The Department of Defense’s top civilian for materiel readiness presented a Picatinny Arsenal organization with the 2016 Secretary of Defense Performance Based Logistics (PBL) System Level Award on April 26.

The Secretary of Defense PBL Awards recognize government/industry teams that have demonstrated outstanding achievements in providing Warfighters with exceptional operational capability. The award recognized the Joint Project Manager Towed Artillery Systems, part of the Program Executive Office Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal, for their creation of a competitive procurement contract that improved M777A2 Towed Howitzer readiness and amounted to more than $1.6 million in program cost savings.

Terence G. Emmert, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Materiel Readiness, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness, presented the award to Keith Gooding, the Joint Project Manager Towed Artillery Systems. Gooding accepted the award on behalf of the PM TAS and PEO Ammunition. 

PM TAS is joint Army and Marine Corps organization that manages the U.S. Army and Marine Corps’ M777 howitzer program. The M777 is a lightweight 155 mm howitzer that provides suppressive and protective fires for infantry brigade combat teams. Due to innovative use of titanium and aluminum alloys, the M777 is the world's first 155mm Howitzer weighing 10,000 pounds.

M777A2 Performance Based Life Cycle Sustainment is a hybrid organic/contractor sustainment strategy through which the Army, Marine Corps, as well as BAE Systems as the Product Support Integrator, all provide support to ensure that the M777A2 is sustained throughout its life cycle. 

“The M777A2 hybrid PBL structure combines the best capabilities and skills of both the U.S. government and the prime PBL contractors to deliver an optimal level of service to our Warfighters,” said Jim Shields, the Program Executive Officer Ammunition. “The commitment to the program from the many stakeholders across multiple service organizations, and the contractor, has resulted in delivering cost-effective sustainment support to the Army, Marine Corps, and eventually our international partners’ fleet of howitzers. I'm very proud of the work the team has done to establish and grow the M777A2 PBL and to see all their effort be recognized at the highest level in DOD."

The Towed Artillery System PBL Team, in conjunction with the Army Contracting Command-New Jersey, implemented a 10-year firm-fixed price effort with BAE Systems to incentivize performance of overall system readiness and cost savings for the support of the joint Marine Corps and Army M777A2 Towed Howitzer fleet.

Through the contract terms, BAE Systems is incentivized through the use of an award term contract consisting of one base year and four option years, with the potential to receive an award of one additional year for each base and option year. A total contract period of 10 years can be attained if BAE meets the established award term criteria. Conversely, if award term criteria are not met, BAE Systems will not be awarded additional years, which will reduce the overall contract period.

In 2015, the contract entered into its second option year, and the results by years end in terms of overall system readiness, cost savings and value to the warfighter exceeded expectations.

“The Towed Artillery Systems team has done an outstanding job of providing our Marines and Soldiers with a reliable and robust capability,” added Col. Andrew Bianca, Acting PEO, Land Systems, Marine Corps. “The initiative, collaboration and responsiveness of the joint program office to the needs of the warfighter has been evident by their drive and commitment to keep our howitzers at an extremely high state of readiness.”

Army Contracting Command – NJ, Tank and Automotive Command, Marine Corps Logistics Command, Defense Logistics Agency, Anniston Army Depot, and USMC Barstow Production Plant are important members of the Towed Artillery Systems PBL Team and provide critical support in sustaining the M777A2 under PBL.

In addition to managing the M777 suite of Howitzers, PM TAS also oversees the M119A2 and M119A3 105 mm Howitzer, the Improved Position and Azimuth Determining System (IPADS). The program also manages the D-30 howitzers used by our allies, the Afghan National Army.