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By Capt. Luis Alani
401st Army Field Support Brigade
Civilian technicians at the Regional Support Center recently scored a sustainment home run by rapidly establishing in-theater power generator rebuild and exchange programs here.
The two new programs aim to save money while providing sustainable assists to Soldiers in the field.
“Here at the ASC, we are responsible for what’s known as C5ISR, which stands for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Our primary objective is to develop tailorable solutions while supporting the requirements of the warfighter” said David A. Armstrong, the U.S. Communications-Electronics Command senior command representative.
The 401st Army Field Support Brigade CECOM RSCs are technical centers located within the U.S. Central Command, and are responsible for sustainment operations, both tactical and strategic.
The Camp Arifjan’s RSC in particular is tasked with the maintenance and configuration of Advance Medium Mobile Power Source systems, or AMMPS generators, and it is with these generators that the story of the rebuild and exchange programs begin.
The RSC had facilitated similar generator reissue programs in the past, and was testing new rebuild capabilities as recent as September 2020. However, when reports of systemic generator malfunctions came to the attention of Maj. Gen. John P. Sullivan, commander, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, establishing a permanent generator sustainability operation became a top priority.
“The origins of the rebuild and exchange programs, and how we got to where we are today, is mostly due to the issue of not being able to sustain power to weapon systems,” said John M. Flaherty, RSC manager, Camp Arifjan.
Avenger, Sentinel, and Patriot defense systems that were becoming inoperable due to generator breakdowns began sounding alarms at CENTCOM.
“The issue of not being able to sustain power to critical weapons systems responsible for protecting forward operating bases led to the RSC conducting an inventory of all generator configurations, throughputs, capacities and resources,” said Flaherty. “The general’s concerns also energized our staff to conduct a deep dive into the possibilities of rebuilding 10kw AMMPS generators locally.”
Paralleling the rebuild initiative, a program that would later be officially known as the Theater Provided Equipment One for One Exchange, was concurrently being tested for implementation. With the TPE One for One Exchange, a unit in the field could now go through the RSC to quickly swap out an inoperable generator with a fully functional one of the same type.
“Before the success of the One for One program, there was a command desire to conduct a full swap-out of generators because they were old and beyond their operational hours. One course of action even suggested pulling generators from Army Preposition Stock-5; however, this approach was soon discarded as it would be unsustainable,” said Armstrong.
By February 2021, the generator rebuild proof-of-concept testing was concluded and proven successful. With the testing success, 10kw AMMPS generators responsible for powering Sentinel Defensive Systems could now be rebuilt locally, then quickly reissued to forward operating basses via the 401st AFSB.
“It’s worth noting that up until that time no other RSC, CONUS or OCONUS, was capable of executing a full system rebuild of AMMPS generators,” said Armstrong.
Adding to the RSC’s successes, the TPE One for One exchange program also entered into full operational capability around the same time. What this meant was that the RSC now had two fully sustainable generator reissue programs.
The new programs proved so effective that by May all CENTCOM generators requiring inspection – arriving from retrograde or belonging to Army Preposition Stock 5 ¬¬– began being redirected to the RSC for technical inspection and redistribution.
When commenting on the program’s importance, Col. Michael F. LaBrecque, commander, 401st Army Field Support Brigade, said: “Instead of waiting for a maintainer to fix a malfunctioning generator in the field, a unit can now quickly get a one-for-one swap without having to deal with complicated maintenance processes, and what that ultimately does is improve readiness when it comes to critical systems like air defense systems.”
The 401st AFSB (CECOM) Regional Support Centers’ civilian workforce comprises of logistics assistance representatives, field support representatives, field support engineers and many other technical and support staff.
Giving further credence to the success of the new programs, as of December 2020 an estimated $102,000 has been saved in repair costs, and what used to be a two-week minimum generator reissue turnaround, is now down to only seventy-two hours
To learn more about the Communications-Electronics Command, visit https://cecom.army.mil
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