FORT DETRICK, Md. -- Sustainment planning is vital to the readiness of U.S. Army units and medical materiel alike. And just like all other classes of supply, they require integrated logistics support.
That is why Army Medical Logistics Command, the Army’s life cycle management command for medical materiel, established its Integrated Logistics Support Center, or ILSC.
A key part of the center is a new medical materiel-focused Logistics Assistance Program, or LAP, that provides a “face to the force” for sustaining life-saving medical equipment, including a known gap -- maintenance management plans.
“Without maintenance management plans, units aren’t able to adequately capture essential data that enables effective sustainment, provides active readiness indicators and allows commanders to make informed decisions,” said Jason Acevedo, director of the ILSC’s Logistics Assistance Directorate, which oversees the LAP.
Since its establishment about a year ago, the ILSC has received an uptick in the number of requests from the operating force for support through the LAP. Units are asking for more education and training on how to log and comply with maintenance management plans, Acevedo said.
“Some units weren’t correctly implementing already-established Army policy and guidance, which compounds their ability to effectively maintain their medical equipment,” he said. “For example, units aren’t establishing required maintenance management plans for medical items in (Global Combat Support System-Army, or) GCSS-Army.”
A common tendency at the unit level without maintenance managers, Acevedo said, was to just sign for an item and enter it into the property book.
Without maintenance management plans, Acevedo explained, “you won’t have a true capture of asset visibility and functionality, thus readiness becomes decreased.”
“If that unit goes out the door, they don’t really have a true picture of their health,” he said.
Acevedo likened the situation to owning a car and not doing regular oil changes. It may not cause problems initially, but later down the road in a piece of equipment’s life cycle, there will be crucial maintenance breakdowns and information gaps that would jeopardize readiness.
In addition to routine maintenance, maintenance management plans spell out calibration requirements, as well as maintenance significant devices that may need replacement parts to adequately maintain each device.
Acevedo said this information enables commanders to make informed decisions, but also captures the scheduled and unscheduled maintenance requirements so they have an understanding of the total health of the devices throughout an organization.
From the ILSC LAP perspective, education and outreach remains its primary line of support.
Leveraging technology to communicate directly with units in the field, the LAP can assist in verifying what a unit is supposed to have and see what is logged against that record in the GCSS-Army system, where items and maintenance plans are cataloged and tracked.
“We would educate them on how to make all that happen,” Acevedo said.
The LAP does not provide hands-on maintenance support directly, but serves as the primary reach-back point for the AMLC ILSC to coordinate with lead system technical representatives from Army Field Support Brigades.
Units in need of support can submit requests to the ILSC’s LAP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.