24 April 2005

Royal Green Jackets Deploy with PEPs

Priming Equipment Packs being unloadedCol Derek McAvoy, the Priming Equipment Pack (PEP) team leader, highlights recent successes.

Following a request by NATO late on the evening of Friday, 4 March, the UK Spearhead Land Element (SLE), comprising 1st Battalion the Royal Green Jackets, was deployed to Kosovo on Saturday 5 March, supported by Priming Equipment Packs (PEPs).

The introduction of Priming Equipment Packs (PEP) is fundamental to improving the readiness and preparedness to deploy of the Field Army. PEPs provide 30 days of materiel and all the operational stocks of materiel a formation, its units and battle groups need for initial deployment.

The SLE has traditionally been supported using Special Purpose Operational Stocks - a good process, but with room for improvement.  Vital items such as Equipment Support (ES) materiel (the spares and consumable items needed to service and repair equipment), the associated fuels and oils and essentials, like bin bags and masking tape, had yet to be packaged and delivered in this way. 

The PEPs team has developed a method of scaling ES materiel and the Defence Fuels Group provided a list of fuels, oils and gasses for the SLE.  The team worked with HQ LAND, the Defence Storage & Distribution Agency (DSDA) and Supply Chain Integration (Land) to collate the requirements and agree a method for delivering the PEP in priority order for the Lead Company Group and the Main Body of the SLE.

On 5 March, the theory was put to the test, when the planned PEP trial, due to take place at the Joint Air Mounting Centre (JAMC) at South Cerney on 7 & 8 March, went live when the SLE was ordered to deploy.  The trial PEP was rapidly re-configured and delivered to 29 Regt RLC at South Cerney by 1700, only 9 hours after the initial call.  The inclusion of centrally scaled Equipment Support (ES) and cold weather scales in the delivered PEPs is a new process and all too often units have deployed without adequate ES scales.

Initial reactions were that the first operational PEP was a huge success. The QMs of 29 Regt RLC and the 1st Battalion the Royal Green Jackets, agreed that the process had worked well.  The delivery and layout of the different commodities in Lead and Main groups was seen as a particular advantage.  Simple but effective!

A post exercise report will identify in detail the successes and the lessons to be learned. It is widely accepted that the SLE PEP delivery proved that the concept can work in short timescales for high readiness units. This is the logical deduction based on what was left behind from the delivered PEP as not being needed by the unit – the answer - not a lot!

The PEPs project will eventually lead to an endorsed policy to include reporting of materiel held at readiness in the SLE to cater for all anticipated geographical regions of conflict defined in defence planning assumptions.

PEPs have matured from a whiteboard drawing to initial implementation in 6 months.  The next 6 months will see the team formally documenting and implementing the PEPs process for SLE and show how the PEPs can also benefit units at lower readiness.  In September, PEPs will be put to its biggest test in support of the NRF6 Field Test exercise for 19 Light Brigade.  As Col McAvoy explains; “this will involve a huge raft of people and agencies that are very supportive of the principles and not afraid of the challenges it poses.  Of course there will be irritations, but that’s the nature of implementing change with this sort of magnitude.  The Field Army are convinced this is the right way to proceed and I can clearly understand why we collectively provide the solution and agree to uphold it, simple really”.

Priming Equipment Packs being unloaded

Last Updated: 26 Apr 05