To support units medically, a logistician relies
on his ability
to assess the situation and rapidly adapt to accomplish the
The success of supporting the ongoing medical mission is influenced
by both an understanding of medical logistics and a personal
desire to help define its role. With increased demand and,
often, insufficient personnel and equipment, our ingenuity
and capabilities are repeatedly tested. The future of medical
logistics depends on the partnerships and collaboration that
can be delivered only by cross-leveling
existing resources in order to increase the capability to
integrate logistics solutions in austere scenarios. Establishing
parameters by which units become
self-sufficient is a major challenge for logisticians during
predeployment planning. The role of the medical logistician
is changing significantly because of the complexity of today’s
battlefield. In this article, I will address actions a brigade
medical supply officer can make to improve medical logistics.
Studying lessons learned, planning, and coordinating serve
as crucial tools for forecasting unit requirements. When forecasting
requirements for medical operations, you must consider the
mission, the location, the medical threat, and the medical
assets available in the area of operations. Determining multiple
courses of action and methods of execution will ensure accessibility
of supplies and the frequency of their delivery. Coordination
must include all levels of command. You should establish standards
and enforce their implementation to guarantee that tasks are
met. The medical materiel management section under the division
surgeon’s office revises a wide-range of
reference materials when preparing for a potential deployment.
Documents, like old standing operating procedures, information
papers, and after-action reports, will assist in the planning
Network! Network! Network! Establish a division or post medical
logistics council to discuss medical logistics issues unique
to your location and mission. This will facilitate the cross-leveling
of information, lessons learned, and experiences among your
peers and senior logisticians. Use your medical materiel management
officer at the division surgeon’s office to endorse
and head this council. Be sure to include the medical logistics
staff from your installation medical supply activity (IMSA);
they will provide a different insight on what is going on
within the Army Medical Department (AMEDD). While deployed,
try to continue this endeavor.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to mentor your subordinates.
This will motivate the troops and increase productivity that,
in turn, will ensure the success of your organization.
Identifying Unit Needs
Establishing rigorous readiness inspections improves the unit’s
posture and identifies last-minute discrepancies. As a medical
logistician, you must conduct a primary assessment to identify
unit standings through a complete layout of the medical equipment
sets. Use updated authorized stockage lists or component listings
to assist in the inventory process. Compile a shortage annex
once discrepancies are recognized. Conduct semi-annual authorized
stockage list reviews with your clinicians. Provide guidelines
for the units to follow while conducting those inspections,
and set a suspense date for completing fills of sets, kits,
and outfits. Present the outcomes of the survey to the unit’s
chain of command, and offer recommendations on how to improve
the unit’s operation.
Provide the 6th Medical Logistics Management Center (MLMC)
and your IMSA with the brigade’s top critical items
lists. These items can be identified based on the number of
demands accumulated during a designated timeframe. The “MEDSUP” module
on the Theater Army Medical Materiel Information System (TAMMIS)
can create a “Critical Items Report.” Providing
this information to either supply activity will ensure availability
and accessibility in short
turn-around times. You also can identify those items available
in theater by using the mission essential equipment list or
request for information format through the U.S. Army Medical
Materiel Agency (USAMMA) Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
or the Office of The Surgeon General EOC.
Prime vendors play a significant role in the
way we conduct business in today’s Army. Schedule an
appointment through the IMSA’s chief of logistics or
chief of supply to meet with the prime vendor representative
for your area. Creating good communication with your vendors,
suppliers, and customers will directly affect your success.
Contingency Stocks and Standardization
A unit’s reaction time increases when contingency stocks are kept for urgent
situations. Contingency stocks can be configured into sets for a specific brigade
combat team (BCT) medical support activity, such as an infantry battalion aid
station (BAS), a special troops battalion BAS, or a brigade support medical company.
These sets are organized mainly by the potency and date of the items. The brigade
surgeon, in collaboration with the division’s
primary healthcare providers, determines the composition of these sets. The unit
authorization list, found on the USAMMA website or in the unit data repository,
can serve as a guide for determining set composition. These sets are managed
maintained by the brigade medical supply office (BMSO) and will be pushed to
the BCT after it receives deployment orders.
Compile a critical and chronic medication list. This will guarantee accessibility
medications, especially when you are forward deployed. Plan, configure, and deploy
supply of sick call sets and trauma #2 sets with each battalion surgeon to ensure
that your clinicians have immediate access to medications once they arrive in
theater and are waiting for their medical equipment sets to arrive. Implementing
these simple measures will increase medical support capabilities and Soldiers’ survivability.
