U.S. Navy and Japan Participate in Bi-lateral Parts Transfer Exercises

BY TINA C. STILLIONS, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER YOKOSUKA

U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) logistics teams coordinated acquisition and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA) parts transfers during a series of bilateral exercises.

The Multi-Sail exercise included participation by 7th Fleet, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka and the JMSDF.The teams pronounced the exercise a success during a meeting March 30 to exchange parts used during the first ACSA transaction.

“This is a very small part but a very big deal,” said Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics 7th Fleet Cmdr. Shannon Harrell. “It’s a big deal for us to do this transaction. It certainly highlights our strong partnership. Obviously, we want to conduct more exercises so that we can become more proficient and find more opportunities to do business with our JMSDF partners,” said Harrell.

The exercises provided opportunities for U.S. Navy and JMSDF logistics teams to identify specific issues in their respective inventory and accounting systems that create some of the greater obstacles to success in parts sharing.

Though fuel has been a shared commodity for many years, utilizing the same processes and systems for parts is more difficult, often due to how value is defined by each government.

According to Cmdr. Mike Schilling, director of operations for NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, ACSA transfers can be tricky, but ultimately support interoperability with partner nations. The more complicated the transaction, the more difficult the process becomes.

“Language aside, some of the challenges we face are differences in computer systems, including billing and software, and agreeing on value for each part,” said Schilling. “As we continue these ACSA transactions, we’ll be able to identify and resolve more of those issues and develop the process necessary to easily execute them.”

Though the U.S. has provided equal value exchanges with other countries and navies in the past, the process had not been applied with the JMSDF until recently.

“We successfully finished the first planned training of an ACSA transaction for ship repair parts,” said Cmdr. Tsuyoshi Hotta, director Supply Management Division, JMSDF Ship Supply Depot.

“Although the training we practiced was very basic, I am confident that this is a significant step toward realization of interdependence between the U.S. Navy and JMSDF. We want to plan more practical training and progress gradually together,” said Hotta.

Each consecutive Multi-Sail has provided an opportunity to address specific issues and streamline processes to correct them.

In an effort to create real-life scenarios of what could happen should a ship require a part during an emergency situation, replacement in-kind exchanges took place.

The ship-to-ship transactions between USS Stethem (DDG 63)and JDS Ikazuchi (DD 107) on March 2 and 11 facilitated parts delivery directly between ships at an agreed upon location. It was the type of scenario the teams envisioned would minimize downtime and provide a speedier alternative for parts delivery should a ship become stranded or damaged during a conflict or emergency situation.

“In real-life scenarios, during wartime situations, a transfer may be more challenging, yet certainly more important,” said Schilling. “Therefore, we want to continue to engage with our JMSDF partners in these types of bilateral ACSA transaction exercises so we can enhance our mutual maritime operations and ensure continuing support.”

Though historically fuel has been an easier product to share between nations, part sharing creates greater challenges due to limited availability of parts aboard ships, separate and distinct inventory systems, and the need to prioritize a ship’s own requirements.

In some cases, a ship may only carry one spare part in its inventory as backup for an emergency. Therefore, it would not be able to support a request during a real-time, emergency scenario.

Though the current list of available parts for transfer is still small, both countries plan on making more of their inventory available in the future.

Participation in the Multi-Sail ACSA transaction exercises included USS Barry (DDG 52); USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62); USS Stethem (DDG 63); USS McCampbell (DDG 85); USS Mustin (DDG 89); and Japanese ships JS Ikazuchi (DD 107) and JS Hatakaze (DDG 171).

Another exercise is scheduled between the Japanese and U.S. Navy this summer.

July/August 2017