The author asks some hard questions about how the Army is implementing
modular logistics in the division and brigade and offers some answers.
The division of the future is not the division
we grew up with. The division headquarters of the future will
have no permanently assigned forces—it will be just a
headquarters. We are seeing the future already in how the Army
is assigning brigade combat teams (BCTs) in Iraq: few “divisions” are
fighting with the BCTs with which they are based.
The intent of the logistics modular force design
is to have a single person in charge of logistics, end to end,
in a theater
of operations, and that person will be the commander of the
theater sustainment command (TSC). He may exercise command
and control through his deployable command post (DCP) commander.
Right now, “end to end” means down to the sustainment
brigade, not the BCT’s brigade support battalion (BSB).
Yet the total of combat service support (CSS) Soldiers in
each BSB could represent over 50 percent of the logisticians
in a theater of operations, and the BSB falls under the
Some aspects of logistics in the modular force
at the division
and brigade levels still need to be worked on. These areas
include command and control and the direct support (DS)
logistics activities that currently account for 80 percent
of a division’s
budget (as identified in a division review and analysis
of logistics performance). Consideration of these areas leads
to a number of questions. Who is responsible for the logistics
enablers that are being introduced in the BCT and division?
How have some commanders involved in current operations
the transformation to modular force logistics? Who will
be responsible for managing current materiel management processes?
How will the professional development of CSS officers and
officers (NCOs) be conducted in a BCT? How will the Army
Force Generation Model be applied to modular force logistics
the BCT? It is our role as logisticians to figure out how
to answer these questions and make modular force logistics
Command and Control
Emerging Army doctrine states that the sustainment brigade’s
chain of command falls under the TSC or its DCP but that
the brigade will be under the operational control of a division
for a specific mission or operation. In garrison, the BCT
commander owns his organizational and DS logistics. He rates his logisticians
and has fiscal responsibility for the BCT’s execution
of logistics. He provides guidance to his DS maintenance
activities and supply support activities (SSAs). He makes
sure that current
maintenance and supply regulations are followed while also
overseeing the transformation of his maintenance systems
to two-level maintenance. He signs inventory adjustment
for SSAs while reviewing authorized stockage list performance,
inventory accuracy, zero balances, and denials. He makes
sure that shop stock is managed appropriately and that the
or BCT budget is not wasted on double orders or missed diagnoses
by his DS shops.
Is the Army asking too much of BCT and BSB commanders?
Since Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom began,
Army has done a good job in making the logistician more
of a warfighter.
With the introduction of modularity, must it now make the
warfighter more of a logistician?
The sustainment brigade works for the TSC, and
its personnel do not wear a division patch. The number of Active
sustainment brigade headquarters that the Army can afford
could result in each sustainment brigade either supporting
two divisions on one installation or being located on
an installation without any Active component division.
the Army could
have as few as 15 sustainment brigades replacing the
36 division support commands (DISCOMs) and corps support
that currently exist. This support ratio will become
even more challenging because these sustainment brigades
could support a force with 10 more BCTs than at present.
Review and Analysis of Logistics Performance
Each month before a division logistics
readiness review, the assistant division commander (support)
and the DISCOM commander
conduct a review and analysis of DS systems that drive both
division readiness and division resource requirements. These
DS activities are not readily apparent to the units in the
division that are supported by DS logistics, but they are critical
factors in determining the division’s success or failure.
The review and analysis process starts with
a trend analysis. Maintenance trends allow division leaders
to compare each
unit to similar units in the division, as well as with
units in the Army. The relative values established by analyzing
like units allow for the cross-leveling of knowledge among
DS units within the division. The units can see their performance
more clearly and make needed improvements. Since a BCT
has only one SSA and one set of DS shops, comparison of their
performance to like units outside of the BCT is extremely
review and analysis process is a training event for DS
and for the leaders charged with fiscal responsibility
for the BCT and division budgets. This knowledge cannot be
gained solely within the boundaries of the BCT.
