Salvadoran Armed Force Achieves Higher Level of Logistical Specialization
By Lorena Baires/Diálogo May 02, 2017The methods and procedures of the Salvadoran Armed Force Logistics Support Command (CALFA, per its Spanish acronym) ensure troops in the field always have access to the vehicles, equipment, weapons, and infrastructure they need to do their jobs. Its members are now putting new skills into practice thanks to the knowledge they gained during the Subject Matter Expert Exchange on Maintenance Readiness Reporting that took place from March 13th -16th. The exchange was led by U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH) with support from the New Hampshire Army National Guard. Senior officers and enlisted and administrative personnel who serve the needs of various Salvadoran military units learned advanced techniques from U.S. experts for maintaining vehicles and weapons, as well as more efficient procedures for supply, storage and logistical supplies, and documentation, among many other topics. “Now that we have learned from ARSOUTH’s successful experiences, we look forward to applying them to our own maintenance systems and procedures in both administrative and combat situations,” Salvadoran Army Brigadier General Salvador Montano, CALFA commander, told Diálogo. Better procedures will be implemented across the entire structure of the command, which consists of the Logistical Support, Quartermaster, and Forward Support battalions. Improvements will also be made to the defense industry and the Technology Research and Development Center, which does scientific research to develop military technology. “This exchange of procedures is so important because during interagency work we usually need to be interoperable and share our knowledge. Even though [this knowledge] is somewhat computer focused, we will be able to help each other in future operations,” said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Kris Skinner, chief of the Surface Maintenance Management Division at the New Hampshire Army National Guard and exchange instructor, at the closing ceremony. His words were echoed by Brig. Gen. Montano. After the exchange, they began planning how to incorporate this new knowledge to enhance their level of operational dexterity. CALFA’s achievements include the creation of the popemobile used by Pope John Paul II during his visit to El Salvador in 1983. The command has also modified and repurposed various vehicles used by military units, especially those working on the government’s public safety plans and in the fight against drug trafficking. “The vessels seized from drug traffickers in El Salvador are turned over to the Salvadoran Navy, and this command has modified and adapted them to fight the drug trafficking syndicates. This is one reason why we now have greater capacity to intercept shipments,” underscored Captain René Merino, chief of General Staff of the Salvadoran Navy. CALFA’s work has made the units more successful. For example, after they modified and repurposed an ambulance, an aircraft tug, a kitchen truck, two Hughes 500 helicopters, and a tow truck –which were used by the Second Contingent of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali– the vehicles went on to support 2,251 humanitarian aid activities by Salvadoran service members. “We are improving our vehicle maintenance procedures, which will no doubt extend the life of the equipment and continue ensuring the success of the missions carried out by our military units,” explained Lieutenant Colonel Óscar Pérez, an engineer and CALFA officer. The troops’ optimum performance is directly linked to the effectiveness of logistical storage and documentation procedures which, according to Lt. Col. Skinner, grow more complex as the needs of the military units in the field multiply. “Since we [in the U.S. Armed Forces] have larger amounts of equipment and supplies, we have developed computerized processes to classify and distribute them – an experience we have passed on to CALFA so that they can apply it,” he added. According to CALFA, the methods shared will make its logistical operations more efficient, which will be evident, for instance, when it has to meet the needs of 7,602 service members spread over five specialized commands with the mission of ensuring Salvadorans’ public safety. “We are very grateful to U.S. Army South for holding this exchange, which not only represents our strong bonds of partnership and military cooperation, but also an interest in fostering our abilities so we can work together,” Brig. Gen. Montano concluded.