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Logistics Transformation in Europe: Maintaining Support While Performing Expeditionary Missions

USAREUR’s 21st Theater Sustainment Command integrates contract operations with deployable units while in garrison to ensure that Soldiers are properly trained and that support operations will continue uninterrupted when Soldiers deploy.

The U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) and 7th Army transformation plan has required command structure changes that ensure more effective and efficient command and control for supporting the Modular Force in Europe. This has resulted in a decrease in forces and footprint through rebasing and the inactivation of units. One of the biggest changes has been the conversion of the 21st Theater Support Command to a theater sustainment command (TSC).

Support Structure Changes

Before transforming, V Corps, which is based in Germany, assigned support relationships to separate brigades and other units according to their proximity to corps support battalions that were assigned to corps support groups (CSGs) within their areas of operations. The 7th CSG in Bamberg and the 16th CSG in Hanau provided this support to V Corps units under the 3d Corps Support Command (COSCOM) based in Wiesbaden. The logistics transformation included the inactivation of two CSGs, the 1st Infantry Division Support Command, the 1st Theater Movement Control Agency, the 200th Theater Materiel Management Center, and the 37th Transportation Command. The 3d COSCOM returned to the continental United States.

Now USAREUR is considered an Army service component command capable of serving as a four-star joint task force (JTF) or combined JTF headquarters, a combined joint forces land component command (CJFLCC) headquarters, or an Army force (ARFOR) headquarters in any operation. To accomplish this mission, USAREUR headquarters now contains both a deployable operational headquarters capable of acting as an ARFOR and a nondeploying headquarters to continue performing training, logistics, and administrative tasks within the European theater. The 21st TSC provides both deployable and European theater sustainment logistics, enhancing USAREUR’s deployment posture and ARFOR capabilities while retaining the ability to continue uninterrupted European theater support operations.

Concept of Support

Joint Publication (JP) 4–0, Logistics Support of Joint Operations, says “logistics must be responsive in and capable of meeting military personnel, equip-ment, mobility, medical readiness, infrastructure, and sustainment requirements . . . across the full range of military operations.” While undergoing transforma-tion and being forward deployed, the 21st TSC has had to analyze changing situations and determine the optimal concept of support for meeting current and future requirements. In doing so, the 21st TSC has gained the ability to provide expeditionary logistics capability to a JTF, CJFLCC, and ARFOR while retaining the ability to support the European theater sustainment base.

Based on Modular Force logistics concepts, all Army echelons-above-brigade logistics formations (except medical) in Europe now fall under the command and control of the 21st TSC. Before modularity, three echelons of support existed above brigade level: the division support command, corps support command, and theater support command. Transformation has compressed these echelons and integrated Army Materiel Command (AMC) support organizations and personnel functions, such as finance, human resources, and the band, into the 21st TSC structure. The TSC now combines three types of logistics organizations: the 16th Sustainment Brigade, Theater Logistics Support Command-Europe (TLSC–E), and the 405th Army Field Support Brigade (AFSB) and the 409th Contracting Support Brigade (CSB) from AMC. Together, these organizations provide the core capabilities to deploy and open a theater; conduct reception, staging, and onward movement; and begin initial distribution operations while supporting the European theater sustainment base. These organizations have distinct, complementary missions and are linked together to support USAREUR.

The first link is between the TLSC–E and AMC’s 405th AFSB and 409th CSB. These organizations make up USAREUR’s theater sustainment base. TLSC–E’s organization consists mostly of German civilians and is nondeployable. Its mission is to provide USAREUR a theater sustainment base consisting of maintenance, supply, ammunition, transportation, and deployment-processing support. Conceptually, TLSC–E is viewed as the 21st TSC’s second sustainment brigade, focusing only on the theater sustainment base.

The 405th AFSB and 409th CSB use their capabilities to support TLSC–E. They provide the 21st TSC, and subsequently TLSC–E, with national-level supply and maintenance resources. The 405th AFSB provides acquisition, logistics, and technology integration, and the 409th CSB provides contingency contracting to both the theater sustainment base and expeditionary forces. This coordination maximizes TLSC–E’s capabilities for centrally managed programs, such as the National Maintenance Program, reset, recapitalization, application of modification work orders, and other commodity-specific repair programs. Depending on mission requirements, the relationship between supported and supporting units shifts between TLSC–E and the 405th AFSB and the 409th CSB, providing units with the most responsive support.

