The Soldiers of the 25th
Brigade Support Battalion
developed a way to maintain command and control
of 1–25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team assets on the battlefield.
combat vehicle is prepared for recovery near a forward
operating base outside of Tallafar, Iraq.
During the development of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team
(SBCT) concept, the logistics community decided to streamline
the SBCT’s overall logistics
footprint, practices, and procedures to mirror the over-all transformation
of the Army. To foster the agile, adaptive mindset needed
in the SBCT, the Army
logistics community promoted continuous adaptation and creative tailoring of
the SBCT’s concept of support.
The most significant streamlining of logistics systems in the SBCT occurred
in the centralization of all support assets under the organic command and control
of the brigade support battalion (BSB). For example, there are no support platoons
in the maneuver units of the SBCT. The organizational mechanics and food service
specialists usually found in the support platoons are now organic assets of
the BSB. The concept set forth in the Stryker Brigade Combat Team Organizational
and Operational (O&O) Planning Document places food service specialists
and mechanics in stan-dard configurations called field feeding teams and combat
teams, respec-tively, which have habitual relationships with counterpart maneuver
The SBCT logistics systems were streamlined further when the organizational
and direct support (DS) levels of maintenance were combined into one level called
field maintenance. The tailorable aspect of SBCT logistics is achieved by forward-deploying
additional support capabilities to accomplish the mission.
SBCT load-handling system was tailored to deliver
polling site materials
during the Iraqi elections in January 2005.
Development of the LST
When the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Light), Stryker
Team (1–25 SBCT), at Fort Lewis, Washington, deployed to Iraq in September
2004, it was organized under a mission-tailored, forward-deployed logistics support
team (LST) concept. An accompanying command and control (C2) cell managed logistics
on the battlefield.
The LST concept had been conceived in July 2003 when Soldiers of the 25th BSB
realized that a C2 void would exist when the battalion’s logistics assets
were forward-deployed in support of its brigade’s maneuver units. With
a rotation to the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, looming
in October 2003, C2 of the brigade’s logistics assets, or the lack thereof,
was a critical concern. The 25th BSB support operations (SPO) planning cell
reviewed after-action reports from the first SBCT’s previous certification
exercises and developed a C2 plan to help manage the field feeding teams, combat
repair teams, and any other logistics assets deemed necessary as a result of
the logistics estimation process.
The LST concept, supported by a decision briefing, was presented to the 25th
BSB commander on 25 July 2003. The decision briefing focused on the merits of
establishing C2 elements for the BSB assets that were forward-deployed with the
supported units. The briefing helped to identify the C2 requirements and the
logistics assets the LST needed. Leadership was, of course, an essential component
of the battlefield operating system, so standing operating procedures or specific
tactics, techniques, and procedures would be needed to augment the doctrinal
guidance provided in the SBCT O&O concept.
Initially, it was thought that the warrant officer on the combat repair team
might be able to provide C2 for the LST. However, it was determined that, although
the warrant officer could manage the LST, the additional administrative support
requirements of battalion planning and interface with the SPO could distract
from his mission as the forward maintenance manager for the supported unit. Because
the combat repair teams had only 20 mechanics, the warrant officer also was
heavily involved in the team’s daily operations.
Analysis determined that the best candidate for the C2 position on the LST would
be a lieutenant from a BSB unit. A lieutenant was chosen because he would bring
an adequate level of experience to the C2 role and interact with the supported
unit. The battalion also could better absorb the loss of a lieutenant than the
loss of one of its few assigned captains. The 25th BSB commander approved the
dispatch of a lieutenant and a noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) with
each task-organized support slice, and the LST concept was born.
In essence, the LST commander would serve three primary functions. He would
provide C2 of all BSB assets, personnel, and equipment; conduct liaison with
the supported battalion commander in order to plan and execute logistics; and
serve as the SPO’s eyes forward. Some of the supported battalions chose
to collocate their combat train command posts with their field train command
posts, which in essence collocated the battalion’s internal logistics
points with the BSB. In those instances, the LST commander still was deployed
to serve primarily as a liaison officer.
Since there is an inevitable cost associated with taking a lieutenant from a
full-time position in the BSB, the LST commander position exists only under the
task-organized conditions of major deployments and operations. The BSB experimented
with having the BSB permanently task-organized to account for the LST commander
position, but that option was determined to be unnecessary. Besides, managing
the LST while deployed would give the selected lieutenant a chance to train the
Soldiers of his parent companies.
