Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Nicholas Basirico, Increment 2 branch chief and Joseph Baron, INC 2 item manager, to discuss the ins and outs of stock availability and how it applies to the Warfighter's mission. For any Life Cycle Management Command, stock availability is paramount to the Warfighter's mission and readiness.

Stock availability is an integral part of the process of logistics, focused on establishing appropriate stock levels of parts, components, and other supplies necessary to support maintenance and operations. Essentially, SA is about having the right stock, at the right time, at the right place, and in the right quantity.

"The ultimate goal is to have the right stock on hand and being able to ship it out when needed to support the Warfighter's mission. That can include any trainings, deployments, or whatever they have upcoming on the schedule," Baron said.

The Army must have responsive systems and processes to ensure when a Solider requires supplies, they have access to them. Otherwise it can seriously halt the mission and decrease readiness.

"We are driving to make sure what we own is ready to fight," said Army Material Command's General Perna in an article on the Army website. "Our responsibility is to ensure our Army's equipment is prepared as much as possible."

Fundamentally, there is an overarching interdependence between stock availability and readiness. Basirico explains readiness is Fully Mission Capable versus your NonMission Capable Systems with the exception of spare parts.

"All your SA is looking at your priority. The lower the priority, for example priority level 02, the more important it is," Basirico said. "These guys are reporting my system is down and I need to get these items now. That statistic is a little bit heavier in regards to importance. At least to me, because it ties directly to readiness," Basirico said.

To tie into that further, stock availability will be impacted greatly if parts are not filled on the Required Delivery Notice Issue Date. For instance, if an item manager receives an order from Fort Campbell to deliver an item within 10 days, and it is not delivered, it will go on back order and can negatively impact stock availability. But there is a misconception when it comes to RDNID, Basirico said.

"If we fill it eventually, our SA will not go up. Even though you are reducing backorders, it doesn't reflect in the supply availability or stock availability numbers statistics unless you fill it in the required window."

AMC's goal, whether it's Communications-Electronic Command, Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command, or Army Aviation and Missile Command, the priorities across the board are 100 percent stock availability and 90 percent readiness. In a February 2019 report, CECOM's overall stock availability was 86.5 percent, a 5.7 increase from last year with a SA percent of 80.8 percent.

With readiness, systems within the Communications Control Command Directorate such as Secure Mobile Anti-Jam Reliable Tactical-Terminal had a 91 percent FMC readiness rate in April 2019, a 2 percent increase from an 89 percent readiness rate in Feb 2019. The Satellite Transportable Terminal system had 82 percent FMC readiness rate in April 2019 compared to 80 percent FMC readiness rate in February 2019.

Meanwhile the Joint Network Node seen a slight decrease in readiness at 87 percent in April 2019 compared to 88 percent in February 2019. As mentioned by General Perna, readiness is an important factor in life cycle management. Therefore, it is increasingly important to reach a readiness rate of 90 percent or above as it affects the Warfighter's capability to operate in the field.

"Each program has a unique flow and purpose in assisting with the overall mission," Basirico said. He added for a system like SMART-T, it is crucial for the system to have stock available and fully mission capable ready as it provides the Army's only protected, worldwide, anti-jam, low probability of intercept and detection, secure voice and data capabilities for the Soldier.

SMART-T provides a range extension to the Army's current and future tactical communications networks. If this system were to go down, it could be detrimental. With the percentages in stock availability and readiness peaking, it appears increasingly promising with CECOM reaching its overall goal. Baron explains in order to reach this goal, it takes continual team work, noting the interconnection between job functions in the weapon systems directorate.

"Stock availability ties into everyone on the weapon system team," Baron said.