2017 Naval Special Warfare N4 Logistics & Accountability Working Group

BY LT. MARK G. MACSULE, SC, USN LOGISTICS, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO MANAGER
AND CMDR. VINCE A. FONTE, SC, USN, (ACTING) DEPUTY N41, NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE COMMAND

Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) hosted the annual Logistics and Accountability Working Group (LAWG) at NSWC Headquarters on Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Coronado from Feb. 27 to Mar. 3, 2017. The week-long event’s intent was to identify, update, address, and prioritize key Naval Special Warfare (NSW) logistics issues that impact current, ongoing, and future operations and initiatives by providing a forum for continuous dialogue, information exchange, and problem resolution throughout the NSW logistics community.

NSWC N4 Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics, Combat Systems, Maintenance, and Engineering Capt. Jonathan Haynes sought to expand this year’s LAWG to cover topics involving “Big L” (logistics) and to include participants from U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC).

“NSW faces many of the same logistics challenges as NECC and the rest of the USSOCOM Enterprise,” said Haynes. “So it only makes sense to expand our aperture this year to bring in a more diverse group of expeditionary logistic experts to share best practices and work together to develop Joint solutions to support our warfighters,” he continued.

With increased representation, the LAWG boasted more than 100 attendees from 39 commands.

Over the course of the five-day working group, 35 presentations/sessions were conducted at various levels. The first two days focused on status updates from headquarters staff on a wide range of topics: NSW Force optimization, property accountability, Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR), Accountable Property System of Record (APSR) transition, ethics, contracting, standardized procurement processes, personal gear issue, combat systems, munitions, unmanned aerial systems, and efforts supporting missions in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. The third and fourth days of the working group were dedicated to presentations by NSW subordinate commands, USSOCOM, Air Force Special Operations Command, Marine Corps Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Special Operations Command Europe, NECC, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Units ONE and TWO, Naval Construction Group ONE, Coastal Riverine Group ONE, and NAVSUP Global Logistics Support. These briefings involved the most discussion and collaboration, as attendees contributed their experiences and lessons learned on current issues and offered perspective in attacking the problems based on common hardships.

The last day of the working group featured a robust brainstorming session to address a critical knowledge gap in both NSW and NECC – the lack of a formalized training curriculum for inbound personnel. Additional highlights of day five included property management, enlisted career development, and junior officer development breakout sessions. Similar to the detailer interviews held during Office of Supply Corps Personnel roadshows, junior officers were afforded the opportunity to sign up for individual mentoring sessions with nine of the senior Supply Corps officers present to include the Logistics Support Unit (LOGSU) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit (EODESU) commanding officers. Junior officers also participated in a question and answer session with a panel of O6/O5 commanding officers. The panel shared their views on the future of NSW, selection board mindsets, the importance of tour quality and diversity in order to sea slate, and the burdens and joys of command. Their words of wisdom resonated throughout the audience, which very likely contained the next generation of LOGSU and EODESU commanding officers.

Vice Adm. Andy Brown met with the Supply Corps Officers at the
Naval Postgraduate School before his scheduled J4 Perspective lecture
on May 2, as part of the Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture Series.

 

The key takeaway from this LAWG as that there are a number of common challenges that NSW, Navy, and the Joint Special Operations Forces (SOF) logistics community face. They include cross-rate training for Seabees/Combat Engineers, service-common FIAR compliant APSRs, the need for increased and more consistent pre-deployment coordination with theater logistics providers,
and in the case of NSW and NECC, the necessity for an en route Navy expeditionary logistics course of instruction that prepares Navy logisticians (both officer and enlisted) for assignment to NSW and NECC.

“This year’s event was a huge success that resulted in clearly defined objectives which will allow NSWC to focus on the issues directly affecting the NSW Force. The intangible benefits of networking and gaining a greater understanding of how NECC and USSOCOM components conduct business truly cannot be measured,” said Mr. Tom Eipp, NSWC (Acting) N41. He went on, “But what is clear is that the relationships made here and the knowledge gained have added to the logistician toolbox, ultimately helping NSW logistics mature to the next level in providing robust support to SOF warfighters.”

July/August 2017