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Industry and Logistics Transformation

    The Army's connection with industry is power. That is how General John G. Coburn, the commanding general of the Army Materiel Command (AMC), characterized the crucial partnership role between the Army and the private sector during the second Logistics Transformation Symposium. Industry not only can provide logistics support to the Army, but it also can develop the technologies and demonstrate the business processes that the Army needs to achieve its transformation goals.

    The symposium, sponsored by the Association of the United States Army in Richmond, Virginia, in May, had the theme of "Industry's Role in Logistics Transformation." It provided an opportunity for Army, Department of Defense, industry, and academic leaders to review the status of the logistics component of the Army Transformation and examine how industry can contribute to achieving the Army's transformation goals. The leaders discussed the transformation in the broad areas of enhancing deployment, reducing the logistics footprint, and reengineering for more cost-effective logistics.

    Lieutenant General Charles S. Mahan, Jr., the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Department of the Army (DA), identified the key enablers for achieving the Logistics Transformation as reducing the logistics footprint, reducing logistics costs, and increasing strategic responsiveness by meeting deployment timelines. He noted that the Logistics Transformation Plan will be published this year and will be available on the Worldwide Web. General Mahan reiterated the importance of industry, stating, "Transforming The Army is a partnership," with industry acting as a vital part of the enablers. "If you [industry] do it better, tell us how we can do it better."

    Lieutenant General John M. McDuffie, the Director for Logistics, J4, on the Joint Staff, observed that order fulfillment equals combat power. The Logistics Transformation requires a network-centric logistics information system (in essence, a logistics command and control system); integrated, real-time situational awareness; leveraging of technology; strategic mobility; en route infrastructure to support force projection; and integration of deployment and distribution to create one system that deploys and sustains troops.

    Symposium participants previewed some possible technologies of the future, including—

    Keith Seaman of the U.S. Transportation Command discussed the Army's need to maximize throughput of materiel and reduce materiel handling. He described how assets often go from a robust infrastructure in the United States to theaters with little infrastructure. While the Army has invested much in strategic deployment, it needs to invest more in technologies that move materiel through ports and other nodes of transportation.

    Lieutenant General Billy K. Solomon, commanding general of the Army Combined Arms Support Command, identified three factors as necessary to reducing the logistics footprint: reducing requirements, investing in technology, and sustaining the Army's three forces (legacy, interim, and objective) as one.

    Retired General Leon E. Salomon, former AMC commander, stressed that reduced consumption is the key to a reduced logistics footprint and that reliability is the key to reduced consumption. He noted that the 2000 Army Science Board Summer Study recommended that reliability be made a key performance parameter. He also suggested that the Army should consider tracking reliability by unit rather than by individual equipment.

    Major General Roy E. Beauchamp, Special Assistant to the Commanding General for Readiness at AMC, summarized the status of the Army's major reengineering initiatives: the Single Stock Fund, the National Maintenance Program, the recapitalization of legacy systems, the Global Combat Support System-Army, and the Wholesale Logistics Modernization Program. These initiatives, when fully implemented, will create integrated business and data environments across the Army and will form a suite of capabilities that create a unified Army business process.

    Dr. Craig E. College, the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs, DA, left symposium attendees with a challenge. Army resources in total, and logistics resources in particular, have been essentially flat (in constant dollars). Logistics transformation must compete with the needs of legacy systems and aging facilities for funding. Logisticians must better define critical logistics transformation enablers to compete with other transformation enablers.                                               ALOG

                                                                                      —Story by Robert D. Paulus