The Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM) is known for providing engineering, construction and support services throughout the CENTCOM area of responsibility. For most of its nearly 70 year history, the district has focused on large scale foreign military sales and U.S. military construction projects in the Middle East. Over the past several years however, TAM has developed several specialized capabilities designed to provide more flexibility and better respond to contingency construction environments.
One of the most recent developments on this front was TAM’s standing up its own Army Facilities Component Systems (AFCS) branch. According to Tara Paxton, the district’s AFCS branch chief, standing up the new branch at TAM made a lot of sense due to the District’s expertise in contingency construction.
“We have a lot of experience in that area as well as over 70 years construction experience in the Middle East which is where many of our contingency requirements come from, this made our district a natural fit,” said Paxton.
Currently, the district is only one of four AFCS design agents in the Department of Defense. AFCS design agents work underneath the Engineering Research and Development Center’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory.
“The AFCS program helps us support Combatant Commands and the Army Service Component Commands by providing them with theater construction planning,” said Martin Jung, the AFCS program manager. “It’s especially useful in contingency construction because it focuses on troop or small contract construction and is typically limited to initial and temporary construction standards.”
According to Jung, multiple executing agents of four lines of effort (Design and Logistics, Information Technology, Information Assurance, and Training and Doctrine) within the AFCS program work together to keep the Joint Construction Management System (JCMS) up to date with each designated design agent specializing in certain areas.
JCMS is a computer database program that allows those working a project to pull standardized designs, lists of materials, cost and labor estimates, construction standards and construction schedules for a given facility. The JCMS program will also allow you to build a base design and roll up all these quantities and develop a construction schedule.
“The JCMS is a very useful tool but it’s only as good as the data in there. That’s where the AFCS design agents come in. We make sure the data is good data,” said Paxton. “The Middle East District’s specialty is utilities infrastructure, things like power, sewer and water,” said Paxton. In our terminology, each individual piece of something is a “facility”, those pieces would go together to form a “component”. Components can be rolled up to be a complex, such as a base camp.
“The AFCS is an incredible program where the warfighter can quickly pull information to build whatever they may need anywhere in the world,” said Jung. "Our design agents, like TAM, have a huge impact on that data (designs, bills of materials, estimates and schedules) feeding directly to those warfighters."