Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. -- The Marine Corps’ official data source to assess manpower and equipment requirements has reached the operations and sustainment phase, completing an eleven-year acquisition cycle.
Total Force Structure Management System is the service’s enterprise system that receives, processes, stores and disseminates force structure information for the Marine Corps. The information depicts how a specific unit is organized in terms of number, types of personnel and associated equipment in order to perform assigned missions. Data is then used by leaders at all levels to determine current and future strategic needs.
“TFSMS maintains records of what Marine Corps units need to perform operations and tasks in any environment,” said Timothy Brimhall, project manager for TFSMS at Marine Corps Systems Command. “For example, if the Marine Corps needs a tank capability, TFSMS will not only track the tank but also the billets for the operators, mechanics, logisticians, etc. required to operate the capability.”
Before TFSMS there were multiple systems, managed by different entities. Today, it is an interconnected platform that provides data to perform manpower and equipment planning, as well as readiness evaluations.
The TFSMS software suite has two primary objectives: aggregating and monitoring the requirements inputted by users, and keeping track of all Marine Corps requirements—things like job billets and equipment, to name a few. This integration allows leaders at every echelon to see a more complete operational picture and make more informed decisions, and serves as a strategic planning tool for senior Marine leaders as well.
“The system is capable of projecting requirements up to 20 years into the future,” said Brimhall. “For example, TFSMS was a key tool used to determine the commandant’s [Marine Corps Operating Concept] for the future.”
The front-end of TFSMS works as an online portal, where user’s login and initiate requests. Once a request is approved, Marine Corps Combat Development and Integration aggregates the data to determine the most efficient way to fulfill the needs.
“If a leader at the squadron level puts in a request online for a billet change, it will go up the chain of command until it reaches CD&I and is approved,” said Chris Leubner, information technology specialist for Total Force Structure Division at CD&I.
Specifics of the request, such as a driver for a tank or a specific artillery gun, are sent to MCSC, Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, or Marine Corps Logistics Command—depending on the mission of the command—to be fulfilled.
“CD&I will staff out the request to the appropriate organization,” said Leubner. “For example, if it is an equipment request it goes to MCSC, whereas manpower requests will go to M&RA.”
The first phase of TFSMS was initiated in 2005 by combining the functionality of two legacy systems— Table of Manpower Requirements for manpower requests, and the Logistics Management Information System for equipment requests— into one system. After two major increments and several smaller updates, the system was completed in 2016.
“When we launched the TFSMS project, we closed both legacy systems the same day,” said John Rudy, systems engineer for Total Force Information Technology Systems at MCSC. “From there, we pursued an evolutionary process of small milestones until we reached completion.”
The next step is to consolidate the large data centers that run TFSMS into smaller, virtual systems on the Marine Corps Enterprise Information Technology Services enterprise server. This will reduce the amount of office space needed to house large server machines and save the Corps in management costs.
“In IT you have to always look to the future,” said Brimhall. “As technology continues to change, we are making sure that we are continually delivering the best capability to the fleet both in terms of cost and footprint.”