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Enhancing Joint Fuel
and Munitions Logistics

The Army Developmental Test Command is hosting a program that tests ways to improve planning for joint munitions and fuel support by making better use of information.

The Global War on Terrorism has underscored the need for close cooperation and coordination among the armed services, and future conflicts are just as likely to require joint military operations. This means that the logisticians of each service must be prepared to work closely with their counterparts from the other services to support operations of varying scope and intensity.

Since October 2002, a multiservice team has been conducting a test and evaluation program designed to improve joint logistics planning and execution. This program, known as Joint Logistics Planning Enhancements (JLOG/PE), was established by the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. Under JLOG/PE, the team is working with combatant commanders and their logistics staffs to develop and test a variety of methods for enhancing joint logistics. The team is hosted by the Army Developmental Test Command (DTC)the technical tester for the Army Test and Evaluation Commandat Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

The objective of the JLOG/PE program is to improve the determination of sustainment requirements and the management of sustainment resources through the better use and exchange of information. The program was developed to examine how information is accessed and used, which means taking a close look at those information systems with the greatest potential for helping the joint force commander assess the logistics sustainability of forces in a theater of operations. Another key focus of the program is to determine the extent to which enhanced logistics processes, or business practices, can improve the joint force commander’s ability to assess the logistics needs of an in-theater force.

The JLOG/PE program has focused on improvements to joint logistics operations in the areas of bulk class III (petroleum, oils, and lubricants) and class V (ammunition). This effort is critical because the services have numerous hurdles to overcome if joint logistics operations are to provide combatant commanders with fuel and ammunition where they are needed, when they are needed, and in the quantities they are needed.

JLOG/PE Organization

Before the actual test and evaluation effort got underway, the JLOG/PE program initiated a feasibility study with support from representatives of the other services and SRS Technologies and Computer Sciences Corporation, two California-based companies that provide information technology services to the Government and private industry. Representatives of these two companies also have been taking part in the joint test and evaluation.

A general officer steering committee oversees the JLOG/PE program. It includes general and flag officers and senior executives representing all of the services; the combatant commands; the Joint Staff; the Director for Logistics, J­4; the Defense Logistics Agency; and the Defense Energy Support Center. Brigadier General Michael Combest, DTC’s commander, is also a member of this committee, representing his command as it hosts testing of JLOG/PE concepts. The team includes both Army and Air Force participants as well as contract staff who have expertise in logistics operations.

Personnel assigned to the JLOG/PE program are responsible for briefing the Joint Warfighter Advisory Group (JWAG), which has convened four times at DTC headquarters. This advisory group includes representatives of the combatant commands and their logistics staffs, the U.S. Joint Forces Command, the Defense Logistics Agency, the Defense Energy Support Center, and other organizations responsible for military logistics.

The JWAG’s meetings have focused on various proposed enhancements to class III and class V logistics operations. Among these are the Joint Staff Munitions Report (JS MUREP), the National Level Ammunition Capability (NLAC), the Web-Based Bulk Petroleum Contingency Report (REPOL), the Joint Theater Level Simulation (JTLS), and the Rolling Brief.

Joint Staff Munitions Report

The JLOG/PE team deployed to Camp Smith, Hawaii, in December 2004 to collect data and introduce potential enhancements during the Terminal Fury 05 exercise conducted by the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). The Terminal Fury exercises are designed to help the United States and its allies deal with potential threats in the western Pacific. PACOM planned to use the JS MUREP for munitions reporting.

During a review of PACOM’s JS MUREP reporting procedures, the JLOG/PE team identified several issues for exercise planners to consider. One was the lack of specific procedures to follow for extracting munitions expenditures from the JTLS (an exercise tool used to simulate the battle) and entering those data in the JS MUREP. Since then, the JLOG/PE program has been developing and testing procedures in their computer lab at Aberdeen Proving Ground. A white paper was provided to PACOM headquarters in August 2005 outlining those procedures and plans so that they could be included in Terminal Fury 06.

