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Planners Hold Rehearsal of Concept Drill for Next Phase of Iraq Drawdown

Logistics planners gathered at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, on 14 December 2009 for a rehearsal of con­cept (ROC) drill to discuss strategies and coordinate the next phase of the Iraq drawdown, which began in December 2009 and will conclude this August. The ROC drill was cohosted by senior staff from the Department of Defense, the Third Army, and the 1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) and included briefings on withdrawal timelines for specific units, classified plans for ammunition, weather predictions, and threat trends.

Stakeholders including the Army Materiel Command, the Defense Logistics Agency, Joint Contracting Command Iraq/Afghanistan, and the Department of the Army were represented at the meeting.

According to information provided by planners at the ROC drill, the Army is on its way to fulfilling President Barack Obama’s goal of having less than 50,000 troops in Iraq by August 2010.

Lieutenant Colonel Eric Reinkober, 1st TSC mobility branch chief, says that the Army is ahead of schedule for its monthly retrograde goals for stock items and containers. As of December, the Army had been moving out 300,000 containers per month. Reinkober said that more transportation assets will be needed as further drawdown operations take place.

“The central question everyone wants to know is, do we have the transportation capacity to move the requirement?” said Reinkober. He explained that if additional vehicles are needed to move the requirement, the 1st TSC will need to contract additional trucks to haul equipment back to ports.

Since May 2009, more than 76,000 equipment items and 10,000 vehicles have been retrograded; more than 30,000 of those retrograded items are now filling other U.S. Central Command requirements.

New Task Force and Special Office Created to Oversee Equipment Drawdown in Iraq

The Army Materiel Command (AMC), the execu­tive agent for resetting the Army, has set up the Responsible Reset Task Force (R2TF) to oversee Army equipment leaving Iraq as part of the drawdown scheduled to be completed by 2011. R2TF will ensure the visibility, accountability, and prompt movement of assets as they head for reset and refurbishment.

The Communications and Electronics Command Life Cycle Management Command has also created a new organization to aid drawdown efforts. The Special Project Office is working with R2TF to draw­down and move command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment and personnel in Iraq.

AMC’s asset-visibility and accountability efforts in the past few years have eased some of the burden associated with the drawdown of equipment. As of 11 November 2009, the Army had identified some 60,000 pieces of equipment, including trucks, trailers, and containers, to be moved out of Iraq and 22,000 items to be repositioned within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

DLA Prepares for Drawdown

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is already seeing a surge of activity due to drawdown efforts in Iraq. DLA provides the U.S. military and its allied forces with logistics, acquisition, and technical services—including the disposal or redistribution of excess military property and the disposal of hazardous waste. Earlier this year, members of DLA’s Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service disposal team removed more than 3 million pounds of scrap from a large forward operating base in 30 days in support of the drawdown effort.

“This is much more than moving a mountain,” said Colonel Mike Bird, commander of Defense Logistics Agency-Central Command. “It surpasses any logistical challenge we have undertaken to date, all while we are still fighting two wars.”

While equipment needs are decreasing in Iraq, they are building in Afghanistan, and a lot of consumable items are being shipped from Iraq to Defense Distribution Depot-Kuwait for redistribution. While consumable items can be used easily in Afghanistan, Donald Bruce, DLA’s Joint Logistics Operations Center lead planner for drawdown, retrograde, and reset, says equipment is a more complex issue. High-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles and other items in need of retrograde must return to Army repair depots.

“There’s a big impact there for DLA because there’s a lot of equipment that has to come back and be repaired before it can be provided to units to prepare for the next fight,” said Bruce.

The transfer of equipment to repair depots creates an additional impact on DLA because it increases the agency’s requirement to supply the repair parts to rebuild equipment. DLA’s supply centers are expected to see a surge in business as the military’s requirements for reset and refurbishment change and grow.

Rapid Port Opening Elements Join SDDC

The Army has added three rapid port opening elements (RPOEs) to the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) to provide expeditionary support for initial port setup. These units are designed to arrive before deploying units and equipment to ensure accountability and visibility once assets arrive. This is especially important in contingency operations when larger sustainment units are not yet available. While it can take a theater sustainment command a month to deploy in support of port opening and forward distribution, RPOEs can be ready within 36 hours because they are tailored to the size and type of each mission.

The 688th, 689th and 690th RPOEs act as the “on the ground” elements for the U.S. Transportation Command’s Joint Task Force-Port Opening and deploy as part of a joint expeditionary logistics force to set up a port of debarkation and a forward distribution node. RPOEs provide commanders with in-transit visibility, conduct clearance and distribution operations, and receive and transload cargo as an initialentry port opening force. RPOEs continue to perform these duties until they are relieved by or integrated into follow-on sustainment forces.

The 690th RPOE, the newest of the three units, was actived on 16 October 2009. The 688th completed the task force’s air and sea port of debarkation verifications in May 2009, and the 689th participated in its first operational deployment with the task force while moving the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, to Afghanistan in the summer of 2009.

