Secretary of the Army John McHugh has directed the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) to continue developing the Logistics Information Warehouse (LIW) as the Army’s single authoritative source whereby leaders can maintain situational awareness of equipment across the Army.
AMC’s Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) manages the LIW, a repository for data that will provide a common location for all Army materiel stakeholders to access, acquire, and deliver data and information for managing Army materiel.
LIW integrates legacy systems data with data emerging from modern Army Enterprise Resource Planning systems to provide critical strategic business analytics and business intelligence for the Army’s logistics leaders.
Previously, warfighters had to coordinate with multiple Army organizations to determine how to fill equipment shortages. As AMC fills the role of Lead Materiel Integrator (LMI) for the Army, LIW will be the single source for equipment information and possible solutions to shortages. (For more on AMC’s designation as LMI, go to http://test.usaasc.info/u-s-army-materiel-command-named-the-army%e2%80%99s-lead-materiel-integrator/.)
“By integrating and merging the property data from multiple sources into one location, LIW will provide our strategic leaders and item managers visibility of all Army assets and associated readiness,” said COL Robert Sullivan, LOGSA Commander. “This allows Army leaders to make sound decisions for equipment distribution based on accurate life-cycle data. Simply put, when we know what we have on hand, the supply, we can truly optimize demand satisfaction as we distribute equipment.”
In addition to its role in supporting LMI, LIW will provide insight into equipment availability, maintenance reporting, and the overall performance of the Army supply pipeline. Also, LIW can provide large amounts of data to more than 140 trading partners each day. This facet of LIW’s mission is a being upgraded to further exploit Web-service technology, eliminating many costly databases.
LIW will foster a broad overview of equipment and logistics, enabling decision making and long-term trend analysis for senior leaders. The logistics community can now more easily monitor, manage, and sustain the efforts that are vital to mission success.
“As we continue to build out the strategic analytic capability and enhance the ‘look and feel’ by capitalizing on new technologies, LIW will be even more useful to leaders making maintenance, transportation, and funding decisions. Its reach is much broader than just equipment visibility,” Sullivan said.
Article courtesy of AMC Public Affairs.
Secretary of the Army (SecArmy) John McHugh has designated the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) as the Army’s Lead Materiel Integrator (LMI), which changes how the operational Army will receive its equipment in the future.
With McHugh’s designation of an LMI in his March 22 memorandum, the Army will standardize the process of providing materiel to the warfighter that once was managed by multiple organizations, databases, and people.
“The Army’s new approach for managing materiel is being designed to effectively and efficiently distribute and redistribute materiel to support the generation of trained and ready forces,” McHugh said in the memorandum. “It must represent a different way of doing business that will foster open communication, improve collaboration, and eliminate redundancies in the process.”
This LMI designation allows AMC to develop a single authoritative materiel data repository for the Army through an initiative called the Logistics Information Warehouse, said GEN Ann E. Dunwoody, AMC Commanding General, during a recent town hall meeting.
Previously, warfighters needed to coordinate with multiple Army organizations to determine how to fill equipment shortages.
With its designation as LMI, AMC is now the one point of contact for all materiel through the U.S. Army Sustainment Command (ASC), a subordinate command of AMC. ASC will be the Army’s single materiel readiness synchronization point, receiving materiel requirements from the Army and employing its Distribution Management Center, Army Field Support Brigades, and Directorates of Logistics.
The benefits of the LMI designation include total asset visibility and transparency, predictive analysis, elimination of redundant capabilities across the Army, and integration and synchronization of multiple efforts, enabling AMC to manage materiel at best value for the entire Army.
“This is probably one of the most transformational adaptations we have had at the institutional level that is really going to impact ARFORGEN [Army Force Generation] and our ability to sustain and equip forces,” Dunwoody said.
Article courtesy of AMC Public Affairs.
As the Assistant Product Manager (APM) responsible for International Apache Programs, within Program Executive Office Aviation’s Project Manager Apache, I was asked numerous times about the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process: What is FMS and why does the United States participate in the program? Who determines what we can sell and to whom? What is the process to sell equipment to a country? What does FMS do for “me” in the cockpit?
