• SDDC Advances Quality Assurance Checks and Balances

    Traffic Management Specialist Kathy Baker (center) in SDDC’s Quality Assurance Branch makes procedural modifications with (from left) co-workers Maureen Carlo, Michele Florence, Monica Rodriquez, and Janet Eversgerd. The branch has the mission of evaluating commercial motor carriers carrying government cargo and ensuring that they comply with DOT and DOD rules and regulations. (U.S. Army photo)

    Mitch Chandran

    With budgetary uncertainty looming, the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command’s (SDDC’s) Quality Assurance Branch is focusing its efforts now to advance its processes and gain efficiencies.

    The branch, part of the Strategic Business Directorate, is responsible for evaluating and monitoring more than 1,200 motor carriers from the transportation industry that are approved to transport government cargo for DOD shippers. SDDC provides expeditionary and sustained end-to-end deployment and distribution solutions for surface shipping of DOD equipment and supplies to warfighters worldwide.

    “Our office fields about 10,000 questions each year from service members and carriers with questions ranging from detention fees to fraud, waste, and abuse.”

    Branch Chief Maureen Carlo and her team of 10 transportation experts manage myriad programs designed to ensure that carriers doing business with the government comply with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and DOD rules and regulations. If not, branch personnel inform carriers of their substandard performance. If such performance is left unchecked, the branch processes company “non-use” and “disqualification” standing on the DOD approved carrier list.

    Many Ways to Monitor
    Managing more than 1,200 carriers for compliance is no easy task. Branch members use a variety of checklists and programs to validate carriers, including Freight Carrier Registration; Compliance Safety and Accountability; performance bonds; truck insurance; DOT sites; National Motor Freight Traffic Association sites; U.S. Bank; and mapping and review programs.

    “We are able to do in-depth checks and are finding discrepancies,” Carlo said. “At the same time, we are exploring ways to gain more efficiency in our office and the way we do our job.”

    “When we did our first review of 1,800 carriers in early 2011, we found quite a few that did not meet the qualification requirements for one reason or another,” said Kathy Baker, Traffic Management Specialist for the Quality Assurance Branch.

    “After completing our first review last year,” Carlo added, “we recommended disqualification of about 300 carriers from doing business with the government for substandard performance or qualifications.” Carriers that remain cognizant of their operations can minimize the chance of losing their government contracts.

    Compliance Safety and Accountability is a program designed to gain efficiencies from DOT’s database by looking for compliance or trends in the motor carrier’s performance history. For carriers with questionable scores in tracked categories, the branch asks the carrier to explain what it is doing to fix or improve its scores.

    DOT initiated this program in 2010, and the command adopted the program for its review process last year.

    “Prior to 2010,” Carlo added, “DOT had a rating program called Safer System, which gave us a good, conditional, or satisfactory rating for the carriers. Now, DOT has revised the program to rate carriers. Also, industry is really working with DOT to make it a better program.”

    Levels of Compliance
    The Quality Assurance Branch also maintains a detailed compliance program for carriers that transport arms, ammunition; and explosives and other sensitive government cargo.

    “Although the process is the same, we keep the Transportation, Safety and Security program separate because of the need to maintain higher compliance for safety,” Carlo said. “We inspect about 65 carriers a month. This includes corporate and no-notice inspections as well.”

    “After completing our first review last year, we recommended disqualification of about 300 carriers from doing business with the government for substandard performance or qualifications.”

    The branch also monitors validation of truck drivers’ insurance. SDDC requires trucking companies to maintain $150,000 in cargo insurance on each truck used to move government cargo. Using Lean Six Sigma, the branch “created a project to study and improve our monitoring processes, which is helping us to advance our efficiencies,” Carlo said.

    The branch also helps shippers when carriers exhibit poor performance or are negligent with government cargo. Branch members write carrier performance letters, letters of warning, or letters placing a carrier in a non-use status for up to 90 days. The branch can issue nationwide carrier performance action letters for multiple or severe infractions, or hold a transportation review board, a formal meeting with subpar-performing carriers to determine cause, effects, and solutions to performance problems as well as whether probation, suspension, or disqualification is in order.

