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The Army Materiel Command’s (AMC’s) Army Field Support Command merged its Combat Equipment Group-Europe and AMC Forward-Europe in November, forming the AMC Field Support Brigade-Europe. The new unit will deliver the full spectrum of logistics power projection and support to forces in the field.

“Adopting a brigade structure aligns us with the expeditionary Army units we support in Europe and beyond,” said Colonel Max Lobeto, commander of the newly formed brigade. “Our mission is unchanged: AMC Field Support Brigade-Europe provides an essential and enduring link from America’s arsenal to units and troops in the field.”
More than 300 people form the core of the brigade, and several hundred host nation service providers and contractors provide capabilities ranging from mechanical repairs to logistics assistance. Representatives of AMC’s major subordinate commands, such as the Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and the Army Aviation and Missile Command, provide expertise and equipment directly to soldiers in the field.

Pre-positioned equipment and repair capabilities are prominent features of the new command. Field support battalions—formerly called combat equipment battalions—in Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom will deliver combat-ready equipment to the battlefield as they have for the past 20 years.


The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), in partnership with the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), the Department of Defense (DOD) Distribution Process Owner, has taken on the task of eliminating frustrated freight that often occurs with vendor shipments to locations outside of the continental United States. This effort, called the Direct Vendor Delivery (DVD) Processes Initiative, is one of several initiatives designed to improve end-to-end distribution within DOD. Collaborating with DLA and TRANSCOM on the DVD initiative are the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the U.S. Joint Forces Command, the DOD Government Purchase Card (GPC) Project Management Office, the military services, and the General Services Administration (GSA).

Problems ranging from illegible, incomplete, or missing military shipping labels (MSLs) to poor coordination among contractors, GPC holders, and their transportation support offices can cause delays or “frustrations” along the transportation supply chain and sometimes result in shipments that never reach the intended recipients. However, an analysis conducted in 2004 of frustrated cargo destined for locations outside the United States showed that incorrectly prepared MSLs account for 98.8 percent of the problems. Although policies and procedures already in effect provide guidance on shipping information requirements, the problem appears to lie in a lack of knowledge, misuse, or avoidance of these procedures among users.

To solve the problem of neglected transportation requirements, a DVD Processes Initiative Team developed a document titled “The GPC Guide to Overseas Shipments,” which was issued last July to GPC holders. The goal of the guide is to ensure that proper shipping information is included on MSLs in order to facilitate in-transit visibility of GPC shipments.

According to the guide, cardholders must coordinate with their installation transportation office, transportation management office, or supply support activity, as applicable, before an item is ordered from a vendor to obtain the correct information for the MSL. If a package arrives at a consolidated control point, such as a Defense distribution depot, without a complete shipping label, the package must be taken “off line” for research and manual processing, which slows down consolidation and shipping and detracts from support provided to the warfighter.

A 120-day pilot was conducted last spring to test the capability of specific automated systems to manage and reduce frustrations of GPC shipments and provide in-transit visibility. Lessons learned from this pilot will be used to test other automated capabilities for managing GPC transactions from vendors who do not use GSA and DOD order-management systems. The data obtained will help the DVD team to reduce frustrated shipments in order to improve support to military customers.


The Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell, formed at the Pentagon in September, is helping to speed up the delivery of urgently needed off-the-shelf equipment to fighting troops.

Robert Buhrkuhl, director of the cell, said that the new process could cut months—and in some cases years—from the acquisition timetable. Many legal requirements that tend to bog down military contracts do not apply during wartime, particularly when they involve relatively small dollar amounts, Buhrkuhl explained. During wartime, the Congress lifts many of these restrictions, he said, and the focus shifts to identifying urgent operational needs, finding ways to fill them, and moving the process along as quickly as possible. The new cell is not introducing a new procurement process, Buhrkuhl stressed, just a way to help push critical requests through the existing process. “Our goal is to allow more flexibility to move things forward and save lives,” he said.

In his 3 September memorandum ordering the acquisition cell’s standup, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz wrote that “Congress has given the department authority and flexibility to meet many of these needs. Yet, all too often, our organizations are reluctant to take advantage of them.”

Wolfowitz also directed the Joint Staff, the combatant commands, and each service to appoint an official who is authorized to commit their organization’s support to the cell. Buhrkuhl said that assigning to the cell senior people who are empowered to make decisions moves the procurement process along. “Having to get permission slows things down,” he said.

The cell’s goal is to act on requests for immediate warfighter needs within 48 hours. Officials hope to ensure that a contract is awarded and the goods and services delivered within 4 months, Buhrkuhl said.

