BY LT . CMDR. TY LUSTER, SC, USN, N41 PLATFORMS LEAD NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND
The Supply Chain Management (SCM) community is a major contributor of logistics capabilities in support of both the Naval and Joint warfighter. As a member of the community, you are a part of an elite group of logisticians. If you are not a member and have to determine what Supply Corps line of operation to pursue, SCM is a dynamic and fulfilling career path.
Supply Chain Management
SCM involves the ability to deliver quality materiel and support to customers through oversight and execution of a global network of integrated logistics and supply support services. SCM professionals integrate various Supply Corps lines of operation (e.g. information technology, contracting and financial management) to support program offices or provide life-cycle logistics support at all operational levels and across various warfighting domains.
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Lt. Francisco Degollado conducts an integrated logistics assessment on board USS Freedom (LCS 1).
The SCM Community of Interest (COI) strategy focuses on positioning and developing leaders to support four lines of effort: systems management, materiel management, logistics network integration, and management and execution. A SCM professional’s engagement and alignment with program offices is very important. Program office activities include critical first steps during a system’s design or development as well as a continuum of activities during the sustainment phase that must be synchronized with the materiel support strategy. Understanding and leveraging our expansive Department of Defense (DoD) logistics network to ensure timely delivery of materiel support is a critical aspect of providing proper management and execution of SCM efforts.
The SCM community is strong, and the profession is rewarding. There are more than 800 Supply Corps officers with the 1301/1302 subspecialty and/or Acquisition Logistics Level 1, 2, or 3 (as of June 2016). There are numerous billets positioned throughout the logistics network. The promotion rate for the community is positive.
A keen interest has been placed on professional development. Budding SCM experts ultimately serve in captain billets such as Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Spares Program Head; Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Headquarters Director of SCM; NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support Director of Aviation and Maritime Operations; and Space or Naval Warfare Systems Command Director of Logistics or Strategic Systems Programs Director of Logistics.
Recently, students at Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) participated in a focus group discussion designed to provide feedback about their course work. Additionally, COI leadership explored alternative venues for professional development opportunities and reviewed options to supplement technical training provided during an internship or while at NPS.
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Students at NPS participate in a lecture on transportation security.
Integrated logistics support (ILS) interns are hand-picked to serve in coveted positions within Navy program offices and system commands. Each intern has the unique opportunity to learn SCM as well as ILS through classroom and on-the-job training. “The best thing about my internship is watching an initiative start as an idea and become a full spares support package,” said Lt. James Minge, ILS intern at Undersea Weapons Program Office (PMS 401), Program Executive Office Submarines (PEO SUBS). “To be involved with the acquisition and life cycle process for a system and knowing the positive impact it will have on the Fleet’s logistics support for years to come is a great feeling,” he continued.
Lt. Francisco Degollado, ILS intern at Space and Naval Warfare Command Headquarters, stated, “I have a better understanding of the DoD life cycle logistics process and have gained skills to improve current practices and maximize productivity. My internship allows me to contribute to the Fleet and prepare my shipmates to be ready for sea.”
Skills gained by ILS interns and NPS graduates will be put to the test by placing the best and brightest into the seats of tough, highly-visible payback tours. Opportunities abound to serve in critical positions of leadership throughout the logistics network.
As we conduct a scan of the strategic, military and supply chain environments to assess the future of the SCM community, we realize there are a number of challenges ahead. Community governance, professional development and proper billeting are top priorities for overcoming identified challenges and maintaining a healthy community to support Fleet operations and readiness.
Supply chains are becoming leaner, more agile and further integrated into the success of private industries around the globe. The Supply Corps must follow suit and develop SCM leaders who can deliver the innovative solutions needed to maintain maritime superiority.