There are two methods of purchasing military equipment: FMS or Direct Commercial Sales (DCS). Through DCS, a country goes directly to a contractor or original equipment manufacturer to buy a product or service. This article focuses on the FMS process with frequently asked questions.
What is FMS?
FMS is the government-to-government method for selling U.S. defense equipment, services, and training. According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the goal of the U.S. FMS program is “responsible arms sales to further national security and foreign policy objectives by strengthening bilateral defense relations, supporting coalition building, and enhancing interoperability between U.S. forces and militaries of friends and allies. These sales also contribute to American prosperity by improving the U.S. balance of trade position, sustaining highly skilled jobs in the defense industrial base, and extending production lines and lowering unit costs for key weapon systems.”
Who Determines Who Can Buy the Aircraft?
The U.S. Department of State determines eligibility and decides which major sales will be made either through FMS or DCS.
Though not directly responsible for the selection, DOD has extensive input on the policy. DOD determines what items can be sold and implements FMS programs. As a part of the process, the Geographic Combatant Commanders may be asked the questions “Why should we do the program?” and “How quickly must the program be executed?” A positive response from these commanders goes a long way in the approval process. Conversely, a negative response or a recommendation for denial weighs heavily on the potential case.
FMS sales also contribute to American prosperity by improving the U.S. balance of trade position, sustaining highly skilled jobs in the defense industrial base, and extending production lines and lowering unit costs for key weapon systems.
For most countries and equipment, congressional notification and review is a mandatory last step in the approval process before a country is offered a program. Because of the costs involved in aviation programs, every FMS case for new aircraft or the remanufacture of a current fleet requires congressional notification and review.
What is the FMS Sale Process?
For purposes of this discussion, I will use the Apache helicopter FMS as an example. The FMS process is a multi-faceted, multi-level procedure that can take years to mature from when ‘Country X’ expresses the desire for a new attack helicopter to the actual delivery of the selected U.S. platform. The process begins when Country X determines that it has a need for an attack helicopter, either to replace an older attack platform or to purchase a new capability. The replacement could mean upgrading a current platform to a newer version (such as from an A Model Apache to a D Model Longbow) or completely replacing an aged platform (for example, phasing out an AH-1 Cobra fleet). The selection process and final decision can take years because of the financial investment and political complexities involved.
Once the country decides on the desired aircraft, it works with the Security Assistance Office within the U.S. Embassy to develop a Letter of Request (LOR). That LOR is submitted to the Army for action to create the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA), a “contract” between Country X’s government and the U.S. government regarding what the manufacturer will build.
When Congress approves the LOA, it is submitted to Country X for signature. At that point, the program begins in earnest. The LOA, or case, is assigned to the proper Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC). The LCMC is made up of the project manager (PM) and Security Assistance Management Directorate whose responsibility is to work the case through the entire life cycle of that program.
What Does FMS Do for “Me” in the Cockpit?
What does the FMS program do for me in the cockpit? It is a method of delivering capabilities earlier than programmed. A couple of the most notable examples of technologies for the Apache that were developed and fielded early because of FMS are the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Modernized Pilot Night Vision System and Common Missile Warning System.
In the acquisition process, the PMs have funds programmed for future technology enhancements to the aircraft. Through the FMS process, a country can provide money to bring desired enhancements forward.
In the acquisition process, the PMs have funds programmed for future technology enhancements to the aircraft. Through the FMS process, a country can provide money to bring desired enhancements forward. During LOA development, improvements or enhancements are included in the case. As a side note, approval is required at the DOD and Department of the Army levels to include improvements to the platform. Also, all potential enhancements are coordinated with the PM before they are offered to the international partner, ensuring that the combined efforts support the PM’s overall fielding plan.
An indirect benefit of the FMS process is that countries have deployed their Apaches in support of joint allied operations around the world, including in Bosnia, Kosovo, Djibouti, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Every hour flown by our international partners is one less hour that a U.S. government crew has to be deployed from home.
