Retrograde, Reset: Responsible materiel management
February 22, 2012
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2012) -- Managing and maintaining every piece of equipment in a single home is cumbersome. Try managing equipment in two countries and add the supply warehouse and maintenance shop to the mix. Hence, the topic of maintaining materiel at a recent panel discussion during the winter meeting of the Association of the United States Army here Feb. 22.
The Army delegated the responsibility of resetting the force and all materiel management to the U.S Army Materiel Command, synchronizing these efforts under one name: Reset.
"Our senior Army leadership certainly recognized that the status quo would not work in terms of the enormity of the retrograde mission," Lt. Gen. Dennis Via, deputy commanding general of AMC, said. "Often what General Dunwoody says in a complex situation is, 'fix the C2 first' - fix the command and control first. That's in fact what our Army did."
The method of attack for addressing the retrograde and reset mission was to link the industrial base to the operational force by focusing on four strategic imperatives: visibility, accountability, velocity, and triage forward.
"In essence, connecting the FOB [Forward Operating Base] to the depots and facilitating responsible drawdown while leveraging national and joint logistics and building strategic depth for our Army," he explained.
"This mission would not have been possible without the relationships that were developed and invested in with our strategic materiel stakeholders," Via said. The successes were enabled coordination and relationships between Department of Defense and Army agencies, as well as industry partners, Via said.
The successes of reset are measurable, he added. The procedures and processes established by retrograde and reset allowed more than 50 percent of the equipment coming from Iraq to be funneled to support the surge in Afghanistan, explained Via.
Two key elements within the reset process are the data used to power retrograde and reset and the actual transportation arm to execute it.
Maj. Gen. Kevin A. Leonard, commanding general of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, or SDDC, addressed the transportation piece.
"At SDDC, we answer the fundamental question: 'Where's my stuff?'" he began. "Whether it's your household goods, or an MRAP [mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle], or an MRE [Meal, Ready-to-Eat] -- where's my stuff. It's central to everything we're doing and incredibly important as we re-posture, redeploy, reset the United States Army."
"We have to sustain this effort, in some ways modify what we've done with responsible reset task force to help us work the next mission which is redeployment and the return of forces from Afghanistan," Leonard added.
"We have to achieve that strategic velocity and as far as SDDC is concerned, we will continue to deliver that trust and sustain our forces in combat," Leonard affirmed.
James Dwyer, deputy chief of staff for AMC's G4, explained the information used to power the retrograde and reset process.
"We can see inside of the depots with the logistics modernization program and now we can see inside of the DOLs (Directorate of Logistics) through LIW, the Logistics Information Warehouse," Dwyer said.
"The secretary of the Army designated the LIW as the single authoritative logistics repository for data; because of that we can now get data and see ourselves in the DOLs and in our maintenance facilities, in our arsenals and depots, to generate combat power. That's what we are here to do," Dwyer said.
Dwyer further explained AMC's new ability to track the Brigade Combat Teams, known as BCTs, as they travel through the Army Force Generation, or ARFORGEN cycle, and identify excess and storages in materiel.
"We have web-based systems where we can see it, DA [Department of Army] can see it, and the unit can see it. That is a huge step forward. We are globally linked. That is the advantage of what we bring to the battlefield in AMC," he said.
Success of retrograde and reset are apparent in the numbers.
"When resetting and recapping the Humvee began at Red River Army Depot in Texas, only one a week was completed. In 2009, we were doing one [HUMVEE] every 15 minutes," Dwyer said. "More than one million weapons have been repaired with the use of SARET [Small Arms Readiness Teams] teams."
SARET teams are expeditionary repair teams, complete with mechanics, parts and tools, which meet with units to repair their weapons, helmets and sensors.
"A SARET team can do a brigade's worth of weapons -- more than 6,000 weapons -- and repair them in less than a month," Dwyer continued.
"At the beginning of the war, the DOLs had that mission and it took them an excess of nine months to do."
"At the end of the day, that enabled Soldiers to return home to their families," Via followed on.
"We had a saying over there [deployed]: we don't mind having frustrated cargo that we have to figure out, but we don't want to frustrate a Soldier." Via said. "If we have the processes in place that are user friendly to turn in equipment, then he or she is going to do that responsibly and that's what we call responsible reset."