Leaders from the Advanced Measurement Services and Reverse Engineering Labs (AMSREL) at three Fleet Readiness Centers recently convened at Fleet Readiness Center East to chart a path for the new division and learn from each other’s successes.
Representatives of FRC Southeast and FRC Southwest met recently with FRCE, located aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. The event began with a small-group tour of operations at FRCE. Afterward, briefings focused on specific capabilities, processes and concerns. The sessions allowed the participants to discuss complex issues that have proven challenging to address in the bi-weekly conference calls between division leaders, given the cutting-edge nature of AMSREL’s mission and technologies.
“I’m glad we were able to host this event and increase the connection between the AMSREL programs at the FRCs,” said Andrew Scott, acting director of the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Engineering Department at FRCE. “It was important for leadership across the AMSREL community to have a forum where they could meet in person to discuss their respective opportunities and challenges as well as take advantage of lessons learned at other sites.
“AMSREL is a leader in innovation and new technology insertion, so it’s a really exciting area for engineering growth and development,” Scott continued. “A lot of the things they’re working on are going to lead to increased quality and efficiency at FRCE as well as supporting readiness improvements across the Naval Aviation Enterprise.”
When Naval Air Systems Command transitioned to a mission-aligned organization in 2019, AMSREL came into being as a conglomeration of functions that had once been separate entities within the engineering and production realms, said Kristine Roberts, AMSREL division head at FRCE. At FRCE, the Metrology Engineering, Precision Measurement Center and Digital Data Center branches comprise the AMSREL division, although the division looks different at each FRC – one of the topics of discussion during the event.
“It’s a mash-up of all things related to measurement and calibration,” Roberts explained. “And each of the sites has different people and positions within their AMSREL organization. The summit was actually a great opportunity for us to sit down, figure out our similarities and differences, and identify what we can learn from each other.”
AMSREL leaders started the discussions with topics including organizational structures, lessons learned, staffing and skills sets, training and certification, and local initiatives. Day two focused on advanced measurement and additive manufacturing, and day three’s agenda zeroed in on reverse engineering and allowed each FRC to share technical briefs and mission success stories. The summit also provided access to several Naval Air Systems Command subject-matter experts stationed at FRCE, including those working with NAVAIR’s Integrated Digital Resource Network and Teamcenter, a product lifecycle management platform, along with the Advanced Technology and Innovation Team.
Roberts said she was excited to exchange information and experiences with the other AMSREL teams. Hosting the event at FRCE proved beneficial, she said, because the organization here has been used as model of sorts for the new division. Other sites have different areas of excellence to share with the group, and Roberts was happy to learn from them, as well.
“When AMSREL was created here, I was given these teams that were already staffed – we had about 40 people,” she explained. “With the other sites, the division was created but it wasn’t staffed, so they’re looking at us as the benchmark site and trying to figure out, in some ways, how to get to where we are. They have some of the technologies, but they don’t really have the support structure behind it, so there’s a lot they can learn from us.
“Before the summit, I met with my managers and we created a whole list of issues we are facing and trying to learn from the other sites,” she continued. “One example would be with reverse engineering, trying to figure out what we can do legally, what we can reverse engineer, what we have the data rights for and how the other sites are navigating that area. We also wanted to figure out what instructions are in place at each site, and what we could learn from them because we’re all trying to write our instructions, standard operating procedures and processes from scratch. Really, we’re just trying to get the foundation for AMSREL in place.”
The AMSREL at FRC Southeast, aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, also brought some specialized skills and experience to the table, said Thomas Postma, the AMSREL division director at the facility. In addition to their qualifications with the F/A-18 Legacy and Super Hornet platforms, FRC Southeast’s AMSREL team specializes in complex model-based definition and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing. Model-based definition is the use of three-dimensional models within 3D computer-aided design software to provide specifications for individual items and assemblies; geometric dimensioning and tolerancing is a system used to define and communicate engineering tolerances.
From Postma’s perspective, the event met its established goals.
“The summit allowed all FRC participants to collaborate with their other FRC AMSREL counterparts in ways that they have not been able to before,” he said, noting the value of benchmarking best-business practices; exchanging technical lessons learned; and sharing infrastructure, equipment and capability requirements. The biggest takeaways, however, were the shared visions and goals the sites developed together.
“The mutual establishment of a shared strategic vision, plans for future visions and the mutual establishment of broader AMSREL plans of action and milestones – which will further the organization as a dispersed Center of Excellence within Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers – would not have been possible without this first summit,” he continued. “The work will continue with future summits that will follow at other COMFRC sites.”
Roberts said she was pleased with the results, and proud of the FRCE team that supported the event.
“Each of the sites took away action items for additional information sharing or to start working through some of the challenges we identified,” she explained. “I believe the summit helped spark ideas at each of the sites to move AMSREL forward so we can more effectively serve our production and Fleet Support Team customers.”
FRCE is North Carolina's largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider, with more than 4,000 civilian, military and contract workers. Its annual revenue exceeds $900 million. The depot generates combat air power for America’s Marines and naval forces while serving as an integral part of the greater U.S. Navy; Naval Air Systems Command; and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.
John Olmstead, Fleet Readiness Center East Public Affairs Officer
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