Moving the Future

By Craig Rader | September 01, 2017

“I want my MTV.”

If you’re old enough to have watched cable TV in the 1980s, that phrase may mean something to you.

But if you’re a U.S. military service member, MTV means Medium Tactical Vehicle, the five-ton, six-wheeled vehicle capable of carrying tons of equipment — over unpaved terrain if needed. And its replacement, the MTVR, has been built since the late 1990s.

The MTVR and its precursors have been built by three different defense contractors since 1996. Since then, the platform has come in more than 25 variants with different wheelbases and body styles, some built to hold ground-to-air missile launchers, others built just as wreckers, and some just for hauling equipment.

And now, a Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime program has logistics control over this very important asset, relied on in almost every theater of military operations.

For nearly two decades, the MTVR system has been the standard group of cargo trucks used by the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy. With a standard chassis, MTVR variants can undergo production modifications to meet tactical or practical purposes.

Since the first MTVR trucks rolled off the assembly line in 1998, Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense has delivered more than 11,000 of these vehicles to Marines and Navy Seabees across the world, including extensive deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Until recently, the bulk of logistics functions, such as spare and repair parts replacement, engineering support, and materiel and equipment management, were all coordinated through contractor logistics support.

CLS allows for technical and logistics support for a product throughout its lifecycle, and can see its greatest impact during initial fielding while the product support package is being deployed and customers are becoming familiarized with their new equipment. However, it comes at additional costs that add to a product’s total costs over time.

In November 2015, leaders from DLA Land and Maritime’s Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate and Land Customer Operations coordinated with Marine Corps Logistics Command in Albany, New York, to determine DLA’s options for assuming responsibility for the ongoing logistics support of the MTVR. At the time, Oshkosh Defense’s CLS agreement called for contractor support of approximately 3,400 individual replacement parts for the vehicle system.

After much discussion, SAPD and Land Customer Operations leaders reviewed the data and determined they could provide long-term direct government support for the MTVR once the contractor agreement expired the following year. The Marine Corps agreed.

“The transition was implemented through three phases,” said Sherry Wellmer, Strategic Sourcing division chief in the SAPD. “Ultimately, we were able to negotiate a 10 percent price reduction from the existing CLS pricing, resulting in an overall cost savings to the Marine Corps.”

Wellmer added that throughout the process, the SAPD team held regular meetings and conference calls with all involved parties to track progress, share updates and resolve any mitigating issues that developed. This allowed for a positive, ongoing partnership between DLA and the Marine Corps.

The diligence paid off. In January 2016 the Marine Corps modified its contract for the MTVR to add DLA Land and Maritime as an ordering entity. By using the CLS contract, DLA Land and Maritime was able to procure one year of stock for all necessary national stock numbers.

The first phase of the initiative involved the transfer of 400 NSN items to DLA, followed by the second phase that included the acquisition of 1,400 high-demand NSNs. Ultimately, DLA Land and Maritime would take control over all 3,400 NSNs in the stock pipeline required for the MTVRs.

SAPD works to support its customers and promote supply chain efficiencies through long-term contracting. The MTVR program represents nearly 6 percent of the directorate’s total stock of 52,000 items. SAPD actively engages and plans strategies two to three years ahead to maintain momentum in producing cost savings throughout the procurement process. For this program, the directorate anticipates completing contract awards by the end of fiscal year 2017.

“With the MTVR program, we’re seeing the biggest benefit through cost savings for the taxpayer,” said Navy Capt. Justin Debord, director of Land and Maritime’s Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate. “We also realized that by being able to work directly with third party manufacturers, we can develop better contractual relationships, manage obsolescence during diminished supply periods and facilitate long-term platform support.”

SAPD’s primary mission is to maintain and increase the number of long-term contracts for consumables and depot-level repairable items, while building and developing supplier relationships with key industrial partners. This strategic engagement promotes supply chain efficiencies and provides enhanced support to the warfighter, while adhering to the Defense Department’s Better Buying Power initiative.

Since 2010, BBP has incorporated specific acquisition principles and best practices to achieve greater efficiencies through cost controls and the elimination of unproductive processes and bureaucracy. BBP initiatives also call for the promotion of government and industrial innovation strategies.

DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic said SAPD’s work on the MTVR project has had a significant impact on warfighter support.

“The diligence and collaboration efforts of the SAPD team resulted in seamless, continuous cooperation with both our Marine Corps customers and anyone else using these NSNs,” Skubic said. “DLA’s support of the MTVR pipeline has played a phenomenal role in the agency’s ability to sustain the tactical wheeled vehicle community.”

The success of Land and Maritime’s MTVR support initiative also garnered recognition from outside the agency. The Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate received the 2017 Red Ball Express Award from the National Defense Industrial Association in a conference earlier this year

The award is presented annually to an industry or government individual or team who makes significant contributions that led to the strengthening of national security by developing, procuring or supporting Tactical Wheeled Vehicles, or enabling critical technologies that contribute to the same.

“Each day I see the outstanding work that everyone on this team does, and I know how committed they are to their mission,” Debord said. “It’s a great honor to receive this kind of recognition on a national level, because they really have worked hard and put a lot of effort into making this project successful.”

 

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