DOD leaders see 401st retrograde operations while sustaining critical systems in theater

Feb 28, 2013

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics (center left), looks at a Persistent Threat Detection System, while Samuel Zabrdac, product manager Meteorological and Target Identification Capabilities Theater Lead, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command (center right), provides information on the PTDS system, Feb. 4, 2013, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Photo Credit: Summer Barkley

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics, and Gary J. Motsek, deputy assistant secretary of defense (Program Support), visited the 401st Army Field Support Brigade for the second time in two years, but had a different agenda for the return visit and spent a good part of their time focusing on equipment retrograde.

Kendall and Motsek visited the Persistent Threat Detection System area to see the Army’s ‘eye in the sky,’ and learn more about its capabilities and what it brings to the warfighter.

They were next briefed on Operation Dynamo, a program falling under Project Manager Mobile Electric Power that is providing operational energy solutions at remote locations. Operation Dynamo provides Advanced Mobile Medium Power Sources generators to selected units to meet operational needs. Results at one combat outpost show that Operation Dynamo has eliminated the need for four aerial deliveries of fuel each month.

Results at a second location show approximately 30 percent less fuel is used each day directly leading to one less fuel truck needed per month.

They later visited the AFSBn–Bagram Redistribution Property Assistance Team area to see the processes and procedures in place for the retrograde of thousands of pieces on non–mission essential equipment from theater. They also visited a vantage point to see how AFSBn–BAF stages equipment based on decisions to dispose it, issue to other units or remove it from theater.

They had lunch with brigade and battalion staff and personnel who support programs fielded under the auspices of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, or ASA(ALT) and answered several questions from those in attendance.

Kendall said senior leaders are looking at “where we need to be in the future and how do we position ourselves.” He said work is being done now to maintain technological superiority and that he sees continuing emphasis on technology on the battlefield.

The Persistent Threat Detection System, or PTDS, is fielded by Program Executive Office Intelligence Electronic Warfare & Sensors, and personnel manning the systems fall under the 401st AFSB.

“PTDS is a large aerostat tethered to a mooring platform, which is accompanied by a Ground Control Station,” Lt. Col. Michael Parodi, product manager for Meteorological and Target Identification Capabilities, was quoted as saying in an article published July 2, 2012. “The system is equipped with both visual and audio surveillance technology and acts as a force multiplier for commanders on the ground.”

Parodi added that PTDS can be utilized to scan large areas for potential insurgent activity while interacting with various sensors to provide a complete picture of potential threats.

Program Executive Office, program and product manager personnel fall under the 401st AFSB in theater.


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