Security assistance takes initiative to work smarter
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Security Assistance Command continuously improves its tools to monitor financial operations, industry supply chain gaps and security assistance training integration. These tools, which track resources needed and expended that will increase the Army's readiness, were the focus of the quarterly visit by Gen. Gus Perna, commander of Army Materiel Command.

USASAC's Commander Maj. Gen. Jeff Drushal set the scene for showing how this presentation would demonstrate the command's continuous improvements on past queries and guidance from AMC.

The first dashboard shared with Perna was the Industry Supply Chain common operating picture which shows where requests for equipment and parts are in the supply pipeline. The tool was developed by a working group headed by John Neil, director of the Performance and Process Management Office at USASAC's site in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

"Sir, you challenged us to get our arms around FMS deliveries and the potential impact to Army readiness," Neil said. "How can we turn industry visits from them asking the Army for something, to the Army being able to ask industry for something. The Army needed data to inform them of what to ask for, and when to ask for items."

The industry supply chain dashboard will identify potential conflicts with Army supply availability and readiness drivers, which are identified by National Item Identification Numbers (similar to a stock number), and the scheduled FMS end item deliveries. Readiness drivers are items that are in great demand but short supply. These items are critical to the operation of a weapon system.

Using the common operating picture will assist the Army when it meets with industry representatives by providing a starting point for discussions about the needed items and parts, and delivery expectations. The data tool will help leverage industry relationship to advance Army, AMC and USASAC objectives.

"I really like where you're going with this," Perna said. "I think this is something I need when I talk to industry."

USASAC not only facilitates foreign military sales, but the command provides training assistance on the various weapon systems and equipment. There are hundreds of troops and civilians deployed all around the world to train allies and partners on the items sold to them.

Tim Sullivan, chief of Security Assistance Training Integration, demonstrated the Training Common Operating Picture tool, which will look at leading indicators, execution and outputs with regard to training. The TCOP will assist in developing resourcing strategies to minimize impact on Army and operational readiness.

As data is scrubbed from past efforts, this TCOP will monitor training needs around the world. The estimate is that approximately 350-450 training events will be going on constantly. The tool can help monitor the current situation, but more importantly see "requirements five to seven years ahead," Sullivan said.

The tool can drill down to regions and countries to see what are current requirements, but also the future operations and the requirements needed for them. USASAC will go live with the TCOP within the next month.

"We want to get our arms around planning and executing training," Drushal said. "We will be able to see the level of connectivity between all security cooperation training events jointly; to see everything in the training pipelines."

The tool shows 543 training events between now and 2027. "If we wait until the last minute we will be using military training resources to execute this training. But we are not going to wait until the last minute," Sullivan said.

With this tool, the Security Assistance Training Management Organization, a subordinate organization to USASAC, can begin to prepare the concept of operations to look at how the training will be executed at least 18 to 24 months in advance.

"This information is 'scratching the itch,'" Perna said. "The more you use this the better it will be. Stay focused on your purpose, but hold people accountable to the data and then outputs."

The third dashboard shared was the Financial Common Operating Picture, presented by Cliff Crivello, director of USASAC's Resource Management.

As Perna had alluded to earlier in the visit, there are three pillars to the organization: policy, training and resources. This tool focuses on resources.

"Sir, you often say that 100% of the people give 100%, and 100% in the right place. However, we are going to show you it should be people in the right place, doing the right process, towards the right performance level," Crivello said.

The FCOP will look at the categories of hours worked by the Regional Directorate employees: operational hours cover the stages of the FMS case, staff hours cover business sustainment, other activities, and leave. The tool will show management where time is being spent on each case, by each person working on FMS cases.

Each person has performance standards, so their time and attendance records should reflect if they are working toward these standards. There may be outliers, which could indicate they are a new employee, or are fulfilling a training requirement.

"There was a work breakdown structure in the past," Drushal said. "Employees were categorizing their time incorrectly; however, after engaging with the workforce on how to define the duties they executed, we were able to build the tool."

Perna said he was impressed with the tool and he asked USASAC to present this to some members of the AMC leadership, and look at ways to broaden the use of the tool.

These dashboards will increase the ability to see out in front, to forecast, and not react, and be able to control in order to execute and achieve the desired results.

"You are always doing. I like it," Perna told Drushal and his staff.

Perna recognized USASAC employees with a commander's coin. Recipients included Staff Sgt. Jennifer Holycross, Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Rodarte, Todd Little, Andy Ireland, all from SATMO, and Summer Paquette from USASAC headquarters.