CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT - When most think of communications in the Army, they think of radios and e-mail. This is only one side of the communications coin the Tennessee Army National Guard's 230th Sustainment Brigade considers in their S-6 department. What about those systems that drive life support functions for the warfighter' That's where the Sustainment Automation Support Management Office, also known as SASMO, steps into the spotlight. This shop is responsible for making sure that life-sustaining resources, like 'beans and bullets,' make it to the Soldier in a timely manner to keep them ready to support the Global War on Terror.

The life support and logistical operations the Standard Army Management System provides is an invaluable resource for the Army and is paving the way into the future. Imagine trying to track the movement of some 50,000 trucks, hundreds of airdrops, and the general supply management of facilities. Now imagine having to track all those assets by hand using pen and paper. Without the automation that SASMO provides, it is impractical and prevents the Army from maintaining a successful operational tempo within various theaters of operation.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Payne is a volunteer with the unit. As a Personnel Service Technician, working Helpdesk for the State of Tennessee gives him the technical knowledge to handle these systems. "It's really fascinating to watch how all the systems interact," Payne said.
The Standard Army Maintenance System - Enhanced, or SAMS-E, is the main focus of SASMO's mission, as it is the system used to order parts, track dispatching, and maintain the massive fleet of military vehicles. With the 230th's mission focusing on the drawdown in Iraq, there is a major priority on utilizing this system to its fullest potential, as the amount of traffic passing through the area is the largest logistical operation the Army has seen since Vietnam. Many bases throughout Iraq will be shutting down and their materials and personnel will be exiting theater through Kuwait by the December 31, 2011 deadline.

As far as making sure that everyone has what they need, the Standard Army Retail Supply System, SARSS, is a key component. The SARSS can be likened to a massive department store for everything from staples to uniforms to refrigerators. "Without this, forward facilities would have a difficult time getting the things they need to carry out their mission," said Payne.
The system tied to more traditional aspects of combat is the Standard Army Ammunition System - Modernization. This system is used for requesting and tracking munitions of all kinds, making combat missions possible in the first place. Be it rounds for the M4 rifle or potentially Hellfire missiles, all requests for munitions will go through this system.

Depending upon the location of the shop, the mission can be very different. According to Payne, the systems are hardened and well established in a garrison environment. The issues and troubles encountered are minor in nature. However, in a deployed environment with connectivity being a major hanging point, the problems they encounter are much larger. Since this mission is centered on the responsible drawdown of Iraq, members within the shop's ranks have been assigned to various bases throughout the region, to help track and maintain the logistical systems they manage. A proactive approach to the austere environment ensures issues are caught early and system users get the best customer service possible.

Part of military protocol today is the close association between the military and the civilian contractor. Working to maintain this complex web of systems, the contractors go just as far as their military counterparts, sometimes overnight after a normal shift, in order to get a system up and running. Payne said, "Their dedication to the mission is astounding." The knowledge base the contractors bring to the table is invaluable to the people responsible for using and maintaining the equipment and systems. "The least experienced person I [have worked with] still had four years experience on the job," Payne said.

With the responsible drawdown in Iraq and all the gear, vehicles, and personnel involved in this movement, these systems are critical for managing the logistics of this monumental task. Without SASMO and the systems they maintain, the Army mission could not and would not succeed. They are a gear in a very large machine that keeps the Army moving forward.

Page last updated Sat March 26th, 2011 at 08:00