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NEWS | May 7, 2015

Equipment program in Afghanistan helps ensure partner success

By By Summer Barkley, 401st Army Field Support Brigade

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, May 6, 2015 - Coalition forces in Afghanistan have an equipment program that helps ensure they have what is needed for missions, thanks to the 401st Army Field Support Brigade's coalition-provided equipment, or CPE, warehouse.

U.S. soldiers, from Task Force Sabre, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Infantry Regiment, visited the CPE warehouse recently to draw night-vision equipment, which they will in turn provide to coalition partners. The equipment that left the warehouse shelf in the afternoon would be in the hands of their coalition partner that night, said Capt. Philip J. Kistler, the task force's logistics officer in charge. "We will provide coalition partners with night-vision and passive infrared capability," he said. "They will be using the equipment tonight."

Kistler and Sgt. Larry T. Wall, the task force's noncommissioned officer in charge, verified serial numbers on the night-vision equipment before placing it into a bag designed to hold the device and the basic issue items that accompany each piece of equipment.

The basic issue items bags were assembled earlier by Anibal Soto-Rivera, CPE operations manager, and Jimmy E. Law, CPE inventory management specialist. The basic issue items were culled from turn-ins to the 401st's found-on-installation program, the brigade's redisposition property assistance team and the 4th Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade's forward retrograde element yards.

Soto-Rivera said the items for each kit are inspected to ensure they are serviceable, and then the kits are assembled. The actual night-vision equipment is stored in a separate locked area and inventoried daily for property accountability.

The CPE warehouse operates similar to a central issue facility in which it can issue boots, cold weather gear, organizational clothing and individual equipment. But it differs in that it also issues items like night-vision and communication equipment.

Soto-Rivera said he acts as a liaison between the CPE and U.S. servicemembers, who act as sponsor units for coalition partners.

"The CPE is very important," Soto-Rivera said. "Anything I miss or fail to communicate could mean mission failure."

The sponsor units are authorized to draw equipment through an operational needs statement, coalition operational needs statement or taskers from higher headquarters. Soto-Rivera said it is very common for sponsors to comment that they "need one for tonight's mission." He said he sees the CPE mission growing as there is increased coalition support under NATO's Resolute Support mission and the U.S. military's Operation Freedom's Sentinel in Afghanistan.

The CPE program is authorized to support troops from 21 coalition partners.

There are about 40 countries contributing about 13,000 troops to NATO's mission in Afghanistan, according to the Resolute Support website.