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Joint Logistics for the

In his first article in the November–December issue, the author discussed the need for centralized command and control in the U.S. European Command. Here, he describes how this can be accomplished.

The problems encountered by U.S. European Command (EUCOM) while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom strongly support having a single organization that is responsible for theater logistics. In the November–December issue of Army Logistician, I discussed several options that are available to a combatant commander (COCOM) that would enable the command to provide effective logistics for a joint operation. One of these is a Joint Theater Logistics Command (JTLC), which would provide joint command and control of logistics activities within the theater and allow the COCOM to focus on other operational issues.

If a COCOM is convinced of the benefits of a joint logistics command and control element, what are the basic methods and principles on which to establish such an organization? A COCOM may exercise his authority, as outlined in Joint Publication (JP) 0–2, Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF), to establish a standing functional component command to operate in both peacetime and wartime as the COCOM’s single face for logistics in the theater. When establishing a JTLC, the COCOM must empower the JTLC commander with a clearly specified level of directive authority for logistics (DAFL) necessary to fulfill the mission and roles assigned. Naturally, the delegated level of authority can be increased or decreased, as appropriate, in noncontingency or contingency environments. The JTLC would operate as a separate joint functional command reporting directly to the COCOM, thus alleviating concerns that the organization would be responsive only to the needs of one particular service. As a joint functional command, the JTLC would be on par with other service component commands and could be commanded by any service.

Personnel Structure

Perhaps the biggest impediment to a JTLC is the perceived manpower bill to the services. To create manpower positions for a JTLC, an equal number of positions must be cut elsewhere. Fortunately, the efficiencies gained through a collaborative joint approach to theater logistics are likely to result in a personnel reduction for some redundant, stovepiped functions. The Joint Manpower Program provides the framework for developing the organizational mission, determining personnel requirements, and validating and resourcing those requirements through the Joint Chiefs of Staff and each of the services.

Within EUCOM, most of the personnel required for a JTLC are already available. A JTLC could be built from three primary building blocks. The first component is the EUCOM Deployment and Distribution Operations Center (EDDOC), which currently is part of the EUCOM J–4. The EDDOC’s mission is to support EUCOM by linking strategic deployment and distribution processes to operational requirements. The EDDOC’s ultimate goal is to improve end-to-end distribution and facilitate the customer’s ability to identify the status of his shipments at any point in the global distribution pipeline.

The second JTLC component is the forward-based portion of the Army Theater Sustainment Command in U.S. Army Europe (TSC-Forward). This contribution would include the headquarters of the deployable command post and theater opening and theater distribution staff detachments. The TSC-Forward is designed to be a joint-capable headquarters when appropriately augmented with joint enablers known as a joint plug.

These joint logistics plugs are the third JTLC component and are specifically designed to fill the joint capabilities shortfall. This shortfall derives from the assigned JTLC mission and manpower requirements identified in the Joint Manpower Program that are not filled by the EDDOC or TSC-Forward. The joint plug concept is a companion to the Army’s modular force concept. New modular Army units are designed to be “plug and play” in order to allow a flexible, task-organized contribution to a joint campaign. Similarly, scalable, modular joint logistics plugs could be developed to meet the requirements of the COCOM’s JTLC.

Other Considerations

Total asset visibility is central to the ability of the JTLC to manage theater logistics and maintain situational awareness of all support resources in the area of responsibility (AOR) or joint operations area (JOA). A fully collaborative, distributed, globally networked information technology solution backed by joint business rules provides the enabling capability for the JTLC.

A JTLC also must be able to deploy a joint logistics command and control capability anywhere within the theater while continuing to provide rear-area logistics command and control. Having both forward- and rear-area logistics command and control would provide continuity throughout the transition from noncontingency to contingency operations.

A JTLC theoretically could deploy an element outside of a forward-deployed theater, such as EUCOM. However, it then would require a backfill from the continental United States (CONUS), effectively reducing the value of deploying it in the first place. For contingencies outside of a forward-deployed theater, it would be more advantageous to deploy a CONUS-based joint logistics capability.

For the sake of clarity, I will borrow the term “joint force support component command” (JFSCC) from the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) when referring to the JTLC element that is deployed in support of a joint task force (JTF).

What effect would the creation of a JTLC have on the COCOM’s J–4 staff? The COCOM J–4 would remain responsible for strategic and deliberate planning, coordination, and interface with the Joint Staff J–4, policy and guidance for functional components deployed with or in support of a JTF, and coordination with supporting and supported COCOMs. The role of the JTLC, by contrast, would focus on theater-level logistics requirements and execution.

