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Old 09-11-2003, 06:15 AM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Cool Logistics Bureaucrats Fight Turf Battle: While Soldiers Await Supplies in Burning Des

Logistics Bureaucrats Fight Turf Battle: While Soldiers Await Supplies in Burning Desert

The cause of the supply breakdown for US Troops and Iraq Rebuilding Initiatives are the inertia of entrenched bureaucrats in the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia and it's satellite office in Germany. The narrow-minded approach to protecting their Cold War vestiges of power and position, coupled with a fearful reluctance to use effective private contracting, leave soldiers hot, thirsty, hungry, bored, and a few dead. I can cite a couple of easy examples from my contacts, one being the disapproval to provide ballistic blankets, which were readily available, for use on the floor of vehicles to protect against land mines. A soldier was killed a week later from a landmine, he would be alive today if the system would have helped him out.

As a Retired US Army Logistics Officer, with many contacts on both sides of the fence, the situation makes me angry, disappointed, frustrated but mostly just plain sad for our long suffering troops. The traditional supply system was built on a Cold War/World War III model. It never made an effective transition to a lean, agile, responsive system which all of private industry learned and adapted to "Just In Time Logistics". The Prime Vendor Program was the first major step toward doing efficient private contracting in the Defense Supply System. Now it is being hamstrung because it's very success in supporting the soldiers and providing them quickly, what the bureaucrats cannot provide, they threaten to shut it down and tightly control what it can and cannot do. The Frontline Logisticians respect and depend on the private contractors to do what the traditional supply system cannot do, within the high operational tempo, that they require a multitude of supplies and services.

The Supply Bureaucrats almost blatantly say that making the traditional system they have spent their careers fostering, is more important than supporting the soldiers in the field, a rather shocking attitude, but an attitude prevalent among them. They remind one of old time Commissars who defended Communism right up until the end. Reform is not in their political make-up. They stick tightly to a tunnel vision mantra using the scope of peacetime drawn contracts by using the maze of procedures with the layers of decision making to ensure that they have a secure job in the future. Being bold, decisive, adaptive and clear in actions is not a rewarding trait to excel in the Supply System back in the major headquarters.

The real war crime is the way we have slowed down the support of our troops in the field. This should have been a unique opportunity for America to shine by quickly building bases, improving infrastructure, and moving on to a dynamic demonstration of what a modern democracy can accomplish. This is the First War of globalization, instead we will languish and show that we can win wars readily but the peace will falter while the bureaucrats dig in their air-conditioned office foxholes with a nine to five work ethic.


We Never Learn From The Past


I have been reading your column with interest for quite sometime now and have always agreed with what you have to say and the way you say it.

It seems that in the last six months I have been reading your words with even more interest because my son is serving with the National Guard in Iraq, Unfortunetly it seems the Army has not remembered it's lessons from Nam.

There are Officers whose Ego's overshadow common sense. In my last talk with my son he related to me one of the most ridiculous orders I have ever heard. His unit has been in the same place since May. They conduct security for a Palace, Mayor's compound, and (They are grunts remember) train Iraqui police officers). Part of their duties include conducting TCPs (tactical clearing patrols). Here's where the problems start. They patrol the same roads at the same time of day using the same formation and set up OP's in the same location every day. Last week a patrol took fire (same place as always) they were unable to engage the enemy because they forgot thier firepower, (no MG or Thumper). The Company Commander got ****ed. Now he has ordered his troops to check suspicious items by KICKING them and to search rockpiles by hand for what the new Army calls IEDs (Indigeneous Explosive Devices) (I think we called them booby traps).

I guess the New Army has gotten so High Tech it has mispalced it's Basic Bomb Detectors, the K-9. Just so you'll know I told my son it was an illegal order, you can't be ordered to commit suicide. I told him to take the CourtMartial, I'll pay for the Lawyer.

Thanks for Listening

An Old Soldier.


Another ****ed Off Loggie in the Desert

Logistics Bureaucrats slow supplies in Iraq/Kuwait for American Soldiers

I am a service member presently serving in IRAQ/Kuwait. The Army supply system is very slow and not reaching soldiers like normal supply channels are designed. When equipment is ordered it will take anywhere from weeks to months to reach the soldier/unit that order it. On top of that, the supplies are taken (stolen) by other soldiers due to a shortage of supplies in IRAQ/KUWAIT theatre. It is so bad, tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles are short on oil, HUMMV?s are running on bald tires and a quarter of the fleets are in motor pools stripped for parts. Units are short on lumber to build showers/latrines and guard towers for hygiene and force protection. One source that is working great is the DLA (Defence Logistics Agency) Prime Vendor program. When soldiers request support from DLA Prime Vendor, items are delivered within a timely manner, and to the location requested. The system was functioning as the government intended it to. For the last two months someone (Germany/ USA in an air-conditioned office) decided to fix the system that was never broken! We would order supplies (not luxury items) delivered direct to our camps. If DLA Prime Vendor program is changed, it will immediately affect soldier?s lives and safety. How many civilians sitting back in Germany will take responsibility for that. Are they going to go tell why this soldier got killed because of DLA bureaucracy a source of supply is available in IRAQ by local purchasing, but the risk to soldiers is too high? Soldiers must go into the local economy (Baghdad) to accomplish this. It is time consuming and risky to a minimum of 14 soldiers per trip. The probability of death is greatly increased just to acquire needed supplies when there is a better and safer method.