Fund Forecasting and Procurement
Coordinate through the chain of command to ensure that unit requirements are
legitimately recognized for the allocation of funds to procure stock replenishments.
The brigade surgeon and the comptroller play a major role in this process. The
BMSO is responsible for processing regular requests, tracking orders, and issuing
stocks to customer units.
With the assistance of your brigade S–4, battalion surgeons, physician’s
assistants, and medical platoon leaders, determine the top 10 projects for special
requirements. The brigade surgeon’s office is responsible for compiling
a brigade requirements list and processing the purchase request through contracting.
Use historical data to determine the next fiscal year’s funding requirements.
Establish a means of tracking requirements and expenditures, provide visibility
to your chain of command for all class VIII expenditures, and institute situational
awareness reports on medical supply issues.
New Equipment and Potential Fielding
The USAMMA website provides information on future equipment upgrades, new equipment
fieldings, and unit qualification procedures. Unit deployment packages are available
for echelons-above-division units, including forward surgical teams and air ambulance
companies. These packages include only the potency and dated items authorized
for their corresponding medical equipment sets. Units should formally request
required equipment through USAMMA. When items are issued, coordinate with the
property book office to update hand receipts. Then, coordinate through USAMMA
or the equipment manufacturer for operator-level training.
Participate in medical symposiums endorsed by
USAMMA and AMEDD. They provide great sources of information,
permit direct interaction with vendors, and allow you to learn
about new technologies and medical supplies. Invite vendors
and manufacturers to come to your home station. Coordinate
with exhibitors to allow you to test their products during
training events to ensure their effectiveness under austere
conditions. Provide feedback on your findings to Defense Supply
Center Philadelphia for potential Army-wide implementation.
Establishing an Account
Once your unit receives deployment orders, contact the property
book office or your brigade S–4 and request a derivative
or deployable Department of Defense activity address code
and an account processing code. This funding site will ensure
that you can order in the theater of operations. Contact the
international merchant purchase authorization card (IMPAC)
section at your installation contracting office and make sure
that your account is up to date. You should also make sure
that your type address code is accurate to guarantee correct
delivery of supplies to your forward location.
Training is a key element in the success of your mission.
The military occupational specialties 68J (medical logistics
specialist) and 68A (biomedical specialist) are some of the
most highly skilled personnel in the Army. Training is essential
to ensuring your Soldiers are technically qualified. Coordinate
with your chain of command to allow your section to conduct
at least 4 hours of low-density training once a month. Forecast
for additional training funds for off-site training. You should
also establish a memorandum of agreement with the combat support
hospital, establishing an on-the-job training program for
your 68A Soldiers. This effort will expose your 68A Soldiers
to all the pieces of medical equipment available in the Army
Your staff’s proficiency is only as good as their understanding
of the operating systems that support their mission. Thus,
your Soldiers should be acquainted with TAMMIS, the TAMMIS
Customer-Assisted Module, and the Defense Combat Assistance
Module. The USAMMA Materiel Acquisition Division has learning
modules and training materials available to help meet this
Conduct assistance visits to the medical activities in the brigade to share procedural
changes and catch
last-minute needs. The BMSO will process these requirements immediately. You
should also provide tactics, techniques, and procedures for handling push packages,
line requisitions, and blood requests once engaged in the battle. Continue to
set the standard for focused medical logistics. Medical units need to stand ready
for all new challenges. Create an inspection sheet that incorporates all of your
unit requirements, and establish a rating system to classify medical readiness
status and to ensure that medical supply procedures are followed. Provide the
results of your inspections to the unit’s commander to keep him aware of
Modern warfare is extraordinarily diverse and full of theoretically possible
variations. Experiences from others can have a positive impact on the mission.
To stay abreast of new ideas and procedures, use sources that are objective and
informative, such as the AMEDD Lessons Learned webpage, the General Dennis J.
Reimer Training and Doctrine Digital Library, and Army Logistician.
Identify any guidance that can be adapted to current operations. The bottom line
learn from other’s mistakes and benefit from other’s knowledge.
Captain Edwin H. Rodriguez is the Chief of Logistics Plans and Readiness
the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Army Medical Research
and Materiel Command, at Fort Detrick, Maryland. He holds a bachelor’s
degree in biology from Inter American University of Puerto Rico and a master’s
degree in health service management from Webster University. He is a graduate
of the Medical Logistics Management Internship Program and a member of the Association
for Healthcare Resource and Materials Management.