Soldiers with military occupational specialty 92A are responsible for knowing how to operate an increasing number of continually changing logistics systems.
Just over a decade ago, after performing preventive
maintenance checks and services (PMCS) on his vehicle, a Soldier
would walk from the company motor pool to the maintenance section
and give the completed Department of the Army Form 2404, Equipment
Inspection Maintenance Worksheet, to the Unit Level Logistics
System-Ground (ULLS–G) operator, an equipment records
and parts specialist holding military occupational specialty
(MOS) 76C. After the maintenance supervisor verified the faults,
the 76C Soldier would update the equipment faults in the ULLS–G
automated maintenance system, which updated the Standard Army
Maintenance System (SAMS) that was operated by another 76C
The ULLS–G operator would order the parts required to
repair the vehicle and place the request on a diskette for
input to the Standard Army Retail Supply System-1 (SARSS–1)
at the supply support activity (SSA) warehouse. He then would
deliver the diskette to the SSA, where a stock control and
accounting specialist (MOS 76P) would process the diskette
and print a materiel release order for the repair parts. A
materiel storage and handling specialist (MOS 76V) would pull
the parts from the SSA stocks.
Today, the process is basically the same. The foundation of
the entire maintenance program is still the proper PMCS of
the unit’s equipment by a trained operator. What has
changed is that all of the support Soldiers involved in the
automated maintenance tracking and supply support missions
now share the same MOS—92A, automated logistical specialist.
The automated accounting systems and the rapidly evolving user-level
communications architecture that supports them have transformed
the 92A Soldier from an automated record keeper and inventory
manager to an information technology-enabled worker with many
valuable skills. The catalysts for the continued evolution
of the 92A Soldier are advances in the information technology
field, the Army’s procurement of more sophisticated inventory
management and communications systems, and the continued accession
of well-educated Soldiers.
MOS 92A was created by combining MOSs 76C, 76P, 76V, and 76X
(subsistence supply specialist). MOS consolidation is not a
new Army concept. Several supply MOSs have been consolidated
over the past 40 years. A 92A Soldier holds the equivalent
of 16 supply MOSs from the Vietnam War era. At that time, 20
supply MOSs—from supplyman (MOS 76A) to senior supply/service
sergeant (MOS 76Z)—covered the
spectrum of Army supplies.
Cross-training and job consolidation are ubiquitous in modern
industry. Proficient and knowledgeable workers enable organizations
to be more adaptive, effective, and efficient. MOS 92A is a
logical consolidation of similar jobs. More than 11,300 authorized
slots in the Army personnel inventory are 92A positions, and
half of those authorizations are in the ranks of specialist
MOS 92A Soldiers are expected to maintain a technical proficiency
commensurate with their skill levels. They have up to 85 skill-level-dependent
critical tasks, each with its own required subtasks. These
Supervising and performing warehouse functions in order to
maintain equipment records and parts.
Operating the automated systems that facilitate the management
of supplies or maintenance.
Manually receiving, storing, and issuing supplies.
Soldiers of the 48th Brigade Combat Team, Georgia
Army National Guard, train with the new Field Pack-Up
Unit Modular Storage System at the National Training
High-Tech Equipment Training
The introduction of new technologies and equipment into a
military organization that spans the globe presents a difficult
for the Army’s institutional and unit training programs.
The Army must find a way to train Soldiers effectively and
efficiently on emergent systems and equipment while maintaining
the current operating tempo.
For example, the Battle Command Sustainment Support System
(BCS3) (the successor to the often-maligned Combat Service
Support Control System) has many applications for providing
logistics commanders a more complete
near-real-time picture of the situation within an area of operations
than they have had in the past. BCS3 training is designated
as non-MOS-specific. However, a 92A Soldier usually is tasked
as the BCS3 operator in the battalion support operations office.
BCS3 training is not a part of the 92A training program at
the Army Quartermaster Center and School at Fort Lee, Virginia.
