After a decade of sustained conflict, the U.S. military must reposition itself to engage a world that has substantially changed since the terrorist attacks of 2001. With the conclusion of the Iraq war and a target of 2014 to withdraw from Afghanistan, the U.S. military is focusing on reshaping its force structure and preventing conflicts in other parts of the world, most notably the Far East. The Army must adapt to meet these evolving requirements.
In 2011, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General
Martin E. Dempsey (then Chief of Staff of the Army) outlined
his vision for the Army of 2020. With “Army 2020,”
he launched an initiative to transition the Army to address
the security challenges for 2020 and beyond. Changes in
the structure of the brigade combat team (BCT), its equipment,
and training are at the heart of Army 2020. Operationally,
the Army of 2020 will be characterized by the
redeployment of the force to a continental United States environment while remaining expeditionary in nature and postured to deploy rapidly and win.
The sustainment community has a number of initiatives to develop and implement the Army of 2020 Sustainment Strategy. This article highlights three ongoing key initiatives: tactical sustainment force structure changes, the rewrite of Department of the Army Pamphlet (DA PAM) 600–3, and the Global Logistics Concept effort.
We are redesigning our combat sustainment support
battalions (CSSBs) to support pending changes within the
BCT designs. The Army 2020 concept is making several
changes to the BCT, and our sustainment strategy will
likewise evolve. In an era of diminishing resources, and
in order to meet the active force end-strength reduction,
logistics capabilities may be shifted to echelons above
brigade (EAB) in order to balance the BCTs. Capabilities
such as water purification, some bulk fuel distribution and storage, and troop movement may migrate to EAB, either in part or completely. These proposed “pass-backs” create
tactical-level sustainment gaps that must be addressed while offering an opportunity to provide these capabilities in a more efficient manner.
The Combined Arms Support Command’s Force Development
Division is analyzing the pass-backs, conducting
gap analyses, and reviewing lessons learned from
the past 10 years of war to ensure sustainment forces are
postured to support Army 2020. A key aspect centers on
habitually aligning selected logistics capabilities with 3
corps-aligned CSSBs and 10 division-aligned CSSBs
in the active force and 8 division-aligned CSSBs in the
Army National Guard. Each CSSB would be designed with the same core capabilities—supply, fuel, water, transportation, and maintenance—to support units located
in a corps or division.
Using area support, CSSBs would simultaneously support
BCTs and division or corps EAB units. This provides
agility and economies of force to meet the sustainment
requirements of units on the battlefield without compromising
the responsiveness or effectiveness of support.
In addition to supporting the tactical fight, this approach
improves home-station operations by dedicating support
assets to major installations and providing a capability set
at home station.
We are also addressing other sustainment gaps, including
the lack of forward support companies in the Stryker
BCTs, duplication of effort in the brigade support battalion
of the fires brigade, a need for standard human resources companies in each sustainment brigade, and a lack of habitual relationships between sustainment units and supported units.
The goal is to make most of these changes transparent
to the warfighter. By making these organizational and
support relationship changes to the current sustainment
formations and operating principles, the Army leverages
efficiency and flexibility while providing the same—and
in some cases, better—support to the maneuver force.
These changes are pre-decisional at this point but have
the full support of the Training and Doctrine Command
(TRADOC) and Army Headquarters staffs.
As we navigate our way forward to 2020 and beyond, we are rewriting DA PAM 600–3 to provide our logistics officers with a roadmap to guide their careers. We’ve learned from 11 years of war that our logistics warriors must continue to be tactical experts and have detailed knowledge of the entire sustainment operational environment, which includes operations and strategic formations as well as the industrial base. Understanding these organizations, capabilities, and limitations requires a different way of thinking about how we develop our logisticians in support of Army 2020.
Once officers complete their developmental requirements,
they will be encouraged to pursue broadening assignments. These assignments challenge officers mentally and, in many cases, place them outside of their
comfort zone to develop adaptive leaders with critical
thinking skills. Officers compete for, or are assigned to,
broadening experiences as senior captains, majors, and
lieutenant colonels. They are encouraged to compete for
normative broadening assignments through advanced civilian schooling, training with industry, fellowships, internships, theater logistics planning, red teaming, and the like.
Broadening is linked to talent management, which incorporates, recognizes, develops, and manages each officer’s unique skills. Our leaders are expected to identify talents and mentor officers to pursue broadening opportunities in appropriate areas.
The new DA PAM 600–3 will ensure officers know the correct path to gain the training, education, and experiences they need to lead and implement the Army of 2020 Sustainment Strategy. It will also ensure that senior leaders have the information they need to mentor and produce the type of officers needed for 2020 and beyond.
The Army Materiel Command, the Forces Command,
TRADOC, Army Special Operations Forces
(ARSOF), and others are working a collaborative effort
on the Army 2020 Global Logistics Concept (GLC). The
purpose of the GLC is to assess the future operational
environment in order to identify doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities solutions for recognized gaps.
The GLC addresses strategic-level gaps in five areas: industrial base capability and capacity to meet emerging requirements, unity of effort to optimize support for forces from home station through contingency operations, better integration of ARSOF, integration of the Army into joint logistics capabilities and vice versa, and rapid integration of ready Reserve component (RC) sustainment units in support of future Army requirements.
The GLC sustainment white paper takes a critical look at the gaps listed above and other issues that affect sustainment organizations at all levels. It also outlines a strategy for how the Army can better work with industry and strategic and joint partners to provide effective and synchronized sustainment for the next conflict.
The sustainment white paper is the prelude to the next
Army Functional Concept for Sustainment. The functional
concept will allow the TRADOC force modernization
processes to fully analyze and understand the
impacts on sustainment in the future while identifying
sustainment capabilities for Army 2020. Those processes will pave the way for implementing changes to ensure sustainment is postured, prepared, and ready to meet the uncertainties of tomorrow that will allow us to prevent, shape, and win in support of unified land operations.
As sustainers, we have performed tremendously over the last 11 years, but we cannot rest on our laurels. There is work to be done. Collectively, as a logistics community, we are working the sustainment strategy very hard. I am confident that the sustainment strategy that we are developing and employing will yield the dividends to support and sustain our great Army.
I look forward to our continued dialogue in future
articles, as we address the details of the Army of 2020
Sustainment Strategy. Future articles will include discussions
of professional credentialing programs, skills-based
training, Global Combat Support System–Army, force
structure changes, leader development, ARSOF integration, joint logistics capabilities, and RC integration, just to name a few. As we further develop our concept, we will leave no doubt that the sustainment community remains laser-focused on supporting the warfighter.