The January–February 2004 issue of Army
Logistician contained an article by Craig A. Simonds on “The
Role of Civilians During the First Gulf War.” As a defense
contractor who participated in Operations Desert Shield and
Desert Storm, I was particularly interested in his discussion
of the Army Aviation Systems Command’s theater aviation
maintenance program (TAMP). I agree that contractors are required
to support future operations across the spectrum of conflict,
and I concur with Simonds’ conclusion and suggested challenges.
In fact, I would like to corroborate his opinion about the
critical and cooperative nature of the development and execution
of the TAMP, as I was a contributor to that force multiplier.
[Editor’s note: The Army Aviation Systems Command (AVSCOM)
was merged with the Army Troop Support Command in 1992, creating
the Army Aviation and Troop Command (ATCOM). In 1997, ATCOM
was merged with the Army Missile Command to form what is now
the Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM).]
To refresh my memory about my experiences, I dusted off and reread a paper on
the TAMP that I prepared a few years ago for a graduate course. In that paper,
I discussed how the 16 “Principles of Logistics” found in Dr. James
A. Huston’s heralded book, The Sinews of War: Army Logistics 1775–1953,
played an important role in the operation of the TAMP. Those principles are equivalence,
materiel precedence, forward impetus, mobility, dispersion, economy, feasibility,
flexibility, relativity, continuity, timeliness, responsibility, unity of command,
information, quality, and simplicity.
Although that paper was written in the early 1990’s, it confirmed that
the TAMP was a creative and cooperative success. Lessons learned from the TAMP
are being applied to various degrees in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring
Defining Contract Logistics
Logistics support must be adequate, simple, flexible, and efficient to meet the
customer’s needs. Logistics support provides what is needed, when, where,
and in the condition and quantity required, with the minimum expenditure of resources.
This definition is the “bottom line” of Huston’s principles.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation is one of the world’s leading manufacturers
of helicopters. Through its Total Program Approach to logistics, Sikorsky and
its worldwide subsidiaries practice the type of logistics support that is embodied
in Huston’s Principles of Logistics. Sikorsky provides assistance in areas
such as engineering, integrated logistics support, and technical services. These
services encompass logistics support analysis, training and technical publication
development, supply support, inventory control, security, human resources management,
legal support, overhaul and repair, and in-country maintenance teams. Such interfunctional
support reflects the application of Huston’s principles of equivalence,
materiel precedence, dispersion, economy, relativity, continuity, quality, unity
of command, and, most importantly, responsibility.
The Total Program Approach to logistics also can be implemented with a key strategic
in-country partner, subcontractor, or associate contractor to support localization,
training, and industrial cooperation initiatives. Again, Huston’s principles—most
notably flexibility, feasibility, timeliness, and relativity—can be applied.
Because of economic pricing and legal liability requirements, Sikorsky supports
its customers worldwide through its logistics support subsidiaries. One of the
most important is Sikorsky International Products, Inc. (SIPI). Operating under
two foreign military sales (FMS) contracts with the Army, SIPI provided maintenance
and personnel support services from 1989 through 1994 to the Royal Saudi Land
Forces Army Aviation Command (RSLFAAC).
|The TAMP–SWA Forward
in Damman swarms with maintenance activities.
Making the Contracts Work
To fulfill its contracts, SIPI hired qualified professionals and deployed them
to King Khalid Military City (KKMC) and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. In accordance
with U.S. Government requirements to supply and maintain 21 UH–60A/L
Desert Hawk helicopt-ers (modified versions of the Black Hawk) and 15 CS–406
Combat Scout helicopters for the RSLFAAC, SIPI developed numerous management,
human resources, training, financial, supply, and maintenance operating
procedures. SIPI also programmed an automated data processing system to function
as an RSLFAAC central inventory control point for supply transactions.
SIPI initiated common-core classroom aviation instruction and continued progressive
training of RSLFAAC students. All formal classroom and on-the-job training was
based on standard Army programs of instruction that had been specifically tailored
by SIPI for RSLFAAC students.
