By CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER2 COURTNEY TOWNES
Supply Technician, 201st Brigade Support Battalion
During our last deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Soldiers from the 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, worked shoulder to shoulder with Afghan National Security Forces in Regional Command-South to address shortcomings in their management of Class IX logistic items, which are repair parts.
The Afghan army is still in its infancy for military operation. Although it has significantly improved its capabilities in the past five to six years, it still faces challenges with managing repair parts.
As a supply systems technician, I believe there were three specific challenges facing our team.
First, was a lack of understanding of bin label concepts, min/max theory, or optimization of space utilization. The bin label concept was a mechanism of ensuring parts were where they needed to be prior to inventories and the min/max theory method helped the Afghan National Army soldiers understand the approach to ordering specific items and the importance of replenishing necessary items.
Second, ANA leadership was faced with an analog supply chain system that did not capture demand history, nor provide a common operating picture. With no common operating picture, the leadership from the corps to the division had no way to make sound logistics decisions.
Finally, ANA leadership was overwhelmed with the volume of the Military of Defense Forms 14, forms used to requisition and issue parts. As a result, the MoD 14s were not processed and the ANA just “pushed” whatever parts they had from Kabul.
These actions, compounded with a lack of fundamental understanding of repair parts management, resulted in stock piles of unused and unwanted parts while critical parts remained in a short supply across the ANA.
To address these challenges, ANSF assembled a team to help the ANA address the issues above, called the Warlord Tiger Team. The team was made of Soldiers from the 3rd IBCT, and the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.
The goal of the WTT was to train ANA Soldiers to manage repair parts and help them develop a methodical process for storing and issuing parts.
After their training, the WTT employed as a Mobile Training Team to directly train Afghan forces, under the supervision of the coalition forces already assigned to training that brigade.
Based on feedback from the SFAT teams assigned to each brigade, my team learned there was a need to remove some of the excess parts from the brigade’s footprint. If the team could help remove this excess and show results from the future delivery of the Warlord Push, ANA forces would develop confidence in the ANA supply system.
By applying these methods, this allowed the ANA Soldiers to have a sound understanding of what part needs to go where and allow the ANA Soldiers to have the visibility of what parts were what. This control measure was implemented to allow the ANA Soldiers to determine the optimal levels of order quantities and setting their safety levels at each stock location so their ASL never reached a zero balance.
By the end of the training, the WTT created and implemented management practices known as the repair parts master ledger, which gave ANA leadership the visibility of what they maintained on hand and the consolidation of MoD Form 14 requisitions.
This allowed the ANA to have a common logistics operating picture for repair parts—something they did not have before. Warlord Tiger Teams were able to discover and put into practice an efficient way to inventory their repair parts. Lastly, this ledger was used daily and reconciled weekly of all issued/distributed authorized stockage list items to their customers.
During the training, a 205th Corps Support representative came to the brigades to speak to all the logisticians within the brigade and discuss his themes which were gratefulness, planning and ownership.
He first expressed thanks to the coalition for its flexibility in the provided training within Combined Service Support Kandak areas of operation.
“Planning is important,” he said. “Every student within this program is the future of the army and it is important for you to take ownership and provide solutions for today’s issues.”
By having the technical experience, my team was able to facilitate and develop the ANA Soldiers skills in repair parts management, which will improve their proper logistical effectiveness and mission readiness.
The end state for 3rd IBCT’s mission was to ensure the ANSF’s confidence in stability, supporting the government and assisting ANA forces to transition into taking over the lead in the fight against Taliban. With that being said, WTT rectified the deficiency in Class IX management and made huge success with partnership between the U.S. and the Afghan Soldiers through provincial teamwork, self-confidence, trust and friendship.”