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Army Materiel Command saves $191 million in Afghanistan

January 25, 2012

By Summer Barkley

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Jan. 25, 2012) -- Army Materiel Command's life cycle management command personnel nested in the 401st Army Field Support Brigade realized cost savings and cost avoidance of more than $191 million during 2011 by means that ranged from picking through the trash to securing special engineering approval to perform depot level repairs.

As part of Army Materiel Command's, or AMC's, materiel enterprise the life cycle management commands, or LCMCs, provide the organizational structure to support integrated weapons systems by linking all branches of the materiel enterprise -- research and development, acquisition, readiness sustainment and disposition. The LCMCs rely on their logistics assistance representatives, knows as LARs, quality assurance surveillance (ammunition specialists) and inspectors to achieve cost savings by recovering usable or repairable items from Defense Logistics Agency disposition services yards, training units on repairing and maintaining their equipment, and assisting units with repairing equipment.

In Operation Enduring Freedom, the 401st AFSB working through its parent, Army Sustainment Command, delivers integrated logistics solutions to operating forces and is AMC's single face to the field delivering materiel solutions from across the Materiel Enterprise.

Aviation and Missile Command, known as AMCOM, contributed the largest amount to the total by reporting cost avoidance of slightly more than $93 million.

"Cost avoidance for AMCOM tends to be high due to the high cost of aircraft and aircraft parts," said Adan Garcia, AMCOM senior command representative.

Garcia said AMCOM cost avoidance comes from the efforts of logistics assistance representatives and senior systems technical representatives and is part of the day-to-day job.

"We don't go to extra lengths to do this [achieve cost savings], it's just the way it works out when we're doing our jobs properly," he said.

Cost avoidance is earned when an aircraft or component that is unserviceable is 'saved' by the action of the LAR that keeps the equipment from being scrapped or replaced, said Garcia. LARs also assist units in performing depot level repairs approved by the aviation engineering directorate.

Garcia said the final way AMCOM achieves cost avoidance is factoring in the value of equipment and equipment repair training the LARs provide to units.

CECOM is the only LCMC that tracks their cost avoidance figures by fiscal year. During fiscal year 2011, CECOM saved a little more than $48 million.

"LARs comb [Defense Logistics Agency] disposition services [yards] searching for items that can be used by units or are not ready for destruction," said Kenneth Hagie, CECOM SCR. "The items recovered are re-introduced into the Army inventory thus saving the government costs to replace the item and savings of destroying usable equipment."

Hagie added that his team of 42 LARs are mission essential personnel deployed across the combined joint operations area.

"We go wherever the warfighter goes," he said. "LARs are trained to search for the quickest viable solution for all requests. The Warfighter deserves our best effort to support and accomplish the mission."

Joint Munitions Command added nearly $18.5 million to the total. They accomplished this through amnesty turn-in programs and ammunition that was found on installations and then processed by a mobile ammunition processing facility.

The amnesty turn-in and mobile processing facilities have the same goal of removing unsafe or recalled ammunition from the battle space and ensuring that warfighters have the right ammunition at the right place, on time, every time.

"We [quality assurance surveillance (ammunition specialists) and inspectors want to improve force posture in the CJOA-A, and be good stewards of government funds," said Theresa A. Smith, JMC senior command representative.

Finally, TACOM tallied slightly more than $31 million for the year. Perry Cushman, TACOM SCR said each LAR has a cost avoidance cost savings goal of $100,000 per year.

"This is a team effort," Cushman said. "Some LARs such as an Armament LAR work many smaller amounts to equal their required ($100,000) annual goal where an auto-combat LAR may get the goal by saving one Abrams engine."

Cushman also said TACOM LARs act as 'policemen' for TACOM items in disposition services yards.
LARs are an 'honest broker' in the unit when it comes to deciding between repair and replacement of components. He said Soldiers are not always trained to isolate faults and with their focus on readiness rates, the easier solution may be to replace at a higher cost than to repair a component.

The combined efforts of the LCMC SCRs, LARs, QAS(AS)s, SSTRs and inspectors achieved not only impressive cost savings, prolonged the life of some equipment and salvaged usable equipment, but they embodied the Materiel Enterprise that focuses on soldier and ground systems throughout the entire acquisition life cycle of systems from concept development, through engineering and manufacturing development, production and deployment, operations and support, and finally disposal.

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