The Supply Support Activity (SSA) represents the epicenter of logistics within a Brigade Combat Team (BCT) regardless of tactical formation composition. The SSA serves as the critical link between tactical-and national-level supply echelons; this link is vital to the overall level of unit readiness. This fact mandates comprehensive system effectiveness combined with an in-depth knowledge of Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army) to effectively navigate the supply architecture.The phrase “strategic private” does not solely apply to tactical operations. Strategic privates and specialists at the battalion clerk-level represent the origin of the supply demand signal for the entire Army. If these Soldiers are not properly trained, the entire supply chain management system will be adversely affected over time. This creates enormous ramifications within BCTs, and the level of proficiency of these Soldiers truly makes them strategic in nature during the execution of tactical and home station operations.Organizations must wholeheartedly invest in data entry clerks to ensure the right supplies are ordered and arrive at the right time to sustain operations. The SSA must operate at the highest level of efficiency from origin (supply clerks at the battalion), to brigade/division (ZPARK managers), and finally the supply entry/ exit point (SSA). The SSA accountable officer (AO) is the lynchpin during the execution of this entire operation.Leaders within a BCT must search for ways to maximize logistics platforms and Soldiers with the explicit intent of holistically improving operations. 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (3ABCT), 1st Armored Division (1AD), Fort Bliss, Texas developed multiple solutions to increase operational productivity.These solutions include:Implementing a “Touch-It Once Campaign” Express lane creation Daily Forward Support Company (FSC) Logistics Packages (LOGPAC) Overaged Repairable Item Listing (ORIL) management The “Touch-It-Once Campaign” focuses on the arrival of supplies at the SSA, automated logistical specialists (92A) supply processing, and supply placement into supported battalion lanes. Historically, 92As were placing supplies into specified unit lanes and subsequently touching the supplies a second and third time during the out-load process. Based on these actions, the entire process required two and a half man hours per document number.To alleviate additional strain on Material Handling Equipment (MHE) and SSA Soldiers, the BCT implemented a Container Roll-In/ Roll-Out Platform (CROP) exchange program which automatically reduced man hours by one and a third hours, from an aggregate perspective. Forward support companies and the brigade support battalion (BSB) base companies were assigned specific geographical areas within the SSA. Each company was tasked to place three CROPs at the SSA, which were controlled by the SSA AO for property accountability and management purposes. This system allowed SSA personnel to load unit CROPs once with required MHE, which increased the efficiency of the SSA and overall unit throughput.Additionally, once FSCs transport CROPs back to their area of operations to facilitate supply downloading, overaged repairable item list (ORIL) items are backhauled to the SSA for processing on the same CROPs. The BSB Distribution Company is responsible for transporting ORILs to the Logistics Readiness Center (LRC), and bringing empty CROPs back to the SSA to start the cycle over again. The “Touch-It-Once Campaign” has increased efficiency within 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (3ABCT, 1AD); it represents a method which can be replicated in field environments which enables our Soldiers to train as we will fight.Categorically, the SSA has two types of customers: Those picking up bulk items from an external area and those securing smaller Class II and Class IX items from internally controlled areas based on the premise of potential pilferage. 3ABCT increased efficiency through the implementation of dedicated battalion pickup timeframes in order to focus on detailed requirements for all customers, not just combined arms battalions. Although this increased proficiency overall by 19%, especially in the area of time on station, there remained an opportunity to improve operations. The resolution to solve this gap manifested into the creation of an “Express Lane.”Express lanes operate daily with no specific battalion assigned to daily pickup windows. The only management mechanism attached is units can only use this lane if they have ten documents or less at the SSA. In order to utilize the express lane, units employ three distinct methods of coordination which are: Telephonic, Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT)/Home Station (HS), and Non-classified Internet Protocol Network (NIPR)-(VSAT/HS). Each coordination measure has an associated tactical version to replicate the same sight picture during the execution of tactical operations in field environments.Once the unit makes contact with the SSA, the 92As immediately pull that specific unit’s ten documents or less to expedite the process. The express lane navigates through the SSA to the open end of the issue clam shell where items are physically delivered to the customer. The goal is for the customer to utilize our Wi-Fi (CASI) capability to Post Goods Receipt the items on location directly following the SSA Post Goods Issue process. The creation of this lane allows units to pick up supplies multiple times daily.The immediate impact of creating this lane is depicted in a customer wait time (CWT) decrease of 17%, which places supplies in the warfighter’s possession faster and contributes to sustained operational readiness at the highest levels. Continuous improvement targeted to increase operational readiness