To assist their NATO Implementation Force (IFOR) units with current operations and future redeployment, V Corps accelerated the extension of the standard Army retail supply system-objective (SARSS-O) to units in Bosnia. SARSS-O is the Army's new retail supply system that replaces the standard Army intermediate level supply system, the direct support unit standard supply system, and SARSS-interim.
After special training in the United States, a system extension team of trainers and file conversion experts traveled to Germany for "down range" staging. From there they were bused to Slavonski Brod, Croatia, where, in a large manufacturing building, they set up two classrooms with computers shipped from Germany.
Extension training was conducted for 191 SARSS operators and supervisors in two sessions that ran from 16 July through 18 August. The training covered SARSS supply operations, new computer equipment, system administrator procedures, the materiel release order control system, and the automated manifest system.
File conversion procedures, which included the download of data from the supporting computer in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and the building of files at each SARSS site, were completed on 25 August. Onsite monitoring by contract employees from Development Center Lee, Fort Lee, Virginia, continued until 20 September.
Extension of SARSS-O to Bosnia provides IFOR units with more efficient warehouse supply operations, better communications capabilities, modern automatic data processing equipment, improved asset visibility and cross-leveling, and reduced order and shipping time. Fielding to the rest of the Army also has been accelerated. System extensions to III Corps and remaining U.S. Army, Europe, units will be completed by the end of second quarter, fiscal year (FY) 1997; units in Korea and the Pacific will begin fielding during second quarter FY 1997. It is anticipated that all active Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, and table of distribution and allowances activities will have SARSS-O by mid-FY 1998.
The Army Reserve Personnel Center (ARPERCEN), St. Louis, Missouri, is transferring data from more than 600,000 personnel records from paper and microfiche formats to 12-inch disks. This change will allow rapid access to Army Reserve personnel records with a touch of a button.
The personnel electronic records management system (PERMS) is based on optical digital imagery. Images of the records are scanned electronically and reproduced on 12-inch disks. One disk holds 3,000 images to support personnel records for 400 to 700 soldiers. The disk can be accessed by computer with images taking only 20 seconds to appear. This is a drastic change from the days or weeks it once took to locate and view a record.
The conversion process for 85 million images began in 1987 and should be completed by the end of this year. The conversion is expected to cost $18.7 million, with an additional $36 million for hardware and software. PERMS will save money in the long run by saving the time personnel officials spend searching for and reviewing personnel records.
Retiree records will be housed in the same building with Army Reserve personnel records; however, the records will not be converted to PERMS. They will be stored in boxes in the current format. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) manages retiree records for active Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Navy, and Air Force. Requests for retiree records information can be sent to NARA, ATTN: Military Personnel Records, 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63132. Requests for information should include the retiree's service number or Social Security number, return address, and signature.
The Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Fort Monroe, Virginia, has completed a guide for soldiers who work with troops from other countries. Field Manual 100-8, The Army in Multinational Operations, describes all aspects of military operations, including command structures, battle dynamics, and other considerations for soldiers in oversea locations. FM 100-8 is designed to help leaders and commanders identify ways to form effective partnerships with other countries' military organizations.
Soldiers who deploy to locations outside the continental United States must prepare to fight alongside troops from other nations. One annex to the manual that should prove useful to leaders is a checklist of factors to consider when deciding how to organize operations, such as the capabilities, qualifications, and equipment of the allied elements.
The draft was staffed with the Navy, the Air Force, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a North Atlantic Treaty Organization doctrinal working group. Comments from other nations, such as Turkey and the United Kingdom, were incorporated in the manual. Reviewers from other countries said that the manual gives them a good idea of how the U.S. Army works in the multinational environment.
FM 100-8 is being distributed through routine publication channels. Also, this manual and other TRADOC doctrinal publications can be accessed through the Internet on TRADOC's web site (http://www-tradoc.monroe.army.mil/).
The direct support-plus (DS-plus) program, launched in October 1991, continues to enhance tank fleet readiness and improve soldier training while reducing repair costs. The program, which is administered by the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), Warren, Michigan, was designed to reduce the number of M1 Abrams tank engines sent back for depot-level repair and maintenance.
DS-plus calls for logistics assistance representatives (LAR's) to be specifically trained to do certain tasks to support M1 tanks. The LAR's are assigned to several large installations and major activities to provide direct-support maintenance, facilitate class IX supply, and reduce order and shipping time for repair parts.
Dennis Pigott at the logistics assistance office at Camp Doha, Kuwait, reports exceptional success with their DS-plus program that is executed by a civilian contractor. At Camp Doha, the DS-plus team consists of a TACOM LAR, four technicians, and two mechanics' helpers. In addition to performing maintenance and repair tasks, the DS-plus team provides training on the M1's air induction system with emphasis on keeping the system clean and dust-free in a hot, dusty environment. This training is critical as soldiers are frequently deployed to be tank crew members in the Middle East without specific knowledge of the unique hazards to equipment in that part of the world. The additional soldier training in M1A1 engine maintenance has led to fewer repairs and reduced expense for repair parts. The team reports that fewer class IX parts are being requested and the tank readiness rate remains high.
A worker at Red River Army Depot, Texarkana, Texas, welds together one of the first 18 steel tow-bars that were manufactured and shipped to Bosnia in June. A total of 100 tow-bars were scheduled for fabrication and shipment to fill a shortage in the military supply system that was discovered in May. The depot submitted the lowest bid to fabricate the tow-bars and guaranteed the quickest initial delivery. Machinists and metal workers produced the first 18 tow-bars in 10 days. After the initial delivery was made on schedule, the depot began producing about 20 tow-bars a month to meet the contract requirements, with most of the new tow-bars going into Army stockpiles for issue to units when needed.
