By Maj. Timothy J. BarrettMay 5, 2014
The 8th Army G-3/5 section formed a force integration working group (FIWG) in accordance with Department of the Army Pamphlet (DA PAM) 700-142, Instructions for Materiel Release, Fielding, and Transfer. The FIWG's goal was to eliminate the problems created by the high personnel turn over in Korea, including the accountability of newly fielded equipment.
A group of 8th Army G-3/5 force integrators, called the 8AG35FI, was responsible for running the FIWG. The group created an avenue through which other fielding-related concerns could be addressed. This article describes how the FIWG was formed and how it can be modeled.
FORMING THE FIWG
Concerns raised by the 2nd Infantry Division resulted in the formation of the FIWG. The 2nd Infantry Division requested improved fielding support and closure with the product managers (PMs)--who came from the continental United States to support the materiel fielding in Korea--before they left the 8th Army area of responsibility (AOR).
During a round table, the 2nd Infantry Division identified an existing gap involving a PM's closeout. Hand receipts were being signed, but equipment was not listed on the property book or captured in a system of record before the PM's departure.
The 2nd Infantry Division also explained the stresses to its organization caused by tremendous turbulence, including a 65-percent annual personnel turnover rate and a 400-percent increase in equipment fieldings between fiscal years 2007 and 2013.
The division's goal was to establish a 24-month planning cycle and incorporate new equipment training into that cycle to reduce turbulence during equipment issue and other fielding processes.
The division's leaders explained their desire to establish an enduring process to address their systemic issues. This process would include creating a materiel fielding execution checklist, which brigade and battalion commanders would use during the new materiel introductory briefing (NMIB).
The materiel fielding execution checklist would be designed to endure beyond personnel turnovers, especially for critical jobs, such as property book officers and supply sergeants.
The leaders also wanted to reduce equipment training problems and ensure that proper fielding authorizations were reflected on modified tables of organization and equipment. They wanted PMs to complete all modification work orders prior to the fielding date of execution and to post all fielding actions into the Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced system before departing Korea.
The 403rd Army Field Support Brigade (AFSB) commander noted that the brigade was prepared to support the establishment of a system of systems that would synchronize the procurement, fielding, and accounting of fieldings within the 8th Army AOR. This support would be executed following DA PAM 700-142, Chapter 4.
During a subsequent meeting with the 2nd Infantry Division deputy commanding general-support (DCG[S]), the 403rd AFSB commander detailed the recent key leader engagement with the principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army (acquisition, logistics, and technology). During this meeting, they discussed the high personnel turnover and equipment accountability problems.
The 403rd AFSB also received buy-in to solidify PM and sustainment community relationships and pledged to assist PMs and the gaining command in getting the new equipment fielding (NEF) on a system of record.
The 8AG35FI briefed the 2nd Infantry Division DCG(S) on the goals of the FIWG efforts: to define stakeholder roles and responsibilities, finalize a fielding process checklist for use across the Korean Peninsula, lead all future NEF rehearsal of concept drills, synchronize fieldings into the 2nd Infantry Division's 24-month calendar, and synchronize fieldings with the rotational forces in Korea.
DEFINING STAKEHOLDER ROLES
Some units within the 8th Army AOR understood stakeholder roles and responsibilities in the fielding process, but others did not. The 8AG35FI addressed the lack of understanding using the FIWG.
Through the FIWG, the 8th Army explained that its roles and responsibilities include Korean theater of operations policy and redistribution authority, property book and database oversight, demand validation and unit distribution plans, and readiness authority.
The 403rd AFSB also explained its roles and responsibilities in the fielding process, which include supporting Army forces and combatant command operations in Korea and Japan, providing acquisition, logistics, and technology (ALT) program management support for equipment on hand, and supporting the strategic outcome to sustain forward stationed and rotational forces.
The 403rd's ALT section is the brigade's face to the fielding process. The section works closely with the 8AG35FI almost daily. The ALT section responsibilities include assisting in planning, synchronizing, and integrating all fieldings occurring in the 8th Army AOR.
The section also works very closely with the 2nd Infantry Division force modernization officer. The division's roles and responsibilities include retaining policy and redistribution authority, maintaining property book and database oversight, validating demands, and vetting unit distribution plans.
LAUNCHING THE FIWG
As soon as it began, the 8AG35FI-led FIWG offered solutions for the initial concerns identified by the 2nd Infantry Division and identified other shortfalls.
In preparation for the first meeting, the 403rd AFSB submitted a fielding and modernization flowchart to the 8AG35FI in accordance with DA Pam 700-142, Appendix D, Table 2. This chart described the various fielding and modernization activities from phase 1, preparation, through phase IV, feedback.
The first FIWG meeting included all 8th Army mission-supported units on the Korean Peninsula. The purpose of the meeting was to define key stakeholder responsibilities and provide a forum to discuss and resolve force integration issues, policies, and procedures during NEF.
Several key initial FIWG outputs followed the first meeting. Particularly, the stakeholder roles and responsibilities were defined for each mission-supported unit. (See figure 1.)
The 8AG35FI-led FIWG meetings resulted in a series of follow-on outputs. The group produced a revised NMIB and created a comprehensive materiel fielding execution checklist. The U.S. Army Materiel Support Center-Korea produced a pamphlet on its roles and responsibilities to the PMs. NMIB in-progress reviews and outbrief participation roles and responsibilities were also defined for each meeting.
The outbrief was identified as the most critical period between the fielding execution and PM departure. This period was the most common time for property not to be transferred to a system of record. The 8AG35FI stressed the critical importance of the PM, property book officer, and supply sergeant being involved in the outbrief.
The 8AG35FI used the FIWG to produce an 8th Army fielding point paper and pamphlet. It identified the intended audience to be stakeholders not stationed on the Korean Peninsula. These publications clearly communicate for that audience the roles and responsibilities of all key players on the peninsula.
The FIWG's next discussion involved explaining and clarifying the differences between displaced equipment and retrograde according to DA PAM 700-142, Chapter 5.
The intent was to establish a system to keep the commander and subject matter experts informed. This negated the effects of high personnel turnover, and it was supported through semiannual 8th Army G-4 logistics conferences, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command workshops, and 8th Army logistics bulletins.
Future FIWG discussions will focus on the 24-month fielding timeline in order to lock in the modified tables of organization and equipment for the 2nd Infantry Division and create a "system of systems integrator."
This information will feed unit equipping and reuse conference working groups and the semiannual Army Equipping and Reuse Conference. The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency will be included in future discussions to smooth its fielding nuances.
The FIWG created an effective solution to capture NEF issues. DA PAM 700-142 provided the effective groundwork to establish a FIWG. The PMs were very supportive in conducting final closeout briefs to the 8AG35FI. After the FIWG's establishment, the problem of property not being on a system of record before a PM's departure immediately improved.
The FIWG allows all key mission-supported units to raise concerns and standardize solutions. It will continue to provide a channel for improving materiel fielding on the Korean Peninsula, influence other key players participating in the fielding process in places other than Korea, and influence both U.S. Army Pacific and Headquarters, Department of the Army. This FIWG is a best practice that can be modeled for use elsewhere.
Maj. Timothy J. Barrett is the executive officer for the 403rd Army Field Support Brigade at Camp Henry, Korea. He holds a master's degree in supply chain management and logistics from the University of Kansas.
This article was published in the May-June 2014 issue of Army Sustainment magazine.