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An AOE CSS Command Post
in a Modular Army

The 1st Armored Division Support Command reengineered its command post around processes, off-the-shelf technology, and improved use of systems to create a logistics command post that can function in many environments.

What does an organization do when the Army has decided to modularize and the organization is still structured under the Army of Excellence (AOE)? First, it must assess who or what the enemy really is. For a combat service support (CSS) unit, the enemy is more than an opposing combatant; it also can be time constraints and the shortfall between capabilities and requirements. Second, the organization must define its relevance to the fight. An AOE organization’s headquarters is designed to control support battalions that are unlike the modular support battalions in brigade combat teams. Third, the organization must reassess its tactics, techniques, and procedures to ensure that its headquarters can provide logistics command and control to both AOE and modular formations.

At one time, division support commands (DISCOMs) were the largest brigade formations in a division, consisting of five battalions and a separate company. Only two DISCOMs are left today, and soon there will be only one with just one battalion task-organized under its control. The Army is transitioning from DISCOMs to sustainment brigades that can support multiple divisions. Warfighters assume that logisticians will do whatever is needed to support their plans. They are right because logisticians today do whatever they can to support the warfighter, and that in itself creates a problem. We may soon find that every unit has its own standing operating procedures designed to support a microcosm but that they do not support the CSS community as a whole.

Uniform command post structures would ensure that all logistics units are interoperable. Appropriate use of off-the-shelf products and the Standard Army Management Information Systems (STAMIS) would improve situational awareness throughout the command post.

The Army should reengineer logistics command posts (LCPs) based on processes, not functions. A function is the action for which a person or thing is particularly fitted or employed. It may refer to an assigned duty or activity or to a specific occupation or role. A process is a series of actions, changes, or functions that brings about a result.

Some sustainment brigade headquarters are reorganizing into configurations that are different from those of other sustainment brigade headquarters. Some of these units see the processes in terms of current and future operations, while others see the processes in terms of synchronization, movement, and regeneration. Army leaders must rethink how they look at deployed LCPs and logistics headquarters in garrison. They also should consider treating brigade-sized logistics headquarters as command and control combat systems instead of individual personnel and equipment. Then all tactical operations centers (TOCs) would look the same, have the same or similar equipment and manning, and be pacer-type items tracked on the unit status reports.

Possible Operating Environments

The 1st Armored Division DISCOM quickly realized that, to be relevant in the next fight, the division rear command post needed to be reorganized to support many operating environments. Planning this reorganization involved identifying missions that the DISCOM could face in the future. Many of the missions identified involved operating apart from the 1st Armored Division in support of other units that require a brigade headquarters with CSS capabilities.

From these missions, four operating environments were deemed the “most likely” and used as the basis for the command post’s reorganization. These include

  • The traditional linear battlefield division rear command post, which is a combination of the DISCOM headquarters, the division materiel management center, the division medical operations center (DMOC), and a large slice of division staff (G­1, G­4, combat support, and CSS elements).
  • The intermediate staging base in a remote area, which would serve as a logistics support base for deploying units in transit to a combat theater or other area of operations.
  • The forward staging base close to airport or seaport facilities, which would enable the linkup of equipment and personnel for reception, staging, onward movement, and integration operations for incoming forces. Both the intermediate staging base and forward staging base environments could be supported with the DISCOM’s current manning and capabilities.
  • The forward operating base in direct support of combat operations, where logistics command and control is needed and no terrain management is needed beyond a local perimeter. The forward operating base environment can require a sustainment brigade headquarters to provide logistics command and control for multiple divisions. The DISCOM headquarters, which is designed to support a division, would need augmentation to perform this task because of the loss of division staff and the more robust and complex logistics mission.
Functions and Processes

With the possible missions identified, the next task for the division was to determine the functions and processes needed to make the LCP successful in all of those environments.

The DISCOM staff laid out all of the functions that it brought to the fight under its organic modification table of organization and equipment (MTOE), such as management of classes I (subsistence), IIIB (bulk petroleum, oils, and lubricants), and V (ammunition); S­2 assessment of the vulnerability of main supply routes to enemy action; coordination for the use of brigade common-user land transportation assets; and coordination for medical operations. After all functions were identified, the staff defined the processes needed to integrate and synchronize the functions in order to provide timely reports, orders, and decisions to commanders and units for controlling logistics in the area of operations.

Six processes were identified: the military decisionmaking process (MDMP); command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR); combat loss regeneration; logistics synchronization; battlefield distribution; and rear battle, or terrain, management. The layout of the LCP supports the processes.

