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Adapted missions for petroleum liaison detachments: petroleum liaison detachments are adapting to perform new missions in the field. The author recommends some ways the detachments can prepare for their new duties.

Extended sustainment operations in a mature theater are offering petroleum liaison detachments the opportunity to conduct adapted missions. In particular, detachment personnel are managing fuel operations at several Government-owned, contractor-operated tactical petroleum terminals (TPTs) throughout the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility. The increased need for this type of unit resulted in both the Navy and the Air Force providing petroleum liaison detachments for the 2007-2008 deployment rotation. This article briefly highlights the roles of detachment members working at TPTs and suggests predeployment training that unit leaders should consider to ramp up for this adapted mission. It will not address training for specific military occupational specialties (MOSs) unless that training is associated with a refresher course or subsequent enhancement course.

Organization and Roles

The ability of the petroleum liaison detachment to perform the adapted TPT mission depends on the ability of its personnel to provide quality assurance and quality surveillance of bulk petroleum, oils, and lubricants at general support TPTs. (See definitions below.) However, the TPT mission increases the importance of the quality assurance task because that task is now associated with operations at "capitalized" TPTs, which are called Defense fuel support points (DFSPs) by the Defense Logistics Agency's Defense Energy Support Center (DESC). In simple terms, a capitalized TPT is a DFSP site that manages fuel inventories that are financed from the Defense-Wide Working Capital Fund; the capitalized TPT manages the inventories from reception to delivery to a DESC-registered customer, who then is charged for the fuel.

Detachment personnel working at TPTs also perform accountability and inventory functions using the Business Systems Modernization-Energy (BSM-E) system, which was formerly called the Fuels Automated System (FAS). Supplementary tasks key to this mission include refining duties as a responsible officer (RO), serving as the DFSP-level accountable officer for DESC, reporting quality deficiencies on petroleum systems components through the Army Petroleum Center to the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, and managing a petroleum pilferage control program. (See MOS 92F, petroleum supply specialist, skill level 3, task 101-92F-3156.)

The proposed composition of the petroleum liaison detachment operating in the CENTCOM area of responsibility is illustrated in the organizational chart at right. It has a command and control element and three TPT management teams of two or three Soldiers each, based on complexity of the TPT's mission and its distance from the detachment headquarters element. One 92F Soldier with a minimum rank of E-7 or warrant officer (W-1) and who meets the DESC-specified training requirements acts as the RO. [For more information on the appointment of ROs, see DESC-P-7, Accountability and Custodial Responsibilities For Defense Working Capital Fund (DWCF) Inventory and Government Property, paragraph 3. l. l.]

The other 92F qualified Soldiers function as contracting officer's technical representatives (COTRs) or quality assurance representatives. Their basic job is to ensure that the contractors are meeting their contractual obligations as specified in the fuel delivery orders and contracts. They also ensure that the contractors, depending on their location, remain in compliance with DESC-I-11, Standard Operating Procedures for Defense Working Capital Fund (DWCF) Owned Fuel at Defense Fuel Supply Points in Afghanistan, or DESC-I-29, Standard Operating Instruction for Defense Working Capital Fund (DWCF) Owned Fuels at Iraq and Kuwait Operating Locations; the first-in/ first-out product rotation schedule; and the TPT's petroleum pilferage control program. (All of these DESC documents can be accessed at www.desc.dla. mil/DCM/DCMPage.asp?pageid=479.)

Information about the functional responsibilities of ROs can be found in DESC-P-7 and in DOD 4140.25-M, DOD Management of Bulk Petroleum Products, Natural Gas, and Coal, volume II, chapter 10, paragraph B. Some good general information on the responsibilities of a contracting officer's representative (COR) or COTR is presented in Captain Christopher M. McCreery's article, "Roles of the Contracting Officer's Representative and the Technical Representative," in the winter 2001 issue of Quartermaster Professional Bulletin. A more definitive explanation of duties is stated in the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation and in the contracts for the specific TPTs that CORs and COTRs support.

A follow-on task that stems from the detachment personnel's quality surveillance duties concerns quality deficiency reporting of Government-owned equipment to TACOM through the Army Petroleum Center. This is an important task when one considers the large volume of fuel received and stored at and shipped from TPT sites in the harsh CENTCOM environment. These conditions significantly challenge equipment life-cycle specifications and equipment use expectations. Close quality surveillance and quality deficiency reporting to TACOM allow the fuel sustainment community to implement equipment improvements more quickly, especially in the manufacturing of bulk fuel storage bags.


