Moog Expands Huntsville Footprint with Regional Support Center

Another innovative technology company is expanding its presence in Huntsville. 

Moog – the name rhymes with vogue – has opened a regional support center at 360F Quality Circle in Cummings Research Park West.

The company cites the proximity to Redstone Arsenal and Marshall Space Flight Center as key to its long-term growth strategy to better support its aerospace, defense, and industrial customers. 

Martin Bobak, Moog’s vice president defense sustainment, said, “The Regional Support Center will also support growing defense sustainment activities in support of the warfighter.”

The New York-based company specializes in the design and manufacture of advanced motion control products for aerospace, defense, industrial and medical applications. 

The new facility consists of a large laboratory to support local research, development, and testing activities. It also offers abundant office space and essential collaboration space.

Huntsville native Mary Occhipinti takes on the role of Moog’s Huntsville operations’ site manager. She has supported a variety of Moog business groups for more than a decade.

“Huntsville is recognized as a thriving metropolitan area for both business and living,” she said. “With this opening, we have already doubled our local presence and plan to add additional technical positions in the days ahead.” 

For job opportunities, visit www.moog.com/careers.

Moog held a “soft opening” in late August but plans a more formal grand opening based on COVID-19 regulations.

Still Serving Veterans Announces Board Members, Officers for 2020-2021

Still Serving Veterans has announced its officers and board members for 2020-2021.

New board members are Mike Durant, Jenni Feld, Rich McAdams, Kris McGuire and Dr. David Traynor.

“Each new board member is bringing not only their knowledge of the Huntsville community, but their own unique professional experience and skill set to Still Serving Veterans … and they each have a heart for helping Veterans and their families. We are blessed to have them on our board and excited about the future of the organization,” said Still Serving Veterans CEO Paulette Risher.

The new board members collectively bring knowledge and experience in a variety of areas including engineering, medicine, project management, finance and operations and information technology.

Durant is an Army veteran and served as a special operations pilot. He is the CEO, principal owner, and board member of Pinnacle Solutions which he founded in 2008. A story of a mission he flew in Mogadishu was the basis for the film “Blackhawk Down.” He is the author of “In the Company of Heroes” and “The Night Stalkers.”

Feld, is the Director of Finance and Operations at Trideum Corp.

Traynor was an Army combat medic and practices internal medicine at Gleneagles Family Medicine.

McAdams is an Army veteran and graduate of U.S. Military Academy. He is president of Ignite, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business.

McGuire is an Air Force veteran and founder and CEO of Victory Solutions.

Along with Durant, Feld, McAdams, McGuire and Traynor, other board members are: Chairman John T. Wright; Secretary Barbara Norris; Treasurer Chris Kern; ex-officio Member  Paulette Risher; co-founder/Director Emeritus Will Webb; Trip Ferguson; Jerry Gabig; Dan Godwin; Joni Green; Hank Isenberg; and Kristen Strickland

Army Intercept Targets Using Northrop Grumman Technology Developed in Huntsville

When Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy visited Huntsville a few weeks ago, it was not to chop watercress.

One of his stops was to thank Northrop Grumman’s Huntsville team for its success in developing the Integrated Battle Command System, a weapons system that will give U.S. troops a technological advantage over the enemy, anywhere in the world.

“It’s not a question of whether or not we might get there,” he told more than 500 Northrup Grumman employees at IBCS manufacturing headquarters in Huntsville. “We have to get there.”

And get there they did – twice in fact over the past couple of weeks with two successful flight tests of the ICBS system.

Northrop Grumman developed IBCS with the Army as cornerstone of its integrated air and missile defense modernization program.

Primarily a Huntsville program, more than 500 of Northrop Grumman’s approximately 2,000 employees in the Huntsville area are involved in IBCS work, including Agile software development; the system’s overall design; and program management and foreign military sales. They also manufacture hardware at the Wall Triana facility, including the Engagement Operations Centers and Integrated Fire Control Network relays.

