|Enhancing Joint Fuel
and Munitions Logistics
|by Michael E. Cast
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
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 Command—at Aberdeen Proving
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.
aboard the guided missile cruiser
stand ready to receive a
diesel fuel line from the underway replenishment
oiler . The underway
replenishment of the
Monterey’s fuel took place during Partnership
of the Americas, a maritime training and readiness
of U.S. Naval Forces with
Caribbean and Latin American countries.|
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
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.
from the Florida Army National Guard fuel their vehicles
during a deployment in support of Hurricane Rita
humanitarian assistance operations.
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
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
Web-Based Bulk Petroleum Contingency Report
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
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—
Joint Theater Level Simulation
[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.
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
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.
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.
Seahawk helicopter prepares to place munitions
on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS
Bonhomme Richard off the coast of San Diego, California.
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,
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
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
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
the tools they would be using while assigned there.”
refuels an F–16 jet during an exercise at Shaw
Air Force Base, South Carolina.
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