From Jan. 24-27, 2022, the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Analysis Center transformed wrench-turners into skilled diagnosticians. Ten Soldiers assigned to the 916th Support Brigade and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment participated in the second of a three-part advanced diagnostics program (ADP) instructional series promoting enhanced diagnostics.
ADP training aims to provide maintainers in the 91-Series military occupation specialty with hands-on opportunities to employ diagnostic tools and equipment to troubleshoot any Army tactical wheeled or track vehicle effectively and efficiently. Achieving this objective allows maintainers to maximize readiness, minimize cost, and serve as force multipliers. The training focuses on electrical theory and control, electronic vehicle interrogation, diagnostic manuals and software navigation, diesel engine theory, and vehicle communication network fundamentals. The goal of the training is to avoid costly component replacements and minimize non-mission capable time by repairing subcomponents that cause faults. Diagnosticians accurately identify the root cause(s) of failure, thereby reducing logistics and man-hour requirements.
One unique aspect of ADP training is the compact diagnostics package (CDP), a collection of diagnostic hardware and software products. The DEVCOM Analysis Center (DAC) developed and assembled the CDP based on recurring failure modes and root causes identified through years of reliability-centered maintenance data. A CDP was provided to participating Soldiers in November 2021, enabling Soldiers to use a series of tools and software to access vehicle system information from the heavy equipment transport system, heavy expanded mobility tactical truck, and family of medium tactical vehicles families of vehicles.
Onboard systems data allows diagnosticians to quickly identify faults and apply the correct subassembly repair to avoid more costly major sub-assembly replacement or failure. This data-driven decision method is a revolutionary departure from the reactive maintenance methods typically practiced in units. Moreover, the CDP embodies and enables precision logistics in a new era of constrained resources. For instance, in many cases, the CDP can be used by diagnosticians to identify one specific sensor to replace instead of following technical manual /interactive electronic technical manual guidance to replace an entire major sub-assembly.
Looking to the Future
Future applications of this training type will benefit the Army and its Soldiers. ADP training will increase long-term cost savings, reduce strain on enterprise logistics systems, and, perhaps most importantly, develop a generation of Army maintenance professionals with advanced diagnostic skills. This new maintenance methodology will be more adaptable to the growing complexity of Army equipment. It will set the stage for current large-scale combat operations and future multi-domain operations environments.
To understand the value of the training, Brig. Gen. Curtis Taylor, National Training Center and Fort Irwin commanding general asked the participating Soldiers, “Do you wish you learned this information at AIT (Advanced Individual Training)?”
Pfc. Bryan Garcia from 1916th Support Battalion, 2nd Transportation Company (HET), a recent AIT graduate and member of the newest cohort of sustainment professionals to take the DEVCOM training agreed that Soldiers would benefit from the addition of the training to AIT.
“Definitely!” Garcia said. “The resources provided allowed for quick and easy access to troubleshooting information. The Army would benefit as a whole if every new private was taught this information at AIT.”
Most recently, three Soldiers from this program, working in connection with one of the DAC instructors, repaired M2A3 systems during the regeneration period of rotation 22-5 using the CDP kit and knowledge learned from two weeks of the ADP training. These wheeled vehicle mechanics had never worked on an M2A3 track vehicle before, but they were able to repair long lead time damaged wiring harnesses due to their understanding of electrical theory and ability to repair electrical faults utilizing common electrical repair equipment.
The implications for generating this capability in our ordnance professionals are profound. On a future battlefield against a near-peer enemy challenging our lines of communications, our maintenance professionals must be able to fix equipment forward and rely less on our logistics system to deliver large assemblies.
National Training Center leadership and DAC are continuing to expand this capability during the regeneration phases of rotations, while working in connection with the Ordnance Corps and CASCOM leadership to potentially revise training plans to train Soldiers at AIT, Advance Leadership Course, and warrant officer schooling on more electrical fault diagnosis and repair. The future is bright for maintenance capability.
1st. Lt. Robert Mullen is currently a student at Norwich University in Vermont. Mullen’s previous assignment was as a maintenance control officer and maintenance platoon leader. Mullen holds a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Psychology and a minor in Elementary Education.
This content is published online in conjunction with the Summer 2022 issue of Army Sustainment.