Army has been modernizing its logistics function for the past half century, and a wide range of legacy systems remain in place. For example, logistics automation systems, collectively termed the Standard Army Management Information Systems (STAMIS) have been deployed by the combat service support community to provide improved logistics support to warfighters. Although these systems have proven valuable to warfighters in the field, supporting these legacy systems has become a challenge for Army logisticians due in large part to their lack of interconnectability. These legacy systems also have a number of limitations that require updating and efforts have been underway to replace these systems with more efficient approaches to provide warfighters with the materiel and information they need to prosecute military actions on the 21st century battlefield. The purpose of this study was to provide empirical observations and views from Army subject matter experts to determine what constraints may be experienced and how these can be overcome in the future.
Table of Contents
DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Research
Specific Research Question
How Critical Items Will be Measured
Findings of Measurements
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
According to an article in Army Logistician (2005); "The speed and mobility of today's combat forces make logistics automation systems vital tools in sustaining an Army that can move farther and faster than any force in history. Logistics automation systems, collectively called Standard Army Management Information Systems (STAMIS), were developed by the combat service support community to improve logistics support to the warfighter." These systems are indispensable to the warfighter; however, supporting STAMIS continues to be a challenge for the logistics and signal communities. One of the challenges is the platforms do not interconnect with one another. This was noted in the Army Logistician when Army Warrant Officer Besaw (2007) explained:
As equipment in the Army inventory travels through its life cycle, the data associated with a single item affect several interconnected processes. Financial asset reporting, spare parts forecasting, force readiness, force development, future procurement, and even recruiting and training are all based on accurate visibility of the Army's property.
The STAMIS was created to perform transactions, distribution management, collect data, and generate reports for one process, such as maintenance, property accountability, and financial reporting. Now the Army is adopting new innovation. Or re-innovating the Army is going from STAMIS to the GCSS-Army. The Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army) will replace 30-year-old legacy STAMIS technology with an integrated, modular system that uses common hardware, software, communications interfaces, and protocols. This transition is highly congruent with the guidance provided by the Department of the Army as well as trends in the private sector. In this regard, Malham and Gabbard (2009) emphasize that, "Army leadership is leveraging IT to provide warfighters a competitive advantage as they conduct myriad operations in this dynamic, multipolar world" (p. 33)
There has been a growing recognition among the Army's top leadership concerning the value added properties of information technology and "winning the information war" has been designated as one of five modernization objectives that establishes the foundation for a capabilities-based force in the future that is able to dominate maneuver, conduct precision strikes, protect the force and project and sustain the force (Malham & Gabbard, 2009). In addition, U.S. Army Field Manual (FM) 1004, Information Operations, makes it clear that: "Information operations integrate all aspects of information to support and enhance the elements of combat power, with the goal of dominating the battlespace at the right time, at the right place and with the right weapons or resources" (cited in Malham & Gabbard, 2009, p. 34).
What this means for the soldier in the field is that timely logistical information is vitally important, but in the absence of other feedback, it is less valuable. In this regard, Malham and Gabbard emphasize that, "It is the warfighter's timely receipt and methodical application of information that increases his lethality. If information is sagely employed, warfighters have the capability to revolutionize information in ways their predecessors never fathomed" (2009, p. 34). The Army Battle Command System (ABCS) was developed for this purpose to facilitate information-sharing...
For instance, timely information-sharing practices allows Army commanders to optimize crew workloads, conduct mobile automated command and control (C2) and secure automated targeting (Malham & Gabbard, 2009). In addition, timely information-sharing practices reduces the amount of time required for decision-making, thereby allowing warfighters to conduct operations within the enemy commander's decision-making cycle, facilitating the domination of the battlefield through synchronizing combat operations, the concentration of force effects and the prevention of friendly fire casualties and collateral damage (Malham & Gabbard, 2009).
To this end, ABCS provides digital communications between strategic, operational and tactical headquarters, down to the soldier/weapon system level using three subordinate battle command systems within ABCS as follows:
Global Command and Control System-Army -- the battle command system located at strategic and theater levels. It interoperates with other theater, joint and multinational C2 systems.
Army Tactical Command and Control System-enhances battle command capabilities by synchronizing the respective battlefield functional area (BFA) systems.
Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) the battle command system that operates at brigade level down to the soldier/platform level (Malham & Gabbard, 2009, p. 35).
The ABCS system also conforms to the Defense Information Infrastructure Common Operating Environment products, protocols and common hardware mandated by the Joint Technical Architecture (Army) (Malham & Gabbard, 2009). According to Malham and Gabbard, "The ABCS communication backbone is the Warfighter Information Network. Battle command systems enable warfighters to operate more effectively by addressing conditions of uncertainty surrounding four areas: Where am I? Where are friendly elements? Where are enemy elements? What is the status and activity of each element?" (2009, p. 35). The following three features allow a battle command system to address these uncertainty issues in an efficient fashion:
1. Report information in real time or near real time.
2. Access information in a user-friendly format.
3. Present information in a manageable format (Malham & Gabbard, 2009).
Therefore, the million dollar question that presents itself is, "How do the Army transitions into the new systems?" In his analysis, Besaw (2007) emphasized that:
As technology improves and the Army takes advantage of readily available commercial systems, the STAMIS we have used for over a decade are finally being integrated into the Single Army Logistics Enterprise (SALE). SALE is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, a software suite designed to integrate all data and processes of an organization into a unified system. Each process has a module tailored to its specific needs, but a single database records all transactions from all processes, and every activity is able to view the same data. The SALE will eventually consolidate all data associated with an item into a single database that is accessible through modules. The modules are each designed around a specific business process, such as maintenance, property accountability, and finance.
Department of Defense (DOD) defines its logistics mission, including supply chain management as supporting the projections a sustainment of a ready, capable force through globally responsive, operationally precise, and cost-effective joint logistics support for America's warfighters. Supply chain management is the operation of a continuous and comprehensive logistics process, form the custom's order for materiel or services to the ultimate satisfaction of efficient supply chain, and the department's current improvement efforts are aimed at improving supply chain processes, synchronizing the supply chain form end to end, and adopting challenging but achievable standards for each element of supply chain. From a higher prospective DOD has a plan for implementing corrective action for the shortfall in the Army supply chain.
The main issues are that the Army has an enormous problem with asset visibility and materiel distribution focus areas. The Army needs a standalone system that not only shows assets visibility, but is able to order materiel and circulate the distributions process. Analysis was conducted by combat service support automation management office (CSSAMO). They are they department responsible for overseeing this transition. They have determined some of the challenges that they will face switching systems include the following:
Ensuring that software updates are implemented.
Maintaining hardware and software data on all STAMIS within their area of responsibility.
Ensuring information assurance compliance.
Integrating databases for new units.
Coordinating signal support requirements with the signal officer.
Assisting supported units with STAMIS continuity of operations planning.
Recording and reviewing system problem reports.
Preparing an Engineering Change Proposals-Software form for common problems.
Providing user-level support training.
The overarching research objective of this study was to provide timely and informed research results, including recommendations, interviews, to a variety of members of the U.S. Congress, peers, high-ranking Army officers, and…
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