Directorates of logistics become logistics readiness centers for more effective access to services and supply
By Col. Dan J. Reilly
When the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) rebranded the installation directorates of logistics (DOLs) as logistics readiness centers (LRCs) on Oct. 1, 2013, the rebranding not only culminated the formal transfer of 73 DOLs worldwide from the U.S. Army Installation Management Command to AMC, but also established a vision to integrate and optimize AMC capabilities on installations.
This transformation enables AMC to focus on materiel and services support, allowing installation commanders to focus on managing their installations. It also optimizes the LRCs’ capability and capacity, improves contract management, and enhances quality and visibility of services. The LRCs provide the command additional field maintenance expertise, transportation services and base logistics support. This aids the U.S. Army Sustainment Command (ASC) in its mission to support the Army Force Generation process.
The LRCs are designed to provide an AMC presence on every installation. Today, the LRCs manage installation supply, maintenance and transportation. This includes food service, ammunition supply, clothing issue facility and initial issue point, hazardous material, bulk fuel, personal property and household goods, passenger travel, nontactical vehicles, rail and garrison equipment maintenance.
As a result of the transfer of installation DOLs to AMC a year earlier on Oct. 1, 2012, the DOLs became separate activities on their installations. This uniquely identified each DOL as an Army operational unit. The change in the DOLs’ status on the installations required an official name change on authorization documents. It also marked a change in their mission as AMC’s “face to the field,” which necessitated realignment with DA and the renaming from DOL to LRC.
ASC, as AMC’s operational arm, assumed responsibility for the LRCs during the 2012 transfer. ASC’s mission is to sustain Army and joint forces throughout the world in support of combatant commanders, so this additional mission fit perfectly with its capabilities.
Upon transfer, AMC did not implement the name change because the focus was on a seamless transition. One year later, AMC believed the timing was right to formally rebrand the DOLs as LRCs.
This transition results in a single entry point to access AMC capabilities. It best postures AMC to support the vision outlined in Globally Responsive Sustainment 2020, Army 2020 and Defense Support to Civil Authorities, setting conditions to optimize AMC capabilities from power projection platforms to forward operating bases.
Globally Responsive Sustainment 2020 is an approach that seeks to produce a sustainment system that is optimized, integrated, synchronized, affordable and relevant to support unified land operations and the joint warfighter while minimizing redundancy.
Army 2020 is an initiative to transition the Army to address future security challenges. The sustainment initiative develops and implements the Army 2020 Sustainment Strategy through its ongoing efforts in the area of tactical sustainment force structure.
ONE LOGISTICAL HUB
The LRCs are AMC’s single face-to-the-field on installations, through which customers can access, integrate and synchronize AMC capabilities to support senior commanders, installation tenants and units’ priorities. Each LRC acts as the single hub on an installation for customers to access the Army sustainment base, giving Soldiers, commanders and joint partners on Army installations the full power of a globally networked logistics command with responsibility for Soldier services, supply and maintenance support.
Installation-based LRCs, forward-deployed Army field support brigades, ASC and AMC together control the supply chain “from factory to foxhole,” including forward operating bases. LRCs enable AMC to bring its full capabilities to the decisive point on an installation in support of Army power projection platforms, training requirements and no-notice contingency missions, as the Army transitions to a globally deployable force based in the continental United States.
EAGLE CONTRACT STRATEGY
In the future, the transition to LRCs will result in efficiencies and increased effectiveness. Before the transition, each installation managed its own contracts. Currently, the Army has more than 250 contracts for the acquisition of LRC installation logistics services. That has resulted in redundant capabilities and excess capacity. In response, ASC developed a contracting strategy called the Enhanced Army Global Logistics Enterprise program (EAGLE), to address inconsistencies in requirements and levels of service.
