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What DOD Logisticians
Should Know About the Army

As U.S. military operations become increasingly joint in nature and often include the involvement of other Government agencies and coalition partners, Department of Defense (DOD) logisticians—both military and civilian—need a basic understanding of the organizational structure and logistics-related aspects of all of the services, not just the service to which they are assigned. This article, on the Army, is the fourth in a series surveying all of the armed services.

Sustaining Deployed Army Forces

The Army is the Nation’s senior service, founded in 1775. It also has the most personnel of any of the services. From a logistics perspective, it has unique characteristics that present challenges not faced by the other services. For instance, unlike the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps amphibious forces, the Army depends wholly on the other services and the civilian sector for strategic transportation.

Moreover, as the primary U.S. land force, Army forces deploy to remote locations and disperse over a wide area. This pattern of operations compounds the difficulties involved in supply chain management. In such a distributed, noncontiguous environment, the Army often confronts multiple transportation stops, potential mode changes (air to land, rail to road, sea to air, sea to land), and transload configuration changes (individual items being moved from 40-foot containers into 20-foot containers, or from 463L pallets to palletized load system [PLS] trucks, or from multipack boxes to parts bins). Moreover, the software, hardware, telecommunications devices, computers, and automatic identification technology that constitute an effective logistics management information network must be linked over extended distances and in austere environments. Thousands of information input sites are distributed over vast, noncontiguous spaces. Frankly, providing cost-effective, responsive, and visible sustainment to such a force is a formidable task.

For instance, for a logistics information network to be able to track the quantity of a certain type of truck tire available within an area of operations like Iraq, all of the on-hand visibility data associated with that type of tire must be transmitted to the network server daily, or preferably twice daily. This means that every unit and support battalion within the area of operations—and there could be over a thousand units and many support units—that has or needs the tire must transmit this information to a centralized data repository. However, unlike a Navy ship or an Air Force base, forward-deployed Army units do not have telecommunications land lines or habitual satellite links. Providing logistics support and obtaining reliable logistics information in this type of environment, especially when forces frequently relocate, is indeed a Herculean task. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how the Army is currently structured and then review the transformational changes underway or planned.

The Total Army

The Army consists of three components: the Active Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve. The Army budget for fiscal year 2006 projects that the Active Army will have 482,000 soldiers, the Army National Guard will have 350,000 soldiers, and the Army Reserve 205,000. There also will be about 233,000 Department of the Army civilians.

The Army Reserve is controlled by the Federal Government and serves solely as a Federal reserve to the Active Army. Army National Guard units may be controlled by either a state or the Federal Government, depending on the circumstances. The Army National Guard force structure consists of combat, combat support, and combat service support (CSS) units, while the Army Reserve force is composed primarily of combat support and CSS units.

Army Organization

From smallest to largest, the Army is organized by squad, platoon, company (called a troop by cavalry forces and a battery by artillery forces), battalion (called a squadron by cavalry forces), brigade (called a group by logistics forces or Special Forces), division, corps, and Army service component command (ASCC).

Often called “The Ultimate Weapon,” the soldier is the foundation of the Army. A squad is considered the smallest element within the Army. It typically has 9 or 10 soldiers and is led by a sergeant or staff sergeant. Two or more squads make up a platoon, which usually has 16 to 44 soldiers and is led by a lieutenant. Three to five platoons make up a company, which is commanded by a captain and contains from 62 to 190 soldiers. Currently, companies are the smallest Army elements to be routinely assigned unit identification codes (UICs) and Department of Defense activity address codes (DODAACs).

Four to six companies constitute a battalion, which is commanded by a lieutenant colonel and has from 300 to 1,000 soldiers. Two to five battalions form a brigade, which is commanded by a colonel and has from 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers. Three or more brigades typically constitute a division, which is commanded by a major general and has from 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers. Two or more divisions form a corps, which is commanded by a lieutenant general and has from 20,000 to 45,000 soldiers. The Army’s largest sub-organization is the ASCC. It typically has 50,000 or more soldiers, is made up of two or more corps, and is commanded by a lieutenant general or general.

