|Where’s My MMC?
|by Major General Mitchell H. Stevenson
The transition to
a modular force has resulted in new organizations
replacing the familiar structure of materiel management centers.
While the changes are significant, logisticians should understand
that all of the functions of materiel management will continue
to be performed—and in better, more efficient ways.
Probably one of the most dramatic changes that we have made
in the concept for logistics support to the modular force has
been in the area of materiel management. Gone are the division
materiel management centers, corps materiel management centers,
and theater army materiel management centers. And so, rightfully,
there has been some angst about what happened to all of the
materiel management functions formerly performed in these materiel
management centers (MMCs). The purpose of this article is to
reassure all that we have the functions accounted for, and—though
we all will have to get out of our comfort zones and find new,
more streamlined ways of doing our jobs—nothing has been
lost in the shuffle.
First, I think it is important to remember that the changes
we have made were not dreamed up over night. They were, in
fact, the product of literally years of study, debate, and
careful thought. And while we may not have it exactly right,
I think we are darned close, and the enablers coming on line
(such as Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced [PBUSE], the Single
Army Logistics Enterprise [SALE], Business Intelligence tools,
and continued improvements to the Battle Command Sustainment
and Support System [BCS3]) will only make materiel management
easier and more logical.
Second, in order to understand materiel management in the modular
force, it is necessary to understand first how logistics force
structure has been streamlined. Each of the brigade combat
teams (BCTs) and support brigades in the modular force has
an organic brigade support battalion (except for the battlefield
surveillance brigade, whose size and structure do not warrant
full-up support battalion). Brigade support battalions (BSBs)
and echelons above brigade (EAB) forces are supported by a
streamlined structure of sustainment brigades, which are managed
by a theater sustainment command (TSC) or an expeditionary
sustainment command (ESC) of a TSC. Materiel management occurs
in all of these units—the BSB, the sustainment brigade,
and the sustainment command. (See the sidebar, Modular Force
Logistics Organizations for a summary of modular force logistics
Probably the easiest way to explain where the materiel management
functions have gone is to decompose the old division materiel
management center (DMMC), function by function, and explain
where each function is now performed in the modular force.
The old DMMC essentially performed five functions. It—
Operated the division property
book office (DPBO).
Operated the division ammunition office (DAO).
Performed centralized maintenance management.
Operated a small general support
office—basically, class I (subsistence), class IIIB
(bulk petroleum, oils, and lubricants [POL]), and water.
Operated the Standard Army Retail
Supply System [SARSS]2A/D, performing some mostly time-sensitive
automated supply management tasks.
This article will examine each of these five
management areas and show where each function migrated in the modular force.
The old DPBO consisted of a centralized PBO, with property book teams for
each of the brigades and major subordinate commands (MSCs) of
the division and an asset visibility section. Each of these PBO teams still
instead of being centralized in a DPBO, the teams have been decentralized
into each of the
brigade-sized organizations of the modular force (which means
we now have more PBO teams than ever).
The asset visibility section has been moved to the division and
corps G–4 shops to enable the G–4 to see the status of property
within the division or corps and take what actions the division or corps
commander may direct for the units assigned or attached to the division.
Although it is true that non-BCT- and -brigade-sized units of the modular
force have no property book “team,” they never have had one;
nondivisional units (AA-level unit identification code [UIC]) have always
had organic PBOs (often an officer dual-hatted into the function). With PBUSE,
everyone, at all echelons, has complete visibility of the status of any UIC’s
property, and—since all the data are centrally maintained on a central
server—no reporting or reconciliation needs to be done. Routine property
accountability actions will be handled by PBOs, and reports on the status
of particular property book actions (such as directed lateral transfers)
will flow through command channels in accordance with local standing operating
procedures (SOP). None of this is new.
