U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Natick, MA 01760-5012
Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
Date: March 26, 2001
Meeting Soldier Needs through Acquisition Logistics
Safe, easy to operate and efficient. These are all words that describe the Modern Burner Unit used by soldiers in the field to cook food and heat water for cleaning pots and pans.
However, optimal equipment performance may be compromised if a soldier mistakenly uses gasoline instead of JP-8 fuel to power the Modern Burner Unit (MBU). It's an easy mistake to make since the MBU's predecessor, the M2 Burner, is fueled by gasoline.
New Equipment Training (NET) is just one of the many important functions performed by the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command's Integrated Materiel Management Center (ILSC). NET ensures that soldiers in the field know how to use new equipment, such as the MBU, properly and safely. NET is part of the ILSC's larger acquisition logistics strategy.
Through acquisition logistics, the ILSC is working to both meet and anticipate the equipment support, maintenance, sustainment and training needs of soldiers. The ILSC also supports biological chemical systems from development to disposal.
"During limited testing with gasoline in the MBU, it tended to vapor lock or fire sporadically. If it vapor locks for long enough, it will simply shut itself down. Sporadic operation, on the other hand, would produce excessive emissions," said Glenn Doucet, MBU project engineer, Product Manager-Soldier Support at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (Natick). "Either of these conditions would alert the operator to check out the MBU. The real concern would be from long-term use of gasoline in the MBU. If a particular MBU operated satisfactorily on gasoline, there is the danger that the seals could crack and leak, since they are not designed for gasoline."
The goal of acquisition logistics is to ensure that support requirements are taken into consideration during system design and that the infrastructure necessary for initial fielding and operation support are identified, developed and acquired in the early planning stages.
Supportability is an important part of ILSC's acquisition logistics initiatives. Edith Lentz manages ILSC's Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) team.
She explained that ILS encompasses beginning to end planning for materiel systems. The goal of ILS is to influence materiel system requirements and design to achieve established operational requirements while minimizing operating and support costs.
ILS aims to ensure that all elements are planned, developed, tested, evaluated, acquired, and deployed before or at the same time as the materiel system. Through ILS, the ILSC is working to reduce manpower and support costs of soldier equipment, as well as improve reliability, maintainability, producibility and management efficiency.
Lentz explained that the goals of ILS are to influence operational and materiel requirements and design specification; define support requirements; develop and acquire required support; and repeatedly examine support requirements throughout the service life of the system.
The people who work in SBCCOM's Integrated Materiel Management Center recognize that the support and maintenance of soldier equipment is just as important as the design.
The ILSC supports soldiers by closing the gap between the engineers and scientists who develop soldier systems, and equipment and the soldiers who use it. The ILSC serves as an intermediary between soldiers and equipment manufacturers regarding soldier supply demands.
Under the acquisition logistics philosophy, system designers, acquisition logisticians, and program/project/product managers work together to identify and factor in support considerations against system costs, schedules, and performance parameters.
ILSC employees work to ensure that soldier items are delivered on time and in good condition. They also coordinate and anticipate maintenance and repair needs and spare parts requirements. The ILSC provides thorough training so that soldiers know how to use their equipment safely and efficiently.
NET is accomplished in combination with Total Package Fielding (TPF), which is the Army's standard fielding method used to provide Army units a new product or improved materiel system and all its related support materiel at one time. The materiel is consolidated into unit level packages.
Jay Yurchuck, leader of the NET/TPF group, explained that NET involves the initial teaching on the operation and maintenance of new and improved equipment from the materiel developer or provider to the tester, trainer, supporter and user.
He said that the NET/TPF group brings soldiers a new piece of equipment with all that is needed to operate and support it, such as technical manuals for repair, supply documentation and enough repair parts for initial operation.
Yurchuck pointed out that the importance of what ILSC does is exemplified in the ongoing, worldwide fielding of the MBU, which is replacing the M2 for heating water in the Food Sanitation Center and for cooking food in the Mobile Kitchen Trailer.
The MBU will also be an important component in the Containerized Kitchen. The burner is currently being fielded to units in Korea and the Pacific, as well as the Far East. Product Manager- Soldier Support manages the MBU among other soldier systems and equipment.
Proper training on the MBU is essential even though it is safe. Soldiers have used the M2 Burner since the 1960s.
"Although JP-8 fuel is far less volatile than gasoline, soldiers who are used to powering the M2 with gasoline might mistakenly use gasoline with the MBU, too," Yurchuck said. "This is why we work extensively with the product developer to develop the proper training for our soldiers. Then we travel worldwide to ensure that soldiers stationed everywhere know how to use equipment properly."
Provisioning is another important way that the ILSC supports soldiers and is part of the ILSC's acquisition logistics strategy. Provisioning ensures the availability of spare and repair parts for the assigned systems in the life cycle of the equipment, said Chris Dobbs, acting chief, Field Services, ILSC.
The provisioner/equipment specialist establishes a maintenance allocation chart by determining what level of maintenance is needed to remove, repair and dispose of the item, said Rick Burleson, equipment specialist at ILSC's Field Services. Determining which items are to be provisioned is based on historical requirements or demands of similar pieces of equipment and any failures occurring with testing of the equipment during the acquisition process.
Burleson explained that provisioning actions must be completed early in the life cycle, as technical publications must include National Stock Numbers (NSNs) for every item identified as a provisioned item. Supply actions by the provisioner ensure the item is on the shelf and available for the soldier by the date that the first unit receives the equipment. The provisioning database is reviewed on a recurring basis to maintain accuracy of part numbers and NSNs as repair parts become obsolete and are replaced with more modern or upgraded items throughout the life of the system.
"The equipment specialist/provisioner is always in touch with soldiers in the field to assist with maintenance and publications issues," Burleson said.
ILSC's technical publication group, led by Woodrow Boucher, works to ensure that technical support documentation, such as user manuals, are accessible to the soldier in the field.
The technical publications team prepares and edits technical publications for technical accuracy, readability and proper format. The group works closely with the ILSC's equipment specialists to test actual use of the equipment against the manual to ensure that soldiers have the best instructions possible at their fingertips.
Natick is part of the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM). For more information about SBCCOM or the Soldier Systems Center (Natick), please visit our website at http://www.sbccom.army.mil.