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CASCOM’s BRAC Rehearsal of Concept Drill

The rehearsal of concept drill—commonly referred to as a ROC drill—is an important tool in the
commander’s arsenal for planning and executing complex events. One such complicated undertaking that benefited from a ROC drill is the execution of the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) Commission requirements mandated for the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) and Fort Lee, Virginia.

For CASCOM, BRAC involves the movement of 185 different courses from four different geographically dispersed schools and over 1.3 billion dollars’ worth of construction spread over a 4-year period, all aimed at creating the Sustainment Center of Excellence (SCoE). To ensure that CASCOM, its subordinate schools, and all supporting activities understood and were able to contribute to the development of the BRAC plan, CASCOM executed a 2-day ROC drill on 30 September and 1 October 2008.

Two opportunities exist to execute a ROC drill during the mission planning process: early in the process as a “proof of concept” and a tool for fleshing out the commander’s intent and guidance, and later in the plan’s development as a means to walk through the plan to ensure that everyone understood it and identify any “holes.” CASCOM decided to execute the latter ROC drill timing.

The drill had two parts. Day one focused on a detailed, sequential walkthrough of the fiscal year 2009 timeline of critical events by “battlefield operating system” (BOS) and subordinate school moves. Day two consisted of a series of briefings to CASCOM leaders, followed by an outbrief to the Deputy Commanding General of the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Lieutenant General David P. Valcourt.

Day One Walkthrough

For each critical BRAC event during fiscal year 2009, such as the occupation of the SCoE headquarters building, the CASCOM BRAC officer and the lead BRAC engineer “set the battlefield” by describing the significant actions occurring in the planning, current, or post-operations phases and the important aspects of the construction effort. (Briefing slides are available at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/doc/13116022).

Once the battlefield was set, each BOS presented key aspects of its role in that critical event. For the BRAC Office, the BOSs were furniture, building equipment, funding, Fort Lee Garrison support elements (such as the installation transportation officer and security officer), information technology (Directorate of Information Management), and personnel (both military and civilian). Subordinate and supporting elements also briefed their parts of the plan in support of the event. Subordinate elements included the Ordnance Center and Schools (the Ordnance Mechanical Maintenance School coming from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and the Ordnance Munitions and Electronics Maintenance School coming from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama), the Transportation Center and School coming from Fort Eustis, Virginia, and the Quartermaster Center and School and the Army Logistics Management College, both already at Fort Lee. Supporting elements included TRADOC headquarters staff, the Army Materiel Command (AMC), the Information Systems Command, and Department of the Army (DA) representatives.

At the end of the presentations from all activities, the CASCOM BRAC officer, who functioned as the ROC drill facilitator, recapped the issues and the due-outs for that critical event. The due-outs were captured for subsequent tracking and resolution after the ROC drill. (The due-out tracker is available at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/doc/14031736.) This briefing sequence repeated itself for each critical event of the upcoming fiscal year (2009). Focusing on just the critical events in sequential order allowed the facilitator to keep all participants focused on the important issues and to maintain the timeline for the event. Day one ended with an overview of the fiscal year 2010 and 2011 timelines, focused on critical tasks and issues presented by the CASCOM BRAC officer and the key subordinate or supporting players of each phase.

Day Two Briefings

The day two briefings to the CASCOM and TRADOC leaders were important for several reasons. First, they demonstrated to the CASCOM Commanding General, Major General James E. Chambers, that all parties clearly understood his intent and the BRAC 2005 requirements and that we had a plan to meet them. The briefs laid out any issues that needed a decision, further guidance, or support from the general.

Second, the DA Deputy Chief of Staff, G–3, and Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (ACSIM) were not certain if Fort Lee and CASCOM needed to conduct a DA-level BRAC ROC drill, which was executed at other installations affected by BRAC. If the CASCOM ROC drill demonstrated to Lieutenant General Valcourt that CASCOM was prepared to execute BRAC, his recommendation to the DA G–3 and the ACSIM would be to eliminate the DA-level ROC drill requirement. This would benefit CASCOM by preventing scheduling conflicts among the DA ROC drill, the occupation of the new SCoE headquarters, and several other significant BRAC actions.

Both Major General Chambers and Lieutenant General Valcourt took full advantage of these outbriefs to pose questions to the gathered commanders, staffs, and supporting elements. The outbriefs focused on the ROC drill’s mission, methodology (what we did, key tasks, and critical events), the schools’ course move schedules, critical points, friction points, issues, where we needed assistance from TRADOC or DA, and the way ahead. (An example of the outbrief is available at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/doc/13116023.)

The outbrief emphasized that BRAC is a “team event” involving multiple players in support of CASCOM’s efforts: the DA staff, ACSIM, the Army Installation Management Command, AMC, TRADOC, the Army Human Resources Command, the Army Corps of Engineers, other garrisons, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, and the signal and information technology community. Although not directly supporting the SCoE’s BRAC efforts, the Maneuver Center of Excellence’s BRAC leader was invited to participate to facilitate crosstalk between the Maneuver and Sustainment Centers of Excellence. The chart on page 5 is a slide from the outbrief that summarized the ROC drill’s goals to Lieutenant General Valcourt and the senior CASCOM commanders. William Moore, who as the Deputy to the CASCOM Commander was directly involved in the entire ROC drill, validated the success of the event when he indicated that the team had “hit a home run” and had set the conditions for a successful execution of BRAC.

Follow-Up Coordination

Actions associated with the ROC drill did not end with the outbrief. As a result of information gathered or validated at the event, the CASCOM BRAC Office completed the command’s BRAC operation order (available at https://www.us.army/suite/folder/16742870). Without the ROC drill, the CASCOM BRAC plan’s development process would have taken longer and been less well coordinated.

Two products produced to support the ROC drill continue to be used: the due-out tracker and the decision support matrix (available at https://www.us.army/suite/doc/16745894). The due-out tracker captured all the tasks identified during the ROC drill that require action by an individual or activity. This document was reviewed and validated as part of the outbrief and is distributed monthly by the CASCOM BRAC Office to action points of contact for their updates. The decision support matrix (DSM), or “synch matrix,” is intended to capture all critical events associated with BRAC decision points, risks, key linkages, and other specific lines-of-operation tasks or information. (Examples of lines of operation include personnel, movements, facilities, equipment, funding, information technology, and command and control.) Like the due-out tracker, the DSM is also distributed monthly to a wide range of individuals and activities for updates. Current versions of both documents are available at the CASCOM BRAC website (https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/561086).

The enduring aspect of the first BRAC ROC drill is the value that it provided to the command. To take full advantage of the process, Major General Chambers directed that the CASCOM BRAC Office execute a second ROC drill in April 2009. (Documents from this drill are available at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/folder/16183659.) The success of the second drill resulted in the general’s direction that future ROC drills be conducted on approximately a quarterly basis.
The ROC drill process is valuable and can be adapted to almost any mission. It affords everyone in attendance a greater understanding and appreciation for the plan and creates an opportunity for identifying, discussing, and resolving issues. As the plan is laid out, aspects of its synchronization, or lack thereof, become more apparent. The extreme complexity and novelty of BRAC lends itself extremely well to a ROC drill. A BRAC ROC drill goes a long way toward creating the unified effort that will make the mission a success.

Colonel John C. “Jack” Hinkley is currently assigned as the Special Assistant to the CASCOM Commanding General for BRAC at Fort Lee, Virginia. He is a graduate of the Army War College.

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