Division Ammunition Office
The old DAO consisted of a centralized division ammunition officer, an ammunition
technician (a warrant officer), a small staff, and a number of ammunition
transfer point (ATP) sections that, when deployed, operated with the forward
support battalion (FSB) in each brigade area of operations. In the modular
force, each BCT and support brigade now has its own brigade ammunition officer,
ammunition technician, and senior ammunition noncommissioned officer (NCO)—and
a redesigned ammunition transfer holding point (ATHP) that is twice as large
the old ATP. Ammunition supply points (ASPs) and theater ammunition storage
areas still exist at EAB, run by modular ammunition platoons and companies,
under the supervision of the class V (ammunition) management section of the
sustainment brigade. Division and corps and army G–4s also are staffed
with an ammunition officer and NCO to enable ammunition planning and orders
production, establishment of supply rates, and other functions but not management
of ammunition units!
The Standard Army Ammunition System Modernization (SAAS–MOD) continues
to be the management information system we use. It is made more useful by
the fielding of Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) to every node in the
ammunition management chain. Eventually, SAAS–MOD will be replaced
by the Global Combat Service Support-Army (GCSS-Army) system, which will
make ammunition management and supply activities even easier. Finally, as
for how ammunition requests flow, the brigade ammunition office will deal
with its supporting sustainment brigade class V section (which will roll
requirements to the sustainment command) for support.
Each BSB, unlike its predecessor FSB, now has quite a robust maintenance
management section—one that is several times larger than the one that
the FSB had. Each division and corps (and theater army) G–4 likewise
has a robust maintenance management capability, much more so than ever before.
Brigade and higher commanders are well staffed to be able to see and manage
maintenance within their units. The supporting sustainment brigade also has
a maintenance management capability—one that is mostly designed for
the EAB units it supports but that nonetheless can be tapped, if required,
by the division and corps commanders that the brigade supports. The same
is true for the sustainment command.
Maintenance reporting (in terms of the Army Materiel Status System
[AMSS]) for BCT and support brigade units will flow directly from the BSB
to the Army Materiel Command’s Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA).
EAB unit AMSS data will flow as always, using the sustainment
brigade support operations office (SPO) for assistance as required.
Local, unit-unique reporting of maintenance status will be performed
in accordance with the commander’s SOP.
Maintenance management reports, such as the Standard Army Maintenance
System (SAMS) 026 report, are now available through LOGSA’s Logistics
Information Warehouse. These reports soon will be enhanced by a state-of-the-art
Business Intelligence tool that will enable the creation of commander’s “dashboards” that
will be accessible immediately by anyone with an Army Knowledge Online (AKO)
password on an as-needed basis. These dashboards will provide timely maintenance
status in whatever format the commander prefers. Like property status, these
data will be universally available to all with a need to know, taking us
closer to the common operating picture we have been seeking to achieve.
General Supply Office
The general supply office is probably the easiest of the materiel management
capabilities to account for in the modular force. It essentially
operates almost exactly as the class V operation described above. Sufficient
(in fact, as with class V, more than ever before) exists within
each BSB. Requests for support flow to the supporting sustainment brigade.
theater, the sustainment command orchestrates the
overall flow of support, from external sources to the theater,
to its sustainment brigades, and on to the BSBs. Our modular
units (BCTs and support brigades) also have a better water production and
capability, internal to the brigade, than ever before.
Automated Supply Management
This is arguably one of the more complex materiel management
functions, but, after quite a bit of thought and effort, we think we have
it right. First, within the BSBs, there is robust staffing within the supply
support activity (SSA) and a small management capability within the BSB SPO.
Geographic routing identifier code (RIC GEO)—including but not limited
to management review file (MRF)—management functions will be split
between the sustainment brigade and the sustainment command, with the time-sensitive
functions being performed by the brigade and the non-time-sensitive functions
performed by the command.
Class II, IIIP, IV, and IX Supply
The Army’s current processes have evolved in such a fashion that most
class II (clothing and individual equipment), IIIP (packaged
POL), IV (construction and barrier materials), and IX (repair parts) supplies
flow from the national level directly to the individual SARSS–1 SSA,
with little or no intermediate sources of supply or even referral activity.
Already, all DMMC-level SARSS management (utilizing SARSS–2A/D) has
been eliminated, with functions formerly performed in the DMMC
now being done at the corps MMC (CMMC).