FMS is a little known yet dynamic process that pays big dividends for the U.S. government and our international partners. From the industrial standpoint, billions of dollars are invested annually in the U.S. economy through the FMS process. From the PM standpoint, it provides a way to accelerate enhancements and capabilities through the infusion of funds. For the pilot in the cockpit, the enhancements on the aircraft directly affect warfighting capabilities.
- LTC RICHARD L. WILLIAMS was the APM for International Apache Programs at Redstone Arsenal, AL, until April 2010. He is currently the FMS Officer, Non-Standard Rotary Wing Aviation at Redstone Arsenal. Williams holds a B.B.A. in general business from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi and an M.S. in systems acquisition management from the Naval Postgraduate School.
Coming from as far away as Japan, Alaska, and Hawaii, more than 200 contingency contracting warfighters descended onto Fort Campbell, KY, to participate in the 412th Contracting Support Brigade’s (CSB’s) Operation Joint Dawn 2011 Jan. 24-Feb. 4.
Active Army, Air Force, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard members participated in the two-week exercise, the Army’s largest joint contracting field training exercise. The goal was to provide a contingency contracting force capable and ready to support warfighters and conduct their mission.
Joint Dawn is an evolution from last year’s Operation Bold Impact exercise, according to COL Jeff Morris, Commander of the 412th CSB at Fort Sam Houston, TX. The 412th CSB, with five contingency contracting battalions, sponsored both exercises. The U.S. Army Expeditionary Contracting Command, the 412th’s higher headquarters, provides contracting support to the Army and other DOD organizations operating outside CONUS.
“Last year we trained about 35 Soldiers,” Morris explained. “This year, we opened it up, said ‘Let’s make this joint.’ We brought in the Air Force; we had about 20 Airmen here. We said, ‘Let’s make this multi-component.’ We invited a couple of dozen Soldiers from the National Guard and the Army Reserve. It’s become much more like it is down range because when they go down range they’re not operating in an Army environment. They are operating in an environment with civilians, they are operating in an environment with National Guard and Reserve, and they are operating with a whole lot of Air Force people.”
Mixing Warrior, Contracting Tasks
The exercise kicked off with a week of warrior task training that included combat engagement skills, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle roll-over egress, tactical combat casualty care, and virtual operational environment simulation.
Operation Joint Dawn provided contracting officers and noncommissioned officers some of what combat units gain through pre-deployment training at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA.
Week Two focused on contingency contracting operations. The joint teams were divided into 13 regional contracting centers that were challenged with more than 1,300 master scenario events list (exercise script) actions, including purchase requests and commitments, more than 350 close-out actions, commander’s critical information requirements, contracting ethics issues, and confrontations with disgruntled customers.
Morris said that all administrative paperwork, such as warrant packages that allow contracting officials to write and issue contracts, and forms required for access to the information technology systems, were the same in the exercise as those used in theater.
“So you’re only going to fill it out once,” he explained. “You fill it out here; we’re going to take it and send it to the theater.”
The 900th Contingency Contracting Battalion (CCBn), Fort Bragg, NC, led the planning and execution of the exercise. LTC Carol Tschida, 900th CCBn Commander, said Operation Joint Dawn provided contracting officers and noncommissioned officers some of what combat units gain through pre-deployment training at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA.
“This training is very important for contracting officers because we don’t have the opportunity to get together like this and practice for deployments,” Tschida explained. “This exercise is a culminating event. We trained on 15 warrior tasks and about 28 of more than 36 contracting officer proficiency guide tasks. We’ve put all that together in realistic scenarios of what contingency contracting officers [CCOs] can expect to see in theater so that they are prepared for realistic scenarios and for handling those situations when they happen.”
“I got a lot out of this exercise,” said SFC Joseph Crowell, 900th CCBn, Redstone Arsenal, AL. “The exercise was unpredictable and we had a lot of different scenarios thrown at us.”
The medical training included firefights with aggressors as the contracting teams worked to rescue and treat casualties. Combatants were armed with paintball guns and were cleared to engage the enemy.