Requests currently come to the cell as classified email. All incoming requests for an urgent operational need must be approved by a general officer and the Joint Staff. If a request is refused, the requester receives feedback explaining if or when the request will be acted on.

Items high on the cell’s priority list are items that provide protection from improvised explosive devices, side body armor, body heating and cooling systems, and Arabic interpreters.


Soldiers supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom can learn to use the Army’s automated logistics systems in theater rather than having to travel to Kuwait or the United States for training. A new logistics training facility opened at Logistics Support Area Anaconda in Balad, Iraq, in October. The Automated Logistics Assistance Team (ALAT) training facility provides classroom and over-the-shoulder training and offers technical assistance with the Army’s logistics computer systems. Having the ALAT in Iraq saves units time and money and provides immediate assistance to deployed soldiers.

The opening of the ALAT coincided with a graduation ceremony for the first group of soldiers to be trained in Iraq on a new company-level property accountability system.


The U.S. Central Command’s Deployment and Distribution Operations Center (CDDOC) has reduced troop deployment time by decreasing the time soldiers have to wait between flights. The wait for onward movement that was up to 72 hours is now less than 24 hours.

CDDOC accomplished this by implementing a process that assigns each soldier a “ticket” from his home base to his ultimate theater location, effectively planning his transportation from start to finish. The “single ticket” process is designed to correct delays in the onward movement of troops once they arrive in theater. It allows theater airlift planners to know up to 96 hours out the number of soldiers needing transportation and to schedule airlift for onward movement more efficiently. Previously, onward movement was not coordinated or planned until soldiers reached an intermediate location in the theater.

The concept worked well during Operation Iraqi Freedom II and Operation Enduring Freedom V rotations when it was used for the simultaneous deployment and redeployment of more than 15,000 troops from the 25th Infantry Division (Light), 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), and 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit. The process also was used for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force rotation in October, when approximately 45,000 Marines were moved into and out of Iraq.


In response to the rapid deployments of the past few years, the Army Chief of Staff created the Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI), which quickly provides soldiers preparing for or engaged in military operations with the best weapons, clothing, and equipment available. Although most units receive an RFI issue before deploying, some soldiers still are missed. In such cases, an RFI team from the Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, travels to the field to arrange delivery of equipment to the soldiers who did not receive the RFI issue at their home stations.

After visiting soldiers in the field, the RFI team sends the soldiers’ measurements and sizes back to the RFI warehouse in Kuwait. There, a duffel bag is filled with each soldier’s gear based on his sizes. The bag then is sent back to the soldier’s unit for issue. The items issued vary by the type of unit, but most soldiers get improved T-shirts, belts, socks, silk-weight long underwear, goggles, hydration systems, improved knee pads, fleece jackets, and overalls. Some are even issued multifunction tools and other tools they use as part of their military occupational specialty.

PEO Soldier officials believe that the initiative not only addresses actual operational concerns and provides additional capabilities to soldiers who need them most but also creates the knowledge and infrastructure to accelerate fielding efforts, thus increasing the Army’s credibility with soldiers in the field.

In addition to the teams visiting overseas locations such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait, three RFI teams are traveling to each installation in the United States to issue RFI items to active-duty and Reserve component soldiers. The teams will continue to visit each continental United States installation during the next few years, with the goal of completing Army-wide RFI by 2007.


The Army Business Initiative Council in November approved its ninth round of initiatives for Army implementation or submission to the Department of Defense. The seven initiatives included the following—

• Assess the processes that affect the design
of parts and components for integration into
performance-based logistics. The goal is to im-prove the reliability and availability of systems and subsystems by improving the performance of components and parts.

• Conduct a pilot project for delivering electrical power at four to six installations using strategic partnerships with commercial vendors. The vendors would install, own, operate, and maintain power-generation facilities at the installations and provide power at rates significantly below the prevailing market rates most installations now pay.

• Create an interface for Army Knowledge Online (AKO) with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). This will make the DEERS database the single definitive source for authenticating AKO users and supplying them with basic entitlements and benefit information.

• Establish a single sign-on capability under AKO so users can access personal Defense Finance and Accounting Service and TRICARE information without using multiple passwords and identifications.

• Develop a prototype that links existing manpower, personnel, and budget databases and tools to better align personnel with authorized manpower end strength and work-year authorizations as adjusted by major Army commands or installations.

• Develop a means for neighboring installations, including non-Army installations, to collaborate in such areas as pooling resources and cooperating on regional issues.