The solution is very simple; DLA Prime Vendor has been supporting the needs of troops during the war. We request they are given the opportunity to continue supporting the forces in IRAQ/KUWAIT as they were doing before this infighting started in DLA. The only people affected by daily changes are the soldier on the ground. Away from home, fighting for America and what we believe in, it is inconceivable about the bureaucracy and how the contract was written, is taking priority over our soldier?s lives. DLA Prime Vendor is getting us what we need and where we need it, in the time we requested. It will be a tremendous loss if changed. As stated above, the normal supply channels are tremendously slow and stretched to the limits at filling requests in a timely manner with soldiers doing without the essential equipment. We have a solution but it seems internal fighting is more important than the bottom line of getting needed supplies to the forces. Every other day the procedure is changed to suit an individual?s job at the DSCPE who decide on the contracts, rather than making it simple by changing/modifying the contract to suits the needs of the military in a war situation.


A Log Chief in the Desert

Changes to the Primevendor Approval Process

Sir, up until the middle of June 2003 our soldiers were sleeping in tents with temperatures above 130 degree's.

The main hospital for the northern region of Iraq, which is located at Camp Speicher was unable to operate properly due to a lack of power generation. Our soldiers were standing guard and at checkpoints without over head protection and with little or no protection.

In the middle of June, I was introduced to the Prime vendor program and in no time at all, we were able to use the prime vendor program, to provide the hospital with power generation to properly care for sick and wounded soldiers. The power generation problem for the hospital was an enormous accomplishment for our command. The prime vendor program is an excellent source for procuring class II, IV and VII items on an emergency basis.

Without this program we would have to solely rely on our supply system which has not completely caught up with the needs of units currently deployed in theater. Soldiers living at Camp Speicher are much more comfortable and happier than four months ago, thanks to the emergency need of equipment procured through prime vendor. The prime vendor program is a much needed asset to the supply system. These two systems if supported properly with the Army and in the soldier's best interest would make being a soldier something special.

For the past few weeks the systems that had been working extremely well has now been slowed/stopped, (changes in the approval process of the primevendor program) because of the bureaucrats / contract work scope and the need for the people who are not in country seeing first hand what is needed on a daily basis to accomplish U.S Army mission. I do not understand why the bureaucracies would take priority over the accomplishment of the mission and put our soldier's lives in danger. I would like to ask from soldier to soldier, to keep the Prime Vendor Program, (as it has been since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom).



War Is All About Great Logisitics

I just got back from Iraq.

Our platoon was part of the Forward Logistics Element (FLE) as part of the spear head into Iraq. We set-up a 30 bag, 1.2 million gallon fuel system supply point (FSSP). Our platoon broke every fuel record in Army history. The entire operation was a logistical nightmare. The only classes of supply that flowed was Class 3 and Class 5. We worked directly for officers that would not listen to their technical advisors.

These technical advisers had 19 to 24 years of experience in their areas of expertise. These officers would make plans without consulting with these experts. This resulted in **** poor planning an execution. These officers (desk jockies), which have tons of war fighter experience (computer warfare games) screwed the pooch. Logistics planning and execution cannot be performed during computer simulation. Combat logistics execution cannot be performed by pushing a button and magically being resuplied. It takes soldiers to move supplies. Most of these officers had 3 months courses; which did not include hands on experience.

I would like to tell you more. We have a soldier in my chain-of-command that is going through USMJ for speaking to the press.



SSgt. Roger A.
One Proud Marine
Once A Marine............Always A Marine.............
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Old 09-11-2003, 06:58 AM
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Roger -
This is the first such information I have seen, and am not a little upset that our Oh-so-free-Press is not yelling at the top of their lungs about it (I'd say this is a few hairs more vital to national interests than what Kobi Bryant did with his pecker, pardon my crudeness)!

Bluehawk gets yelled at on PF for his naivete on these matters, but if you can stand a few questions it would be appreciated:

> I gather that a "prime vendor" equals a private contractor doing supply provision AND delivery or just one or the other?
> How do they accomplish this in Iraq? I mean, they have to have warehouses, trucks, some kind of a way to receive supply requests from field commanders and some kind of armed guards, no?
> The Quartermaster Corps has done amazing things in past wars, I know of some stories about their heroism and sacrifice. Why not now Roger? What happened?
> I cannot believe, yet, that Army supply would intentionally slow down or get fussy about giving the guys whatever they asked for (like those special ballistic blankets for vehicle floors!) the minute they ask for it. What possible reason could they have for foot dragging?
> Is it possible that officers who fail to listen to their technical advisors (I assume this means NCOs) are under ORDERS of some kind to do things in such a way?
> Is this an outcome of the cleaner meaner smaller tactical force being planned at the Pentagon?
> What the hell is going on?
> Is there some way to get this story into the hands of the more brazen TV reporters? The Army tends to respond fairly quickly when it gets embarassed or humiliated, no?
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