However, questions remain. Does the division
staff have enough experience and personnel to perform
of analysis? How can division budget processes be used
to enforce the disciplined use of division resources in DS
the BCT be given a budget and be expected to operate within
the constraints of that budget? If so, does the BCT staff
have the experience and personnel to use the budget to
how DS units execute supply and maintenance activities
while also maintaining readiness?
Turn-In of Serviceable Repair Parts
Turn-in of serviceable repair parts is a perfect example of
an activity that requires discipline and external monitoring
to evaluate the performance of DS units. DS units can contribute
to the poor management of a BCT or division budget by needlessly
requisitioning repair parts, only to turn those parts back
to an SSA to receive partial credit. This inefficiency also
wastes the manpower associated with the requisition and
subsequent turn-in of the parts.
Serviceable turn-ins are usually caused by poor
discipline in the supply and maintenance activities of a DS
unit and the
units it supports. This poor discipline, lack of trust in
the Army’s supply system (which can result in units
hoarding repair parts), poor shop stock management, and poor
diagnostic capabilities usually are the causes of poor management
of budgets and manpower.
Do the modular designs of the division and BCT
headquarters provide the number of experienced personnel needed
the use of repair parts? Can the BCT commander be made
fiscally responsible for the activities of his BSB with the
available to him? This one process—turn-in of serviceable
repair parts—can cost the BCT commander millions
of dollars that could have been used better to train his
far, generous Global War on Terrorism funding has allowed
Army to delay having to address the problems created by
serviceable turn-ins. In the near future, when war funds
are not so available,
this shortcoming will be more apparent.
Customer wait time, the successful fill rate
of an SSA, the average turnaround time of jobs in a DS maintenance
and the backlog in a DS shop—all affect readiness.
Comparing these activities to other units of the same type
is key to
seeing how well a unit is performing.
In the divisional modular structure, does the
division commander have less of an opportunity to weight the
effort in an asymmetrical environment?
Will he have the ability to
assess the requirements or shortages in one BSB and task-organize
logistics from one BSB to another? Who is looking into
CSS capabilities deeply enough to estimate the requirements
of a BSB and make the recommendations to task-organize?
G–4 have the capability? Does the division commander
have the ability to see the impact of a logistics decision
at the Army or major Army command (MACOM) level, which
would allow him to contribute to making that decision?
Some may argue that there are no longer division logistics
assets because the main support battalion (MSB) no longer
exists. Others would argue that the logistics enablers assigned
to the BCT, which is assigned or attached to the division
headquarters, are assets under the control of the division
headquarters. This means that the enablers could be task-organized
between BCTs as required to accomplish a task by or-der
of the higher headquarters. This would presuppose that all
of the BSBs in the Army are operating under the same doctrine
and are task-organized in the same manner to some degree.
“Connect the Logistician” endeavors
by the Army G–4
have gone a long way toward linking logisticians wherever
they may deploy with Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs)
CSS Automated Information Management Interface/Network Encryption
System. The Army Training and Doctrine Command and the Army
Materiel Command have made great progress in developing the
Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army), which will
force compliance in systems at wholesale and tactical levels.
However, questions remain about competing
command and control systems for division-level operations.
At the Army level,
the proponents and funding for command and control systems
are clear. The Army G–3 supports the Force XXI Battle
Com-mand Brigade and Below (FBCB2) and Blue Force Tracking
(BFT) systems, while the Army G–4 supports the Movement
Tracking System (MTS) and Battle Command Sustainment and
Support System (BCS3). At the division level, the division
rear is the advocate for either MTS or the Defense Transportation
Reporting and Control System (DTRACS) and BCS3, while the
main command post is focused on either BFT or FBCB2 and the
command and control personal computer. The fact remains
that the basis-of-issue plan for BFT does not provide CSS
vehicles with enough BFT devices. This has caused logisticians
to pursue their own form of visibility on the battlefield
with BCS3 and MTS.
Who drives the BCT to focus on BCS3 and
MTS so its BSB can execute its mission? Will the division
G–4 be the sole
advocate for BCT use of BCS3 and MTS in BSBs? How many BCT
commanders or executive officers (XOs) understand the capabilities
BCS3 and MTS offer or the information they can provide to
logisticians at higher levels of the theater?
