The United States Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) area of responsibility covers more of the globe than any of the other five geographic commands, and it is essential that U.S. Army organizations invest time and resources into battlefield circulation via face-to-face visits with soldiers and civilians on the ground. Leaning into this, the Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) Integrated Logistics Support Center (ILSC) recently sent several members of its leadership to the Pacific theater, as representatives from the ILSC Weapon Systems Management (WSM) Directorate traveled to Japan and Korea to get a first-hand glimpse into this ever-changing theater of operations so that they could identify issues and pain points and communicate best practices with PACOM units.
ILSC’s representatives spent the first day of the trip in Japan meeting with a number of other officials regarding subjects such as the Secure Mobile Anti-Jam Reliable Tactical Terminal (SMART-T), supply/maintenance transactions, asset status, and Starshield/ Starlink. Discussions concerning SMART-T were especially noteworthy, as SMART-T is the desired system to be utilized to protect geographical location information in a contested environment. One particular item on the agenda was a SMART-T asset which was sent for depot overhaul in FY2023 and was still pending induction, an issue that was slated to be elevated to the U.S. Marine Corps Logistics Command (LOGCOM). As a result of connecting directly with troops and gaining a deeper understanding of this area of operations, ILSC leadership was able to engage with depot operations to expedite induction while gaining new insights into the critical role that SMART-T plays and how it is viewed as a priority for backup communications in field operations.
Another important concern on the table was the length of time and the overall process whereby equipment is evacuated from Japan to CONUS, with officials also indicating that more feedback on asset status was needed once they leave their units. Mr. Nicholas Basirico, Assistant Associate Director of the Command, Control, and Communications – Tactical (C3T) Directorate, reflected on these interactions, saying “Modernization and improving on legacy capabilities continues to be a hot topic. If soldiers are not issued the latest and greatest equipment through the acquisition process, they are coming up with their own creative solutions to outpace threats.”
ILSC representatives then journeyed to the Regional Support Center at Kadena Air Base, where the dialogue primarily revolved around the Electric Power Plant (EPP-III) and the various cables and other systems that support it. This self-contained mobile electric power plant is a complex piece of equipment with a number of moving parts whose obsolescence and replacement needed to be addressed. Specifically, generators were a main point of conversation, as they remain the lifeblood of units in the field. The PM produced a solution to utilize the GEN2ECU to address obsolescence concerns with the existing 24K ECU, and further discussions were planned about the path forward.
Later talks also identified a current training shortfall with HMS/Manpack systems in one particular unit, which was at least partially due to continuity challenges being faced during soldier rotations. As a result, more Tactical Operations Center kits were requested, and follow-on training events were planned. Another unit expressed concerns about Program of Record (PoR)/non-PoR radios and the urgency of their unit being moved forward on the fielding schedule for Capability Set (CS) 23 because they are mobile and in need of the capabilities in CS23. This has spurred on ILSC to work with PMs regarding possible adjustments to fielding schedules.
Following their time in Japan, the ILSC contingent traveled to Korea for a series of intensive face-to-face conversations with the workforce. Of note, ILSC leadership met with representatives of the 403rd Army Field Support Battalion (AFSBn), and they also participated in a Logistics Assistance Representative (LAR) sync/roundtable geared towards examining the day-to-day responsibilities and specific challenges encountered by LARs in the Pacific theater. An in depth discussion occurred on the modernization of C5ISR equipment to include proliferation of commercial-off-the-shelf and non-developmental items (COTS/NDI) currently being experimented with as part of the Army's rapid development and fielding plans. ILSC leadership shared details on a CECOM Weapon System Matrix that lays out system details, Program of Record (PoR)/non-PoR programs, and proper PM contacts. All parties affirmed that our Logistics Assistance Representatives must be armed with informative and relevant materials, to maintain support to the warfighter forward.
After several full days of dialogue and information gathering, the group’s final day abroad was highlighted by a warrant officer round table that tackled topics such as the Joint Battle Command – Platform (JBC-P). The JBC-P is currently up against some hurdles related to fielding and the accessibility of full training, which the LARs took prompt action to address by scheduling sessions, providing yet another example of some of the immediate results yielded by this visit.
Said Mr. Basirico, “I was astounded by how well we were received during our trip. We were told multiple times by unit leadership how much they appreciate CECOM support and how quick we are to resolve issues and provide needed information to ensure the Warfighter can execute their mission.” ILSC leadership left the trip with numerous key takeaways and action items to help determine solutions moving forward to best support the soldiers, Army field grade officers, fielding personnel/logistics assistance representatives, and others in the Pacific who are so vital to C5ISR efforts. Overall, there was great benefit in CECOM ILSC personnel having direct contact for impacts to weapon system readiness, and this battlefield circulation epitomized the ILSC’s mission to strengthen and provide uninterrupted service to the Warfighter.