By Rick Bumgardner, USASACDecember 20, 2018
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- During his last visit to the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, Army Materiel Command's Commanding General Gen. Gus Perna, stressed that commands must learn to see themselves to be able to set appropriate metrics.
Three months later, Perna returned for a quarterly update to see how much progress USASAC has made, to move forward.
Supported by representatives from most of the Army Security Assistance Enterprise, USASAC's Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Drushal, and his staff briefed Perna on how the AMC Security Assistance Enterprise was working on and what they are driving toward.
John Neil, director of USASAC's Performance and Process Management Office at New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, remarked that during Perna's last update, the general challenged the USASAC team.
"We took your implied tasks and developed three metrics to view our performance," Neil said.
"One, are foreign military sales impacting our readiness; two, can we see and quantify specific impacts if any; and three, how can we better support Army demand planners to account for FMS demands, and what impact FMS has on the Army's readiness?"
Over the next hour of in-depth discussions, the USASAC team showed Perna and Lt. Gen. Ed Daly, AMC's deputy commanding general, how using technology and teamwork have contributed to insights not realized beforehand.
"Now in hindsight, I think we could have better understood our mission to our customers, to building partner capacity and their readiness, and then the impact of our own Army readiness," Neil stated. "We evolved our tools to answer those questions."
The primary tools Neil referred to are databases developed to look backwards and forwards through thousands of FMS cases in the production process and supply chain. The goal was to deconflict where an equipment item or munition item was slated to be sent to an FMS customer at the expense of an Army unit and their readiness.
To simplify a very complex process, Marvin Whitaker, director of Strategy and Analysis, at USASAC at Redstone Arsenal, broke it down into two swim lanes.
"We now follow and analyze two primary lanes: a production lane and a supply chain lane," Whitaker said. "There are thousands of lines in the production schedule so we identified specific equipment and munitions lines. We can look on the supply chain and look for these proof-of-principle items to see if there is a demand on the Army and see if there is an impact on our (FMS) partners."
Working hand-in-hand with the USASAC team in New Cumberland, Whitaker and his team at Redstone developed a six-month timeline to brief senior AMC leaders with the final presentation, to include the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology), next May.
"It's taken us two years to get here," Perna said. "It was like my first O&I (Operations and Intel briefing) when I was briefed and we were high-fiving ourselves that we closed a case. And I started worrying about the impact on Army Readiness … the response was 'we are good!' Here we are two years later and we can finally see ourselves."
"You are moving in the right direction," Perna stated. "I think your effort is very good, you are operationalizing it! So continue!"
Drushal highlighted the way ahead for the USASAC team. "This is our focused way ahead to continue those efforts that you just saw. Bring these to fruition and routinize them, so that it becomes inculcated into what we do every day."
In closing Perna commented, "I thought this was a great update, clearly you are executing as I've asked. You are clearly making yourselves a part of the whole team. As I like to say, integrate and synchronize, and there is a huge difference. It's not just integrate! It's synchronize and integrate! And that's when we get the fullest output to what we do. It's the power of the totality of command, hence the reason why we do our updates, our battle rhythm events, what we do!