Once the processes for each environment were determined and overlaid on one another, the staff discovered that two command post playbooks would cover virtually all missions. The LCP is based on the five core processes (MDMP, C4ISR, combat loss regeneration, logistics synchronization, and battlefield distribution). The division rear command post uses these five core processes and adds the rear battle or terrain management process when in control of rear battlespace on a traditional linear battlefield or in control of any battlespace outside of its perimeter on an asymmetric battlefield. According to emerging modular force doctrine, the rear battle becomes the responsibility of the combat support brigade (maneuver enhancement) supporting the division, reducing the need for G­3 or rear operations center personnel to perform this task.

Process Management

It is important to understand that the size and capabilities of the LCP fluctuate based on the mission and task organization. The integration of division staff still occurs under a traditional division rear command post setup. Any units or enablers that become part of the LCP are incorporated into the command and control processes in order to provide better command and control of logistics. While all MTOE functions have managers or officers in charge, each process is assigned an owner to keep the process or board focused on the agenda and timeline and to ensure that the products are completed, facilitating other processes and functions. If the division staff is integrated, a process may have multiple owners to allow it to continue in case one of the owners is absent. If the division staff is not integrated and the headquarters deploys independently of the division, the process still has an owner in the DISCOM headquarters that can fulfill the responsibilities.

MDMP. The MDMP is conducted by a process action team with members of the LCP representing multiple functions. The MDMP owner is the DISCOM support operations officer (SPO), who is the DISCOM representative who coordinates with divisions and higher headquarters. The SPO provides a conduit to division and brigade logistics staffs. The MDMP produces an order that is passed to division or higher headquarters for publishing. The DISCOM creates a distinctly different MDMP in its order for subordinate units.

C4ISR. The C4ISR process owner is the DISCOM S­3. The S­3 is responsible for the battle rhythm of the LCP, orchestrating the timing of all other processes and all communications into, out of, and within the LCP. Battle update briefs are the primary synchronized events that control this process. All members of the LCP participate in the C4ISR process. An associated process occurs when the planning cell has to stand up to support the MDMP for supported divisions.

Outputs of the C4ISR process include logistics orders, graphics for the Command and Control Personal Computer (C2PC) program, command and control of assigned battlespace, and all division logistics assets. [C2PC is a map and database software used in many operations centers.]

Combat loss regeneration. The combat loss regeneration process owner is the DISCOM materiel management officer. The combat loss regeneration board is responsible for the regeneration of equipment and personnel combat losses when operating in the division command post configuration; it is responsible for regeneration of combat losses of equipment and supplies while operating in the LCP configuration. Through this process, the board monitors and strives to increase the combat readiness of assigned and attached units.

The combat loss regeneration process results in requirements that the logistics synchronization and battle field distribution processes will use later. The requirements that drive the remaining processes rely heavily on the data from the logistics status report, unit liaison officers (LNOs), C2PC, and the Battle Command Sustainment Support System (BCS3). Board members include representatives of the DMOC, the materiel readinesssection, the general supply office, the property book office (PBO), and the class IX (repair parts) section. This process occurs daily, before all others, to set the conditions for future process boards.

Logistics synchronization. The logistics synchronization process owner is the DISCOM SPO. The SPO is responsible for synchronizing requirements and missions of all CSS units in the supported task organization. This process identifies all CSS requirements against capabilities and mitigates shortfalls 24, 48, and 72 hours out. A daily CSS synchronization drill is the primary event that controls this process. Using the output of this drill, a daily fragmentary order is published by the C4ISR cell that is synchronized with the combat loss regeneration and battlefield distribution processes. Primary participants in this process include the movement control officer, SPO, division ammunition officer, general supply officer, class IX officer, a materiel section representative, PBO, combat service support automation management officer, DMOC, and unit LNOs. The logistics synchronization process occurs daily after the combat loss regeneration process in relation to the LCP battle rhythm. An associated process occurs when the planning cell has to stand up to support the MDMP for a supported division.

Battlefield distribution (movement). The battlefield distribution (movement) process owner is the DISCOM movement control office. This process synchronizes all movements between sectors or forward operating bases in the division’s battlespace. It identifies and schedules all unit movements in the division battlespace 24 and 48 hours out. It is linked to all other processes to make the best use of common-user land transportation assets and determine requirements for force protection for combat logistics patrols.

Participants include the DISCOM S­3, DISCOM S­2, movement control officer, unit LNOs, SPO, DISCOM materiel management officer, and general supply officer. The battlefield distribution (movement) process is scheduled daily after the logistics synchronization process. The process produces a daily movement matrix and orders or requests for transportation assets, including requests for combat units to provide force protection.

Rear battle or terrain management. The sixth (noncore) process is rear battle or terrain management. The process owners are the rear operations center and the DISCOM S­3. This process manages the battlespace on a linear or asymmetrical battlefield by integrating all battlefield operating system functions. This integration creates a common operating picture that senses and responds using assets ranging from intelligence to a tactical combat force that assists units within the area of operations. This process relies heavily on division intelligence summaries, operation orders, and other tactical and strategic intelligence sources to manage the division’s rear area of operations. The process results in daily fragmentary orders published through the C4ISR cell and reconnaissance and surveillance plans and situational overlays for C2PC to enhance decisionmaking capabilities for all missions.