The bottom line is that every CSS brigade com-mander is going
to do what it takes to make the war-fighters he supports
successful. The Army Staff’s assistance visits last
year, led by the G–3, to the 82d Airborne Division,
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 10th Mountain Division
(Light Infantry), and 4th Infantry Division yielded some
important insights. Regardless of doctrinal voids or outdated
regulations, the sustainment brigade commanders associated
with those divisions always focused on doing the right thing.
This was sometimes in spite of doctrine or regulations. All
focused on the warfighter they reported to in garrison
or went to war with in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring
These divisions and collocated sustainment brigades developed
different tactics, techniques, and procedures, standing operating
procedures, or self-imposed sustainment brigade headquarters
reorganizations. Some were closely aligned with the higher
headquarters they habitually supported. Some were more closely
aligned with the DCP or corps support command they were going
to report to in war with an area support mission. Some simply
reorganized what the Army gave them. Some will need to modularize
again after returning from war since they did not complete
the modularization process before deploying.
The common concern among many CSS brigade commanders
is their relationship with the corps or division and with
the DCP of
the TSC to which they are assigned. This may be a generational
problem that will be resolved only as the current generation
of commanders, who grew up working with DISCOMs, moves on.
However, sustainment brigades are not a plan for the future:
they are functioning right now in Iraqi Freedom and Enduring
Freedom. Questions will remain even after these brigades
arrive back in the continental United States. The ways in which
Army accounts for property, manages budgets, maintains vehicles,
and assesses readiness are fundamentally different while
improvised explosive devices are exploding and mortars are
forward operating bases. We will not know the complete organizational
success or failure of the sustainment brigade design until
we also can evaluate the brigades at their home stations
in other-than-wartime conditions.
Where did the materiel managers go? A study of the modification
tables of organization and equipment (MTOEs) the Army is
developing seems to show that materiel managers basically
have been pushed down, up, or out. The chart on right compares
the strength of materiel managers in the DISCOM materiel
management center (MMC), CSG, forward support battalion
(FSB), and MSB with the strength of materiel managers in
the BCTs and sustainment brigade. Remember that Soldiers
in the sustainment brigade are not wearing a division patch,
so we may consider their materiel managers as being pushed
up from the division. The numbers on the chart are approximate
(give or take 8 percent) since there are multiple MTOEs,
effective dates, and sources of authorizations.
Now take these figures and consider the effect
of increasing the number of BCTs (and their BSBs) by a net
of 10 and replacing 36 Active component DISCOMs and CGSs with
15 sustainment brigades. Then consider the increased amount
of equipment in the greater number of BCTs that will require
support. The ratio of materiel managers to equipment not only
increases, but materiel managers migrate to a lower CSS command
level in the BSBs; that pushes this management responsibility
on the shoulders of BCT commanders. This may be why sustainment
brigade commanders are reorganizing as they deploy into battle.
of materiel managers in brigade combat teams (BCTs)
and the theater sustainment command (TSC) sustainment
brigade will be less than their strength in the existing
division support command (DISCOM) materiel management
center, corps support group, forward support battalion,
and main support battalion.
The BCT commander and command sergeant major are well equipped
to develop officers and NCOs into warfighters, but they
will need help in developing the same officers and NCOs as
How will field-grade officers in a BCT be developed as
logistics officers? How will CSS company commanders be
Will there be a female BCT headquarters and headquarters
commander in the future? These are but a few of the professional
development issues that current sustainment brigade and
BCT commanders are wrestling with that were not problems
the DISCOM commander. Maybe the BSBs will seek out sustainment
brigade commanders to obtain professional development opportunities.
Are CSS company commanders in a BCT getting the same CSS
development opportunities as their brothers and sisters
in the subordinate battalions of the sustainment brigades?
is not a new problem for the Army.
Do future BSB commanders have the depth of experience and
the professional development to handle the responsibility
and the potential missions that the new force structure
them? If there is no longer a requirement to seek and hold
branch qualification positions, such as a support operations
officer (SPO) or XO in a support battalion, will a CSS
officer always have the right experience to be the senior
in a deployment? This situation arose in the early days
of the Kosovo campaign, when the commander of an FSB or
squadron was the senior logistician in country. This issue
has been overshadowed by current operations, where many
senior logisticians have been inserted to ensure success.
