New warehouses boost readiness for Kuwait and Beyond
By Sgt. Angela Lorden
401st Army Field Support Brigade
November 26, 2016, Nov. 28, 2016 —
The 401st Army Field Support Brigade celebrated with troops, civilians and Kuwaiti partners in honor of the completion of several new equipment-protecting warehouses during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 17 at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
The newly innovative warehouses, designed and built by the U.S. Army engineers with the support of the host nation, Kuwait, were built to store and protect combat-ready, military equipment from the desert environment and increase readiness.
"With these new facilities, we are postured to ensure long-term responsive support to theater commanders," said Maj. Gen. Edward Daly, commanding general of U.S. Army Sustainment Command, during his remarks at the ceremony. "We are increasing readiness to the warfighter and being fiscally responsible to the American taxpayer."
Each climate and humidity-controlled warehouse can protect over one hundred pieces of equipment and material. The warehouses include energy-efficient LED lighting and various safety features that can be monitored by a warehouse manager from a centralized control-point.
"These warehouses are the gold standard for integrating technology," Daly said. "They're safer than the last generation of facilities."
The 401st AFSB will manage the new equipment warehouses at Camp Arifjan. Inside the facilities, they will house prepositioned, combat-ready equipment and material to support unified-land operations all over the U.S. Central Command area of operations.
"We enable the equipping piece of the Army mission," said Col. Aaron Stanek, the commander of the 401st AFSB.
Approximately 5.5 billion dollars' worth of equipment covers roughly 70 percent of Camp Arifjan, said Stanek.
The U.S. government spends money to maintain the combat-ready equipment.
"Warehouses save the government money by decreasing the need for frequent maintenance," said Maj. Kyle Johnson, a support operations officer with the 401st AFSB. "The environment is a critical threat to Army equipment in a desert. Having more vehicles protected and ready-to-go increases readiness overall."
After the equipment is moved into the U.S. government-funded warehouses, more than half of the Army's prepositioned stocks at Camp Arifjan will be stored indoors. More warehouses are scheduled to be built to accommodate the equipment still stored outside.
"We're putting the equipment to good use and we're taking care of it," Stanek said.
The 401st AFSB is a forward presence of Army Sustainment Command. This support command, headquartered in Rock Island, Illinois, is the operational arm of U.S. Army Material Command. Army Material Command is the primary provider of Army logistics support.
"If a Soldier wears it, drives it, shoots it or eats it, Army Material Command provides it," Stanek said.
One of the programs the 401st AFSB implements in support of its command's primary mission is the Army Prepositioned Stocks - Kuwait (APS-5 Kuwait) program. The program maintains combat-ready equipment and material, strategically prepositioned and ready-for-use at a moment's notice.
"What we're getting after is speed," Stanek said.
The APS-5 maintains three brigade sets of equipment. A brigade generally consists of thousands of Soldiers. Each brigade equipment set includes enough tanks, cannons, command, transport and support vehicles to outfit an entire brigade.
"If all the people in a brigade came here by themselves, we have all the equipment they would need, brand new, in the warehouses, ready to go," Johnson said. "They could pick it up and immediately enter the fight."
The 401st AFSB also provides maintenance readiness to forces in the field through contracted logistics.
"If a unit is already here and their equipment breaks, they need to replace it immediately," Johnson said. "They can do that here opposed to shipping it from the states. It allows us to conduct operations more quickly."
Over 2000 civilian contractors provide equipment maintenance. Soldiers are responsible for the oversight of this maintenance.
"We provide surveillance while contractors work on equipment to assure everything is to standard," said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Trejo, a quality assurance maintenance Soldier who works in the AFSB's motor pool. "We hold them accountable."
Trejo said, he believes his job is an important component of the 401st AFSB's mission.
"Units need equipment that works properly," Trejo said. "We verify all the work done on equipment so Soldiers signing for it have nothing to worry about. They can concentrate on the mission, not whether or not their equipment works."
Equipment is signed out by troops on a daily basis. Shipments of new equipment come in hourly with the possibility of being pushed out to support military missions.
While the 401st AFSB supports CENTCOM, Army logistics is prepositioned all over the world.
"We are APS-5," Johnson said. "That means there's APS-1, 2, 3 and 4. The Army has strategically prepositioned equipment around the world to allow us to rapidly deploy troops anywhere they needs us."