By Sgt. David NyeOctober 25, 2017
The 36th Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James C. McConville, toured a warehouse that contains armored vehicles and tanks maintained by the 401st Army Field Support Brigade during a visit to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Oct. 16, 2017.
The equipment, part of Army Prepositioned Stocks-5, allows the Army to rapidly deploy combat units into theater. Instead of having to send units with all of their heavy equipment, the Army can send just the troops who then jump into the prepositioned equipment, sign for it and drive it forward into combat if needed, cutting down on deployment time.
Hosting a visit from McConville helps the AFSB stay focused on the transition as well as helps them communicate their successes to the top, said Col. Carmelia J. Scott-Skillern, 401st AFSB commander.
"Anytime we are able to show the Army's most senior leaders how the 401st AFSB directly impacts readiness across the CENTCOM area of responsibility is an opportunity of tremendous value," said Scott-Skillern. "It's good for strategic planners. It's good for our personnel who work extremely hard to ensure the warfighter has the best possible equipment. From top to bottom, everyone gets a clearer picture of how we deliver materiel readiness at the tactical point of need."
McConville was visiting APS-5 as it transitions from "Care of Supplies in Storage" configuration to combat configuration, cutting the deployment time of arriving units even further.
"[McConville's visit] allows us to show him up close how transitioning to combat configuration enables readiness for the CENTCOM area of responsibility," said Scott-Skillern.
"When the equipment is 'asleep' in COSIS, it takes longer to wake up and get ready for issue to a gaining tactical unit," said Justin Graff, public affairs officer for 401st AFSB. "Even the oil and fluids in those vehicles while they are in COSIS is designed for storage and not hard operation."
The combat-configured equipment can be issued and sent forward much more quickly. This ensures additional readiness and decreases costs.
"Under the old COSIS program, it would've taken us 12 hours just to wake this Bradley up," Staff Sgt. Anthony Allen, contracting officer representative, Army Field Support Battalion-Kuwait, told McConville while showing him a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. "But in the new combat configuration, this thing is ready to fight tonight."
One of the biggest changes between the two programs is that combat-configured equipment is stored with all of its essential equipment, except for weapons, already mounted in and on the vehicle which eliminates several moving pieces and man-hours involved in a large-scale issue, said Graff.
Combat configuration is projected to reduce the issue timeline by 78 percent while at the same time heavily cut costs, Graff continued.
The cost savings are compounded by new warehouses similar to the one that McConville toured. They protect the equipment from the desert sand, wind and sun.
"By moving the rolling stock inside, we cut down on the need to replace glass, tires, hoses, and rubber fittings that get destroyed by the heat and sun," Graff said. "Just the warehouses alone afford us a projected $40 million savings over the course of four years."
"Everything in this theater must be first class when it comes to readiness," Scott-Skillern said. "That's what we do here every day. We synchronize all of U.S. Army Materiel Command's assets in support of the whole CENTCOM area of responsibility and our number one priority is delivering readiness so that warfighters can get the job done and get home safely."