The Army currently has 10 active-duty divisions: the 1st Armored Division and the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) in Germany; the 2d Infantry Division in Korea; the 25th Infantry Division (Light) at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, New York; the 82d Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; the 1st Cavalry Division and the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Hood, Texas; and the 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Some of these divisions have a brigade based at another location.

Armored and mechanized infantry divisions are equipped with armored vehicles (primarily M1 Abrams tanks, M2/3 Bradley fighting vehicles, and M113 armored personnel carriers). Armored divisions have more tanks than mechanized infantry divisions.

There are four active-duty corps headquarters: the V Corps in Germany, which oversees the 1st Armored and 1st Infantry Divisions; the III Corps at Fort Hood, which oversees the 1st Cavalry and 4th Infantry Divisions; the I Corps at Fort Lewis, Washington, which oversees the 2d and 25th Infantry Divisions; and the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, which oversees the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions, 10th Mountain Division, and 3d Infantry Division.

The five theater-level ASCCs are U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR), which is headquartered in Germany and covers the U.S. European Command’s area of responsibility; U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), which is headquartered in Hawaii and covers the U.S. Pacific Command’s area of responsibility; U.S. Army South (USARSO), which is headquartered in Texas and covers the U.S. Southern Command’s area of responsibility; Third U.S. Army, which is headquartered in Georgia and covers U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility; and Eighth U.S. Army (EUSA), which is headquartered in Korea.

Major Army Commands

In addition to the five ASCCs, the Army also includes the following major Army commands (MACOMs): Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), Army Special Operations Command, Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Army Materiel Command (AMC), Army Medical Command, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC)—formerly called the Army Military Traffic Management Command, Army Intelligence and Security Command, Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Army Corps of Engineers, Army Criminal Investigation Command, and Army Military District of Washington. The following describes the MACOMs that play the largest roles in logistics.

Like the Air Force’s Air Combat Command, the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command, and the Marine Corps’ Marine Forces Atlantic, FORSCOM is an integral part of the U.S. Joint Forces Command and provides forces to the unified combatant commands. It is the Army’s largest MACOM and is headquartered at Fort McPherson, Georgia. FORSCOM consists of more than 760,000 Active Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve soldiers. It trains, mobilizes, deploys, and sustains combat-ready forces that are capable of responding rapidly to crises worldwide.

TRADOC recruits, trains, and educates the Army’s soldiers, develops leaders, supports unit training, develops doctrine, establishes standards, and designs the future Army. TRADOC is headquartered at Fort Monroe, Virginia, and has three subordinate commands: the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; the Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) at Fort Lee, Virginia; and the Maneuver Support Center at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. CASCOM is the focal point for most of the Army’s logistics training and doctrine development, with the notable exceptions of medical- and engineer-related training.

SDDC provides global surface deployment command and control and distribution operations. Similar to the Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) and the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, the SDDC is an integral part of the U.S. Transportation Command. Its two critical missions are cargo distribution and port management. SDDC develops transportation contracts and container-leasing agreements and oversees the transportation management of fuel, ammunition, combat vehicles, food, and other commodities destined for locations throughout the world. SDDC serves as the single port manager at 25 locations worldwide and, as such, is responsible for all aspects of ship loading and unloading. SDDC’s Transportation Engineering Agency, at Newport News, Virginia, researches and publishes information about worldwide ports, vessel and aircraft loading procedures, and transportation techniques associated with rail, road, air, and sea movement.

Army Materiel Command

Like TRADOC and SDDC, AMC has a significant impact on operational logistics. It is comparable to the Air Force Materiel Command, the Naval Supply Systems Command, and the Marine Corps Logistics Command. AMC is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness, including technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment. AMC operates research, development, and engineering centers, the Army Research Laboratory, depots, arsenals, and ammunition plants. It also maintains the Army’s pre-positioned stocks, both on land and afloat.

