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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
BICmd inspection team returns from Norway

By Staff Sgt. Michael Reed | | October 7, 2004

A BICmd Quality Assurance team recently returned from Norway, following a 14 day detailed inspection of the Norway Air-Landed Marine Expeditionary Brigade Prepositioning Program assets.

Seventeen Marines and civilians from BICmd traveled to Trondheim, Norway to perform a thorough inspection of assets after a two-year lapse from inspection.

Due to BICmd's high operational tempo during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the annual QA inspection for 2003 was cancelled.

According to Barbara Henry, head, Norway Prepositioning Management Office, BICmd, a QA visit is scheduled on an annual basis to physically inspect equipment and review scheduled maintenance, inventory cycles, and stock surveillance.

The QA also covers the current status of data, review of equipment records. The work performed on equipment is reviewed, and adequacy of current reports, and verification of reporting systems is verified, Henry added.

The Marine Corps and Norway have developed a unique relationship for the storage and care of prepositioned equipment and supplies.

The NALMEB Prepositioning Program calls for storage of equipment and 30 days of supplies and ammunition in Norway.

Specifically included are items that are mission essential, heavy, high volume and suited for extended storage and not available through wartime host nation support.

According to Maj. Ola Skogli, executive officer, NALMEB Program, Norwegian Defense Ministry, the QA acts as a report card for us (Norway).

"The QA provides us with feedback on how we did maintaining the program's assets, and also what we are not doing, but should be doing," Skogli said.

The government of Norway provides the means to redeploy the MEB sized Marine Air Ground Task Force, with prepositioning facilities, airbase reception facilities, operating airbases, and a host nation support unit.

The government of Norway is the on site contractor, and provides storage, maintenance facilities, security, and maintenance services.

According to Master Sgt. David Goodman, SNCOIC, Maintenance Management Branch, BICmd, "it is extremely important for the (United States) government to perform quality assurance inspections of contractor performance, to ensure that Marine Corps owned equipment and supplies are being maintained in the highest state of readiness."

"The engineer team's mission on this QA visit, was to perform visual, dimensional and where possible, operational tests to determine if equipment, maintenance management procedures and maintenance related programs conform with contractual requirements," Goodman said.

"Quality Assurance is integral to the readiness and maintenance efforts of the NALMEB Program, to ensure operating forces receive a quality product for real world contingencies," said Sgt. James Webb, MMO, BICmd.

According to Navy Lt. Romeo Tizon, Jr., officer in charge, Medical Section, BICmd, and OIC of the QA Team, "overall the QA team performed outstanding, and did a superb job in meeting, and often exceeding it's stated mission and goals."

"The QA team did not find any significant findings, or any negative trends," Tizon stated.

"In areas we discovered problems, we provided daily feedback to the Norwegians, which detailed specific root causes and then offered technical advice, and assistance to help them with both short, and long term solutions to fix those problems," Goodman said.

"Overall the Norwegians are doing a good job maintaining our equipment," Goodman said.

"This was my first QA visit to Norway," Goodman stated. "Overall, I was particularly impressed with the level of understanding the Norwegians have of our maintenance concepts, and requirements."

"They are genuinely concerned with and share our desire to ensure that the Marine Corps' equipment is maintained in the highest possible state of readiness, and were just as eager to learn from us as we were from them," Goodman said.

They are extremely professional and were great host and we enjoyed working with them."