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Military

CHAPTER III

ARM, FUEL, FIX, SUPPLY AND TRANSPORT


Unit Maintenance Collection Point (UMCP) TTPs

by CPT Edward L. Campbell, CMTC

Battalion Maintenance Officers (BMOs) encounter recurring problems while planning for support of High Intensity Conflict (HIC) and stability actions and support actions during their Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) rotation. The maintenance leaders of most task forces experience these same difficulties. This article discusses those problems and offers some techniques and procedures to overcome them.

First, let's review the task force's key maintenance tasks, as extracted from ARTEP 71-2, Mission Training Plan for the Tank and Mechanized Battalion. The task force maintenance leadership should consider each of these tasks in relation to their SOP and the techniques discussed in this article.

Key Maintenance Tasks for the Task Force (Plan, Prepare, and Execute)

PLANNING TASKS:

  • Issue TF warning order.
  • Analyze TF mission.
  • Determine maintenance requirements and priorities.
  • S4 updates Commander on combat status of unit.
  • Assess status of maintenance assets.
  • Provide maintenance support.
  • BMO coordinates with FSB Commander and staff for maintenance support.
  • Develop maintenance support portion of TF Service Support Annex.
  • TF evaluates ability of service support plan to support tactical operations.
  • Issue Service Support Annex to TF OPORD.

PREPARATION TASKS:

  • Provide maintenance support to TF and its elements.
  • Manage Class IX repair parts resupply.
  • Perform periodic services.
  • Perform UMCP activities.
  • Recover, repair and return NMC equipment.
  • Continuously monitor and update combat status.
  • CTCP staff coordinates DS maintenance requests.
  • Combat trains command post (CTCP) staff coordinates pickup of repaired/replacement vehicles.
  • Field Trains CP (FTCP) coordinates maintenance requirements with FSB.

EXECUTION TASKS:

  • Push maintenance forward in support of combat operations.
  • Conduct Battle Damage Assessment and Repair (BDAR) as far forward as possible.
  • Recover damaged equipment to next higher maintenance echelon.
  • Combat trains and UMCP stay abreast of fighting forces needs.
  • Perform controlled exchange.
  • Maintain and report combat status.
  • TF provides emergency maintenance support, recovery/repair.
  • Process incoming equipment suspected of NBC contamination.
  • Maintenance platoon consolidates and reorganizes.
  • Prepare to continue battle or change mission.

THE PROBLEMS UNITS FACE:

1. Nonexistent or incomplete Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Techniques or procedures:

  • Develop and read (and follow) your SOP.
  • Update the SOP as necessary.
  • Put the information out.
  • Enforce the standards.
  • Ensure that your entire task force (including attached elements) knows and follows it.

2. Little time devoted to risk assessment and reduction.

Techniques or procedures:

  • Develop and maintain a program.
  • Use it--do not just put it up for show.
  • Document the procedures in your SOP.

3. Safety measures not identified or taken.

Techniques or procedures:

  • Identify required safety measures, derived from your risk assessment.
  • Enforce Safety Measures.
  • Plan for eyewash stations, fire plan, POL contamination and spills, etc.

4. Unsuccessful or disorganized vehicle recovery.

Techniques or procedures: These are key planning factors for high mine threat areas such as Bosnia. They are also critical for reducing the workload of your recovery section during HIC operations.

  • Both tracked and wheeled vehicles need to be made capable of like-vehicle recovery.
  • Ensure each vehicle has, or the crew has quick access to, a tow bar, cable, or chain.
  • Train operators on how to self-recover.
  • Ensure each recovery element knows how to properly recover the other equipment in your task force. There have been too many Bradley drive trains destroyed by Armor company M88s because the Bradleys were not prepared for proper towing.

5. No prior planning for support of high-use vehicles.

Techniques or procedures:

  • IFOR mission Scouts put 2,000-4,000 miles per month on their vehicles conducting patrol and escort duties. Identify support requirements for all high use vehicles such Scouts or MPs.
  • Tank road wheels are critical parts if you are operating on rough terrain. Prior to deploying to the box, make sure you have identified all high use parts. Adjust your PLL and work with Direct Support to adjust your ASL (e.g., during ASL review boards).
  • Ensure you have adequate quantities of Class III (P) on-hand.