    The branch also manages the DOD Government Cargo Recovery Effort, coordinating, reviewing, analyzing, and disseminating performance data to the military services, agency representatives, committee members, carriers, and SDDC staff.

    “An incident happened about three years ago involving an Air Force item that was being shipped and ended up getting lost,” Carlo said. “We started reviewing the process, and after making changes, we actually gained efficiency to where the carriers are now calling us with items they find. Also, the shipping community is now making quarterly contact with local warehouses and installations.”

    Assisting Shippers
    The branch’s mission is more than compliance checks, however. The branch wants shippers and carriers to know also it is there to help.

    The branch participates in transportation freight workshops for government shippers and carriers, to enhance and promote sound traffic management business practices. The team also fields questions from shippers and industry throughout the year, provides guidance, and clears up disputes.

    “Our office fields about 10,000 questions each year from service members and carriers with questions ranging from detention fees to fraud, waste, and abuse,” Carlo said.

    “As an example,” she added, “a carrier may arrive at an installation with cargo and, for one reason or another, can’t offload their truck. So the carrier has to leave. We’ll answer questions like, is the carrier entitled to storage? Or, is the carrier entitled to detention or re-consignment fees? We’ll examine the paperwork involved in each query, talk to both parties if necessary, and recommend a solution.”

    Carlo said the branch has made great strides in improving its processes since its 2010 relocation from Fort Eustis, VA, to Scott Air Force Base, IL.

    SDDC provides expeditionary and sustained end-to-end deployment and distribution solutions for surface shipping of DoD equipment and supplies to Warfighters worldwide.

     


    • MITCH CHANDRAN, a DA civilian employee, is a Public Affairs Specialist for Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. He holds a B.B.A. in business management from the University of Central Oklahoma.

    Read more »
  • Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program II Registration Extended

    Langston Willis

    The Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program (ALCP) has extended the application deadline to Sept. 13 for the October, November, and December 2012 ALCP II courses. The courses, open to eligible GS-14s, -15s, and equivalents, are being offered from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 in Atlanta, GA; Nov. 5-9 in Alexandria, VA; and Dec. 3-7 in Huntsville, AL. The Huntsville and Alexandria courses are seeking primarily local students, as they will not offer TDY.

    The ALCP II program is a 2 ½-day series of seminars that focus on increasing leadership acumen for civilians, identifying the major challenges for new organizational leaders, and incorporating individual talents into a cohesive workforce. To achieve this, leaders must understand the motivations, needs, and interest of other people. “There is a lot of material condensed into this time on how the students can help themselves,” said Scott Greene, Acquisition, Education, and Training Branch Chief.

    The foundation of the ALCP is self-awareness as the key to developing both leadership and diversity; the goal is to create an innovative culture, by helping to recognize each individual’s personal preferences and behaviors and how each person not only interacts with co-workers but also is viewed by others.

    This approach includes addressing people’s unconscious biases, helping them to discover new approaches to doing things and emphasizing the strength and power in accepting individual differences to produce a stronger “whole.”

    The course is instrument-based, and participants get the results while in attendance. Some of the programs include 360-degree feedback, personality preference, and conflict management.

    “This program is an eye-opening course on learning about your strengths through using the in-your-face data and the constructive feedback from your co-workers. It provides insight into not just what you have to work on to improve, but also your strengths,” Greene explained.

    If you meet the eligibility requirements, please review the announcement at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-leadership-challenge-program/ for information and application directions.

    The application process will be conducted using the Army Acquisition Professional Development System (AAPDS) at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/. AAPDS is an automated process used to select individuals for education, training, and experience opportunities.

    For more information, contact Darrell E. Whitehurst at 703-805-1236 or Darrell.e.Whitehurst.civ@mail.mil.

     


    • LANGSTON WILLIS is a Writer/Editor supporting the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center for SAIC. He has worked on projects with the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, Program Executive Office Soldier, and the Army’s Executive Partnerships Office. He served for seven years in the U.S. Army and has more than nine years’ experience as a Writer/Editor working on military topics. Willis holds a B.A. in journalism from Norfolk State University.