BCS3 training, as with many emergent systems, is often provided
by onsite training teams. Onsite training teams, such as those
accessed through the Digital Training Management System (DTMS),
are funded by individual divisions or installations to provide
onsite training to their Soldiers. This can present a training
dilemma for Soldiers deployed forward in the Iraq area of operations
because they may not have access to onsite teams but still
must be trained on emergent systems.
In some cases, the amount of effort expended by the Army to
administer and sustain the training of proficient operators
will outweigh the benefits of the training. Job consolidation
works well until the amount of knowledge required to perform
well in each of the consolidated areas becomes too great for
most Soldiers to master. At some point, adding another logistics
automation system to the 92A field will not be advantageous
since fewer trained operators will be available.
In addition to mastering new systems, other critical logistics
requirements are falling into the MOS 92A realm of responsibility.
Contingency contracting operations are a standard part of military
operations. Numerous global deployments to remote areas have
created the need for more Soldiers with contracting skills
to coordinate host nation support for Army forces. Contracting
officers belong to the Army Acquisition Corps, and contracting
noncommissioned officers (NCOs) maintain the additional skill
identifier (ASI) G1, contracting agent. Incorporating contracting
operations into the 92A and 92Y (unit supply specialist) education
system has benefited contingency contracting operations.
The growing need for contracting operations may contradict
the current practice of temporarily assigning NCOs to ASI
G1 positions. Managing acquisitions and contracts with a
nation is an intricate, but perishable, skill. Contracting
NCOs who follow a normal permanent change-of-station schedule
with average rotations of 36 months will not remain current
in the constantly changing contracting field without consecutive
contracting assignments and training. Improving the career
and assignment management of ASI G1 Soldiers would preclude
the need to create a separate MOS for contracting agents,
but a separate MOS may be necessary if assignments are not
managed. [See related article on page 7.] Contracting agent
prerequisites should include a logistics background, as the
Marine Corps currently does, to help produce technically
competent agents. Required sustainment training must be institutionalized
to keep Soldiers’ skills current.
The inclusion of MOS 76X in the 92A consolidation seemed appropriate,
given the similarity of the supply procedures for rations and
repair parts. A ration platoon of MOS 92A Soldiers manages
the brigade-level ration breakpoints in support of the Army
Field Feeding System. While 92A Soldiers manage the receipt,
storage, and issue of rations well, a food operations specialist
(MOS 92G) is required to maintain the appropriate ration management
forms, compute the ration breakdown, and ensure the proper
handling of perishable items. Establishing an ASI for rations
handlers and improving assignment management would validate
the inclusion of MOS 76X in MOS 92A.
The Fiscal Year 2004 Quartermaster Branch Functional Review
recommended assignment-oriented training for 92A Soldiers.
This recommendation entailed dividing MOS 92A into a two-track
system—one for unit-level and the other for direct support-level
Soldiers. Soldiers in each track would be given assignments
based on their experience. The MOS would be consolidated for
Soldiers in the grade of E–6 and above. The separate
assignments would develop the skills required of 92A Soldiers
and ensure more specialized and technically competent NCO
leadership in their respective areas.
However, the assignment-oriented training initiative fails
to address a common occurrence among 92A NCOs. Many Army
supply activities and materiel management centers (MMCs)
managed by senior NCOs who have spent their careers as ULLS
clerks. They were seldom afforded any SARSS training until
their promotions to E–6 forced their battalions to
release them to assignments commensurate with their rank.
are expected to have the level of technical competence necessary
to manage a supply activity effectively; however, in reality,
they struggle to gain the knowledge they need to accomplish
Better assignment management at the installation and division
levels will provide 92A Soldiers more opportunities to learn
the skills they need at the different levels of supply. This
means that the G/S–1 personnel managers must be aware
of the cross-training needed to ensure that Soldiers are
assigned to positions that broaden their experience. Force
initiatives, including unit-focused stability and home basing,
emphasize the need for cross-training among Soldiers because
they may spend a large portion of their careers at one installation
and, possibly, at the same job.
