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Materiel life cycle management picture becomes clearer, more refined

By Regina Hegwood | | May 11, 2000

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Although establishing the Marine Corps Materiel Command began in 1998, the Marine Corps actually began moving in that direction several years ago when the need to address materiel life cycle management more effectively was first recognized.
In the Commandants Planning Guidance of 1995, Gen. Charles C. Krulak directed a review of the functional relationships between Headquarters Marine Corps Installations and Logistics Division, the Marine Corps Logistics Bases and Marine Corps Systems Command, the organizations that share responsibility for materiel management of the Corps ground weapon systems.
Krulaks intent was to establish the most efficient materiel life cycle management possible. As a result of that review, in June of 1998, Krulak directed that the Materiel Command be established, with its headquarters located at MCLB Albany.
The establishment of this organization [Materiel Command] is unique, said Col. Wayne Phillips, MatCom Chief of Staff. It started with a commanding general only  no people and no money.
We borrowed people from the MarCorLogBases G5 and G1 organizations to help develop a T/O [table of organization] for the Mat- Com Headquarters, Phillips said. Then we started writing position descriptions to accomplish the MatCom mission, and worked with Headquarters Marine Corps and the Human Resources Office to fill the billets, Phillips continued.
The structure and money for this headquarters was a zero-sum game  everything came out of hide.
Right now we have more tasks than we have people to perform them, Phillips said. 
In fact, one of our most significant challenges is people  finding the right people to fill the MatCom billets.
Currently, MatCom has about 65 percent of the personnel called for by its table of organization, Phillips continued. Its also interesting to note how many people want to live and work in Albany.
We are receiving applications from some very talented and experienced people from all over the world. Its very reassuring to know well be able to fill some of our critical billets from such highly qualified applicant pools.
We hope to have 100 percent of the civilian work force on board by the end of this summer, Phillips continued.
Filling the military billets takes a little longer, but we hope to have 100 percent of our military personnel in place by the end of next summer [2001].
Nearly 51 percent of the Marine Corps discretionary total funds is wrapped up in materiel life cycle management processes that come under the control of the MatCom Commander.
A significant portion of the remaining discretionary funds are spent in accomplishing materiel life cycle management related activities throughout the Marine Corps.
Building an organization that brings Marine Corps Logistics Bases and the Marine Corps Systems Command together under one commander is no small order  both of these major commands perform extremely complex functions and have multiple subordinate elements scattered throughout the United States (see map at right).
Phillips reported the work has certainly been challenging, but interesting as well.
Nevertheless, weve been able to accomplish an incredible amount of work in a short period of time, he said.
Marketing and projecting an accurate image of the organization and its functions and operational goals are two important challenges Phillips and the MatCom headquarters staff face right now.
A brief, dubbed the MatCom Road Show, has been presented to senators and congressmen, the Commandant and high level officials of the Marine Corps, the Department of Defense and the Department of the Navy.
The MatCom Road Show brief explains the MatCom structure (see organizational chart below), and its functions, processes and goals (see wire diagram on page 2).
According to Phillips, a critical element to the Marine Corps Materiel Command accomplishing its mission as the process owner of Materiel Life Cycle Management is the ongoing PM/WSM Integration effort.
This is a major, historical event, involving the determination of future organizational and business process alignment between Marine Corps Systems Command and Marine Corps Logistics Bases.
The objective is to make materiel life cycle management seamless between the commands and to fix the focus of  effort on enhancing fleet readiness. Lee, Feigley and Brig. Gen. (sel) Richard S. Kramlich, the LogBases Commander, signed a memorandum of agreement April 13.
The MOA provides the framework for the operating concept and working relationships of SysComs and LogBasess affected  resources to accomplish MatComs materiel life cycle management mission. Additionally, two integrated product teams have been chartered to facilitate the stand-up of the PMC.
The Program Management/Weapon System Management IPT is developing the functions, processes and structure needed to integrate product life cycle management under a single process owner.
The Supply Chain Management Center IPT is working to identify the processes, functions and activities associated with supply chain management, which includes mapping high level processes and establishing the alignment of the process owner to support the most effective materiel life cycle management.
The team members, who are from LogBases and SysCom, are duty experts in each specific field. In addition to providing guidelines and parameters, each teams charter clearly identifies the teams mission, provides background data and operating principles and sets an achievements agenda.
The IPTs represent a major factor of MatComs value added, the synergistic strength of duty experts from separate organizations working together under the MatCom umbrella to eliminate redundancies and create the blueprints needed for
the most efficient processes possible.
The single-owner concept, the MatCom Commander directing the  materiel life cycle management, gives the Marine Corps the leading edge needed for readiness in the 21st century.
Phillips said MatCom is currently working on several significant issues  total ownership cost, contractor logistics support, consolidated issue facility, logistics campaign plan, preparing for secondary repairables work, standing up the Product Management Center, the Program Objective Memorandum, and the MatCom Strategic Business Plan.
For the first time, MatCom was represented at the POM (program objective memorandum) working groups, Phillips said. Thats important because the POM is where we identify the commands requirements for future years and the resources well need to attain those goals.
In conclusion, Phillips reported that maintaining focus on the MatCom mission is crucial for all those involved in the organizations development.
One of MatComs roles is to be able to paint the Commandant a clear picture, in full color, of how his resources  people, ground equipment and money  are being used, Phillips said.
The Commander will make recommendations to the Commandant on how to best use these resources in order to increase the equipment readiness of our Corps.
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