The Army's Materiel Enterprise must have a heart that can pump the information it needs in order to function as a healthy and effective system. The Army Materiel Command's Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, plays a key role in sustaining the heartbeat of the Materiel Enterprise by providing logistics data, information, and analysis for its customers worldwide.
Logisticians must continually focus on the effect of the operational environment on the Soldier. Having a clear perspective on the ever-changing conditions facing Soldiers enables logisticians to accurately interpret the environment and make tough decisions based on the best information available. Where do logisticians find that information? The answer is the Logistics Information Warehouse (LIW).
The New Military Environment and LOGSA
In our individual lives, we must become acclimated to our environment—wherever we find ourselves—if we are to function effectively. The same is true for the Army. Soldiers must continually adapt to environmental changes, especially in an era of persistent conflict.
The revolutionary changes and technological ad-vances affecting military affairs today are unlike any witnessed before in the long history of U.S. warfare. Massive increases in materiel procurement and the heightened readiness demands of the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) cycle have dictated a shift toward a new system of business management—the Army's enterprise planning system.
The enterprise planning system consists of four core enterprises: Materiel, Readiness, Human Capital, and Services and Infrastructure. The Materiel Enterprise is cochaired by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA [ALT]) and the commanding general of AMC. This partnership creates a more complete integration of the life-cycle management of systems between the developer (ASA [ALT]) and the sustainer (AMC).
The Army's Materiel Enterprise and the emerging Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system are revolutionizing logistics automation business practices, processes, and functions. LOGSA's role in ERP is to support the development and execution of an integrated approach to managing logistics information.
LOGSA's Mission and Today's LIW
Our mission at LOGSA is to provide timely and integrated life-cycle logistics information and expertise in support of warfighters globally to meet full-spectrum operational requirements. Our workforce of 850 military, civilian, and contractor personnel provides acquisition logistics support, logistics information intelligence, and logistics technical assistance to customers worldwide.
LIW is essential to LOGSA's successful perfor-mance of its mission. In fact, the Secretary of the Army in March designated LIW to serve as the Army's authoritative repository for logistics data. This will support the optimization of ARFORGEN materiel management.
LIW is the Army's primary source for storing, accessing, acquiring, and delivering integrated logistics domain data and information for reuse, analysis, and aggregation. However, LIW is more than just a data repository. It also houses logistics reference information, such as electronic technical manuals and interactive electronic technical manuals, FED LOG [Federal Logistics Data], reports, applications, and tools made available to the customer in a user-friendly portal format. The broad suite of tools offered by LIW is governed by business rules and logic that ensure that data are presented to Army commanders and senior leaders as actionable intelligence.
The Future of LIW
To keep LIW healthy, LOGSA must integrate and transform its products and services to support the emerging ERP and the AMC and ASA (ALT) Materiel Enterprise Transformation Plan. To accomplish this, LOGSA developed a comprehensive plan, with a related executive order, structured along four overlapping lines of effort (LOE). You can think of these four LOEs like the four chambers of the human heart. The heart's chambers serve to pump blood, but each has a specific life-preserving purpose. What follows is a summary of the LOE framework.
The first LOE is to develop the lead materiel integrator decision support tool. AMC is the Secretary of the Army's designated lead materiel integrator for synchronizing and integrating equipping distribution. This includes materiel distribution solutions to improve equipment on-hand readiness and achieve the goals established in the Army's Equipping Strategy. AMC's executive agent for this task is the Army Sustainment Command.
To enable equipping, a web-based, collaborative decision support tool will—
- Provide an automated link to an integrated demand signal.
- Provide a predictive capability that allows the Materiel Enterprise to visualize the future impacts of current sourcing decisions.
- Provide a course-of-action capability to rapidly evaluate alternative sourcing solutions.
- Automate an interoperable materiel synchronization capability networked to LIW that provides shared situational awareness across the Army.
- Present output reports, such as an equipping matrix.
To achieve these objectives, LOGSA's role is to lead the development of the decision support tool module, the work flow module, and all associated reports. However, before moving out, we must first identify acquisition and logistics information and data requirements in support of the lead materiel integrator. Once the data requirements are determined, data gaps must be identified and filled. Sufficient data oversight is also critical to ensure that the data are the highest quality and most accurate available.