AMC is headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The total AMC workforce, both civilian and military, approaches 50,000. Its major subordinate commands include the Army Field Support Command (AFSC) at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois; the Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; the Army Communications-Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey; the Army Chemical Materials Agency at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; the Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command at Detroit Arsenal, Michigan; the Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground; and the Army Security Assistance Command at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

One of the newer AMC subordinate commands is AFSC. It provides one component of the strategic mobility triad of airlift, sealift, and global pre-positioning. AFSC manages the pre-positioned brigade sets of materiel, operational projects, and sustainment stocks that are positioned either afloat or in overseas, forward-deployed locations. Army Pre-positioned Stocks (APS)–2 is stored at several Combat Equipment Group-Europe bases. APS–3 is afloat, APS–4 is stored in Korea, and APS–5 is maintained in storage in Kuwait and Qatar. AFSC also manages the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) for peacetime preplanning, warfighter exercises, and crisis action support.

Although it is considered a separate reporting activity and not a major subordinate command of AMC, the Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) at Redstone Arsenal serves as a central repository for critical supply, maintenance, and transportation data. Over the last 10 years, LOGSA has gone from managing multiple logistics information systems to managing a single, Web-based system called the Logistics Integrated Database (LIDB). LIDB is used to access LOGSA’s numerous logistics databases and acquisition tools. LOGSA publishes an excellent preventive maintenance magazine geared toward junior soldiers (but actually read at all levels) called PS, The Preventive Maintenance Monthly.

Army Equipment

Providing logistics support, especially class IX (repair parts), to Army units worldwide is made ever more challenging by the extensive diversity of the major end items (class VII) that combat, combat support, and CSS units use. Army units must maintain airplanes, helicopters, weapon systems, trucks, generators, ammunition, and signal, engineer, medical, water purification, petroleum, and food preparation equipment for units spread across the depth and breadth of the battlefield.

The Army’s major combat equipment includes the M1 Abrams tank, M2/3 Bradley fighting vehicle, M109 self-propelled howitzer, M113 armored personnel carrier (all of which use tracks rather than wheels), and AH–64 Apache attack helicopter. Major combat support equipment includes the M9 armored combat earthmover; M104 Patriot air defense missile; M93 Fox nuclear, biological, and chemical reconnaissance vehicle; UH–60 Black Hawk utility helicopter; and CH–47 Chinook heavy lift cargo helicopter. Major CSS equipment includes the family of medium tactical vehicles (FMTV) trucks; M977 heavy, expanded-mobility tactical truck (HEMTT); PLS trucks; and heavy equipment transporter (HET).

Strategic Lift

The Army is the only service that depends on the other services—primarily MSC and the Air Mobility Command—to provide the strategic transportation it needs to deploy overseas. Complicated tradeoffs are involved in determining the type and size of an Army force to be deployed. The heavier the force, the more lift will be needed to deploy that force, the more time will be required to reach the engagement area, and the larger the force’s logistics footprint will be. (“Heavy forces” refers to the presence of armored vehicles.) Yet, the heavier the force, the less vulnerable it will be once it is deployed and the more firepower it will have once it arrives. The largest U.S. cargo plane, the C–5 Galaxy, and the C–17 Globemaster can only lift one M1 tank at a time. The C–17 can lift up to four UH–60 Black Hawk helicopters, two AH–64 Apache helicopters, or three Bradley fighting vehicles. To give an idea of the magnitude of airlift the Army requires, an armored division has over 240 M1 tanks, over 240 Bradley fighting vehicles, and 18 AH–64 helicopters, along with thousands of other vehicles (both tracked and wheeled), containers, and other equipment.

The Army’s newest fighting vehicle—wheeled but armored—is the 36,000-pound Stryker. It can be transported on the ground using trucks or by air on C–5, C–17 and C–130 Hercules aircraft. The C–5 and C–17 can carry seven and four Strykers, respectively. One large, medium-speed, roll-on-roll-off (LMSR) vessel or two fast sealift ships (FSSs) can lift almost an entire Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT). MSC currently has 8 FSSs and 19 LMSRs in its inventory.



Tactical Logistics

Once the strategic lift deploys Army forces to where they are required, tactical logistics moves to the forefront. From this perspective, there are three types of Army units: combat arms, combat support, and CSS. (The three types also are referred to as maneuver, maneuver support, and maneuver sustainment.) This article concentrates on logistics support to combat arms units.

