Outgoing project manager reminds PEO Ammo workforce ‘acquisition is a team sport’
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- After three years of leading Project Manager Close Combat Systems, Col. Richard J. Hornstein relinquished his project manager role during a change-of-management ceremony on July 21 at Picatinny Arsenal. Stepping into Hornstein’s position was Col. Jonathan B. Slater, a native of New Hampshire who has held several staff and command potions throughout his career.
The ceremony was held in front of the Program Executive Office Ammunition, or PEO Ammo, building, surrounded by the 50 state flags and PEO Ammo’s workforce. It was hosted by the Program Executive Officer Ammunition, James Shields, who officiated the formal transfer of authority.
“Luckily, Rich will not be going too far – his next assignment is right here at Picatinny as the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center military deputy,” said Shields. “I know that he will bring the same expertise and leadership to ARDEC that has demonstrated in PM Close Combat Systems these past three years.”
One of PEO Ammo’s project offices, PM CCS oversees more than 80 active programs and a budget of $183 million. Its focus is on networked systems, technologies, energetics, and munitions to improve area access and area denial capabilities for joint forces. Examples of such programs included countermine and explosive ordnance disposals, support munitions, like pyrotechnics, and combat munitions, such as shoulder-launched munitions and non-lethal ammo and systems.
As project manager, Hornstein was responsible for 41 percent of the Army’s conventional munitions and led the execution of material release decisions as well as fielding equipment to Soldiers. These programs included the M7 Spider networked command munition, Minehound, Taser Launched Electrode Stun Device, and the family of working military dog equipment sets and deployable kennels.
However, perhaps his most notable achievement, was the establishment of Product Manager Gator Landmine Replacement (PdM GLMR) in February 2016.
The PdM GLMR program aims to provide a terrain-shaping capability that will protect strategic forces, deny enemy access to weapons of mass destruction, and use non-lethal means to keep non-combatants from dangerous areas. It deactivated and replaced a former office known as Product Manager Area Denial and encompasses programs, such as the Claymore, Volcano Multiple Delivery Mine System, and Modular Pack Mine System.
“It was a lot of fun traveling with Rich and watching him network the building to gain consensus and support for the [PdM GLMR] program,” said Shields. “It wasn’t easy because Rich had to walk a fine line with the GLMR program that wasn’t one of the Army’s favorite, top-priority programs. But, Rich knew the program had White House attention and oversight and was a favorite of the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff.”
By working together, explained Shields, Rich and the PM CCS team were able to develop a program strategy that pulled in the Navy and Air Force, and leveraged other authorities that ultimately streamlined contracting efforts and supported analysis of other contracting alternatives.
“It was really remarkable to see all that Rich was able to accomplish while he had to wait for the FY16 funding to arrive for the new start GLMR program,” added Shields.
According to Hornstein, though, his accomplishments as project manager wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for both PM CCS’s teamwork and communication.
“When I took the [PM CCS] charter three years and twelve days ago, I was fresh out of the Army War College and my deputy—Matt Butler, who is a great leader, strategic thinker, visionary, and good friend—was also brand new and had been on the job for less than a month,” said Hornstein.
“I also had two brand new lieutenant colonel project managers managing challenging ACAT II developmental programs, the Husky Mounted Protection System and M7 Spider, and they had been on board for less than a month as well.
“In addition, the deputy for the product manager for combat explosives hazards was also new,” said Hornstein. “We also had a new assistant product manager [APM] and another APM slot that was vacant. And, the organization had just collapsed two geographically separated lieutenant colonels into one and then relocated that one lieutenant colonel to Picatinny Arsenal, while the bulk of her team remained at Fort Belvoir [in Virginia.]
“Also, the Army was dealing with sequestration, a term that no one initially knew the meaning of, but basically meant that we didn’t have the money to execute our mission,” added Hornstein. “So, as a result of that, we were in the full battle rhythm of rotational furlough schedule that had significant impact on morale with our civilian workforce.”
“I mention this because there is not a DAU [Defense Acquisition University] course or training that truly prepares you for this environment,” said Hornstein. “It takes collaboration, leadership, and teaming to overcome these obstacles, which our team and leaders did and I’m enormously proud of them. Acquisition is and always will be a team sport.”
Before arriving at Picatinny, Hornstein held a wide range of command and staff assignments throughout the United States and Europe.
Hornstein also received various badges and awards as well as a military education that included courses at the Army Command General Staff College and the Defense Acquisition University. Moreover, he holds a bachelor’s in history from the University of Rhode Island, a master’s in acquisition and management from Florida Institute of Technology, and a master’s of strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.
In the conclusion of his speech, Hornstein added that he was indebted to his wife, Robyn, and their three daughters for their constant support throughout the years. He also said he felt confident that the new project manager, Slater, will help PM CCS excel in the future.
Slater was an operations office, an acquisition officer, and served as the executive officer to the commander general at the Central Command Joint Theater Support Contracting Command, which supported Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom. Slater’s last command position was as the product manager of The Prophet Program, which refers to a family of sensors.
Additionally, he holds a bachelor’s in management from Johnson and Wales University, a master’s in business administration from Long Island University, a master’s in strategic studies from the Army War College, and has participated in several infantry officer and other military courses.
“You have exception technical and management talents and I know you’ll apply them to your next assignment here,” said Shields to Slater. “We look forward to working with you closely in the days ahead. I’m confident that under your leadership, PM CCS will continue to provide superb support to our warfighters during the challenging times that lie ahead.”
The change of management ceremony is an ancient military tradition that can be traced back to the middle ages. By passing the PM CCS flag and official charter, it symbolizes a transfer of authority from the current project manager to the incoming project manager. This transfer is known as “the passing of colors,” and in a traditional military unit, the colors represent the mission and the Soldier of the unit.
The colors have remained the same throughout history, indicating that the personnel, equipment, and even mission may change, but the history and traditions are forever united.
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