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An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter attached to the Red Lions of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 15 transports cargo from the Military Sealift Command combat support ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7) to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during a replenishment-at-sea as the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) follows. Photo by MC2 Scott Fenaroli
Early one winter morning on board a deployed aircraft carrier, maintenance technicians scramble to replace an actuator on an F/A-18C Hornet. As part of its regular maintenance cycle, the actuator is replaced as it reaches 2,000 flying hours. The crew replaces the old actuator with a new one from shipboard supply and inducts the old one into the repair cycle. Following successful testing, the Hornet is again available for its critical missions.
Making sure the new actuator was available to support warfighter missions did not happen by magic. It also did not happen because of a simple, linear supply chain. There was a larger global logistics network enabling the crew to get the Hornet ready for flight.
Network partners made sure the new actuator was available in afloat inventory and the old actuator was inducted into repair. Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) managed the requisition and retrograde processes; United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) was responsible for many of the supporting shipping and movements; Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) conducted the repairs at a Fleet Readiness Center to get the unserviceable actuator ready for issue; and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) provided the piece parts required to fix the unserviceable actuator, as well as the forward positioning storage enabling the Fleet to more efficiently replenish on board stock.
Defining the Network
The global network consists of logistics providers across the Department of Defense (DOD), coalition allies, and industry who partner with each other to deliver decisive maritime combat readiness to the Fleet and quality-of-life services for our Sailors and Marines.
The network is comprised of Fleet, DLA, USTRANSCOM, General Services Administration (GSA), Navy Systems Commands (SYSCOMS), commercial partners, and others. This serves as a logistics web employing a myriad of processes, systems, and operations that responsibly influences and optimizes end-to-end supply chains globally to provide the right material at the right time, place, and cost to the naval warfighters.
NAVSUP does not own the global logistics network end-to-end, but works closely with its partners and serves as the conduit and advocate on behalf of the naval warfighter. The network must be agile and able to deploy, position, and sustain the warfighter anywhere in the world. At a minimum, this support web will require the following characteristics: versatility, resilience, interdependence, and security (both physical and cyber).
Optimizing the Network
With a focus on adaptive, anticipatory logistics, we are able to provide accurate parts support and work to reduce logistics and transportation costs, attacking cost-to-own.
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Marines from the 3rd Marine Reconnaissance Battalion and Sailors prepare to launch a rigid-hulled inflatable boat aboard the hull of the guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727) during small boat exercises. Photo by MC1 Timothy Wilson
Through the use of information technology, specifically Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and predictive modeling, we are able to forecast demand for parts and have them available when and where they are needed, supporting the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (O-FRP). Finally, by incorporating commercial and organic innovation, we aggressively manage disparate supply chains to comprehensively sustain our forces and support surge capacity.
Our influence throughout the network allows us to optimize available resources to mitigate equipment readiness shortfalls in procurement, maintenance, modernization, repair, and overhaul to achieve a platform’s expected service life for both legacy and new weapon systems. We are able to convey Navy’s unique requirements by working side-by-side with the warfighter.
Optimizing Example: Forward Positioning
Meeting the logistics needs of the warfighter operating at significant distance from their homeports is a challenge. This requires a careful balancing of inventory requirements that ensures the right material is available when requested, all while minimizing holding and transportation costs.
A specific example of how NAVSUP has optimized the global logistics network happened during the withdrawal from forward locations in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. This resulted in significant quantities of stock being pulled back and located at distribution locations in the continental United States (CONUS). Supply material availability (SMA) and effectiveness up to this point were being captured as functions of worldwide wholesale stock.
What was occurring, however, is that while the aggregate goal for SMA was being met, the system was not monitoring the local allowances at overseas sites which were decreasing and creating frequent referrals back to the CONUS. These items in turn were sourced direct from vendors in CONUS or picked, packed and expedited to an overseas defense depot, vice issuing from a stock point closer to customers.
Facing a budget shortfall in service-wide transportation, NAVSUP worked with its partners to redefine how material is positioned. With a focus on individual combatant commander’s geographic regions, partner collaborations resulted in securing additional provider investment supporting Navy requirements and improved overseas local issue effectiveness.
Worldwide, the net effectiveness numbers improved dramatically, nearly doubling in just eighteen months. Once implemented within all AORs across the globe, these new processes and policies will result in reducing customer wait time, improving readiness and resiliency, and enhancing warfighter support.
The processes developed and implemented are now standard operating procedures for each of the material providers, ensuring future improvements to readiness and affordability, saving millions of dollars of scarce operations funding that can be returned to Fleet commanders to be used toward additional flying and steaming hours.
Naval warfighters depend on the Navy Supply Community team to be their staunch advocate within the network to provide what they need to win the fight. The Navy Supply Community’s success will continue to be tied to its ability to optimize the network.
In the coming years, the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps, will continue to incorporate Naval Logistics Integration to merge capability and capacity to better operate forward. With the March 2015 release of the new maritime strategy, “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,” the network will expand further to include more participation from support providers. The strategy requires us to address global challenges through international partnerships and new cooperative relationships.
The global logistics network will be a key facilitator in answering the strategy’s call for strong partnerships.
By Naval Supply Systems Command Headquarters N5 Strategy Team