Reports from AUSA Logistics Symposium 


Operational Army Needs ‘Enterprise Approach’ while Transforming

The Army’s G-4 said that although the operational Army is stressed and stretched but is continuing to transform while the institutional Army “hasn’t been changed since 1972.”

Speaking at the Association of the United States Army logistics symposium and exhibition in Richmond, Va., Lt. Gen. Ann Dunwoody asked, “What are the old processes that need to be transformed,” so the institutional Army is thinking how to work collaboratively and not in stovepipes.

But dinner speaker William Bellows, a mechanical engineer with Pratt & Whitney, issued a warning on thinking in traditional ways.

He said enterprise organizations realize that “working independently, one-plus-one equals two in silos. [But] it could be zero.”

Organizations and individuals can “run into problems by seeing things only in black and white,” rather than in a continuum of grays.

“The Army’s budget last year was $250 billion” when the base budget and the emergency spending appropriations are added together, Dunwoody said. “We need an enterprise approach” in using business techniques inside the Army.

Her deputy, Maj. Gen. Vincent Boles, said it was a matter of knowing “who’s got what,” and being able to get “the same common operating picture across the Army.”

Looking at the supporters of the warfight in a slightly different way over the same time was Michael Kirby, deputy under secretary of the Army for business transformation.

“I say we optimize” rather than transform, but now that innovation “curve has been lifted” for the two-thirds of the Army that is not operational. “We need to run the business [side of the Army] like we run the warfight,” Kirby said.

But the challenges go beyond the Army, the director for logistics in the Defense Department said. Lt. Gen. C.V. Christianson noted, “We’ve got to get it right across the board in DoD.” Adding, “We need to see not only requirements, but resources and how they are connected” in a host of areas from personnel management to medical and engineering.

He said that relationships needed to be more clearly defined such as those between the Army, responsible for distribution of equipment using surface transportation, and Transportation Command, responsible for bringing equipment into theater via air or sea.
“We’ve got to see if the customer got” what he or she asked for in a time-definite manner.

Also speaking May 14, Gen. Benjamin Griffin, commanding general of the Army Materiel Command, said that approach for his $80 billion command means standing up the new contracting command, using condition-based maintenance by “putting sensors on critical components” to measure wear and tear on air and ground vehicles, using the seven field support brigades to better support the soldier in the field and closer examination of contracts.

“My priorities are support to the joint warfight [having 40 to 50 AMC members in each brigade combat team], resetting the force, finding increased efficiencies and ammunition. Ammunition has got to be a priority,” as well as transforming the command.

The command’s Rapid Response Teams, using lean six sigma techniques of continuous product improvement, have accounted for $600 million in savings in recent years, almost $300 million in the last year, he said. “The most important impact is in quantity and quality and increasing productivity” at the depot’s command.

“This is a direct connection to readiness,” Kirby said. “Nobody, not GM, nobody has done [continuous product improvement] on this scale.”

For the Army overall, he put the savings and cost avoidance at $2 billion.

Griffin added the condition-based maintenance approach to repair came directly from the commercial airline industry and he wants to have digital read-outs in Army vehicles saying how many miles could be traveled with the remaining fuel in the tank rather than gauges or computers in the field tracking how many rounds an artillery battery had left.

The improvements have been noted in international competitions such as winning 12 of the 19 public sector Shingo awards for manufacturing excellence, and the research and development at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., receiving the first Malcolm Baldrige Award for quality.

The emphasis on safety and constant re-evaluation of manufacturing and procurement has led to savings so, “money is available that can be plowed back into repairing” and buying more equipment.

Griffin described an enterprise approach to running the Army as “using business techniques with an understanding who your customer is … the soldier.”

He said that his biggest challenge in the newly-created Contract Command “is filling personnel slots” on the uniformed and civilian sides.

Kirby said that in his book the hardest thing to do in the future will be break down the 2000-plus pipes of data streaming into the Army daily from proprietary systems that cannot communicate with each other or systems that are out of date.

“I think the root of all evil is data” and he proposed creating a deputy chief of information position at the two-star or senior executive service level to bring on a system that is providing compatible and relevant data for the Army

Christianson added, “The question is: What data do you need to make a decision?” Adding, “We must achieve unity of effort without unity of command.”

Transitioning to Stability Operations is the Most Difficult

The deputy commanding general of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command said the Army’s newest field manual on operations recognized the difficulty the armed forces and other governmental and non-governmental operations have had in transitioning from either offensive or defensive operations to stability operations.

Speaking May 14 in Richmond, Va., as part of an Association of the United States Army symposium and exhibition on logistics, Lt. Gen. David Valcourt said that in National Training Center rotations in the past, “We always found the transition … the most challenging”

Adding, “If we thought it tough back then, we only have to look at Iraq and Afghanistan now.”

He said that all Army units will have both cultural and language capabilities in place before they deploy, and all Army leaders will possess culture and language capabilities before they deploy.

Valcourt said that the use of civilian anthropologists as part of human terrain teams inside brigade combat or regimental brigade combat teams have dramatically improved the units’ and leaders’ understanding of socio-cultural factors that come into play during deployments.

He said that more federal agencies are attending Army schools, such as the Command and General Staff College, and this classroom interaction helps the students overcome jargon difficulties between departments when they are operating together in the field.