• Combine all family support offices at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, into a single office to eliminate duplication, increase efficiency, and provide customers with a single point of entry. The installation currently has three family support offices serving its three main activities: the 127th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard; the 927th Air Refueling Wing, Air Force Reserve; and the U.S. Garrison-Michigan Army Community Service.

Since its creation in 2001, the Army Business Initiative Council has approved 122 initiatives. The council’s mission is “to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Army’s business operations by identifying, evaluating, and implementing business initiatives that streamline Department of the Army business operations and create savings.”


The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) completed three public-private competitions for management of its Defense distribution depots during fiscal year 2004. In all three competitions—for Defense Distribution Depot Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, Defense Distribution Depot Corpus Christi, Texas, and Defense Distribution Depot Puget Sound, Washington—it was decided that depot operations and management will remain in-house rather than be turned over to a private contractor.

DLA announced in March 1998 that it would study 16 of its 18 Defense distribution depots in the continental United States for possible contracting out to the private sector (all except its primary distribution sites at Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, and San Joaquin, California). The competitions are conducted under the guidelines contained in Office of Management and Budget Circular A–76, Performance of Commercial Activities.

Of the 12 competitions completed to date, 6 have resulted in operations remaining within the Government: Richmond, Virginia; Albany, Georgia; and Columbus, Ohio, as well as Tobyhanna, Corpus Christi, and Puget Sound. Six competitions have been won by contractors: Cherry Point, North Carolina; Warner-Robins, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; Hill, Utah; Barstow, California; and San Diego, California. Competitions for the remaining four depots—Norfolk, Virginia; Anniston, Alabama; Red River, Texas; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma—are scheduled for completion by 2007.

In October, DLA also activated its 25th distribution site, Defense Distribution Depot Guam Marianas (DDGM), in Guam. DDGM will support Department of Defense customers in Guam. Management of warehousing and distribution operations at the new depot will be managed by a contractor, Eagle Support Services Corporation of Huntsville, Alabama. Other distribution depots opened in fiscal year 2004 include those in Sigonella, Italy, and Kuwait.


New container- and materials-handling equipment at Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU), North Carolina, will save money and improve container throughput for the Department of Defense (DOD).

DOD has been moving toward 100-percent containerization of munitions since the early 1970s. Ninety percent of the ammunition that comes through MOTSU is containerized. The new equipment was procured as part of a modernization plan that began in 2003 to decrease operating costs, increase productivity, enhance customer service, and comply with a DOD requirement to be able to transship 10,000 containers in 14 days.

MOTSU’s Strategic Plan, published in 2003, includes a goal to improve efficiency of the terminal by upgrading operational processes, developing automated cargo management systems, and procuring equipment to support the near-exclusive use of containers. As a result, the terminal is transforming from a breakbulk terminal to a container terminal.

“We knew we had to maximize the movement of containers to keep the ship working and the way to do that was to move two 20-foot containers at a time. . . . We did a cost-benefit analysis of double loading, also known as ‘picking,’ which showed we could move 1,856 containers in 8 days instead of 12 by double picking,” said Steve Kerr, the transportation manager at MOTSU. “Our former fleet of 40-foot chassis was not capable of handling double-picked loads of up to 105,820 pounds. We had to focus on procuring the right equipment to do the job.”

The new, commercially available equipment will increase productivity and save time and money because it can haul two containers at once and eliminates the need for additional labor to remove twist locks under the crane. Approximately 700 1960s-vintage 20-foot chassis will be replaced with twenty-four 45-foot bomb cart port chassis. Twelve bomb carts and yard tractors to pull each of them have already been purchased.Additional improvements include a refurbishment of a container transfer crane and purchase of a new $3 million rail-mounted transfer crane. The current fleet of gas and electric forklifts is being replaced with commercial diesel forklifts better suited for heavier ammunition containers, and both MOTSU wharf cranes have been refurbished.


The Army’s senior logistician, Eric A. Orsini, retired from civilian service at the end of January, completing 64 years with the Army and 52 years in logistics. Orsini, 87, served 30 years as a soldier, entering the Army in June 1941—5 months before the attack on Pearl Harbor—and retiring in 1971 as a colonel. A graduate of the Ordnance Officer Advanced Course, he became Chief of the Maintenance Division in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations and Logistics in 1963.

In 1971, Orsini began 33 years of service as an Army civilian, including 25 years as a member of the Senior Executive Service. He served for many years as Deputy for Logistics to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations and Logistics and ended his career as Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff, G–4.
A combat veteran of World War II, Orsini received the
Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, and Purple Heart.





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