Furthermore, the Army’s IAMD Program office is at Redstone Arsenal.

Troops prepare for test to intercept incoming cruise and tactical ballistic missiles. (Photo/Northrop Grumman)

The first of two planned operational IBCS flight tests, both were conducted at White Sands Missile Range by the Army 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment.

Both were also part of the IBCS Limited User Test which is several tests simulating realistic battle operations and place performance stresses on the systems.

The first test’s defense included an Air and Missile Defense task force including two battery and one battalion engagement operations centers; two Patriot and Sentinel radars; and three Patriot Advanced Capability 3  launchers connected at the component level to the IBCS Integrated Fire Control Network.

The test began when two “enemy” cruise missile were launched and flew at a low altitude through a mountain range. IBCS fused real-time data from all sensors into a single, accurate composite track for each threat.

In response, two PAC-3 missiles controlled by IBCS were launched and intercepted the cruise missiles.

IBCS sensors extend the battle area, engage threats providing 360-degree protection, increasessurvivability by enabling early detection and continuous tracking, and deliver the capabilities to defeat an increasingly complex threat.

“We are extremely pleased with how IBCS performed during this flight test,” said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. “We have been working on an extraordinary command and control system in partnership with the Army, and our goals are the same – to get this capability into the hands of the warfighter as soon as possible.”

IBCS tracked and engaged incoming cruise and tactical ballistic missiles during test. (Photo/Northrop Grumman)

The second IBCS test a few days later intercepted a high-performance, high-speed tactical ballistic missile ) target and a cruise missile target. It demonstrated the system’s ability to acquire, track, identify and engage diverse targets from various locations, speeds and altitudes.

Their defense consisted of two battery and one battalion IBCS engagement operations centers, two Patriot and two Sentinel radars, and four launchers with a mixture of PAC-2, PAC-3 and interceptors connected to the IBCS fire control network.

“I would like to recognize how exceptionally proud I am of the soldiers of the 3-43 ADA Battalion,” said Maj. Gen. Rob Rasch, Army Program Executive Officer, Missiles and Space. “This formation’s laser focus and steadfast dedication, starting with New Equipment Training last year through this LUT live fire, will ultimately transform the Air and Missile Defense fight for our joint formations.

“It’s been amazing to watch our soldiers’ ability to successfully track, engage, and destroy multiple targets in a highly-complex live fire operational test, further demonstrating the IAMD’s game-changing technological advantage. As we continue to fine-tune system performance in order to fully demonstrate system requirements in the Initial Operational Test & Evaluation in Fiscal Year 2022, we maintain high confidence for success due to the great leaders and soldiers of the 3-43, who will ultimately become the first-ever IBCS-enabled battalion.”

The flight test commenced with the target missiles being launched from different areas toward the Army defenders at the controls of IBCS. The tactical missile traveled on a ballistic trajectory, while the cruise missile surrogate flew a low-altitude course. Using data from the multiple radars and ICBS, the soldiers launched a PAC-2 to intercept the cruise missile and a PAC-3 to intercept the ballistic missile. Both targets were intercepted.

“These two back-to-back successful test events are a testament to the commitment and partnership between the great men and women of the Army’s operational and acquisition communities and Northrop Grumman’s program team,” said Todorov. “We are committed to the mission of the Army and look forward to continuing that partnership in getting the game-changing IBCS capability into production and fielded.”

Northrop Grumman employs a workforce of 90,000 worldwide.

STRATCOM Commander: No Time for Delay to Modernize

 The commander of the United States Strategic Command stressed that time is of the essence in modernizing U.S. defense capabilities.

Adm. Charles Richard highlighted the nation’s preparedness in the most recent session of the Tennessee Valley Corridor Virtual Summit Series.

Some 400 government, industry, and education professionals from across the Tennessee Valley Corridor attended the session which focused on America’s new national security challenges, highlighting the role the Tennessee Valley plays in defending against cyber, nuclear, and other combatant threats.

