Associated supply groups provide dedicated support

  • Published
  • By U.S. Air Force Captain Jennifer C. Howsare
  • 126 ARW Public Affairs
Associate - a word that according to Webster's dictionary means, 'to unite in a relationship; to connect or join together; one joined with another or others in an action, enterprise, or business; a colleague.' Current military members know associates or associations well. To meet the demands of today's joint force military, associations have become a necessary way of life. The Illinois Air National Guard 126th Air Refueling Wing at Scott AFB recently established a Guard association with the development of the 635th Supply Chain Management Squadron. This association yet again proves the 126th's role as a key player in today's joint total force efforts.
The 635 SCMS is a culmination of many Air Force initiatives and efforts to transition the United States Air Force and its Reserve Components to better meet the needs of the new millennium. A 2005 BRAC-directed action put the wheels in motion for a transformational opportunity consistent with Air Force initiatives to standardize Air Force materiel management command and control. The BRAC recommendation realigned Regional Supply Squadron and base-level Logistics Readiness Squadron manpower in support of Mobility Air Forces. The consolidation provided mobility aircraft, weapon systems and personnel to support seamless logistical support from peace to war. It also provided a single point of contact to the warfighter, whether at home station or deployed
A Total Force Integration initiative or TFI followed on the heels of the BRAC recommendation and led to the formation of the 635th Supply Chain Management Group. "Total Force integration incorporates innovative organizational constructs to create a smaller, more capable, force structure leveraging increased capability from new technology and capitalizing on the wealth of talent and experiences across the active duty, Guard and Reserve functions," said Gen. Craig R. McKinley, director of the Air National Guard. "Ensuring a seamless capability across our three service components provides America a more lethal and capable air, space and cyberspace force."
The National Guard provides essential capabilities and resources to today's Total Force and the TFIs and associations developed are intended to provide the maximum Air Force potential to commanders and garner efficiencies that can be redirected to new capabilities. "This association will provide increased efficiencies through a combination of factors," said Col. Peter Nezamis, 126th Air Refueling Wing Commander. "As a result of BRAC and TFI initiatives, manpower from within the Air National Guard community was pooled together to create the 635th Supply Chain Management Squadron, which is a Classic Association [Guard Association] attached to the 126th Air Refueling Wing. This association is a win-win for the 126th Air Refueling Wing and the Total Force."
The necessity for supply chain management within the military was identified through inefficiencies in the old supply system, which caused competition for high-demand/low-density parts and equipment. The old system also provided little support to some units. The concept of 'One Team, One Fight' was a driving force behind the realignment to the supply chain management concept. Under the new concept no matter where a unit is positioned, at home station or a deployed location, supply support will come from the same supply team, a team with the historical knowledge of the unit's needs and the health of their aircraft.
The 635th Supply Chain Management Squadron falls under the 635 SCMG and as a Guard associated unit between the active duty Air Force and the Illinois Air National Guard 126th Air Refueling Wing is administratively and organizationally separate, but operationally combined. The 635th will mirror its civilian sector counterparts in purpose and concept of supply chain management. Supply chain management is the oversight of materials, information, and finances as they move in a process from supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer. The ultimate goal of any effective supply chain management system is to reduce inventory, with the assumption that products are available when needed.
The importance of associations formed within the military is the synergistic effects created to combat the realities of a shrinking aircraft fleet. The 635 SCMS will increase supply chain operations for the United States Air Force and will be a force multiplier by providing continuous and seamless support to the warfighter. The USAF views associations as a Total Force Integration initiative that will create efficiencies, retain invaluable human capital, and above all, increase the capabilities of all the Air Force components.