Center analyst earns DNI award

  • Published
  • By By Master Sgt. Tammie Moore
  • National Air and Space Intelligence Center Public Affairs
A veteran electronic systems analyst at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center earned the Department of National Intelligence 2015 Intelligence Community Acquisition Award following an announcement in February.

Jim Reed, Threats to Force Modernization Flight, received the annual DNI award which recognizes individuals and teams whose professional contributions for the fiscal year furthered the intelligence community mission by promoting acquisition excellence, enabling timely fielding of breakthrough capabilities, or innovatively applying advanced technologies.

Reed’s leadership nominated him for the award based on his development and management of the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System Recapitalization (JSTARS RECAP) Dynamic Program Threat Assessment (DPTA); a pilot approach to improving the delivery and relevancy of threat information to weapon system development programs. His work on this project came about after Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter asked the Defense Intelligence Agency to create pilot programs for developing and testing new processes to improve the use of threat information in driving weapon system design and create a modern successor to the traditional System Threat Assessment Report; i.e. the Validated Online Lifecycle Threat assessment, also known as “VOLT.” The System Threat Assessment Report, or STAR, is the traditional intelligence product used to assess foreign threats for decision making, test and evaluation, and design for Department of Defense acquisition programs.

Reed, who has 35 years of experience providing intelligence support to the Air Force and DoD acquisition process, said his involvement in the program came about simply because he was in the right place at the right time.

“I had already begun writing the System Threat Assessment Report for the JSTARS RECAP program when Headquarters Air Force decided to use it as a pilot program for developing and testing new and improved STAR production techniques,” Reed said.

One of the most perplexing parts of this project was creating a process that delivered a system threat assessment in a third of the production time taken under traditional processes.

“We proceeded by trying to compress the traditional STAR production process without looking for any process efficiencies we could implement; as a result, I had to bring other analysts into the process and assign them pieces and parts of the STAR to produce,” Reed said. “The most challenging task was taking the inputs from the analysts, melding them together into a coherent document that supported the JSTARS Recap program office.”

To do this, Reed worked closely with members of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Acquisition Intelligence Division at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., and the Joint STARS Recap program office to define the four most critical threat topics impacting program office decisions: cyber, denial and deception, electronic attack, and electronic support. Specific threat concerns and approaches to address them were discussed, created and implemented during regularly scheduled collaboration meetings between all the stakeholders involved in the pilot program.

“We gained an enormous amount of lessons-learned information from the pilot that we've been able to use in driving additional improvements to the STAR production process,” Reed said. “The highlight of the pilot effort was the opportunity to brief Ms. Katrina McFarland, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, on our lessons learned from the pilot STAR, and our proposed improvements to future STAR production.”

Based upon Reed’s work, the DIA will unveil the DoD VOLT process to replace the STAR in June 2016.

“Mr. Reed distinguished himself as the JSTARS RECAP VOLT pilot author and provided innovative strategies to incorporate intelligence into acquisition processes,” said Paul Siemens, SMFM flight chief. “He improved community relations by providing information on pending design decisions and corresponding intelligence impacts.”

When Reed learned his leadership was submitting him for the DNI 2015 Intelligence Community Acquisition Award he said he felt honored. When he learned he won the award he was absolutely surprised.

“There are an awful lot of talented and dedicated intelligence and acquisition personnel in DoD who are working hard every day to improve the acquisition process, same as myself,” he said. “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

Reed attributes his success with this project and the receipt of this award to the leadership at NASIC.

“I came to NASIC with over 30 years of experience in supporting the Air Force Acquisition process,” he said. “NASIC leadership was very open to listening and considering new and novel ideas I proposed for improving NASIC support to the U.S. weapon system development process.”

The effort and work Reed put into creating this pilot program is not something that has gone unnoticed by Center leadership.

“Mr. Reed distinguished himself in the development of the VOLT concept and provided innovative strategies to incorporate intelligence into acquisition processes. I am proud to see his contributions have led to such significant recognition across the broader ‘IC,’” said Col. Trisha Sexton, NASIC vice commander.