The Reserve Forces Policy Board (RFPB), which advises Secretary of Defense William Perry on reserve component matters, is proposing adoption of a joint identification (ID) card for use by both active duty and reserve personnel. The board-made up of 24 high-ranking civilian and military officials-has given the Secretary three purple prototype cards for his consideration.
Currently, active duty service members carry a green ID card, and reservists carry a pink card. If reservists are called to active duty for 30 days or longer, they exchange their pink cards for green ones. When they return to reserve status, they get their pink cards back. Some reservists have complained that carrying around cards that are different from those of active duty personnel makes them feel like second-class citizens. A single card would send the message that reservists are part of the total force. In addition, observers at mobilization processing sites feel that the current ID card procedure is too time-consuming and could result in a bottleneck in the event of a large-scale mobilization.
The RFPB is considering recommending the addition of appropriate technology (computer chip or magnetic strip) to the purple ID card to meet military requirements. The card could be altered easily if the holder were called to active duty for 30 days or more. The card could be read when it was passed through a reader at medical facilities or commissaries to determine the holder's allowed benefits.
A recent publication of the Military Traffic Management Command Transportation Engineering Agency (MTMCTEA), Newport News, Virginia, offers guidance on securing military equipment to intermodal containers for surface transport. MTMCTEA Reference 96-55-23, Containerization of Military Vehicles and Equipment, focuses on the use of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) containers, both dry-cargo (enclosed) and platform (flatracks).
The securing methods described in this manual are intermodal, which means they are appropriate for rail, highway, and ocean transport. Intermodal transportation ensures quicker and more efficient movement through ports and other terminals. Cargo is secured at the point of origin and remains secured until it arrives at its destination.
This manual is one in a series published by MTMCTEA to ease deployment by all surface modes of transport. Other publications in the series are-
MTMCTEA Pamphlet 55-19, Tiedown Handbook for Rail Movements.
MTMCTEA Reference 92-55-20, Tiedown Handbook for Truck Movements.
MTMCTEA Reference 95-55-21, Lifting and Tiedown of U.S. Military Helicopters.
MTMCTEA Reference 95-55-22, Marine Lifting and Lashing Handbook.
These manuals are weather-resistant and will fit inside soldiers' battledress uniform pockets. To order copies of MTMCTEA publications, call (757) 878-4646 or DSN 927-4646, or send a request to Director, MTMCTEA, ATTN: MTTE-DP, 720 Thimble Shoals Boulevard, Suite 130, Newport News, Virginia 23606-2574.
The number of ready-to-eat meal (MRE) menus will increase from one dozen to two dozen choices by the end of 1998, and several items will be discontinued. New menus will include more ethnic entrees, spicy foods, and commercial items.
New menu items include a spicy Jamaican pork chop with noodles, beef teriyaki, spicy Oriental chicken, black bean and rice burritos, and beef ravioli. Commercially produced beef jerky, corn chips, hard candies, granola, and candy bars will be new snacks. Some of the discontinued items are scalloped potatoes with ham, pork with rice in barbecue sauce, and tuna with noodles.
The Sustainability Directorate at Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center, Massachusetts, estimates that by the end of 1998, 70 percent of MRE items will be commercial off-the-shelf or nondevelopmental items instead of items produced specifically for military use.
Department of the Army (DA) Pamphlet 690-47, DA Civilian Employee Deployment Guide, informs Army civilian employees, management officials, and field commanders of policies and procedures that affect civilian employees who are deployed overseas to support U.S. military operations. The pamphlet is sponsored by the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) and incorporates information mandated by Department of Defense (DOD) Directive 1404.10, Emergency Essential (EE) DOD U.S. Citizen Employees, and AR 690-11, Mobilization Planning and Management.
DA Pamphlet 690-47 contains guidance on topics such as legal assistance, medical screening, salaries, customs processing, danger pay, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and redeployment procedures. As the Army transitions to Force XXI, it will rely increasingly on the technical skills of both DA civilians and contractors. A similar handbook for contractor personnel deployed overseas is in the final stages of staffing by the Department of the Army.
The Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) Europe, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, provides training for its Dutch civilian employees to prepare them for possible deployment to military threat areas. The civilians attend a 1-week militarization course at the Center for Peace Keeping Operations in Ossendrecht, the Netherlands. They are given instructions in team building, map reading, military drill and discipline, personal hygiene, gas mask use, and characteristics of particular threat areas. Medical and mental examinations determine which course graduates can deploy.
Early this year, trained MTMC civilians were sent to Croatia to support British forces who were moving their materiel into Bosnia on U.S. ships. Plans are being made to send civilians to the former Yugoslavia to assist in the drawdown of U.S. military materiel. In recent years, Dutch MTMC Europe civilians have deployed to set up and complete port operations in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
All Dutch civilian employees at MTMC Europe are civil servants with the Dutch Ministry of Defense. When deployed, the civilians wear the Dutch military uniform with a rank equivalent to their civilian pay grade. Militarized civilians are not deployed to war zones and cannot carry or use weapons.
A 400-pound tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided (TOW) long-range missile yoke is lowered into an electroplating bath by an operator using a forklift. The electroplating shop at Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pennsylvania, processed nine TOW missile yokes for Letterkenny Army Depot, Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna routinely does cadmium-plating, which pretreats metal to prevent rust and corrosion. However, the missile yokes weighed 350 to 400 pounds each, compared to the usual 2- or 3-pound item. A forklift with 9-foot forks was used to lift the yokes and place them in the plating tanks, and additional power cables were installed to handle the heavy load. Each yoke was cadmium-plated and baked in an oven for 23 hours at 350 degrees. They then were dipped in an acid bath and a bronze plating solution. The TOW missile yokes are attached to the launcher and hold the missile cylinders in place.