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Engineers are assigned to specific warfare areas - air, subsurface, surface, or land - where they develop special experience and expertise. Based on their backgrounds, engineers are selected to provide the engineering expertise required to develop and procure specific training systems.
Their first role is to write engineering specifications for the training system based on analysis of the Training System Functional Descriptions (TSFD) - normally supplied by the Instructional Systems Analysis and Development Division - and other known requirements. The information the engineer receives indicates what the training system is to teach and what features and characteristics it is to have. The engineer develops a set of engineering specifications and procurement documents that will enable a contractor to understand what is required in the design and production of the specified trainer and to submit a responsive technical proposal.
Later, the engineer plays a principal role in evaluating the proposals received from offerers. This evaluation allows selection of the firm (to perform the contract) that offers the best value and, it is hoped, at the lowest price - "the most for the buck." During the development and construction of the training system, the engineer maintains close contact with the contractor to review designs, evaluate progress, and resolve technical and program problems as they arise. The engineer reviews progress and technical reports from the contractor, participates in design review meetings, and visits the contractor’s plant periodically for on-site evaluation.
The project manager leads the in-plant acceptance test team when the contractor has produced the trainer. Technical leadership is provided by the project engineer. The team tests the training system to ensure that it complies with equipment specifications and that it will serve the training need for which it was designed. If the training system is found to be inadequate for training purposes, the engineer assists in determining whether the deficiencies resulted from the contractor’s work or from an inadequacy in the original equipment specification. In addition, the engineer will help formulate a decision to accept the training system as it is, to modify it now, or to modify it later.
Similar on-site testing is conducted when the training system is installed in the field to ensure that it functions properly in its training location.
Logistics is the practical business of taking care of details for life-cycle support of training systems - planning for transportation, installation, maintenance, spare parts, and repair.
NAWCTSD learned that planning for logistic support must be done early, before the training system is built. To reach the goal of ensuring that the training system is available for training at least 95 percent of the time, reliability and maintainability must be designed and built into the training system. Therefore, Logisticians form an integral part of the team that develops the specifications for the request-for-procurement package. For this purpose, logistics engineers develop Integrated Logistic Support requirements embodying these details.
Logistics specialists contribute to the initial procurement planning package, each concentrating on his or her area of expertise. A critical area is publications - wiring and schematic diagrams, computer software and maintenance manuals, and other support documentation as required. Another area is providing for spare parts for the life of the training system. How many of what kind of parts are needed and where are they to be stored? Also where will the device be located, and what facilities and support personnel are there? Is there a facility to house the device, with or without modifications, or will one have to be built? These and a myriad of other considerations are a part of the logistics advance planning requirements.
Once the training system is built, logisticians form part of the in-plant and on-site test team. They examine each element of the design which relates to logistics to ensure specifications have been met.
After a training system is installed and accepted as ready for training, the task of repair and maintenance continues. Personnel make periodic inspections and evaluations of equipment in the field to verify that training systems continue to meet the specified instructional requirements. The follow-up evaluations provide answers about how well a system is performing overall; what percentage of the training requirement it is supplying; and what, if any, modifications are needed. Quality assurance specialists also make regular inspections of equipment in the field to verify that it is operating safely and according to the engineering specifications.
Providing for this kind of support of training systems requires an extensive field organization. The field employs 114 people. The personnel in these offices are responsible for the continuing logistic support of all training systems developed by NAWCTSD located across the country and around the world.
Within the Program Management Competency, NAWCTSD has fully accountable Program Directors (PDs) whose role is to provide focus and advocacy for specific customer and supplier relationships. The PD’s responsibility is to provide leadership, direction, priorities, and support to the planning, management, execution, and control of assigned training systems. They champion NAWCTSD’s mission and capabilities with the full range of sponsors, customers, and suppliers, and they continually measure, evaluate, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the program management processes. The PDs perform their responsibilities primarily through their leadership of Project Managers (PJMs) who report directly to them.