FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. -- Many Army civilians have not only taken jobs traditionally assigned to military personnel but have also deployed in large numbers.

They constitute much of the Army's sustaining base and perform complex functions in critical fields such as logistics. As such, Army civilian logisticians are a critical component of the Army logistics transformation.

At CECOM Life Cycle Management Command, the Integration Cell within the Logistics Operations Cell, Logistics and Readiness Center, is developing Army civilians to meet the heavy demands of modern Army logistics.

When Army units return from overseas operation, CECOM Integration teams must work swiftly to support the restoration of battle-worn equipment to a desired level of combat capability.

The Integration Cell was activated in November 2007 under the leadership of Scott Marcle. Starting with one logistics management specialist, the cell evolved over two years to address the ever increasing demands of Retrograde, RESET and Left Behind Equipment integration.

Today, the cell is composed of four Logistics Management Specialists; four regional integrated logistics specialist (ILS) managers each aligned with the 404th, 405th, 406th and 407th Army Field Support Brigades respectively, and a separate contract element to support Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) and Blue Force Tracker (BFT) RESET requirements.

The logistics management specialist, or LMS, is the nucleus of the Integration Cell. However, an LMS in the integration cell is unique and must know vastly more than the average logistics specialist.

For example, the integration LMS must have a thorough understanding of both field and sustainment logistics requirements and planning processes since they work closely with the individual unit, Army Materiel Command, Army Sustainment Command, the other Life Cycle Management Commands and supporting depots.

The LMS must also understand how to identify contract requirements, develop a scope of work and follow acquisition guidelines to ensure new or existing contracts are in place when needed. Likewise, the LMS must understand the basic tenets of maintenance since integration missions are maintenance transactions.

The LMS in the Integration Cell must also be particularly budget savvy. They not only develop the funding requirements for a particular mission, but they must closely track their expenditures and know policies regarding additional funding.

Last, but not least, the LMS must administer and produce a variety of official forms, spreadsheets, briefings, after-action reports, etc. Because often the "devil is in the details," the paper trail can be very long and tedious depending on the mission.

At first, training an LMS in the Integration Cell was challenging since nothing was documented at the time. Eventually, standardization of processes and procedures came about through a combination of hands-on/on-the-job training, logistics courses, and simple trial and error.

Today the Integration Cell has documented Integrated Action Group processes and desk guides to assist any LMS, whether new to the job or merely seeking information.

Key to training, above all else, is making a solid connection to the real customer - the Warfighter.

The Integration LMS is a true "Logistics Multi-Tasker," juggling several efforts at various stages. To date, the Integration Cell has completed over 35 integration missions and is expected to complete another 37 missions this fiscal year.

(This article appeared in Spectra, the magazine of the CECOM Life Cycle Management Command. To access the full issue in PDF format, 3.2 megabytes, click on the link appearing in the "Related Links" box at the start of the article.)