Global Combat Support System -Marine Corps (GCSS-MC) in the News

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The 1st MAW Prepares for GCSS-MC: An Interview with Col Michelsen

 This article appeared in the August/September edition of the Implementation Insider



GCSS-MC continues to make progress towards total force implementation. While the Field User Evaluation (FUE) units continue to transact on the system, a second group of Marines is preparing, full speed ahead, for the implementation of GCSS-MC at the 1st MAW scheduled for Oct. 1-4. This group is implementing lessons learned from their FUE counterparts and is being proactive with their cutover activities. They clearly see the benefits that GCSS-MC will bring to their logistics activities. Recently, the Insider spoke (via e-mail) with Col Michelsen, the Wing G-4, about GCSS-MC and the upcoming cutover. Read on for the questions and Col Michelsenís responses.


Q. What are you currently doing to prepare for the implementation of GCSS-MC at the 1st MAW?


A. There are many activities underway in preparation for the cut over to GCSS-MC. Right now, we are ensuring that our staff is supervising Data Cleansing (DC) efforts to make sure that our legacy supply records, such as Mechanized Allowance List (MAL) and Consolidated Memorandum Receipt (CMR) to name a few, match our on-hand records in order to adhere to >=99% standard. Additionally, we are tracking the status of metrics, such as Billet Identification Codes (BIC), training, additional computers, DC, and keeping our senior leadership aware of our progress toward implementation. Our staff is fully engaged in III MEF's GCSS-MC implementation working group; their focus is on implementation challenges, such as the priority fixes and policy shortfalls. One important aspect of our readiness is active positive communication with higher, adjacent, and subordinate units. 1st MAW and III MEF view implementation as a team effort and when unforeseen challenges arise we take a proactive response by realigning resources if needed.


Q. What role do you think leadership plays in the successful implementation of GCSS-MC?


A. Change can be daunting to some, especially in reference to automated information systems. Strong, effective leadership is invaluable to leading and managing complex change. Leadership establishes the mission and the vision for all to follow...and that keeps the Marines focused. In addition, by taking an active role personally and through the training and mentoring of change agents, such as the mid-level leaders/managers, Marines gain greater appreciation for clarity of the vision and how their actions contribute to mission accomplishment, resulting in a more successful implementation.  


Q. Describe how the capabilities of GCSS-MC will improve the way your unit performs logistics functions?


A. The raw capabilities of GCSS-MC need to be systematically incorporated into our enterprise-wide Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs).  These are still being developed, but the way ahead is very promising.  We will have near real-time access to parts information, effectively changing the way we measure maintenance actions from days or weeks to hours.  Operational readiness will also be near real-time allowing commanders and staffs to perform mission analysis and course of action development more rapidly. It will be more challenging for Marines to enter erroneous supply information into GCSS-MC, thereby improving our accountability.  Lastly, it will establish life cycle history for equipment allowing us to accurately program for resources, i.e., funding for depot-level maintenance, corrosion restoration facilities, corrosion service teams, secondary repairables, etc.


Q. What do you think the biggest challenge will be in implementing GCSS-MC?


A. Meshing the implementation of GCSS-MC with the myriad of competing demands on our Groups/Squadrons and their Marines; for example, III MEF's very aggressive Training Exercise Employment Plan (TEEP) and support for OEF and Unit Deployment Program (UDP). Many Marines possess multiple responsibilities and some of these responsibilities call them away from their GCSS-MC implementation responsibilities


Q. How are you working to overcome that challenge?


A. We anticipated this challenge and proactively engaged the commanders and their staff on the best window to implement GCSS-MC, outlined their roles and responsibilities, for data cleansing, training and other cutover duties, then worked to provide them whatever support they required. These actions are mitigating the challenge considerably.


Q. What is the greatest benefit of GCSS-MC to the Marine Corps?


A. Tactically, we will be significantly more operationally effective by being able to more rapidly make well informed decisions about our equipment.  Strategically, we will have the ability to accurately program and "defend" our tactical and strategic equipment sustainment resource requirements thereby maximizing the effectiveness of our funding.