JTLC Roles in a Noncontingency Operation

The primary mission of a JTLC is to serve as the COCOM’s single point of contact for ensuring effective and efficient execution of theater-level logistics. Emerging concepts recently published by JFCOM suggest that the JTLC would—

• Prepare estimates based on the COCOM’s mission guidance for operations.
• Conduct logistics and sustainment analyses and transportation feasibility studies.
• Monitor and analyze the logistics situation and make adjustments within the parameters of the COCOM’s intent and guidance.
• Manage logistics functional centers.
• Allocate logistics resources according to the COCOM’s priorities.
• Advise the COCOM J–4 on logistics readiness, the current situation, and possible shortfalls.

To execute this mission, the JTLC should be commanded by a general or flag officer selected from one of the services. Either the commander or the deputy commander likely would be an Army officer who also is responsible for executing Title 10 responsibilities on behalf of the Army service component command.

The JTLC could be organized around a number of different functional offices or centers that correspond to the joint functions and capabilities assigned by the COCOM. These functional centers could include the DDOC, a joint petroleum office, a joint medical logistics center, a joint materiel management center, a joint munitions management team, a joint theater distribution team, a joint blood program office, and a joint common item repair and maintenance team. The JTLC would oversee joint tasks that routinely occur in a noncontingency environment. The JTLC also could have a liaison section composed of coalition, host nation, and multi-agency representatives.

JTLC Roles in a Contingency

In a contingency, EUCOM could establish a JTF and subordinate functional component commands. In this scenario, the JTLC could form and deploy a JFSCC under the JTF commander. The JFSCC commander would focus exclusively on the JTF area of operations, while the remaining JTLC elements would retain control over the rest of the theater. EUCOM could expand the level of DAFL as necessary to support the mission and apportion additional service logistics assets to the JFSCC. With additional joint logistics forces, the JFSCC would be able to execute operational-level logistics tasks previously executed by the service components.

In addition to the functions provided by the JTLC during noncontingency operations, a JFSCC also would conduct joint theater opening and reception; operate the Joint Contracting Center, the Joint Engineering Center, and the Joint Patient Movement Center; and provide mortuary affairs operations, joint service support, and an airdrop support team.

In a contingency environment, the EDDOC (now a subcomponent of the JTLC) also would expand to meet increased mission requirements. Initially, the EDDOC would be augmented with theater personnel. In a large contingency, the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) would provide additional personnel with expertise in strategic air and sea movements.

From the augmented EDDOC, a deployable element would go forward with the JFSCC. The EDDOC-Forward would carry the same information technology systems that it uses at home station. The EDDOC-Forward would communicate battlefield priorities and requirements with the EDDOC home station.

JTLC and JFSCC Employment Scenario

The following scenario is intentionally generic in order to remain unclassified. The intent is to illustrate how the JTLC and JFSCC concepts would support a contingency operation.

On receipt of a warning order for a small-scale contingency in “Atlantica,” the JTLC coordinates with the COCOM J–3 and J–4 staff to develop a deployment concept. The JTLC planners have Joint Operations Planning and Execution System (JOPES) capability and provide input to the time-phased force and deployment data. Using the visibility it already has over service stocks and readiness, the JTLC provides readiness assessments and recommends the cross-leveling needed to outfit deploying units. The JTLC coordinates with the national strategic partners, such as TRANSCOM, JFCOM, and the Defense Logistics Agency, to ensure understanding of the COCOM’s requirements and directs the “fort to port” effort.

If the COCOM establishes a JTF, a portion of the JTLC forms a JFSCC. The JFSCC deploys into the AOR, while the remaining portion of the JTLC retains rear-area logistics command and control. If necessary, a two-star, joint-capable theater sustainment command can deploy from CONUS to augment or serve as the JFSCC. The JTF commander may choose to attach some service logistics forces to the JFSCC.

The JFSCC coordinates theater opening with TRANSCOM Joint Task Force-Port Opening (JTF PO) assets or Tanker Airlift Control Element and 7th Group assets. The JFSCC develops the theater distribution plan and theater support plan and may direct a push of sustainment materiel before service logistics activities submit requisitions. The JFSCC also establishes a joint contingency contracting cell and a joint engineering office.

Once the theater is open, the JFSCC supports the joint reception, staging, and onward movement process, using an attached sustainment brigade or force service support group assets. Depending on the size of the operation, the JFSCC can be augmented by additional joint-capable, deployable command posts from CONUS and additional joint plugs. The JFSCC receives requirements and then prioritizes and assigns lift assets based on the JTF J–3’s operational requirements. The JFSCC coordinates directly with the Director of Mobility Forces—the Air Force designated authority for all air mobility issues in the AOR—for execution of air mobility missions, including airdrop, air land, and patient movement requirements. The Director of Mobility Forces and the Air Mobility Division could remain in the Joint Force Air Component Command, as is called for in doctrine, or become part of the JFSCC. The JFSCC ensures that all critical nodes are outfitted with radio frequency identification interrogators and maintains the logistics common operating picture. The JFSCC synchronizes end-to-end inter- and intra-theater distribution operations and coordinates with the rear-area JTLC. The JFSCC establishes and executes the joint mortuary affairs mission using operationally controlled assets. Finally, when the mission is complete, the JFSCC coordinates the redeployment and directs the
foxhole-to-port movement.

