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CHIPS Articles: SSC Norfolk Workforce Excellence Continues Under SSC Atlantic

SSC Norfolk Workforce Excellence Continues Under SSC Atlantic
By Sharon Anderson - October-December 2008
The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Norfolk realigned under SSC Atlantic, along with SSC Charleston and SSC New Orleans, in a ceremony marking the occasion Sept. 29, 2008.

The stand up of SSC Atlantic, as a result of the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment law, demonstrated the synergy created by combining the East Coast systems centers into a single provider organization committed to delivering superior C4ISR products to the fleet and warfighter. A similar effort was executed for the West Coast systems center realigned under SSC Pacific.

But the disestablishment of SSC Norfolk was also bittersweet said Capt James C. Cox, who relinquished command of SSC Norfolk at the ceremony. Cox, who is now the executive officer for SSC Atlantic, recalled the many successes of the systems center along with its outstanding military and civilian workforce of about 270 personnel.

SSC Norfolk is noted for its fleet focus and unbeatably engineered products. With more than 2,400 customer organizations and 500,000 application users, SSC Norfolk leadership and personnel continually exceeded customer expectations.

In September 2007, SSC Norfolk received CMMI Maturity Level 3 competency as assessed by the U.S. Air Force Software Technology Support Center. In the same year, SSC Norfolk received the Captain Joan Dooling Award for Information Professional Team of the Year, presented by the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, for its work on the Theater Medical Information Program-Maritime.

TMIP-M provides clinical data collection and a data transport capability in a combat or hostile environment involving deployed forces. TMIP-M provides improved casualty tracking and patient care and medical supply management. TMIP-M is a component of TMIP, which is a Department of Defense-directed joint program.

SSC Norfolk uses a strong business approach reinforced by the use of the Balanced Scorecard methodology and Lean Six Sigma for project management and continuous process improvement. SSC Norfolk's core competencies include distance and on-site support; help desk; software engineering and database conversion; system installation; verification and validation; and acceptance and certification.

These core competencies aligned within SSC Atlantic will not only increase organizational efficiencies, but will also provide clarity to customers and a refined focus to the SSC Atlantic workforce.

The transition to SSC Atlantic will be seamless to customers, according to Patricia Fuller, who was SSC Norfolk's technical director.

"SSC Atlantic will certainly bring change across our new organization, and we welcome that change. We had pockets of excellence in each of our three systems centers, but it was not easy to transfer that knowledge across the three centers in the past.

"With a single command that is striving for competency alignment and competency maturity, we are certainly set to take the 'best practices' from each of the systems centers and create that knowledge transfer using our competency alignment model as an execution tool.

"Our commitment to our team is that we will do this in an orderly fashion,” said Fuller, who is now the deputy technical director, Tidewater, for SSC Atlantic.

The SSC Atlantic ceremony was performed virtually linking SPAWAR sites in New Orleans, La., San Diego, Calif., Charleston, S.C., Washington, D.C., and Norfolk, Va. In Norfolk, the event was hosted by Ms. Fuller and Jennifer Watson, head of SSC Charleston's C4ISR/ISE department, who is now the head of the Business Systems/Enterprise Information Services (EIS) department and the national competency lead for Business Systems/EIS under SSC Atlantic. Cmdr. Todd Black, SSC Norfolk's executive officer was the master of ceremonies for the Norfolk site.

Rear Adm. J. Clarke Orzalli, commander of the Regional Maintenance Centers, said he was not surprised by the way SPAWAR chose to conduct the ceremony — via a video teleconference.

"I was impressed with the ceremony because SPAWAR is the owner of all the VTC capability that we have, and it came off without a hitch, which was good. I thought it was very well done when the individual sites were incorporated.

"It's one of the principal interfaces with SPAWAR because of the Regional Maintenance Centers on the waterfront execution of not only modernization upgrades but also technical support issues. I work very closely with the activities, so I felt it important to be here to show my support and because of our teamwork. I also know a lot of guys that work at SPAWAR so I am here to support them,” Orzalli said.

Invited guests included industry partners, customers, community and Congressional leadership and SPAWAR employees, supporters and friends.

"SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic is in the ideal position to bring together the superb capabilities of our three systems centers in such a way that we are better connected to the warfighter.

