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CHIPS Articles: Marines observe GCSS-MC in use for the first time

Marines observe GCSS-MC in use for the first time
By CHIPS Magazine - January-March 2008
The Marine Corps' ongoing modernization effort is intended to transform logistics for all forward deployed Marines — especially those on the battlefield. The technology backbone of this effort is the Global Combat Supply Support Marine Corps (GCSS-MC) program, a portfolio of systems that supports the logistics elements of command and control, joint logistics interoperability and secure access to and visibility of logistics data for the Marine Corps. The GCSS-MC is just one of the programs under the Program Executive Office – Enterprise Information System (PEO EIS).

In late September 2007, maintenance and supply Marines experienced the first-ever live preview of GCSS-MC functional capabilities. The event, hosted by the program manager for GCSS-MC, in collaboration with system integrator Oracle Corp., showcased the application's setup, automated processes and manual procedures that will be used when GCSS-MC enters the go-live phase. This was the first time Marines could view and provide feedback on the centerpiece information technology solution of the Logistics Modernization initiative.

According to Rear Adm. Tim Flynn, program executive officer for enterprise information systems, "The GCSS-MC demonstration is the most recent example of our sharp focus on the needs of the warfighter. Through the dedicated efforts of the GCSS-MC program team, we are moving quickly from concept to reality, delivering the right place, right time capability to our Marines in the fight."

On the days of the demonstration to more than 100 key Corps end users and subject matter experts, Maj. Gen. Edward Usher III, deputy commandant, Installations and Logistics, opened the demonstration with comments that acknowledged the strong presence of staff NCOs, or senior noncommissioned officers, in the front row. He said, "GCSS-MC is being developed not for the back room but for the front end of the spear."

Scenarios used the program in real-time shown as it would operate in deployed and garrison environments. Demonstrations included requests for field maintenance with multiple items from different functional areas to illustrate how a service request is created and flows through the system and how different users will facilitate the process.

This scenario was demonstrated in connected and disconnected modes to simulate how deployed units (with no online connectivity) can still operate in a disconnected status until they can re-connect to a server and synchronize information.

"What we've demonstrated is an integrated supply and maintenance capability that has been publicized for over two years. This is a first look; there is still building, testing and a rollout set for next year," said Capt. Antonio Scoffield, team lead for the Marine GCSS-MC functional subject matter expert team.

A demonstration of the functionality for "mass transfer of an Installed Base item" showcased some of the capabilities of the Oracle Installed Base, an asset management application that provides item and instance management, configuration and life cycle management. This application will become the centralized repository of all of the Marine Corps table or equipment (T/E) assets.

In GCSS-MC, an "item" will relate to a particular National Item Identification Number (NIIN) and an "instance" will refer to a specific individual occasion of an item, a precise serial number, or in the future, the Item Unique Identification (IUID).

A unique capability of Installed Based that was demonstrated was the ability to transfer assets from one organization to another. The functionality of Installed Base has a wide range of applications, from a simple transfer of assets from one unit to another, such as a Unit Deployment Program (UDP) Turnover or a Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority (RIP/TOA), to the creation of a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), or the adding of attachments to an infantry battalion transforming it into a battalion landing team in support of Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) operations.

A scenario employing the Daily Business Intelligence (DBI) capability demonstrated some of the reporting and analytical tools that will be available to aid in delivering accurate, timely and actionable logistics management, inventory ordering and tracking throughout the Marine Corps Enterprise.

Overall, the event received a great deal of positive feedback for the system capabilities. Discussions among attendees focused on business processes and recommendations for policy changes that will be forwarded to Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) for future consideration.

Many echoed the comments of Master Sgt. Robert Phillips from HQMC, Life Cycle Management, "Maintenance history is paramount to combat readiness."

Future demonstrations are being developed and dates will be released on the LogMod site. To view the briefing slides from the demonstration, visit the Log-Mod Web site at https://logmod.hqmc.usmc.mil/.

For more information about PEO EIS, go to http://enterprise.spawar.navy.mil.

TAGS: ITAM
Audience members at the GCSS-MC/LCM Block 1 demonstration watch the logistics and supply scenarios in real-time, providing critical feedback on the new system.
Audience members at the GCSS-MC/LCM Block 1 demonstration watch the logistics and supply scenarios in real-time, providing critical feedback on the new system.

CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

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