    Read more »
  • AMC: A Globally Networked Logistics Command

    John Macer (left) and John Henry prepare a gunner’s station mount for modifications Feb. 15 at Fort Bragg, NC. Macer and Henry belong to a special team fielded by Joint Program Office Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles, which works in concert with Army Field Support Battalion – Bragg to ensure that pre-deployment training equipment provides Soldiers realistic preparation for deployed operations. (U.S. Army photo by C.W. Fick Jr.)

    In August, U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) celebrated its 50th year of providing America’s warfighters with the decisive edge. AMC’s mission is to develop, deliver, and sustain materiel to ensure a dominant Joint Force for the United States and our allies. While our mission has remained the same over the past half-decade, we are a fundamentally different organization than we were at our inception, and much of that change has occurred over the past 10 years.

    AMC has evolved into a Globally Networked Logistics Command, with forces deployed around the world. Our position as the Army’s Lead Materiel Integrator (LMI) makes us a key enabler for global materiel management. The well-trained and dedicated AMC workforce, some 70,000 strong, researches, develops, procures, delivers, and sustains the equipment on which the warfighter depends to perform his or her mission.

    AMC also recognizes the significant challenges ahead in returning equipment from Afghanistan. One thing is clear: The challenges of reset and retrograde from Afghanistan are not the same as those from Iraq.

    In 2011, AMC serviced a workload three times greater than in the Vietnam era, resetting some 2.7 million critical pieces of equipment ranging from chemical/biological equipment to missile systems for 33 brigade combat team equivalents per year. We anticipate that workload will continue, and AMC continues to implement lessons from Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn to refine and improve our efforts.

    As always, our priority remains supporting the Joint warfighter, and our accomplishments in 2011 reflect that goal.

    Jadey Pareja, a chemist with the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC), leads five scientists in the Protective Equipment Test Branch who test and analyze the carbon materials that will be integrated into mask filters for Soldiers’ protective masks. ECBC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command, one of AMC’s major subordinate commands and a leader in basic scientific research areas including nanotechnology, armor, robotics, the human domain, fuel-efficient vehicles, and simulation. (U.S. Army photo by Dan Lafontaine)

    Responsible Reset Task Force
    Perhaps one of our most significant accomplishments in the past year was concluding the Iraq phase of the Responsible Reset Task Force (R2TF) mission. The mission included retrograding 3.9 million pieces of equipment, including 30,000 wheeled vehicles; reallocating more than $7 million in equipment from the war in Iraq to other federal agencies; and reusing $1.3 billion of equipment from the war in Iraq for the surge in Afghanistan.

    R2TF was designed to consolidate data to maintain visibility of equipment departing from Iraq using these imperatives: visibility, accountability, velocity, and triage forward. In early May, the last Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle to leave Iraq was returned to the United States after a five-month reset process. Its return to the States symbolized AMC’s success in increasing the velocity and capabilities of responsible reset.

    Lead Materiel Integrator
    AMC efforts to develop a world-class operations center have enabled us to establish systems and capabilities to maintain situational awareness of ongoing operations around the globe. AMC’s operations center can determine what container a particular piece of equipment should go into, and what ship to put it on, to get it to the right reset facility or the right unit. That visibility increases the flow of materiel, saving the Army time and money.

    It is that capability that led the Secretary of the Army to designated AMC as the
    LMI on March 22, 2011. As the LMI, AMC has the mission to synchronize the distribution and redistribution of Army materiel in accordance with Army priorities and directives.

    While our mission has remained the same over the past half-decade, we are a fundamentally different organization than we were at our inception, and much of that change has occurred over the past 10 years.

    Workers overhaul heavy and light combat vehicles at Anniston Army Depot, AL. AMC seeks to transform the sustainment of our organic industrial base capabilities while providing cost-effective solutions for the Nation.

    EAGLE
    Another success is our transition to the Enhanced Army Global Logistics Enterprise (EAGLE), a move that revolutionizes the contracting process. It expands competition and reduces acquisition lead time.

