Army Field Support Battalion moves MRAPs to meet missions
March 3, 2010
- 2nd Battalion, 401st Army Field Support Brigade teams up with Joint Program Office to move MRAPs
- Teamwork yields process improvment
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait-The 2nd Battalion, 401st Army Field Support Brigade, commanded by Lt. Col. Michael T. Wright, is partnering with Joint Project Office (JPO) Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) to process MRAP vehicles more quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively.
The task is to reissue MRAPs returning from Iraq and deliver them to Afghanistan as fully reconditioned vehicles. The goal is to save time and reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary shipping and handling. To accomplish this goal, the 2/401st AFSB and JPO MRAP are working together to consolidate operations at one location.
Presently, convoys bearing retrograde MRAPs arrive at Camp Arifjan to establish accountability and undergo initial processing. The MRAPs are then transported to an off-site MRAP Sustainment Facility (MSF) operated by JPO MRAP. At the MSF, the vehicles go through an intensive maintenance and upgrade program run by JPO MRAP's prime contractor, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).
After maintenance and upgrades are completed, the MRAPs are transported back to Camp Arifjan in preparation for shipment to port. The trip to and from the MSF is both time consuming and costly; it requires loading and off-loading the vehicles twice, and the distance between the facilities requires at least one hour of travel each way. If everything were completed at one location, a significant amount of time and money would be saved. A recently completed storage and processing lot at the MSF opens up that very possibility.
The 2nd Battalion, 401st AFSB initiated a series of meetings with JPO MRAP, SAIC, and a contractor to analyze the problem. The battalion's Supply, Transportation, Contracting, Communications, and Support Operations subject-matter experts were present. These joint meetings brought about a refined definition of the requirement and a mutually agreeable course of action.
Wright decided to take a two-pronged approach: a team would be mobilized to go to the MSF to prepare ready-to-ship MRAPs for transport to the APOE and onward movement to Afghanistan. This no-cost solution required only a letter from the contracting officer, Michael Duncan, and eliminates the return trip to Camp Arifjan.
Step two will allow MRAP convoys to bypass Camp Arifjan and go straight to the MSF. This effort will require teams to receive, process, and account for MRAPs at the MSF on a 24/7 basis and be performed pursuant to a modification to the GMASS contract. A memorandum of agreement between the battalion and JPO MRAP will establish the terms and conditions of the working relationship. The battalion will have a uniformed liaison officer and contracting officer representative present at the MSF to provide oversight and facilitate communication between all parties to the agreement.
When fully implemented, the plan will build velocity, reduce cost, and exemplify how contractors and the military can work together to make the materiel enterprise work more efficiently.