Customer unit managers were able to assess student development using a SIPI-designed
student progress tracking system that efficiently linked the manufacturers of
the RSLFAAC’s aircraft fleet to the students. Using applicable communications
security, the system provided performance and maintenance data from KKMC to Sikorsky
and other manufacturers and to AVSCOM on a controlled, limited-access basis.
These data helped the students and the manufacturers to control aircraft configuration;
analyze trends; provide additional spare and support equipment setup and technical
assistance when required; and assist in issuing alert bulletins, technical publication
updates, training courseware changes, safety of flight messages, and engineering
Depot repair data were tracked and retrieved daily through the Supply Tracking
and Reparable Returns-Personal Computer (STARR–PC) communications system,
which allowed customers to send requisitions, status requests, and messages to
the Army Security Assistance Command by modem from a standard personal computer.
Every week, SIPI provided customers with a depot repair master list to document
all the items in the repair cycle. The computer-based tracking and retrieval
system provided an inexpensive, automated way to track the status of parts in
the depot repair cycle. Data were transmitted through the Defense Automatic Addressing
System Center inquiry system in a secure mode using the Security Assistance Command
database to screen users.
SIPI’s TAMP Role
Because of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, pertinent United Nations resolutions,
and the commitment of U.S. and coalition forces, SIPI, like other contractors
operating in Saudi Arabia, would support operations during wartime. SIPI management
received a request from AVSCOM to meet immediately in St. Louis, Missouri, to
discuss and assess the potential use of SIPI assets to support Army aviation
assets in the context of a TAMP. AVSCOM would practice Huston’s principle
of equivalence by recognizing logistics necessities in all plans and organizations.
Initial meetings between SIPI managers and the AVSCOM command group and emergency
operations center personnel took place on 12 August 1990. As discussion topics
progressed from high-level concepts to organizational and logistics details,
members of the AVSCOM security assistance and procurement communities became
involved in the meetings. This was excellent; it meant that the real implementers
of the TAMP-related activities were on board early (a demonstration by AVSCOM
of Huston’s unity of command and responsibility principles).
By the morning of 13 August, conceptual templates for operations and logistics
estimates and preliminary statements of work had been drawn up. AVSCOM hastily
drafted and staffed correspondence in which the Chief of the U.S. Military Training
Mission in Saudi Arabia was asked to request that the Commanding General of the
RSLFAAC authorize AVSCOM to modify the FMS contract with SIPI in support of the
soon-to-be-named Operation Desert Shield.
Response to this message was swift and affirmative. By 15 August, AVSCOM emergency
operations center planners had notified the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics
of AVSCOM’s roles and missions in developing the TAMP and its intention
to use SIPI to assist with the effort. Major “hard-to-do” issues
included the segregation of RSLFAAC FMS case funds and U.S. Army costs in one
contract, emergency-essential contractual provisions, and hazardous duty pay.
For AVSCOM, expansion of the FMS personnel support services subcontract to include
the TAMP operation was unusual and construction of housing units, heliports,
and security systems was unfamiliar. Nonetheless, the AVSCOM–SIPI team
AVSCOM and Security Assistance Command legal and procurement professionals had
to separate the FMS contract under which SIPI was already performing and the
TAMP effort that it was to undertake. Starting with a statement of work and contract
line item numbers, the AVSCOM and SIPI managers carved out a bilateral modification
to the existing contract that would effectively sequester these two efforts from
each other. Once the terms of the modification were understood, SIPI divided
its workforce to account appropriately for each project. It changed its financial
disclosure statement for the benefit of future U.S. Government and Saudi tax
audits, revised numerous functional department procedures to process requirements
for the new project, rapidly hired additional personnel, and, most importantly,
amended the security procedures. Various subcontracts were modified, including
the personnel support services subcontract. SIPI required the personnel support
services subcontractor to establish and use a separate subsidiary to perform
SIPI management staffs in the continental United States (CONUS) and Riyadh came
together as one cohesive unit, sometimes geographically, but always in spirit.
Unity of command, centralized planning, and decentralized execution were standard
practices. Such fusion was essential to the success of SIPI’s overall mission
in a crisis-management scenario and in keeping up with the ever-increasing and
never fully anticipated workload.
