the Natick RDEC, including how it fits in the Army organizational hierarchy and its mission and responsibilities. The approximate numbers and types of people at the RDEC and its overall budget are also described. The Army Soldier Systems Command, collocated with the Natick RDEC, provides the organizational environment within which the RDEC operates on a day-to-day basis. The mission of the Soldier Systems Command is to ''develop, integrate, acquire, and sustain soldier and related support systems'' to improve the soldier's performance and quality of life. The command performs similar functions for other armed services and customers (Brandler, 1996). Figure 1-3 shows how the Soldier Systems Command and the Natick RDEC relate to other components of the Army Materiel Command under the Secretary of the Army. The mission of the Natick RDEC is to "maximize the individual soldier's survivability, sustainability, mobility, combat effectiveness, and quality of life," which implies "treating the soldier as a system" (Brandler, 1996). The Figure 1-3 Relationship of Soldier Systems Command (and the Natick RDEC) to the Army Materiel Command.

OCR for page 14
--> business areas of the RDEC that support the soldier-as-a-system concept include airdrop systems (for personnel and cargo), clothing and individual equipment, combat rations and field feeding, and shelters.4 The core technologies at the Natick RDEC are: airdrop technology, textile technology, food science, and biotechnology. The Natick RDEC consists of approximately 500 personnel, the majority of whom are civilian professionals (Brandler, 1996); approximately 65 percent are scientists or engineers, and 30 percent have advanced degrees (10 percent have doctorates). Funding in fiscal year 1996 for the RDEC was slightly more than $110 million, just over $40 million of which was for science and technology. Funding projections shown to the committee suggest that funding for the Natick RDEC will be reduced to about $100 million by fiscal year 1999. Internal Organizational Structure, Visions, and Missions This section describes the Natick RDEC's five major organizational units—three commodity directorates and two support directorates—and the role each one plays. Figure 1-4 is a top-level organizational diagram showing the three Figure 1-4 Internal organization of the Natick RDEC. 4   The Words "business areas" might suggest that the Natick RDEC actually manufactures packaged meals or boots for soldiers. These items, of course, are produced by industry according to specifications that result from the R&D done at Natick. Other agencies of government procure the items and provide them to soldiers. The RDEC occasionally produces special-purpose items (e.g., sample meals to obtain opinions on their quality, test fabrics, and airdrop packages). However, the RDEC delivers real value mainly through scientific and technical contributions to the items used by soldiers and technical oversight of improvements to existing products or the initiation of new products. The R&D is guided in part by feedback from soldiers to the Natick RDEC, which maintains. active mechanisms for eliciting and evaluating responses from various "customers."

OCR for page 14
--> commodity directorates (MobD, SurD, SusD), which are aligned with key sections of the RDEC mission statement—mobility, survivability, and sustainability—and take the lead in developing items such as parachutes, clothing, and food. Also shown are the two support directorates (STD and ASCD), which provide specialized support in science and technology and advanced systems concepts. Each of the directorates is described below. Mobility Directorate The Mobility Directorate (MobD) provides research, development, and engineering to integrate the combat-essential elements known as "mobility" into the soldier system (Business Plan, 1995). Two of the Soldier Systems Command business areas are housed in MobD: (1) aerial delivery and (2) some aspects of clothing and individual equipment. The core technology for airdrop technology is housed solely within MobD. MobD has the vision of becoming the global leader in meeting military mobility needs (Doucette, 1996). MobD defines the word "mobility" as getting soldiers to the battle safely, efficiently, and combat ready. The mission of MobD is to provide airdrop, terrain traversal, and personal augmentation products and technologies to protect, sustain, and improve the soldier's quality of life under extreme environmental and hazardous conditions. In fiscal year 1996, MobD had a total budget of about $8 million. The budget is projected to remain approximately the same through fiscal year 1999. In October 1995, MobD adopted a new organizational structure, which had several objectives, including reducing layers of management, improving opportunities for advancement in technical careers, improving support of customer needs, and improving workforce morale and motivation. 5 Figure 1-5 shows the MobD organizational structure. At the top of the organizational hierarchy is a director; below him are four groups, the most important of which are the business management office and the technical management office. Below them are five groups (about 55 people)6 that report directly to the technical management office. The five groups are: New Ventures, Science and Technology, Product Development, Engineering, and Technical Support. Each group is composed of one to five self-directed work teams. Most work teams are composed of two or three members. The largest team has eight members. 5   Restatement of these objectives does not necessarily signify that they have been met. 6   At the time of the assessment, MobD had three people with doctoral degrees and 14 with masters degrees. Key technical disciplines included mechanical and aerospace engineering, operations research, and numerical modeling.

