JOINT BASE CHARLESTON-NAVAL WEAPON STATION, S.C. -- The Army Strategic Logistics Activity-Charleston (ASLAC) at Joint Base Charleston -- Naval Weapon Station, South Carolina, is responsible for the maintenance and movement of Army Prepositioned Stock-3 (APS), the Army's prepositioned stock afloat program.
"What is unique about us is our warehouses float," said Robert O'Brien, ASLAC general manager. "We put equipment in the hands of Soldiers around the world."
A majority of the time, the equipment set is stored in vessels prepositioned to support missions anywhere in the world, as opposed to land-based assets that are theater-specific, according to Tim Fore, director, sustainment operations and APS directorate, U.S. Army Sustainment Command (ASC).
At 950 feet in length, the Large Medium Speed Roll On/Roll Off Army vessels have a cargo stowage area of about 394,000 square feet and can store and transport an entire Infantry Brigade Combat Team or Sustainment Brigade equipment set. Once deployed, the ships typically stay at sea for about 40 months. ASLAC sends a six-man team with the vessels to perform Care of Supplies in Storage, or COSIS, while afloat.
The ships dock in three locations -- two areas in the Pacific Ocean and one in the Indian Ocean. When a unit is in need of equipment, the vessel travels to its location to make the hand-off, which includes a 100 percent inspection and inventory.
A unit-level equipment transfer is accomplished in six hours.
"The equipment would be downloaded from the ships at some port close to the 'hot spot' where the hand-off team would fly into and hand off the equipment to the gaining tactical unit," said O'Brien.
APS-3 provides the equipment and materiel U.S. regional Combatant Commanders need to quickly respond in contingency operations at any location in the world. ASLAC is responsible for the maintenance of this equipment and has also grown its mission to support land-based operations, including support to the APS-6 Southern Command activity set.
The APS-6 mission is just over two years old. Eventually the goal is to move the requirement within the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility, but for now, it remains at Charleston.
"We perform the exact same mission [with APS-6] as we do for APS-3," O'Brien said. "The only difference is it's land-based."
ASLAC is a subordinate organization of ASC under the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which is also work-loading the organization to support the program manager for mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) equipment fielding to worldwide locations.
"The program manager was shipping direct to overseas APS sites, but there were some problems," said O'Brien. "So now we do the [technical inspection] and any necessary maintenance or repairs prior to shipment to the other APS sites."
Some of these vehicles are being reset after spending time in theater and will be sent back into the force. ASLAC currently has more than 400 MRAPs, but could accommodate as many as 600. Just eight miles from the wharf, ASLAC's industrial area covers 330 acres, with capabilities like a paint facility that turned out hundreds of combat and combat support equipment for the European Activity Set build in 2015.
"We are able to execute services and repairs on approximately 1,200 pieces of rolling stock in a very short 109-day maintenance cycle," said O'Brien.
In addition to routine maintenance, ASLAC's facilities allow them to apply additional armor to vehicles and configure, organize and sort repair parts. With 10 military service members, 36 Department of the Army Civilians and about 400 contractors, the government-owned, contractor-operated facility provides the Army with the ability to quickly generate combat power at any location
designated by the National Command Authority.
The Army Strategic Logistics Activity-Charleston falls under U.S. Army Sustainment Command (ASC), a subordinate organization of U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC). ASC is the command and control hub for global Army logistics, supporting Combatant Commanders and the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program. The command bridges the national sustainment base to the Soldiers in the field, bringing together the capabilities of AMC to provide the right equipment, at the right place and time, and in the right condition.