To best facilitate coordination between functions and processes, the LCP was originally organized based on these processes. However, many functions and capabilities were found to be part of multiple processes, so the organization had to rely on process boards to ensure that integration and synchronization took place when physical barriers otherwise would have prevented it.

Improving Situational Awareness

To facilitate further the integration and synchronization of information in the LCP, the 1st Armored Division gave careful consideration to the battle rhythm and the method of disseminating information. Of the many improvements made while reengineering the LCP, three distinct improvements have significantly improved situational awareness, integration, and synchronization: broadcasting a combination of products using a common operating picture; maximizing the use of Microsoft Outlook Journal; and stressing the capabilities of BCS3. Some of these work to improve situational awareness not only in a tactical environment but also in garrison operations.

A common operating picture is available in the C4ISR cell of the LCP on three screens, which show all STAMIS (Blue Force Tracker, Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below, BCS3, C2PC, All Source Analysis System-Light), the previous battle update briefing slides, and a 24-hour news program. The center screen is divided into four screens that are broadcast throughout the command post to provide situational awareness of internal and external events. Each cell has a large plasma screen and monitors in the expansible vans that receive information. All announcements are made over a public address system that feeds audio in addition to the video, providing sight and sound for battle update briefs throughout the command post 24 hours a day. All “Attention in the TOC” announcements can easily be heard and shown on a digital map to provide instant situational awareness of the functions and processes of the command post.

Microsoft Outlook’s Journal function allows the LCP to share data and products better. Two journals have been created—one for situation reports and the other for request for information (RFI) tracking. The goal was to get away from having one “keeper” of the duty log by creating a duty journal that allows knowledge to be shared and entered by everyone who is granted access. This allows any user working in the LCP to open the journal, scan the subjects, and develop a snapshot of tactical and logistics actions. The second journal is used solely to track RFIs; this allows visibility to all users and ensures that there is one source document, guaranteeing that no RFIs are lost. This option has proven more efficient and user friendly than using Excel spreadsheets. In garrison, the headquarters changed from the cumbersome process of preparing Department of the Army Form 1594, Daily Staff Journal or Officer’s Log (duty log), to the use of Outlook Journal, which allows multiple users to review and update the staff duty log from virtually any computer granted access.

The last great improvement in situational awareness came through the use of BCS3. BCS3 systems were placed throughout the LCP, allowing all sections to gain better visibility of logistics functions by “drilling down” to the units to see convoys, stockage levels, and equipment readiness. The system is updated through current STAMIS and provides data as good as the last STAMIS report sent to higher levels. This allows multiple operators to become “gateways to knowledge” and increases the productivity of staffs because they have readily available information. In garrison, BCS3 is used in the movement control section, the division materiel management center, and the staff duty section to review daily the status of authorized stockage lists and ammunition supply points and the location of convoys.

The Future of Modularity

In the future, the modular force will have

  • Coherent lines of command and control for logistics, linking support directly to priority of maneuver.
  • An enhanced logistics capability to support the operation plan within the decision cycle of the commander.
  • Fewer problems created by distance, time, simultaneity, and complexity of operations.
  • The capability to enable or influence outcomes and effects because logistics planning is integrated into deployment and redeployment, movement, sustainment, and reconstitution.

The operating environment in 2015 and beyond will be characterized by joint, interdependent forces and fully integrated operations supported by state-of-the-art technology used to enhance capabilities across the entire battlespace. Missions will be performed simultaneously across vast distances and will have multiple avenues of approach and markedly shorter deployment and employment timeframes than missions do today.

Each regional combatant commander will employ a joint logistics headquarters that has the responsibility and authority to coordinate, integrate, and direct materiel and logistics support assets across services in the operational environment. An Army theater sustainment command will unify the logistics effort by commanding and controlling highly capable, net-centric, deployable headquarters and organizations that fully integrate and synchronize logistics requirements and resources to ensure that the provisioning of critical logistics supports decisive maneuver. This unified logistics capability will be fully integrated into each headquarters planning and execution process.

It is critical that all headquarters be aware of the future of modularity and continue to see the enemy in terms of requirements, capabilities and shortfalls, and time. LCPs must use more knowledge-centric methods to ensure that they can operate on the same level as higher headquarters so that logisticians can stay one step ahead of the warfighter and relevant for future missions.

Major J.A. ”Tony” Moritz is the Executive Officer of the Division Support Command, 1st Armored Division, at Wiesbaden, Germany. He has a B.S. degree in engineering technology from Texas A&M University and an M.S. degree in administration from Central Michigan University. He is a graduate of the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course, the Combined Logistics Officers Advanced Course, and the Army Command and General Staff College.