Since July 2007, General Robert Radin has led the Army Sustainment Command, a global organization responsible for providing front-line logistics support to combat units. The command, headquartered at Rock Island, Ill., manages Army pre-positioned stocks, maintains base weapons and equipment in forward areas and oversees the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), which brings contractor support to theaters of operation.
Prior to joining the Army Sustainment Command, Radin worked as the deputy chief of staff for operations with the Army Materiel Command, ASC’s higher headquarters. From September 2003 to September 2005, Radin served as commanding general of the Army Joint Munitions Command. At JMC, Radin was deployed to Southwest Asia for a 12-month period. He worked as the C4 (Logistics) staff officer for the Combined Forces Land Component Command elements in Southwest Asia, providing logistics support for U.S. forces operating in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Djibouti.
Radin was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1976 following his graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree. Additionally, Radin holds postgraduate degrees from the Florida Institute of Technology and the National Defense University.
His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Expert Infantryman, Parachutist, and Air Assault Badges and the Ranger Tab.
Major General Radin was interviewed by Dawn S. Onley.
Q: What is the mission of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command and how do you support AMC?
A: We support the Army Material Command by serving as its face to the field. We synchronize acquisition, logistics and technology from the strategic through operational to the tactical level. We carry out a wide range of logistics missions in support of combat operations, ongoing Army training and worldwide humanitarian and disaster relief efforts. ASC conducts worldwide logistics and contingency contracting operations and we support Army, joint, and coalition forces across the full spectrum of operations. We leverage global commercial capability through contracting for materials and services, manage Army pre-positioned stocks, and serve as the continental United States [CONUS] theater support command [TSC].
Our six core missions are:
- Field Support - ASC operates a network of Army field support brigades and battalions, logistics support elements and brigade logistics support teams which identify and resolve equipment and maintenance problems, as well as materiel readiness issues for combatant commands.
- Materiel Management – ASC matches materiel to mission and ensures logistics readiness in the Army Force Generation [ARFORGEN] process. This includes issuing, maintaining and managing theater-provided equipment [TPE] in combat theaters and left-behind equipment [LBE] that can be made available to redeploying units as part of the ARFORGEN process. Pre-deployment training equipment is available to units at 10 sites.
- Army prepositioned stocks [APS] – ASC maintains, accounts for and manages combat-ready equipment and supplies and humanitarian mission stocks, at land and sea-based positions strategically located around the globe.
- Reset – The Army’s Reset program restores units to a desired level of combat capability, commensurate with mission requirements and availability of resources. ASC’s Reset role extends material management by applying repair capabilities across command lines, for all field-level Reset programs, ensuring maximum efficiencies.
- Contracting Services – ASC provides combat service support like maintenance and property management through commercial sources, freeing soldiers for combat missions. Contingency contracting brigades and battalions deploy with expeditionary forces as part of the process.
- Logistics Civil Augmentation Program [LOGCAP] – LOGCAP uses civilian firms to provide a wide range of base camp support services such as dining facilities, lodging, laundry support, transportation, recreational facilities and much more to deployed forces worldwide.
Q: Tell me about your job as commander of the Army Sustainment Command. What does it entail? How long have you held this title? How many people work for the command?
A: First and foremost, my job, along with that of every member of this organization, is to support our soldiers. Our motto is “On the Line,” and for good reason—we are on the line with those soldiers and servicemembers who stand on the front lines. As the commanding general of ASC, I lead an organization of more than 1,400 civilian employees, 425 soldiers and more than 50,000 contractors. ASC has brigades at overseas locations in Germany, Iraq, Korea and Afghanistan and in the United States at Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Lewis, Wash.
A network of more than 65 battalions and logistical support elements are dispersed around the globe to support combatant commands, geographic areas, and our higher headquarters, Army Materiel Command. We have 600 civilian employees, 210 Soldiers, and 105 contractors on the rolls at our headquarters, located at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., to manage programs, set policy and provide staff oversight and support.
Q: What are your top goals this year?
A: I want this command to have a reputation for continuous improvement with a training program that makes us better every day by building on our strengths and addressing our weaknesses.
To that end, we’ve established our new Command Assessment and Continuous Improvement Office [CACIO] to lead the way. The ASC Logistics Support and Evaluation Team [ALSET] joined forces with our Lean Six Sigma [LSS] Deployment Office on December 31, 2007, taking on the additional responsibility of overseeing the command’s organizational inspection program. By joining these operations at the hip, we’ve created an organization that leverages multiple capabilities, creating a synergistic effect for continuous improvement.