The JTLC/JFSCC concepts obviously help the joint force establish the theater base; perform joint reception, staging, and onward movement; and support decisive operations. These concepts, if adopted, facilitate the COCOM’s ability to focus joint logistics effects. Is the addition of this capability sufficient to overcome the institutional opposition to joint logistics command and control?

Relationships Within EUCOM

The second largest institutional obstacle to a JTLC (after a potential personnel bill) is the perceived loss of control over theater logistics assets. At the heart of this issue are the relationships among the JTLC/JFSCC, EUCOM, and the other service component commands and functional commands.

EUCOM Directive 55–11, USEUCOM Theater Command and Control Policy, states that the EUCOM commander must have flexible joint command and control and the ability to command and control assigned forces engaged in multiple, simultaneous operations; the ability to project command throughout the AOR; and the ability to integrate reachback and support for all operations. The directive also lists five fundamentals of EUCOM command relationships—

• Unity of command. This means that all forces operate under a single commander. Direction and collaborative parallel planning are centralized; however, execution should be decentralized.
• Trust. This is implied when a commander delegates responsibilities and authorities to a subordinate commander.
• Presence. This requires effective working relationships at all levels (for example, nation to nation, superior to subordinate, and peer to peer). It is imperative to set the conditions and establish theater relationships, such as a JTLC, so that the structure is in place and available in a contingency.
• Flexibility. The joint force must be prepared to respond across the entire range of military operations.
• Experience. Experience is gained through exercises, training events, and most important, by operating the command and control structure on a standing basis.

Because of the sensitivities involved, the COCOM must clearly define command and control relationships in the order establishing the JTLC. The central issue is the perceived infringement of a JTLC on service component authorities. The secretaries of the military departments are responsible for supplying, equipping, servicing, and maintaining their forces. JP 0–2 effectively limits the application of DAFL under peacetime conditions by requiring its exercise in a manner “consistent with the peacetime limitations imposed by legislation, DOD policy or regulations, budgetary considerations, and other specific conditions prescribed by the Secretary of Defense or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” It is clear from this statement that DAFL should not result in a financial injustice among the services or a loss of ownership of service assets.

The command relationships between the JTLC/JFSCC and the service components will differ in noncontingency and contingency environments. In a noncontingency environment, the JTLC would operate as a joint command, on a par with the other service component commands. Each service component would maintain its own logistics staff and coordinate with the JTLC in a manner similar to its current relationship to the COCOM J–4. Service components would execute their responsibilities using their assigned logistics capabilities. However, the JTLC would maintain visibility over logistics status, requirements, and assets and could exercise DAFL to the extent identified by the COCOM.

One aspect of this DAFL is cross-servicing to improve efficiency and reduce redundancy. In order to avoid conflicts among service authorities, cross-servicing must be based on reimbursable, cost-sharing, or “exchange of services in kind” interservice support agreements. For example, the JTLC could direct the Army to repair an Air Force vehicle, based on its knowledge of current excess capacity at the Army maintenance site. When the repair is completed, the Air Force would provide a military interdepartmental purchase request (MIPR) to cover the repair cost.

JP 0–2 states that, in a contingency, “the logistic authority of combatant commands enables them to use all facilities and supplies of all forces assigned and/or attached to their commands as necessary for the accomplishment of their missions.” This broadened DAFL likely would be passed from the COCOM to the JTLC. The JTLC is structured so that it can form and deploy a JFSCC into a JTF AOR if the mission requires it. Mission requirements also could prompt the JTF commander to place some service logistics assets under the operational or tactical control of the JFSCC.

Operational control is the authority to perform those functions of command that involve organizing and employing commands and forces, assigning tasks, designating objectives, and giving authoritative direction of military operations and joint training necessary to accomplish missions assigned to the command. Tactical control is the authority to direct the use of logistics assets, but it does not provide authority to change organizational structure or direct administrative and logistics support. As with the operational control relationship, the parent unit retains responsibility for logistics support to a unit under the tactical control of another unit.

Under both operational and tactical control, tasked units retain administrative control linkages with their respective service components. The JTF commander considers the effect on these links when specifying the command relationship. He may place any restriction on an attachment order that he believes is necessary to facilitate support.

