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Thread: Provide Me With...

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Aug 2011

    Default Provide Me With...

    I am a current ILE student at the Command and General Staff School Satellite Campus at Redstone Arsenal. My background includes operational deployents twice to Iraq an Artillery Battery Commander and once to Afghanistan as Program Executive Officer Forward Fielding Coordinator. I am an Active Duty Army Acquisition Corps Officer currently stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. This post aims to discuss the creation of a culture among operational units where equipment and services are expected to be provided a la carte and in light-speed-like capacity.

    The creation of this culture of entietlement in both Iraq and Afghanistan can arguably be blamed on the Operational Need Statement process and the adoption of rapid acquisition methods across DoD. Units have come to expect everything from the material acquistion providers of their equipment and provide nothing when the equipment is fielded to them in Combat Observation Posts and Forward Operating Bases. Often times, units fail to even recall the reason for asking for the equipment in the first place.

    Similarly, once equipment has been received, and in the odd occurance that units even provide Soldiers to be trained on the required equipment, the maintenance of those systems has been contracted-out to the army of Field Service Representatives provided through the equipment contract. With little motivation other than that of a personal nature, Soldiers take no initiative to learn the systems they have fielded opting to instead "call the repair man FSR." This, in turn leads to no knowledge base of their equipment, the inability to rapidly respond to maintenance/performance issues with the equipment while being operated off the COP/FOB and tremendous stress on the maintenance and lift assets required to get FSR's out to the location of the piece of equipment.

    Rapid acquisition processes have contributed to the adapability and swift way in which we as an Army have evolved in Iraq and Afghanistan and have brought great capabilities to the warfighter, however it has also created a culture of entitlement resulting in the lack of Soldier initiative, drive and knowledge base on an entire inventory of equipment. It is a dangerous tide that must be turned to return Soldier pride in their equipment and their expertise in how to operate it.


    MAJ Brian Spurlock
    CGSOC Redstone Arsenal, AL

  2. #2
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005


    We developed the ONS and CNS for a valid reason, and the process works better than whatever process was in place previously. I agree with your arguments that the process is now abused, terribly abused and wasteful, but that doesn't mean the system itself is flawed, but that is undisciplined. I would hate to see us lose this logistical agility based on it being currently being abused. If the soldiers on point actually identify a "real" requirement, then the system should be able to with lighting quick speed, and the logistics personnel should endeavor to make it happen. The key is identifying real requirements, and of course if the logistics system responded too slowly then you're right, by the time it gets there the new crew doesn't know what it is for, which is why lightening speed is essential.

    We have a lot of opportunity to save millions of dollars by disciplining our processes, and significantly modifying legacy logistics processes where every unit needs to look identical, when their missions are not the same. Good opportunity for an Army Major to excel.

  3. #3
    Council Member 82redleg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    USAWC, Carlisle Bks



    As noted, there are issues with the ONS process.

    I agree with Bill, however. If we had waited for the standard Army process to get us the stuff we need, we would still be driving around in soft HMMWVs, with a few M1114s in the MP units.

    I learned from my DLRO instructor that there is a triad of speed, cost and quality, and you can never have all three. You can have good and fast, but its going to cost. Or, you have have good and cheap, but it will take a long time. Frankly, we can't afford a long time.

    Having lived through the ARFORGEN cycle as it developed with 3 back-to-back-to-back deployments, the real issue is that there is not opportunity to train while you are at home. You redeploy, and don't do much of anything for 90 days. Then, you bleed people for another 90 days. Then you get a huge dump of equipment (although its mostly legacy, soft skin stuff, so only of marginal utility for training) and must rush through the gates (which are legacy gates- company live fires? really?) to get to the MRE and then you are shipping stuff off for deployment- probably with new Soldiers still coming in that have no individual training, much less any collective training. It simply can't work, and we need to develop an appetite suppressant, but that rarely happens in our culture.

    The real answer is that we need to grow the force and fund the equipment (or reduce committments) to get to 1:3. Then we will actually be able tro train. Until then, we're going to live with band-aids.

  4. #4
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    We developed the ONS and CNS for a valid reason, and the process works better than whatever process was in place previously.
    You might want to accurize this to "immediately previously" or similar.

    The U.S.Army went from next to nothing through several re-equipments (of at least its armoured forces) to 1945 WW2 end-state in only about 4-5 years. That typewriter-age procurement process was likely superior in many regards to the current procurement bureaucracy - especially in quickness.

  5. #5
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005


    Posted by Fuchs
    You might want to accurize this to "immediately previously" or similar.
    I don't know the answer to this, I have never been a logistics guy, simply a happy or frustrated customer. I have a hard time believing that the type writer process used during WWII was more effective than our current processes, and recall reading about some logistical nightmares in WWII in numerous history books.

    While not necessarily a rapid procurement issues, a case in point on quality is that the men going across the Normany beaches on 6 June were supposed to follow armor vehicles up the front, not do a stupid Red Coat frontal assault into a hail of machine gun and mortar fire. However, the Amphibious Armor vehicles they were supposed to follow sunk when they were off loaded from the ships. One would think that the equipment for a such a deliberate operations would have been tested and re-tested prior to the morning of 6 June.

    I think the big difference during WWII was first the demand for a large volume of war related kit (vehicles, munitions, medical, food stuffs, etc.) and then the response from our industrial based economy that produced materials in incredible bulk for most of the allies, not just the U.S. forces.

    Now we're an information based economy with a limited production based, as as you pointed out a bloated bureaucracy. The two don't compliment one another well. Guys from the field should be able to "using professional maturity" state their requirements (common or unique) and rapidly get them to the producer (thru the chain of command), then produced, and then shipped to the requester. That would be much more effective and cost effective than the methods used during WWII, or at least based on my limited understanding of logisitics, this is what I believe now.

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