At the company level, the executive officer (typically a first lieutenant) oversees logistics. He is assisted by a supply sergeant and a maintenance sergeant. At the
battalion level, the support, maintenance, and medical platoons of the headquarters and headquarters company (HHC) provide logistics support to the battalion’s organic units. At the brigade level, logistics organizations called support battalions provide additional logistics. Though support battalions may include a wide variety of supply, maintenance, transportation, and medical companies, the typical brigade-level support battalion has a supply company, maintenance company, and medical company. (Some supply companies are transitioning to distribution companies as they are fielded transportation assets.)

Forward support battalions (FSBs) provide support to divisional maneuver brigades. Brigade support battalions (BSBs) provide support to SBCTs. Corps support battalions (CSBs) provide reinforcing logistics to maneuver brigades and primary logistics to corps units. CSBs also provide services such as laundry, showers, water purification, airdrop, and mortuary affairs. A division’s support battalions are organized within a brigade-level organization known as a division support command (DISCOM). CSBs are organized within a brigade-level organization known as a corps support group (CSG). Two or more CSGs help form a corps support command (COSCOM), which also has a materiel management center (MMC), a movement control battalion (MCB), and a troop support battalion.

The accounting, visibility, and control functions associated with supplies and maintenance are performed by an MMC at both the division and corps levels. A movement control office and an MCB perform transportation control functions at the division and corps levels, respectively.

The theater support command (TSC) is at a higher level than the COSCOM. Its mission is to maximize throughput and follow-on sustainment of Army forces and other supported elements regardless of the scale of operations. The TSC ensures that unit personnel, unit equipment, and commodities move to their points of employment with a minimum of intervening stops and transfers. For this reason, the TSC establishes command of support operations and controls the distribution system before deploying elements arrive in the area of operations. The TSC provides overall sustainment support to Army forces and may provide interim tactical-level support to early deploying corps and divisional elements.

Authorization Documents

Documents authorizing unit personnel, equipment, and supplies for Army forces include the table of organization and equipment (TOE), modification table of organization and equipment (MTOE), table of distribution and allowances (TDA), common table of allowances (CTA), technical manual (TM), load list, and stockage lists.

A TOE lists all of the personnel slots, required skills, and class VII equipment that the Army has authorized a specific type of unit. TOEs normally are published at the battalion or separate company level and are models. Since different commands within the Army have different needs based on regional threats or environmental considerations, TOEs are used as the basis for MTOEs. For instance, a light infantry battalion in Alaska and a light infantry battalion in Hawaii will be based on the same TOE. However, each one’s MTOE will be slightly different. The battalion located in Alaska will be authorized more cold weather gear, for example. By using the Web-based The Army Authorization Documents System (TAADS) software, logisticians can review the MTOEs for most units in the Army.

TDAs contain the same type of information as MTOEs, except that TDAs provide personnel and equipment authorizations for units that generally are considered nondeployable. These units normally are associated with organizations that support fixed facilities like installations or hospitals.

CTAs authorize expendable and durable supplies for both MTOE and TDA units but do not authorize class VII items. Examples of CTAs are CTA 8–100, Army Medical Department Expendable/Durable Items; CTA 50–900, Clothing and Individual Equipment; and CTA 50–909, Field and Garrison Furnishings and Equipment.

Army TMs describe how to operate and maintain class VII items. They also serve as authorization documents for the expendable, durable, and nonexpendable supplies required to operate or maintain class VII items.

Basic loads, prescribed load lists (PLLs), and authorized stockage lists (ASLs) also authorize durable and expendable items. Determining how much sustainment units will be allowed to stock is one of the biggest logistics challenges of the Army. On the one hand, the more sustainment a unit brings with it to the fight, the longer it can operate without external support and the greater the chance it will have what it needs to accomplish its mission. On the other hand, the more sustainment a unit carries with it, the more strategic and tactical lift assets are required to move it. Greater unit-level sustainment also requires additional storage assets and ties up more funds in inventory. For these reasons, units and support battalions are authorized to store and deploy with only a limited quantity of sustainment stocks.

