Army Commander’s Maintenance Evaluation Team (COMET) Program Overview

In today’s post, I want to share 14 things you should know about the Army’s COMET Program.  I want to educate small unit leaders about the program, so they have a basic understanding of how it works.  By no means will this article make you an expert on the COMET, but it’s a great starting point to increase your situational awareness. Please refer to NGB Regulation 750-1 for additional details.

# 1 The acronym COMET stands for Commander’s Maintenance Evaluation Team.

# 2 The purpose of the COMET Program is to provide State Adjutants General and commanders at all levels the following information:

  • Appraise the level and quality of unit maintenance management and the current readiness status of Army National Guard units or organizations.
  • Assess supply operations that relate to maintenance; i.e. repair parts, tools, Basic Issue Items (BII), publications, and training
  • Measure driver/crew proficiency in maintenance and operator-level Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services (PMCS)
  • Evaluate the commander’s use of M-Day resources to maintain equipment readiness within the unit.
  • Assess the combat readiness and sustainability of equipment
  • Identify systemic issues within the State affecting maintenance operations and equipment readiness that require additional effort and/or assistance
  • Indicate if actions taken to fix faults found during prior COMET, Inspector General (IG), Command Logistics Review Team, Expanded (CLRTX), Army Audit Agency (AAA), and General Accounting Office (GAO)

# 3 All Army National Guard units will receive a COMET inspection once every 24 to 30 months. The evaluations will be conducted at a separate detachment, company, troop, and battery level as appropriate.

# 4 MAIT (Maintenance Inspection Team) personnel will not participate in COMET evaluations, command evaluations, annual general evaluations, annual training evaluations, spot checks, roadside evaluations; command logistics review teams, or any other command evaluation program IAW AR 750-1.

# 5 Units receiving an unsatisfactory rating will be monitored by their “in State” higher headquarters which must schedule a re-evaluation within 180 days after the initial evaluation. The unit’s higher headquarters will monitor the unit’s correction of faults and will coordinate a re-evaluation with the SMM.

# 6 All COMET related data will be consolidated and recorded on NGB Form 811 COMET Summary Report and submitted semiannually to ARNG-ILZ ILL-M on the 15th of April and October respectively.

# 7 All units are given advanced notification of an evaluation. The intent of the advanced notification is to provide for proper protocol, of a scheduled evaluation. Prior coordination with training personnel (i.e. DCSOPS) is essential to ensure unit personnel, equipment, and records are available on the date of the evaluation.

# 8 The COMET will strive to evaluate unit maintenance programs as they are conducted on a day-to-day basis.

# 9 A COMET evaluation will not be suspended or converted to an assistance visit to avoid an unsatisfactory assessment. Units will correct faults in all areas rated unsatisfactory, prior to re-evaluation.

# 10 States will retain records of all evaluations for four years.

# 11 The Evaluation Team Chief will be a commissioned officer, warrant officer or senior non-commissioned officer. Team members must be fully qualified in the commodity areas they will evaluate. Their evaluation must be professional, impartial, and instructional to the unit being evaluated.  All personnel require a security clearance.

# 12 Unsatisfactory areas will be re-evaluated within 180 days.

# 13 The COMET program is a command evaluation tool that must be used in conjunction with other command evaluations, both formal and informal, to evaluate the effectiveness of unit level maintenance operations.

# 14 The evaluations are conducted during Inactive Duty Training assemblies (IDT) to maximize mentorship of the MDay soldier and their conduct of unit maintenance activities.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that the COMET inspection is designed to assess a unit’s combat readiness of their equipment.  As a small unit leader, you have the responsibility to make sure your unit (and its equipment) is prepared for its wartime mission at all times.   Receiving a good score on the COMET inspection should be the result of having a great maintenance and equipment readiness program.

On a side note, what are your thoughts?  If you have ever gone through a COMET inspection before, I would love to hear from you.  How did your unit do?  What did you do to prepare for the inspection?  What did you learn from the experience?  Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

References

National Guard Regulation 750-1

Sincerely,
chuck holmes







Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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6 thoughts on “Army Commander’s Maintenance Evaluation Team (COMET) Program Overview”

  1. I took over training, land, ammunition, and the arms room after my unit failed repeated inspections with less than 25% of potential points being attained as an SPC and did the job until I got out. I was moved to a line unit for 3 months and during that time they failed and I was brought right back. After 2 months back and for the duration of my tenure at JBLM, we achieved over a 98% and were always ready, even getting runner-up in the Army logistics competition the next year for supply excellence. I will say that COMET is ineffective as a tool only because the Army demands a heads-up for inspections rather than a drop in to actually see how units work. Typically what this entailed ” before I took over” was 7 days per week with teams of Soldiers creating and modifying paperwork to look presentable until the inspection occurred (sometimes this was a month or more away). This was my experience in every unit and even while walking through other units it was clear they were not mission ready. This was single-handedly the biggest issue I ever encountered in the Army and was a problem in every unit and installation I visited. I had/ have a great relationship with COMET and respect what they do, however, I do not respect the poor leadership that allows a unit to fall apart which was most often the case at the company level. Most of this was senior level NCOs being lazy and passing the responsibility to lower level NCO or junior enlisted personnel while giving them no time to actually get work done. Rarely did the officers understand how screwed up things were because of all the extra taskings and random orders that came down the pipeline. I am proud of what we did for several years and it came to my attention that 6 months after I got out our unit failed to maintain any additional paperwork and the continuity books which resulted in them getting reprimanded severely. I just found it funny that an E6 (P) and E7 “I’m not using ranks because they do not embrace the NCO Creed in any degree”, could not pull off what I was accomplishing from SPC to SGT (P). They also did not have any other duties. A big change is needed to make COMET effective for anything other than PR in my professional opinion. Also, I am not salty or anything, I am just telling you all the exact experience that I and my peers had, which we still discuss over beers on occasion. A brand new NCO being rated against E6 and E7 should not get a promote above peers when they were who I was being rated against. It left a bad feeling most definitely, but I was more concerned about increased potential injuries and deaths to be honest. I will add that one of our 1SG and CPT were fired, CPT was also charged $75k for losing items he signed for from supply. So in that regard, Karma did show them out briefly, although the 1SG is now a CSM which blows my mind.

  2. Great post! The Army’s COMET program does not get enough recognition. Let’s face it – if your COMET inspection is compromised in any way, you are doomed. Seriously. This is one of those areas that cannot be faked or manipulated. There are some things we just have to recognize and support to take care of one another. This is one of them.

  3. I am in total agreement with maintenance evaluation teams such as COMET. There is only one part of this that I have always been in disagreement with. Many civilian companies along with the military do this–giving a “heads up” when evaluators are going to come. What happens is: everyone “jumps through hoops” to look better. It becomes a false look as to how the operation normally runs. There should be times of walk in evaluations. This would provide a better idea how things operate at all times. Just my opinion….how do you feel about that?

      1. Are surprise inspections ever used Chuck? It just seems to me that the whole purpose is defeated without them from time to time. Sure, all in all, no one likes a surprise inspection, but that is how the serious problems will be caught. Hopefully someone who is in the position of making them happen will read this and get the point.

        As a commander, did you ever use surprise inspections? If I were in the position, I would.

    1. Good point. If you think about this, it really is too important to let folks know about pending inspections. It is human nature to prepare and find ways to look good for inspections. But here’s the thing – lives depend on leaders being able to pass these inspections with no warnings. If your unit is not in tip-top shape, you are risking lives. That is always the bottom line in the military, whether you are a citizen soldier, a professional soldier, or whatever.

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