In his keynote address, Richard, a Decatur native, described how the post-Cold War strategies of the past few decades are no longer sufficient in this changing world. He also drew attention to the deteriorating materiel across all branches of the military, as the federal government is now working alongside industry partners to rapidly address these modernization needs.

“I – and we – must have the capabilities necessary to deliver a decisive response and do it with a combat ready force,” said Richard. “Looking forward, there is no margin left for delay with our recapitalization and modernization timelines.”

The session also included an overview of current threats to our nation’s security from Sean Williams, president/CEO of Protection Strategies Inc. PSI is an East Tennessee-based firm engaged in contract security services nationally and internationally.

Ted Sherry, Vice President of CNS (operator of the Texas-based Pantex Plant and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.), led a discussion on how regional partners are working to meet these security challenges. Panelists included: Blake Scott, Director of Lithium Transformation at Y-12; John Stewart, President of Nuclear Fuel Services; Dr. Skip Bartol, Associate Dean of Research at Auburn University; and Jason Coker, Vice Director at U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Complex.

View the full session of the TVC Virtual Summit Series on the TVC YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uecxhKKIlhM.

The next virtual session is noon (Central) Thursday when Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn will deliver the keynote as a panel discusses workforce development challenges in the TVC. Visit TennValleyCorridor.org.

 

Davidson Receives Gold Boeing Performance Excellence Award

Davidson has received a 2019 Boeing Performance Excellence Award.

The Boeing Co. issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance. Davidson maintained a Gold composite performance rating for each month of the 12-month performance period, from October 2018 to September 2019. This year, Davidson is one of only 62 suppliers to receive a Gold level Boeing Performance Excellence Award.

“To be selected as a Gold supplier for Boeing is quite an honor,” said Davidson President John Holly. “We take great pride in the quality of our performance and the criticality of the mission. We are truly honored by this recognition.”

Davidson has received the honor every year since 2009 as the company continues its relationship with Boeing in Huntsville. Performance excellence is fundamental to the success of both companies and Davidson is dedicated to meeting the high-performance standards necessary to meet customer expectations and remain competitive in the global economy.  

“For over 21 years Davidson has had the honor of serving The Boeing Company on the GMD Program as one of our most important customers,” said Joey Leary, senior vice president Eastern Operations, Davidson. “We are honored and grateful to accept this award and look forward to doing our best to continue to support this vital national defense mission.” 

U.S. Army Awards BAE Systems $179M for Next-Generation Missile Warning Systems

BAE Systems recently received $179 million in total awards from the Army as part of the Limited Interim Missile Warning System Quick Reaction Capability program.

This award includes orders for the first two production lots and funding to enable fielding of the next-generation Missile Warning System. The MWS provides crews with advanced threat detection capabilities, improving survivability and mission effectiveness in contested environments.

The new warning system is designed to protect aircraft in “high-clutter environments.” (Photo/BAE Systems)

“Threats are evolving and proliferating at a rapid pace and our aircrews who fly into harm’s way need the most advanced protection systems available,” said Chris Austin, director of Threat Detection Solutions at BAE Systems. “These orders follow an intensive two-year development and qualification program, made possible by a strong industry-government partnership focused on achieving an aggressive schedule.”

The foundation of LIMWS is BAE Systems’ 2-Color Advanced Warning System processor which will allow the Army to outpace the threat. 2CAWS builds upon BAE Systems’ experience in fielding systems for the rotary-wing environment. Optimized for size, weight, and power, 2CAWS features an open system processor, two-color infrared sensors for increased range, and a fiber optic A-kit for faster data transmission.

Work on the LIMWS program will be conducted in BAE Systems’ facilities in Merrimack, N.H., and Huntsville, where the company is building a state-of-the-art facility in Cummings Research Park.

The  Common Missile Warning System is currently fielded on thousands of Army platforms and has saved dozens of aircraft and their crews since it was first fielded in 2005.

