Product Manager Power Projection Enablers support retrograde operations in Southwest Asia

By Erin E. Rusnak and Aurora V. Speed


A recent DOD report estimates that more than 750,000 major end items, worth in excess of $36 billion remain in Afghanistan, much of which must be brought back to the United States by the end of 2014. The sheer amount and value of equipment make this operation one of the largest retrograde efforts in U.S. military history. Over the past several months, the Power Projection Enablers (P2E) program has been heavily involved in mission support for the return of a portion of that staggering number of end items.

Overview for Success
To meet this demand, P2E organized an integrated logistics support (ILS) team to operate throughout Southwest Asia (SWA). The ILS team inventoried and marked for repurpose approximately $16.8 million worth of IT equipment throughout the region, with the bulk of the equipment consolidated in Afghanistan. The ILS team was chartered to work quickly, and within a six-month period identified, inventoried, loaded, shipped and re-issued myriad serviceable IT equipment sets to the troops in Afghanistan.

Major IT equipment serving entire installations was arranged for lateral transfer. Most notably, the 335th Signal Command (Theater) (Provisional) at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, employed transferred equipment to support the Theater Enterprise Capabilities (TEC) effort and to provide strategic connectivity throughout SWA.

The Methodology
Working in a decentralized manner, the ILS team created detailed property accountability checklists and particularized instructions for warehouse personnel to refine IT equipment maintenance and management accountability. With this resolution of detail, the warehouse personnel can better maintain stored equipment, allowing for faster re-inventory, repurpose and reissue.

Further, the ILS team worked to improve customer service and continuously refined their training program for everyone from warehouse personnel through to the unit logistics personnel to ensure a shared understanding of the ILS process for re-purposed IT equipment. The ILS team has established a reputation among its customers for good communication that begins with the first phone call and continues through the required customer briefing and process orientation meetings to the training sessions, which often find attendance levels at 100 percent participation. The proof of success is a recorded increase in lateral transfers for repurposed IT equipment for SWA valued at $53 million.

The Mission Continues
Continuing its work throughout SWA, the ILS team assists organizations to offset costs by repurposing and, in some cases, salvaging IT equipment. Recently, ILS worked with the U.S. Air Force to provide a large shipment of equipment including computer servers, switches and routers, netting $3.1 million in cost savings.

In Kuwait, the ILS team located 17 large shipping containers filled with surplus IT equipment that was inventoried, updated and then repurposed for use in the Main Control Facility (MCF), a five-year, multimillion dollar P2E project in SWA that will soon be the region’s largest theater hub for voice, data and video services. The work of the ILS team in Kuwait re-purposed $2.5 million worth of equipment for the MCF.

Postured for Success
Continuously evolving, the ILS team is enhancing productivity and conducting process improvement checks along the way. The team developed a matrix to identify ILS support to the various directorates, area product managers and their customers. The matrix outlines each area by specialty asset and field management support expert. This document is then provided to the customer so that the organization has a person it can call upon for accountability and support.

This communication and tracking of goods and services ensures successful repurposing of equipment and cost savings to the customer. The P2E ILS team will continue operating in SWA for the foreseeable future and, following the established Afghanistan drawdown plan, will work to repurpose all surplus IT equipment in theater.

  • Erin E. Rusnak is the initiatives coordinator at Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS), PdM P2E, Fort Belvoir, VA. She received her bachelor’s in business administration, from Youngstown State University, OH and is Level 1 certified in Program Management (PM).

    Aurora V. Speed is the chief of integrated logistics support, PEO EIS PdM P2E, at Fort Belvoir, VA. She received her bachelor’s of in business management, from National Louis University, and her master’s in quality systems management, from National Graduate School. She is also Level 2 certified in PM and Level 1 certified in Life Cycle Logistics.