Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT October-December 2016 Contents synchronized elding process, just before the Army delivered the
rst capability set to two 10th Mountain Division BCTs that
were about to deploy to Afghanistan with the equipment, we held
an integration event at Fort Dix that identi ed several issues that
we could x in real time or quickly thereafter, so we could roll
them into the nal product before it went downrange. It felt good
to help with the solution."
Puhalla joined the Army Acquisition Workforce as a member of
the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) in 2001,
but his federal career dates to 1989, when he worked in aerody-
namics testing for the Ballistic Research Laboratory (BRL) at
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. One of his rst bosses was
Robert L. McCoy, a well-known and published expert in ballistics.
"He was smart as a whip, and he was also a West Virginia good ol'
boy who had much practical experience. So he was able to teach
me not only the technical side of our work, but also the common-
sense and human side of it," said Puhalla. "He would say, 'Don't
try to design a fancy solution when a simple one will do. Be practi-
cal about your approach.' So that doesn't mean you don't have to
think hard and work hard, but always keep in mind that practical
side about what you're doing here, even in a highly technical eld.
Nearly 25 years later, those words have stayed with me."
BRL was absorbed by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in
1992, and Puhalla's branch, Firing Tables and Aeroballistics,
moved to the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and
Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.
He left ARDEC in 1999 and worked for a contractor for a few
years before returning to ATEC. "When I came back with ATEC,
I was evaluating a weapon system for a helicopter. I worked with
the PM shop and the TCMs to do a fair evaluation early on in the
program, which was rewarding because it helped guide decisions
based on what was working well and not working well through
the eyes of the user."
He moved within ATEC to support testing for the Future Combat
Systems (FCS) program in 2004, and joined the program man-
agement side of FCS in 2008. After the program was canceled,
the integration and synchronized elding mission eventually
evolved to SoSE&I. "I've been pretty fortunate in my career. I've
been able to have a wide experience, from analysis, to test, to PM,
to the requirements on the Soldier side, even the contract side,
where I had to worry about bringing in money for the contract.
It's good to have those broadening experiences."
Puhalla continues to amass those broadening experiences with
SoSE&I, which is part of the O ce of the Assistant Secretary of
the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)).
Working at the ASA(ALT) headquarters level "gives me a better
understanding of how the Army works from A to Z," Puhalla
noted. "You don't have your PM hat on all the time, you don't
have your TCM hat on all the time. You're a broker, so you try
to help with those kinds of talks and negotiations and provide a
fair evaluation of which position wins out for any particular day."
Looking back over his career, he added, "One thing I do wish I had
pursued is the Army War College or a similar program. I think
there's a lot of bene t in seeing the strategic side of how big Army
works, and even with ASA(ALT) there is a limited set of goggles
and lenses that we look through. ose kinds of training oppor-
tunities serve you well---even if you're not intending to be part of
the Senior Executive Service---because they help you understand
the big Army and why we do and don't do certain things."
He has one last piece of advice. "Follow through with your rel-
evant training, both in your area of expertise and some outside
your area of expertise. Your training should help broaden your per-
spective and your views. Finally, prioritize: Make sure you know
what's important and what has to be done. We're all given the
same amount of time; it's up to you how you choose to spend it."
---MS. SUSAN L. FOLLETT
A HISTORY OF FEDER AL SERVICE
Puhalla, left, received a certificate recognizing 25 years of federal
service from Doug Wiltsie, executive director, ASA(ALT) SoSE&I Director-
ate, at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, in July. (Photo by Claire
Heininger, ASA(ALT) SoSE&I)
Links Archive Army ALT July-September 2016 Army ALT January-March 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page