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Is It Time to Reconsider Training
for PBUSE?

Now that Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced is in general use, it is time to look at the training provided to its operators and determine how that training can be improved.

After returning from Afghanistan in 2005, I gave my daughter—then 12 years old—her first iPod. Frankly, I was concerned that she was too young to figure out how to work it. Initially, she was a little uncertain about how to use it or the accompanying software, iTunes. But she slowly started to explore both the iPod and iTunes, and, surprisingly, within a few hours, she was confidently rocking out and downloading music! How did she do it? It was simple. She just kept clicking and guessing until she figured it out.

I share that story because I see similarities between my daughter’s first encounters with an iPod and our Soldiers’ first encounters with Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced (PBUSE). Like my daughter, they seem to “click and guess” until they figure it out. Unfortunately, they are not always getting it right.

What Is PBUSE?

PBUSE is the Army's web-based, state-of-the-art, force sustainment property accountability system. It provides Standard Property Book System-Redesign (SPBS–R) and Unit Level Logistics System-S4 (ULLS–S4) functionality. PBUSE is designed to provide the Army with a Federal Financial Management Improvement Act- and Chief Financial Officer Act-compliant, integrated automated property accountability information system for both garrison and tactical units. PBUSE is part of the Global Combat Support System-Army (Field/Tactical) (GCSS-Army [F/T]), a web-based, fully interactive, menu-driven, automated combat support system. PBUSE officially replaces SPBS–R and ULLS–S4.

Who Uses PBUSE? PBUSE is used at the property book and unit supply levels for installations, centers, agencies, schools, training centers, support commands, divisions, brigade combat teams, combat aviation brigades, armored cavalry regiments, nondivisional units, battalions, companies, Army Reserve Officer Training Corps units, and Army National Guard and Army Reserve units. Staff sections at these respective levels (S–4, G–4, and J–4) also use PBUSE for asset management.

Logging into PBUSE requires an Army Knowledge Online user name and password and approval from the information system security officer. PBUSE employs user roles to control access to the various processes and functions in the system and determines the privileges granted within a process—read or write. Users are assigned user roles based on their work locations, such as property book office or unit level, and their positions, such as commander, property book officer, team chief, supply clerk, and so on. When access is denied to a process or function, the process title or function button is rendered inactive, or “grayed out,” by the system.

What Training Is Available?

Training for PBUSE is fast becoming a challenge for all. For Active component Soldiers, residential PBUSE training is embedded in the program of instruction for the unit supply specialist (military occupational specialty [MOS] 92Y) at the Army Quartermaster Center and School at Fort Lee, Virginia. Noncommissioned officers and warrant officers also receive PBUSE training at the Quartermaster School.

The Quartermaster School also provides functional training on PBUSE. On request, the Quartermaster School has deployed mobile training teams to provide onsite PBUSE training.

Several years ago, the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) developed a distributed-learning PBUSE training vehicle, but few operators seem aware of it. More recently, Northrop Grumman developed an online tutorial for PBUSE called “Job Aids.” Even fewer Soldiers seem to know about that.

All of these training media target supply personnel holding MOS 92Y. However, many users of PBUSE are not 92Ys, nor should they be. Some examples of non-92Y PBUSE users are unit commanders and S–4 officers.

How Could Training Be Improved?

Is it time to reconsider who, where, and how we train PBUSE? I believe the answer is clearly “yes.” I suggest redesigning and merging CASCOM’s distributed PBUSE training, Northrop Grumman’s Job Aids, and the Quartermaster School’s functional training to create an online training program and process that is specifically tied to PBUSE user roles and assigning PBUSE access.

In other words, PBUSE users would not be granted access to PBUSE until successful completion of their specific PBUSE user-role training course. Each PBUSE user would then recertify his user role annually or when a software change package affects his user role.

Why Change?

Army-wide training challenges and other notions that warrant reconsideration of PBUSE training include—

  • Demands of the Army Force Generation model (ARFORGEN). ARFORGEN is a force management process that leverages modular unit designs and operational cycles to provide a sustained deployment capability of operationally ready units.
  • Decreased time at home between deployments.
  • Reduced travel for training. The Army Training and Doctrine Command’s desire is to decrease training time away from a Soldier’s home station.
  • Untrained users. Numerous users of PBUSE are granted access without formal training of any type. This program would preclude that practice.
  • Availability to varied MOSs. Training only 92Ys will not fully capture all potential users’ PBUSE training needs.
  • User competence. Training organized by user roles would train users before allowing access to the system and would increase user competence.
  • Uniformity. Online, targeted user training would provide uniformly standard training to all.
  • Affordability. Targeting training by user roles arguably would provide a low-cost but highly effective solution for PBUSE training deficiencies when compared to more expensive residential or mobile training team-provided training that targets only a percentage of the Army’s PBUSE training need.

By reconsidering who, where, and how we train PBUSE, we can eliminate the need for our Soldiers to “click and guess” their way to a PBUSE training solution. In doing so, we provide our Soldiers more dwell time at home with their families between deployments while saving our Nation money that otherwise would be spent on traditional residential training—a potential win-win-win for all.

Chief Warrant Officer (W–4) Joel Lockhart is a senior instructor for the Warrant Officer Division, Logistics Training Department, Army Quartermaster Center and School, at Fort Lee, Virginia. He holds a B.S. degree from Excelsior College and is a graduate of the Warrant Officer Candidate School, Quartermaster Warrant Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Warrant Officer Staff Course, and the Warrant Officer Senior Staff Course.