The EAGLE program focuses on material maintenance services, retail and wholesale supply services, and transportation support services. It also executes logistics services and requirements using an innovative strategy designed for flexibility. The EAGLE program fundamentally changes the way that the Army acquires installation logistics services, by increasing competition and small business participation, reducing the number of contracts to award and oversee, and reducing the acquisition timeline by using task order competitions under multiple basic ordering agreements.
In addition, EAGLE task orders can expand or contract based on funding and requirements—that is, the Army pays only for the services it needs and receives. Currently, 128 contractors, 78 of which are small businesses, are qualified to compete for EAGLE task orders.
EAGLE can be scaled and adapted as needed, which makes it ideal for the current fiscal environment as well as the overall defense resource strategy. EAGLE contracting strategies align with those of DA and DOD.
Five EAGLE task orders were awarded in the fourth quarter of FY13. Through contracting strategies such as EAGLE, AMC is expecting at least a 15 to 30 percent savings on contracts. Those five EAGLE task order awards in Q4 of FY13 reflect an 18 percent reduction from previous contracts.
As the LRC concept matures, it will continue to set the conditions to integrate all AMC capabilities under one roof. Through consolidation of AMC mission command, ASC will increase flexibility, eliminate redundancy, standardize processes, ensure reachback through our life-cycle management commands and other AMC major subordinate commands, and meet the challenges of a constrained fiscal environment, all while continuing to sustain the Army and joint forces worldwide in support of combatant commanders.
For more information, contact ASC’s executive director for field support at 309-782-4815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Col. DAN J. REILLY is director of the Installation Logistics Directorate at ASC, Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.. He holds a B.A. in communications from Eastern Illinois University, an M.S. in administration from Central Michigan University and an M.S. in national strategic studies from the U.S. Air Force Air University.
- Previoulsy published in Army AL&T magazine (Jan-Feb 2014 edition).
How the workforce of Corpus Christi
Army Depot repositioned itself for tighter times
By Mr. Curtis Titus and Ms. Brigitte Rox
Since 2011, Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) in Texas has made sweeping changes to its business culture and practices that not only reduced the depot’s consumption of government funds and material resources, but also positioned CCAD to continue providing top-quality support to the nation as military spending diminishes.
The U.S. government cannot afford to purchase new aircraft for each mission. Rather, it must rely on the organic industrial base (OIB) to modify aircraft and components to handle the specific needs of the next mission. As the largest helicopter, engine and component maintenance facility in all of DOD, CCAD has a number of capabilities found nowhere else, including its state-of-the-art bearing reclamation facility and transmission test facility, the only one capable of testing AH-64D Apache, UH-60A/L Black Hawk, CH-47D Chinook and OH-58 Kiowa transmissions. It can also provide overhaul, repair and modification of rotor heads and controls for any joint-service helicopter. CCAD’s workforce of some 5,000 civilians continues to evolve by adding capabilities that will be needed for the future of defense.
The drawdowns from Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with reduced budgets, have signaled a number of challenges for the Army and for CCAD. The depot’s workforce has met those challenges by treating the OIB as a business and finding smarter, more efficient ways to invest in its people and technology, in the spirit of better buying power.
With a complete organizational restructuring, strategic planning and fundamental cultural change, CCAD shook off a complacency that had developed over years of high-volume operations and prepared the organization to weather current and future storms.
THE PRICE OF PROSPERITY
After 9/11, CCAD thrived in a war-driven climate for 10 years, maintaining the Army’s aviation capability for the UH-60, CH-47, AH-64 and OH-58. CCAD experienced exponential growth, with a tenfold increase in production orders and a sixfold increase in revenue between FY03 and FY11.
CCAD welcomed this spike in production, but the volume created process and capacity issues that had to be resolved quickly. Initially the depot responded by spending more money and hiring more contractors to alleviate the issues, but this strategy could not be a stable, long-term solution while the root of the issues remained. Meanwhile, labor rates shot up. This push to produce also compromised the depot’s financial responsibility to the customer, employee development, product quality and continuous organizational improvement.
