Integrating Medical Logistics Assets

by Captain Nina L. Knuckles

When resources were limited and missions were abundant, the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) found a smart way to "do more with less."

In February 1999, the commander of the 710th Main Support Battalion's (MSB's) medical company and the officer in charge (OIC) of the 10th Mountain Division's medical supply office (DMSO) decided they were tired of "doing more with less."

Over an 8-month period, their units at Fort Drum, New York, had supported the division's class VIII (medical materiel) demands for two Joint Readiness Training Center rotations at Fort Polk, Louisiana, two Sinai deployments, one Panama deployment, one 96-hour emergency deployment readiness exercise, task force deployments to Kuwait and Bosnia, immunization of over 10,000 soldiers, and numerous training exercises. All were supported with 98-percent fills on requests and with less than half of the authorized staffs.

After many conversations with branch managers and G1 (personnel, administration, and finance) strength managers, it became evident to the medical company commander and the DMSO OIC that there was no way around the "do more with less" situation. So the two Medical Service Corps officers looked for another way to solve the problem by asking themselves a new question, "How can we do more with less, smarter?"

They consulted the chief of logistics at the local medical department activity (MEDDAC), who agreed to help find an answer. The MEDDAC logistics division, also known as the installation medical supply activity (IMSA), is an Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) activity that provides healthcare, dental care, and veterinary support to Fort Drum, an Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) installation, and to qualified recipients in a large portion of New York and New England. For this reason, the IMSA is the DMSO's next higher echelon of support for class VIII. The task of supporting Fort Drum, including the 10th Mountain Division, was the common denominator of the FORSCOM DMSO and the MEDCOM IMSA.

A few hours of collaborative research by the MSB medical company commander, the DMSO OIC, and the MEDDAC chief of logistics revealed the following facts—

A thorough analysis concluded that consolidating and collocating MEDCOM and FORSCOM medical logistics assets at Fort Drum would be the smart answer. Factors leading to the decision included—

Integrating MEDCOM and FORSCOM medical sections to support a division is not a new concept. Medical companies of MSB's manage the personnel responsible for providing preventive medicine, optometry, and mental health support to the division. These sections often, if not always, work hand in hand with MEDDAC staffs to support the division and the installation. However, the integration of MEDCOM and FORSCOM logistics elements is a new concept.

Consolidation of IMSA and DRMO assets at Fort Drum eliminated from the class VIII requisitioning process a step that took hours, and sometimes days, to complete. Consolidation of IMSA and DRMO assets at Fort Drum eliminated from the class VIII requisitioning process a step that took hours, and sometimes days, to complete.

Consolidating some of the DMSO's and IMSA's supply processing procedures has given the DMSO more time for equipment maintenance and individual skills training. It also has increased the time available to focus on more customer-oriented services, such as customer assistance visits to division medical units.

The integration of medical logistics assets at Fort Drum already has proven to be very beneficial. One of the keys to this success is a comprehensive and viable memorandum of agreement (MOA). This document provides guidelines for both parties to conduct their medical logistics mission in support of the division and installation in a collocated environment. For a copy of this MOA, contact the Fort Drum MEDDAC Logistics Section at (315) 772-4006 or the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) DMSO at (315) 772-3540 (DSN 341-3540).

Fort Drum has established a template for optimized medical logistics support to FORSCOM units that will reap benefits for the 10th Mountain Division for many years to come. This template easily could be used to benefit other medical logistics units throughout the Army. ALOG

Captain Nina L. Knuckles is the Division Medical Planner for the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, New York. She has a bachelor's degree in English education from Florida Southern College. She is a graduate of the Medical Service Corps Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Northern Warfare School, the Air Assault School, and the Human Resources Management Course.