CACIO is responsible for facilitating better communications and synergy between various ASC staff elements, such as internal audit, inspector general, our ASC logistics support and evaluation team, and others, as well as external entities such as the Government Accountability Office, Army Audit Agency and AMC’s rapid review team. The CACIO has also developed processes and tools to focus attention and resources on ASC enterprise trends, leverage ALSET and OIP teams to set standards, replicate best practices throughout the command, and build continuous improvement and Lean Six Sigma culture throughout ASC.
I am also focused on putting procedures in place to improve our many programs and processes, for example, Reset and left behind equipment. Reset is a huge and growing mission to restore units to the appropriate level of combat capability, commensurate with mission requirements and resource availability. Besides bringing all equipment up to Army readiness standards, the reset program also provides upgrades, replaces battle losses and re-equips units to the Army Campaign Plan’s modular standard. The ASC’s Distribution Management Center has helped organize the reset of 15 brigade combat teams, two combat aviation brigades, two sustainment brigades and a fires brigade in fiscal year 2007. Plans for fiscal year 2008 call for the reset of 30 brigades.
In regards to left behind equipment, ASC accepts formal accountability for the LBE of deployed active Army units. ASC provides visibility and readiness functions to ensure management visibility and availability of the materiel in the national equipment pool. The materiel is maintained for issue upon direction of appropriate authority or re-issue of the materiel to the unit upon their redeployment in the appropriate transfer status. The principle goal is effective and efficient global support of the Army force generation process.
Q: How has technology enabled the Sustainment Command to do its job more effectively? What specific programs/systems does AMC Sustainment Command rely on and what benefits is the command reaping from technology?
A: I remember back when slide rules were one tool commonly used by engineers and how it was to use them. This isn’t the paper and pencil Army of old. The Army has made great strides in terms of modernization and embracing technological advances. Here at ASC we strive to leverage technology to the greatest extent possible.
For example, we found that brigades were building reports and sending them up to us at ASC where they would be reworked and sent up to AMC, where they would rework them before they were sent up to the Department of the Army where they would be reworked once again. To streamline that, we’ve developed a Web-based common operating picture [COP] where data can input into a standardized format anywhere along the process. We want to avoid redundancy. We want to cut out layering and reworking the same material. It just doesn’t make sense when we can introduce a more efficient, technology-based system.
One thing we are doing is exploring a number of tools from the commercial marketplace as we standardize our management operating system. As we grow our programs, we want to leverage portfolio management and translate current data into meaningful information. Our challenge is consolidating stovepiped systems and products—spread sheets, data bases, etc.—operated by contractors, civilian employees and soldiers and turning all of that into a meaningful common operating picture. I always instruct the staff their goal is to take complex tasks and reduce them to a simple, understandable, metricsdriven program.
One system is the Army War Reserve Deployment System [AWRDS]. It is a deployable, automated information system that tracks inventory, manages maintenance and facilitates the transfer of prepositioned stocks from ASC to the warfighter. AWRDS bridges the wholesale and retail spectrums, tracks APS inventory, facilitates APS readiness reporting and a lot more. We have built a common operating picture for AWRDS that allows for real-time readiness reviews at all levels of the Army. Recently, we added the ability to preview APS projections-based fill of line item numbers.
In a nutshell, AWRDS is a great technology that provides for quick, accurate information in a flexible interface. It helps us do a better job of tracking the multitude of moving parts involved with keeping our APS operations running worldwide.
Another technology we rely upon is the ASC Service Requirements Tracking Database [ASRTD]. The database is in the final stages of development right now. So far it has proven to be a key tool for tracking service requirements and respective contracts enterprise-wide. It has enabled us to implement a proactive approach in planning for emerging requirements and service contract renewals.
Bringing a requirement from its initial concept to contract award and implementation can be a lengthy process with continual changes. In this shifting environment, requirements are constantly being reshaped as missions transform, creating occasions where existing contracts must be modified or recompeted.
The ASRTD lets us track these requirements from development to contract award, through contract execution, which gives us a real-time view of their current status in the acquisition cycle. The database also allows us to leverage contract option years, which is very useful.
The ASRTD database also allows us to identify expiring contracts well in advance of the actual expiration date, so we can take an organized and thoughtful approach to our renewal efforts. We are able to track funding levels and burn rates on our current service contracts so we can mitigate service interruption due to unforeseen funding shortfalls. The system also provides comprehensive tracking capabilities for the multitude of ASC service contracts throughout their entire life cycle, saving time and money through early intervention and more effective long-term planning.