Implementation of the LST Conept
Before forming the LST, the 25th BSB provided the supported battalion with a
field feeding team and a combat repair team. The LST concept simply merged—under
the C2 of a lieutenant and an NCOIC—these two elements and other required
support assets, such as transportation and materials-handling equipment with
operators and medical evacuation platforms.
A typical LST consists of—
• One lieutenant.
• One combat repair team of 20 personnel, including a warrant officer
(CW2) and 5 embedded contractors, with an M977 heavy, expanded-mobility, tactical
truck (HEMTT) load-handling system (LHS), 2 forward repair systems, and 2 M984
• One field feeding team of 10 personnel with 1 containerized kitchen
and 1 refrigerated van.
• One distribution section of 10 personnel with 3 LHSs, 2 Atlas forklifts,
and 1 M978 HEMTT tanker.
For rotations to the NTC and the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort
Polk, Louisiana, and deployment to support Operation Iraqi Freedom, the task
organization of the LST is tailored to accommodate the supported unit’s
missions. In addition to the habitual field feeding team and combat repair team,
the LST’s assets include LHSs with trailers, fuel trucks, medical personnel,
Department of the Army logistics assistance representatives, and civilian Stryker
recovery team member operates the hydraulic lifts
on a crane on the forward repair
station at a forward operating base near Tallafar,
Iraq (above). A combat recovery team Soldier enters
maintenance faults into his electronic technical
manual interface computer at a forward operating
base in Mosul, Iraq (below).
A major benefit of the LST concept is its flexibility. By forward-deploying
distribution company transportation and fueling assets with maneuver battalions,
the LST commander can move the forward-deployed BSB assets to the brigade support
area (BSA) to pick up and deliver DS stocks. Force protection is provided by
the maneuver unit.
Some people might say that having customers pick up their own DS stocks violates
the provisions of the O&O concept, but they would be mistaken. A BSB C2 element
uses the BSB’s DS assets to travel back to the BSA and conduct resupply
missions. Having assets forward with the LST commander enables the forward
support elements to react to the needs of their sup-ported battalion instead
of waiting for the BSB (-) to react, which reduces the need for emergency LOG-PACs
(logistics packages). The LST commander maneuvers this combat logistics patrol
with force protection provided by the supported unit, usually in the form of
The LST has sometimes been referred to as a replacement for the support platoons,
which the SBCT O&O concept removes from the maneuver battalions. Actually,
the LST functions as both a support platoon and a forward logistics element.
With the removal of the support platoon, the maneuver unit no longer has unit-level
maintenance, food service, or support capabilities. All of this capability
now resides in the BSB, thereby centralizing the C2 of all logistics in the brigade’s
area of operations.
The O&O concept prescribes a mixture of other full-time logistics management
jobs in the maneuver battalion, with the principal job being that of the support
unit battalion S–4. In most maneuver battalions, the battalion S–4
is sometimes a pre-advanced course captain or lieutenant who has been given
the full responsibilities of a primary staff officer. This busy officer also
is expected to provide C2 for approximately 50 to 60 BSB logisticians of various
military occupational specialties while running a battalion distribution point,
monitoring DS logistics status reports, and performing many other related duties.
The LST commander serves as a logistics expert in the supported battalion’s
area of operations and also helps manage BSB resources and missions.
One of the greatest strengths of the LST concept is its “plug-and-play” nature.
The LST is designed to be a mission-tailored package that can augment units
and deliver robust area support, such as when a 1–25 SBCT LST provided
mechanics for the Directorate of Logistics at the NTC, or mission specific,
when it provided mobile gun support for the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Division
(Mechanized), at the JRTC.
For increased C2, the lieutenant on the LST can be replaced with a captain,
as was the case during the 1–25’s rotation to the NTC and Operation
Iraqi Freedom III. In Iraq, the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment (Mechanized),
was task-organized under the 1st Cavalry Division in a totally different
area of operations more than 300 miles from the 1–25.
The LST concept was fully employed during the 1–25’s rotation to
the JRTC in the spring of 2004, and it received praise from the observer-controllers.
During that rotation, the LSTs were task-organized to the specific mission
of the supported units. Other factors that determined LST task organization
were the proximity of the supported forward operating base to the BSA and
the number of additional units operating within the maneuver unit’s
battlespace (area support). Logistics support of the brigade during that
was a success, largely because of the LST concept. The concept worked so
well on the JRTC battlefields that some participants questioned the “toughness” of
the exercises, not realizing that it was the LST’s agility and adaptability
that made the exercises go smoothly.