"BRAC is often seen as a negative event; but in this instance, we are seizing the opportunity to create one organization that is stronger, more unified in purpose, better aligned and focused to deliver current and future capabilities," Fuller said.

While speaker comments discussed the distinguished legacy of the former systems centers, the anticipation for SSC Atlantic's stand up was palpable. Jeannie Evans, who represented Virginia Senator Jim Webb, said that she was impressed by the way that SPAWAR embraced the change.

"Consolidation is not always an easy thing. No one likes change, but efficiency in government is very important. What happened today is very exciting. It goes to show that the SPAWAR folks know what they are doing. I think it is rather unique, and I think we are going to see more of this kind of consolidation as our military missions change. Efficiency in government is very important, and Congress is demanding that there be efficiency in government.

"These people in this room and up and down the East Coast, as well as the West Coast, know how to deliver to their customer, and they will continue to do that. The Norfolk presence will still be a very important component no matter where the consolidation takes effect. Obviously, the proximity to the fleet is extremely important because the customer base is here.

"Norfolk will continue to grow, and it will continue to be a very important part, but the consolidation was a necessary thing, and I think peoples' attitudes show that today," Evans said.

Ms. Fuller said she was eager to tap into the expertise afforded by the collective SSC Atlantic organization.

"During the past few years, I've had opportunities to work with some of the bright and dedicated professionals that now make up SSC Atlantic; this is an extraordinarily talented group of people. By uniting this group and creating one command, I believe we are knocking down some of the walls that separated us in the past. We will be able to provide additional opportunities to our team members, and those opportunities will be across our different locations," Fuller said.

SPAWAR Commander Rear Adm. Michael Bachmann, who addressed the consolidating Atlantic sites via VTC, said the realignment of the systems centers will move SPAWAR closer to a Competency Aligned Organization (CAO) structure and even greater accomplishments as an engineering and acquisition leader.

The realignment of the East and West Coast systems centers is just one of the many improvements in organizational effectiveness that the SPAWAR community has enthusiastically taken on through the years.

"SSC Atlantic has been in the making for two years. I am excited about where we are going and what we can do with this powerful team. This is the beginning of something really wonderful, and I am happy to be a part of this journey," Fuller said.

Visit http://www.spawar.navy.mil for more information about SSC Atlantic and SPAWAR.

Capt. James C. Cox, former commanding officer of the disestablished SSC Norfolk at the stand up ceremony for SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic. Cox is now the executive officer for the newly commissioned SSC Atlantic organization. SSC Atlantic Commanding Officer Capt. Bruce Urbon and SSC Atlantic Technical Director Phillip Charles are shown seated behind Cox.
Capt. James C. Cox, former commanding officer of the disestablished SSC Norfolk at the stand up ceremony for SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic. Cox is now the executive officer for the newly commissioned SSC Atlantic organization. SSC Atlantic Commanding Officer Capt. Bruce Urbon and SSC Atlantic Technical Director Phillip Charles are shown seated behind Cox.

Jeannie Evans, who represented Virginia Senator Jim Webb, at the SSC Atlantic stand up ceremony with Rear Adm. J. Clarke Orzalli, commander of the Regional Maintenance Centers.
Jeannie Evans, who represented Virginia Senator Jim Webb, at the SSC Atlantic stand up ceremony with Rear Adm. J. Clarke Orzalli, commander of the Regional Maintenance Centers.

Jennifer Watson, head of the Business Systems/Enterprise Information Services (EIS) department and the national competency lead for Business Systems/EIS for SSC Atlantic with Patricia Fuller, deputy technical director, Tidewater, for SSC Atlantic, hosting the SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic commissioning ceremony on Naval Station Norfolk, Va. The streamlined SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic organization will consist of a network of teams organized by competencies that cross organizational and geographical boundaries to deliver superbly engineered and acquired products to the fleet and warfighter.
Jennifer Watson, head of the Business Systems/Enterprise Information Services (EIS) department and the national competency lead for Business Systems/EIS for SSC Atlantic with Patricia Fuller, deputy technical director, Tidewater, for SSC Atlantic, hosting the SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic commissioning ceremony on Naval Station Norfolk, Va. The streamlined SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic organization will consist of a network of teams organized by competencies that cross organizational and geographical boundaries to deliver superbly engineered and acquired products to the fleet and warfighter.
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