Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT January-March 2012 Contents 64 Army AL&T Magazine
Over the years, Soldiers and
leaders have often asked two
questions about their logis-
tics information technology
(IT) systems: Why can't the Army's tac-
tical and installation logistics system be
more like commercial business systems?;
and why does the Army have separate IT
systems for different logistics functions?
The Soldiers of the 11th Armored Cavalry
Regiment (ACR) and the 2nd Brigade, 1st
Armored Division (2/1 AD) are not ask-
ing these questions. Since July 2010 and
August 2011, respectively, the two units
have been using the Global Combat Sup-
port System (GCSS-Army) for integrated
supply, property accountability, and
maintenance operations instead of their
legacy logistics IT systems.
Based on Enterprise Resource Planning
(ERP) software, GCSS-Army provides
these Soldiers the ability to see and work
with information in a single database,
eliminating the separate stovepipe func-
tional systems that each unit maintained.
GCSS-Army is a huge leap forward as the
rest of the tactical- and installation-level
Army continues to use legacy software,
such as the Standard Automated Retail
Supply System (SARSS) and the Standard
Army Maintenance System (SAMS).
Although the legacy systems have served
the logistics community well, GCSS-
Army provides capabilities that the other
systems just weren't built to provide.
First, GCSS-Army has a roles and per-
missions capability to track personnel
in the systems who are making transac-
tions. With this capability, tactical and
installation commanders can manage the
internal controls of logistics and finan-
cial processes. Second, GCSS-Army has
an embedded financial functionality,
which directly links logistics and financial
actions, giving commanders greater con-
trol and visibility.
This combination of roles and permis-
sions and embedded financials provides
an added benefit: For the first time, tacti-
cal and installation logistics and financial
processes are auditable. GCSS-Army can
be used to show the accountability of
funds and materiel.
In addition, units like the 11th ACR and
2/1 AD have accurate and consistent data
across the business areas. No longer will
Soldiers need to reconcile equipment
records and open orders between the sep-
arate legacy systems. With GCSS-Army,
sustainment leaders have greater access
than ever to real-time performance met-
rics, requisition status, and job status.
The ERP on which GCSS-Army is built
operates similarly to that used in commer-
cial industry, including Coca-Cola Co. and
Exxon Mobil Corp. Military agencies, such
as the Defense Logistics Agency, the U.S.
Marine Corps, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S.
Air Force, also use ERPs, as do allied armies
including those of Canada and Germany.
In October 2011, the 2/1 AD participated
in an initial operational test and evalua-
tion. Based on the successful completion
of testing and approval for full deploy-
ment, GCSS-Army is scheduled to start
fielding by fall of this year.
GCSS-Army will be fielded in two waves.
Wave 1 will include supply chain ware-
house and finance functionality, which
will replace SARSS at tactical and installa-
tion levels. Once the first wave is complete,
the Product Manager GCSS-Army will
begin Wave 2, which fields functional-
ity for property book, unit supply, and
maintenance at tactical and installation
levels, replacing systems like the Property
Book Unit Supply Enhanced and SAMS.
Waves 1 and 2 will both be fielded to all
Army components: active, Army National
Guard, and Army Reserve.
With an anticipated user base of nearly
160,000 personnel, GCSS-Army fielding
is estimated to take about two years for
each of the two waves, finishing by the
fourth quarter of FY17.
CARLOS MORRISON is Director, Cor-
porate Information Office, Office of the
Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (Army
G-4/G-6). He holds a B.S. in business stud-
ies from New Hampshire College and an
M.B.A. from Nova Southeastern University.
Wave 1 of GCSS-Army fielding will include
supply chain warehouse and finance
functionality, which will replace the Standard
Automated Retail Supply System at tactical and
installation levels. Wave 2 will field functionality
for property book, unit supply, and maintenance
at tactical and installation levels. Here, Strykers
are loaded onto an Air Mobility Command
plane at Joint Base Balad, Iraq in October
2009, for transport to the United States, where
they will be repaired and returned to fighting
units. (U.S. Army photo by Mary Susan Barkley,
U.S. Army Materiel Command.)
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