Valcourt said the new field manual on training, 7-0, would be out relatively soon but will not be fully rolled out until dwell time for soldiers returning home from deployments reached 18 months.


War on Terror Changed the Game for Industry and Army

“The war on terror changed the game for industry and the Army,” the president of BAE Systems, land and armaments operations, told more than 400 attendees at a special Association of the United States Army symposium and exhibition on logistics May 14.

Linda Hudson, speaking in Richmond, Va., said, “New systems are being fielded at record rates” and “systems we field this week are not the same as the ones we fielded last week.”

She said communication has been a challenge with such a fast pace marking acquisition and stressing an ever-increasing supply chain with multiple versions of a single system.

Using the Defense Department’s number one priority, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles as an example, Hudson said BAE has produced 2,800 MRAPs in eight variants in the past 14 months. Two more variants will be added soon.

“Commonality and compatibility are huge logistics drivers,” she said.

“Some of the most important partnering is with depots, such as Letterkenny in Pennsylvania where the vehicles are assembled and

Red River in Texas where an MRAP University has been established.

The impact of the rapid fielding of the MRAP is also being felt in the production of other vehicles such as the 40,000 in the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles already fielded with 7,000 of those deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq.

Hudson said recapitalization work on legacy systems, such as Bradley fighting vehicles, has also been affected “because of the very tight time lines driven by the deployment schedule” and the units’ needs to have the equipment in place for training before deployment.

For the war on terror, “the requirement for field service reps has doubled,” and the company has deployed workers around the world in support of Army operations, but this too has had an impact on the company’s ability to recruit, train and retain quality service representatives.

“Better communication is always needed. [What is needed is] real-time communication when possible.”

Retaining Army Captains is Important for Balance

Although the larger theme was looking from different perspectives at the Army as an enterprise at a special Association of the United States Army symposium and exhibition on logistics, restoring the Army to balance and the retention of captains were subjects that crept into panel discussions and addresses.

Speaking May 14 in Richmond, Va., Col. Audrey Piggee, former commander of the 15th Sustainment Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, said retaining captains would be helped by giving them “an opportunity to take a knee so we can give them a certain amount of control” over their personal lives and their careers.

He said the Army needed to re-examine the timelines that have been established for career progression. “Give these young captains options” and “other alternatives to get to field grade.”

“There has to be some space to step out and step back in, refreshed,” Col. Stephen Lyons, commander of Task Force All American in the 82nd Airborne Division, said.

While attrition of captains is following historic norms, Maj. Gen. Vincent Boles, assistant deputy chief of staff, G-4, said, “This is a captain’s fight.” Adding when Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, approached two of his predecessors and asked how they knew when the Army became hollow in the 1970s, both said: “When we lost the captains and the NCOs.”

Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., AUSA president, said it was the Association’s position to grow the active Army to 700,000 soldiers and that could take a decade.

He added that recruiting and retention “is a national problem,” and called upon “senior elected and appointed officials to say service to country is important and service in uniform is nobility squared.”

Keep Army People – Military and Civilian – on Same Path

“The real secret of the enterprise approach [to running the Army] is keeping everyone on the same path,” a senior personnel official told attendees at a special Association of the United States Army symposium and exhibition in Richmond, Va.

Karl Schneider, assistant deputy chief of staff, G-1, speaking May 15, added, “We need to have one Army. No longer will be set up by components” and that includes Department of the Army civilians.

For the Army to succeed, he said it needed to recognize that the future will continue to be an era of persistent conflict, that it must develop leaders for the full spectrum of operations and, as an institution, it needs to be agile and adaptive.

Schneider said the Army needs to encourage diversity and quality that goes beyond ethnic, racial and gender definitions. It means “having people who have different competencies,” such as understanding how other people think.

In looking specifically at the Army’s civilian work force, he said the service is “looking at a bow wave” of potential retirements and the impact of base realignment and closure has not yet been felt.

Success also comes through readiness at best value and “looking at how things cost.”

Maj. Gen. John Macdonald, commanding general of the Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, said to keep an all-volunteer force the Army needs to build loyalty by “taking care of your troops and teaching them.”

Change has marked how the reserve components are viewed today, Maj. Gen. “Sandy” Sanders, assistant deputy chief of staff, G-4, told the 400 attendees. “The reserve I’m in today is not the same as the one I joined in ‘88” after a five-year hiatus from active duty.

Where in the past few reservists or guardsmen deployed, “you’d be hard-pressed to find a reservist who hasn’t been out of his zip code” on a deployment, and those deployments have put new strains on families and employers.

In his case, Sanders eventually had to shutter his own business when called to active duty.

“These problems do not have rank.”

Brig. Gen. Alberto Jiminez, special assistant to the director of the Army National Guard, said the change from a strategic reserve force to an operational reserve has been dramatic.

The Army National Guard is prepared to “provide 50 to 55,000 soldiers if needed” to meet national commitments in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, but that commitment has an impact on guardsmen’s families.

“We are in 2,700-plus communities, some of them hundreds of miles from a military installation.”

He said the guard nationwide is adopting ideas from Minnesota’s Yellow Ribbon campaign that encourages community support before alert through reintegration, established 325 family assistance centers and is providing for the 2,500 warriors in transition that come from the Army National Guard.

Adding, the National Guard has stepped up its efforts to inform spouses about retirement benefits and funeral honors.