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BRAC and Quartermaster Reorganization

Under the recommendations of the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) Commission, the Army Quartermaster Center and School is remaining at Fort Lee, Virginia, and welcomes to the installation its sister branches, Ordnance and Transportation. The BRAC process is the driving force behind all of the construction now underway at Fort Lee and all of the movement of courses, headquarters, Soldiers, and families there.

The headquarters of the Quartermaster Center and School, located in Mifflin Hall since 1961, moved across the street into the Sustainment Center of Excellence (SCoE) headquarters building in early May 2009 and will soon be joined by the Ordnance Center and Schools headquarters (now at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland). The Transportation Center and School headquarters will move next year from Fort Eustis, Virginia.

No decision has been made yet about the future of Mifflin Hall. Many options are being considered, ranging from demolishing the venerable headquarters to turning it into the new home of the School of Music. Mifflin Hall also contains a 500-seat auditorium that is used by many units on post to conduct everything from award ceremonies to graduations and town hall meetings. Brigadier General Jesse R. Cross, the 50th Quartermaster General, has made it a priority to find the right solution for the future of this great facility.

Logistics Training

At the time that the BRAC 2005 recommendations were approved by Congress, no one knew that General Martin E. Dempsey would be selected to command the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Under his leadership, TRADOC is reorganizing, and his command guidance for this reorganization fits perfectly with the reorganization of training for the Logistics Corps (which encompasses officers of the Quartermaster, Ordnance, and Transportation branches) at Fort Lee.

Based on the TRADOC lines of operation, the commanding general of the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) designated each of his school commandants to be the deputy commanding general for one of the lines of operation. The commandant of the Quartermaster Center and School (the Quartermaster General) will be the CASCOM Deputy Commanding General for Initial Military Training for all schools under the CASCOM umbrella. (The other lines of operation are capabilities development and integration and leader development, training, and doctrine).

With guidance and direction from the TRADOC Deputy Commanding General for Initial Military Training, the Quartermaster General will have the challenge of reviewing all initial military training tasks, determining opportunities to improve that training, ensuring consistency with warrior training and battle drills, and conducting a complete review of initial military training with the aim of improving training opportunities. He will also be tasked with achieving effective outcome-based training that replicates likely challenging battlefield conditions. His final charge will be streamlining the throughput of students within the training base while establishing and maintaining standards.

Brigadier General Cross has wasted no time in instituting training for likely battlefield conditions. He summoned representatives to Fort Lee from the other sustainment schools for a working conference on a combined logistics exercise for Advanced Individual Training (AIT), Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course (BNCOC), and Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) students that will be called the “Log Warrior Combined Exercise.” Realistic battlefield training will not be an easy task, but Brigadier General Cross and his team are up to the challenge of training our Soldiers for what they are likely to see and experience in their follow-on assignments.

The Army Logistics University

The first priority of the TRADOC commander and staff is leader development through training, education, and experience. Fort Lee now features a new institution that will greatly improve the process of leader development, the Army Logistics University (ALU). Noncommissioned officers (NCOs), warrant officers, and officers will receive instruction at the new ALU complex in state-of-the-art classrooms and training facilities.

The word “university” brings to mind higher-level education featuring a mix of different people and areas of study. That is how ALU will be viewed: a higher level of military education that combines NCOs, warrant officers, and officers in the same training and education environment where cross-fertilization will occur. This will create a great training environment for the Logistics Corps and the Army. So while each school commandant may have transferred training responsibilities to ALU, the Army will undoubtedly gain more rounded, educated Soldiers and leaders from the change.

Joint Training at the Quartermaster School

Under BRAC 2005, the Quartermaster School was selected to become the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence for all of the armed services. It will train Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force food service personnel in culinary skills, both basic and advanced. Construction is underway to increase the size of Fort Lee’s culinary training facilities to accommodate all of the offices and training laboratories required for this consolidation.

Although it was not suggested in the BRAC report, the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff, G–4, and the Department of Defense saw the value of creating the Joint Mortuary Affairs Center at the Quartermaster Center and School. Currently, the Quartermaster School’s Mortuary Affairs Center serves as the adviser to the Army G–4 and trains Army officers, enlisted personnel, and civilians and Marines as specialists in mortuary affairs. The Joint Mortuary Affairs Center will serve as the joint training and doctrine integrating center for mortuary affairs. The joint center will also provide assistance and interpretation of joint doctrine for implementation in joint theaters of operations.

Mortuary affairs planning and training will now include mission and support requirements for civil and military authorities. The Joint Mortuary Affairs Center will continue to provide advice and assistance as needed during contingency operations and mass-fatality events. There is no higher calling than to ensure that our fallen heroes are returned to their families with dignity and honor.

This is a time of major change for the Quartermaster Center and School as it becomes part of the SCoE. The Soldiers and civilians of the Quartermaster Center and School welcome their counterparts from the Ordnance and Transportation Schools to Fort Lee and look forward to working more closely with them to improve logistics training for all Soldiers.

Patricia A. Sigle is a military analyst contractor for Cubic Applications, Inc., on duty in the Command Planning Group of the Army Quartermaster Center and School at Fort Lee, Virginia. A retired lieutenant colonel in the Military Police Corps, she holds a B.A. degree in health and physical education from Shepherd University and a master of education degree from Norwich University.

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