The Army’s materiel release process is a comprehensive, disciplined, and collaborative effort across the Army’s enterprise ensuring materiel is safe, suitable, and supportable prior to release and fielding to the Warfighter. This process is governed by Army Regulation (AR) 770-3 and led by the respective Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology) (ASA(ALT)) Materiel Developer (MATDEV). It includes key stakeholders from the Capability Developer, Test, Major Command, and Major Subordinate Command communities.
Materiel release planning and execution begins early in the materiel’s life cycle during design and development and continues into test and production. ASA(ALT) is the proponent for the Army’s materiel release process and AR 770-3. The Army Materiel Command assists ASA(ALT) with oversight of the process at each Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC). The LCMC Commanding General (CG) is the designated Materiel Release Authority (MRA) for each LCMC’s commodity. As an example, the Aviation and Missile Command CG is the MRA for the Army’s missile and aviation systems.
Types of Materiel Releases
There are four main types of materiel release: Full, Urgent, Training, and Software.
Full Materiel Release (FMR): FMR is achieved when all safety, suitability, and supportability requirements are met. It is a comprehensive process requiring 31 separate certifications or statements from a myriad of stakeholders across the safety, suitability, and supportability domains internal and external to the MATDEV.
The respective stakeholders attest through this documentation that the materiel change is safe when operated within its stated parameters; it has been fully tested; it meets all operational requirements; and it is suitable for employment by the Warfighter as well as logistically supportable within the environment it is intended to operate. Documentation examples include Safety and Health Data Sheet, Safety Confirmation, Health Hazard Assessment, Army Interoperability Certification, Software Suitability and Supportability Statement, Transportability Approval, and Supportability Certification.
In circumstances where the stakeholder may cite conditions (deficiencies) in its certification or statement, the MATDEV must develop a Get Well Plan (GWP) including actions necessary to mitigate and resolve cited deficiencies and target dates actions will be complete. GWPs must be coordinated with and accepted by the submitting stakeholder and Gaining Command. At this juncture, an FMR will no longer be possible until all cited conditions have been resolved and accepted by the submitting stakeholders. A Conditional Materiel Release (CMR) will result and the GWP is included in the materiel release package for review and approval by the MRA. All conditions must be resolved within three years from the materiel release approval date and are tracked in the Materiel Release Tracking System (MRTS). Once all GWP conditions are resolved and accepted, the CMR converts to an FMR and subsequently retired in MRTS.
Urgent Materiel Release (UMR): An UMR may be leveraged when operational, training, or readiness requirements or capability gaps dictate swift action to expeditiously provide the materiel change to the Warfighter. This approach must be supported with and executed in accordance with (IAW) Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) written guidance in the form of a Directed Requirement, Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statement (JUONS), Joint Emerging UONS, Rapid Equipping Force 10 Liners, or a combatant command general officer or civilian equivalent written request submitted to the HQDA Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, or G-8. UMR requires only the minimum safety related stakeholder certifications or statements to achieve approval; however, UMR must be followed by a FMR IAW AR 770-3.
Training Materiel Release (TMR): A TMR is applicable to materiel fielded to the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) institutional training base and training sites for the purposes of student training and training material development. Because stakeholder certifications and statements across the safety, suitability, and supportability domains are tailored based on the scope of planned training material, criteria, and activities, the TMR does not require all 31 certifications and statements as does the FMR. The MATDEV will tailor these requirements in coordination with and acceptance by TRADOC and the respective stakeholder.
Software Materiel Release (SMR): In contrast with a FMR, UMR, or TMR, which involves hardware or hardware and software, a SMR involves changes to software and firmware including programs, routines, and symbolic languages that control hardware function and operation. It does not include hardware.
A SMR may take the form of a Full SMR (FSMR), Conditional SMR (CSMR), or Urgent SMR (USMR) and requires the same level of documentation and coordination as an FMR or UMR such as HQDA approved direction like that required for UMR, coordination and acceptance of GWPs like that required for CMR, and resolution of GWPs within three years of SMR approval and conversion to FSMR like that for an FMR. SMR required stakeholder certifications and statements are less than that required for FMR but span all three domains: safety, suitability, and supportability.
In circumstances where software changes do not meet the criteria for SMR, the materiel change may be pursued as a Software Release (SR). Like SMR, SRs may take the form of a Full SR, Conditional SR, Urgent SR, or Dataset SR and require the same level of documentation and coordination as mentioned above for SMR.
Meet the Experts:
Ms. Mary E. Wingo, Senior Logistics Advisor for JS Solutions (JSS), is assigned to the Program Executive Office, Aviation (PEO AV), G-4, and previously in the Apache Attack Helicopter (AAH) Project Office where she led Plans and Policy with significant focus on planning, implementation, and execution of materiel release for AAH new development and modernization/upgrade efforts across the AAH portfolio.
In this role, she worked closely with a myriad of stakeholders internal and external to AAH ensuring all required documentation, data, and information is available for and provided to the stakeholder community for use in developing required certifications and statements to achieve materiel release approval and commencement of fielding IAW planned timeframes. At the G-4, Ms. Wingo continues these efforts through support to all PEO AV project offices with materiel release guidance, assistance, and processes across the PEO AV portfolio.
With over 33 years of acquisition and sustainment logistics experience, Ms. Wingo possesses extensive knowledge, expertise, and experience in which to guide and train members of our workforce in acquisition and materiel release as well as developing, updating, and implementing required program documentation to successfully acquire and provide safe, suitable, and supportable equipment to the Warfighter.
Mr. Matt Backus, Logistics Management Specialist at JSS, focuses on integrated logistics support in the AAH Sensors Product Office. He is deeply involved in strategic planning and execution of logistics processes for new development and modernization/upgrade of Sensors products including life cycle product support, contract requirements package development and oversight from requirements generation through design, development, test, production, and fielding.
The Acquisition Logistics Experts at JS Solutions are tasked with performing decomposition/functional analysis, systems analysis, and cost analysis to develop system level requirements for both new and existing products. They evaluate systems and devices for inclusion within a project portfolio, prepare acquisition planning documentation for related systems, and perform strategic communication and interface with internal and external agencies and departments. The synergy of the JSS team allows them to maximize their collective knowledge base so they can anticipate and resolve issues during the materiel release process while keeping budgetary constraints in mind. While their team is small, they bring a wide range of experience and resources to the table.