Emergency Essential Clause
AVSCOM planners were faced with another contractual dilemma: They could contract
with SIPI and other contractors for services in support of Operations Desert
Shield and Desert Storm, but how could AVSCOM assure its customers, such as the
U.S. Army Central Command (ARCENT) and the 22nd Support Command, that the contractors
would perform in the Kuwaiti theater of operations in the event of hostilities?
This was a very sensitive issue during August and September.
Contractors consulted with one another; information flow was critical. SIPI discussed
this issue with McDonnell Douglas Services, the Boeing Corporation, BDM Corporation,
DynCorp, and others and consulted various Department of Defense (DOD) and Department
of State components on the subject. Equipped with legal guidance from the Security
Assistance Command, AVSCOM devised contractual language that complied with Federal
Acquisition Regulations and DOD guidance concerning continued performance during
crisis situations. This clause in the contract, which came to be known as the “emergency-essential” clause,
directed SIPI to comply with the requirement. It caused extreme debate among
Sikorsky senior legal and executive-level management personnel about the liabilities
that Sikorsky might incur by placing its civilian workforce in potential jeopardy.
Other contractors also had to assess the risk potential involved. The debate
continued as SIPI briefed its workforce at KKMC on the new requirement for them
to continue to perform in the event of hostilities and continued to increase
its TAMP operations. AVSCOM also had difficulty administering the SIPI FMS contract
in light of the emergency-essential clause. Although the clause provided for
the necessary travel, access, and protection of SIPI and other contractors and
allowed them to conduct business in the Kuwaiti theater of operations, many security
assistance and procurement personnel did not know how to implement it.
From an operational perspective, SIPI had an extensive statement of work to perform
in a compressed timeframe—mid-August through December. Starting with a
four-page requirements document drafted by personnel of AVSCOM’s Maintenance
Directorate and SIPI planners in St. Louis, the TAMP was forged. Huston’s
principles of flexibility, economy, forward impetus, continuity, timeliness,
quality, and simplicity were the watchwords throughout this process.
TAMP Mission and Organization
The TAMP mission was to provide organizational, intermediate, and limited depot-level
maintenance of aircraft and their engines and components; implement modification
work orders; provide technical assistance to aviation units; establish special
repair activities; provide supply and personnel support services; and control
Army aviation intensively managed items.
To perform this mission, the TAMP-Southwest Asia (SWA) would be divided into
three distinct operating units based on geography and technical capabilities
and the Army’s time-honored, effective method of supplying from the rear.
As a part of the TAMP mission, select SIPI managers and technical experts performed
several site surveys in Riyadh, Dhahran, Jubail, and Damman, Saudi Arabia, in
August. SIPI sent photographs and site drawings of potential TAMP locations back
to the AVSCOM decisionmakers and briefed deployed AVSCOM TAMP program management
personnel in Dhahran and the staff of ARCENT
TAMP–SWA Base. TAMP–SWA Base, which was located in Abu Dhabi in the
United Arab Emirates, functioned as the inventory control point for U.S. Army
aviation stocks in the theater. TAMP–SWA Base had large, new hangar facilities
provided by another AVSCOM contractor. A host nation company had support shops
there and secure access to ramps and runways for rapid movement of supplies arriving
from CONUS. The site also included a high-value special repair activity and engine
test-cell equipment, as well as an expansive stockage of spare, consumable, and
repair parts for helicopters.
TAMP–SWA Forward. Once Damman was chosen as the location for the TAMP–SWA
Forward, the site had to be leased and improved to accommodate helicopter operations
and maintenance activities. SIPI worked with its subcontractor, a Saudi-owned
company with dedicated leaders and a technically proficient staff knowledgeable
in U.S. Government procurement regulations, to accomplish the improvements. The
transformation of the site, which had been used as a heavy vehicle maintenance
garage, a pre-cast cement-forming yard, and a plumbing supply warehouse, went
well. The subcontracting and host nation support AVSCOM received through SIPI
was hectic but better than some other Army contracting experiences involving
TAMP–SWA Forward-KKMC. TAMP–SWA Forward-KKMC
was the third SIPI operations site. There, SIPI’s mission
was to provide facilities; personnel support; freight forwarding services; vehicles,
including motor pool operations; housing; computer equipment; security; telecommunications;
water; waste removal; petroleum, oils, and lubricants; construction services;
supply personnel to manage the aviation intensively managed items; and other
services related to aviation support. DynCorp field team personnel performed
aviation maintenance, and the 1109th Aviation Classification Repair Activity
Depot (AVCRAD), an Army National Guard unit from Groton, Connecticut, performed
doctrinal duties. Other defense contractors, Army Materiel Command logistics
assistance representatives, and AVSCOM personnel also assisted in the operation.