Sustainment stocks that accompany units during deployments are known as combat loads. The PLL is the inventory associated with unit-level class IX combat loads. This inventory at the support battalion level is known as the ASL and provides additional sustainment to units. ASLs are established for specific classes of supply, although bulk class III (fuel), class V (ammunition), and class VIII (medical supplies) are stored and accounted for separately from classes I (subsistence), II (clothing and individual equipment), packaged III, IV (construction and barrier materials), VI (personal demand items), and IX. (A detailed discussion of medical logistics, major end items, and ammunition is outside the scope of this article.) Although PLLs are intended only for the owning unit, ASLs are intended for all of the “customer” units of the support battalion.

Typically, a unit deploys with a 3-day combat load of class I and bottled water, a 15-day combat load of packaged class III, little or perhaps no class IV barrier materials, a basic load of class V (normally a day of supply if actively engaged with an enemy), a 15-day supply of class VI, no excess class VII items, a small amount of class VIII, and about 100 PLL lines of class IX (most with a depth of only two or three items). Supply support activities (SSAs) will deploy with as much as they can, given their limited transportation and storage assets. Once deployed, SSAs themselves have to be resupplied, sometimes in 3 days or less, depending on the class of supply and the availability of host nation support. Bulk fuel, bulk and packaged water, rations, and ammunition are quickly consumed.


Transformation

Improving logistics support is one of the focuses of the planning for the Army’s Future Force. A key part of that force will be a new, networked suite of vehicles called the Future Combat Systems (FCS). The FCS vehicle will have many of the features of an M1 tank or M2 Bradley fighting vehicle, except that it is envisioned to be much lighter. Current specifications state that it must be light enough to be moved on a C–130 transport.

While the FCS will be part of the Future Force, the Stryker—an armored, wheeled vehicle—has been fielded already and is a key component of the SBCT (formerly called the interim brigade combat team). An SBCT has 327 Stryker vehicles and is roughly half the weight of an armored brigade and twice the weight of a light infantry brigade. The Army’s short-term goal is to be able to deploy one SBCT in 4 days, a division in 5 days, and five divisions within 30 days. With add-on reactive armor, the Stryker vehicle can withstand small arms, heavy machinegun, and handheld rocket-propelled-grenade fire. A Stryker’s combat-capable weight does not exceed 19 tons. All of the vehicles and equipment of an entire SBCT weigh about 13,000 tons. Excluding fuel and water, 3 days of sustainment for an SBCT weighs about 2,500 tons.

The Army’s traditional brigade, division, corps, and ASCC structure also is being reviewed. The number of higher headquarters will be reduced. Brigades and portions of divisions will be organized into a modular force of BCTs (originally called units of action [UAs]). Each BCT will contain traditional maneuver battalions, along with some combat support and CSS traditionally provided by divisional or corps units. The Army envisions three types of maneuver BCTs. Armored BCTs will have about 3,800 personnel and 1,000 vehicles, infantry BCTs will have about 3,000 soldiers, and Stryker BCTs will have about 4,000 personnel. There also will be aviation BCTs and sustainment BCTs. All told, there will be 21 infantry BCTs, 22 armored BCTs, and 5 SBCTs. The Army goal is to have 48 active component BCTs and 32 National Guard BCTs.

The higher level command and support organization for the UAs currently is called a unit of employment x (UEx). This one level of command will be able to conduct many of the same command and control missions currently being performed by the two levels of command associated with a division and a corps. A UEx will be capable of commanding at least six BCTs, including all or part of a Marine expeditionary brigade. A different type of unit of employment, the UEy, will serve at a higher level than the UEx and will conduct many of the command and control missions formerly provided by the two levels associated with a corps and an ASCC.

These ongoing transformational changes are meant to ensure that the Army is structured to deploy to remote locations worldwide as part of a joint force. Although providing logistics support to Army forces is especially challenging because of the diversity of equipment and the dispersal of forces, new organizational designs and the introduction of lighter, land vehicles will enable the Army to deploy large forces much more rapidly than in the past and sustain them in noncontiguous environments.
ALOG

Lieutenant Colonel James C. Bates, USA (Ret.), is a former Army logistics officer who works for Alion Science and Technology and currently serves as a sustainment planner for the U.S. Joint Forces Command, J–9 Transformation, at Suffolk, Virginia. He is designated a Certified Professional Logistician by SOLE—The International Society of Logistics and holds an M.B.A. degree from the University of Hawaii. He can be reached by email at james.bates@je.jfcom.mil.