Predeployment Training

Several different agencies offer unit training beyond duty MOS qualified (DMOSQ)-specific training that will aid in successfully accomplishing the new TPT adapted missions. Each of these courses has significant value, ranging from reducing loses to the Government to understanding the complexities of managing fuel in a joint operating environment. It is worth noting that most of these courses are not listed in the Army Training Requirements and Resources System (ATTRS). While this article focuses on training geared for petroleum liaison detachments, some of these courses are useful to deploying Soldiers and leaders who anticipate that they will assume petroleum management roles in the theater, especially those who will interact with capitalized fuel storage sites.

DESC offers several courses that can greatly enhance mission performance. Information on these courses, as well as the online form to request training support, is available at DESC's website ( under the "Supply Chain Management" tab. It is worth noting that the training menu option cannot be accessed from outside the ".mil" or ".gov" domains. DESC personnel have a strong customer service ethic and will make the effort to tailor training for specific customer needs.

One beneficial course is DESC's Responsible Officer/Property Administrator (RO/PA) Training Course. Other essential courses focus on FAS operator and manager training associated with the BSM-E application. Another excellent training opportunity from DESC that should be considered is a tailored DESC Overview course.

DESC Overview is a 1-week course that DESC offers almost monthly at a DESC training center or at the customer's location. This course provides an overview of DESC's missions, organizational structure, services, and business processes. It also describes how DESC supports sustainment efforts in a theater and the status of its capitalization effort in theater, with discussions on how capitalization interacts with the operation of the inland petroleum distribution system (IPDS). When DESC trainers bring the course to the customer, they will tailor it to the specific mission the unit is about to accomplish. The customer also should coordinate to have a representative of the Army Petroleum Center assist in presenting this seminar and request the presence of a representative from the currently deployed CENTCOM petroleum group. Note that the theater-specific topics discussed may reference classified material. All unit members should take this course, and it is highly recommended that the course be conducted on site and tailored to unit needs.

The RO/PA Training Coarse offered by DESC provides critical training for personnel serving as an RO or PA. It also serves as a valuable resource for seasoned ROs and PAs who want to refresh their knowledge of basic concepts and requirements associated with these accountable positions. The course is a computer-based presentation offered through DESC's website. DESC recommends this course for all prospective ROs and PAs. It is a must for personnel anticipating an assignment as an RO.

The Petroleum Quality Assurance Course-J20 offered by DESC provides unit members the opportunity to learn how DESC's quality assurance and quality surveillance programs are applied to the purchase programs used to procure bulk petroleum. Quality assurance and quality surveillance are paramount to the successful accomplishment of petroleum procurement. The course involves lectures, conferences, and performance-based, hands-on training both in and outside the classroom. This course will be key training for any unit member projected to be part of a TPT management team.


The Joint BSM-E 1-Week Managers Course will provide the commander of the petroleum liaison detachment and fuel management personnel with an understanding of the "joint perspective" of different DESC applications. They also will learn how to use the BSM-E application to identify process flows, monitor inventory control, and navigate into other DESC interfacing applications to obtain other management information, and they will become familiar with the functions needed to perform other mission tasks. The course also addresses service-unique applications and their interfaces. This course is tailored to each unit's specific needs as an onsite training event. While the target group is the command leadership that oversees the fuel management reporting of TPTs to the CENTCOM petroleum group, a tailored course is worthwhile for all unit members because the instructor will discuss the DESC standing operating procedures for the unit's upcoming mission and show the BSM-E inventories for the TPTs they will manage.

The Joint BSM-E 1-Week Inventory Accounting Coarse is a 1-week course for any Soldier who will be entering inventory and accountability transactions into BSM-E. It is designed to train Soldiers designated to conduct Department of Defense (DOD) base-level fuels accounting to perform duties associated with the day-to-day inventory management of a DESC fuels account. The training focuses on the processing and maintenance of a DESC fuels inventory account, including identifying requirements, placing fuel orders, receiving the product, processing inventory transactions, correcting errors within the account, and reconciling the account, all while adhering to the policies and procedures put forth by DESC. The 92F Soldiers selected to perform duties as COTRs or as task order monitors over property accountability are prime candidates for this course.

