Shifting Focus On The Fly

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Carl Jones II


COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Product Management Office for Multimission Protected Vehicle Systems, Project Manager for Transportation Systems, Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support
TITLE: Integrated logistics support manager
DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in life cycle logistics
EDUCATION: B.A. in supply chain management, Wayne State University
AWARDS: Commander’s Award for Civilian Service (3), Global War on Terrorism Medal (2), various Certificates of Achievement and Appreciation


by Susan L. Follett

Sure, the system you work on is cool. But has it ever been in a movie? Taken on all challengers as a Decepticon in service of Megatron? “Not many people are familiar with the Buffalo vehicle,” said Carl Jones II, “but when I say that I work on the system known as Bonecrusher from the Transformers movie, they think that’s really cool.”

Jones is integrated logistics support manager for the Buffalo A2 Route Clearance Vehicle in the Product Manager for Multimission Protected Vehicle Systems, responsible for all logistics activities associated with the system.

“People also tend to find the sheer size of the vehicle and function of the interrogation arm fascinating,” he added. The Buffalo is a 13-foot-high, 26-plus-ton armored, wheeled vehicle. It is equipped with a hydraulically powered articulated “claw” that is operated from within the vehicle and can be used to dig, extract and remove objects in the soil without exposing the vehicle’s crew. The 30-foot claw can handle suspected explosive devices and execute the work of clearing routes of explosive hazards. Roughly 230 Buffalo A2s have been fielded, and they are used by engineer route clearance companies, brigade route clearance platoons and maneuver training centers.

Jones’ responsibilities include training manual development and overseeing the integrated product team that handles maintenance, publications and provisioning. He also oversees fielding and training. “The biggest challenge these days is making sure that each unit that has a Buffalo gets field-level maintenance training by the end of this fiscal year,” said Jones. Trainers are sent to active-duty units, and Guard and Reserve units train in South Carolina. “We try to make sure our trainings are scheduled back to back to back, and that the right people with the right military occupational specialty are sent to the sessions. Our goal is to not have any holes in our calendar.”

He overcomes that challenge with 2 Rs: relationships and respect. “You have to treat people with respect and genuinely get to know them,” he said. “Many times, people will go the extra mile for you if you’ve developed some kind of relationship with them in the past.”

Ongoing revisions to the technical manual for the Buffalo program have kept Jones close to home recently when it comes to career development opportunities, but he’s interested in programs farther afield. “My career development has been mostly local programs in short durations,” said Jones. “I am always eager to take any supply chain management opportunities that arise. I’m working toward my DAWIA [Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act] certification in program management, and one day I would like to do a developmental assignment with the U.S. Transportation Command.”

Jones started in acquisition as a co-op student while in college. After graduation, he was part of the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) intern program. Since then he has held a variety of positions, including item manager, weapon system manager, readiness analyst, retrograde logistics liaison officer and Army Force Generation logistics liaison officer. “What I like about all of these roles and my current position is that I have the ability continue to help and interact with Soldiers,” he said. “I remind the people on my team that it’s important to keep in mind who we are here to support.”

Jones spent eight years in the Army, from 1998 to 2007. As a petroleum lab specialist in the 2nd Infantry and 101st Airborne Division, he was part of a team that tested fuel for Air Force One while deployed to Kosovo in 2001. He was also a reservist, and mobilized to Fort Benning in 2006 as a supply sergeant for a basic training unit. “Those who were not in the military may not always understand what a Soldier has to go through in a deployed situation. So, no matter how small or big you think your role is, it plays an important part in the overall success of the Army.”

With 15 years of acquisition behind him, he noted that his best experience so far has been two deployments to Iraq in support of the U.S. military troop drawdown that ended in December 2011. Jones completed two six-month deployments in 2010 and 2011, serving as the logistics liaison officer and supporting the disposition of TACOM assets in theater.

“I have always had an interest in transportation, so being over there in a time where the extraction of assets was at an all-time high was a great experience,” he said. When a unit determined it no longer needed a particular asset, Jones and his team decided whether it was needed elsewhere by U.S. Forces Iraq or by U.S. Army Central. If it was not, he worked with the appropriate TACOM life cycle management command to ensure that the materiel was transported to the proper arsenal or depot. “It took a little while for the system we used to get up and running, but once that happened, it was a very streamlined operation.”

When he’s not behind a desk, you’re likely to find Jones behind a camera. As a photographer, he has covered major professional and college sports, recently working for the Detroit Lions and working the 2019 NFL draft. He also worked as a photo editor for the San Francisco 49ers during Super Bowl LIV in February. “There’s a fair amount of cross-over between sports photography and the work I do,” he said. “Both are fast-paced environments, and both require someone who’s adept at making changes on the fly. We plan as much as we can, but when something changes—and it usually does—you need to be able to respond and still get the same result.”

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