OCR for page 14
--> Figure 1-5 Organization of the Mobility Directorate. Survivability Directorate The Survivability Directorate (SurD) plays a crucial role in the Natick RDEC. SurD is the organization responsible for clothing, textiles, and individual equipment for the soldier system. The vision of SurD is to become the recognized world leader in survivability technology, products, and systems integration. The mission of the directorate is to plan, organize, and conduct the Army's research, development, and engineering programs for combat and noncombat clothing and individual equipment (Granchelli, 1996). SurD is the system integrator for the following mission areas: chemical and biological protection; ballistic munitions protection; directed energy protection (eye and body); heat stress protection (i.e., cooling equipment); flame protection; environmental protection; visual, thermal, antifratricide camouflage; and dress uniforms. SurD has a diverse staff of approximately 120 professionals. At the time of the assessment, 11 had doctorates and 36 had master's degrees. Their technical disciplines included chemical, mechanical, electrical, and materials engineering; textile technology; chemistry; physics; and quality assurance. Research facilities in SurD consist of a helmet laboratory; a camouflage evaluation facility; a pilot plant for dyeing, printing, and finishing textiles; a laser laboratory; a rain room; a ballistics laboratory; a scanning electron microscope; and computer-aided-design equipment. The fiscal year 1996 funding for SurD was about $55 million (Granchelli, 1996), which included $30 million from customer orders. 7 Overall funding for SurD is expected to decrease to the range of $47 million to $53 million in fiscal years 1997 to 1999. 7   A broad range of customers and programs has been identified and served by SurD; these include such diverse organizations as the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Army Aviation and Troop Command, the Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Defense Logistics Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Post Office, and more than 30 others.

OCR for page 14
--> Figure 1-6 Organization of the Survivability Directorate. The SurD intends to reach world-class status by developing an empowered, well trained, motivated workforce; intensifying leveraging worldwide with academia, industry, and government; and developing well planned, well executed, customer-focused programs. Implementation of these processes began with a major organizational change in October 1995 aimed at replacing the old bureaucratic hierarchy with an empowered workforce, reducing functional divisions to product groups to facilitate technology transition, and intensifying customer focus (i.e., marketing) through the creation of a business management office8 (Figure 1-6). Sustainability Directorate The Sustainability Directorate (SusD) mission is to provide research, development, and engineering for integrating essential elements of sustainability into the soldier system. Three of the Soldier Systems Command business areas are housed in SusD: food and food service equipment; shelters; and unit and organizational equipment. The Soldier Systems Command core technology of food science is housed solely within SusD. SusD's vision is to provide soldiers with timely advancements in food, combat service support equipment, and shelters (Darsch, 1966). Subordinate goals include a rapidly deployable field feeding capability that can sustain and enhance soldier performance across the continuum of military operations; and effective and affordable field support equipment and systems to sustain soldiers, enhance their quality of life, and improve their readiness in all combat situations and operations other than war. Other goals include increasing the availability of aircraft and vehicles for missions by providing mobile maintenance capability in forward areas under all weather conditions; developing highly effective, rapidly deployable, high-performance tents to sustain and improve soldier readiness and performance in combat and 8   Restatement of these objectives does not necessarily signify that they have been met.

OCR for page 14
--> Figure 1-7 Organization of the Sustainability Directorate. noncombat operations; and becoming the DOD's focal point for tactical rigid-wall shelters. In fiscal year 1996, SusD had a total budget of about $29 million. This level of funding was expected to decline to approximately $21 to $24 million by fiscal year 1999. Figure 1-7 shows the SusD organization as it existed during the assessment. At the top of the organizational hierarchy are a director, an associate director, and a senior scientist. Below them, approximately 155 people 9 are divided into four groups. The four groups are: Shelters, Ration Systems, Equipment and Systems, and Concurrent Engineering, Analysis, and Planning. Support Directorates The Science and Technology Directorate (STD) and the Advanced Systems Concepts Directorate (ASCD) occupy a unique niche within the Natick RDEC because their purpose is to support the whole range of RDEC programs. STD contributes principally through its focus on research and technology that could be useful to the commodity directorates. ASCD's principal contributions are in integrating programs from each of the commodity directorates and presenting and marketing RDEC commodities (viz., promoting the soldier-system concept). STD's vision is to be a world-class research organization, and the STD mission is to "provide world-class research, technology, and scientific services; maximize the combat effectiveness of the soldier system through enhanced survivability, sustainability, mobility; leverage outside research programs...[and] 9   SusD's team of professionals includes 12 people with doctorates and 39 with master's degrees. Key technical disciplines include mechanical, electrical, and bioengineering; food processing and packaging; organic and inorganic chemistry; microbiology and bacteriology; and nutrition.

