Materiel Fielding Standardization
by Jack D. Scott
Total Package Fielding (TPF) is the Army's standard process for fielding new weapons, equipment, and other materiel systems. The Army began using TPF on a test basis in 1984 and made it the standard fielding process in 1987. TPF is designed to ensure thorough planning and coordination among the combat developers and the trainers, the materiel developers and the fielding commands, and the gaining major Army commands (MACOM's) and the using units involved in the fielding of new materiel systems.
The Army uses the TPF process to ensure that fully supportable materiel systems and their required support are provided to using units with minimal disruption of the unit's day-to-day missions. TPF minimizes the work load associated with the fielding of new systems and equipment by requiring the materiel developer and the fielding command to determine all requirements up front; fund and requisition nearly all needed items; consolidate support items into unit-level packages; and coordinate the distribution of the major system, its associated support items of equipment (ASIOE), and support packages to a central staging site or to the gaining unit itself.
Regulatory Guidance for TPF
The official regulatory guidance for TPF is found in AR 700142, Materiel Release, Fielding, and Transfer, which assigns responsibilities and prescribes the policies governing the TPF process. In addition, DA Pamphlet 700142, Instructions for Materiel Release, Fielding, and Transfer, explains the policies and procedures used in TPF.
The identification of TPF package contents for a particular fielding is known as "requirements determination," and the result is establishment of the materiel requirements list (MRL). The range and quantity of support items in any TPF are determined not only by the complexity of the system being fielded but also by the structure of the gaining units involved in the fielding. It is the responsibility of the materiel developer and the fielding command to identify everything that is needed for using and supporting the new system and to coordinate those requirements with the combat developer and trainers and the gaining MACOM's.
The total fielding requirements are documented, coordinated, and agreed on through the memorandum of notification (MON) and materiel fielding plan (MFP), the mission support plan (MSP), and the materiel fielding agreement (MFA). The MON notifies the gaining command of the intention to field the new system. It usually is accompanied by a draft MFP that describes the system and the concept of support, provides details on all elements of support, and outlines the responsibilities of both the gaining and fielding commands. The gaining command responds with comments on the accuracy and completeness of the MFP and provides an MSP describing its support structure and identifying its planned support units.
Using the MSP, MFP, and applicable authorization documents, the fielding command prepares a consolidated MRL and, when necessary, conducts an MRL coordination meeting. An MRL package is sent to the gaining command approximately 240 days before the first unit equipped date (FUED).
MRL Coordination Process
MRL coordination can be accomplished through message, letter, or telephone conversation for a noncomplex system. Complex systems require more coordination.
Thirty days after the MRL coordination package is sent to the gaining command, the fielding command meets with representatives of each gaining unit to verify their specific requirements; this is approximately 210 days before the FUED. Based on the complexity of the system being fielded, this meeting may include a new materiel introductory briefing team, which may be composed of the materiel fielding team chief, one or more new equipment training (NET) instructors, and various technical experts.
When an end item is needed to support the fielding but, according to the
Department of the Army Master Priority List (DAMPL), will not be available,
the fielding command requests an out-of-DAMPL release from Headquarters,
Department of the Army (HQDA). If the out-of-DAMPL release is denied and
no assets are avail
able for redistribution to fill the requirement, the fielding command notifies the gaining command; together, they decide if a delay in receiving the nonavailable items will force a corresponding delay in the fielding of the equipment.
The gaining command's role in requirements determination is essential. To ensure that a TPF is accurate, complete, and effective, the gaining command normally will
· Provide points of contact responsible for coordinating and reviewing the total fielding requirements and the MRL package.
· Identify the modification table of organization and equipment or table of distribution and allowances that will be effective at the time of fielding.
· Complete an MSP, identify the using and supporting units, and indicate any unique support considerations.
· Participate in the MRL coordination as appropriate. This includes verifying the unit identification code and Department of Defense activity address code (DODAAC) of each unit involved, as well as verifying the automated supply systems supporting each unit. MRL coordination also includes reviewing the MRL package to identify any items not needed because they are already on hand in sufficient quantities.
· Finalize procedures for redistributing assets being replaced by the new fielding.
· Finalize the staging, handoff, and NET schedules and locations with the fielding command.
Staging for TPF
Unit materiel fielding points (UMFP's) and staging sites play a key role in TPF. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) now operates three UMFP's that support the Army. They are located at Defense Distribution Depot Susquehanna, Pennsylvania; Defense Distribution Depot Red River, Texas; and Defense Distribution Depot San Joaquin, California. These three DLA UMFP's are the sites where initial issue items are consolidated to support TPF worldwide.
The staging site is the facility or location where the total package comes together. It is usually at the staging site that all end items, support equipment, and packages of initial-issue spare and repair parts are prepared for handoff to the gaining units. To support the TPF process outside of the continental United States (OCONUS), the Army Materiel Command operates a number of central staging sites in Europe and two in Korea.
The staging site is the location where the total package comes together. All end items, support equipment, and packages of initial-issue spare and repair parts are prepared for handoff to the gaining units.
Joint Supportability Assessment
The joint supportability assessment (JSA) leads to the TPF package being
called forward and its shipment to the staging site. Before shipping any
TPF packages, the fielding and gaining commands coordinate and agree on the
final fielding and handoff schedule. The JSA is a detailed assessment that
identifies all shortages of equipment and support items and any deficiencies
that would impact the operation, maintenance, or support of the system.