SrA George Halley, 18th Contracting Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, particularly appreciated the warrior skills training. “A lot of it is training that I could spend 20 years in the Air Force and maybe not even see,” he said. “I might see something similar, but I wouldn’t see what the Army is doing.”
Halley said the urban assault using paintball guns had a “fun factor, but it really brought to light how confusing things can get, especially if you’re not trained.”
He took a few hits in the paintball exchange, “more than I thought I did until I took my gear off.” He said taking hits made him realize how much more training he would like to have for combat situations.
Tschida said that Operation Joint Dawn captured lessons learned from Operation Bold Impact, its predecessor, as well as input from exercise participants who have since deployed. She said deployed CCOs also provided sample contract actions.
“Operation Bold Impact represented the ‘crawl stage,’ ” Tschida said. “We’ve added all of that to the exercise so now we’re at the walk stage. We hope to add the Navy and the Marine Corps next year, and that’s when we’ll run.”
Voices of Experience
SGM Douglas Adams, 412th CSB Senior Enlisted Advisor, said he wished he had received this training before his deployment to Southwest Asia in 2005.
“When I went into theater there was no expectation management,” he said. “It was, ‘This is the date you need to be in theater; figure out how to get there and we’ll see you on the other end.’ We’re taking our experiences and we’re trying to offer current deployers what we didn’t have.”
This training is very important for contracting officers because we don’t have the opportunity to get together like this and practice for deployments.
Air Force contracting Airmen also benefited from the training. According to Col Roger H. Westermeyer, Director of Contracting at Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill Air Force Base, UT, deploying Airmen train like they will fight when they are deployed to regional contracting centers in the U.S. Central Command theater of operations.
“Our regional contracting centers are joint,” he explained. “That’s Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines—all working together to get the mission done. It’s important that if that’s the way we’re going to operate in theater, then we should train that way now. That way we learn each others’ lingo and how we operate so when we deploy together we’ll be ready from Day One.”
Westermeyer, the Air Force’s senior participant in Operation Joint Dawn, served a one-year tour in Iraq as the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting, making him the senior contracting official. He played a similar role in the exercise and served as a senior mentor.
Westermeyer said Airmen received a lot of exposure to combat skills that they don’t normally experience.
Our regional contracting centers are joint. That’s Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines—all working together to get the mission done. It’s important that if that’s the way we’re going to operate in theater, then we should train that way now.
Westermeyer observed that Soldiers excelled in the combat skills while Airmen brought a wealth of contracting experience to the fight. He said that is primarily because the Air Force brought many Airmen into the contracting career field from Day One of active duty, while Soldiers cross train into the career field later.
“I think this is clearly the premier contracting training exercise that we have anywhere in the services today,” said Morris. “And I say that not because it’s us. I say that because I’ve talked to the people here that have done other exercises. And I just can’t impress upon you enough the motivation that is shown by the Soldiers and Airmen that we have here today. It doesn’t matter if we have three inches of snow on the ground; they’re out there doing their job, digging in and doing the things they need to prepare them for deployment.”
- ED WORLEY is the Public Affairs Team Chief for the U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) in the Office of Public and Congressional Affairs. He served more than 30 years in the U.S. Air Force and 3 years in the private sector before joining the ACC Public Affairs team.
The medic who rushes to a war zone bombing … the ambulance speeding to a major car accident … the surgeons trying to save a shooting victim. Trauma care takes so many different forms that a national research strategy to improve it has yet to become a reality.
The deaths and serious injuries caused by trauma are taking a devastating toll on our Nation. According to the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program, nearly half of those severely wounded in recent wars have not been able to return to duty. In addition, approximately 20 percent of all combat deaths are considered potentially survivable, had advanced, appropriate care been immediately available.
On the civilian side, trauma deaths have reached epidemic numbers. In the United States, according to the National Trauma Institute, someone dies from a traumatic injury every three minutes, and trauma is the leading cause of death of children.
