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Identifying Logistics Requirements
Early Improves Warfighting Capabilities

Comprehensive logistics supportability and sustainment planning for combat systems and equipment is an investment to ensure that our Soldiers receive warfighting capabilities that are reliable, maintainable, sustainable, and affordable. In the long run, these attributes enable commanders to sustain combat power in their warfighting platforms through improved materiel readiness. Identifying and communicating key logistics supportability and sustainment requirements to system materiel developers (program management teams) early in the capability development process are critical to achieving systems that are fully supportable when they are fielded. This ultimately supports Department of Defense and Army goals for reducing total ownership cost and the logistics footprint while meeting operational and system readiness objectives and improving logistics standardization and interoperability.

To further emphasize the criticality of materiel readiness within system requirements, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 3170.01F, Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System, now mandates a sustainment key performance parameter (KPP) for materiel availability. The KPP is supported by two key system attributes, materiel reliability and ownership cost. These attributes tie readiness levels to resources and indepth logistics supportability and sustainment planning early in the system development process. This front-end work enables the achievement of materiel readiness throughout a system’s life cycle.

While many organizations have a role in determining and ultimately executing logistics supportability and sustainment at the platform level, the Army Training and Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC’s) capability development community is responsible for initially defining and documenting logistics supportability and sustainment attributes within warfighting systems. To assist the community, the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) Division, in conjunction with the Department of the Army G–4, the Army Evaluation Center, the Army Capabilities Integration Center’s Logistics Division, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition Policy and Logistics, developed a logistics supportability handbook for defining and documenting logistics supportability and sustainment requirements for combat systems and equipment.

The handbook uses the 10 ILS elements—maintenance planning; manpower and personnel; supply support; support equipment; technical data; training and training support; computer resources support; facilities; packaging, handling, storage, and transportability; and design interface—as a template for developing supportability and sustainment capabilities. It also includes sections on critical system characteristics such as reliability, availability, and maintainability (RAM); condition-based maintenance plus (CBM+); network-centric logistics; and life-cycle sustainment metrics. The handbook was distributed to TRADOC’s centers and schools in March 2008 and was recently published as a supporting chapter within the updates to the TRADOC capability development document (CDD) and capability production document (CPD) writer’s guides. The handbook is a great roadmap for taking us into the future.

The logistics supportability handbook contains an overview of each of the 10 ILS elements and a descriptive sample paragraph to use in developing each supportability and sustainment requirement. Since emerging systems differ in support and sustainment requirements, the capability developer can tailor the sample paragraphs to fit an individual system’s needs when developing a CDD or CPD. During the initial staffing of the CDD or CPD, the CASCOM ILS Division performs an assessment of the documented logistics supportability and sustainment entries and assists the proponent author in shaping the requirements before they are staffed for validation and entrance into the formal approval process at the Army Requirements Oversight Council or the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. Since the initial publication of the handbook, the depth and scope of logistics supportability and sustainment requirements have improved substantially.

Logistics supportability and sustainment of combat platforms enable our operating forces to generate and sustain combat power. Defining support and sustainment requirements early in the system developmental process is essential to achieving materiel readiness goals throughout the life-cycle of a warfighting platform. The policies, goals, and objectives for improving system readiness are clear, and the TRADOC capability development community is at the forefront in effectively communicating them within capability documents.

We need to continue to reinforce this process because it makes sense and benefits the Soldier and the taxpayer. With well-conceived logistics supportability and sustainment structures, we can ensure that our Soldiers receive reliable, maintainable, sustainable, and affordable warfighting systems capable of out-performing any adversary on any battlefield. Support Starts Here!

David B. Crum is the division chief for the Integrated Logistics Support Division in CASCOM’s Materiel Systems Directorate. A retired transportation and aquisition officer, he holds a master’s degree in procurement and acquisition management.