The green-amber-red cycle is the most common time management system used in the Army. However, there are more effective systems for companies where platoons and teams are on different training cycles. Instead, the P Week methodology is ideal for a logistics commander describing the capabilities, requirements, shortfalls, risks, and opportunities for platoon and team-level training periods to higher commanders. Commanders can quickly analyze requirements based on a unit’s personnel and equipment readiness and communicate mission feasibility and risks. Since the creation of the quartermaster field feeding company (FFC), commanders have struggled to manage maintenance and training while balancing the companies’ garrison operations and inadequate manning. Consequently, FFC commanders should choose the P Week methodology for quarterly training planning and execution.
According to Field Manual 7-0, Training, P Week methodology is “a prescriptive system that codes certain activities in certain weeks, forcing commanders to account for other requirements such as recovery from training and training preparation. P1 equals a unit’s prime time training window, P2 equals Recovery window, P3 equals Training Preparation window, and P4 equals Offline window with no training authorized (red cycle, block leave).” The P Week methodology helps commanders determine the weeks for concentrated training, recovery, preparation, and leave.
The FFC has two primary missions: a field training or deployment mission and a garrison mission. The field training/deployment mission requires the company to provide field feeding to units that are echelon above brigade. The garrison mission requires the company to maintain operational control of installation warrior restaurants, conduct arrival/departure airfield control group support, and augment culinary outpost kiosks and food trucks. The FFC includes a headquarters team that manages mission command, training, maintenance, and administrative operations. The company also has two platoons: one platoon headquarters and four field feeding teams. Each field feeding team has 15 culinary specialists: one culinary management NCO, one advanced culinary management NCO, four culinary NCOs, and nine culinary specialists. Each platoon has two assault kitchens that can feed 150 personnel to support smaller sites. Each field feeding team has four medium tactical vehicle variants, two mobile kitchen trailers (MKTs), two water trailers, and two food sanitation centers that can feed a maximum of 700 personnel.
Implementation and Impacts
The 115th Quartermaster FFC within the 4th Infantry Division operated a warrior restaurant, kiosk, food truck, and Basic Leader Course warrior restaurant. It provided expeditionary field feeding to field training, such as the Combat Training Center, training exercises, best medic competitions, and deployment missions, like an immediate response force.
Each unit must modify the P Week methodology to their company’s base support requirements. The best method is to assign field feeding teams a mission, such as expeditionary field training, garrison operations, or deployment mission, for an entire quarter, which helps commanders conduct mission analysis on personnel, equipment, and training.
The P Week methodology defines personnel capabilities and provides personnel predictability and purpose. First, commanders define teams as full or partial based on personnel deployability, which outlines their capability to provide support. As standard operating procedure in the 115th Quartermaster FFC, full teams were defined as 80% manned, and partial teams were defined as 46% manned. Once the battalion sends the company the requirement, the commander provides feedback on the ability to support based on the personnel available in the team. Secondly, the P Week methodology gives Soldiers and leaders predictability and purpose. Soldiers see when they will get time off, their assigned mission set and duration, and the windows for preparation and recovery. Platoon leaders and platoon sergeants can backward plan training based on the same factors. Also, the field-feeding teams build relationships, trust, cohesion, and competence through mission repetition. Lastly, a recommendation to maximize the benefits of this methodology is to maintain team integrity, which increases trust and cohesion based on the hardship, resiliency, and growth during mission execution. This approach enables junior leaders to take on more leadership roles and teach and coach other junior Soldiers.
Commanders can determine and communicate support based on the unit’s equipment readiness. A commander must review the equipment readiness of each team to assess their capability to support each requirement. For instance, a specific team may only have one MKT and can only feed a maximum of 350 personnel instead of 700 personnel with two MKTs. Additionally, the review allows commanders to identify equipment that is not mission capable, prioritize maintenance, request Class IX parts for equipment repair, and communicate risks to the mission if equipment readiness does not improve before mission execution.
The P Week methodology clearly outlines what training will occur throughout the quarter. It facilitates the platoon leadership’s ability to execute the 8-Step Training Model. At the beginning of the quarter, the platoon leadership must know their field feeding team’s mission to train, resource, prepare, execute, and recover personnel and equipment. Additionally, the commander can communicate training changes and risks to the mission due to unforeseen support requirements.
For FFCs, the P Week methodology is more effective than the green-amber-red cycle time management planning system. Many logistics units train at the platoon or team level with different training glide paths, and the P Week methodology gives FFC commanders effective ways to depict, plan, and communicate training proficiency and readiness. Additionally, the P Week methodology helps commanders protect their units’ nonduty hours, operationalize maintenance, increase resourcing time, and forecast shortfalls.
Capt. Lauren M. VanDerLugt currently serves as the support operations materiel management branch chief of the 4th Division Sustainment Brigade at Fort Carson, Colorado. She previously served as the company commander of the 115th Quartermaster Field Feeding Company, 4th Division Special Troops Battalion, at Fort Carson. She has a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Washington State University.
This article is published in the Fall 2023 issue of Army Sustainment.