TRIANGLE, Va. -- The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) recently honored a Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) and Program Executive Office – Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS) team with its prestigious “Lightening Bolt” award. This is the highest level of team recognition at SPAWAR. Rear Admiral Tim Flynn, Program Executive Officer for Enterprise Information Systems, presented the “Lightning Bolt” plaque to the Global Combat Support System-Marine Corps (GCSS-MC) team during a Dec. 19 “All Hands” meeting at the GCSS-MC offices near Quantico, Va.
GCSS-MC has a duel chain of command. The program falls under MCSC for administrative, budget and contractual support. It also falls under the operational control of PEO-EIS, sponsored by SPAWAR.
GCSS-MC is the initiative to modernize and transform Marine Corps logistics information systems. Team GCSS-MC will deliver enabling software to the warfighter that will change the model for expeditionary support. Their goal is to enable transformation of the logistics model with 21st Century logistics IT capabilities focused on the warfighter’s needs.
The GCSS-MC Logistics Chain Management (LCM) program will replace outdated legacy systems and provide Marine Forces and the supporting establishment with integrated, distributed, web-based, off-the-shelf solutions that enable improved logistics chain effectiveness and efficiency, and provide timely and actionable combat support information. One GCSS-MC goal is for Marines in the field who need spare parts, to order and receive those parts directly from the closest source of supply, such as a ship just off the coast (if the ship has the parts), instead of having to send the request back to the states and waiting weeks for the part.
The GCSS-MC team earned the “Lightning Bolt” for their exceptional efforts in overcoming the end of the relationship with the original system integrator to successfully engage the software developer in progressing through the Preliminary Design Review within technical, schedule and cost parameters as well as significantly revising the Acquisition Strategy/Acquisition Plan for the GCSS-MC LCM Block 1 project. In essence, the team saved the Marine Corps a lot of time and money.
“The importance of what the team here in this building did – who created the story, the data, and the work that had to go into selling that strategy – was the real nuts and bolts of why we can be here today,” said Randy Delarm, GCSS-MC program manager. “The team made up what I believe will be no less than seven months, and probably more time, in terms of delivering a solution to the Marine Corps.”
According to PEO-EIS, this major program revision was based upon “careful analysis as well as skillful program management skills and keen business acumen.” Results should reflect the fielding of this increment of the new system several months earlier than the original plan at a savings of tens of millions of dollars.
“You did your homework,” said Flynn. “It took a lot of work, a lot of late nights, a nose to the grindstone and intellectual capital.”
“The fact that we’re standing here today and we’re really on track to delivering the solutions faster than we ever thought possible even six or eight months ago, is a testament to the team that’s here, and the leadership and support that we’ve had,” added Delarm.
“This (Lightning Bolt award plaque) is for the team,” stated Flynn. “When I say the team, I’m not just talking about the Marines (active duty and civilian) but also our industry partners that are here day in and day out working. I want you to put it in a prominent location, and I want you to remember that what you achieved is no small feat.”
The GCSS-MC team is modernizing the supply and maintenance information systems for Marine logistics. They are achieving that modernization by enabling the Logistics Operational Architecture (Log OA) through the implementation of the competitively selected Oracle 11i e-Business Suite of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. They chose this software because it “best fit the requirements contained in the Log OA,” according to GCSS-MC officials.
The team is now undertaking the task of mapping, designing, building, and ultimately deploying the LCM system to the Marine Corps. Due to the complex technical nature of deploying this type of ERP to the forward edge of the battle area, GCSS-MC determined that a strategic partnership with the consulting arm of the software provider, Oracle, was the best path to successful deployment. This alliance was forged early in 2006, and according to GCSS-MC officials, the partnership “has produced promising results.” In October, the Marine Corps-Oracle team assembled a preliminary design on time and under budget. The design maps a solution that sets the conditions for GCSS-MC LCM success.
Following the “Lightning Bolt” award presentation, a mock contract signing ceremony took place with Oracle, awarding the company a follow-on task allowing them to complete the detailed design and begin building the system.
“These successes were not without challenges,” said Delarm. “They required some ‘out of the box’ thinking, which allowed for this somewhat unconventional strategy to move forward.”
It was this kind of thinking and hard work that led to the “Lightning Bolt” award, and it will also pave the way for success in the future. According to GCSS-MC officials, the road ahead is long and will have significant obstacles, but the Initial Operating Capability date of 4th Quarter 2008 is no longer just a dot on a schedule, it is a goal within reach.