The second LOE is to support Army logistics transformation to the ERP strategy. LOGSA established an enterprise-class integrated data warehouse in July 2010. A second phase of development is now underway that includes maturing the integrated data warehouse, reengineering business processes and redesigning applications to exploit data in providing futuristic analytics, and modernizing applications and data brokering by means of a service-oriented architecture. ["Data brokering" refers to gathering and making available information.]
LOGSA has also developed a growing partnership with the Project Manager, Army Enterprise Systems Integration Program. Several key tasks have evolved as part of these initiatives.
The most significant task is to sustain operations as the Army transforms to an enterprise system. Users must be capable of reading data from legacy systems and the emerging ERP system. A process dubbed "backwards compatibility" allows for the translation of enterprise data into a legacy format. However, legacy logistics tools (such as the Battle Command Sustainment Support System [BCS3], Defense Readiness Reporting System–Army [DRRS–A], and Operating and Support Management Information System [OSMIS]) cannot translate certain ERP data elements and records. To mitigate this shortfall, the initiative to make data "backwards compatible" will enable LIW to broker logistics data from GCSS–Army (Global Combat Support System–Army)-converted units to legacy systems.
Another task is developing metrics to measure system readiness and capacity to perform enterprise-level analytics. Similar to an x ray, the enterprise LIW will maintain domain-wide visibility of requirements and capabilities while simultaneously sustaining current and enduring operations.
The third LOE is to develop and sustain LIW ar-chitecture and storage. As we redesign applications to provide customers with a better presentation, we are also redesigning the internal, or "back-end," architecture of LIW. This will allow us to move data to the lowest possible level. We will also use multiple tiers of storage. Data that users need to access immediately will thus be available on a higher tier of storage to more rapidly satisfy their needs.
Data stored for archival or historical purposes will be placed on less expensive storage tiers. If we see a need to access this type of information rapidly, it will be moved automatically to a higher-performing storage tier. It then will be returned to a lower tier as the demand decreases.
We also have created an LIW Data Warehouse that will power the integrated LIW and its applications. This warehouse will also be the foundation for brokering large amounts of data to critical Army decision support tools such as DRRS–A, BCS3, OSMIS, and the Army Enterprise Equipping System.
As we transform LIW, we are conducting continual mission analysis and working to develop the best solutions for hosting primary and critical backup data.
The fourth LOE is LIW's transformation and optimization in support of the Army ERP strategy, making data more accessible to our Soldiers and partners.
How does LOGSA envision the future of the enterprise LIW? Our intent is to optimize current structure, data, architecture, and important business practices, processes, and rules to—
- Provide the Army a central, authoritative repository for data and logistics answers.
- Improve logistics and financial visibility by syn-chronizing and integrating a complex suite of networks and functional components.
- Enable an effective and efficient feed of actionable information to other logistics domains, commands, and trading partners through the expanding use of web services.
As we transform to meet the needs of the Army, we must ensure that LIW provides customers an efficient and user-friendly system. Adhering to Army and AMC guidance, we will determine the best "front-end" applications available for LIW and ensure that quick and effective query functions are available.
To meet this objective, we are documenting legacy products and services, identifying faulty logic within near- and long-term enduring products and services, identifying candidate processes for "leaning" [applying Lean Six Sigma analysis], and facilitating a value-stream mapping event. We are also evaluating internal resources and potential substitutes, evaluating related agreements with customers and external suppliers of information and services, and identifying overlaps with other organizations. Finally, we are developing and executing a "sunset" plan for applicable legacy tools and data feeds that will have no utility once we achieve the ERP's full operating capability.
As we take revolutionary steps to improve access to and the accuracy of logistics data, information, and analysis, logisticians should remember these key points about LOGSA.
The environment drives change. Information and automated systems that turn data into actionable information and intelligence must change with the environment.
LIW has more than 1,500 legacy reports, tools, and applications available and passes data to over 150 trading partners. We recognize the need to provide customers with sustained capabilities while instituting enduring change. We have developed clear lines of effort that extend from meeting the data needs of emerging partners to upgrading and optimizing our storage and services capability.
The Secretary of the Army has designated LIW as the Army's single repository of authoritative logistics. LIW provides end-to-end life-cycle logistics support data and information to support activities across the Department of Defense. LOGSA's goal is to provide an integrated, single source in meeting the information needs of the Materiel Enterprise and beyond.
The significant assistance that LIW brings to the table makes LOGSA's role vital in sustaining the heartbeat of the Materiel Enterprise.