The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Army Prepositioned Stock (APS)
[ex-Army War Reserve (AWR)]

The traditional methods of locating sustainment stocks in Theater Reserve sites under local or theater commander control is no longer consistent with supporting the dynamics of a rapidly changing world with constrained resources - nor is it in keeping with current policy objectives. The Army has become a much smaller, predominantly Continental United States (CONUS) based force. The Army's Strategic Mobility Program, when fully implemented, will greatly expand the Army's ability to quickly move personnel and equipment to potential contingencies throughout the world. Forward presence will be achieved through minimum Outside Continental United States (OCONUS) stationing, with increased reliance on unit rotations and exercise deployments to provide stability in dynamic regions. To accomplish this objective, a balance of airlift, sealift, and sustainment (prepositioned equipment and supplies) is needed to provide the ability to project forces worldwide and sustain those forces during a contingency.

The Department of Defense (DOD) maintains stocks of supplies and equipment, called war reserves, to support military units during a war or mobilization. War reserves stored within the continental United States are distributed as needed by airlift or sealift. War reserves are also stored, or prepositioned, overseas on land or on ships near an area of potential conflict. By prepositioning war reserves overseas, US military forces have the ability to respond quickly to a contingency. For example, at the beginning of the Persian Gulf War deployment in August 1990, equipment and supplies prepositioned aboard ships arrived at the theater more quickly than if they had been sealifted from the United States. At that time, the Army's prepositioning fleet consisted of four ships used primarily for carrying ammunition and port handling equipment.

All Army war reserves (AWR) and pre-positioned stocks are managed by the Army Materiel Command (AMC), Alexandria, Virginia, with the Army Industrial Operations Command (IOC), Rock Island, Illinois, serving as AMC's management agent. Placing all five geographic sets of AWR under central management in October 1994, implemented one of the lessons learned from Operation Desert Storm. Previously, war reserve materiel was managed by theater commanders in chief. That allowed little flexibility in transferring stocks from one theater to another. In the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) central region "pre-positioning of materiel configured to unit sets," or POMCUS, made it easy for units from the United States to deploy to Europe and then draw their equipment. POMCUS was a key feature of the Reforger (return of forces to Germany) exercises. What was formerly war reserves and POMCUS stocks are now combined into AWR stocks. As US forces in Europe drew down, the Army reduced its stockage to four brigade sets of materiel, and reduced the number of storage locations for AWR materiel to four sites in the Netherlands -- Brunssum, Coevorden, Eygelshoven, and Vriezenveen -- and two others at Bettenbourg, Luxembourg, and Zutendaal, Belgium.

In May 1992, policy changes in the Army war reserve (AWR) program called for redistribution of materiel at Camp Doha and other AWR sites into strategic stockpiles oriented toward support of multiple commanders in chief. This shifted requirements toward developing two nearly simultaneous major regional contingencies, which would allow more flexibility in providing sustainment, instead of a global planning scenario. The Army's ability to project combat power worldwide is tied directly to the pre-positioning of combat equipment.

In May 1992, the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) directed a reduction in Army War Reserve (AWR) and Operational Project (OP) stocks and transferred management and accountability responsibilities for this materiel to the Army Materiel Command (AMC) and Office of The Surgeon General (OTSG), for SC VIII. The USAMMA was designated by OTSG as the executive agent for SC VIII materiel and manager of the SC VIII portion of the AWR Program.

Doctrine was put to the test in 2003 when APS were issued to troops in Iraq. As provided in prewar planning, both the Army and Marine Corps drew upon pre-positioned equipment stocks to sustain initial combat operations in Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom is the first war in which frontline troops were equipped largely by APS. Troops stationed in CONUS were flown to Southwest Asia (SWA) and matched up with forward-based APS equipment. When stocks were downloaded into SWA for OIF, receiving units were not present. This required contracting companies to perform the download and movement of equipment. This came as a sort of surprise. The APS program worked very well in this mission and, despite problems incurred, accomplished the goal of supplying the warfighter with his equipment needs quickly. The 3rd ID was above 90% supplied when they attacked into Baghdad. Soldiers were very pleased with the condition of the equipment they were issued and were jokingly more than willing to take it off the theater's hands and send it to their home stations.

APS equipment sets are referred to according to numerical designations of 1 through 5, corresponding to their locations. The Army has primarily depended on two APS sets for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan - APS-3, which is equipment prepositioned on ships, or "afloat"; and APS-5, which is the equipment prepositioned in Southwest Asia. Over time, and as operations permit, those stocks are being replenished. The Army used equipment and/or stocks tram all five of its prepositioned sets for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Portions of APS-2 (Europe) have been transferred to APS-3 (Afloat stocks). Reset cost is the expense of returning equipment and stocks to their conditionprior to employment in combat. Reconfiguration cost is the expense of transforming sets to new organizational configuration.

By 2008 APS-5 had been depleted and reconstituted several times over during the course of these operations. In December 2006, the Army decided to remove equipment and supplies from its APS-3 prepositioned sets stored on ships in order to accelerate the creation of two additional brigade combat teams by April 2008. Army officials determined that using equipment from other APS sets, such as APS-4 and APS-5, to satisfy these equipment requirements was not a viable option because of the risks involved in Northeast Asia and ongoing operations in Southwest Asia.

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:34:06 ZULU