By Jason Bryant, LRCSeptember 26, 2011
By the beginning of 2010, the Logistics and Readiness Center, LRC, Drawdown Special Projects Office, DDSPO, began searching for ways to flex its manning levels throughout Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.
"As we looked forward to the major troop and equipment drawdown out of Iraq, we could see the need for specific workforce increases at multiple locations, for varying periods, with the ability to move personnel with relatively short notice," said Pat Shaw, Director DDSPO.
After weighing the options, the clear winner for CECOM was an internal collaboration between the LRC and Tobyhanna Army Depot, TYAD. Those first 9 volunteers out of TYAD quickly increased to 41 by April of 2010. And they continue that level of support today, representing 35 percent of the DDSPO's total strength in Southwest Asia, SWA.
By December 2010, TYAD stood up the provisional Field Logistics Support, FLS, Directorate to carry out worldwide and expeditionary field logistics support and services of C4ISR systems and equipment for the Warfighter. TYAD has deployed more than 2,400 personnel to SWA since 2001 and 20 percent of TYAD's expeditionary logistics forces currently deployed in SWA are in direct support of Drawdown SPO activities.
"We are in contact with the TYAD folks almost daily discussing deployments, redeployments, UDC dates… you name it. The ease of working with the expeditionary division on these deployments is a great example of how collaboration is supposed to be," said Rosemary Hayes of the DDSPO.
Tony Vasser, Iraq Country Lead deployed to Balad for the DDSPO, is an enthusiastic supporter of the LRC and TYAD collaboration. "I know that when I have a new TYAD volunteer coming to join one of my teams, we are adding a CECOM professional dedicated to supporting Soldiers," said Vasser.
Many of the volunteers from TYAD request extensions or come back to support DDSPO after a short stint back at TYAD. "We have asked some of these folks from TYAD that are extending or coming back to take the site lead position at our [Redistribution Property Assistance Team] PAT…" said Vasser. "Whether the DDSPO is picking Depot Level Recoverables in Kuwait, conducting inventories on an Air Defense and Air Space Management (ADAM Cell) in Iraq or conducting a Mobile RPAT mission in Afghanistan, every one of us knows that we are representing CECOM."
DDSPO personnel are some of the first people and some of the last that the Warfighter sees in SWA. After units arrive in country, they will receive briefings from a number of activities ranging from the local chaplain to the military personnel office. The DDSPO briefs units during their
in-processing to theater, 180 days prior to redeployment and again 60 to30 days prior to redeployment on the reset process for CECOM managed items.
Once a unit knows who the 'CECOM guys' are though, those official briefings are just the tip of the iceberg. The DDSPO, as part of the AFSB RPAT teams, works closely with the units to identify reset equipment, ensure that (ARMT) plans are executed and disposition is provided within the prescribed timelines. Once a unit receives its redeployment date, DDSPO coordinates with the Amy Field Support Brigade and the unit to determine when and where that unit will turn in its reset equipment.
Turn in locations depend on a number of factors including the size of the unit, scope of the turn in (picture an engineer detachment versus a signal brigade) and their current location. The unit may travel to an established RPAT, the mobile RPAT may travel to the unit or both entities may
travel to a forward operating base that can accommodate the reception and onward movement of the unit and equipment.
Once the equipment turn in begins, LRC and TYAD civilians stand side by side with the Soldier and execute the mission.
The unit cleans the equipment, followed by an inventory to relieve the unit of accountability. In some cases the mission lasts 30 minutes, while others last more than 30 days. Each mission is unique and can present its set of challenges. The DDSPO's job is not finished until the equipment arrives back at the continental U.S. source of repair facility.
A lot of this equipment is going back to Tobyhanna bringing the TYAD and LRC collaboration full circle. The integration of the TYAD and LRC DA civilians into a single face to the field for CECOM helps to facilitate seamless processes to the field.
Some of the TYAD DDSPO volunteers have deployed previously and are already familiar with the equipment and processes used by the DDSPO in SWA. Having an already trained and knowledgeable workforce with a vested interest in mission success is just two of the many reasons this is a successful collaboration. Thanks to the team attitude throughout the command, collaboration between the LRC and TYAD is truly a single face to the field, which provides the quality support Warfighters have come to expect.
The mission of the DDSPO is to receive, process, package and ship C4ISR Automatic Reset Management Items, Intensively Managed Items, Theater Provided Equipment and Double Level Recoverable equipment from units, from Supply Support Activities and from Defense Reutilization and Marketing Offices prior to their departure from Operation New Dawn/Operation Enduring Freedom and direct those items to appropriate CONUS sources of repair for reset or
These missions require a number of varied skill sets but only one common denominator -- the desire and drive to support the Warfighter when and where they need us. The level of professionalism coupled with the ability of the TYAD civilian volunteers to "fall in" on an RPAT site and immediately integrate themselves into the team is the face to the field that Soldiers have grown to expect from CECOM.
"Our RPAT community is TEAM C4ISR at work," said Pat Shaw, of TYAD's ability to provide support wherever CECOM goes.