Interview with Paratrooper Suite of Sensors, LTC Phillip Jenison, USACRC
Mike McDevitt, June 26, 2017
In June of 2017 I had the pleasure of interviewing LTC Phillip Jenison who is the Ground Division Chief within the Director of Assessments and Prevention at the US Army Combat Readiness Center (USACRC). In addition, LTC Jenison serves as the Program Manager for the Paratrooper Suites of Sensors (PSS). Conceptually the PSS will provide the ability to recreate the sequence of events for a parachute jump operation to enhance paratrooper training and life cycle management. The PSS will utilize multiple commercially available nano video and sensor systems to record data and jump operations. The software is expected to output a user-friendly visualization and/or animation of the jump operation for analysis, with the goal of providing quantitative data to investigators in case of a malfunction or fatality. Additional goals are to provide trainers with tools to enhance individualized training based on jump performance to minimize mishap potential and the PSS hopes to identify equipment failure and provide data to follow-on efforts to eliminate or minimize the potential for future equipment failures.
Paratrooper Suite of Sensors Project Manager LTC Phillip Jenison
LTC Jenison has partnered with the Airdrop Delivery Team, Aerial Delivery Directorate of the Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center. That organization is providing the technical expertise to demonstrate/validate the PSS. Routine meetings between the NDCEE, Natick, and USACRC ensure that program stays on schedule and budget according to their Project Plan. It has been my distinct pleasure to work with all the knowledgeable and professional members of LTC Jenison’s PSS Team.
Where are you originally from before joining the Army? Home town is Chattanooga, Tennessee. I decided to enlist in the Army in 1987, joining as 13B Cannon Crewmember. After completing my active duty enlisted obligation, I started college in 1990 at the University of Tennessee commissioning as a 2LT in 1995 as a Field Artillery Officer. During this time I was part of the Tennessee Army National Guard.
How did you first learn about the U.S. Combat Readiness Center (USACRC) and generally speaking what is the USACRC mission? I served as the Airborne Artillery Battalion Commander in 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, so I knew of the mission set with in the USACRC and the value this organization brings to Army. After completing command, this was an opportunity assignment that I wanted to take on.
What is your role at USACRC? I currently serve as the Ground Division Chief within the Director of Assessments and Prevention. Our core mission focuses on mishap prevention by to providing the Army with safety and risk management expertise to preserve readiness through the prevention of accidental loss of our Soldiers, Civilians, Families and vital resources. We conduct assessments and develop or manage DOTMLPF-P change activities to prevent accidental loss and to inform and influence proactive risk management.
Before working at USACRC, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had? Prior to working at the USACRC, I commanded an Airborne Field Artillery Fires Battalion in support of 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne. This unique experience provided me an opportunity to serve as the CEO of a 677 Paratroopers with the mission of world-wide global deployment within 18 hours in support of the Global Response Force. Meeting the daily requirements to maintain this mission set created numerous opportunities and challenges that made the entire of team of team better.
If you could pick one theme for the USACRC to turn into a book, what would it be? Supporting Commander’s from the Strategic to Tactical level with a mutual understating off risk to force readiness so that leaders at all levels can make better risk decisions.
What attracted you to gain an assignment at USACRC? The strategic impact I can still have on the day to day activities at the lowest levels of the Army.
How has USACRC helped you in your career development? I’ve had the opportunity to take advantage of Safety and Occupational Health education opportunities and also gained tremendous insights into the Army level business processes and operational framework models.
How would someone describe you? A person who wakes up and loves going to work and tries to be Value Added into everything that I do. Attitude is Altitude, the glass is always half full.
If you could switch your job with anyone else within USACRC, whose job would you want? The Commanding General, based on the Sphere of Influence and large target audience that I would be able to give back to. Servant Leadership = Relationship.
What advice do you have for prospective USACRC candidates or other officers considering a USACRC assignment? As a member of the CRC team you have a huge opportunity to shape future initiatives and programs that have a direct impact on Army readiness. More-so, you have the opportunity to work with variety of experts in the areas of safety and occupational health, systems safety, and other program management endeavors. A position here also provides you incredible insights and knowledge into Army, Joint and intergovernmental and multinational level collaboration and processes.
What do you find the most challenging at USACRC? An understanding of how the Army adapts to enterprise changes.
What do you like most about USACRC? Working with the superb civilian workforce that possesses tremendous tacit knowledge in a host of professional career fields.
How has the addition of the occupational health mission to USACRC in 2015 changed the organization? This is an ongoing question that we are still adopting with arms wide open. The team welcomes the efforts and the long term vision. This is a transformation effort within the Safety and Occupational Health communities of practices that has not been revised in decades. Ultimately, this integration effort will improve efficiencies and effectiveness throughout the Army enterprise within the SOH community and more importantly enable readiness.
What has been your favorite project at USACRC? This is dual answer. I would consider the work and production of a Risk Management in Multinational operations white paper as well as the work on the concept development for a paratrooper black box. This black box concept also entails the forging of efforts made with integration across the numerous stakeholders to form the Army Airborne Board over the past several years.
What have you gained from working at USACRC? A tremendous appreciation for how large of an organization the Army and the encompassing Civilian workforce and Family support that we operate in. It has also reinforced my appreciation and dedication to our Army and what it is that we do as service members. This job has also afforded me some educational opportunities in the area of safety and occupational health and other specialized training areas.
While we realize you likely won’t be assigned to the USACRC in the long term, what do you envision the USACRC future focus or goals to be? We have an enduring mission that focuses on mishap prevention by to providing the Army with safety and risk management expertise to preserve readiness through the prevention of accidental loss of our Soldiers, Civilians, Families and vital resources. That said, as we move forward we are looking to modernize the safety and occupational health community with an IT system that will ultimately enable near real-time risk decision making.
What is your proudest moment at USACRC? Every day I come to work, I am proud to serve amongst this great team of professionals.
What are your favorite things to do outside of work? I enjoy spending time with my Family, Church activities, golfing, tennis and other outdoor activities.
What are you hoping the Paratrooper Suite of Sensors (PSS) outcome is after your NDCEE project is complete? The PSS is a huge step in utilizing technology to improve jumper performance. The concept capitalizes on the use of Nano-technology to recreate the sequence of events during jump operations. This concept is already being implemented in the Aviation community during and post flight operations. The ideal result would be to utilize the PSS as an After Action Review (AAR) tool for self-actualization post operations affording jumpers near real time feedback on what went well and what needs improvement to meet performance standards and minimize the potential for morbidity and mortality. It would also be utilized to support mishap investigation to confirm gaps in information while recreating the sequence of events during a mishap. Finally, it would incorporated into the parachute life cycle management.