Another advantage of having the LST embedded with the maneuver units is that
its “reach back” capability enables it to conduct reverse LOGPACs.
Maneuver units can program interim resupply missions to match their operating
tempos. Force protection provided by the supported units allows the BSB to
concentrate its own limited force-protection platforms on scheduled LOGPACs
from the BSA
to outlying forward operating bases. For example, in Iraq, one of the supported
units is located at least an hour’s drive from the BSA. It receives regularly
scheduled LOG-PACs every 3 or 4 days. With embedded LST assets and force protection
provided by the maneuver unit, the supported unit also can receive interim
logistics support. This is especially important when dealing with critical
because the BSB’s distribution capabilities limit resupply to one push
every 48 hours on average.
The LST concept has been the backbone of the 1–25 SBCT logistics effort
during the brigade task force’s deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
As at the NTC and JRTC, the LST commander is the liaison between the supported
unit and the SPO. The LST commander also assisted with a variety of logistics
planning functions, such as helping the supported unit S–4s synchronize
their logistics plans with the BSB; establishing the C2 node and managing
the supported task force’s DS stocks and personnel within the LST; planning
and executing recovery operations; and, as a logistics mission commander,
ensuring that logistics resupply convoys were coordinated and that they reached
remote operating bases.
team Soldiers replace damaged parts on a Stryker
Although the LST concept has proven to be an invaluable tool
in supporting the 1–25 SBCT, it does come with some
warning labels. First, the LST commander should not be expected
to perform as the S–4 or assistant S–4 of
the supported unit and should not be used as a replacement for a weak battalion
S–4. The LST commander serves as a vital link between the sup-ported
unit S–4 and the BSB’s DS element.
Second, collocating the LST commander with the supported unit is critical to
maintaining C2 of the LST’s assets. Although the LST commander assists
the supported unit S–4 in planning logistics support for the unit’s
maneuver operations, locating him near the supported unit’s combat train
command post or field train command post is paramount to the LST’s success.
As the eyes forward for the SPO, the LST commander can enhance the situational
awareness of the SPO element and help orchestrate logistics support for the
The LST concept is a combat multiplier that should be considered when planning
logistics support operations. The LST is not a replacement for the support
platoons of old; rather, it should be thought of as a DS logistics element
that is embedded
in the supported unit. It is a C2-centric concept that places leadership forward
in the battlespace to better manage the assets of the
BSB and interface with the support unit. The LST concept is founded in, and
supported by, clear and concise logistics, which affords both the supported
unit and the
LST commander the flexibility to conduct operations and planning in any battlespace.
Since the 1–25 SBCT’s deployment to northern Iraq in support of
Operation Iraqi Freedom, the LST concept has proven to be invaluable in providing
and responsive logistics support to the brigade’s assets in the area
of operations as well as to coalition forces and civilian contractors on
the battlefield. ALOG
Major Dwayne M. Butler is the speech writer for the Chief of Staff of the
Army at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. When this article was written, he was
Executive Officer of the 25th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade (SBCT),
25th Infantry Division (Light), at Fort Lewis, Washington. He was the principal
designer of the logistics support team concept. He has bachelor’s degrees
in Spanish and economics from Rutgers University in New Jersey, a master’s
degree in administration from Central Michigan University, a doctorate of philosophy
in organization and management from Capella University in Mi-nesota, and a doctorate
in education from Rutgers University. He is a graduate of the Combined Logistics
Officers Advanced Course and the Army Command and General Staff College.
Captain Eric J. Van De Hey is the commander of B Company (Forward Maintenance),
25th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade (SBCT), 25th Infantry Division (Light),
at Fort Lewis, Washington. He served previously as the Deputy Support Operations
Officer and Support Operations Plans Officer, during which time he was the lead
planner and co-creator of the logistics support team concept. He has a bachelor’s
degree in psychology and business from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay.
The authors wish to thank Lieutenant Colonel Cheri A. Provancha and Major Michele
M. McCassey for their assistance with the preparation of this article. Lieutenant
Colonel Provancha is the commander of the 25th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st
Brigade (SBCT), 25th Infantry Division (Light), and Major McCassey is currently
deployed to Mosul, Iraq, where she is overseeing the implementation of the logistics
support team concept.