The Team Orlando 10-4 recently had a sit down with the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) Project Manager for Instrumentation, Targets and Threat Simulators, Col. Richard Haggerty, to get his perspective on his new role and the challenges that his organization will face in 2016.

PEO STRI Col Richard Haggerty10.4: What do you see as your greatest challenge and opportunity in your role as the Project Manager?

Haggerty: The Army Operating Concept acknowledges that the future is largely “unknown, unknowable, and constantly changing.” Supporting that from the acquisition world is challenging, given budget cuts and unstable funding profiles, personnel reductions, hiring freezes, and increased oversight/regulatory processes. But I have a great team and I’m excited about the challenge.

In challenge there is opportunity. PM Instrumentation, Targets and Threat Simulators has a very dynamic portfolio that operates in different worlds: Training, Test, Cyber, Range Instrumentation, Special Operations, Foreign Military Operations, etc. I look forward to finding synergies and bridging those worlds. It saves money, time, and effort, and delivers more standardized capability to the coalition Warfighter.

10.4: What do you see as the next generation training tool for military personnel?

Haggerty: My fellow PM is developing the Synthetic Training Environment, which has the potential to be game changing. Within my portfolio, PdM STS has proposed the Soldier Virtual Trainer. It leverages some recent work we’ve done with game engines running virtual training systems and cloud-based computing. It also combines two critical Soldier training systems into one PC-based system: Call for Fire Trainer and the Engagement Skills Trainer. It has the potential for huge efficiencies and savings in the future.

10.4: What will it take to get us there?

Haggerty: An updated requirement, which our partner TRADOC Capability Manager is working on, and funding. My team will do the rest.

10.4: What are the three most critical goals you most want to achieve in your role this year?

Haggerty: I have the luxury of having a great team that knows how to deliver capability to their customer, so my focus is more strategic in key areas:

1. Innovative thinking and strategic change: I’ve stood up a team – The Innov8tors – that is chartered to ask, “Why Not?” They will be the catalyst for innovative change and asymmetric thinking across the organization.
2. Strategic engagement: This is something that I will spend a lot of time doing. We have a dynamic organization with countless stakeholders and customers. I’ll have to keep everyone informed on our operations.
3. Culture: Although I’m a die-hard New York Jets fan, I’ll quote Bill Walsh: “The culture precedes positive results. It doesn’t get tacked on as an afterthought on your way to the victory stand. Champions behave like champions before they’re champions. They have winning standard of performance before they are winners.” My vision is to build an elite team of trusted providers capable of solving any acquisition challenge.

10.4: What can the MS&T contractor community do to better prepare for serving the training needs of our military personnel?

Haggerty: I think the biggest opportunity area for them, in this field, is gaming. The gaming industry spends billions in developing better visual graphics, physics-based behaviors, etc. We integrated a gaming engine into our Call for Fire III system. I’m grateful that the gaming industry paid the bill for development; we just integrated.

10.4: From whom have you learned the most in your life?

Haggerty: Instead of whom, I’d like to what. Adversity has always been my best teacher. Winning doesn’t teach a man a lot about himself, but losing sure does.

10.4: What leader(s) do you most respect and why?

Haggerty: There are many, but I’m feeling rather innovative today so I’ll say Steve Jobs. Although I wouldn’t call him a great leader, his unshakable commitment to changing the world has always inspired me. Additionally, his life and Apple make a case study in the power of organizational culture – both positive and negative.

10.4: Where were you born?

Haggerty: Sharon, Connecticut. But I grew up in San Diego, California from the age of five, so I’m a surfer dude at heart.

10.4: How long have you lived in Central Florida?

Haggerty: I’ve been fortunate to bounce between the U.S. Special Operations Command (Tampa) and PEO STRI several times, so about seven years – on and off.

10.4: Do you have a favorite college football team? Which? How do you predict they will do next season?

Haggerty: I went to the University of San Diego and rowed varsity Crew on Saturdays, so I guess I never caught the college football bug. But I love the NFL – go Jets!

10.4: What attracted you to a military career?

Haggerty: I would love to say that I always wanted to be a Soldier, and that the ghosts of Patton and MacArthur spoke to me as a kid. But truthfully, it was just my mom and I growing up, and we couldn’t afford college. The Army had the G.I. Bill and it was a business transaction: Army service for college tuition. I enlisted and left for Basic Training two weeks after high school with the intention to get out after my initial enlistment and go to school. That was 27 years ago – somewhere along the way I guess Patton and MacArthur spoke to me.

Haggerty: Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. I’m the ninth Project Manager for ITTS, and I’m excited about the challenges and opportunities over the next three years.

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