Boeing Awarded $150M Missile Defense Agency Contract

The Missile Defense Agency awarded Boeing a three-year, $150 million contract modification to produce four additional boost vehicles for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system.

GMD is the only defense program capable of protecting the entire U.S. homeland, including Alaska and Hawaii, against long-range ballistic missile attacks.

As the prime contractor, Boeing designs, produces, integrates, tests and sustains all GMD components deployed across 15 time zones.  Boeing also provides training, equipment production and operations support services.

Boeing manages the program in Huntsville and the work will be performed in Chandler, Ariz.

 

Redstone Arsenal Showing Resilience in the Time of COVID-19

Last Friday, Gov. Kay Ivey announced a new “Safer at Home” order to replace her March “Stay at Home” order. The new edict relaxed some of the restrictions put into place to help flatten the curve of infection caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Garrison Commander Col. Kelsey Smith

It allowed more businesses to open Monday, as long as they adhere to policies put forth by the CDC, the Alabama Department of Public Health and federal guidelines to ensure the wellness and safety of their customers.

Redstone Arsenal has stood in solidarity with the cities of Huntsville and Madison, and the dozens of communities from which they draw their 40,000-plud daily workforce. They began synchronizing their COVID-19-related policies to mirror those of the communities surrounding them. From six feet apart social distancing to closing all nonessential businesses and activities and enforcing the wearing of face masks when out in public; the arsenal garrison has also kept a watchful eye on hospital treatment capabilities in Huntsville, Athens, and Florence.

Key to their commitment to the people of Huntsville, Redstone Arsenal relies as much on bed space, personal protection equipment, and other mission essential capabilities as the communities that support them.

Redstone Arsenal has about 7.8 million square feet of administrative or office space and the workforce shares common-use space.

What has life been like on Redstone Arsenal, and how will it look beginning May 19 going forward?

“Some of the steps we’ve taken are very similar to what businesses around the community are doing, as well as what the governor has suggested,” said Redstone Arsenal Garrison Commander Col. Kelsey A. Smith. “We did occupational health assessments of our buildings with the intent of spacing people out and creating that six-foot physical distance between people.

“We have gone through with our contracting partners to clean all that workspace and disinfect those areas, and we put up signs that designate when that cubicle or those offices were last cleaned. The idea being to allay workforce concern as they come into work.”

Smith said their intent has been to minimize the workforce’s opportunity to gather in large groups, leading to the closing of all dining facilities except for take-out. MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Benefits) runs the cafeterias, sports facilities and activities, the Pagano Gym, Redstone Arsenal Links at Redstone golf course, as well as the Automotive Skills Center.

The garrison closed the Auto Skills Center and golf course to minimize their interactions. Golf, Smith said, is a socially distancing sport but, for every person that comes onto the course, there are still 20 people at work who are exposed.

“For me to move workforce out of harm’s way, we minimized the workforce and reduced both ancillary and amenity benefits and trimmed ourselves down to mission essentials,” he said.

“I would tell you that like any businessman or woman, I would certainly like to open up my revenue-generating organizations. But my first job is to protect the health, safety, security and welfare of the population, no matter how much we want to get out and play golf or go bowling.

“Until we see this virus isn’t virulently spreading, and we can actually bring people together in groups of greater than 10 without that happening, I will be reticent to opening up any MWR on the installation.”

He said for essential face-to-face customer service benefits where a customer and an employee come into direct contact and can’t keep a 6-foot distance, they have installed plexiglass shields.

As some restrictions were lifted Monday, Smith said they will begin a conditions-based but methodical four-phase plan to reopening.

“We will provide some goal-setting of increasing to 25 to 35 percent of the population; 40 to 45 percent in phase two; then 60 to 75 percent,” he said. “We may begin restoring ancillary benefits that support our mission-essential functions, but that will depend on our constant monitoring how the virus performs within the entire community.”

