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A Fond Farewell

On 3 June, I turned over command of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) and Fort Lee, Virginia, to Major General Jim Chambers. I could not be more comfortable that CASCOM is in the best of hands, and Nancy and I wish Jim and Elaine the very best in this pivotal position in Army logistics.

As I settle into my new job as the Deputy Chief of Staff, G–4, Department of the Army, allow me to express my sincere gratitude and reflect on a few of the significant accomplishments of the unsung heroes within the CASCOM Team. These accomplishments and countless others were possible only because of the hard work, dedicated efforts, and commitment to the fight of the entire CASCOM Team—Soldiers, civilians, joint and allied military personnel, and contractors. The CASCOM Team’s focus was always on ensuring that the Army’s sustainers are prepared to Support Victory in operations on the battlefield of today and tomorrow.

Army Transformation has continued to move forward rapidly, and the CASCOM Team has continued to refine the great work producing in the Modular Force logistics concept. Feedback from the field indicates that our new sustainment structure is working pretty well—but we know we didn’t get it exactly right (which we knew would be the case), and a number of refinements are already under way.

One forum established to ensure we stay in touch with what our sustainment units are experiencing out on the ground is the “Reverse Collection and Analysis Team,” or R–CAAT. R–CAATs bring redeployed sustainment commanders and key members of their staff to CASCOM to share their experiences. The use of R–CAATs has paid enormous dividends by providing an excellent method for directly infusing lessons learned into our sustainment doctrine, organization, training, and all other facets of DOTLMPF (doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities). The R–CAAT program has helped to rapidly close the gap between how we envisioned things working and how they actually work out where the rubber meets the road, and we hope to continue to be able to use them.

History was made with the establishment of the new Logistics Branch, which has joined officers of the Quartermaster, Ordnance and Transportation regiments into one unified branch that emphasizes the multifunctional nature of Army logistics. Today, and into the foreseeable future, logistics officers must be multifunctional and able to operate effectively amidst uncertainty and unpredictability in the full spectrum of operations. I think our new Logistics Branch will enable us to achieve just that.

To further ensure that we have especially competent and highly trained logistics planners in our operational-level sustainment headquarters, the Army Logistics Management College (ALMC) developed the Theater Logistics Studies Program (TLog) to replace the long-running Logistics Executive Development Course. TLog will equip logistics planners with the operational- and strategic-level tools they need to deploy and sustain the Modular Force and solve large-scale theater-level logistics problems.

In an effort to ensure that our operational-level sustainment headquarters are put through their paces before deploying to Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, CASCOM’s training developers developed and executed a complex, multilevel collective training exercise dubbed the “Logistics Training Exercise” and have as of this writing already put three expeditionary sustainment command headquarters through it, helping to ensure they were ready for about any challenges they would face once deployed. Additionally, each of the schools within CASCOM has aggressively provided mobile training teams throughout the Army in an effort to bring training to units and ease some of the stress on an Army with an already high operating tempo.

To assist in the transformation of sustainment training, the CASCOM Team moved forward with a concept called “lifelong learning” and established the “Sustainment Center of Excellence Lifelong Learning Portal” (SCoE–LLP). The SCoE–LLP, which operates with the virtual muscle of the SCoE Sustainment Knowledge Network (SKN) (now available on line), is the hub supporting lifelong learning and collaboration for the CASCOM, Ordnance, Quartermaster, Transportation, Soldier Support Institute, and ALMC learning domains.

But probably the best and most significant thing that’s happened to CASCOM since its creation was the decisions of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission. As a result of BRAC, the centerpiece of the transformation within the Army Training and Doctrine Command is the establishment of four multibranch “centers of excellence”—and one of these four will be the Sustainment Center of Excellence at Fort Lee, where all training and combat development for all of Army logistics will be centralized by 2011. There is an enormous amount of work ongoing in each of CASCOM’s logistics schools right now, preparing for the BRAC moves and laying the groundwork for what will be. The power of what the Sustainment Center of Excellence will enable has yet to be realized.

I could go on, but let me just say that I am extremely proud to have served with the men and women of the Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee. Thank you all for a job well done. I have great confidence that the CASCOM Team will continue to ensure mission success and serve as the voice of combat service support training and doctrine development for the Army Training and Doctrine Command. And to all Army logisticians wherever you might be serving, I encourage you to maintain a lifelong connection to the combat and training developers and schools of the Combined Arms Support Command—we need your feedback, and we want to help you solve your problems.
Support Starts Here!

Lieutenant General Mitchell H. Stevenson is the Deputy Chief of Staff, G–4, Department of the Army. He served as the commanding general of the Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee, Virginia, from October 2005 to June 2008.