directly contributing to greater lethality remains the overarching goal of all leaders within 3ABCT.The ultimate test of any tactical-level organization is to have established systems which transfer with ease between home station and field environments. The comfort and convenience of home station operations directly contribute to atrophied field craft skills required to defeat the enemy in severely degraded technological environments. The key mitigation measure is to train as we fight at home station, and this type of training will transfer with tremendously less friction.3ABCT implemented daily LOGPAC operations from unit motor pool areas to the SSA in order to replicate tactical operations. This also applied to all four companies within the BSB. However, the distribution company (Alpha Company) of the BSB assumed a dual role. Alpha Company has the responsibility, on a rotating schedule, to deliver supplies to supported battalions just like the company delivers supplies in field environments.The implementation of daily unit LOGPACs produced the following effects:Significantly decreased CWTIncreased FSC’s ability to execute convoy operationsAllowed more LOGPAC repetitions which increased Soldiers' confidence in execution of enhanced logistic release point operations through daily coordination between the BSB and FSCs which directly supports brigade support area execution Established a firm foundation on the execution of field trains combat post and combat trains command post operations Sustainers and warfighters have an undeniable obligation to increase ORIL management effectiveness which directly impacts the Army enterprise and sustainable operational readiness from a limited parts production perspective. 3ABCT implemented a deliberate process targeted at reaching the Army’s ORIL turn in standard of ten days (Army Regulation 750-1) while holistically improving the efficiency of SSA operations.The T-Code in GCSS-Army that gives a detailed account of all recoverable items owed to the SSA is the ZOAREP report. As a BCT, there was an issue of matching items to the correct turn in codes which affected return credit. Clerks must utilize YOBUX (71-series documents) to synchronize open documents in the overarching ZOAREP report. If this does not happen, items systemically tend to get processed as Z-Excess, which in turn eliminates the potential return financial credit to the brigade/ division. All recoverable items should be processed and tied to the ZRL code to receive ORIL return financial credit. From an organizational perspective, it’s our responsibility to get recoverable items back into the Army system to ensure the organization as a whole continues to operate at a high level of readiness.The Defense Working Capital Fund (DWCF) established under Title Ten, United States Code Section 2208, allows the Army to repair and purchase requirements for all supplies, maintenance, transportation, and other financial needs required to operate a professional organization. The generated ORIL credit helps the DWCF and our organization remain fiscally responsible to the American taxpayers. In addition to financial revenue generated, critically required parts that may not be on the assembly production line are repositioned into the Army system for refurbishment and returned to the warfighter. A myopic approach to returning repairable parts back into the system produces detrimental effects to readiness over time.Secondly for a BCT, the return credit is essential to operate an armored formation. For illustration, an M1 Abrams engine costs $903,498 and the return credit is $361,781 representing a 40% return on investment of the entire cost. The final improvement measure concerned sending our 92As directly to maneuver battalions to process and approve recoverable items on site. From that point, FSCs delivered the items to the SSA and the transportation platoon delivered the items to the LRC. This entire process with support from all leaders within the BCT has immensely improved ORIL management.The SSA within any organization represents the nucleus of sustaining and increasing operational readiness to engage and destroy the enemy over a prolonged period of time. This endeavor demands engaged leaders at all echelons to ensure our formations remain committed to the execution and overall effectiveness of sustainment operations. The key is to design and implement systems which transfer without friction to field or austere environments that replicate the environments where we will engage our enemies. Low-density training for all 92As within the BCT is essential. This investment will mitigate skill atrophy over time. Leader professional development, combined with rotating the brigade maintenance meeting to the SSA footprint to increase the overall importance of the SSA among BCT leadership, represents another good technique to improve operations. The success or failure of an organization lies within the will of its leaders. Engaged leaders must develop viable solutions within the system of record, GCSS-Army, to keep our organization operating at a high level of readiness, postured to engage any enemy force within the world.--------------------Lt. Col. Charles L. Montgomery serves as commander, 123rd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, located at Fort Bliss, Texas. He holds a master’s degree in operational art and science from the School of Advanced Military Studies. He is a graduate of the Army Pathfinder School, Airborne, Joint Planners, and Joint Firepower courses.--------------------This article was published in the April-June 2020 issue of Army Sustainment.RELATED LINKSArmy Sustainment homepageThe Current issue of Army Sustainment in pdf formatCurrent Army Sustainment Online ArticlesConnect with Army Sustainment on LinkedInConnect with Army Sustainment on Facebook