Katrina knocks out critical Army supply link

The Army has restarted a critical overseas supply chain after Hurricane Katrina knocked out communications with one of its logistics centers.

Soldiers and logistics officers in Iraq and Afghanistan rely on the Corps Theater Automatic Data Processing Center located in Baton Rouge, La., to process supplies. But when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast earlier this week, the center’s Standard Army Retail Supply System lost connectivity to a military network and the orders stopped.

Within 48 hours, officials with the Army’s Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS), the service’s information technology shop, devised a solution to get the supply chain operating again. They acquired two satellite terminals from a unit of the 10th Mountain Division at nearby Fort Polk, La., and sent workers with the General Dynamics Signal Solutions business unit to connect them to the supply system in Baton Rouge, according to a Sept. 1 Army statement.

As a result, 80 percent of the supply chain for Iraq and Afghanistan is up and running. Army Maj. Hector Costa, assistant product manager in the Combat Service Support Very Small Aperture Terminal (CSS-Vsat) Office, said several Army organizations, including the Combined Force Land Component Command and the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics/G-4, assisted in the effort.

“PEO-EIS developed the CSS-Vsat support plan, designed the architecture, and followed it through,” Costa said. “Headquarters Department of the Army gave us complete support and the authority to make it happen.”

CSS-Vsat comes under the Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems program located at Fort Monmouth, N.J. Both organizations fall under PEO-EIS.

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