We also utilize ASC Knowledge Centers in conjunction with Army Knowledge Online [AKO]. For example, there is an ASC master calendar link with a variety of viewing options. Viewers can see important information regarding the event, who, what, when, where, why and so forth, and can even send e-mails to the event point of contact for more information. The ASC G3/5/7 link also provides a wealth of information.
When you command an organization that is deployed worldwide, synchronization is a big deal—any tool that helps you achieve that is a priority.
Q: Name some of the businesses/contractors that AMC Sustainment Command does business with and in what capacity?
A: Well, it’s a real alphabet soup when it comes to talking about contractors, particularly when there are so many involved. As Yogi Berra said, ‘When you come to a fork in the road, take it.’ The important thing is knowing where you are. Regarding the folks we do business with, let’s just say for command missions we manage 107 open contracts worth nearly $6 billion doing business with our field support and LOGCAP branches.
The most significant contractor relationships are, of course, our LOGCAP contractors. The LOGCAP III contractor is Kellogg, Brown and Root Services, Inc., Houston, Texas. ASC awarded the first LOGCAP IV contract to Serco Incorporated, with its U.S. headquarters in Vienna, Va., but I will go into LOGCAP in more detail later.
Just as examples, a couple of the other entities we do business with are DynCorp International LLC, which provides support to our Army pre-positioned stocks operations around the world; ITT Federal Services International Corporation, which provides global maintenance and supply services; and Honeywell, which provides property accountability assistance. The list goes on and on.
Suffice it to say that when we have a need, there is a contractor, or multiple contractors, willing and able to provide whatever program or service is required. I want to make it clear—we value our contractors and welcome them as key players on the Army team. Their performance ensures mission accomplishment and you can’t ask for anything more than that from a business partner.
Q: What are you most proud of in your job as commander of the Sustainment Command?
A: The thing I’m most proud of as commanding general of the ASC is the quality and contribution of our workforce—civilians, contractors and soldiers alike. The command’s personnel are battle-focused on support to our soldiers 24/7. The workforce here is absolutely world-class. It is not about systems, or resources—it’s about the workforce—a workforce with a worldwide battle focus to support soldiers.
Q: What are your biggest remaining challenges?
A: Our responsibility, and ongoing challenge, in ASC is to provide our Army’s senior leaders the flexibility to meet current and future requirements. We will do that through our continuous improvement journey which, in turn, will lead to ASC becoming an even stronger organization. Every engagement is a reputation-building event. Every visit we host, every contact we make, someone is grading our paper. My goal is that we fully understand what our mission is and how to execute that mission—from the bottom up.
Another goal is to never be surprised—and that might be the most challenging of all. As a global command, it is difficult to avoid being surprised because situations are coming at you a hundred miles per hour. Our challenge is to always be prepared—for anything, at any time.
ASC principally contracts for goods and services—we have very few government employees turning wrenches. When it comes to monitoring those contractual relationships, particularly as we continue to grow, we have very complex metrics to measure and evaluate performance. It is not as simple as it would appear after the Army’s 232 years of existence. By the way, the Army was formed on June 14, 1775—over a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed. We must provide appropriate governmental oversight to evaluate contractor performance, ensuring taxpayers receive a good return on their hard-earned dollars while understanding the contractor is entitled to a fair profit. The bottom line is that we need the right contract vehicles and metrics by which to monitor and evaluate contractors to ensure everyone is getting a fair deal. Our challenge is to continually improve our operational methods to achieve that goal. We must also look to new technologies, a couple of which I mentioned earlier, to further aid us in achieving our goal.
In 1942, Fleet Admiral E.J. King said to a staff officer, ‘I don’t know what the hell this logistics is that Marshall is always talking about, but I want some of it.’ ASC has the responsibility of supporting our units throughout the entire ARFORGEN cycle. We take this responsibility very seriously. It is necessary to prepare our soldiers for deployment and support them once deployed—without exception. Our other challenge in this regard, as in other areas I’ve already mentioned, is to continually improve our skill sets as leaders, managers and employees.
Q: What is LOGCAP and how is the program supporting our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan?
A: There have been three major LOGCAP contracts awarded since the inception of the program. The current one is known as LOGCAP III. The LOGCAP III contractor is Kellogg, Brown and Root Services, Inc., Houston, Texas. LOGCAP III was competitively awarded in December 2001 as a one-year base contract with nine, one-year options. Under the contract, KBR provides a broad spectrum of logistics and engineer construction and associated services supporting worldwide U.S. Army peacetime readiness and contingency operations. KBR assumed all new LOGCAP events, including deliberate planning, exercise participation, and event operations. LOGCAP has supported every major U.S. military operation since 1992.
