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DoD Lauds Innovators for Saving Millions

By Douglas J. Gillert
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 23, 1996 – Their ideas ranged from delivering humanitarian supplies to war-ravaged Bosnia to reusing rocket pods. Collectively, the 29 service members and civilian employees saved DoD more than $59 million last year.

On May 22, Deputy Secretary of Defense John White and other DoD officials thanked the group during annual Secretary of Defense Productivity Excellence Awards ceremonies at the Pentagon.

Now in its 12th year, the program honors individuals and small groups whose ideas improve business practices and save DoD at least $1 million.

White lauded the award winners for making a difference. DoD employees are some of the brightest, most talented and motivated members of the federal work force, he said. It's leadership's responsibility, he added, to create an innovative spirit that encourages employees to come forward with ideas for change.

Following White's remarks, Frederick Pang, assistant secretary of defense for force management policy, presented certificates.

Generally, ideas come from individual initiative, not an assigned task or part of job responsibilities or expectations, said Patricia Miles, awards program manager for the Civilian Personnel Management Service. Many of the ideas were previously recognized at the component level, often with monetary awards, she said.

Since the DoD program began, Miles added, winners have saved DoD more than $1 billion.

"Everyone can make a contribution to improve a department," Miles said. "We appreciate the extra effort these people make -- over and above their job assignments -- to identify innovative ideas that change the way we do business and save DoD at least $1 million over a 12-month period."

The winners, how much they saved and brief descriptions of their ideas are:

Eugene H. Hatcher, Multiple Launch Rocket System Project Office, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., suggested refurbishing and using expended rocket pods as trainers for missile launchers. His idea to recycle existing equipment saved the Army more than $7.2 million in procurement costs.

James E. Holiday II, Corpus Christi Army Depot, Texas, suggested using a high-pressure water system to remove metal coatings from high-strength steel instead of the conventional method of nitric acid baths. His suggestion saved $1.2 million.

Sgt. Allen H. Vincent Jr., XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C., developed a central data base to manage all tasks required of the corps' installation office managers at four Army posts. He saved $4.5 million.

LeRoy R. Dailey, George N. Doll, Colleen E. Hamling, Lt. Ernest W. Linsay and James R. Seibold, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Wash., saved $1.9 million. Their process to remove and dispose of lead ballast from submarines improved safety and reduced manpower costs.

Todd A. Wilder and Rickie N. Isom, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Detachment Hawthorne, Nev., saved $1.8 million by developing a new method to dispose of unusable or spent mine batteries.

Chief Petty Officer John Rose, chief storekeeper (surface warfare), USS Independence, developed an auditing system to better identify inventory price increases. His improvement saved $7.7 million.

Senior Master Sgt. Thomas C. Norato, Air Force Flight Standards Agency, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., devised a plan to provide air traffic control services for the area surrounding Loring Air Force Base, Maine, after the base closed and until the Federal Aviation Administration could assume responsibility. His plan eliminated the need to temporarily retain 25 Air Force controllers at Loring, saving $1.6 million in manpower costs.

Pete Galavis, San Antonio Air Logistics Center, Texas, designed a more efficient, cheaper electronic countermeasures equipment tester. The new tester can be manufactured in-house and saved $8.5 million.

Senior Master Sgt. Brian M. Wakefield, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.; Master Sgt. Michael W. Zander, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; and Donald C. Budnick, Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, identified a mobile recovery and recycling method for flight line air conditioner Freon. Cheaper and environmentally safer than the previous method, their process reclaims and reuses Freon on site, cutting maintenance and procurement costs. They saved $5.8 million.

Maj. Matthew B. Ash, Senior Master Sgt. Haldor C. Regi and Master Sgt. Michael G. Duffie, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla.; and Air Force Master Sgt. Mark N. Heflin, U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center, Mass., saved $2.2 million. They devised a method to air-drop supplies from high altitudes that replaced conventional containerized deliveries and solved accessibility problems caused by road conditions and hostile forces.

Jean O. Bingham, Charles W. Collins, Bobby L. Claiborne and Joseph A. Franklin, Defense Supply Center, Richmond, Va., developed a one-stop shopping system to manage battery requisitions and disposals for combat and tactical vehicles. Their idea saved $1.2 million.

Michael Brenchak, Steven Greto and Alfred LeFebvre, Defense Contract Management Command, Defense Plant Representative Office, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., saved $10.4 million by decreasing the processing time of engineering change proposals 76 percent.

Air Force Maj. David R. Atkinson and Air Force Capt. Steven B. Burton, National Security Agency, Fort George G. Meade, Md., challenged a long-standing requirement for the level of hardness of nuclear weapons platforms during the design and development of a critical nuclear command and control system. Their recommendation for a lower level of hardness saved the government $5 million and will reduce the cost and development time for future systems.

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