Before Operation Desert Shield, the entire U.S. presence at KKMC consisted of
80 SIPI employees and a 15-member technical assistance field team (TAFT) from
the Army. Since it was only 70 kilometers from the Iraq-Saudi Arabia border,
KKMC was a lonely and insecure place during the initial phases of Operation Desert
KKMC quickly evolved into what the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense and Aviation
had envisioned—a vast logistics base from which to defend Saudi Arabia.
A seemingly endless number of U.S., French, Moroccan, and Saudi convoys and contracted
traversed the base access roads, as well as the two main supply routes—Dodge
and Sultan—which were 522 and 442 kilometers long, respectively. These
convoys and others that brought the VII Corps to KKMC, along with airlift traffic,
were all dedicated to preparing KKMC and nearby logistics bases for the ground
offensive that was to take place in
The whole process—from conceptual development, through site surveys, proposals,
negotiations, award of contractual modifications, and the start of work to the
first aircraft flight into the TAMP–SWA Forward–KKMC—took 45
days. Huston’s principle of timeliness was pushed to the extreme of its
definition. The job could not have been accomplished if SIPI and its associated
contractors, such as DynCorp, had not possessed the experience and flexibility
to respond to a somewhat vague and always developing requirement from the Army.
Nor could this operation have stood up without the unheralded efforts of the
AVSCOM procurement and logistics professionals. These professional civil servants
and their military counterparts received little recognition, yet they worked
alongside SIPI and other contractors 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, both in CONUS
and Saudi Arabia. They thought beyond the conventional paradigms, yet they embodied
the Principles of Logistics. These personnel were innovative and empowered; they
honored their commitments to the contractors and to their Nation. The TAMP was
a success because of the camaraderie, trust, and speed of execution that existed
among the members of the AVSCOM–SIPI team.
Desert Storm Operations
As Desert Shield transformed into Desert Storm, SIPI was again called on to perform
according to the provisions of its FMS TAMP–SWA Forward contract. The RSLFAAC
was required by the Ministry of Defense and Aviation to move one of its small
helicopter battalions forward to a point west of the Wadi Al Batin near the intersection
of the Saudi, Kuwaiti, and Iraqi borders. (A wadi is a valley, gully, or streambed
that is dry except during the rainy season.) The RSLFAAC called on SIPI and the
TAFT for assistance in establishing two forward area rearming and refueling points
(FARPs). SIPI surveyed possible locations and recommended two sites approximately
10 kilometers from the border area (again demonstrating the principles of flexibility,
feasibility, and forward impetus).
Revising their security plans again, SIPI and the TAFT set up two FARPs to support
the RSLFAAC. SIPI employees and the TAFT developed the equipment packages needed
to maintain the RSLFAAC helicopters in the field. Once communication codes were
established, SIPI employee volunteers deployed to the FARPs with the TAFT and
the RSLFAAC to maintain the aircraft. The FARP support was quite successful,
and the RSLFAAC was credited with destroying a number of Iraqi bunkers with their
wire-guided missiles fired from CS–406 helicopters. The RSLFAAC also launched
UH–60 A/L Desert Hawk helicopters from these FARPs, and they were the first
Saudi troops to enter the Kuwait Airport area during the
In Damman, the AVSCOM TAMP–SWA Forward commander realized that the distance
to KKMC and the density of Army aircraft in the surrounding vicinity excessively
stretched his lines of communication. Offloading of newly arriving VII Corps
assets also was becoming a strain on TAMP operations. To become more efficient
and serve its customers better, the TAMP–SWA Forward moved certain of its
elements to KKMC and to an area known as the west heliport in Dhahran.