The second link is between TLSC–E and the 16th Sustainment Brigade. Together, these two organiza-tions allow the 16th Sustainment Brigade to provide the 21st TSC with most of its expeditionary logistics capability at echelons above brigade. The 16th Sustainment Brigade provides maintenance, supply, ammunition, transportation, and deployment-processing support to the 21st TSC and USAREUR—basically the same capability that TLSC–E provides to the theater sustainment base. As a result, when the 16th Sustainment Brigade deploys, the 21st TSC can use TLSC–E to assume support requirements the 16th Sustainment Brigade normally provides. Depending on deployment requirements, supported unit relationships in USAREUR can easily shift from the 16th Sustainment Brigade to TLSC–E and the 405th AFSB and 409th CSB. As the 21st TSC’s primary expeditionary capability, the 16th Sustainment Brigade must remain logistically proficient, trained on its warrior tasks, and ready for deployment.

Integrating TLSC–E into the Sustainment Brigade

When the 16th Sustainment Brigade is not deployed, it will be incorporated into the daily theater sustainment base support of TLSC–E and the AFSB and the CSB. The TSC is working to achieve this balance by permanently incorporating a few TLSC–E personnel into key positions during daily operations conducted by the sustainment brigade when it is not deployed. This will ensure operational continuity in the theater sustainment base when the sustainment brigade deploys. In this way, the maximum number of Soldiers remain logistically proficient and TLSC–E learns the units’ support relationships, policies, and procedures, resulting in a seamless transition of support units to and from the 16th Sustainment Brigade and TLSC–E. Five support areas benefit from this concept: multiclass retail supply, field maintenance, retail ammunition, theater storage ammunition, and deployment processing.

The 16th Sustainment Brigade’s 240th Quartermaster (QM) Company illustrates the concept for a supply company. This company operates the multiclass retail community supply support activity (SSA) in Bamberg. As a geographical multiclass SSA, it supports customers regardless of their deployment status. The 21st TSC can have TLSC–E seamlessly assume operations to continue support to units in the area when the 240th QM Company trains and deploys. Organizationally, the 240th operates these facilities when it is in garrison in order to keep its Soldiers logistically proficient. Personnel from TLSC–E operate alongside 240th QM Company Soldiers in SSA key positions, such as the accountable officer, Standard Army Retail Supply System operator, and stock controller, allowing TLSC–E to later provide continuity of support. When necessary, TLSC–E assumes command and control of the SSA operation and builds and manages an increased civilian workforce, enabling the Soldiers to deploy and conduct their primary mission.

The concept is similar for maintenance activities. The 317th Maintenance Company in Bamberg provides field maintenance support to units in its geographic area regardless of their deployment status. In order to easily assume operations and continue support to units in the area when the 317th Maintenance Company trains and deploys, TLSC–E’s key personnel work alongside the 317th’s shop officer, Standard Army Maintenance System-Enhanced operator, and inspectors.

Drawing logistics capability from its sustainment brigade allows the 21st TSC to have continuous support, minimize contract and labor costs, and provide trained, ready, and proficient logistics Soldiers poised to support expeditionary missions in any operating environment. With TLSC–E supporting the 16th Sustainment Brigade mission and assuming command and control when the brigade deploys, unity of command is retained at the 21st TSC level, ensuring quality support and adherence to policies, procedures, and guidelines. This command relationship enables a company to redeploy, reintegrate, and transfer authority of its local support mission under the 21st TSC’s command and control, regardless of the deployment status of its battalion or brigade headquarters.

The overall USAREUR transformation plan has required changes to the logistics support framework to ensure forward-deployed combat forces in the U.S. European Command remain trained, ready, and prepared for immediate power projection in order to conduct and support full-spectrum joint and multinational operations. These changes have set new support relationships that have been evolving over the past few years. Transformation has caused the 21st TSC to re-examine how it supports USAREUR to ensure that it can simultaneously conduct expeditionary logistics for combatant commanders and theater sustainment base logistics in USAREUR.

JP 4–0 defines seven principles of logistics. The keystone principle is responsiveness—the right sup-port, in the right quantity, in the right place, at the right time. All else becomes irrelevant if the logistics system cannot support the supported commander’s concept of operations. The 21st TSC is clearly at the forefront with providing USAREUR and a JTF, CJFLCC, or ARFOR commander world-class responsive support.

Colonel Martin B. Pitts is the commander of the 16th Sustainment Brigade at Bamberg, Germany. He has master’s degrees in public administration and in strategic studies. He is a graduate of the Transportation Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Strategic Air Mobility Course, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the Army War College.

Major Kenneth M. Leeds, Jr., is the support operations officer for the 16th Sustainment Brigade. He has a bachelor’s degree in building construction and a master’s degree in acquisition and procurement management. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, the Combined Logistics Officers Advanced Course, the Petroleum Officers Course, training with industry with ExxonMobil, the Support Operations Course, and te Army Command and General Staff College.