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P2E Achieves Full Operational Capability of the Main Communications Facility, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

By Courtney N. Cashdollar, P2E Public Affairs

MCF Ribbon Cutting, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait
MCF Ribbon Cutting, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

The Product Manager Power Projection Enablers (PdM P2E) Team, lead by LTC Mollie A. Pearson and Mr. Art Olson, achieved Full Operational Capability (FOC) of the Main Communications Facility (MCF) on Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, December 28, 2013, three days ahead of schedule and approximately $3 million dollars under budget.

PdM P2E initiated the contract on September 14, 2012. The purpose of the project was to increase efficiency, performance, data security, and command and control of the information technology (IT) environment on Camp Arifjan. The previous environment, a largely ad-hoc build without coordinated architecture, included a Main Data Processing Facility with several disjointed data storage sites that provided limited support for the increased volume of Soldiers, a high risk of data loss or corruption, insufficient maintenance support, and a lack of integrated data storage capability. The current capability has served the Army well, but the mission has outgrown the existing capability. Now, the IT environment is much more efficient, maximizes virtual applications, and provides services to joint customers.

This $50 million dollar, 20,000 square foot facility will serve as the hub for all voice, data, and video-teleconferencing capabilities across Southwest Asia (SWA), including all 19 Countries in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility. The MCF project, including the migration of an entire communications facility, is the largest and most complex project ever completed by P2E. This is a very important undertaking that is critical not only to the region, but to the future communications structure around the world. This project will increase efficiency, performance, data security, and the command and control for the IT environment on Camp Arifjan and beyond.

The heavy lifters of the PdM P2E MCF Team were On-site Project Lead, Ms. Pam Warren; Contracting Officers’ Representative, Mr. Rey Quebral; Assistant Project Managers, MAJ Kyle McFarland and MAJ Peter Moore; and PdM P2E SWA Director, Mr. Mike Moseley. This team accomplished the mission despite austere and arduous working conditions inherent to the SWA region; numerous long hours over holidays and weekends; a significant eight hour time zone difference from the leadership and higher headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Virginia; and numerous stakeholders (including Southwest Asia Cyber Center (SWACC); the 160th, 54th, and 335th Signal Commands; US Army Forces, US Central Command (ARCENT).

Additional challenges included a complex contract; a volatile military mission and political landscape in Theater; coordination complexities due to multiple stakeholders and business areas; complex dependencies with receipt of equipment; and technical complexities involving affecting power generation, cooling and capacity, services migration, and circuit cut-over from the old facility. Furthermore, six to nine month stakeholder rotations in theater, including three transitions in the leadership of the 335th Signal Command (Theater)(Provisional) throughout the life of the project, and the lack of flexibility to hire additional government personnel on the ground in theater challenged the concept of continuity.

Finally, the team faced unforeseen disruptions including unplanned power outages, changes in policy that required the replacement of two thirds of the batteries for the Uninterrupted Power Supply System before it could be certified, flooding, and two fires on Camp Arifjan that detrimentally affected the schedule for the MCF.

Regardless of the aforementioned challenges, the P2E Team effectively developed courses of action to mitigate these disruptions and demonstrated superior leadership expertise, dedication to duty, commitment to the mission, outstanding people skills, organizational skills, and expertise with regard to coordination and collaboration with multiple stakeholders. The team in Kuwait built trust across many organizations, ensured the smooth transfer of accurate information, identified risks and issues, marshaled resources, and ensured a common vision of customer support requirements across Southwest Asia. As a result, the team met Full Operational Capability (FOC) on December 28th, 2013, three days ahead of schedule and approximately $3 million dollars under budget.

The MCF represents an enormous step in enhancing the capabilities and capacity of Information Technology (IT) service provision in Southwest Asia. This is also the first time since 1992 that the bulk of IT services are emanating out of one facility, providing critical communications capabilities in support of coalition operations in Kuwait. The MCF will now connect thousands of Soldiers across Southwest Asia and the globe with increased efficiency, performance, data security, and command and control of the information technology (IT) environment on Camp Arifjan.

PdM P2E is extremely proud of the challenging, arduous work accomplished by the team. A ribbon-cutting ceremony, hosted by Brigadier General Christopher Kemp (Commander, 335th Signal Command (Theater) (Provisional)) and Mr. Douglas Wiltsie (Executive Officer, Program Executive Office-Enterprise Information Services), was held January 14th, 2014. Department of the Army awards and PEO EIS coins were presented to Project Leads, Ms. Warren and Mr. Quebral for their outstanding achievement throughout the duration of the project.

Posted February 12, 2014