PBUSE in the global war on terrorism.
In March 2000, the Office of the Secretary of Defense issued Defense Reform Initiative Directive 54, Logistics Transformation Plans, which mandates the implementation of Web-based data environments across its departments. As the capabilities enabled by Web-based technology and network-centric architectures matured, the Army realized it had an immediate need for a system that could use those capabilities to address the shortcomings of its current systems and fulfill the logistics information needs of increasingly demanding and complex global operations. To meet the mandate of pursuing Web-based technology, Project Manager Logistics Information Systems (PM LIS) at Fort Lee, Virginia, initiated a pilot program paralleling the supply and property portion of the Global Combat Support System-Army.
The pilot program quickly transitioned into a new software package called Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced (PBUSE), and, within 14 months, PBUSE was ready for Army-wide operation. The PBUSE software was designed specifically to replace the Standard Property Book System-Redesign (SPBS-R) in garrison and tactical environments. PBUSE uses a centralized Web and database server located behind the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) firewall in the Strategic and Advanced Computer Center (SACC) at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Because the software is Web-based, many functions that once required user intervention, such as catalog and authorization updates, total package fielding, and split operations reporting, now can be performed automatically. The application also manages basic and operational loads and hand receipts. PBUSE uses a state-of-the-art technology that replicates property accountability data to the corporate database every hour.
To deliver this critical flexibility, the Army has expedited the fielding of PBUSE to provide real-time, Web-based visibility to all levels of the Army and the joint community. PBUSE not only improves property accountability and data integrity but also eliminates the need for Continuing Balance System-Expanded reporting and Unique Item Tracking system reconciliations. PBUSE fully supports serial number tracking, mobility planning, and national-level redistribution. Because PBUSE is Web-based, asset visibility is significantly increased across the enterprise. This is because all users are connected to one database--one system of record. PBUSE complies with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act and Chief Financial Officers Act mandates for both garrison and tactical environments, which include modification table of organization and equipment and table of distribution and allowances activities.
To maximize the use of the Web, users are advised to operate in the connected mode; however, it may be necessary to operate in a stand-alone environment when a reliable network connection is not available. The harsh reality of today's battlefield dictates the need for PBUSE to provide the capability to manage tactical logistics information when commercial satellite communications are not available. Like Microsoft Outlook, the PBUSE stand-alone application is easy to use and provides similar user interfaces in both connected and stand-alone modes. When a stand-alone tactical requirement has passed, the system is reconnected to the Web for resynchronization of the user's data in the central database.
Army leaders realized years ago that a fast, globally accessible, and scaleable data network is required to enable network-centric warfare. The solution to this lies in the development of the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T). The problem is that WIN-T will not be ready fast enough with all the required functionalities. However, the satellite communications network can be used as a temporary measure until WIN-T is ready for fielding.
To improve communications on the battlefield, the Army G-4 implemented the "Connect Army Logisticians" initiative, which increased the number of Very Small Aperture Terminals in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait by 125 percent. The success of PBUSE in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility has proven that using satellite-based communications is a viable means of providing the global data environment that Army logisticians and their customers need to achieve their logistics and transformation goals. Using these systems, Soldiers in the field can place their supply requisitions and receive status reports on their requests in near real time. With adequate communications, sending military standard requisitioning and issue procedures (MILSTRIP) transactions to the supply support activity (SSA) and receiving order status electronically from the supporting SSA can be accomplished with ease and convenience through file transfer protocol (FTP). Once the sending and receiving parties have properly adjusted and configured their systems, FTP transmissions can be conducted with expediency and reliability. Soldiers will no longer have to risk their lives hand-delivering diskettes to SSAs in order to place supply orders.
PBUSE Rollout and Support
Lessons learned from current operations in the Middle East point to the need for end-to-end integration and continuous asset visibility. To address these needs, the Army is currently fielding PBUSE to units inside and outside the continental United States and standardizing the systems at multiple locations within the theater of operations.
The materiel developer for PBUSE, PM LIS, is responsible for coordinating, developing, supporting, and evaluating all functional, programmatic, and technical aspects of assigned standard Army logistics systems. PM LIS recently sent its supporting technical and functional personnel to oversee the standardization of PBUSE in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. All property book officers there received PBUSE to replace their SPBS-R systems.
Central to the PBUSE fielding effort in CENTCOM's area of responsibility is the automated logistics assistance team (ALAT). The ALAT was established in January 2003 to augment the Combined Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) G-4 logistics automation office in a teaming arrangement between the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) at Fort Lee and PM LIS. The ALAT--
* Provides technical and functional assistance for Standard Army Management Information Systems (STAMIS) support by operating a help desk forward to identify trends and to rapidly address theater STAMIS automation problems.
* Assists with the fielding of logistics automation systems.
* Provides over-the-shoulder training support to numerous deployed organizations. From January to November 2005, 172 users in Kuwait and 188 in Iraq were trained.
One ALAT is serving in Arifjan, Kuwait, and a second is at Balad Air Base, Iraq. Working alongside the ALATs are the combat developers (or functional subject-matter experts) from the CASCOM Directorate for Combat Developments, Tactical Logistics Requirements Branch, who frequent the area of responsibility to assist the CFLCC G-4 on asset visibility matters.
To provide constant and flexible support for deployment operations, PBUSE was upgraded recently with Software Change Package 5.0, which gives staff-level users the capability to build task force organizations.
With PBUSE, property book operations are more efficient, transactions are processed accurately, and workloads are reduced significantly, enhancing command mission and logistics readiness. The development community of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, CASCOM Tactical Logistics Requirements Branch, and field users have contributed immeasurably to PBUSE success.
CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER (W-5) PABLO A. BROWN IS a LOGISTICS MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST IN THE TACTICAL LOGISTICS ENTERPRISE SYSTEMS SUPPORT BRANCH OF THE ARMY COMBINED ARMS SUPPORT COMMAND (CASCOM), DIRECTORATE OF COMBAT DEVELOPMENTS, ENTERPRISE SYSTEMS, AT FORT LEE, VIRGINIA. HE WORKS WITH THE GLOBAL COMBAT SUPPORT SYSTEM-ARMY FIELD/TACTICAL (GCSS-ARMY F/T) PROJECT. HE HAS A MASTER'S DEGREE IN ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX AND IS A GRADUATE OF THE WARRANT OFFICER SENIOR STAFF COURSE, THE LOGISTICS EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT COURSE, THE COMBAT DEVELOPMENT COURSE, AND THE ARMY FORCE MANAGEMENT SCHOOL.
CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER (W-5) FRANKLIN D. MEEKS IS THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF THE TACTICAL LOGISTICS ENTERPRISE SYSTEMS SUPPORT BRANCH OF THE CASCOM DIRECTORATE OF COMBAT DEVELOPMENTS, ENTERPRISE SYSTEMS. HE ALSO WORKS WITH THE GCSS-ARMY F/T PROJECT. HE IS A GRADUATE OF THE WARRANT OFFICER STAFF COURSE AND THE WARRANT OFFICER SENIOR STAFF COURSE.
THE AUTHORS THANK BEVERLY T. HUDSON, JOHN E. LAUDAN, AND LIEUTENANT COLONEL GREGORY A. BARISANO, USA (RET.), FOR THEIR HELP IN PREPARING THIS ARTICLE.