Yet military doctors in the field have the same problems storing blood today that plagued doctors decades ago, and no one yet knows the best way to treat a head injury or whether drugs can stem internal bleeding. Unfortunately, the funds devoted to trauma research, which could find answers to such questions, are a small fraction of the country’s research dollars.
Recognizing the need to develop a national strategy, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s (USAMRMC’s) Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) gathered representatives of several key trauma organizations in January in San Antonio, TX. The panel discussed critical research needs in trauma and how they could leverage each organization’s strengths for a more effective approach.
TATRC Trauma Portfolio Manager retired COL Thomas Knuth, MD, who chaired the meeting, explained, “Over the decades, funding and public awareness of trauma needs have waxed and waned as wars come and go. We need to create an overarching strategy for exactly what to study and how to fund it, so we can continue building on the knowledge we’ve gained.”
According to the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program, nearly half of those severely wounded in recent wars have not been able to return to duty. In addition, approximately 20 percent of all combat deaths are considered potentially survivable, had advanced, appropriate care been immediately available.
Much has been done to reduce death and disability from trauma injury. But gaps remain in areas varied as injury prevention, disaster preparedness, medical treatment, infection control, and the technology used for communication and medical monitoring.
Knuth pointed out that advances in military trauma care during the Vietnam War improved local and state civilian trauma systems. What has been learned during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is helping the country move toward a national trauma system, he said. A national system implies consistent quality care delivered seamlessly across all jurisdictional boundaries with equal access everywhere to pre-hospital, hospital, operating room, intensive care unit, rehab, and long-term care and sharing of resources through mutual aid agreements to maintain services in times of peak needs. A national trauma system implies nationwide consensus on standards, process improvement, research, and other system needs.
“The military actually has a global system now. It’s amazing how many NATO countries are communicating weekly across continents in the care of patients,” Knuth said. “We need to translate that to civilian and future military efforts. That’s a good example of where we could go through the collaborations that may come out of this national meeting.”
- TATRC, headquartered at Fort Detrick, MD, which manages approximately 800 research projects throughout the country. Its trauma portfolio includes 50 to 80 projects at any one time. TATRC explores models of high-risk and innovative research, and puts research findings into the hands of warfighters.
- The Combat Casualty Care Research Area Directorate, known as RAD II, a USAMRMC unit that collaborates closely with Navy and Air Force research efforts. RAD II conducts basic and applied research and advanced technology development to reduce the number of deaths on the battlefield, limit brain damage, improve en route care, and advance the acute care of battle injuries. It invests in related projects at other institutions, including universities, industry, and military medical organizations such as TATRC and the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR).
- The USAISR, which is in a unique position to conduct both laboratory and clinical trauma research. Located at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX, USAISR adjoins Brooke Army Medical Center, a Level I trauma center. It operates the Nation’s only military burn center and is home to the Joint Theater Trauma Registry, which all branches of the military use to electronically compile combat trauma data for use in improving equipment and care. The institute takes the clinical problems identified on the battlefield for further investigation and solutions, and then validates those solutions in the clinical setting before they are returned to the battlefield.
- The National Trauma Institute (NTI), an aftermath of the collaboration between USAISR and civilian trauma centers in San Antonio. NTI, established in 2006, coordinates and funds trauma research nationally and applies it to benefit both the military and civilians. NTI is working to develop a national trauma clinical trials network to coordinate studies at multiple sites. A network is important because no single trauma center admits enough critically injured patients to provide substantiated support for improvements to medical care. NTI also holds an annual trauma symposium for military and civilian trauma researchers and providers, and is beginning a development program to raise private dollars for trauma research.
Hope for the Future
The meeting reaffirmed efforts by the participating organizations to increase coordination among military branches, other federal agencies, and civilian institutions. To-do items from the meeting include shaping a common vision, developing a priority list, and setting a strategy for funding.
TATRC Deputy Director COL Ron Poropatich said, “We are all ready to take it to the next level to meet the challenges and opportunities of today and the future.”
- BARB RUPPERT is a science and technology writer for USAMRMC’s TATRC. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in education from Virginia Tech.