Let me give you some numbers here—this really puts things into perspective. These numbers are through the end of February and they are truly staggering. We have more than 65,000 LOGCAP contractors in four countries. They have prepared more than 723 million meals, washed almost 49 million bags of laundry, hosted more than 160 million visits at morale, welfare and recreation facilities, delivered more than 203 million pounds of mail, produced more than 12 billion gallons of water, produced more than 267 million tons of ice, and transported more than six billion gallons of fuel. To accomplish all of this, more than 650 trucks are on the road on any given day. What they have accomplished is truly amazing. It has been with a great deal of sacrifice; over 100 employees lost their lives and hundreds have been wounded. LOGCAP is just a single example of contractors on the battlefield that have been serving our Army since the Revolutionary War.
ASC awarded the first LOGCAP IV contract to Serco Incorporated, with its U.S. headquarters in Vienna, Va. This contractor provides a broad range of logistics support planning and LOGCAP program support.
This award selection was based upon full and open competition resulting in the best value to the government. The single LOGCAP support contract, with a minimum order amount valued at just under $614,000, will have a contract period of one base year with four, one-year options. The maximum value of the contract is $45 million dollars per year, with a full contract implementation value of $225 million.
The types of logistics support planning and program support provided under this contract include augmenting the Army’s capability to develop and update worldwide management and staffing plans for contingencies; working with LOGCAP IV performance contractors, which have not yet been selected, to ensure that they understand these plans; helping theater planners integrate LOGCAP into their plans; assisting planners in incorporating a broad range of contracted logistics support; developing scopes of work officially referred to as procurement work statements; preparing independent government cost estimates, which are compared against the contractor’s bids to validate costs for task orders; conducting analysis of how the performance contractors will do the work outlined in the task orders’ scopes of work; analyzing performance contractors’ costs; working with the Army to measure LOGCAP IV contractor performance; and recommending process improvements.
When implemented, LOGCAP IV performance contractors will staff a full-time program management office; provide input to the World-Wide Management and Staffing Plan and combatant command/Army service component command [COCOM/ASCC] plans as required; participate in COCOM/ASCC exercises when directed; respond to contingency requirements with cost proposals for competitive award of task orders; and be required to deploy advance teams to contingency locations within 72 hours following task order award.
The LOGCAP IV performance contract award process is still underway. Under these contracts, up to three LOGCAP IV performance contractors will provide combat support/combat service support services. These services will be spelled out in performance work statement requirements for contingency events. When awarded, the LOGCAP IV performance contracts will have a performance period of one base year with nine, oneyear options.
Transition of task orders will be operationally driven. LOGCAP III requirements will be competitively transitioned via task order competitions unless there are exceptions in accordance with the Fair Opportunity Act. New requirements will be executed against LOGCAP IV after award. The maximum value to any single contractor will be $5 billion per year. Each contractor has a potential $50 billion cap if all option years are implemented. These ceilings allow for unexpected program growth if needed.
The use of multiple LOGCAP contractors is designed to reduce the government’s risk because it will no longer have to rely on a single company to execute the entire LOGCAP contract at a time of very high demand for military logistical support services. Under the new strategy, the performance contractors may compete for individual LOGCAP task orders, creating a competitive environment meant to control costs and enhance quality.
Q: Do you have any final thoughts?
A: We have to work within certain parameters, one of the foremost being financial constraints. Obviously, we don’t have unlimited funds available to us. In addition, we are dedicated to being good stewards of the taxpayer dollars that come our way. That’s another reason that continuous improvement is so important. Resources are limited—imagination is not. Continuous improvement—replicating successes across the entire enterprise—reaps great benefits, short and long term.
An example of this is our APS-4 operation in Korea. A GAO audit a couple of years ago indicated that the operation was in dismal shape. There were a variety of reasons the stocks were not combat ready. One reason was that our focus was on Southwest Asia. That was a good short-term solution to an immediate problem, but it led to a secondary problem—our stocks on the Korean Peninsula fell below full readiness. Our folks evaluated the situation, proposed a number of solutions and now the APS-4 is a model of organization, efficiency and effectiveness. Our challenge is to share these successes with other APS locations, then take these tactics, techniques and lessons-learned and transfer them to other areas of support such as LBE, reset and others.
Army Sustainment Command is barely two years old and we’ve taken on missions left and right, all for the sake of keeping our Army in the fight, ready to win. Everything we do is directly tied to pushing readiness power forward, all the way to the troops we serve. Around the world, ASC is ”On the Line” in word and deed. ♦