OCR for page 14
--> Figure 1-8 Organization of the support directorates. (ARPA: Advanced Research Projects Agency) maintain cutting edge research programs, facilities, and equipment" (Salant, 1996). STD was recently organized around research and scientific services and four so-called "thrust areas": biomolecular processes; materials functionality; ergonomics; and product acceptance (which involves a comprehensive management and technical program to improve total soldier-system performance).

OCR for page 14
--> STD's team of approximately 60 professionals covers a broad range of technical disciplines (e.g., chemistry, physics, biology, textile science, food science, and psychology) and includes 22 people with doctorates, two with post-doctorate degrees, and 14 with master's degrees. The STD budget for fiscal year 1996 was approximately $6 million. This amount is expected to fall to about $5 million in fiscal years 1997 to 1999. ASCD's vision is to be the provider of quality services that expedite the transition of technology to development and production. The ASCD's mission is to develop, plan, maintain, and coordinate the overall RD&E program to ensure that the individual soldier's current and future needs are identified, assessed, and appropriately addressed in DOD acquisition of clothing and personal equipment systems, aerial delivery systems, food and food service systems, and field shelters and equipage. ASCD provides analytic and scientific support services to the commodity directorates through its Advanced Concepts Division and other groups that deal with customer liaison, strategic planning, and program management. Within ASCD, the advanced concepts work encompasses operations research for the entire RDEC and supports higher-level decision making through the development of modeling and simulation tools and the conduct of various analyses (e.g., analyses of cost and operational effectiveness, risk, and other tradeoffs) (Malabarba, 1996). Personnel in ASCD have a wide range of expertise in fields like business administration, mathematics, statistics, economics, computer science, engineering, and physics. Several people have doctorates (including one juris doctorate) and master's degrees. The advanced concepts work, which constitutes the largest funding element in ASCD, had a $12 million budget in fiscal year 1996, about $9 million of which was from customer orders. The modeling and simulation package within advanced concepts is expected to range between $2 million and $3 million in fiscal years 1997 to 1999. Figure 1-8 depicts the internal organizations of the two support directorates as they existed during the assessment. 10 Summary Table 1-2 summarizes the key business areas, core competencies, and skill bases of each of Natick's five directorates. 10   On September 23, 1997, the committee learned from a representative of the Natick RDEC that ASCD was being disestablished and its functions were being distributed to three organizations within the RDEC—two associate directors and the STD (DeCosta, 1997). The former director of ASCD will become the director of STD, and the current director of STD will retire. The committee did not have an opportunity to consider this change as part of its assessment but hopes that the findings of this report will prove useful to the leaders and staff of the organizations that inherit the ASCD functions.

OCR for page 14
--> Table 1-2 Major Technical Features of the Directorates of the Natick RDEC Mobility Directorate Survivability Directorate Sustainability Directorate Science & Technology Directorate Advanced Systems Concepts Directorate Business Areas Aerial delivery Combat and noncombat clothing and individual equipment Food and food service equipment N/A N/A Personal augmentation product and technologies   Shelters     Terrain traversal   Unit and organizational equipment     Illustrative Core Competencies New parachute concepts Chemical warfare protection Targeted nutrient delivery Biomolecular processes Modeling and simulation Advanced soft landing concepts Ballistic, flame, and surveillance counter-measures Physical, mechanical, and chemical behavior of materials Materials functionality Customer liaison Gliding wing opening process Textiles and clothing design Advanced food preservation and molecular food analysis Ergonomics Strategic planning and program management Computational modeling of parachute and airdrop systems Systems integration Encapsulation, coating, and enrobing Product acceptance     Electron microscopy Self-heating technology and multifuel burners       Textile testing and color science Electromagnetic inhibiting and high strength insulative materials     Illustrative Skill Base Mechanical and aerospace engineering Anthropometry, biomechanics, and mathematics Bioengineering, animal science, and bacteriology Chemistry, physics, and biology/microbiology Business administration and mathematics