“Today is a blur for me,” said CW3 Terry Dover, fresh from temporary duty. “I walked into my office over there, and I said, ‘Where’s all my stuff? Did I get fired while I was gone?’ ” Fortunately, it was just another office move. Dover’s papers and belongings were boxed in a new office.
Dover is used to being on the go. He and colleagues on the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA) Technology Assessment and Requirements Analysis (TARA) team have experienced steady growth and inevitable changes over the past few years. Dover is the Project Manager for Clinical Technologies and the TARA Team Lead in the Integrated Clinical Systems Program Management Office.
A key component of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, USAMMA manages strategic-level medical logistics and provides medical equipment for Active Component, U.S. Army Reserve, and U.S. Army National Guard forces. Comprising a full-time team of 14 and drawing on a corps of expert consultants from the U.S. Army Office of the Surgeon General, the TARA team conducts thorough analyses of medical treatment facilities.
The team assesses clinical operations; workload requirements; technical operations; and equipment maintenance, use, and life cycle. The team then translates those findings into recommended process improvements and equipment replacement plans. Since 1995, the program has achieved a recognized cost savings of $231 million for the Army Medical Department in service and maintenance contracts, equipment purchases, group buys, and environmental hazard reduction.
Dover’s team charts an ambitious schedule; it is slated to assess seven Army medical centers and hospitals this year alone. By year’s end, the TARA team will have zigzagged across the country, working in Maryland, Kentucky, Texas, Georgia, Washington, Alaska, and California. In past years, the team has deployed to such far-flung locales as Korea, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Honduras.
Along the way, the team has made vital changes to outdated doctrine at medical treatment facilities worldwide. Dover cites the increased use of, and reliance on, computed tomography (CT) scans as a prime example.
Comprising a full-time team of 14 and drawing on a corps of expert consultants from the U.S. Army Office of the Surgeon General, the TARA team conducts thorough analyses of medical treatment facilities.
“We changed things dramatically when we went into the Gulf War,” said Dover. “The CT became essential [toward assessing] the types of trauma we are seeing now. With a CT, you can see everything to some degree, and you can perform a CT scan in a couple of minutes to know what is broken … where things may be bleeding. That becomes critical when you go into surgery.”
The CT’s benefits extend beyond the operating room, as the scans provide important feedback to field combat units. “If we see certain head injuries on a CT, we know the armor is not doing the job,” said Dover. “Or maybe it’s doing the job but missing this part of it. So people are going to go back and say, ‘Look, we know blast injuries are doing this. We are protecting the skull, but we have all these other problems.’ ”
CT is just one tool in TARA’s growing arsenal. Dover’s overriding mission is to assemble joint teams to better understand how different forces’ facilities might operate.
“The intent is to pool [experts] from different areas, so when we walk through the doors [of any] facility, that gives us instant credibility,” Dover said. “There are some nuances in how the Army does things, how the Air Force does things, and how the Navy does things, but ultimately, how they treat patients is really the same.”
A TARA assessment can also outline a facility’s capabilities, enabling incoming personnel to get up to speed quickly. During winter 2009, the team traveled to Soto Cano Air Base in Comayagua, Honduras, to evaluate the medical element at Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-B) before a new logistics chief arrived. What the team found was a facility in need of logistical guidance.
JTF-B is wholly dependent on generators for its power. The hot and humid climate, with rain half the year, is hard on equipment. Base personnel must send the equipment stateside for maintenance. If a crisis occurs, humanitarian or otherwise, staff must pull field equipment from the clinic.
The TARA team was able to assess the equipment and put together a replacement schedule, ensuring that critical medical equipment used in delivering health care to our deployed members is the best it can be and within safety and regulatory management controls.
In just one week, Dover and 10 team members combed through JTF-B, evaluating the facility’s nursing and operations, equipment and laboratory, diagnostic imaging, and image archive and transfer system. The resulting report included an inventory of more than 150 items, from operating tables to battery chargers, listing manufacturers, model numbers, and life expectancy for each piece of equipment. TARA also streamlined the equipment replacement process and made recommendations in other areas, from staffing to training to record-keeping, all with an eye to improving operations, safety, and quality of care.