Adapting once again to changing logistics requirements, SIPI and other TAMP contractors,
with the concurrence of the TAMP–SWA Forward commander and the AVSCOM procurement
community, moved assets into an area on a vacant airstrip adjacent to the SIPI–KKMC
housing compound. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, this airstrip
was reconstituted and used first by French helicopter units and then by U.S.
Army aviation units. Because of its location, TAMP–SWA Forward-KKMC provided
excellent maintenance, resupply, and retrograde capabilities (demonstrating economy,
forward impetus, relativity, mobility, timeliness, and flexibility.) SIPI erected
clamshell buildings, portable offices, and security and communication systems
at TAMP–SWA Forward-KKMC for use by AVSCOM, maintenance contractors, and
the onsite AVCRAD.
SIPI also was charged with similar tasks at the west heliport in Dhahran. Additional
long-haul vehicles were leased and managed by SIPI to support these unforeseen
requirements. SIPI’s partnership with the Army proved to be a true, steadfast
relationship. No requirement AVSCOM envisioned was impossible for SIPI, including
construction services. Despite the tempo of operations, the AVSCOM managers also
always came through for SIPI, such as when SIPI needed additional global positioning
systems for the FARPs, more mission-orientated protective posture equipment for
the personnel support services subcontractor, and additional funds for unanticipated
overtime costs and the movement of dependents.
With discipline and controlled improvisation, SIPI continued to support TAMP
operations, including retrograding inventory, dismantling clamshells,
and washing aircraft before demobilization from Saudi Arabia, until final contract
closeout in September 1991.
The coalition won the Gulf War for many reasons much less visible than those
portrayed widely in the media. Among them were superior training, superior command
and control, and superior logistics. None of these factors are easy to evaluate
objectively or numerically. Numerical assessments reveal how many lines of supply
were handled, how many aircraft were maintained, how many modification work orders
were executed, and how many vehicles traveled how many miles carrying how many
tons. However, it is difficult to codify the corporate strength of a contractor
for staying in a hostile environment and having its employees come under attack
by SCUD missiles or be taken hostage, all the while responding to increased and
unanticipated customer demands. (A SCUD missile was destroyed by a Patriot missile
over the SIPI housing compound in February 1991, and the remains fell into the
compound. SIPI had two personnel in Kuwait at the time of the Iraqi invasion,
and they became hostages until their return in December 1990.)
For its support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and the RSLFAAC,
SIPI received awards from the 22d Support Command and the Army Aviation Association
of America, and several SIPI employees received AVSCOM Commander’s Medals
for their performance at the TAMP. SIPI received high award fee ratings on the
maintenance support services contract, which was a cost-plus-award-fee contract,
as well as praise from AVSCOM.
SIPI was asked to submit after-action reports so Army aviation logisticians could
benefit in the future from the information they contained. One such report detailed
the TAMP–SWA Forward operation in Damman, noted deficiencies, and made
recommendations on a broad range of topics, including supply, security, communications,
cultural issues, and procurement. However, the overarching recommendation was
that the TAMP concept be included in contingency planning for all operations
involving Army aviation assets in a theater of operations.
This recommendation was echoed by Joseph P. Cribbins, who was then Special Assistant
to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics. When asked by the AVSCOM Command
Historian if he thought the Army should incorporate the TAMP in future operations,
Cribbins replied that he thought the TAMP was “one hell of a good idea;
a precursor for the way to do things [in Army aviation] in the future.” It
obviously was. ALOG
Joseph L. Homza is the Logistics Program Manager for international military
helicopter programs at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. He participated as a defense
contractor in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and in other operations
in Kuwait, Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. More recently, he supported U.S. and
coalition operations in Turkey. He has a B.A. degree in political science from
Boston College, a master’s certificate in international affairs from Washington
University, and a master’s degree in defense program management from American
Military University. He is a graduate of the Army Logistics Management College’s
Logistics Executive Development and Support Operations Courses.