National Level Ammunition Capability

The NLAC is a Web-based automated system that provides authorized users with near-real-time asset visibility of ammunition for all of the services. Ammunition asset data are furnished to the NLAC each day by service ammunition management and visibility systems and DOD transportation and document tracking systems. The NLAC allows users to view ammunition items in a number of ways—by location, serial number, lot number, condition code, service ownership, and location in the transportation pipeline.

During Terminal Fury 05, ammunition action officers described NLAC as a significant source for maintaining situational awareness of ammunition. Action officers used the NLAC to assess the status of munitions, resolve problems, and prepare briefings, including briefings on the status of the worldwide ammunition stockpile.

JLOG–PE’s resident expert on the NLAC, Sergeant First Class Lacey Cabble, observed

    We have come up with some improvements to help action officers manage ammunition. One of the tools that we came up with was a predictive analysis tool. This would allow action officers to go in and see the ammunition (in the logistics system) and make decisions at critical points, to find out if they needed to pull in ammunition at a certain time during a conflict. Also something that is currently in development is that we’re trying to build in a database that will allow action officers to train on deploying ammunition realistically—using real-time data.
Web-Based Bulk Petroleum Contingency Report

The Defense Energy Support Center and the Naval Operational Logistics Support Center conducted several developmental tests involving the Web-Based REPOL in February and March 2005. The Joint Petroleum Office of PACOM and the JLOG/PE team provided support for an additional test in April 2005. Each of these tests succeeded in identifying areas that needed improvement and demonstrating the viability of a Web-based reporting system.

According to Donald Hogge, a member of the JLOG/PE team—

    [The current REPOL system uses] a current manually produced spreadsheet report that each level of command spends anywhere from 1 to 2 hours preparing and manually transfer[s] from spreadsheet to spreadsheet as the report goes up the chain of command. That process takes anywhere from 48 to 72 hours. The Web-Based REPOL process will bring that to near-real time, which is anything less than 12 hours.
Joint Theater Level Simulation

The JTLS is an interactive, computer-assisted simulation tool used in joint training programs. It focuses on the operational level of war as experienced by the combatant commands and joint task force staffs.

While participating in joint exercises, the JLOG/PE staff gained insights into how the JTLS could more accurately model real-world logistics and improve training for combatant commanders and joint task force staffs. The JLOG/PE program has funded improvements to the JTLS as a test product.

Rolling Brief

The Rolling Brief is a Web-based briefing that scrolls continuously across projection screens or monitors in a joint logistics operations center on a 24-hour basis. It provides real-time situational awareness of selected classes of supply so that logistics staff personnel can provide the latest information to their combatant commanders during joint operations. It eliminates the need for action officers to present time-consuming daily briefings.

The Rolling Brief was developed by using basic computer codes that make it portable and easy to use; it is not restricted to a specific operating platform, and no tools are needed other than a text editor. The files used in the brief can be Word documents, PowerPoint slides, Excel spreadsheets, or even other Web pages. During their routine submission cycles, action officers can update files from key referenced items found in the REPOL, the JS MUREP, and the Logistics Situation Report.

Air Force Master Sergeant Michael Ashton, another member of the JLOG/PE team, summarized the advantages of the Rolling Brief like this

    The action officers, whether for fuel, ammunition, etc., can put PowerPoint slides together, or whatever briefings they have, and the Rolling Brief pulls them all together and scrolls through each one every 20 seconds, or however long they set it for. It also has time-zone clocks and calculated days to keep them informed of the day of the exercise, or whatever relevant day, they’re on.