U.S. Air Force Maj Andrea Ryan, the incoming JTF-B Logistics Chief, reported to the base four months after the assessment and praised what Dover’s team was able to achieve in its short time at the facility.
“Chief Dover has been nothing short of amazing,” said Ryan. “The TARA team was able to assess the equipment and put together a replacement schedule, ensuring that critical medical equipment used in delivering health care to our deployed members is the best it can be and within safety and regulatory management controls. [That] support for field operations is more than any medical logistics officer could ask for.”
For more information on the TARA program, visit http://www.usamma.army.mil/tara.cfm.
- JILL LAUTERBORN is a writer for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. She has nearly two decades of editing and writing experience.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the number of Soldiers in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) has increased by approximately 1,000. At the same time, the AH/MH-6M Little Bird, MH-47G Chinook, and MH-60M Black Hawk were or are being fielded. Simultaneously, the 160th is running its own schoolhouse. These multiple activities, all while the Army has been at war, have stressed the regiment—stress that the new U.S. Army Special Operations Command-Provisional (ARSOAC) hopes to alleviate.
ARSOAC was officially activated March 25. Its Commanding General is BG Kevin W. Mangum, former Deputy Commanding General-Center, U.S. Division-Center.
ARSOAC will manage the complex enterprise of aviation units and operations, institutional training, system integration and acquisition, and maintenance and sustainment functions, Mangum said. It will also provide oversight to ensure standardization and safety of rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft and unmanned aerial systems.
Mangum spoke about the mission, vision, and functions of the new command at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Institute of Land Warfare’s Army Aviation Symposium and Exposition Jan. 13, 2011, at National Harbor, MD.
ARSOAC is part of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), overseen by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), and has a dual role in Army special operations. It mans, trains, equips, and resources units to provide worldwide aviation support to Special Operations Forces (SOF) and serves as the USASOC Aviation Staff proponent, said Mangum.
As we build this headquarters, let’s get it right. Let’s not get it fast. The goal is to come out of the starting box with the right goals, missions, and functions.
“Taking the functions off the 160th—their own training battalion, their acquisition cell, and their programming—will free that commander to have a more relevant role for the battlefield. That is our goal and our hope,” he said.
Mangum said ARSOAC is “going to deal with all things aviation.” It will provide USASOC with a command and staff capability for USASOC aviation and will facilitate collaboration with the Army and USSOCOM on broader aviation issues.
“It’s a resourcing headquarters with a hiring role, both as a component command within USASOC as well as the staff proponent for aviation within USASOC,” he said. “Across the USASOC and aviation enterprise, we have a little bit of everything. We have fixed-wing, rotary-wing … We will be the single portal of entry for those issues for the entire aviation piece.”
ARSOAC is a provisional command for about a year, giving the command staff time to establish the conditions and resources for success. “As we build this headquarters, let’s get it right. Let’s not get it fast,” said Mangum. The goal is to “come out of the starting box with the right goals, missions, and functions.”
In the Army Force Generation cycle, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) is divided into three rotations: maintenance, training, and modernization. These are three distinct pieces that compete with one another, Mangum said.
Army aviation and USASOC are collaborative, functionally relying on each other. Mangum said that more than half of the Combat Aviation Brigade effort supports SOF. Meanwhile, SOF relies on Army aviation to provide expert Soldiers to grow and sustain Army aviation and to generate combat power.
MG Anthony G. Crutchfield, Chief of the Army Aviation Branch and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, AL, asked Mangum to join the Army Aviation Enterprise Executive Council. “It is an opportunity to collaborate, be transparent, and communicate better what our requirements are to the Army and also share with the Army what we’re doing and learn from Army aviation what it’s doing,” Mangum said. The goal is to have greater collaboration with the Army aviation enterprise, to have mutual support to achieve capabilities and readiness at best value.
