By Ms Andricka Thomas (CECOM)August 23, 2011
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Just five years ago, the U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command personnel were tasked with a monumental undertaking…moving 93 years of communications-electronics equipment, personnel and mission domains to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
"The bulk of the mission is now at APG," said Michael Vetter, CECOM Logistics and Engineering director.
As the BRAC deadline approaches, July 31 marked the completion of moving all mission essential capabilities and equipment from Fort Monmouth to APG, well in time to meet the Sept. 15, 2011, deadline to close Fort Monmouth.
CECOM has shipped approximately 96 percent of the materials planned for relocation to APG in more than 750 truckloads containing office files, equipment, historical archives, wheeled and tracked vehicles, laboratory equipment and industrial fabrication machinery, according to Magdi Awad, contracting officer representative and manager for the BRAC Logistics Move Team.
"We planned, integrated and synchronized this move with all of the C4ISR Materiel Enterprise organizations leaving Fort Monmouth and Fort Belvoir," said Charles Plumeri, Business Operations team lead for the BRAC Logistics Move Team. "The move had to be executed with minimal disruption to our support to the warfighter."
CECOM was charged with managing the move on behalf of other C4ISR organizations also making the move to APG. Vetter credits the success of the move to the team effort between the BRAC Logistics Management Team, C4ISR Materiel Enterprise partners, the Army Corps of Engineers and contractor Team CACI, who executed the move and reconstitution requirements.
"The C4ISR community realized the importance of this orchestrated move, and senior leaders dedicated the appropriate resources to accomplish this incredible mission," said Vetter.
After reaching out to the greater Army community to research other large-scale Army logistical moves, Vetter found that CECOM's efforts in the move may serve as benchmarks for other commands facing the same challenge.
"After some research, we realized we were among the first Army organizations to lead such an effort. We had no other moves to reference for the planning and execution of a move of this large scale," said Vetter. "So, we started from scratch," said Vetter.
Some days, the CECOM BRAC Logistics Move Team had two to three meetings a day to ensure all move-related missions remained in synch, and in line with the planning process as well as provide oversight in the execution of the mission, Awad explained.
Vetter said that one of the challenges they faced in the planning phases was creating a process to move administrative areas and individual personnel moves.
"We maintained visibility on every step of this moving process," said Vetter. "The most important asset we were in charge of moving is our personnel. We wanted to make it as simple as possible for those relocating with the command."
To overcome this challenge, the team developed the concept of Individual Personnel Moves. Every week a truck transported items from personnel workspaces at Fort Monmouth to APG, based on individuals' scheduled move dates rather than moving entire offices at one time, said Awad.
"This concept further enabled the command to conduct mission activities during the command's relocation while providing uninterrupted support to the warfighter," said Awad.
But the biggest challenge during the process was in the transfer and reconstitution efforts of the command's specialized laboratories.
"We [worked] with contract experts to reconstitute laboratories that existed at Fort Monmouth that took years to build," said Plumeri.
"There were no instructions on how to take them apart and put them back together again. We needed the technical expertise in highly specialized areas to rebuild the capabilities at APG."
Along with contractor company CACI, the move team developed the concept of a re-locatable unit to keep labs functional, yet transferrable. A re-locatable unit is a laboratory or section of a laboratory that functions and could be relocated as a discrete unit.
"In many cases, shutting down an entire lab was not an option," said Plumeri, "[…] so we divided and moved the labs in parts so support to the warfighter was never compromised or paused during the transition."
It took two years to relocate [ elements of] Fort Monmouth and Fort Belvoir to APG, a move conducted in phases moving 117 laboratories which were broken down into 332 discrete re-locatable units. By the end of this move, CECOM expects to have transported more than 820 truckloads of materials to APG.
"This was a group effort," said Vetter. "We couldn't have done this without our team of dedicated personnel who understood the importance of maintaining the mission operations tempo to support the warfighter. Their hard work and expertise were invaluable to this effort and I thank everyone who helped make this move a success."
Fort Monmouth will officially become an inactive installation Sept. 13, positioning CECOM to dedicate the new C4ISR campus facilities during a ceremony scheduled for Sept. 15. As the last crates are packed, buildings and computers are shutdown, one chapter comes to an end and another begins. The memories and legacy of Fort Monmouth and its contributions to the Army will be forever remembered.