CW5 John P. Beck, Deputy ASC Stockage Determination Branch
MSG Half-Mast didn’t have to travel far to meet with CW5 John P. Beck, the Deputy of the Stockage Determination Branch, a subordinate activity of Army Sustainment Command, located on Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. That’s because he just strolled next door and met with Mr. Beck to learn about stockage determination and its impact on the Army.
Mr. Beck is a native of Wauseon, OH, and entered active service in August 1986. After attending basic and advanced individual training, he was awarded the MOS of 76P10M6, Materiel Control and Accounting Specialist and was initially assigned to the 41st Area Support Group, Ft Clayton, Panama. He’s served in a variety of logistical positions while enlisted, ranging from supply support activities to depot repair facilities. He was accepted into the Warrant Officer program in 1997 and completed the training that same year. Some of his previous assignments include Production Support Center Operations Officer, Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA); Expert Authorized Stockage List (ASL) Team Deputy, LOGSA; and Supply and Services Branch OIC, 21st Theater Sustainment Command. He’s deployed in support of logistics and sustainment operations with the 317th Maintenance Company, 71st Combat Service Support Battalion and the 16th Sustainment Brigade in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He assumed his present duties in November of 2020.
Chief, it’s great for you to share some of your sustainment knowledge with our readers. Briefly describe the mission of the Stockage Determination Branch, Redstone Arsenal (RSA) Alabama.
Mr. Beck: The Stockage Determination Branch (SDB) is the Army’s single source for developing and implementing authorized stockage lists (ASLs), which directly support unit and fleet readiness across the Army. Using a standardized, data-driven approach, along with approved business rules, SDB generates and updates ASLs for all tactical Supply Support Activities (SSA), Installation Supply Support Activities (ISSA), Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS) and theater ASLs throughout the Army.
Could you explain for our readers what authorized stockage lists (ASLs) are and how your team develops them? What determines when and how an ASL is changed or updated?
Mr. Beck: The organization of an SSA is structured under either an MTOE or TDA. SSAs are supply distribution activities that provide multi-class support including 2, 3 (packaged), 4, 7, 8, and 9 supplies directly to the using units or maintenance activities on a customer support basis. Every Stock Record Account (SRA) with a GCSS-Army Plant 2001 is authorized a national-level coordinated ASL and each SSA will develop a distinct ASL coordinated through the Army Sustainment Command (ASC) SDB.
The sole purpose of the ASL is to support the Warfighter by ensuring that mission-critical Class (CL) IX parts are available for issue allowing combatant commanders to build combat power in both garrison and high-OPTEMPO environments. Our team leverages several different models based on demand and consumption data to determine the optimal breadth and depths for each ASL.
All ASLs must be reviewed at least annually (and sometimes more frequently) based on geographical location or theater of operation. SDB maintains an ASL management schedule on our SharePoint site that identifies the month and year for scheduled reviews. It’s accessible by anyone with a CAC.
In what ways do ASLs contribute to overall sustainment and readiness?
Mr. Beck: Without an optimized ASL, the warfighter is at the mercy of national supply chains, aerial ports and seaports of debarkation (APODs/SPODs) congestion and snarled distribution networks, all of which could severely degrade the readiness of key combat systems. Having a fully stocked ASL, complemented by a high-performing SSA, allows critical combat systems to operate in high-OPTEMPO environments with little to no interruptions of parts availability.
Perhaps, related to the last question, discuss the impact ASLs have on front-line units and Soldiers. Conversely, how might Soldiers impact ASL development? For example, can they make recommendations?
Mr. Beck: Within the constraints of our current enterprise resource planning (ERP) capability--GCSS-A, having access to accurate empirical data is crucial to ensuring our modeling software can make the correct recommendations. Accurately capturing all CL IX requirements, ensuring the status of equipment is updated correctly and timely in GCSS-A, as well as bringing inventory to record and accounting for it accurately, are all essential tasks and typically part of daily battle drills at the tactical unit level. Leaders must ensure that the SSAs, motor pools and supply rooms are adequately staffed with trained personnel to accomplish these foundational tasks. If not, it makes identifying critical repair parts much more difficult.
Additionally, having subject-matter experts (SMEs) involved during the ASL review process is key to a successful review. It allows for SMEs to cross talk among their sister units and identify CL IX nuances that the models may have overlooked and elevate them to the appropriate level within their organizations for further consideration.
US Army Sustainment Command (USASC) has been very involved with supporting sustainment operations in the EUCOM area of operation, particularly tied to Ukraine. What are some lessons learned or takeaways arising from these operations in terms of ASL development?
Mr. Beck: The major hurdle with developing the right ASL support packages, specifically with the support to the Ukraine conflict, was the age of equipment sets. Whether it was MRAPs or older howitzer platforms or radar systems, there were difficulties first with identifying the most critical repair parts and then their availability. Many of these older systems hadn’t been exercised in several years, so our ability to leverage the normal empirical data sets was diminished.
Of course, this made it more difficult for SDB to home in on the critical parts, not to mention that many of these repair parts no longer exist within the usual supply chains. This fact forced us to think outside the box by leveraging the Equipment Downtime Analyzer (EDA), historical databases for demands and consumptions and ASL review recommendations during past theater conflicts. Combining these resources enabled us to satisfy sustainment requirements.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share with PS
Mr. Beck: Army logistics and sustainment are complicated, but they don’t have to be. Spend time learning your craft, know where your organization fits into the larger picture and commit to being part of the solution, versus part of the problem. Most importantly – be proud of what you are doing for the Army!