The cost of modern warfighting technology is increasing at an alarming rate. Program managers (PM's) are procuring and fielding high-tech, high-cost systems that have astronomical associated support costs. To make matters worse, many PM's field these high-cost systems without providing proper, timely, and coordinated documentation. This coordinated documentation is needed at various levels of the Army to identify and program system support requirements accurately. Improperly documented systems do not generate enough operations and maintenance, Army (OMA), funds to support them. As a result, these high-cost systems receive little or no support funding for a year or more.
For the sake of readiness, major Army commands (MACOM's) are forced to sustain these unfunded systems with OMA dollars that were programmed for other systems and purposes. This causes shortfalls in OMA funding for the gaining units. For example, in 1996 and 1997, the Army Forces Command spent over $3 million to support four major unfunded intelligence electronic warfare systems. These systems had been in the field for years. Other MACOM's were affected similarly.
Major System OMA Fund Equation
OMA funding for major warfighting systems is derived primarily from a mathematical equation using three Department of the Army (DA)-level program management tools
The equation for determining OMA funding is: BLTM equipment density x OPTEMPO (miles/hours per system) x cost factor ($ per mile/hour) = system OMA funding requirements.
To understand this equation better, think of BLTM equipment density as quantity and type of vehicles owned, OPTEMPO as miles driven per year, and cost factors as operational and support costs per mile. If you own 3 cars, drive each car an average of 12,000 miles per year, and your cost for fuel, insurance, and maintenance is $0.30 per mile, the equation is: 3 cars x 12,000 miles x $0.30 cost factor per mile = $10,800.00 (This assumes that the 3 cars are of the same make, model, and year and are operated in the same or similar environments.) Therefore, you need $10,800 to operate and maintain your three cars for 1 year. The result of the calculation, along with other costs, is the output of TRM.
BLTM's, TRM's, and the Army's Budget Process
The POM is the Army's programming process. TRM outputs are an important element of the POM since they define OMA requirements for ground and air OPTEMPO. All BLTM outputs, and ultimately, TRM outputs, depend on accurate system documentation (TOE or MTOE) and cost factors. The PM is a major contributor of data needed to determine future fielding schedules and estimated costs for a new system.
The proponent for BLTM's and TRM's is the Training Directorate in the Office of the DCSOPS at HQDA. The POM process runs officially every 2 years and covers a 6-year period. For example, POM 02-07 (fiscal year [FY] 2002 through FY 2007) will be the next official POM. However, over time, the Army has modified the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution System process to include a "mini-POM" in the intervening years that covers 5 years (the mini-POM after POM 02-07 will be POM 03-07). Therefore, to determine operating and support requirements accurately for equipment to be fielded in FY 2002, key documents and cost factors must be input accurately and the BLTM- and TRM-building process begun in March 2000. This will ensure that when the equipment is fielded, the MACOM's receiving the equipment are resourced adequately to operate and maintain the equipment according to Army policy and approved training strategies.
The process of moving responsibility for sustainment and support funding from the PM to the gaining unit needs repair. Unfortunately, PM's currently are not rated on how timely, accurately, and completely their systems are documented and resourced. However, they must be held accountable for accurate and timely system documentation, data collection, and information dissemination. PM's also should be held accountable for operability, maintainability, and sustainability of systems after fielding. Unless these issues are resolved, warfighter systems will continue to be fielded with incomplete, untimely, and inaccurate documentation.
To prevent sustainment funding shortfalls from occurring somewhere during the life cycle of systems, the current vague wording in Army regulations (AR's) must be changed to document the PM's responsibility for providing timely and accurate documentation and cost data to the Army agencies responsible for programming OMA funds. AR 700-142, Materiel Release, Fielding, and Transfer, chapter 2, paragraph 2-8, should be changed to add the following subparagraph
[The PM should]
c. Coordinate with and provide documentation, data, and cost factors as listed:
(1) Provide cost factors and drivers necessary for validation to the CEAC.
(2) Provide basis of issue plan (BOIP) and qualitative and quantitative personnel requirements information (QQPRI) feeder data to TRADOC. TRADOC must receive the data in time to prepare incremental change packages (ICP's) or create a base table of organization and equipment (TOE) before full materiel release. A modified TOE (MTOE) must be published no less than 6 months before system fielding.
(3) Provide validated documentation, data, and cost factors to HQDA, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans (DCSOPS), ATTN: DAMO-TRC, for creation of battalion-level training models (BLTM's) and for input into the training resource model (TRM).
AR 700-142, chapter 3, paragraph 3-5, should be changed to add the following subparagraph
h. Accountability, control, and sustainment of materiel proposed for release will be the responsibility of the program executive officer (PEO), program manager (PM), and materiel developer (MATDEV) until:
(1) A TOE is published and an MTOE exists with an effective date.
(2) The BLTM and TRM are in place.
(3) Documentation and actual sustainment funding can be transferred from PEO/PM/ MATDEV to the post-fielding sustainment provider with no fiscal year gaps.
If the Army plans to use the "cradle to grave" concept for supporting a system during its life cycle, it must program sufficient OMA funds and make those funds available when needed so the system does not die along the way because of funding shortfalls. This process starts with timely, accurate documentation and cost factor data provided by PM's. ALOG
Robert C. Lafoon is a logistics management specialist in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Georgia. He has an associate's degree in applied science from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Georgia. He is a graduate of the Army Logistics Management College's Logistics Executive Development Course, for which he wrote this article.