The depot’s rate of production would not be sustainable in the long run if the workforce failed to adapt its business practices to peacetime operations and limited budgets. This would compromise CCAD’s status as a premier aviation maintenance facility, which could lead to a loss of work, capabilities and human capital.
CCAD responded to this challenge in 2011 with an organizational restructuring to shore up weak points in internal communication. Depot personnel paired this with the launch of an internal messaging campaign encouraging a professional recommitment to the depot’s core values of financial responsibility, customer service, product quality, employee empowerment and organizational improvement.
This outline, known as the balanced scorecard, became the CCAD standard by which all production and support areas were measured continually. (See Figure 1.) This plan would enable the depot to achieve organizational change, increase production rates and lower costs to survive the effects of reduced budgets and fewer troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The plan called for:
- A depotwide evaluation and reorganization based on benchmarking commercial industrial organizations.
- Business metrics of performance.
- Organizational culture change.
- Continuous process improvement.
- Investment in human capital, including leadership and professional development.
BUILDING A NEW CULTURE
CCAD’s long-term viability required a comprehensive reorganization to align its processes while ensuring integration of the Logistics Modernization Program (LMP) into its core business functions. A team of experts designed a new organizational structure that would better align with the six core processes of LMP (order fulfillment, demand and supply planning, procurement, asset management, materiel maintenance and financial management). They reviewed organizational studies and interviewed subject-matter experts and aerospace industry leaders. They developed a business case, rules for change and a staffing plan based on the new structure.
As the largest helicopter, engine and component maintenance facility in all of DOD, CCAD has a number of capabilities found nowhere else, including its state-of-the-art bearing reclamation facility and transmission test facility, the only one capable of testing AH-64D, UH-60A/L, CH-47D and OH-58 transmissions.
The team also developed an Army staff structure for industrial support operations by coordinating with the depot’s higher headquarters at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Command and Army Materiel Command. Then they adjusted the Table of Distribution and Allowances to conform with the new structure, and rewrote CCAD’s missions and functions.
Any change of the magnitude of deploying an enterprise resource plan (ERP) requires a depotwide culture overhaul.
To achieve this, CCAD needed a sound and established method to guide the organization toward the business’s new direction. Inspired by the leadership and business theories taught by Dr. John P. Kotter, professor of leadership, emeritus, at Harvard Business School, CCAD developed a plan to lead change. With a goal to be better, faster and cost-effective, depot leaders introduced the workforce to Kotter’s concept of “the big opportunity” to create a sense of urgency.
CCAD’s former commander, COL Christopher Carlile, implemented a strategic internal communications campaign through his public affairs team to achieve visibility and strengthen the sense of urgency within the workforce. The commander made sure that he had senior leadership buy-in to successfully deploy the reorganization. He communicated the overhaul to his workforce at every level, actively engaging with employees to incorporate their feedback and suggestions in developing the plan.
One aspect of this campaign involved a depotwide survey to evaluate the workforce’s attitudes toward the current organizational structure. The results showed that 98 percent of employees were dissatisfied with the current work climate and wanted to see improvements that would maximize production and support at the lowest cost and with the quickest turnaround possible. At that point, the commander deployed a program to encourage employees to volunteer their ideas for improving and shaping the products and processes they knew best. Teams of volunteers, known as “leading change teams,” became active in clearing obstacles and achieving quick wins more effectively than any methods used in the past.
CCAD previously had established an Office of Continuous Improvement with staff specially trained to streamline processes. While the office achieved savings through a number of “quick win” efforts such as hosting projects in production shops, these event-driven projects fell short of promoting a cost-conscious culture at the shop-floor level. The change teams were much more successful, as they relied on employees with the drive to improve the jobs they were doing. The depot invested in these teams by providing them Lean Six Sigma training and by joining teams of like-minded employees so they could ignite improvements in their shops.
