Positioning critical supplies as far forward
is the best way to resupply distant forward operating bases.
One company led an effort to build up the capability
to store supplies and distribute them to distant bases in
Every logistician tries to answer this one basic question:
How do I quickly and consistently provide more supplies to
the Soldiers who are operating farthest from the supply hubs?
The simple solution is to store larger quantities of all classes
of supply at a forward operating base (FOB) that is closer
to the maneuver units.
In Operation Enduring Freedom, Jalalabad Airfield (JAF) in
Afghanistan is being built up so that supplies can be positioned
forward of the main supply hub, Bagram Airfield (BAF). Three
key projects will allow JAF to function as a forward supply
hub. The first critical task, building a new supply support
activity (SSA), has already been completed; the SSA opened
at JAF in June 2007. The second project is the creation of
an ammunition supply point (ASP), and the final task is building
the combat logistics patrol capability at JAF. Each of these
key projects is spearheaded by Alpha Company, the distribution
company of the 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3d Infantry
Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
The completion of the SSA at JAF makes this base one step
closer to being a functional supply hub. The JAF SSA stores
classes I (subsistence), IV (construction and barrier materials),
and IX (repair parts), and it also receives and issues classes
II (clothing and individual equipment) and IV. This warehouse
is resupplied primarily by host nation “jingle” trucks
that bring parts from BAF. The storage of classes I, IV, and
IX at JAF decreases customer wait time for parts and increases
customer satisfaction. For example, if a transmission is needed
at a firebase located 50 miles north of JAF, it can be shipped
directly from the JAF SSA instead of from the BAF SSA, which
would be 200 miles away.
A new ASP is the next critical project that must be completed
in order to transform JAF into a main supply hub. As of June
2007, a new construction project was underway to improve the
ammunition holding area at JAF because it does not have enough
storage capacity or meet the safety standards to be qualified
as an ASP. After construction is complete, JAF will be able
to store enough ammunition to resupply an entire brigade with
a basic load of ammunition. JAF has an airstrip that can accommodate
a C–130 aircraft and will be used to resupply the ASP.
When units located near JAF need a class V (ammunition) delivery,
they will be able to pull ammunition quickly from JAF. If
a small FOB 50 miles north of JAF becomes critically short
on 155-millimeter projectiles, for example, it will be much
easier to resupply the FOB by combat logistics patrol or rotary-wing
movement from JAF instead of from BAF.
Building the combat logistics patrol capability at JAF is
the final task necessary to transform JAF into a fully functional
supply hub. With an ASP and an SSA at JAF, classes I, II,
IV, V, VII (major end items), and IX will be available in
large quantities at a moment’s notice. Positioning a
combat logistics patrol capability at JAF will allow FOBs
that are far forward to be resupplied quickly. Using Alpha
Company to conduct combat logistics patrols for this mission
will allow the forward support companies to be available to
move supplies to even more remote firebases. Overall, placing
a combat logistics patrol capability at JAF to move supplies
from the SSA and ASP will provide better support to the brigade
that is maneuvering in that area of operations.
The fastest, most consistent way to resupply distant FOBs
is simple: Position critical classes of supply as far forward
as possible. In Afghanistan, JAF must be developed into a
key supply hub. The result of building JAF into a supply hub
is better customer support, and that is the goal of Army logisticians.
Captain Kristie Richardson is the distribution company commander
of the 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3d Infantry Brigade
Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. Captain Richardson deployed
to Operation Enduring Freedom VII, where she earned the Army
Bronze Star. She received a B.S. degree from the U.S. Military
Academy with a major in American politics and a field of study
in systems engineering. She is a graduate of the Quartermaster
Officer Basic Course.