The Army's digitized Force XXI Experimental Force (EXFOR)-the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas-was tested against "enemy" troops equipped with traditional maps and radios in an advanced warfighting experiment (AWE) that ended in March at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California. According to General William W. Hartzog, commander of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, the most important lesson learned in the 6-week AWE was that "situational awareness [knowing where you are, the location of friendly forces, and the location of the enemy] is so powerful. When you know those three things, you are given a startling tool on the battlefield." Some 4,500 soldiers and 1,600 M1A2 Abrams tanks, M2/3 Bradley fighting vehicles, howitzers, HMMWV's, and other materiel deployed from Fort Hood to face Fort Irwin's Opposing Force (OPFOR). The EXFOR equipment was outfitted with $250 million worth of computers and communications systems that were backed up by satellites, pilotless spy drones, and other aircraft. About 85 percent of the prototypes performed to requirements, 10 percent need improvements to be useful, and 5 percent were "ideas whose times have not yet come," said Hartzog.
The Army's Velocity Management (VM) Group met at Fort Lee, Virginia, on 15 April, to hear team progress reports and discuss future plans and goals. The velocity group reported that VM templates are being developed to guide soldiers in implementing VM throughout the Army. Site improvement teams are being established to implement VM initiatives at Active, Reserve, and National Guard units. Concentrated efforts and resources will continue for a few more months at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, while the site implementation process is tested. The process improvement teams reported continued progress in improving data accuracy, speeding up order processing, reducing shipping times, reducing repair cycle times, improving item management, and producing institutional and exportable logistics financial management training. The VM Group will meet again at Fort Lee in mid-August.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Army and Air National
Guard soldiers from seven states provided assistance to the Federal
Emergency Management Agency for flood relief in Kentucky, Louisiana,
Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and West Virginia
during March and April. Personnel provided assistance with evacuations,
flood gate construction, transportation, aviation, search and
rescue, road and bridge repair, and shelter and medical support
for flood victims. The USACE provided nearly 5½ million sandbags
to fortify damaged levees in the disaster areas. The 81st Army
Regional Support Command, Birmingham, Alabama, provided equipment
such as backhoes, front-end loaders, and forklifts for the operation.
The Army Audit Agency has determined that the Army can save significant dollars by increasing the use of the international merchant purchase authorization card (IMPAC) and by streamlining its credit card procedures. According to the agency, the workload cost of using the IMPAC is $92 less per transaction than using a purchase order for low-cost services and supplies. Using the card also gets goods and services into the hands of Army soldiers and civilians faster and easier than the old method. The purchase card gives noncontracting personnel the authority to make purchases not exceeding $2,500 with a Government VISA card. During fiscal year 1996, Army cardholders made 1.6 million purchases totaling $740 million. The Army is exploring other uses for the card, including transferring funds among departments by providing the IMPAC number over the phone, which would replace the familiar military interdepartmental purchase request (MIPR) process.
At the Army Materiel Command (AMC) 1996 Annual Program/Project/ Product Management (PM) Conference last fall, Colonel William T. Meadows, formerly PM-Soldier, was named the AMC Project Manager of the Year. He was recognized for his superior leadership in the total life cycle management of over 150 soldier systems within AMC. Lieutenant Colonel Stephen H. Kessinger, PM-Combat Support Training Systems, was honored as the AMC Product Manager of the Year. He was cited for his masterful execution of performance specification and best-value approaches and the empowerment of integrated product teams to field modernized individual equipment.
The International Society of Logistics Engineers (SOLE) will meet on 5 to 7 August in Orlando, Florida. This year's conference theme is "Logistics: New Roles and New Goals." For more information, call (301) 459-8446.
The 46th Defense Working Group on Nondestructive Testing Conference
will be held at the Shilo Inn and the Best Western Inn Suites
Hotel, Yuma, Arizona, on 3 to 7 November. The Army's Yuma Proving
Ground will host the meeting this year. A major issue for discussion
will be a continuation of last year's topic, "NDT Personnel
Qualification and Certification." The conference is primarily
for Government military and civilian personnel. Papers are being
sought on problem solving and new technology that would be of
interest to those who develop or apply NDT methods in Government
research, engineering, maintenance, and quality assurance. For
more information, call (812) 854-5022 or DSN 482-5022, fax (812)
854-3441, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Department of Defense (DOD) Shelf-Life Item Management course helps storage activities and retail end-level users to manage shelf-life materiel and reduce disposal costs. The 2-day class, offered by the Defense Logistics Agency's Operations Support Office, provides information on DOD policies and the latest technology resources and offers experience in accessing the DOD M-204 program data base. To sign up for one of the classes taught at the Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, or to schedule on-site training for your activity, call (804) 279-5224 or DSN 695-5212, send a fax to DSN 695-3793, or send e-mail to email@example.com.
A bibliography of studies on preventive maintenance published from 1990 to the present is available to authorized persons. Write to USALMC, ATTN DIRECTOR DLSIE ATSZ DL, BLDG 12500, 2401 QUARTERS ROAD, FORT LEE VA 23801-1705; send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; or call (804) 765-4007 or DSN 539-4007.
Army officials have increased the recruiting budget for the next few years in an effort to enlist more quality soldiers during the post-drawdown period. The budget for enlistment bonuses has been increased by $32 million. The Office of the Secretary of Defense also has authorized the Army to increase its maximum bonus payment from $8,000 to the $12,000 limit authorized by law and to boost the maximum benefit for the Army College Fund from $30,000 to $40,000. Another recent Army incentive raises the maximum amount of college loan repayments from $55,000 to $65,000. A $15.9 million increase in the Army advertising budget will help recruiters get the word out about the new incentives.