This concept had an immediate impact on the workforce as they turned their ideas into reality. One change team resolved long wait times at base gates by staggering work shifts. Another team made quality improvements in aircraft assembly and flight test. One team reduced equipment duplications and established a free-issue site to redistribute available equipment effectively. By the official launch of the reorganization on Sept. 1, 2012, the CCAD workforce was already demonstrating how effective an employee-led, cost-conscious culture could be.
CASE IN POINT: BLACK HAWK RECAP
These organizational strides were key to the success of CCAD’s UH-60 Black Hawk recapitalization program, which represents just one example of how CCAD is achieving the highest possible return on capital assets and investments.
The depot has become the cornerstone of sustainment for the Army’s Black Hawk fleet. The Black Hawk recap program, introduced more than a decade ago, maintains the Army’s combat readiness by updating aircraft already in the inventory to meet the evolving requirements of modern warfare. Recap, part of the Army’s efforts to reduce platform sustainment costs, avoids the expense of replacing aging helicopters with new ones.
Specifically, CCAD’s Black Hawk recap program saves taxpayers approximately $12 million with each rebuild. Since 2003, the program has saved the taxpayer more than $20 billion, cutting time and costs while making smarter choices in workload.
CCAD’s new proactive and efficient culture enabled the workforce to recapitalize more Black Hawks than ever—50 A-to-L models—by improving systems and processes in workshops with innovative technology, lean methodologies and best business practices. The Aircraft Support Division, for example, reduced turnaround time 17 percent in FY12, and the trend continues today.
CCAD did not expect to have the capability to produce 50 A-to-L-model Black Hawks until FY15, having achieved only 48 aircraft the year before. Now the depot is also rebuilding U.S. Air Force Pave Hawks, as well as Customs and Border Protection Blackhawks, and is in talks to include the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard in the recap program.
In another example of newfound efficiencies at CCAD, during FY12, UH-60 main rotor blades were not available in sufficient quantities to maintain fleet readiness. Despite numerous space and capacity constraints, the depot ramped up output within 90 days. By maximizing workflow and increasing productivity, CCAD was able to increase monthly production on Black Hawk blades from 120 to 160.
Measured another way, in FY11 the Rotary Wing Division increased monthly production of Black Hawk main rotor blades by 43 percent, from 70 to 100 blades. In FY12, UH-60 tail rotor blade production increased 18 percent, from 85 to 100. AH-64 main rotor blade production increased 50 percent, from 40 blades in FY11 to 60 in FY12. Altogether, the division increased production by 30 percent in one fiscal year without incurring any additional cost or expansion.
Overall, FY12 was CCAD’s best year for continuous improvement in its history. The workforce shattered the original goal of achieving $50 million in financial benefits by executing 49 projects valued at $65.1 million in internal cost avoidances and savings to their customers.
The CCAD workforce has demonstrated the synergistic effects of an enterprise approach to operations. By reorganizing and transforming its business culture, CCAD has positioned itself to survive the drawdowns and the downturn in military spending and be ready for the future, reducing the overall costs of aviation and turning every dollar saved into more capability for the Army.
Leaders now have a way to measure depot operations against commercial industrial benchmarks using a proven ERP. An established balanced business scorecard allows leadership to routinely assess the depot’s commitment to and success of its priorities and values. Managers and leaders can measure individual and team performance through transparent business metrics, enabling them to reward top performers and correct areas of concern.
By transforming their collective mindset from a culture of complacency to one of activism and cost-consciousness, the CCAD workforce achieved savings in cost, schedule and human capital while maintaining the superior quality for which CCAD is known.
For more information, go to http://www.ccad.army.mil/ or call the CCAD Public Affairs Office at 361-961-3627.
MR. CURTIS TITUS is chief of CCAD’s Administrative Support Division. He served as management analyst for the CCAD Reorganization Team and later as executive assistant to the commander. He has a B.A. in general science from Excelsior College. Titus is a retired NCO who served in the Army for 20 years as a counterintelligence agent.
