Strategic levers for commanders to win our nation’s wars are imperative, and one such lever is Army prepositioned stocks (APS). Field Manual 4-0, Sustainment Operations, states that prepositioned unit sets are equipment configured into unit sets (to include authorized stockage list), shop stock, and unit basic load, that are positioned ashore and afloat to reduce deployment response time and support the Army’s force projection strategy.
During the APS-4 transition from Army War Reserve Deployment System (AWRDS) to the enterprise resource planning system Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-A), its capabilities enhanced the speed of APS-4 issue. For years, Army Field Support Battalion Northeast Asia (AFSBn-NEA) issued APS-4 to support missions, including live-fire exercises, equipment draws, life support, and humanitarian relief. With careful planning and implementing control measures, GCSS-A optimized expeditious issue of APS-4 equipment. AFSBn-NEA conducted GCSS-A transition in three phases: planning and preparation, pre-fielding, and fielding.
Phase I: Planning and Preparation
Training. AFSBn-NEA prioritized training requirements and ensured all stakeholders developed a GCSS-A training and certification system (GTRAC) training plan and standardization of data input into AWRDS before transition. During this period, all stakeholders worked collaboratively to schedule venues and automation equipment for training facility requirements and completed web-based GTRAC training.
Department of Defense Activity Address Code (DODAAC) Re-codification. Readiness efforts included organizing and managing unit sets, operational project stock (OPROJ), and sustainment stocks in APS-4 in a modernized automation system. Before data migration, the AFSBn-NEA readiness team ensured the re-codification of DODAACs that would synchronize with the GCSS-A database and its systems. By con-ducting site surveys and synchronizing with battalion and brigade key points of contact, DODAAC verification and re-codification were complete.
Data Transfer. To assist with the accuracy of data transfer in both supply and maintenance transactions, AFSBn-NEA provided files for data input, authorized stock list, lateral property transfers, shop stock, and work orders. During this period, AFSBn-NEA prepared a data cleansing process of equipment across Camp Carroll, Camp Humphreys, Busan Storage Center in South Korea, and Sagami General Depot and Yokohama North Dock in Japan. AFSBn-NEA conducted data cleansing of OPROJ mismatches and duplicate serial numbers.
Conditions Checks. Six months before the target data migration date, AFSBn-NEA conducted condition checks with several elements including 403rd Army Field Support Brigade (AFSB), Army Sustainment Command (ASC), the Product Manager GCSS-A (PEO Enterprise Information Systems and Army Data Analytics Platforms), and Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM). The GCSS-A fielding team assisted in coordinating a detailed schedule as AFSBn-NEA completed training requirements during pre-fielding.
Supply Support Activities. During preparatory activities, AFSBn-NEA also transitioned into its management activities supply support activities (SSA), routing identifier codes (RIC) associated with the SSAs were established, and AFSBn-NEA conducted assessments after SSA implementation.
Phase II: Pre-Fielding
CASCOM Oversight. Two months before data migration, CASCOM and the product manager team conducted the scorecard 60 days before execution. It helped ensure data reconciliation and cleansing before post go live activities at sites in Korea and Japan. The 403rd AFSB, ASC, product manager team, and CASCOM were intricately involved in the data cleansing process while equipment was transferred and became fully operational.
Care of Supplies in Storage (COSIS) Program. The COSIS program includes the maintenance and supply activities involved by executing exercise and cyclic maintenance procedures to ensure APS-4 stocks are serviceable at 10/20 standards. During the GCSS-A transition and the adjustment period, the COSIS program remained in sequence with the production schedule according to Technical Manual 38-470, Storage And Maintenance Of Army Prepositioned Stock Materiel. To adjust to the new system of record, the maintenance and supply divisions adapted GCSS-A metrics in its internal monthly readiness reporting.
OPROJ, DODAACs, and Unit Identification Code (UIC) re-stratification. GCSS-A afforded opportunities to build UICs and DODAACs to execute APS-4 accountability procedures according to Army regulations for all unit sets, OPROJ, and sustainment stocks.
Excess Equipment. The log data and storage branches processed materiel release orders to each site to process excess equipment Supply personnel continued to process excess during GCSS-A conversion. Funds verification and use authorizations were processed, enabling excess items to be identified, shipped, and re-distributed to meet the Army’s needs.
Phase III: Fielding
During this period, several individuals provided support during walkthroughs and site surveys, including subject matter experts from ASC and the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. The augmentation teams provided oversight, and enhanced GCSS-A migration and their involvement ensured validation of the data transfer and requirements.
Daily Working Groups. The daily synchronization forums during pre-fielding and fielding proved beneficial to data migration. This was the critical forum to ensure the de-confliction of numerous technical transactions with the collaborative team coordinating to create solutions.
Data Management. The data migration team helped ensure proper reporting and accountability procedures that impacted the Army materiel status system, maintenance master data file, and maintenance management information system.
Proof of Principle
Restructuring of property accountability into GCSS-A provided a timely opportunity to test N-hour sequence procedures and contingency missions. This exercise allowed leaders to fuse the new systems into operations. Upon completion, managers demonstrated the effort and executed GCSS-A supply transactions, evaluating system procedures and updating battle drills to incorporate GCSS-A. Codification of new standard operating procedures and velocity of employment of equipment proved that GCSS-A reduced draw time for warfighting units, accelerating the issue of APS-4 equipment to the warfighter, as evidenced in subsequent real-world missions.
Until August of 2021, AFSBn-NEA issued APS-4 equipment from AWRDS and manual procedures while the receiving tactical units conducted GCSS-A property accountability; as units turned APS-4 equipment back in, AFSBn-NEA inducted the equipment back into AWRDS. In September 2021, with GCSS-A migration and AWRDS deactivation, GCSS-A streamlined procedures, contributing to the speed of issue with GCSS-A to GCSS-A transactions and expediting the issue process for the warfighter.
During this transition period, AWRDS was deactivated, and AFSBn-NEA executed operational requirements in support of multiple partners and agencies in support of readiness exercises, including support to the Korea Rotational Force and live-fire validation exercises. By modernizing the logistics automation platform to GCSS-A, APS-4 draw procedures became more efficient, minimizing the time taken at the point of issue for supported units to be issued their equipment.
Benefits of the Transition
One of the goals of the APS-4 program in AFSBn-NEA is to enable rapid employment of equipment in support of the warfighter. Transitioning APS-4 equipment across Northeast Asia to a new automation system proved to be a timely process. Still, it was able to be accomplished with the help of vested partners at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. With GCSS-A implementation, units can be issued APS-4 equipment more efficiently in generating combat power.
Lt. Col. Edward K. Woo is currently attending the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, PA. He previously commanded the Army Field Support Battalion-Northeast Asia. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting from New York University, a master’s in administration from the University of Oklahoma, and a master’s in military arts and science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
This article was published in the Summer 2022 issue of Army Sustainment.