Mangum’s presentation is available at http://www.crprogroup.com/2011%20AVIATION%20PRESENTATIONS/Thurs/PM/BG%20Kevin%20Mangum.pdf.
- KELLYN D. RITTER provides contract support to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center through BRTRC Strategy and Communications Group. She holds a B.A. in English from Dickinson College.
The 730th Transportation Company of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Reserve (USAR), is the first unit to be equipped with the new Palletized Load System (PLS)-A1 truck, solidifying a significant shift in the distribution and allocation of equipment to Soldiers.
The 730th Transportation Company, one of the newest USAR units, is receiving the Army’s newest trucks. Since September 2010, the Soldiers have trained for the 60 new trucks, said COL John Smith, Chief of Staff of the 311th Expeditionary Support Command. In November, Product Manager Heavy Tactical Vehicles (PM HTV), under the leadership of Project Manager Tactical Vehicles, Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS), obtained Full Materiel Release approval for the PLS-A1.
In a Feb. 4 ceremony, PEO CS&CSS formally recognized the new transportation company. “This is the second first unit equipped ceremony I’ve been privileged to attend, and it’s the second one for the Army Reserve,” said LTC Paul Shuler, PM HTV. “The PLS-A1 is the best we have.”
During the ceremony, COL David Bassett, Project Manager Tactical Vehicles, explained that the PLS-A1 is designed with a fully scalable and integrated cab armor protection package, meaning the vehicle comes off the production line equipped with “A-Kit” armor components and built-in mounting provisions for the “B-Kit.” The B-Kit can be installed on the vehicle, as missions dictate, to provide maximum 360-degree protection for the crew in a combat environment.
“These trucks are designed to get you there, get you back, and get you home safely,” said Bassett. “I’m gratified we can put equipment in the hands of Soldiers.”
Bassett noted that this second fielding of new equipment to a USAR unit recognizes the unique contribution that citizen Soldiers make to the Nation’s defense.
The PLS-A1 fielding will allow the Army to replace many of the older, aging PLS-series trucks currently in use. “What’s occurring here today represents much more than new trucks,” said Smith. “It represents our ability to supply and support the fighting force.”
Designed and manufactured by Oshkosh Defense Corp., the PLS-A1 incorporates a 600-horsepower Caterpillar C-15 engine and an Allison 4500 six-speed transmission, which meets on-road U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements, and an independent steel spring front suspension system. The truck also features improved heating and air conditioning, an electrical system capable of providing future support to diagnostic and prognostic maintenance systems, and an anti-lock brake system with traction control.
Many units can put a battalion into combat. The question becomes, how do you resupply? And the answer is a robust and versatile logistics system.
Mike Ivy, Vice President and General Manager of Army Programs for Oshkosh Defense, was on-site to deliver a commemorative plaque to the unit. “It’s an honor to see the first PLS-A1 fielded to the 730th Transportation Company,” said Ivy. “The PLS has become the backbone of the Army’s distribution and resupply system since it entered Army service in 1993. The PLS-A1 delivers performance and protection improvements that are important to America’s Soldiers, and we’re proud to provide it.”
“Many units can put a battalion into combat,” Smith said. “The question becomes, how do you resupply? And the answer is a robust and versatile logistics system.” This is where the Army Reserve comes in, Smith explained—to provide trained and ready Soldiers able to deploy at a fraction of the cost.
The PLS-A1 supports the Army’s need for local and long-distance line-haul supply operations. The first configuration, M1074A1, is equipped with a Material Handling Crane and is used primarily to support ammunition handling at local holding areas and transfer points. The M1075A1, which does not feature a crane, is used chiefly for long-distance line-haul missions. Both configurations feature the same payload and towing capacity.
- MAJ COREY SCHULTZ is a Media Officer for the Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve Public Affairs Office, specializing in media relations, crisis reaction, and planning. She holds a B.A. in English with a focus on literature and classical studies from Kalamazoo College.
- ASHLEY JOHN is a Strategic Communications Specialist for PEO CS&CSS. She holds a B.A. in marketing from Michigan State University.