    EAGLE incorporates directives on better buying power and optimization of service contracting, while increasing opportunities for small businesses. This fundamentally new way of doing business, which is expected to decrease future installation logistics costs, is tied to AMC’s realignment of Directorates of Logistics.

    Organic Industrial Base
    One area of concern for AMC is the modernization of aging facilities. Many of the physical plants that house our organic industrial base were built for World War II and have reached DOD’s benchmark for recapitalization.

    This presents us with an $8 billion conundrum: how to resource this important requirement in an era of fiscal constraint. Also, as wartime manufacturing loads are reduced, these facilities must look for new strategies to keep production lines up and running, providing exciting new opportunities for public-private partnerships.

    Vehicles drive aboard the USNS Red Cloud at Wharf Alpha, Joint Base Charleston, SC. The vessel, bound for South Korea, contains part of U.S. Army Sustainment Command’s (ASC’s) global collection of prepositioned equipment, kept at the ready both ashore and afloat. ASC, a major subordinate command of AMC, serves as its executing agent for the Army’s Lead Materiel Integrator. AMC in turn supports and is fully integrated with the four major functions of DOD’s global logistics mission: maintenance, transportation, supply, and logistics management. (Photo by Jon Connor, ASC Public Affairs)

    R2TF-Afghanistan
    AMC also recognizes the significant challenges ahead in returning equipment from Afghanistan. One thing is clear: The challenges of reset and retrograde from Afghanistan are not the same as those from Iraq.

    As we prepare for the Afghanistan R2TF mission, sustainment, battle damage repair, and retrograde operations remain constant and will occur simultaneously until both the wartime and R2TF missions are complete. Upward of 3 million pieces of equipment must be moved within a landlocked and land-constrained environment, concomitant with ongoing operations such as training the Afghan National Army and other security forces.

    Looking Forward
    Fortunately, AMC has the most experienced and professional Soldiers, civilians, and contractors in our history, who will continue to meet the challenges we face today while preparing for the threats of tomorrow.

    As we look to the future with our strategic focus, we must take a fundamentally different approach to the way we do business. This approach will maximize efficiencies, eliminate redundancies, and prepare us for an era of persistent conflict characterized by declining resources, uncertainty, and complexity.

    Moving toward Army 2020, AMC will continue to serve as the single entry point for logistics support. Our goal is to be fully networked and transparent—able to respond rapidly to the needs of the Army and the Joint Force.

     


    • —U.S. Army Materiel Command Public Affairs

    Read more »
  • AMC at a Glance

    The U.S. Army Materiel Command is the Army’s center of gravity for global materiel management. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it, or communicates with it, AMC provides it. The command, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, AL, impacts or has a presence in all 50 states and 144 countries. Staffing these organizations is a workforce of more than 69,000 dedicated military and civilian employees, many with highly developed specialties in weapons development, manufacturing, and logistics.

    To develop, buy, and maintain materiel for the Army, AMC works closely with program executive officers, the Army Acquisition Executive, industry, academia, and other related agencies. AMC also handles most of the Army’s contracting, including a full range of contracting services for deployed units as well as installation-level services, supplies, and common-use information technology hardware and software.

    AMC also manages the multibillion-dollar business of selling Army equipment and services to friends and allies of the United States, and negotiates and implements agreements for co-production of U.S. weapons systems by foreign nations. AMC provides numerous acquisition and logistics services to DOD and other government agencies.

    AMC operates research, development, and engineering centers; the U.S. Army Research Laboratory; depots, arsenals, and ammunition plants; and other facilities. The command also maintains the Army’s prepositioned stocks, on land and at sea. It is the DOD executive agent for the chemical weapons stockpile and for conventional ammunition.

    The command’s maintenance depots and arsenals overhaul, modernize, and upgrade major weapon systems—not just making them like new, but inserting technology to make them modern and more reliable. It operates a network of Army field support brigades and battalions, logistics support elements, and brigade logistics support teams, which identify and resolve equipment and maintenance problems as well as materiel readiness issues for combatant commands.

     


    • —U.S. Army Materiel Command Public Affairs

    Read more »