By Bill Gattie, TACOM LCMC Public AffairsSeptember 27, 2012
WARREN, Mich. (September 27, 2012) -- What started about ten years ago as an idea between two four-star generals has evolved into a program, currently known as Fleet Management Expansion (FMX), intended to help ensure that our Soldiers in the field are able to receive the training they need to use their equipment effectively. In 2002, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) asked the commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) if AMC could develop a program to support TRADOC's training mission that would be similar to the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) program.
From their initial ideas, they developed pilot programs at Fort Knox Armor School for the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) and at Fort Rucker Aviation School for the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command, creating the program that was initially called Fleet Management Initiative and later renamed Fleet Management Expansion. The Fort Knox pilot was declared a success in 2005 and in 2006 TRADOC notified its remaining schools that the re-named FMX program would expand to all schools
The program was designed to partner with TRADOC and improve their training base fleet's operational readiness within their limitations of resource constraints, lower priority, high training operational tempo, and an aging fleet. Its critical operating objectives are: no missed training, readiness rates above 90 percent, and meet funding goals.
AMC assigned the FMX Support for TRADOC to three LCMCs and TACOM LCMC became responsible for Field Level Maintenance on TRADOC's training base fleets at Fort Sill, Fort Benning (Fort Knox BRAC moved to Fort Benning), Fort Leonard Wood, Fort Jackson, and Fort Lee. To expedite the transfer of responsibility process, the TRADOC and AMC deputy commanding generals signed a memorandum in 2007 giving AMC the authority to perform the maintenance functions for TRADOC schools at their various geographic locations. In November 2009, the TRADOC and AMC commanding generals signed the formal FMX memorandum of agreement (MOA) identifying the resources that would transfer from TRADOC to AMC effective October 1, 2011.
The TACOM LCMC FMX received 909 personnel authorizations at ten geographic locations, making it the largest directorate within the TACOM LCMC. Its mission is to perform field level maintenance for TRADOC on over 4,000 critical fleets of equipment necessary for the daily student load of over 50,000 Soldiers.
"It was an eventful first year," said FMX program director Jeriel Music. "We started FY12 off with a mandated 101 manpower reductions, we inherited a lot of vacancies due to one third of the authorized positions going through military to civilian conversion immediately preceding mission transfer, and we took an additional funding cut early into the new year which caused a hiring freeze. We experienced the expected growing pains in transferring a retail field level maintenance organization into a predominately wholesale LCMC organization."
"With all this said," he continued, "the FMX personnel did an outstanding job in making sure TRADOC met all their training requirements at the five TRADOC warfighting-functional centers of excellence we support with no missed soldier training while reducing the cost of doing business, along with maintaining an equipment readiness rate averaging 97 percent. The FMX team takes pride in executing world class field level maintenance support and adopted the motto 'Beneficium Eximius' which represents our vision to supply excellent service to our customers."
Going forward into its second year, the FMX Directorate plans to expand its organizational inspection program to all the FMX sites that will ensure they are in compliance with Army supply/maintenance policies and procedures. They will also evaluate those policies and procedures to determine their adequacy. The FMX field level maintenance sites plan to compete for the prestigious Army Award for Maintenance Excellence in addition to their other performance goals. They are in the process of setting up a Lean Six Sigma process improvement program that will work to improve logistical processes at all of their FMX sites. It will also be a forum to share and implement best practices across all the FMX sites creating program synergy. The end state is a leaner, more streamlined and efficient maintenance organization focused on TRADOC ARFORGEN support. They will continue to work with their TACOM LCMC product and item managers to modernize the TRADOC training base fleet to make sure Soldiers and leaders are training on the best equipment available.
(Editor's note: John Burke, FMX Action Officer, contributed significantly to this story.)