In the modular force, we will eliminate one more level of management,
the CMMC. As indicated above, non-time-sensitive SARSS-related
management functions will be performed by the TSC, or its deployable
command post when
the command post is used; time-sensitive management functions
will be delegated by the TSC to the sustainment brigades for
the customers that the brigades
Automated Data Processing Centers (CTASCs) have all been collocated
at the LOGSA. SARSS–1 transactions will be transmitted directly to
the SARSS Gateway through satellite communications (as they are today). Any
management actions that are needed for these requisitions will be performed
by the TSC or ESC or, in some cases for selected time-sensitive management
functions, through its subordinate sustainment brigades.
Class II, IIIP, IV, and IX supplies actually delivered to the
theater of operations will be delivered in “pure-packed” pallets
by the distribution assets of the TSC’s sustainment brigades directly
to the SARSS–1 SSA from which the request was transmitted to the national
level. National-level stocks forward positioned in the theater of operations
will be released by the national level and likewise will be distributed to
the requesting SARSS–1 SSA by TSC transportation assets.
Reporting and Relationships
Reporting, of course, will flow through command channels, so BSBs will report
to their BCT headquarters, which will report to division and corps headquarters,
and so on. However, BCTs, divisions, and corps are not sources of supply
and support, so BSB reports through command channels are informational. In
order to get support required from higher levels, BSBs and aviation support
battalions (ASBs) should submit their requirements and forecasts to their
supporting sustainment brigade; when reporting electronically, it is always
a good idea to copy (Cc: ) others in the sustainment chain who have an interest,
such as the ESC and TSC headquarters. In fact, it is also a good idea for
BSBs to Cc: the supporting sustainment brigade on their reports through their
command channels to share situational awareness. Of course, when all parties
are using BCS3, reports are not necessary; since relevant information is
populated in BCS3, everyone on the network can see and utilize it.
One of the fundamental principles of the modular force logistics
concept is “single (EAB) logistics C2 [command and control],” which
will enable the most efficient and effective end-to-end distribution
process. Within that construct, sustainment brigades normally are assigned
to TSCs or ESCs. TSCs and ESCs routinely assign support areas
of responsibility (AORs) to their subordinate sustainment brigades, making
responsible for supporting all units within their assigned areas.
If a division headquarters is within a sustainment brigade’s assigned area of support
responsibility, the sustainment brigade commander should seek out and establish
a relationship with the BSBs within that area and likewise link up with and
establish a personal relationship with the assistant division commanders
(support). Likewise, ESC and TSC commanders also should seek out and establish
personal relationships with the supported division commanders and assistant
division commanders (support). Most importantly, it is essential that EAB
logistics planners be in touch with corps, division, and brigade logistics
planners so that a maximum amount of collaborative planning can occur routinely,
from day to day.
(Note: Though it is preferable that operational AORs assigned to maneuver
commanders coincide with EAB support AORs, that may not always
be possible. When they do not, the logistician’s job can become more
complex. So logisticians just need to be sensitive to this possibility and
it when it is the case.)
It is true that modularity has created a major change for us logisticians,
in terms of how we are organized and how we do our business, especially at
EAB. Internal to BCTs and support brigades, we have designed a robust, nearly
independent logistics support structure focused on the BCT and brigade, giving
it staying power. The supporting sustainment brigade is key: It is the single
source of support to BSBs within its assigned support AOR and provides the
means to get materiel distributed from the theater-level air and sea ports
of debarkation to the BSBs and to their own non-brigade-aligned customers.
Where’s the materiel management? It’s still there—embedded
within a very capable, efficient, streamlined support structure.
Major General Mitchell H. Stevenson is the Commanding General
of the Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee, Virginia.
He previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, G–3, Headquarters,
Army Materiel Command, and as Commander of the Army Ordnance Center and Schools
and Chief of Ordnance. He has a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia
University and a master’s degree in logistics management from the Florida
Institute of Technology. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer
Basic Course, the Ordnance Officer Advanced Course, the Army Command and
College, and the Army War College.