MS. BRIGITTE ROX is a public affairs specialist at CCAD. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in English from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, where she also studied journalism.
- Previoulsy published in Army AL&T magazine (Jan-Feb 2014 edition).
AMC works to preserve OIB capabilities through cooperative arrangements with industry and others
By Mr. Mark L. Morrison
Among the challenges faced by the Army’s organic industrial base (OIB), as it transitions from combat to sustainment, is allocating diminishing workload within the depots and arsenals of the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC). Capitalizing on private-sector capabilities through public-private partnerships (P3), such as work share, teaming, direct sales, facility use and leasing, is one key way to preserve the OIB’s unique capabilities while ensuring its viability as an enterprise in the near term and its long-term ability to meet surge requirements.
To support the warfighter during the past 12 years, AMC has invested in tooling, specialty equipment, training and the professional development of a deployable, skilled and award-winning OIB workforce. Among the honors AMC has received are 27 of 47 Shingo awards; Lean Six Sigma and value engineering awards; selection as a Reuters Top 100 Global Innovator; Secretary of Defense Environmental awards; and presidential rank and civilian service awards.
P3s enable our partners to take advantage of these investments, capabilities and workforce skills. Partnerships provide access to advanced technology; state-of-the-art equipment; secure AMC facilities that are ISO (International Organization for Standardization)-certified and comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations; the potential use of hard-to-obtain hazardous waste permits; and Lean Six Sigma processes. Partnerships also allow industry to leverage long-term use agreements and reduce their capital investment and overhead costs.
For the Army, P3s offer the benefits of improving operational efficiencies, lowering costs of products and services, accelerating innovation, sustaining critical skills and capabilities, and ultimately reducing our expensing rates, thus making our depots and arsenals more cost-competitive. In FY13, AMC had 205 partnerships, representing total revenue of $203 million while sustaining 1,800 jobs. (See “Conserving Capabilities,” Army AL&T magazine, January-March 2013, Page 160.)
DOD has endorsed the continued use of partnerships as a critical part of President Obama’s national security strategy. In a July 2012 report to the secretary of the Army, the Defense Business Board, tasked with providing recommendations on how to exploit the benefits of these partnerships more fully, noted: “Public-Private Collaborations leverage the resources of the private sector and other collaborating agencies and allies. As the department enters a decade of austerity, collaborations are a cost-wise process that usually results in a significant return on a relatively modest investment.”
The same report also noted departmentwide challenges that can undermine partnership efforts. Top among the challenges DOD faces is that there is no overarching P3 doctrine, no standard approach for industry-DOD partnerships. Consequently the private sector does not know how to go about partnering.
AMC’s experience echoes some of those themes, notably the lack of a standard approach to partnering. Currently, AMC organizations are as diverse in their P3 approaches as each installation’s capabilities. As Gen. Dennis L. Via, AMC commanding general (CG), has observed, “Fostering partnerships calls for a more responsive approach on AMC’s part.” The private sector is a fast-moving entity that calls for a receptive and timely government response.
A STANDARD APPROACH
To address these concerns, AMC is working on a new business development strategy that will focus on the benefits and pitfalls of partnering, to establish a standard approach to attracting partnerships and reaching agreements.
The new business development plan will lay out a standard policy, metrics, tools and training that will enable the OIB to speak with one language when it comes to attracting new business. As the plan is finalized, the focus is on standardizing efforts and applying the required levels of AMC attention and resources at all sites.
In devising this new approach, AMC examined where and how partnerships have worked especially well. The most successful arrangements have developed when the collaboration took a “triad” approach. This method includes a business development professional, legal advisor and contracting officer at the initial stages of a relationship, as follows:
- Business development, to reach out with the concept of partnering, determine scope and garner concept approval.
- Legal, to analyze the environment and bring a solid understanding of applicable law, regulation and policy, with the aim of maximizing flexibility to the business development professional and the contracting officer.
