REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – Under a new initiative led by Army Materiel Command, Soldiers can turn in old equipment more easily, freeing up space for new, modernized equipment.
The Modernization Displacement and Repair Site effort supports the Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model, or ReARMM, which is a unit lifecycle process that will create an Army regionally and functionally capable of supporting the National Defense Strategy by fiscal year 2022.
“This is one of the most important things AMC will do to support Army readiness in the next five years,” said Gen. Ed Daly, Army Materiel Command commanding general and the Army’s senior sustainer.
The goal of ReARMM is to integrate and synchronize force employment and modernization across the Total Army. Army Materiel Command is responsible for the strategic divestment of legacy equipment. Eric Cowan, the AMC G-3 divestiture team lead, said as the Army holds onto aging legacy equipment, it can become like a boat anchor, weighing the Army down.
“If units keep old stuff, it will remain on the books,” Cowan said. “The Army pays storage fees and people to check on it when the money could be spent elsewhere.”
To solve this problem, AMC established the MDRS effort. As the lead for strategic divestiture, AMC works with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, the Department of the Army G-8 and Army Futures Command to ensure as old equipment is removed from units, new equipment is able to replace it. The work done through the MDRS must be synchronized and aligned with the modernization model in order for ReARMM to be successful.
“We must minimize established processes, maximize velocity and unburden units for them to successfully modernize in their established timeframes dictated through ReARMM,” Cowan said. “The creation of the MDRS should afford opportunities for units to increase readiness.”
MDRS makes turning in old equipment easier for units by providing a place for Soldiers to drop off equipment. Run by Army Sustainment Command, Cowan said the MDRS is a one-stop shop for turning in equipment and removing it from the books in a timely manner. For commanders on the ground, this gives them more time to focus on missions while not holding onto unusable equipment.
“We try to help the units as much as possible,” Cowan said. “Units drop off their equipment being divested and we take care of the rest.”
Once the equipment is turned in, there are multiple options. If the equipment is serviceable, it may be sent to another unit in need. Another option is to work with allies and partners to determine if the equipment is beneficial and appropriate for their missions. If the equipment is unusable, the Defense Logistics Agency can dispose of it.
Currently, the only MDRS is in Fort Hood, Texas, operated by the 407th Army Field Support Battalion-Hood. Mark Akin, deputy to the commander of the 407th Army Field Support Brigade, said before MDRS, units there did not have a one-stop installation capability to quickly turn in excess equipment.
Since the facility opened in November 2020, leaders have been tracking progress and lessons learned. After a month of operations, the 1st Cavalry Division unburdened commanders of about 4,000 pieces of rolling and non-rolling stock equipment. As of early February 2021, more than 6,700 pieces of excess equipment have been received by the Army Field Support Battalion – Hood MDRS facility and removed the property books of different Fort Hood units.
The MDRS encompasses an entire battalion-size motor pool previously owned by the 49th Movement Control Battalion. The facility consists of an inventory receipt area, Basic Issue Item download area, technical inspection and property relief section, maintenance repair bays and a large equipment staging area.
Moving forward, AMC is working to improve the volume and speed of equipment turn-ins. While it can currently take a unit roughly 12 to 18 months to shift equipment out of its inventory, the ReARMM process looks to reduce the time to less than six months.
AMC is also working to add MDRS to other division-level installations across the country. The goal of this effort is to expand divestiture and redistribution support, unburden units of backlogs of excess and set the conditions for the transition to ReARMM.
“We can do one of two things,” Daly said. “We can watch the parade pass by or really get after this now. It is not going to be a staggered start. It will be a shotgun start.”