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NEWS | Nov. 8, 2011

ASLAC - prepositioning equipment for war fighters

By Airman 1st Class Tom Brading Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

The Army Strategic Logistics Activity - CharlestonĀ located at Joint Base Charleston-Naval Weapons Station prepositions U.S. Army equipment to provide rapid response for U.S. war fighters.

"ASLAC is capable of storing everything needed to supply a brigade-sized combat team in their warehouse," said Paul Turner, ASLAC operations director. "We store everything from armored vehicles to meals ready-to-eat. Our warehouse is unique because it's a ship."

The USNS Red Cloud, currently moored at JB Charleston-W.S. is one of many ships used to preposition equipment. The ship is 946 feet long and 105 feet wide. The medium-speed roll-on/roll-off ship is part of the APS-3 (Afloat) fleet.

According to the Military Sealift Command website, prepositioning is an essential element in the U.S. military's readiness strategy. Afloat prepositioning strategically places military equipment and supplies aboard ships located in strategic ocean areas to ensure rapid availability during a major conflict, a humanitarian operation or other contingency.

Prepositioning ships also provides quick and efficient movement of military gear between operating areas without reliance on other nations' transportation networks. These ships give U.S. regional combatant commanders the assurance that they will have the materials and equipment they need to quickly respond in a crisis - anywhere, anytime. During a contingency, troops are flown into a theater of operations to rapidly employ the cargo from these ships.

According to Robert O'Brien, ASLAC general manager, a typical maintenance cycle begins with the download of the cargo from the large, medium speed, roll-on, roll-off ships at JB Charleston-W.S. Wharf Alpha. From there, ASLAC's operating contractor, Honeywell Technology Solutions, Inc, convoys the cargo to its maintenance site approximately nine miles north to the former Polaris Missile Facility Atlantic area. All cargo is inspected, road tested, serviced and repaired as necessary to meet Army standards. In addition, thousands of pieces of equipment are processed, packaged and stored onto the backs of cargo carriers or loaded into containers. The Army continually upgrades APS-3 equipment. Finally, the cargo is labeled for accountability and convoyed back to Wharf Alpha in time for upload. This entire maintenance cycle process takes place within a 109 calendar-day window.

Ships are prepositioned to stations throughout the world. Generally, they sail to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean or Guam/Saipan in the Pacific Ocean to wait for equipment to be needed or until the ship returns in 24-30 months.

"ASLAC is part of the Army Prepositioned Stocks program," said Turner. "APS positions vital war stock afloat and ashore. Providing equipment wherever it is needed reduces the deployment response time for tactical units conducting vital contingency operations throughout the world."