News>Logistics system release transforms combat support
Rick Lord, a fire apparatus maintainer in the 66th Logistics Squadron at Hanscom AFB, Mass., opens the first work order using the Expeditionary Combat Support System Aug. 2, as Fritz Cooper of Computer Sciences Corporation looks on. Hanscom is the pilot base for implementing ECSS, which will ultimately be used by more than 40,000 people at approximately 180 installations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mark Wyatt)
Col. Stefan Dosedel (from left), Ross Marshall and Lynn Moad, all members of the Expeditionary Combat Support System leadership team, celebrate the Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Release One-Pilot A of the system at a gathering hosted at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, Aug. 2. The ECSS Logistics Management and Support Office held the event to mark the Air Force's first ECSS implementation at Hanscom. (Courtesy photo)
8/10/2010 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio -- A new age for Air Force logistics began July 31 when a pilot version of the Expeditionary Combat Support System went live at Hanscom AFB, Mass.
Air Force logisticians whose work has been encumbered by extensive paper documentation with a short shelf life will in time enjoy benefits far beyond new information technology. The Expeditionary Combat Support System will transform business processes, alter management and control systems, and affect personnel roles and organizational structures across the entire logistics arena.
Col. Stefan Dosedel, ECSS Release One program manager said "developing and fielding ECSS is a monumental task that requires transformational changes in the way the Air Force does business."
The previously used, stove-piped systems often resulted in duplicated effort, non-standardized reporting, and data integrity issues. When fully implemented, ECSS will provide standardized business processes, an enterprise view of the supply chain, and efficiencies across the Air Force, while also impacting personnel roles and organizational structures.
"The end result is to have one, single database, no matter what Air Force location you are at, that has consistent processes and data," said Scott Argo of Computer Sciences Corporation, the system integrator. "It moves the Air Force from base-centric, standalone systems to an enterprise approach."
The ECSS program, managed by the Electronic Systems Center's Enterprise Logistics Systems Program Executive Office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is an integrated data environment that combines financial, manufacturing, distribution and other business processes into a single commercial off-the-shelf, Oracle-based technology solution hosted on the Air Force Global Combat Support System.
It replaces more than 240 Cold War-era standalone, or stove-piped, systems being used today.
Hanscom was chosen as the pilot base for implementing ECSS because of its small size and relatively low number of impacted users. Planned for release in increments, this first phase, known as Release One-Pilot A, focuses on vehicle maintenance and involves about 40 to 50 Hanscom users. Pilot B will expand to equipment custodians at Hanscom, and Pilot C, which will involve supply functions, will bring the potential number of Hanscom ECSS users to between 75 to 100 people.
Hanscom will continue to be the ECSS pilot base until next year, when the program enters Initial Operational Test and Evaluation at MacDill AFB, Fla., and Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.
The first work order for Pilot A was opened on Aug. 2 when mechanic Bruce Trainer of the 66th Logistics Squadron opened the "Scheduling Workbench" on his computer screen. From the workbench he accessed ECSS, and scheduled the first job of the day: replacing a faulty light bulb on a base fire truck. Shortly thereafter, Rick Lord also of the 66 LRS, started the maintenance operations, recorded the use of the replacement part, recorded his time and completed the work order.
Since ECSS standardizes processes, the same job will be done the same way at Air Force bases around the world, said Mr. Argo. It also transfers the process from a paper-based system to an electronic one.
"While Pilot A is primarily being conducted by the 13 vehicle maintenance workers at Hanscom, there are 300-plus people at the Program Management Office at Wright-Patterson and more than 500 CSC employees in Beavercreek, Ohio, working to implement the system across the Air Force," Mr. Argo said. "Engineers at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., are also working the related vehicle engineering bill of materials and routings so that maintenance activities have a standard set of activities, tools and parts."
Mr. Argo said that Robins engineers essentially will build the processes used Air Force-wide and load them into ECSS.
On Aug. 2 the ECSS Logistics Management and Support Office hosted a gathering at Wright-Patterson AFB to mark the Air Force's first ECSS implementation at Hanscom.
Lynn Moad, Systems Integration Division chief and Air Force Materiel Command ECSS champion, was thrilled with the progress of the system.
"Everyone at Hanscom and Warner-Robins is so enthused. Each person has worked so hard to make this happen, and is so excited," she said.
While this release signals a big stride in Air Force logistics, the ECSS program executive officer said that more program developments are on the horizon.
"Today is a big day for ECSS, but it marks just another step in a long journey to delivering the full promise of ECSS," said Brig. Gen. Kenneth J. Moran, director and Air Force PEO of Enterprise Logistics Systems, in an Aug. 2 message. "We can, and should be, immensely proud of what's been achieved; but we must remain diligent and focused on the work ahead."