AMLC’s Integrated Logistics Support Center expands capability, support for warfighter

By C.J. LovelaceMarch 1, 2023

A biomedical equipment technician works on a portable X-ray machine at U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency’s Medical Maintenance Operations Division at Tracy, California. New capabilities coming for Army Medical Logistics Command’s Integrated Logistics Support Center will better connect sustainment-level maintenance resources to Soldiers and units with important medical equipment in an operational environment. (Photo Credit: Katie Ellis-Warfield, U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT DETRICK, Md. — The U.S. Army’s life cycle management command for medical materiel is boosting its customer service and technical information capabilities to improve support for the operational force.

In 2023, Army Medical Logistics Command’s Integrated Logistics Support Center, or ILSC, will increase its Logistics Assistance and Logistics Technical Support capabilities in order to address challenges in the field.

Additional capacity will bolster technical support for field-level medical maintainers, improve supply chain manage and data analysis.

“This is an exciting phase for medical logistics, as we adjust our mindset as a life cycle management command and better align our business practices with the rest of the Army commodities,” ILSC Director Leigh Anne Alexander said. “With every new capability, we build additional resources and support structures to enable medical readiness throughout the operational force.”
New lines of support

The ILSC’s Logistics Assistance Directorate, or LAD, will add support in the form of system technical representatives, or STRs, and logistics assistance representatives, or LARs, who will serve as the point of contact for units to provide technical support and training to help facilitate self-sustaining readiness capability at the tactical level.

Those expanded services will cover various Army field support battalions, or AFSBs, and regions around the globe, including the 402nd AFSB in Hawaii/Alaska; the 406th AFSB in Fort Bragg, N.C.; 407th AFSB in Fort Hood, Texas); the 405th AFSB in Europe; and the 403rd AFSB in Korea.

Deployable personnel, LARs are able to assist unit commanders in identifying trends and solving readiness issues at the unit level, as well as elevating issues that cannot be fixed at the unit level to the appropriate parties to coordinate further assistance, according to LAD Director Jason Acevedo.

LARs have existed for other Army commodities yet represent a newer capability within medical. “LARs are subject matter experts from the Army Materiel Command’s life cycle management commands who assist commanders in analyzing equipment readiness, identifying problems, determining responsibility for resolution and, when appropriate, assisting with that resolution,” said Acevedo.

“The LAR is really where the rubber meets the road with the Soldier,” Acevedo added. “They work to help educate and guide Soldiers to resolve medical logistics challenges.”

Working in tandem, STRs will serve as designated multisystem subject-matter experts responsible for providing technical assistance to AMLC LARs and individual units.

Acevedo used an example of a malfunctioning computed tomography, or CT, machine in a forward environment to describe the new capabilities. Not every Soldier is trained to service highly specialized equipment such as a CT, so the STR steps in to assess the situation and assist to get the issue remedied and back online as quickly as possible.

Overseeing the STRs, there will be a lead position, or L-STR, that will serve as the AFSB commander’s senior command representative primary point of contact, responsible for coordinating, integrating and synchronizing resources. L-STRs also provide instruction and guidance to the STRs and LARs in each region.

The addition of STR and LAR capabilities provides “an end-to-end” support structure that the medical logistics community never had before the ILSC’s creation, Acevedo said.

“There’s more than just a person there to give medical logistics guidance,” he said. “We also can gather and aggregate the data that comes from those locations to build and forecast plans for gap resolution and support solutions.”

Technical expertise

For the Logistics and Technical Support Directorate, or LTSD, it’s all about data, technical information and managing supply chains.

The LTSD will add capabilities within its Analysis and Analytics Division to enhance total asset visibility. It will also incorporate data scientists to identify trends, build predictive models and plan for future needs in medical materiel sustainment.

Additional capabilities will come in the form of technical information and logistics management specialists.

Arthur Braithwaite, director of the LTSD, said technical writers would provide support for technical data management, one of 12 integrated product support elements. Additionally, technical writers will review, develop and edit policy documents and instruction manuals to assist operators and maintainers.

The technical information specialist and associated technical writers are nested within LTSD’s Technical Information Management Branch, or TIMB, which aligns with Army and Department of Defense standards and specifications related to acquisition activities, such as the ILSC’s Readiness and Sustainment Directorate and materiel development partners.

“As we grow and start publishing technical manuals, the Army requires those to be authenticated as an Army technical publication,” Braithwaite said.

Over time, as new publications are created, they will be hosted by AMC’s Logistics Data Analysis Center, which has a repository for manuals that can be leveraged by the acquisition and sustainment communities, he added.

“This is similar to all the other commodities,” Braithwaite explained. “This is a longer-term vision, but the TIMB is viewed as a function that we will build out to add capability and leverage assets within existing Army platforms.”

In a similar vein as technical information, data science and analytics is a relatively new arena for medical materiel, he said, helping to better “see ourselves” and provide a clearer picture of true readiness. It enables the compilation of historic data and the use predictive modeling to project potential failure points and maintenance needs in the future.

“We’re now also able to bring in the field data to then validate the predictive data and provide adjustments and information for commanders from the field,” Braithwaite said. “That will help them make more informed decisions, have a better sense of total asset visibility and plan for future needs.”

Under LTSD’s Supply Chain Management Division, new roles and responsibilities are being outlined to establish the first Common Authorized Stockage List, or CASL, for medical materiel, Braithwaite said.

The new CASL will be utilized by Army Sustainment Command and be included with existing Supply Support Activities, or SSAs, like other Army commodities.

Enhanced logistics management will be the final piece of the puzzle for LTSD’s Supply Chain Management Division, which will be a part of the acquisition workforce framework to provide independent validation of product support strategies, sustainment plans and life cycle cost estimates for materiel through the lens of sustainment.

Braithwaite said integrated product support analysis, or supportability analysis, is the procedure and methodologies used to plan, develop, engineer, produce, manage and ensure the supportability of systems and equipment delivered to users.

“The goal of supportability analysis is to reduce the logistics and maintenance cost and increase availability by optimizing the support system, just like the Army does for other commodities, but it’s not typically been done in medical,” he said. “We’re trying to introduce that as a best practice and then build that capability within AMLC to do that.”