TSM Notes

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The TRADOC System Manager Program

by Colonel Jerry V. Proctor

Welcome to the inaugural TSM Notes section. I am the new Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) System Manager (TSM) for the All-Source Analysis System (ASAS).

This represents the first article in what will be a regular contribution to the Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin. We dedicate this TSM department to providing information on some of the major MI systems, including the All-Source Analysis System, often called the "Flagship of MI." The purpose of the articles is to facilitate information flow on activities, current use, innovations, planned events, and future requirements for these all-important MI systems.

As I travel worldwide, I often ask soldiers if they know what a TSM is or does. The answers vary and thus I feel it is important to clarify just what a TSM office does for you and for MI.

In this first article, I will tell you a little about the TSM system, the TSM ASAS Office, and its relationship to the user and the acquisition community. As you read further, I hope it will become clear why the TSMs are important to you.

The Role of the TSM

TRADOC first began designating System Managers in the 1980s. According to TRADOC PAM 71-9, Requirements Determination, the role of a TSM is to--

Simply put, the TSM is the officially designated users' representative to TRADOC and to the acquisition system. There are several major elements involved in the birth and life of a system. The conception of a system begins with a user need, a bonafide requirement to support the combat commander's needs. After validation, the TSM submits the statement of these needs to the appropriate program manager (PM). The PM--an individual who is normally a member of the Acquisition Corps--has the authority and responsibility to let contracts with industry. With a manufacturer under contract, the PM monitors the building of the item. The Department of the Army (DA) Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations (DCSOPS) provides the money that the PM uses. This item competes with all other Army systems in an ever more challenging budget.

The entire acquisition process must operate on valid requirements. It is too big of a system for an individual user to just say, "Hey, I need a new widget." In the case of major systems, the TSM is responsible for documenting the requirement for the new item and produces the ORD Mission Needs Statement (MNS) and User Functional Description (UFD) for this purpose. These documents are the only documents the PM is allowed to use in building the future system--in essence, they become the "blue prints" of the future widget.

Before fielding this completed item to the user, the Army must test it. There is a whole community dedicated--under strict regulation by DA and Congress--to ensuring that a new system complies with the requirements it was built to meet. This is accomplished through a variety of technical and operational tests, and upon successful completion, a fielding decision is made. Then, with the help of both the PM and TSM, the Branch trains the users of the new system and fields the item to the user. The final element is the maintenance of the fielded system. In the case of ASAS, the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) Software Engineering Directorate maintains the software, and Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pennsylvania, is the hardware maintainer. This short explanation greatly oversimplifies the complex acquisition process and we will further elaborate it in future articles.

The MI TSMs

With a major system like ASAS, the requirements that drive system development are the responsibility of the TRADOC System Manager. MI has four TSMs:

TSMs Need Your Input

The reason that it is important to you, the user, to know all the above information is that this is how new systems are developed, and you probably want a say in what this new system will do and how it will operate. The only way to do this is to communicate directly with your TSM. It is then the TSM's responsibility to evaluate this need or desire and incorporate it in to future requirements and design.

Talk to Your TSMs

The moral of this first TSM article is that the TSM office, whether ASAS, Joint STARS, Ground, or UAV, is here to serve you, the system user. We represent you and want to provide you with the best system the Army can afford. We must communicate with you and you with us to ensure we do the best possible job in meeting your needs.

The TSM ASAS Office has a variety of ways of seeking your input. First, we are always available via telephone or E-mail. We have a new and active web site that I will describe in later articles, and there are at least two ASAS users' conferences annually where representatives from all the ASAS units provide updates, describe new uses, and present desires. Most effective is the good old-fashioned field visit. My goal is to visit each major ASAS site at least annually and I am on the road at least three weeks of every month. My staff and I will visit most sites many more times that that. Finally, you can visit the TSM office on beautiful "Old Post" Fort Huachuca.

Remember, we are working for you and represent you in the large complex acquisition world so help us to do our job better. You can contact the TSM ASAS telephonically at (520) 533-3504/7 or DSN 821-3504/7 and by E-mail at [email protected] mil (Colonel Jerry Proctor) or [email protected] (Deputy TSM Mike Strack).