MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Identifying ways to efficiently sustain existing systems is vital to the Corps, but this responsibility is easier said than done.
On June 11, senior officials from Marine Corps Systems Command, Marine Corps Logistics Command, Program Executive Officer Land Systems and Headquarters Installations and Logistics congregated aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, to discuss lifecycle management strategies, and other acquisition and sustainment topics.
The daylong meeting—called the Ground Acquisition Sustainment Summit—enabled senior leaders, program managers and other acquisition professionals to brainstorm effective sustainment strategies to ensure the Corps more effectively supports the warfighter.
“This summit is intended to make sure the commands are working and planning together,” said Rich Sessions, director of Acquisition Logistics and Product Support at MCSC. “We want to ensure the things we’re fielding are sustained correctly, that we’re smoothly transitioning them from one command to another and that we’re communicating over the lifecycle of these systems.”
The biannual meeting involved conversations on how lifecycle product support concepts must align for the effective development and integration of sustainment strategies. Discussions included everything from technical data management and cataloging to additive manufacturing and corrosion prevention.
Ed Howell, MCSC’s program manager for Supply and Maintenance Systems, gave an update on the recent Corrosion Prevention and Control Summit. He also summarized some obstacles to corrosion prevention in the command’s storage facilities and provided future goals to mitigate these issues.
“One of the major initiatives in this command has been corrosion prevention,” said Brig. Gen. A.J. Pasagian, commander of MCSC. “We’re balancing that with a future investment in the facilities required to do that kind of work.”
Some equipment stored in facilities may need to be divested, the senior leaders suggested. The group heavily discussed the logistics of disposing of older equipment—a topic of interest to John Garner, PEO LS.
“I think General Pasagian, General Shrader and I are all in lockstep in our beliefs that we have to divest of some things in the warehouse,” said Garner. “We’re all focused on that right now.”
Communication was a key theme of the day. Dan Elzie, deputy director at Marine Force Storage Command, outlined the role of MFSC, including its inventory statistics and storage issues. In his presentation, he emphasized the importance of knowing details about the systems in the warehouse.
“When something enters the warehouse, we don’t know if it will be there for 30 days or 30 years,” said Elzie. “We need you all to tell us how long a system will be there and what you want us to do with it.”
The communication between the commands continues to improve, said Garner. A proponent of face-to-face communication, Garner felt the event helped the commands learn more about one another and put names to faces.
“The focus of the summit was not to place blame, but rather to identify the problem and work collectively to solve it,” said Garner. “It’s important that we’re all rowing in the same direction.”
Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Shrader, LOGCOM commanding general, listened intently and provided feedback when necessary. After the event, Shrader noted how communication between the commands improved since the first Ground Acquisition Sustainment Summit held in January in Albany, Georgia.
“[Good communication] provides more opportunities for the staff to effectively develop and implement sustainment initiatives,” said Shrader. “As we look to the future, we need to continue to embrace these working relationships with open and frank conversations on how to get ahead of sustainment challenges for Marine Corps weapon systems.”
The summit was intended to ultimately support the warfighter. At a strategic level, the event fostered discussions about ways to conserve both time and money. As Garner explained, the Corps must properly leverage these high-value resources to their advantage to support Marines. Hosting events that cater to being more efficient can help achieve this goal.
“Efficiency is the name of the game,” said Garner. “Everything we do supports the warfighter, and inefficiency ultimately hurts them.”