- Contracting, to determine the best interests of the government and thus ensure that the partnering effort achieves its stated goals through rock-solid agreements and supporting documents that define applicable terms and conditions such as direct labor structure and costs.
Not only is integrated coordination a must from the beginning of a partnership, but AMC needs to go even further by looking toward a larger definition of partnership. Beyond the traditional arrangements with industry and small business, partnering should involve a larger concept of “public” that includes other services, the Defense Logistics Agency and other countries as well.
In addition, the continued growth in foreign military sales (FMS) offers a promising venue for partnerships. In FY13, FMS support resulted in $190 million in revenue for the OIB.
Our industrial capabilities and capacities should make us an attractive partner. Ultimately the best, most successful partnerships are those that add value to the OIB and bring profit to the private-sector partner. We must team with industry to create win-win opportunities.
As AMC’s new business development plan advances, its rapid execution will support the preservation of unique OIB capabilities, so that the OIB can remain effective, efficient and poised to provide the timely, high-quality support that our warfighters have come to expect and demand.
For more information, contact the AMC G-3/4 Industrial Base Capabilities Division at 256-450-7087 or Ramon Campos at Ramon.Campos.email@example.com.
- MR. MARK L. MORRISON is the director of industrial base and infrastructure planning at AMC headquarters, Redstone Arsenal, AL. Morrison served for 29 years as an Army Ordnance Corps officer before retiring in 2009. Subsequently, he was selected as a highly qualified expert, and is responsible for leading AMC’s current industrial base optimization assessment. Morrison holds a B.A. in political science from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and an M.S. in national security and strategic studies from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
By Ms. Susan L. Follett
Some of Jared Higgs’ earliest memories are of time spent with his father in his shop at the Red River Army Depot (RRAD), in Texarkana, Texas. So it’s no surprise that when the time came to determine his own career path, he followed his father and grandfather and became a heavy equipment mechanic. Altogether, three generations of his family have worked at the depot for a total of 60 years.
“My dad has always been a mechanic, and since I was little, I was with him, working and watching. I can remember coming out to the depot to see his shop. I’ve always had some type of interest in it, and I enjoy working with my hands,” said Higgs, 30, a native of Texarkana.
“When I was 8 or 9 years old, we came out for a Christmas event, and I got to take my first ride in an Army tank. That’s a day I’ll never forget,” he said. “When I was older, we had what they called a shadow day, and I was able to come out and spend a whole day with my dad, walking with him to all his meetings and seeing what his job at RRAD entailed day to day.”
Higgs’ father, Eddie Higgs, recently retired from RRAD after a 37-year career that began in 1976. His grandfather, John Woodard, worked at the depot from 1974 until 1994. “He worked on Bradleys for as long as I can remember,” said Higgs. “It’s definitely a family affair. My great-grandfather worked for the depot, too, before I was born.”
A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE
The mission of RRAD, in operation since 1941, is to conduct ground combat and tactical system sustainment maintenance operations and related support services for U.S. and allied forces. RRAD repairs and rebuilds a variety of mission-essential combat and tactical vehicles and equipment, including the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) and the Bradley fighting vehicle system. The depot is the Army’s only two-time winner of the Robert T. Mason Award for Depot Maintenance Excellence, given by the secretary of defense. The award recognizes outstanding achievements by field-level units engaged in military equipment and weapon system maintenance within DOD.
In addition, RRAD is a Center for Industrial and Technical Excellence for several combat and technical vehicles, the Multiple Launch Rocket System, rubber products and Patriot missile recertification. Its HMMWV recapitalization facility can produce up to 40 vehicles per day, and its Rubber Products Division is the only DOD organization capable of remanufacturing road wheels and track.
SERVING THOSE WHO SERVE
Having joined RRAD in 2004, Higgs has worked on a variety of vehicles, including HMMWVs, Bradleys, the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles and several types of MRAPs. He currently works on the M1117 armored security vehicle. “I’m working on the CROWS, which is the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, checking the weapon systems out, making sure they have firing capabilities and that all the parts are functional.”