The JSA takes place approximately 90 days before the projected FUED for OCONUS fielding and 60 days before fielding to a unit in CONUS. If all materiel; personnel; training; test, measurement, and diagnostic equipment (TMDE); special tools and test equipment (STTE); facilities; and publications are deemed adequate to support the fielding, the UMFP is instructed to ship the support packages to the staging site or handoff point, where they are joined with the system and ASIOE in preparation for handoff to the gaining units.
Deprocessing ensures that systems are complete and ready to go. The fielding command will ensure that those items requiring deprocessing are inspected and made fully operational before handoff to the gaining units. Some items will need to be calibrated by the supporting TMDE support group, while others will need materiel fielding team or contractor personnel to prepare them for handoff. The fielding command determines and provides for, or negotiates for, all personnel, skills, facilities, equipment, tools, and materiel needed for deprocessing.
A joint inventory is conducted to ensure that all needed items are either received or placed on a shortage list for later delivery. Representatives of the gaining command participate in a joint inventory of the TPF package at the handoff site. The date for this inventory is coordinated between the fielding and gaining commands; the central staging area also needs to concur if it is to be used as the inventory and handoff site. Property book officers from the gaining units inventory the end items to ensure that all components and basic issue items are included. All class IX items (repair parts), TMDE, STTE, special mission kits, and publications are counted before being signed for.
A starter set of publications is provided by the fielding command. This starter set consists of two copies of each publication that applies to the using or support unit's authorized level of repair. These publications are in addition to any distributed by the Army Publishing Agency, and they ensure that complete publications coverage is included as part of the TPF. A noncomplex system may include just a commercial owner's manual. A complex system could include the following publications
· Operator's manual and crew checklist.
· Lubrication order.
· Supply catalog and repair parts and special tools list.
· Hand receipt.
· Technical manuals in the 10, 20, 30, and 40 or 12, 24, and 34 series.
Users still need to submit publication requisitions. The primary method by
which users obtain DA publications, including the initial issue quantity
for new systems, is through the Army Publishing Agency using the DA 12series
forms. Publication requisitions can be submitted via email, and a status
is automatically provided.
|During deprocessing, the fielding command ensures that items are inspected and made fully operational before handoff to the gaining units.|
No TPF would be complete without the needed technical manuals being on hand. The Army is moving swiftly toward the 21st century in the technical publications arena. Interactive electronic technical manuals are being developed. When they are adopted, instead of tons of paper manuals, units will receive computer diskettes or CDROM's containing all the information and procedures needed to operate, maintain, and repair their systems.
Transportation coordination is the lifeline of TPF. Myriad support items are shipped from different sources to the UMFP's to be consolidated into DODAAClevel packages, and various end items are shipped from other sources at different times to be married up with the support packages at a staging or handoff site. All modes of transportation are used in TPF, but generally, when planning allows, the most costeffective means are used; premium modes of transportation can be used to add flexibility to accommodate tight schedules.
Overseas, the gaining units arrange transportation for the materiel from the staging or handoff site back to their unit locations. The fielding command sends a release message when the packages are shipped, giving the transportation control number and Government bill of lading numbers for each shipment. With that information, the gaining command and staging sites can track the shipments through the Logistics Intelligence File. Receipt and transportation of all classes of supply from OCONUS ports of entry to the Army Materiel Command's staging areas follow standard transportation procedures.
The Army's 21st-century transportation capabilities will feature improved equipment, communications, and intransit visibility. Today, the Army is acquiring improved containers, materials-handling equipment, and large rollon-rolloff ships. To keep track of the large quantities of in-transit and pre-positioned supplies, the Army will rely on automatic tracking. The containers will transmit radio signals indicating their contents, location, and destination. All of the improvements being introduced to make the Army a more effective rapid deployment force also will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of TPF.
The fielding command provides a tailored customer documentation package to
each gaining unit. This package is provided at the time of handoff, and it
allows the unit to establish property accountability and post a receipt for
TPF materiel. The transactions documented in the package are tailored to
the specific supply system in use at the unit. Processing instructions are
provided with each package, and personal assistance may be available when
requested. The fielding command also provides a shortage list and the
documentation needed to establish a duein for all items not provided in the
|The fielding command provides a tailored customer documentation package to each gaining unit at the time of handoff, which allows the unit to establish property accountability and post a receipt for TPF materiel.|
Each unit can choose among three media for receiving their documentation package: hard copy, magnetic tape, or floppy disk. With the fast pace of change in computers and communications, these media may become obsolete in the 21st century just as computer punchcards have become obsolete in the 1990's.
Logistics changes are helping the Army prepare for the challenges and missions of the 21st century. Many of these changes will apply directly to TPF. Improved equipment, communications, automation, and transportation will continue to keep the Army the best equipped and supported force in the world. The Army Materiel Command is dedicated to continuous improvement in the materiel and services it provides for our soldiers. Every soldier should know that there are thousands of professionals working behind the scenes ready to improve the equipment and logistics support he needs.
Jack D. Scott is the Total Package Fielding Program Manager at Headquarters, Army Materiel Command, Alexandria, Virginia. He has received program certification for both materiel management and maintenance management. Mr. Scott previously served as a systems manager for the Systems Management Center, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.
Portions of this article were extracted from LOGSA [Logistics Support Activity] Pamphlet 700-3, Total Package Fielding, and AR 700-142, Materiel Release, Fielding, and Transfer.