News: 13th SC(E) implements Virtual Logistics Predeployment Site Survey for NTC/JRTC units
Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Thompson
FORT HOOD, Texas - The Support Operations section of 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) is spearheading a Virtual Logistics Predeployment Site Survey initiative which links leaders from the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., and the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La., with leaders from units who are planning for, or recently completed, training cycles at NTC or JRTC so that all parties could discuss logistics conditions and expectations during a unit’s training cycle.
The intent of the VLPDSS is to familiarize the incoming leaders with their areas of operation and any issues, challenges, and opportunities that will affect their missions. The incoming unit will use the information gained during the VLPDSS to modify and enhance the predeployment planning and training of their team members.
The initiative was developed with the mindset of saving the Army and units money without compromising the preparation required to achieve a successful training event.
“The VLPDSS initiative involves a collaborative effort that will focus on logistics preparation for NTC (or JRTC) rotations,” said Col. John McCoy, the officer in charge of the Support Operations section of the 13th SC(E). “The intent is to link, without the resources required of (temporary duty) travel, incoming and outgoing (Combat Training Center) sustainment participants and discuss pros and cons, lessons learned, best practices, and ideas in order to better prepare units for their future CTC training rotations and increase overall sustainment readiness.”
The VLPDSS is another extension of the Leveraging Expeditionary Sustainment Commands-West initiative aimed at leveraging expeditionary sustainment assets amongst sustainment units from across the Western United States.
“We’re able to link units together via (video teleconference) to discuss mission requirements and lessons learned from previous NTC rotations so the following unit would be better prepared for what to expect prior to their own rotation,” said Capt. Robert Lewis, the action officer in charge of organizing the VLPDSS sessions. “The PDSS has been part of our rotational calendar for years, but previously, unit leadership would travel to the site, receive a walk-through of the area and return to their home station to brief the remainder of their unit on the expectations. With the VLPDSS, the units are able to receive the same information without all the expenses associated with traveling to the field site.”
The most recent VLPDSS was held in December to provide assistance to the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, which is scheduled for a rotation to NTC in early February. Attending that meeting included senior logisticians from 13th SC(E) and the 4th Sustainment Brigade as well as representatives from NTC and the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.
“What it does for us is better helps to understand the linkage that comes from the support outside of the brigade,” said Lt. Col. J. Bradley Swift, commander of the 115th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. “This meeting is a way to coordinate all the logistics and sustainment shareholder actions in support of the brigade’s training objectives.”
Swift also said that the meeting was an excellent opportunity for him to inquire about additional particulars that would assist his unit in their preparation.
“The closer you get to your rotation, the quality of your questions get better – more specific and more detailed,” said Swift. “For me this is a perfect zoom level to make sure that I understand the big picture as well as all the fine details. This type of engagement certainly adds value to the sustainment planning efforts.”
Although the purpose behind the individual meetings is to help prepare the unit that is training up for their CTC rotation, Lewis added that the information shared inside the meeting could also be beneficial to other units elsewhere.
“We attempt to share our notes with the entire sustainment community,” said Lewis. “If there is something that we’ve seen from the sustainment units that can help train other units before their training objective, we want to make sure they have that information to set them up for success the best we can. We’re always trying to share information as part of being good stewards for the sustainment community.”
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