ECSS Coming to Des Moines

  • Published
  • By Lt.Col. Mark Chidley
  • 132 LRS, Commander

    The Air Force is in the midst of an historical transformation and that includes the ways in which Air Force Logisticians provide support to War fighters and the Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS) is the cornerstone enabler of the logistics transformation effort.
Using an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution, ECSS is applying best commercial practices and using industry-proven tools to establish the Air Force's first capability to globally view and manage its logistics resources. ECSS is much more than an IT system. It will fundamentally change business processes, personnel roles, and jobs across the spectrum of the Air Force Logistics community. Locally, ECSS will drive dramatic changes and improvements in the way logistics is done.
     For example, the process of scheduling a repair currently means setting a repair date at the base level without the ability to ensure technicians, parts, facilities, tools, etc., are available Air Force-wide. With ECSS, an integrated global view of people/parts availability will enable greater scheduling effectiveness and ultimately increase availability of repaired components or major end items. Simply put, Air Force Logisticians will have what they need to get the job done when repairs are system-scheduled under ECSS. Citing another example, today Air Force Logisticians collectively rely on paper forms and enter data into multiple base-level systems. This labor-intensive effort will be replaced by entering data once into one system. When fully implemented, ECSS will replace hundreds of logistics information systems and will be the single source of truth for logistics information.
     While it will be several years before ECSS reaches full operational capability and its benefits are fully realized, the implementation process is already underway. And, that process will affect Des Moines very soon. ECSS will be fielded throughout the Air Force in multiple releases and Des Moines will see ECSS fielded in FY 2011. While that may seem to be a part of the distant future, the reality is that we need to begin preparing for ECSS now.
     To help with that preparation, the ECSS program conducted its kickoff meeting with Des Moines leaders and ECSS users on March 31. During that meeting, ECSS program officials delivered an informational and educational briefing about ECSS, its goals, program timeliness, and how the Air Force will be affected. The kickoff represented the beginning of the ECSS organizational change management program, which is designed to help prepare everyone for this transformation effort. History tells us that no change is ever successful until individual behaviors change. The people who perform Air Force Logistics processes (from all functional communities) must personally engage in the transformative aspects of ECSS in order for it to succeed.
     As is always the case, these sweeping changes will not be easy, as long-standing ways of doing business will either dramatically change or completely disappear. ECSS will pull people from their comfort zones and cause them to do new tasks in different, unfamiliar ways. To help logisticians navigate these changes, the ECSS program will provide education and training programs for those who will use the new system. An Air Force-wide change agent network, supported by an ECSS program team, will share information on ECSS activities, schedules, and lessons learned and conduct local problem-solving meetings to help smooth implementation at each installation. This same network will support the sustainment of ECSS after fielding is completed.
     ECSS will drive changes in the way the Air Force does business and the way logisticians perform their jobs. The result will be an Air Force enterprise better enabled to provide its War fighters the right materiel at the right time. ECSS will also enable logisticians to use their time more productively, significantly reducing the cost of accomplishing the Air Force Logistics mission.
     To learn more about ECSS, contact Lt. Col. Mark Chidley at ext. 413, or visit