By Mr. Robert Dimichele (CECOM)March 26, 2014
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md -- Mr. Lane Collie, director of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command's Logistics and Readiness Center (LRC), addressed the membership of the Aberdeen Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army at its monthly professional development forum and general meeting March 18.
Collie discussed current logistics and sustainment issues, priorities and opportunities and described the LRC's role within the C4ISR Center of Excellence.
The LRC provides global logistics support for C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) systems and equipment through rapid acquisition, maintenance, production, fielding, new equipment training, operations and sustainment in support of the Army, the joint warfighter and coalition partners. To accomplish this mission, the LRC works closely with the acquisition community to include seven Program Executive Offices (PEOs): Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (IEW&S); Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (C3T); Enterprise Information Systems (EIS); Aviation; Missiles & Space; Soldier; and Combat Support and Combat Service Support (CS&CSS).
In describing the LRC's interaction with PEOs, Collie shared that, "PEO Aviation drives the LRC's working capital demand in terms of funding, while PEO Soldier generates the highest working capital demand in terms of quantities across the major capabilities." These major capabilities include aviation, battle space awareness, battle command transport networks and field logistics.
In addition to working with PEO partners, the LRC also has an industrial base responsibility. Collie said he wants to ensure and sustain the health of the commercial and organic industrial base markets and infrastructures in direct support of C4ISR programs. He said that the legislatively-required, fifty-fifty split of organic and commercial sustainment capabilities means a meshing of commercial and industrial base strategies. "It's a tough balancing act that will get harder and harder as money goes down," he explained. The LRC supports the Tobyhanna Army Depot, the organic industrial base for C4ISR, as well as five commercial industrial base sectors: sensors, tactical communications, electro-optics, power sources and information technology. He cited the example of the Firefinder radar system that, through modernization, will replace the Q36 and Q37 radars with the Q53 radar. This modernization will decrease Tobyhanna's workload by 55,000 direct labor hours annually starting in 2020.
Collie also described one of the LRC's most pressing priorities - C4ISR Field Support Rightsizing. In support of the initiative to "rightsize" field support, Collie and the LRC have collaborated with the partners of the C4ISR Center of Excellence in support of the Army's "Reinvesting in Soldiers" approach in which Soldiers are the primary operators and maintainers of C4ISR equipment at the unit level. Rather than relying on support personnel for all C4ISR equipment issues, the C4ISR Center of Excellence has designed a four-tiered support structure that will handle different levels of complexity for Soldiers at the unit level. Tier 0 is simply having Soldiers operate and maintain their own equipment. Tier 1 still includes multifunctional support personnel located with the units at installations. This tier is characterized by today's Logistics Assistance Representatives. Tier 2 support is system-specific and is designed to escalate issues or problems beyond the knowledge at the field level. Experts based at regional hubs cover a designated geographic area minimizing response time. Tier 3 provides the most involved level of service because issues must be addressed by the original equipment manufacturer in order to be resolved.
The Field Support team tested this structure at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) and the National Training Center (NTC), and the results have been dramatic he said. "In the pilot exercises with JRTC and NTC, analysis of trouble ticket resolution data showed that 79 percent of all issues were training-related and 95 percent of tickets were Soldier-level tasks (Tier 0-1). This data-driven approach will ensure that we are making sound decisions," said Collie.
As responsibilities are turned over to the individual Soldier, there is a corresponding effort to reduce the number of Field Support Personnel. In keeping with the collaborative nature of this initiative, the C4ISR Center of Excellence has coordinated closely with U.S. Forces Command for a phased approach through Fiscal Year (FY)16. To date, there has been a reduction of 361 C4ISR field support personnel and units have not experienced any drops in unit readiness or weapon system availability due to this effort, according to Collie.
He also presented three strategic opportunities for contractor support that will be released during FY14. The first was a $20 million award for quick reaction capability sustainment support for Joint Personnel Identification Systems. This contract will provide worldwide support for currently deployed biometric tactical collection equipment from the Program Manager for Joint Personnel Identification. Second, he described an $8-12 million contract for life cycle logistics strategic initiatives support, requiring improvements and optimization for a wide range of business processes, procedures and sustainment strategies, including risk assessments, cost analysis, supply chain and maintenance planning. The third contract, for Tactical Power Supplies, is a five-year, firm-fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to procure PP-6224D/U and PP2953E/U tactical power supplies and an associated electronic technical/repair manual. The award is projected from a minimum of $250,000 to a ceiling of $66 million and would be a 100 percent small business set-a-side.
In closing, Collie shared three other "Hot Topics" that the LRC is focused on in addition to the Field Support Rightsizing initiative: Operation Enduring Freedom drawdown, workforce reshaping, and reinvesting in civilian personnel. In reference to the drawdown, Collie said "Team C4ISR will be among the last to leave Afghanistan because we support the sensors systems that provide force protection, systems like BETSS-C and RAID." As for the workforce, Collie is working both reshaping and professional development initiatives to increase efficiency and build a bench to face the challenges of the future. "We have a generation of a workforce who only knows supplemental funding. We are returning to an era where availability of resources will be a challenge all unto itself."