As the Army relies on the strategic support area (SSA) to sustain the readiness of warfighters, the organic industrial base (OIB)—consisting of critically needed depot support, arsenal capabilities, and munitions production—remains the key enabler and major readiness driver for our Army. The OIB must remain ready, provide sustainment capabilities at the speed of relevance, and capitalize on modernization efforts that provide critical infrastructure in support of ongoing requirements and large-scale combat operations (LSCO).As part of U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) and headquartered by U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC), Tobyhanna Army Depot emboldens specific focal areas within the SSA. These include areas such as strategic planning, multifaceted and responsive production, comprehensive engineering capabilities, and a recently completed ten year, $750 million infrastructure modernization plan.This plan included:Establishment of a state-of-the-art electronics enclosureConstruction of a defense cyber operations facilityEstablishment of all-weather asset testing capabilitiesDevelopment of over 2.5 million square feet of working floor space able to meet the future maintenance demands of the ArmyAs part of the SSA and OIB, Tobyhanna is the primary logistics and sustainment support center for the majority of the Department of Defense Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) weapon systems, providing design, development, engineering, manufacturing, repair, and overhaul support across the services and around the globe. Designated by the Army as the Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for C5ISR, electronics, avionics, and missile guidance systems, Tobyhanna ensures continual and steadfast engagement with evolving communications and electronics technology. As the largest industrial employer in northeastern Pennsylvania with roughly 4,000 personnel, Tobyhanna maintains a worldwide footprint capable of projecting sustainment capabilities to the warfighter. Tobyhanna has a workforce with vast electronics skill sets, able to deploy in support of C5ISR support services worldwide.Tobyhanna deploys technicians to 40 forward repair locations established in over 30 countries. These technicians facilitate on-site repairs to support warfighter readiness at the time and point of need.Tobyhanna also has a robust engineering department consisting of over 400 engineers, technicians, programmers, and logisticians who play an integral part to ensure legacy weapon systems can be sustained through issues of obsolescence and diminishing sources. Tobyhanna serves as a strategic partner in meeting the Army’s C5ISR sustainment requirements.TOBY 2028To ensure the depot remains ready for the future, Tobyhanna has established a comprehensive and cohesive strategic planning effort known as TOBY 2028. This initiative ensures the organization proactively searches for ways to posture itself for future demands of the warfighter. This is accomplished by adding additional skill sets and upgrading infrastructure to align with the Army’s innovation and modernization efforts.TOBY 2028 is organized into four lines of effort which are nested with the priorities of the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff of the Army:C5ISR ReadinessInvest in our PeopleShape the FutureStrategic CommunicationsAs part of the effort to ‘Shape the Future,’ Tobyhanna combined two engineering labs into one cohesive unit—the Engineering Analysis and Solutions Lab (EASL) and the Automatic Test Equipment Lab.“This facility will serve as a beta site for emerging electronics testing, repair, and fabrication capabilities; process development support, and C5ISR sustainment and maintenance operations,” said Mark Sgobba, an electronics engineer who is leading the unification effort. He also noted that the unification concept com-bines the facilities, equipment, and skilled technical resources required to analyze complex technical problems and develop innovative solutions for communications and electronics weapon systems.To retain, maintain, and sustain the Army of the future for LSCO, a focus must also be placed on the rapid advancement of commercial electronics products to assess their potential use on the battlefield. Tobyhanna works closely with program managers and Army materiel developers to build the right sustainment capabilities and appropriately plan for future requirements. In addition, the depot works with the private sector to ensure the team remains current with technological advancements and innovative improvements concerning C5ISR sustainment and maintenance operations.Tobyhanna understands this critical relationship with industry and has established public-private partnerships (P3s) with commercial providers since 1997. P3s allow Tobyhanna and private organizations to work in a collaborative environment and complement one another’s capabilities to support the warfighter.Frank Zardecki, deputy commander of Tobyhanna, highlighted the depot’s involvement in over 400 P3s throughout the past 24 years. “We have the public-private partnering experience to provide high-quality, cost-effective C5ISR total lifecycle support services,” said Zardecki. “Among their many benefits, partnerships enhance the ability to collaborate, share best practices, and ultimately provide optimized readiness support to the warfighter.”Prototyping and TestingTobyhanna also supports the Army’s use of prototyping and testing new technology to field combinations of commercial and nondevelopmental items. Tobyhanna established a prototype design facility to explore various initiatives. “The plan is to have various metal working, sheet metal, fabrication, and electrical capabilities under one roof with the necessary support infrastructure, such as cranes and adequate floor space” said Michael Vivlemore, chief of the Design, Development and Fabrication Division, Production Engineering Directorate.Finally, it is critical to continuously build the bench of tomorrow’s skilled workers and military personnel to keep the Army and SSA rolling along. Tobyhanna invests in the workforce and supports warfighters through an established dynamic, hands-on training program. The depot offers continuous on-site training, from shop-floor skills to management-level training, education incentives, and partnerships with several local colleges and universities for continuous education and honing of critical skills for all workers. On-site training tools are provided to the current workforce and are also available to all branches and components of the U.S. Armed Forces. Military personnel receive the same hands-on training from depot journeymen technicians in C5ISR systems. As a result, many have earned certificates in basic robotics, networking, and environment protection.The depot’s proactive approach and culture is rooted in the Tobyhanna business model and values to support the warfighters across the C5ISR mission. These principles are the lifeline of the organization; without that structure, the Army would not have the ability to adapt to support the SSA.--------------------Col. John McDonald is commander of Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pennsylvania. As commander for 4,000 personnel, his responsibilities include supporting global readiness for command control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. His military career started as a parachute rigger with 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps and has served in several leadership and staff roles throughout his 27-year career. He holds master’s degrees in logistics management and national resource strategy.--------------------This article was published in the July-September 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