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by COL William E. Cole

Today approximately 68,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are deployed in Afghanistan as the U.S. element of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). They are equipped with the best vehicles, weapons and electronics in the world, systems supported by a confederation of military personnel, DOD civilians and contractors who make up the materiel enterprise team. The members of that team issue new equipment to Soldiers, train them to use it, maintain nonstandard equipment, provide technical advice, and even help retrograde vehicles and other systems out of Afghanistan.

The majority of the personnel making up the materiel enterprise team in Afghanistan come from the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)). Just as AMC and ASA(ALT) organizations are teamed in the United States to form life-cycle management commands (LCMCs), in Afghanistan the deployed AMC and ASA(ALT) organizations partner to provide better support to the Soldier. Other partners in the materiel enterprise team include the Rapid Equipping Force, and members of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command conducting forward operational assessments of new equipment.

The mission for most of the deployed ASA(ALT) personnel in Afghanistan is to field, upgrade or maintain non-standard equipment. This includes items not supported by existing Army maintenance and supply systems, perhaps because theequipment is too new to have school-trained Soldiers supporting it, or because the equipment is so unique to the mission in Afghanistan that it may never become part of the Army’s standard inventory. In either case, ASA(ALT) contractors provide and support the equipment in the field to keep it operational for Soldiers in the fight.

A DIVERSE ROSTER

The largest AMC organization in the materiel enterprise team is the 401st Army Field Support Brigade (AFSB), headquartered in Bagram. The 401st AFSB provides field- and sustainmentlevel logistics for U.S. forces and selected coalition partners across Afghanistan. One element of the 401st AFSB, the Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Directorate (ALT-D), focuses on providing life support to deployed ASA(ALT) and AMC personnel who are fielding, upgrading or sustaining non-standard equipment.

Most deployed ASA(ALT) personnel fall under the 401st AFSB for administrative control, and they rely on the officers and civilians of the ALT-D to provide the living areas, workspace, vehicles and other support equipment necessary to perform their mission.

Some of those deployed ASA(ALT) Soldiers, DA civilians and contractors are upgrading vehicles with improved armor or fielding improved communication systems, including Capability Set 13. Others are fielding new targeting systems

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