By Capt. Cain S Claxton (593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command)January 29, 2018
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington -- Leaders from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command addressed sustainment Soldiers at McChord Theater here Jan. 24.
TACOM Commanding General Maj. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters Jr. and Command Sgt. Maj. Ian C. Griffin spoke with Soldiers at the quarterly JBLM Sustainment Warfighter Forum, hosted by the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
"Everybody has priorities," LeMasters told the crowd of more than 150 Soldiers. "My job is readiness." LeMasters proceeded to explain how TACOM sustains the Army and ensures the force is ready for the fight.
TACOM and its Program Executive Officers partners, headquartered at Detroit Arsenal, Warren, Mich., is responsible for 500 of nearly 800 Army acquisition programs, about half of Army Materiel Command's 3,000 end items, and 47,000 spare parts, LeMasters said. The command manages the life cycle of tanks, weapons, uniforms, parachutes, and even chemical and biological defense equipment, as well as sets, kits and outfits, and combat vehicles.
LeMasters invited the Soldiers to visit Detroit Arsenal for a first-hand look at the organization through a program he called, "TACOM 102."
"It is an opportunity for support operations leaders and senior maintenance technicians to see behind the curtain of TACOM so they can understand the process" of how repair parts are requested and delivered to the field, LeMasters said.
LeMasters fielded questions from Soldiers in the audience, particularly about delays in fielding repair parts for vehicles and gun systems. He explained that the ability of TACOM to supply the field is based on data the Army used when it was primarily engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Our history of projections is wrong" for the current demand, he said. "Most of our projections were based on years our equipment was sitting at home station while we fell in on equipment down range."
LeMasters said it will take about two years to satisfactorily improve TACOM's ability to meet the field's demand for repair and replacement parts. "We are still hurting, but we are improving," he said.
LeMasters and Griffin both stressed the importance of command maintenance programs. Squad and platoon leaders must understand fully the maintenance status of everything in their charge, Griffin said.
LeMasters emphasized that maintenance was more than a one-day a week event, and that it requires detailed planning.
"Make time for maintenance," LeMasters said. "Planning for maintenance begins at least six or seven weeks out when you put it on your training calendars, but you also have to plan all the time you need to (prepare for maintenance)."
The TACOM CG also reminded leaders that on-the-spot maintenance corrections save everyone valuable time.
"Verify the fault," he said. "If you can fix it on the spot, don't deadline it."
More than that, the two leaders spoke about the importance of leadership development, particularly of junior officers by senior non-commissioned officers.
The 593rd ESC announced the next gathering of JBLM sustainers is scheduled for June 12 to June 14.