Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. — The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command’s fresh approaches to building command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance readiness are paying dividends for the 86th Expeditionary Signal Battalion.Responding to an urgent need, on Nov. 12, 2020, CECOM successfully delivered the first-ever Phoenix repair cycle float asset to the battalion at Fort Bliss, Texas. While on the surface this delivery may have looked routine, in fact, it was a groundbreaking achievement for Army C5ISR readiness.The problemThe Phoenix is a vehicle-mounted satellite communications terminal that can support Army units for rapid, worldwide deployments. But because the Phoenix can operate in four different bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, repairing and testing the platform after it breaks down is a complex, time-consuming process. This means that if a Phoenix needs overhaul, an Army unit could go months without one of its most critical communications assets.For the last several years, CECOM has been attacking the problem of long repair cycle times through the use of repair cycle floats for high-priority C5ISR systems. Repair cycle floats are pools of top-tier-condition systems that are immediately available to issue to units if their existing C5ISR systems break down or need overhaul. Instead of waiting for a non-mission-capable system to be shipped to a CECOM facility, repaired and shipped back, the unit can receive a fresh, functional system in just a few days, keeping its readiness intact.The processEstablishing repair cycle floats for the Phoenix, however, has been a particular challenge, according to Colleen Holloway, chief of the Tactical Network Sustainment Division in the CECOM Integrated Logistics Support Center.“In addition to its system complexity and long repair cycle time, the Phoenix is a low-density item, meaning there are relatively few of them in the Army inventory,” she said. “This makes it difficult for Army units to give them up without a repair cycle float asset being immediately available for replacement.”CECOM began working on the challenge two years ago, when the ILSC decided to pursue a repair cycle float strategy through the divestment of eight Marine Corps Phoenix models and converting them to Army models at the equipment manufacturer, L3Harris. At the time, the float strategy wasn’t as prevalent as it now, and the focus was more on the potential need for the conversions due to the divestment of the AN/TSC-93E, an older Army tactical satellite model.“This forethought and strategic planning were exactly what we needed instead of being in a constant reactionary mode,” Holloway said. “The repair cycle float program allowed for this.”Thanks to this hard work, when the 86th ESB urgently needed a Phoenix in late 2020, CECOM had one available for delivery. In a direct swap, 86th ESB Soldiers placed the fresh Phoenix shelter onto the vehicle bed, and CECOM took the non-mission-capable shelter into its possession for repairs.“We have the 86th Phoenix shelter back at Tobyhanna Army Depot and ready for induction to become a repair cycle float asset for another unit,” Holloway said.She credited the success not only to the Army’s “fight tonight” motto and strategic use of repair cycle floats, but also to CECOM asset management. This is the command’s process of proactively working with units to plan for how it will repair and replace C5ISR systems that most need attention, before they break down, based on each unit’s specific needs.The path forwardCECOM plans to have 13 total Phoenix repair cycle float assets completed by the end of fiscal year 2021. It is also looking at ways to reduce the amount of time required to repair Phoenix terminals overall, such as prestaging needed parts right on the production line.Holloway praised the high-performing Phoenix team — including Integrated Logistics Support Specialist Pamela Sanchez, Item Manager Steven Fitzgerald and Branch Chief Cesar Saenz — who worked hard to optimize schedule, cost and performance.“We’re working closely with Tobyhanna; the equipment manufacturer; Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical; and the logistics assistance representative and Soldier community to go after Phoenix sustainment in its entirety,” Holloway said. “This is a win for the Army and for all us. It puts readiness in the hands of the Soldiers.”