Although Higgs’ tenure is short by comparison to those of his father and grandfather, he’s seen his share of changes in the past decade. “I think more than anything, the protective armor has progressed the most. When I first started on the HMMWVs, they were not outfitted with any armor at all, and as our involvement in Iraq continued, I saw things shift, first to up-armored vehicles and from there to the MRAPs.”
In 2008, Higgs volunteered for overseas deployment and was deployed to Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq. Over the next three years, he would also see deployments to Forward Operating Base Speicher in Tikrit and Camp Stryker in Baghdad. “I saw it as an opportunity to help where it was needed, and to serve the warfighter. It was also a chance to serve along with my brothers, who were in the Air Force at the time.”
Since 2001, RRAD has deployed more than 3,000 personnel to various areas in Southwest Asia in direct support of warfighters in the field. The facility, with a government civilian workforce of about 4,500, has deployed more employees than any other civilian organization in the world since the beginning of overseas contingency operations, staffing roughly half of all U.S. Army Materiel Command civilian deployments. It has spearheaded numerous depot-level logistics and maintenance missions in Southwest Asia, including Heavy Equipment Transporter, Stored Theater Provided Equipment – Iraq, Forward Repair Activity and Mobile Maintenance Team.
“Being away from home is always a challenge. I missed my family and friends, and I realized that it was important to make friends quickly and find people there you can trust. Overseas, we’re around our co-workers day in and day out, 24 hours a day, so finding people you can rely on is vital,” he said.
The work itself was a challenge, he said. “Every day, we’d have vehicles coming into us in all kinds of condition—convoys, blown-up trucks, you name it—and the challenge was to get them fixed and back out so the Soldiers could continue on their mission. During my time overseas, I really valued the ability to work directly with Soldiers—to meet them and talk with them, and to know that we were helping get them back out in the field,” he added.
HARD OR EASY, ALWAYS GOOD
“My dad and grandfather didn’t have too much advice when I started working here,” Higgs said. “They said that sometimes the work would be hard and sometimes it would be easy, but it was always a good place to work. Looking back over the past 10 years, I can definitely say they were right.”
His own advice for anyone interested in becoming a heavy equipment mechanic is simple. “Stick with it and be knowledgeable about what you’re working on. Always go the extra mile to learn something more about the vehicle.”
MS. SUSAN L. FOLLETT provides contracting support to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center for SAIC. She holds a B.A. in English literature from St. Lawrence University. She has more than two decades of experience as a journalist and has written on a variety of public and private sector topics, including modeling and simulation, military training technology and federal environmental regulations.
By AMC Public Affairs
WASHINGTON — Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion, deputy commanding general of Army Materiel Command, took questions from Army personnel, industry and academia during a panel discussion at the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army Oct. 22.
The first question addressed to McQuistion was how the Organic Industrial Base and readiness were impacted by sequestration and the Budget Control Act.
“In January 2013, we were told to cancel all third and fourth quarter depot operations and this caused delays in many of our efforts. We had to redirect work to depots and arsenals that did not have as much work,” said McQuistion.
“It placed havoc on our ability to plan and work effectively, and it caused an increase the rates we have to charge our customers,” she stated.
In terms of reset and the lack of Oversees Contingency Operations funding, AMC reset less equipment after the Budget Control Act and Sequestration. Using aviation as an example, AMC reset 111 fewer aircrafts than originally planned for; the rest were shifted to fiscal year 2014, McQuistion explained.
“On the tactical side, the ability for Soldiers to order parts and receive them affected readiness,” she continued.
And then AMC had to furlough the workforce at the depots and arsenals; yet the workforce was still able to reset all of the aircraft needed for combat, she added.
McQuistion also noted the importance of revitalization of the infrastructure at Organic Industrial Bases, many of which are in need of repairs.
“We do have to commit to the revitalization of the OIB,” she stated frankly.