After initial entry (basic) training, 92A Soldiers complete
12 weeks of advanced individual training (AIT) at the
Quartermaster School. They learn the basics of automated
supply and receive training on some of the automated supply
equipment used in the SSA warehouse, such as the Materiel
Release Order Control System and the portable infrared label
and data collection device. They are introduced to the automated
systems that manage organizational maintenance (ULLS), direct
support maintenance (SAMS), and supply support (SARSS). They
also learn about the procedures for managing rations under
the Army Field Feeding System.
One Army solution for continued technical MOS training is
the Distributed Learning System (DLS) (formerly The Army
Learning Program). DLS provides computer-based training at
hundreds of digital training facilities via the Internet
and on CD–ROM software. Information on DLS and a generous
number of MOS-related courses is available on line at www.tadlp.monroe.army.mil
or from unit training NCOs.
The introduction to the SSA of the Field Pack-Up Unit Modular
Storage System, which is replacing the outdated M129 storage
van, also presents a unique training issue. The containers
are moved on palletized load system (PLS) trucks. MOS 92A
Soldiers do not routinely receive driver training on the
so the SSA loses its ability to move itself. This problem
could be solved by training 92A Soldiers to drive PLSs during
time training, site training team visits, and unit training
Hands-on training also occurs for 92A Soldiers at the three
Army maneuver combat training centers—the Joint Multinational
Readiness Center (formerly the Combat Maneuver Training Center)
at Hohenfels, Germany; the Joint Readiness Training Center
at Fort Polk, Louisiana; and the National Training Center (NTC)
at Fort Irwin, California. The NTC provides hands-on tactical
and technical training opportunities for logistics Soldiers
in a contemporary operating environment. Performing real-time
supply missions using robust class IX (repair parts) stocks
and working with the familiar faces of the 92A’s own
brigade engender confidence and experience.
NTC observations of MOS 92A Soldiers’ skills, however,
indicate that they need more training on the technical aspects
of the SSA mission, including the use of the new satellite
communications systems and wireless networking and the maintenance
of automation in a harsh desert environment. Of critical importance
is the need to include the ULLS, SAMS, and SARSS operators
in the unit’s tactical training. Computer operators
may be excluded from many training events, such as convoy
exercises, because of the criticality of their mission, which
results in insufficient tactical training.
communications systems like this Very Small Aperture
Terminal at the National Training Center are part
of the advanced technologies that 92A Soldiers employ.
Developing and implementing installation-level MOS workshops
could alleviate much of the disparity in technical knowledge
among 92A Soldiers serving in a number of key positions, including
ULLS clerks, SAMS operators, rations handlers, SSA technical
supply clerks, automation management office clerks, and support
operations commodities managers. These workshops also could
help 92As who are cross-training in unit supply rooms.
An MOS workshop is a brief and intensive educational program
for a relatively small group of people. It focuses on the techniques
and skills of a specific field, such as logistics automation.
Installation training facilities with fully configured logistics
systems could be used to certify each system operator and would
prove invaluable to gaining units that are struggling to provide
on-the-job training for new Soldiers.
The workshop concept may be limited by the support provided
by the installation and the command emphasis placed on acquiring
highly trained supply and maintenance systems operators. For
example, commanders usually will place mission requirements
before training when determining their work priorities. This
may prevent Soldiers from attending the workshops.
Implementing new training standards has obvious inherent pitfalls.
Changing from the currently entrenched assignment-focused training
system to a system based on the comprehensive teaching of emergent
technical systems to every 92A Soldier at brigade level and
below is an arduous task. Soldiers and their leaders may express
dissatisfaction with the concept of rotating knowledgeable
Soldiers to other units or even within the same unit.
Conversely, it would be a mistake to overlook how new information
technologies, the privatization of key logistics functions,
and reorganization of the Army’s force structure
will affect logistics systems and Soldiers. Proactive planning
and implementation of aggressive training systems by the
and Doctrine Command and Army trainers at all levels will
provide the logistics community with technically and tactically
92A warrior logisticians for future operations.
Officer (W–3) Timothy N. McCarter, Sr., is the Class
IX Distribution Observer-Controller with the Goldminer team
at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.
He attends the University
of Maryland and is a graduate of the Warrant Officer Basic
and Advanced Course and the Joint Course on Logistics.