The rating schemes associated with BSB and BCT commanders
create interesting possibilities for composing command
selection boards. Branch qualification and the norms
that career path are on the way out, but how an officer
performs in battalion and company command will always
be a factor
evaluation. Now that 50 to 60 percent of the Army’s
logisticians will be rated or senior-rated by combat
arms officers, maybe
it is time to look at how the boards for colonel- and
lieutenant colonel-level CSS commands are composed. Maybe
it is time
for combat arms officers to sit on all boards for CSS
officers, including command boards.
Force Generation Model
We can suppose that we will fix everything
that has been questioned so far. It is in our character as
an Army to be adaptive,
flexible, and relevant. Many of us will be needed to seek the
answers to the questions before us, but success will be achieved.
One question that might be beyond us, however, is grounded
in pure math. Will there be enough sustainment brigade force
structure to support the Army Force Generation Model of 1 year
deployed, 1 year recovering, and 1 year getting ready to deploy
again? The number of CSS brigades in the future may dictate
force ratios that will cause sustainment brigades to either
depend heavily on their DCPs or violate the 1-year-in-3 deployment
ratio. Only the development of the theater in which they deploy
and the duration of the next fight will answer these questions.
Tracking System is one of a number of logistics enablers
being introduced in divisions and BCTs.
The solutions to all of these problems are found
in changes associated with training and force structure to
provide more logistics experience to the BCT.
The first solution that needs to be implemented,
regardless of the other recommendations, is to train brigade
XOs or deputy
brigade commanders in DS logistics. This would not be the
subject of a MACOM-sponsored course such as those used to
certify a Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced (PBUSE) operator.
what is needed is a course on the level of the Logistics
Executive Development Course (LEDC) of-fered by the Army Logistics
College at Fort Lee, Virginia.
The intent of the proposed course would not
be to create logistics executives but rather to train tactical
familiar with the capabilities of DS Standard Army Management
Information Systems like the Standard Army Retail Supply
System and PBUSE as well as logistics enablers like VSAT,
in-transit visibility, and radio frequency identification.
The course also would include instruction on the Single
Stock Fund, the Army Working Capital Fund, and the future
The course would last at least 4 weeks. Completion of the
course would prepare an XO to engage in DS activities that
the BCT and expend its budget. The XO would be able to
provide checks and balances for the BSB commander. The XO would
awarded a functional area in Logistics after he has gone
to the course and served in his
Another approach to increasing logistics experience
in the BCT would be to have a CSS officer serve as the brigade
and a combat arms officer as the BSB XO.
Other solutions have to do with force structure—not
so much with organization but more with grade levels and expertise.
The most obvious solution is to make the G–4 in the
division a colonel. Or there could be a chief of staff
the entire division staff and an assistant chief of staff
(ACOS) di-recting the G–1 and G–4 (both lieutenant
colonels). The ACOS would answer to the COS. The ACOS or
the division G–4 would be a centrally selected colonel
who would be considered equivalent to the sustainment
commanders who might support the division. This also would
improve the greatly reduced opportunities offered by the
current force structure for the advancement of successful
Instead of putting another colonel in the division
headquarters, another solution is to make one of the general
who currently serves as an assistant division commander
Regardless of the solution, the current
force design, associated relationships, and doctrine for
brigades and for BSBs in BCTs in the modular force warrant
some adjustments before the energy for change is stifled
by budget constraints. The time to make these adjustments is
while new doctrine and organizations are still being developed
and support for change is still strong.
Colonel Guy C. Beougher is the Commander
of the 1st Armored Division Support Command at Wiesbaden,
He has a B.S. degree in business from Emporia State University,
an M.S. degree in materiel acquisition management from Florida
Institute of Technology, and an M.S. degree in national resource
strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He
is a graduate of the Quartermaster Officer Basic and Advanced
Courses, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the
Industrial College of the Armed Forces.