In the last several decades, the Army has seen countless changes to its supply and unit equipment management procedures. From June 6-16, a study was conducted on Fort Hood in response to these changes, which allowed professional analysts to gather data to later determine a new set of requirements for unit supply manpower.
“It all started with a survey,” said Jason Evans, a management analyst for the U.S. Army Force Management Support Agency. “This survey found that there are not enough [unit supply specialists] in the Army, so this study was created in response.”
The initial survey assessment of unit supply specialists was based upon increased time requirements to conduct supply procedures. Results found that more unit supply specialists were needed in the Army, leading to the first Manpower Requirements Criteria Study since 1997.
The study will include two on-site observations at Fort Bragg and Fort Hood, unit supply surveys, and subject-matter-expert interviews to determine the time it takes to complete unit supply room tasks.
“The visits on site are definitely important because we can use that data as a median for our survey results,” Evans said.
Data collection teams consisted of four people; two individuals from USAFMSA and two individuals from the Quartermaster School at Fort Lee, Virginia. Collectively, they visited 18 unit supply rooms during their visit to Fort Hood.
In order to collect the most accurate data, the MARC study teams observed units during a normal day of operations. Observed units conducted typical supply activities, such as inventories, turn-in, issue of supplies and equipment, and deployment preparation.
SSG Brandon Hearon, the supply sergeant at the 401st Military Police Company, found himself in the middle of a change-of-command inventory right as the study was taking place. He was also the only supply specialist on-hand to complete the inventories during that time.
“The Army is in desperate need of more supply personnel,” Hearon said. “The duties of a [unit supply specialist] are constantly increasing and more help is definitely needed.”
At 8 years of service, Hearon has seen his fair share of deployments. During this time, he’s also seen the role of a unit supply specialist grow increasingly more strenuous. Like many others in the field, he is ready for a change.
“I would like to see this result in not just an increase in manpower for unit supply specialists, but also the quality of them,” Hearon said.
After returning from Fort Hood, the analysts will take 60 days to gather and assess the data they’ve collected over the past several weeks. This data will later be used to determine whether or not the Army is in need of more unit supply specialists within their ranks.