The Joint Petroleum Seminar is a 4-day DESC course designed to train unit personnel in the joint procedures currently in operation in their projected theater. Seminar topics include petroleum characteristics; DOD and joint fuel organization; joint doctrine; integrated materiel management; fuel pricing; DESC business processes; war and peacetime requirements determination; contracting; contingency contracting; tanker operations; IPDS and the offshore petroleum discharge system; BSM-E; sustainment, restoration, and maintenance and military construction; the inventory management plan; deliberate planning; integrated consumable item support; joint total asset visibility; the joint quarterly readiness report; and other topical issues as needed. The great advantage of this seminar is the opportunity attendees have to interact with key leaders of the petroleum community. The unit commander and noncommissioned officer in charge should consider attending this seminar.

The Army Logistics Management College (ALMC) at Fort Lee, Virginia, offers the Contracting Officer's Representative Course, which is perhaps the most important course needed by all personnel of the petroleum liaison detachment. This is a 1-week course designed for personnel who anticipate being designated as a COR or COTR; it also is recommended for individuals who will regularly work with contractors. The course provides an overall view of the statutory laws and regulations that govern the contracting process as specified in the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation. COR and COTR candidates must complete this course before a contracting officer can issue them a letter of designation as a COR or COTR. ALMC provides three training options to assist deploying units in receiving this essential training: The COR course can be taught at ALMC, on site by an ALMC instructor, or over the ALMC Teletraining/Satellite Education Network. All members of the unit should take this training. Recently, ALMC has deployed trainers into the theater to conduct the course for Soldiers who were unable to take it before deploying.

DRS Radian, under contract to the Army and in partnership with the Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), offers a variety of petroleum training topics, including customized courses. Besides assisting petroleum units with improving their technical proficiency on the IPDS or providing sustainment training for MOS 92L (petroleum laboratory specialist) Soldiers, DRS Radian offers onsite, tailored training to deploying units to refresh their knowledge of current operating equipment and procedures as used in the theater. They also offer hands-on training at the petroleum and water training facility at Fort Pickett, Virginia, to refresh 92F and 92L Soldiers in critical tasks they will be required to observe contractors perform once they are deployed in the theater. More information can be accessed by checking at

With the breadth of training options available, petroleum liaison detachments anticipating duty within the CENTCOM area of responsibility can gain the knowledge of procedures and tasks needed to successfully accomplish required quality assurance, quality surveillance, quality deficiency reporting, and property accountability missions. The courses that lend themselves to preparing personnel to monitor quality assurance include the Petroleum Quality Assurance Course-J20, the Contracting Officer's Representative Course, and the Joint BSM-E 1-Week Inventory Accounting Course. Courses that lend themselves to preparing personnel to monitor quality surveillance are the Petroleum Quality Assurance Course-J20, the Joint BSM-E 1-Week Managers Course, and tailored topic training from DRS Radian. Courses that lend themselves to preparing personnel to perform RO duties are the Responsible Officer/Property Administrator Training Course and the Joint BSM-E 1-Week Inventory Accounting Course.

Petroleum liaison detachments are now being used to perform the adapted petroleum mission of managing fuel operations at TPTs in the CENTCOM area of responsibility. The predeployment training to perform these missions is now available to ensure that petroleum logisticians sustain fluidity on the battle-field. The efforts of ALMC, DESC, and FORSCOM to enhance unit knowledge and skills on these new missions now offers petroleum liaison detachments improved opportunities to enhance their understanding of their upcoming missions. Units anticipating deployment to perform these new missions should coordinate with these agencies to schedule the necessary training to posture their units for mission success--

* ALMC: (804) 765-4373 or DSN 539-4373.

* DESC: (703) 767-8516 or DSN 427-8516.

* FORSCOM: (404) 464-8086 or DSN 367-8086, extension 6706 or 6236.

Quality assurance. Military petroleum products are usually procured under Federal or military specifications. Quality assurance is a contract administration function performed by the Government to determine if contractors have fulfilled contract requirements and specifications for petroleum products and related services. Quality assurance ends and quality surveillance begins when the quality assurance representative accepts the product. Acceptance of the product represents the transfer of ownership of the product from the contractor to the Government.

Quality surveillance. Quality surveillance includes all of the measures used to determine and maintain the quality of Government-owned petroleum products to the degree needed to ensure that the products are suitable for their intended use. The purpose of quality surveillance is to ensure that products meet quality standards after acceptance from the contractor and still meet those quality standards after the products are transferred between Government agencies or issued to users. Quality surveillance is complete when the product is consumed or transferred to another agency or service. Until the product is transferred or consumed, it is the responsibility of the owning service or agency to ensure product quality.

Adapted from Field Manual 10-67.2, Petroleum Laboratory Testing and Operations.


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Author:Asbury, Mark
Publication:Army Logistician
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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