Coast Guard will scrap ‘stove-piped’ logistics for a systematic approach
By DAVID W. MUNNS, Assistant Editor
Template for the Future
The Coast Guard is creating an internal mission
support organization to streamline its logistics
management of fleet, personnel and service
The idea is to take a systematic approach to support
the service’s ships and aircraft throughout their entire
lifecycles. To effect this change, Adm. Thad Allen,
Coast Guard commandant, is broadening the scope of
the service’s Engineering Directorate, which will use
the logistics support scheme of the Coast Guard aviation sector as a basis for change.
The Coast Guard’s aviation arm has sharply reduced
wait times for repair by creating efficient communications and support channels between Coast Guard personnel, contractors and operational units, said Rear
Adm. Dale G. Gabel, assistant commandant for
Engineering and Logistics.
“Our command and control structures, our support
systems and our business practices have in some cases
failed to keep pace with our rapid growth. We cannot
expect practices of the last century to be adequate for
the next,” Allen told Seapower. “We will transition in a
deliberate but prompt manner to a single mission support commander.”
Under the new logistics system, commanders needing
support of multiple assets, regardless of their geographic
location, would contact a single logistics management
facility. Commanders now support aviation assets with
single contacts at the Coast Guard’s
Aircraft Repair and Supply Center in
Elizabeth City, N.C.
Currently, much of the Coast
Guard’s logistics support is “
stove-piped,” without regard to systemwide
requirements. The service’s 35 sectors
have separate logistics points of contact for surface assets, depending on
their geographic locale and the specific asset needing support. For example, a commander needing support
for a particular ship on the Pacific Coast would contact a
specific logistics manager. The Atlantic Coast ship support contact is a different individual. Logistics support
for aircraft is provided by yet another manager.
In addition to combining logistics command for aviation assets with surface assets, the mission support
organization would foster more transparency of the
service’s ship operations. In the future, an operator
making an engine repair would instantaneously,
through the push of a button, alert the mission support
organization of that repair. All would have the same
repair and maintenance record on each asset.
Following criticism late last year of the Deepwater program, spurred by delayed release of the service’s “
platforms” — mainly vessels and aircraft — and the botched
modernization of some of its older ships, Allen took a
more active role in the program’s contract execution
including its logistics support plan. As a result, the mission
support organization being created by the Engineering
Directorate will assume responsibility for the development
of Deepwater’s logistics support plan and integrate it into
a larger plan for the Coast Guard as a whole.
The Integrated Deepwater system is the service’s
25-year, $24 billion procurement program to acquire
hundreds of vessels and aircraft and related intelligence, communication and weapon systems.
The nascent mission support organization will mimic
the Deepwater program’s “systems of systems” approach,
The service will use its aviation support sector as a basis for change.
■ Wait times for aircraft repair have been sharply reduced.
■ The Medium Security Cutter, Large, is the designated guinea
pig for the new logistics scheme.