    Prior to developing the Rolling Brief, for example, a typical staff officer for a logistical operations center during an exercise or wartime would be dealing with his specific commodity, whether it be ammunition or fuel. He wouldn’t cross over into fuels, transportation, host-nation support, civil affairs, or engineering lanes. He wouldn’t know a great deal about that until providing a briefing for the commander twice a day. So what we introduced was this tool that rolls 24 [hours a day]-7 [days a week] on a projected screen and shows each action officer’s slides. There is a constant feed of updated information. The general in his headquarters or the colonel in charge of the operations center could also view those slides 24-7 during an operation or exercise. It was used during the real-world tsunami relief operation that occurred in Indonesia.

Exercises in Other Theaters

In addition to taking part in a major military exercise such as Terminal Fury, JLOG/PE team members observed logistics operations in the Foal Eagle 04 exercise, the largest annual exercise for U.S. and allied forces in South Korea.

In June 2004, team members also visited the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility in Qatar and Kuwait. During this trip, sponsored by Lieutenant General William E. Mortensen, CENTCOM’s Director of Logistics and Engineering, the team visited the CENTCOM Forward Logistics Operations Center as well as the Combined Forces Land Component Command and the Combined Forces Air Component Command. They interviewed fuels and munitions managers and collected data on the management processes and tools currently in use. The data collected from these visits helped the JLOG/PE team analyze munitions and fuels sustainment processes, focusing on how to enhance CENTCOM’s joint logistics operations. Team members also visited CENTCOM headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, on several occasions.

Joint Logistics Training Packages

The JLOG/PE program developed a training package on logistics operations involving munitions, and a similar package on fuels is being prepared. Creation of these training packages was requested by the JWAG.

As described by Colonel Edward J. Fisher, the test director for the JLOG/PE program, “People come right out of their individual services and get assigned to a joint command with hardly any training whatsoever. This [training] walks them down from the joint perspective to the combatant command’s [areas of responsibility], to the joint combatant commander’s staff, to the J–4 staff, where they would be assigned, and then to the individual desk and the tools they would be using while assigned there.”

Other Initiatives

After developing the logistics enhancement products, the JLOG/PE team’s role became the transfer of “custodianship” of the products to the appropriate organizations. As Charlie McKenzie, one of the team’s principal operations research analysts, observed, “When we close down, we want to make sure that our products . . . continue past [the closing of] our organization.”

The JLOG/PE team also has been working on what McKenzie called “ancillary test products.” “Throughout our test and evaluation, we have identified some holes in the Universal Joint Task List—some things to be improved—so we’ve submitted improvements,” McKenzie explained. [The Universal Joint Task List identifies logistics tasks that must be performed at the joint level.] “We are also developing what’s called joint tactics, techniques, and procedures, primarily for joint munitions management.”

The JLOG/PE team was asked to be the lead office for an initiative called Joint Theater Conventional Munitions Management, which is part of the Joint Theater Logistics Transformation. According to McKenzie, “What we were asked to do initially was, first, define and identify what joint theater logistics management is; second, to determine what are the processes and procedures that describe it; and, third, to determine the capabilities required to manage munitions at the joint theater level.”

The U.S. Joint Forces Command asked the JLOG/PE team to support it in a related transformation initiative, Joint Experimental Deployment Support. “They’ve asked us to support them in data collection and analysis, and in developing the Department of Defense Architectural Framework [DODAF] associated with that effort,” McKenzie said. “DODAF is a procedure or methodology for developing mappings of processes and mappings of systems that is common throughout the services and DOD. We have a capability to build those during our joint test and evaluation, and we’ve been supporting that effort for the Joint Staff.”

At the close of the joint test and evaluation later this year, the JLOG/PE team will complete their reports and hand off the products they developed to the appropriate organizations. The military members of the team will move to other assignments, and the contracted personnel will go on to other jobs.

The transformation taking place within all of the armed services includes a significant transformation in logistics. In light of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, where a linear battlefront does not exist, the enhancements resulting from JLOG/PE are timely. More than ever, up-to-date information is a critical need. The work of the JLOG/PE program has improved the ability of the joint logistics community to obtain that information.

Michael E. Cast is a public affairs specialist at the Army Developmental Test Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arizona State University.