Other questions from the audience revolved around science and technology and integrating industry’s platforms to the Army, and policy issues tangled in creating a Program of Record.
“We do have Prototype Integration Facilities, and they do a lot of work in prototyping technologies for special operations and active Army,” said McQuistion. “We see what sticks and what doesn’t and what will become a Program of Record.”
McQuistion cited the Army’s Mobile Parts Hospital as an example of taking an industry principal and applying it to the Army. The Army’s Mobile Parts Hospital provides treatment to a vehicle by being able to create a fully dense metal automotive part, replacing a broken part while in the field. To the Soldier this means there is no longer a need to wait weeks to have a part fixed on a vehicle, but a matter of hours.
The panel was hosted by Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. Other panelists were Lt. Gen. James O. Barclay III, deputy chief of staff, G-8; Dr. Robie Samanta Roy, professional staff member for the Senate Armed Services Committee; Kevin Gates, professional staff member for the House Armed Services Committee; Angela Messer, executive vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton; and Johnny Barnes, vice president of Intelligence at IBM.
By Heather R. Smith
“Advances in light-weight composites have allowed the Army to begin the integration of new lighter weight ballistic protection systems.”
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — Army tactics and training are constantly changing to meet the threat on the battlefield, and one such example is the attack helicopter.
Originally the AH-1 Cobras were designed to arrive on station quickly, eliminate the threat, and move on to the next target. But in today’s battlefield, attack helicopters like the AH-64 Apaches are providing air support to ground convoys, and often hovering over convoys to eliminate any sign of threats.
These combat operations result in increased exposure to enemy ground fire and increased need for ballistic protection systems, and the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Prototype Integration Facility (PIF) has developed that expertise.
Ballistic protection systems (BPS) typically consist of materials and techniques used to shelter personnel and materiel against projectiles. PIF Program Management Supervisor Jeff Carr said thick, heavy, dense material has historically been used for armor, so a major challenge for aviation is to provide ballistic protection in the lightest, most compact means possible.
The PIF has a history of installing traditional armor on ground vehicles including the high mobility artillery rocket system, or HIMARS. Although armor steel is a very effective BPS, it is extremely heavy. The cab armor on the HIMARS weighs approximately 2,500 pounds.
Carr said changes in the warfight have challenged the Army to effectively employ lighter-weight armor systems in aircraft while maintaining or increasing the ability to withstand advanced ground fire. Advances in light-weight composites have allowed the Army to begin the integration of new lighter weight ballistic protection systems.
The PIF designed and integrated a BPS for a tactical variant of the Bell 407 aircraft. The Iraqi Armed 407 was an aircraft produced by the PIF and commissioned by the Department of State for the Iraqi government. This effort was particularly challenging due to space constraints associated with the small commercial-to-military converted aircraft. The installed system provides protection for the cockpit floor and crew seats.
Lightweight ballistic armor is also being designed, qualified, fabricated and installed by the PIF on the CH-47 Chinook, and UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft.
The current Chinook BPS system offers protection against small arms fire and weighs 3,500 lbs. The PIF was able to take advantage of advances in light-weight composite material and to reduce the weight of the original BPS by 2,000 lbs. The new BPS offers additional protection to both the pilot and cargo areas. Also integrated into the CH-47D/F is a floor kit, a passenger vertical kit, and a multi-impact transparent armor system for windows, which allows normal operations while reducing ballistic intrusion.
The PIF-enhanced BPS for the Black Hawk will reduce the weight of the current BPS system by 500 pounds. The PIF will also deliver a technical data package to the UH-60 program management office, which will allow industry to compete for future BPS acquisitions.
“The PIF continues to design, develop, and install new and improved ballistic protection on aviation and ground systems,” Carr said, “Their design capabilities, machine shop and advanced composites lab provide an extraordinary capability to create custom formed material BPS.”
- AMRDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness — technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment — to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.
- AMRDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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