He said they are providing some goals for tenants to attain if they need to. Included in those are teleworkers.

“Telework has become much more effectual, especially since we brought some systems onboard for the Army that allow as to be more cooperative at a distance” Smith said. “We may not see the same growth we might have seen before because we can still get the outputs we’re looking for with a more reduced footprint.

“I’m not saying those jobs disappear, but we may be able to see multiple days of telework for an employee versus five days a week on the arsenal.

“What we have laid out is a template for all the tenants based on what the installation can provide, so we’re looking forward to tenants providing us with their growth template. That will allow me to look at the demand so we can produce the capacity to do that.

“We know our workforce is going to go home at night. They are going to go to Lowe’s. They are going to go eat at a restaurant. They may even come onto contact with the virus, so we need to monitor what we consider the enemy – COVID-19 – and make sure we don’t expose too much of the population too quickly.”

Smith said despite Ivey’s most recent statement, he doesn’t expect to see significant growth.

“I wouldn’t expect to see significant growth until we hit phase two and then we may see a 25 percent growth in the number of personnel, we bring on the Arsenal,” he said. “We bring on about 10,000 people now and by phase two, we may see as many as 20,000 individuals trying to come in, but we will work out capacity ahead of time to be able to deal with that throughput.”

He also likes the idea of wearing the masks because it reminds others, they are doing something for a reason.

Cloth face masks will be required at some places, even after reopening, especially to enter the commissary, PX or any of the public facilities, but each entity will have their own restrictions.

“I caution our tenants that all the custodians don’t walk around with every organization’s specific limitations so different buildings may have different restrictions.” he said. “You may require a face mask at our facilities but not at another. On some installations I’ve seen screening stations at the entrances of the installation, in front of the PX and the commissary, et cetera; but we found that to be ineffectual unless it is controlled or administered by a health official, so that would really just cost us additional people.

“If an organization wants to do it, I support it, but we’re not going to provide them the manpower to do it. Our custodians have to be able to get into your building to clean so as long as your organization is in compliance, we are unified on that.”

Meanwhile, construction on the arsenal has continued to soldier on.

“We have (construction) schedules we have to maintain to bring capabilities into play in the future. That means what we do affects a contractor and their ability to come to work,” Smith said.

Construction continues on the FBI facility at Redstone Arsenal.

“The FBI and Redstone projects have not had a slowdown. Contractors are coming onto the installation, they are doing a very good job of screening their own folks, using much the same policies we have: if you are sick, stay at home. Don’t come to work if you think you might have encountered someone infected.”

All the job sites are up and running and you can see it at Redstone Gateway where buildings are continuing to sprout up.

On the secure side, once you enter through Gate 9 on the left, work is continuing. Also, at Gate 9 headed south on the right as drivers gain access to I-565, there is a lot of prep work for more construction activity, and they will be working the last week of May to get it repaved.

He said in many cases, the traffic slowdown has allowed them to take advantage of opportunities to pave roads such as Patton Roade.

“We have closed Gate 3 in the vicinity of Redstone Road to Hays Farm because we didn’t need that access,” Smith said. “That closure has allowed us to do quite a bit of the paving out there, and it looks like the demand doesn’t require us to get back in Gate 3 until mid-May or late May when we’ll be able to complete that.

“I’d like to say the Zierdt Road project has moved forward a lot, but the reduction in traffic has certainly allowed it to continue moving steadily forward.”

Smith said they are tracking the number of COVID-19 cases on the arsenal, but DoD doesn’t allow him to share those numbers because they are reported with the city’s numbers through the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“I can tell you that all but about one-eighth of those we are tracking have recovered, and the remainder of them remain in quarantine,” he said. “None have been hospitalized.

“Something gets lost when you follow the daily ticker tape of the overall numbers. I would like to be able to see alongside those numbers, the recovery rate because that would be helpful and maybe provide some encouragement to the population. We are tracking very closely, the local case rate. If we report today, we have 14 cases, but yesterday we had 20 and tomorrow we only have 10, that signifies what we’re doing is working well.”