6. No integration of slice elements assets.

Techniques or procedures: A task force is normally focused on its internal and attached elements and neglects planning for the support of slice elements.

  • Find out how the slice elements, such as ADA, Engineers, and Chemical assets, are supported in your Task Force.
  • Know what your slice is bringing in terms of assets and supplies.
  • Make sure slice mechanics are integrated into the Task Force.
  • Cross-talk with slice elements to share parts and assets as needed (e.g., M88s).
  • Talk before you deploy to establish your requirements and standards.

7. Nonexistent or incomplete Battle Damage Assessment and Repair (BDAR) kits.

Techniques or procedures: BDAR is a key element in maintaining the offensive momentum by providing battlefield "quick fixes."

  • Make sure you have BDAR kits and that they are "full up."

  • Check for BDAR kits in your load plans.

8. Standards for deadline reporting, PMCS, circle Xs, etc., not established and enforced.

Techniques or procedures:

  • Prior coordination with all your task force elements is essential for ensuring they know and comply with your standards (your SOP).
  • Ensure you are tied into the CTCP for tracking combat power.

9. Missing maps and overlays.

Techniques or procedures: Keep a set of maps and overlays in every recovery vehicle. The CSS and the Obstacle overlays are the most critical as your recovery vehicles navigate the battlefield.

10. Pre-combat inspections (PCIs) incomplete or not done.

Techniques or procedures: PCI Checklists are essential for preparing for every mission. Include standard checklists in your SOP and do the inspections.

EXAMPLE:

1) When are repaired vehicles checked to verify that they have fuel, ammunition, and graphics before rolling out?

2) Who does that check?

11. A "no-big-deal/business as usual" attitude.

Techniques or procedures: Avoid the garrison mindset when planning and preparing for a mission. Stability and Support Operations (SASO), such as Bosnia, are not garrison environments. To succeed, plan and approach each mission as you would in high-intensity conflict (HIC).

12. Insufficient reporting and cross-talk.

Techniques or procedures:

  • Ensure cross-talk with the CTCP.
  • Monitor the periodic reports from the companies to the TOC and CTCP (battle-tracking).
  • In addition to the usual spot reports, establish and enforce a reporting schedule. This ensures your Company Maintenance Teams (CMTs) routinely report the status of the jobs they are working to the UMCP (every morning for example).
  • Keep track and visibility of below the line faults (e.g., fuel transfer pumps on M1s, or vehicle heaters in the winter).

13. Inadequate focus on site security.

Techniques or procedures: Establish site security as a critical UMCP activity. Too often, the UMCP focuses strictly on repair and return of combat vehicles, and not on defense and survivability. Address the following questions:

  • Are sectors of defense identified? (Units often try to jump sites while enemy reconnaissance is in sector.)
  • Have responsibilities been assigned for each sector?
  • Are there entry control procedures for the site?
  • Does site security adjust based on the tactical situation? (Must maintain soldier situational awareness.)
  • Is noise and light discipline enforced? (Units too often use uncovered white light with enemy reconnaissance in sector.)
  • Are disabled vehicles integrated into the defense plan? (Ensure graphics are in recovery vehicles.)
  • Who is in charge?
  • Does your setup meet the Task, Conditions, and Standards identified in the MTP?

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME STATION

Home Station is the place to resolve the problems your unit encounters in the UMCP. Trying to fix problems after arriving "in the box" is too late.

1) Conduct the initial linkup at Home Station with your attachments and slice elements. Cover your standards (SOP), establish what personnel are coming, and find out problems ahead of time (what is broken, who is short personnel/equipment/parts).

2) Confer with your CTCP and CMTs to work out (or revise) how you function together, and how the reporting flow operates (e.g., a CPX or LOG STX).

3) Practice developing and publishing critical C2measures, such as the CSS matrix and graphics, and performing the CSS rehearsal as a team to synchronize your concept of support.

SUMMARY

A working UMCP that repairs and returns combat equipment quickly is critical to the success of a Task Force. Good unit discipline and an effective SOP eliminate many of the war-stoppers described in this article. Without them, the UMCP will most likely fail. The SOP must be detailed. It must cover every facet of UMCP activities, including site security, and be understood by all organic, attached, and slice elements. The BMO, BMT, and BMS are the leaders that enforce the standards required to ensure the UMCP's success in supporting the Task Force.


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