Big Iron EVM: Implementation at AEDC – Initial Success Met Failure
Earned Value Management & Hardware Track
Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) had “experimented” with Earned Value Management (EVM) for several years, under its support contract. With the source selection for FY04 consolidating the test and support contracts, several personnel recognized the opportunity to bring the entire center under the rubric of EVM. Understanding costs and particularly schedules has long been a supreme challenge to managers at AEDC. A focus on EVM would produce greatly enhanced insight into the test and maintenance aspects of Center operation. EVM had certainly helped transform the mission support aspect of things at AEDC.
As the world’s largest complex of aerospace ground flight test facilities, AEDC’s mission is to have test ready facilities available when the national need arises. AEDC is funded as a Department of Defense (DoD) Major Range and Test Facility Base (MRTFB). Test services are provided to customers (DoD weapon systems program offices, non-DoD federal programs, and commercial entities) on a cost reimbursable basis. In the MRTFB context, “costs” are only those directly associated with the test activity. Thus, it is very important to understand cost, schedule, and performance to accurately distinguish test from non-test activity.
With hundreds of simultaneously on-going jobs, with shared assets, both human and material, the challenge was to segment the costs of work budgeted/performed and identify scheduled actuals from planned. Fortunately, the AEDC Management Information System (MIS) is one of the most advanced in DoD. Unfortunately, most managers at AEDC don’t use the wealth of data available in the MIS. A great apathy exists with regard to analyzing the data to produce actionable information. In fact, hostility prevailed in terminating the larger EVM contract requirement, as both government and contractor management didn’t like the story EVM implementation was revealing.
Major David L. Peeler, Jr. is Commander of the 354th Comptroller Squadron at Eielson AFB Alaska. As Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer he is responsible and accountable for the 354th Fighter Wing’s $244M annual, recurring budget that supports $920.8M in aircraft and supporting infrastructure assets for the Air Force’s most northerly base. Additionally, the squadron handles military pay, civilian pay and travel issues for 3,800 personnel.
BACKGROUND: Major Peeler was born and raised in Cherokee County South Carolina, where he graduated from Blacksburg High School. Subsequent to college and prior to commissioning, he worked as a manager in several private sector concerns. Peeler earned his commission via OTS in 1992 and received an assignment to Malmstrom AFB Montana, where he directly supervised 27 troops and was the Air Force liaison for 62 on-site DoD personnel. His primary responsibility was the provision of financial services to over 5,000 military and 460 civilians. After graduation from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1996, Peeler was assigned to the Electronic System Center’s Financial Management Staff at Hanscom AFB Massachusetts and then as Chief, AWACS Architecture, Engineering, & C2 Cost. He led multi-functional teams in the development of cost inputs; built AWACS’ first-ever total ownership cost profile, documenting the programs $54 billion historical accounting and future budgeting profile; and served as Program Manager for AWACS’ participation in DoD’s Reduction in Total Ownership Cost effort. In 1999, he became Comptroller of the USAF’s only Fighter Group, supporting $509 million in A/OA-10 fighter aircraft assets. An assignment to Arnold AFB, in 2002, put Peeler in charge of rates and billing for the world’s largest complex of aerospace ground flight test facilities. He also led two cross-functional/government-contractor teams for configuration control of Arnold’s “test cost data” management information system, and as Government Program Manager for the full implementation of earned value management on Arnold’s 12-year, $3.8B contract. Peeler served 13 months as Commander, 379th Expeditionary Comptroller Squadron, supporting OEF, OIF, and CJTF HOA. Then in 2005/6, he attended Air Command and Staff College. He has also deployed in support of CJSOTF-A, spending 4 months with Special Forces in Afghanistan. Peeler is a Society of Cost Estimating and Analysis Certified Cost Estimator/Analyst, an Air Force Certified Financial Manager – Level II, and a Certified Acquisition Professional, Financial Management–Level III.