Privacy Officials Call for Cautious Telework Practices

By Lisa Simunaci, www.army.mil

As the COVID-19 situation means more employees are teleworking, Army privacy officials are calling for caution when it comes to transmitting personally identifiable information, or PII.

“Employees are trying to be inclusive and keep each other abreast of circumstances as teleworking expands across our organizations,” said Beth-Anne Ward, the privacy program manager for the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command.

Personal Identifying information is any information about an individual which can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity. PII includes information such as rank, name, Social Security number, date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, biometric data, and financial or medical records. Failure to properly protect PII could result in significant harm to individuals, to include embarrassment, inconvenience, financial loss, identity theft, and other types of distress.

“While we are limiting face-to-face discussions and relying more heavily on email, we must add that extra layer of attention and think things through before we push send,” Ward said. “Exposed PII puts both individuals and the command at risk.”

Ward cautions those who deal with this type of information to carefully consider who they copy on emails, particularly when high-impact information, such as Social Security numbers, are involved.

“Think about who really needs to have that information,” Ward said. “We must be cognizant of all recipients and limit the distribution to those with a need to know.”

Email that includes PII must be encrypted and the subject heading must include “FOUO – PII” or “UNCLASSIFIED//FOUO PROTECTED BY PRIVACY ACT.” The subject marking calls attention to the email content, and hopefully prevents careless forwarding to those without a need to know, Ward said.

“PII data elements require protective handling and safeguarding,” Ward said. “We are reminding our workforce about those data levels to protect peoples’ private information and decrease the risk of data breaches.”

Along with emails, many employees are turning to SharePoint to boost collaboration. Ward cautions that those who need to use SharePoint for PII must contact administrators to ensure their site is secured.

“Otherwise, Social Security numbers do not belong on SharePoint,” she said.

“Protecting sensitive information is everyone’s business,” said AMCOM Chief of Staff Col. Rick Zampelli. “Anyone who suspects a breach or receives unencrypted PII should report it to privacy officials.”

Ward agreed.

“Breaches have a negative effect,” Ward said. “However, we know mistakes happen. I encourage people to report so we can minimize the impact.”

AUSA Cancels Global Force Symposium

Following the Association of the United States Army announcement that the 2020 Global Force Symposium & Exposition has officially been cancelled due to the ongoing public health threat, the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau  offered reassurances that the Rocket City remains a welcoming destination for conferences, tradeshows, and other events.

The Global Force Symposium is one of the largest conferences Huntsville hosts annually, bringing together more than 6,000 attendees and representing an estimated $3.6 million in economic impact.

“We understand AUSA’s desire to prioritize the health and safety of their delegates, and look forward to welcoming them in 2021. Going forward, the CVB will continue to work with our hospitality partners and public health officials to ensure that the health and safety of our visitors remains a top priority,” said Judy Ryals, President/CEO of the CVB. “Supporting our local hospitality industry is also of utmost importance – as travel is impacted, we encourage our residents to explore their own backyard and be patrons to our Huntsville/Madison County restaurants, attractions, hotels, and others.”

Jamie Koshofer, vice president of conventions, said the CVB has worked closely with AUSA over the past year.

“AUSA has long been a close partner of the CVB, and we will continue to provide support for them in all ways that we can,” Koshofer said. “2021 is right around the corner, and we look forward to bringing that business back to the Rocket City.”

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said he is disappointed in the cancellation but the city and AUSA have a strong partnership.

“The City of Huntsville has developed a great partnership with AUSA over the past several years,” Battle said. “While we share in the disappointment of the community, we respect their decision to make the health of AUSA members, participants and our citizens a top priority.

“We will continue to work with them and look forward to seeing AUSA in Huntsville in the coming years.”

Currently, there have been no official reported coronavirus cases in Alabama.