CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait--The senior military advisor to U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait Alina L. Romanowski met April 3 here with leadership of the Counter-ISIS, Train and Equip Fund and the Army Field Support Battalion-Kuwait to review the Army Prepositioned Stock program.
The commander of the Army Field Support Battalion-Kuwait, Lt. Col. Nichole L. Vild, said she gave the briefing to Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Darrin E. Slaten, the chief of the office of military cooperation at the U.S. Embassy to Kuwait, and Army Reserve officers from the 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) deployed here to staff the 1st Theater Sustainment Command's operational command post.
"Most people don't have the opportunity to learn about Army Prepositioned Stock and how they enable the theater, and actually the global strategy," Vild said.
Army Propositioned Stock are inventories of materiel and equipment staged around the globe, so that Soldiers responding to a crisis can deploy into a theater with their individual equipment and fall in on the trucks, tanks, field artillery pieces and other armaments and communications equipment already in place, she said.
There are six APS sites, and the one here in Kuwait is APS-5, which supports U.S. Central Command's area of operations.
The other sites are APS-1, supporting Army North; APS-2, supporting U.S. Army Europe; APS-3, based at Diego Garcia and supporting worldwide missions; APS-4, supporting U.S. Army Pacific; and APS-6, supporting U.S. Army South, she said.
The battalion and the APS-5 site fall under the 401st Army Field Support Brigade, headquartered here. The 401st executes sustainment, property accountability and responsible retrograde in support of Army, joint and multinational forces, as well as other U.S. government agencies across the USCENTCOM area of responsibility.
There are two other Army field support battalions under the 401st, in Afganistan and Qatar.
"It was a great briefing by Lieutenant Colonel Vild," said Slaten.
"What I thought was so special--what she provided me was the stories about her Soldiers and how hard they work, and how they punch about their weight," the general said.
It was good to hear that the contractors, Army Civilians and Soldiers were all working together as one team, he said.
Slaten said Vild's briefing helped him better understand the dynamics of how the APS is tied to U.S. forces working with Kuwait.
"What she did was put together some connective tissue for me on the stuff we see at the embassy and how it interacts with the defense operations agreement," he said. The defense operations agreement governs U.S. military relations with Kuwait.
Vild said the military relationship is key to her mission.
"What we do here is part of our diplomatic relationship with Kuwait and APS is here because of an agreement with the government of Kuwait," she said. "It is a great opportunity for us, so they have a better understanding of what APS brings to the table and what some of our trials are."
Army Reserve Col. Garrett R. Kolo, the director of the Counter-ISIS, Train and Equip Fund, or CTEF, at the 1st Theater Sustainment Command's operational command post here, said he was grateful for Slaten's participation at the briefing and subsequent tour.
"General Slaten was great to have there as the primary interface with the government of Kuwait and the U.S. ambassador, so he could provide more overview and context of how APS-5 fits in with the regional defense here in Kuwait and the larger religion," he said.
Kolo was also impressed by Vild and her team, especially Vild's willingness to give key positions to Army Reserve Soldiers, such as Army Reserve Maj. Alex Terehov, the battalion executive officer, he said.
"As a total force, the active-duty and reserve components are working together,” he said.
"So whenever you have an opportunity for officer professional development sessions, such as this one, they are very open to teaching Army Reserve Soldiers, so we become better warfighters and logisticians after leaving this area of operations."
Vild: APS-5 key to 2020 effort to counter Iranian aggression
The AFSB-Kuwait commander said the concepts and procedures were validated in January 2020 during the crisis from mounting Iranian hostility to U.S. forces, including the firing of rockets upon American military and civilian personnel in Erbil, Iraq.
"When the counter-Iranian effort happened last--right around January--APS and the brigade were put on notice that there was the potential for a unit to come in and draw equipment, so we could respond to the Iranian aggression," Vild said.
"With that verbal order, what the brigade and the battalion did was prepare equipment to be issued to that unit," she said.
"The unit did fly in and rapidly, the unit was fully equipped, so the unit could respond," she said. "They did not have to wait for equipment to be brought in from overseas," she said. "It was here, ready for them--that is what APS is designed to do."
APS configured in unit sets to reduce response time, support Army force projection.
Kolo stated he learned from both the briefing and the tour of APS-5 warehouses and lots.
"It was just incredible to learn about everything," he said.
The support operations officer for AFSB-Kuwait, Maj. David Faciane, said “a significant portion of the equipment is in outside storage.”
In the lots, the equipment staged is organized by company based on the infantry, field artillery and sustainment brigades APS-5 is tasked with supporting, the major said.
The vehicles are aligned to a company, so a company commander can show up and start the process quickly, he said. "We'll say: 'These are your vehicles,' so the commander can get the driver and the TC and go ahead and begin their PMCS. It speeds the process."
TC is the Army slang for the senior Soldier in all vehicles, derived from the term "tank commander. PMSC is the Army shorthand for the preventive maintenance checks and services that are required to maintain and certify equipment and vehicles for use.
"If the commanders have any issues and concerns with the vehicle, we pull that vehicle off the line and it gets immediate maintenance at our maintenance bay or, if need be, we grab another vehicle from another set."
Faciane said there are both hasty and standard draw procedures depending on the priority of the mission.
The Austin, Texas, native said the battalion also has significant rolling stock already configured for combat, such as the MaxPro mine resistant ambush protected, or MRAP, vehicles for radios, navigation and armaments.
"It takes time to install that. So to cut time for installation, they go ahead and pre-install all the mounts and the wiring to house that equipment," he said.
AFSB-Kuwait practices COSIS
Vild said her team actively manages her warehouses and lots using the Care of Supplies in Storage program, which ensures materiel in storage in maintained in ready-to-use condition.
The COSIS program calls for storage in controlled humidity, maintenance and accountability, she said.
Those attending the briefing boarded a bus for the tour of warehouses and the lots immediately after the briefing.
One of the briefers at the warehouse they stopped at was Sgt. 1st Class Shannon K. Armant Jr., who said the controlled humidity warehouses have less humidity than the Kuwaiti desert climate outside.
Each piece of equipment has a yellow Equipment List ID sticker with a barcode, he said. The ELID barcodes are scanned whenever the equipment is moved--even just a few feet in the warehouse, so that there is exact accountability.
"There is a GPS location embedded in the scan, wherever we move a piece of equipment from one location to another, we can identify wherever the equipment was located last, just in case that piece got shuffled along or lost in the process," the New Orleans native said.
Equipment in storage that have batteries are also hooked up to external electricity to reduce the draw on that battery, while the equipment is idle, he said.