Roadmap to Establishing a JTLC in EUCOM

Making the leap to a JTLC should not be taken lightly, especially in view of the sensitivities involved. To avoid any appearance of bias, EUCOM should enlist the support of JFCOM. Part of JFCOM’s mission is to develop, explore, test, and validate 21st-century joint concepts for our Nation’s warfighters. -The JFCOM J–9, the Joint Experimentation Directorate, has the lead for transformation research and analysis for the Department of Defense. JFCOM has established a partnership with U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) in order to “devise a strategy to improve Joint Theater Logistics in USFK through iterative exercises and war games and the subsequent application of DOTMLPF [doctrine, organizations, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities] solutions and enablers which will provide the USFK Commander the ability to exercise the most effective Command and Control over operational level logistics.”

The RSOI (reception, staging, onward movement, and integration) 05 exercise conducted in Korea last March by the Republic of Korea and USFK demonstrated the value of joint theater logistics command and control. After the unanimous endorsement of the joint logistics command concept in the after-action review, the USFK commander directed his staff to move forward with implementation. A JFCOM team spent several months in Korea assessing the optimal organizational construct for joint logistics in Korea. EUCOM should follow USFK’s lead and partner with JFCOM to assess the benefits of joint theater logistics organizational constructs for the EUCOM AOR.

Once the EUCOM senior leaders express the desire to create a JTLC, the Joint Manpower Program process can begin. This process can be used to develop the joint plugs and to document the end-state JTLC/JFSCC. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction (CJCSI) 1001.01, Joint Manpower and Personnel Program, provides policy and establishes responsibilities and procedures for determining, validating, documenting, and maintaining joint manpower requirements. Joint manpower requirements are documented on a joint table of distribution and are captured on the Joint Duty Assignment List.

The first step in the Joint Manpower Program is for EUCOM to describe the JTLC mission, including specific tasks and functions. The second step is to determine the minimum manpower (military and civilian) needed to accomplish the mission effectively and efficiently. To do this, EUCOM must compare the total JTLC manpower requirements with the positions that currently exist in the EDDOC and TSC-Forward. The shortfall determines the necessary JTLC standing joint plug. At the same time, EUCOM should determine the requirements for a JFSCC. A portion of the JTLC standing joint plug would deploy with the TSC-Forward and a portion of the EDDOC to create the basis of the JFSCC. However, EUCOM may choose to develop a modular, CONUS-based joint plug to deploy and augment the JFSCC. A third type of joint plug may be developed to backfill the deployed portion of the JTLC standing joint plug.

The third step in the JMP is to validate and resource manpower requirements. These requirements must be coordinated with, and approved by, the Joint Staff and the services. The fourth step is to document funded requirements. The services use the approved joint table of distribution to update their internal service manpower systems. The service manpower systems, in turn, feed data to the service personnel systems, which generate personnel assignment actions. Ultimately, personnel with appropriate skills and grades are assigned to the approved joint positions.

Department of Defense logistics transformation efforts, coupled with lessons learned in recent wars, point to the value and need for a joint approach to logistics. Future wars undoubtedly will be fought in a joint, interagency, and multinational environment. EUCOM can choose several methods to achieve joint logistics effects. However, the only method that achieves unity of command over logistics and frees the J–4 staff from operational-level logistics execution is the creation of a JTLC. A JTLC brings together expertise across a wide range of joint logistics functions to coordinate and execute joint logistics. Its potential value in war should not be understated. The EUCOM commander can appoint a JTF with subordinate functional component commands and deploy JTLC elements to form a JFSCC. The JTLC/JFSCC provides a single command and control element, armed with DAFL, to ensure that joint logistics functions are executed in accordance with the EUCOM or JTF commander’s priorities. Without a single, empowered logistics commander, the EUCOM commander has no assurance that logistics operations are being effectively monitored, executed, and managed.

If JTLC concepts are adopted, EUCOM’s ability to direct joint logistics operations will increase exponentially. Today, EUCOM has its J–4, the EDDOC at initial operating capability, a few joint boards, a few informal agreements such as the European Intermodal Distribution concept of operations, and service logistics assets. In the near future, the EDDOC will achieve full operating capability, informal agreements will be formalized, and service logistics assets will be transformed. Later, EUCOM will have a modular TSC-Forward at its disposal but still under U.S. Army Europe. At end state, the EUCOM commander will still have his J–4 for policy, strategic and deliberate planning, and coordination with the other COCOMs, but he also will have a JTLC working directly for him with all of the capabilities described above. This JTLC will dramatically increase the capacity for joint effectiveness and efficiency, ultimately improving the level of support provided to tomorrow’s joint warfighters.

Randy S. Kendrick is a joint logistics planner with the U.S. Army Europe G–4 Logistics Transformation Planning Task Force. He has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Grove City College and a master’s degree in business administration from Cameron University. He is a graduate of the Army Logistics Management College’s Logistics Executive Development Course.