By now, you probably have heard enough talk about the Single Stock Fund (SSF). You even might have worked in a theater or installation supply support activity (SSA) that is operating under SSF Milestone 1 and 2 procedures. If you did, you might have said to yourself, "What's the big deal? I don't do anything different on my SARSS-1 [Standard Army Retail Supply System-1] to request or turn in parts." That observation is true. SSF was designed specifically to be as invisible as possible to the soldier logistician while still reaping major benefits in timeliness and readiness.
Army-wide fielding of SSF Milestone 1 and 2 business practices to 139 installation- and theater-level SSAscompleted in April 2001brought major changes to these levels of supply. It eliminated an entire level of financial management, the Retail Stock Fund (RSF); closed 49 general ledgers; and eliminated two legacy financial inventory accounting systems, the Standard Army Retail Financial Inventory Accounting Reporting System (STARFIARS) and the Retail Army Stock Fund Inventory Accounting Reporting System (RASFIARS). It stabilized credit rates and accelerated the granting of credit from the Army Materiel Command (AMC) to the Army Working Capital Fund (AWCF) customer. It also permitted the national managers of repair parts to look beyond depot stock to satisfy requirements. The list of benefits from SSF Milestone 1 and 2 goes on and on.
ARNG Army National Guard
CTASC corps theater automatic data
processing service center
MMC materiel management center
USARC U.S. Army Reserve Command
VIOC verification of initial operating capability
CONUS continental United States
EUSA Eighth U.S. Army
FAD force activity designator FORSCOM Army Forces Command
LOGSA Logistics Support Activity
OCONUS outside CONUS
TRADOC Army Training and Doctrine
USAREUR U.S. Army Europe
USARPAC U.S. Army Pacific
SSF Milestone 3 extends SSF business processes to the tactical SSA level. Milestone 3 began with a 75-day verification of initial operating capability (VIOC) on 1 July 2002. This major test implemented Milestone 3 procedures in the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), the 1st Cavalry Division, and the 13th Corps Support Command, all at Fort Hood, Texas; the entire Texas Army National Guard; the 164th Maintenance Company, 70th Regional Support Command, at Fort Lewis, Washington; and the Equipment Concentration Site, 90th Regional Support Command, at Fort Hood. (The last two units are Army Reserve activities.) Fielding of Milestone 3 to the remaining active and Reserve component tactical SSAs begins in November and will end in June 2003. The chart on page 8 illustrates the schedule as of June 2002.
So, what is the big deal with Milestone 3? What does it do for soldier logisticians at tactical SSAs? Here are some of the major benefits to the Army in the field
· Milestone 3 provides the national item manager with global visibility of all assets in the pipeline above the prescribed load list (PLL) level. At the tactical level, this equates to approximately $1.1 billion. This is the estimated dollar value of the assets over which AMC will have visibility. Actually, AMC not only will have visibility but will own the assets. The Milestone 3 assets will be capitalized to the AWCF and on the Commodity Command Standard System, just as the Milestone 1 and 2 assets are today. With this visibility, the item manager can redistribute excess assets (in other words, those assets above the retention level) to meet customer needs; these assets previously were unavailable to the item manager to use.
· By enabling the national-level managers to redistribute secondary items, Milestone 3 ultimately will reduce customer wait time (CWT), offset the need for procurement and repair actions, and reduce backorders. Already, under milestones 1 and 2, Army-wide CWT dropped by 2.4 days, or 13.1 percent, between the second quarter of fiscal year 2001 and the second quarter of fiscal year 2002.
· An economic analysis prepared in 1999 projected that SSF benefits for the first 12 years would equal $659 million. In fact, the Army is seeing benefits accrue above that level. From May 2000 to March 2002, $371 million in assets were redistributed directly to meet soldier requirements as a result of SSF changes to procedures. The chart above shows the dollar value of assets redistributed by major Army commands in fiscal year 2001 (each acting as a "contributor") and the dollar value of redistributed assets the commands received (each acting as a "Beneficiary").
ARCENT U.S. Army Central Command
CENTCOM U.S. Central Command
USAREUR U.S. Army Europe
· The Army also is seeing a reduction in CWT through real-time processing of all accountable transactions (such as requisitions, receipts, turn-ins, and adjustments) at the national level.
· Milestone 3 allows the system to penetrate any SSA requisition objective (RO) down to a zero balance to fill an Issue Priority Designator 01 requisition. [Issue Priority Designator 01 designates requisitions required by U.S. forces in combat for immediate end use and without which they will be unable to perform assigned operational missions.] This is real support for the warfighter. The chart above shows that, in a 5-month period, the SSF geographic search matrix procedure enabled the national level to redistribute assets to fill 17,000 requisitions from deployed forces that previously would have required procurement or repair of the needed items.
· Milestone 3 permits the field commander additional flexibility to fill his demand-supported authorized stockage list (ASL) ROs. Previously, commanders often were constrained by reduced RSF obligation authority from stocking a full, demand-supported ASL. Since the ASL is AWCF-funded under the SSF, constraints on demand-supported ASLs should be reduced greatly because of the size of the AWCF and its ability to absorb changes.
· Under Milestone 3, Army National Guard and Army Reserve SSAs will be able to turn in excess assets to the nearest installation, whether active or Reserve component, rather than ship them to a central state or Army Reserve receiving point.
· The Army hopes that repair parts prices can be reduced as it reduces CWT and leverages Army-owned assets through redistribution. As the Army makes better decisions on redistribution and reutilization of excess assets and has greater visibility of those assets, AMC's costs associated with repair parts management drop. The surcharge for AMC-managed items already has dropped almost 20 percent, from 18.8 percent in fiscal year 2001 to 15.1 percent in fiscal year 2002. The surcharge is the amount that AMC adds to the cost of the repair part to cover management, storage, and shipping. Reduced surcharges translate into lower repair parts costs for the customer.
The SSF is not a new automated system; it is a new way of doing business that streamlines logistics and integrates the national and tactical levels of logistics support. SSF procedures will be incorporated into emerging systems, such as the Logistics Modernization Program at AMC and the Global Combat Support System-Army Tactical (GCSS-AT) at the tactical level. The SSF goes a long way toward transforming Army logistics and assisting the soldier logistician in doing his job more effectively. To learn more about SSF, log on to the SSF Web site at www.army.mil/ssf. ALOG
Donald E. Hartzell is the chief of the Systems Integration Division, Directorate for Single Stock Fund, Deputy Chief of Staff, G4, Headquarters, Department of the Army. He holds a B.S. degree in education from Pennsylvania State University, an M.Ed. degree from Virginia State University, an M.B.A. in logistics management from Florida Institute of Technology, and an M.S. degree in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He is also a graduate of the Army War College.