These units provide not only a quick-reaction capability but also can augment deployment and distribution units more readily because the task force design requires less coordination with higher headquarters elements to authorize deployment.

Army Command and General Staff College Names Distinguished Master Logistician

The Department of Logistics and Resource Operations of the Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) recognized Major Erik E. Hilberg, a Logistics Corps and transportation officer, as the Major General James M. Wright Distinguished Master Logistician for Intermediate Level Education class 2009–02.

The Distinguished Master Logistician program began in 1983 and recognizes the top logistician in each CGSC class. The program provides expanded learning opportunities in logistics through a 3-phase process: a written exam on a wide variety of sustainment-related subjects; an oral exam before a board of logisticians, who ask scenario-based questions; and a 3-hour oral presentation. For the presentation, each candidate is given 7 days to develop a joint task force concept of support for operations in a country with minimal support infrastructure and then presents his support plan before a board of senior logisticians.

Soldiers in Afghanistan Get Letters Delivered Faster With New HooahMail

The Army launched a new 1-year pilot program on 1 December 2009 that is proving capable of delivering paper letters and photos of friends and family to Soldiers in Afghanistan within days instead of weeks. In its first 21 days in service, “Hooahmail” delivered 1,690 letters to Soldiers in Afghanistan, many in less than 24 hours.

Hooahmail is a hybrid system combining the benefits of digital and traditional mail. Individuals wishing to send letters and photos sign into www.hooahmail.us, type in their messages, and attach digital photos. This information is sent to 1 of 10 sites in Afghanistan, where it is printed out, folded, stuffed in envelopes, and delivered via intratheater mail using the Soldiers’ traditional mailing addresses.

Depending on the destination, Hooahmail can take 1 to 4 days to deliver, much less than the approximately 14 days it now takes mail from the United States to reach Soldiers. Service for HooahMail is provided by SuperLetter.Com, Inc., which has developed a similar program for the Marine Corps.


Army Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet 525–3–0, The Army Capstone Concept, overhauls the 2005 Army Capstone Concept based on lessons learned in the past 4 years of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This document is subtitled “Operational Adaptability: Operating under Conditions of Uncertainty and Complexity in an Era of Persistent Conflict (2016–2028).” Released in December 2009, the concept examines how Soldiers operate under complex conditions and in a time of continuing conflicts and how they will fight wars in the future.

Sustainment operations are addressed significantly in this document, making it a must-read for sustainment community members. The concept explains that while future developments in vehicle reliability, fuel efficiency, and durability, as well as the development of unmanned vehicle technology, could reduce sustainment demands, the sustainment tasks that remain will be more difficult to complete, because of increasing operations in locations without well-established supply routes.

The Army will need to acquire new capabilities to ensure delivery of supplies and will have to work jointly to ensure an “uninterrupted flow of personnel, supplies, equipment, and units into and throughout the theater of operations.” Logistics support will also have to be decentralized “to ensure that forces have what is necessary to seize upon unexpected opportunities or protect against unanticipated dangers.” Furthermore, while the Army will continue to use contract support, “forces must retain the capability to sustain operations in unsecure, austere environments.” Though logisticians must maintain their skills, the document also emphasizes the need for Soldiers to be “warfighters first and logisticians second.”



Operations Research Education Colloquium

The Military Operations Research Society (MORS) 2010 Education and Professional Development Colloquium will be held from 14 to 15 April 2010 at the Army Logistics University at Fort Lee, Virginia. The theme for this year’s forum is “Operations Research: A Global Solution Methodology.”

The forum provides operations research students and professionals with an opportunity to hear about recent academic projects and future research and professional development opportunities in operations research. Students will also be able to present current research projects, interact with students from other academic institutions, and receive guidance and lessons learned from experts in operations research.

For more information or to register, visit the MORS website at www.mors.org.

Culture Summit IV

The Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Culture Center will hold Culture Summit IV from 19 to 21 April at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, Arizona. The summit brings together military leaders, scholars, and other professional experts to provide participants with relevant, applicable lessons learned for building cross-cultural knowledge to use in the current operational environment. This year’s theme is “Knowledge to Application: Employing Cross-Cultural Competency Skills to Positively Shape the Environment.”

Major General John Custer, commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, says Soldiers deployed to foreign nations who understand the local language and are more culturally aware of their surroundings offer more complete reporting capabilities than Soldiers without this skill set.

Culture Summit IV will include presentations on the roles played by cultural awareness, non-governmental organizations, and diplomacy in the current operational environment. To register, visit the Intelligence Knowledge Network online at https://icon.army.mil/. Select “Culture Awareness Summit IV” in the bottom left column of the screen, and log in to the registration site using your Army Knowledge Online (AKO) user name and password. Guests without an AKO account can access the site with the user name “TccSummit.guest” and the password “2010TccSummit” in order to register. Registration ends April 2.


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