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NEWS | April 2, 2020

Materiel enterprise supports DOD, civil authorities COVID-19 response

By William King U.S. Army Materiel Command

The Army Materiel Command enterprise worldwide has mobilized to address head-on the challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic, while simultaneously maintaining current operations and supporting warfighters engaged in conflicts around the world.

AMC is working to identify and anticipate critical materiel shortages and quickly deliver the right equipment, services and support at the point of greatest need in support of Soldiers, DOD and the whole-of-government response.

Medical Materiel

Army Medical Logistics Command is meeting increased demand of medical materiel, including Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, in support of military members located across the globe. AMLC’s Medical Materiel Centers in Korea and Europe are distributing PPE and essential medical supplies, including surgical masks, N95 respirator masks, gloves, surgical gowns, hand sanitizer, touchless infrared thermometers and specimen collection kits, to troops overseas and supporting health care delivery in those regions.

“I could not be prouder of the work we are doing in the Army Medical Logistics Command to support the whole-of-government response to COVID-19,” said Col. Michael Lalor, AMLC commander. “Our team stands ready to distribute medical equipment and supplies in support of the Army and the Nation.”

Domestically, AMLC delivered Unit Deployment Packages of Potency and Dated items such as medications and lab reagents to support Army field hospitals setting up in New York and Seattle. AMLC is also prioritizing medical maintenance, repair and calibration of key medical devices, including ventilators, IV pumps and oxygen generators should they be requested for use.

In Europe, medical materiel, including ventilators, patient monitors and hospital beds, were issued March 30 out of Army Prepositioned Stocks for use at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. In Korea, AMLC issued medical materiel out of APS, as well as locally sourcing other needed equipment such as thermometers and specimen collection kit materials.

“Our response really tested of all of our combat systems in a game where winning matters,” said Lt. Col. Marc Welde, commander of U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Korea. “So far, we are winning.”

Medical materiel is also being delivered to the civil authorities in allied and partner nations. As part of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency's Humanitarian Assistance Program, U.S. Army Europe delivered medical supplies and equipment to support the battle against COVID-19 in the hard-hit Lombardy Region of Italy. The Logistics Readiness Center-Italy, 405th Army Field Support Brigade, coordinated the load-out and delivery of hospital beds, mattresses, stretchers, bedside screens, adjustable IV poles, folding wheelchairs, medical cabinets and linens.

“We take this public health crisis seriously and understand how important it is to come together during this challenging time,” said Lt. Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe. “This mission is part of our ongoing efforts to fight COVID-19 and demonstrates the U.S commitment to our NATO ally and the people of Italy during this crisis.”

Installation Support

Installation Management Command’s 75 installations worldwide are open and providing access to commissaries, exchanges, child care and other essential services in support of Soldiers, civilians and families. Installations have modified services, such as child care, to operate within CDC guidelines while still meeting the needs of those fulfilling essential duties.

As of March 24, all Army installations are at Health Protection Condition level Charlie, or HPCON level Charlie. As a result, installations have increased health screenings at gates and entrances to key facilities, set up hand washing and sanitization stations, and taken other steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Several installations have also recently established spaces where Soldiers returning from overseas deployments in high risk areas can be quarantined for 14 days. Army Sustainment Command is leveraging the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LOGCAP, to provide installations with a full range of life support activities, including showers, laundry and recreation facilities, for personnel in quarantine.

“LOGCAP is essentially the commercial sector’s equivalent of the ‘911’ for base life support requirements,” said Jim Coffman, who is leading the ASC team overseeing these LOGCAP operations. “These are the same kind of contracts we used during relief efforts following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Africa.”

Some sites have been established on extremely short notice. For example, the life support area at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was operational within 24 hours of notification and ready to support up to 300 Soldiers.

“It’s never been done this fast before in the history of the Army,” Coffman said. “The planes (filled with returning Soldiers) were already in the air when we started.”

Army Contracting Command’s Mission and Installation Contracting Command, or MICC, is playing a critical role in helping ASC administer LOGCAP contracts, providing the speed and flexibility needed to support a fast moving situation. The MICC is also conducting research and analysis to identify potential contractors such as restaurants that can provide additional support to installations during social distancing.

Manufacturing and Repair

The Army Organic Industrial Base’s 26 depots, arsenals and ammunition plants are maintaining focus on readiness and support to warfighters while also exploring the capability to retool assembly lines, maintenance facilities and 3-D printing capabilities to produce, repair or repurpose equipment such as N95 masks to address global shortages of PPE and other potentially life-saving medical equipment.

“Combat doesn’t stop for coronavirus,” said Col. Stephen Dondero, Crane Army Ammunition Activity commander. “It is imperative we continue providing high-quality munitions to warfighters across the world while we maintain the health and safety of our employees.”

Crane Army Ammunition Activity, a subordinate of Joint Munitions Command located in Crane, Indiana, is focused on protecting its people while still providing munitions readiness to warfighters during the pandemic. Through creative problem-solving and implementing protective hygiene measures, OIB facilities have maintained operations while keeping personnel healthy and safe.

“Due to the nature of munitions production and demilitarization operations, many employees already conduct social distancing throughout their everyday work,” Crane Army Director of Manufacturing and Engineering Paul Allswede said.

He said employees have limited movement between buildings, and supervisors are enforcing good hygiene practices at hand washing and sanitization stations set up throughout the workplace. Similar prevention measures are being take at other OIB facilities to limit the spread of COVID-19 while enabling the artisan workforce to continue their mission essential work supporting warfighters.

“We have contingency plans to ensure our troops receive the munitions they rely on wherever and whenever they need them even during the COVID-19 crisis,” Dondero said. “Their lives depend on it.”

Data-Driven Decisions

Data is key to being able to see across the AMC enterprise and synchronize efforts. Col. Deacon Maddox, Logistics Data Analysis Center director, said LDAC is working to refine the Strategic Support Area Common Operating Picture, or SSA COP, to give the AMC commanding general the ability to make informed decisions based on real- or near-real time data.

“The SSA COP fulfills many roles,” he said. “We are able to pivot off the lessons learned from DEFENDER-Europe 20 and use the organization we built for that to address the COVID-19 pandemic.”

For DEFENDER-Europe 20, the SSA COP was focused on seeing the status of installations, munitions and unit movements in real time. Maddox explained the process LDAC is using for its pandemic response is the same: they receive a requirement, research and identify the data sources, capture then analyze data, integrate it into data from other sources, then visualize the data in a way that allows commanders and Army senior leaders to make informed decisions.

For COVID-19 response support, the SSA COP is focused on the amount and location of available PPE and other medical supplies, occupancy and life support capabilities at installations for people who need to be quarantined, and the ability of road and rail to support the movement of supplies and equipment.

“The decisions made from our data will ultimately save lives,” Maddox said.