As I stated in an earlier article on the theater
support command (TSC), “The heart of the TSC organization
is its people.” Teamwork and continuous improvement become
empty concepts if TSC leaders cannot rely on the personal integrity
of each member of the organization. The Army must foster those
qualities in individuals that facilitate team achievement.
Teamwork is the key to organizational harmony and improvement
in the TSC, particularly since the TSC brings together personnel
from the different cultures of the Active and Reserve components.
To repeat another point I made in an earlier article—
As a TSC organization, we must strive for an attitude of professionalism
in dealing within our structure and with other professional
logisticians. Professionalism of the organization, founded
on the integrity of the individual, provides the clear sense
of mission loyalty and the “can do” attitude requisite
for quality service.
A TSC is not the place for individuals to advance their personal
agendas. Leaders must control the actions and attitudes of
their subordinates for the good of the organization. When personal
agendas are allowed to grow, the organization can be adversely
affected. Negative statements by Active component TSC personnel
directed toward Reserve component personnel can lead the Reserve
component personnel to question their loyalty to the TSC and
to seek other challenges. The result obviously is less than
The Army continues to maintain separate personnel management
systems for the Active and Reserve components. This situation
can foster confusion
because members of one component do not know, understand, and
acknowledge the other component’s personnel policies
and processes. The simple act of filling in the correct heading
on an Officer Evaluation Report (OER) can be confusing to administrative
personnel from a different component. They struggle to determine
which rules and regulatory guides apply to which component.
The Regional Level Application Software (RLAS) is the system
used by the Army Reserve for soldier personnel actions. However,
it has no interface with the Active component’s Standard
Installation and Division Personnel System (SIDPERS) database.
Since the Army’s recent mobilizations for the Global
War on Terrorism, multicomponent Reserve units have been challenged
to maintain their soldiers’ pay, careers, and personnel
actions while deployed. The Reserve elements of TSCs must request
authorization from their Regional Reserve Command or the U.S.
Army Reserve Command to deploy RLAS. Complicating such a deployment
is the fact that RLAS is structurally coded to specific regions,
not globally. When a non-regionally aligned Reserve element
is located with other RLAS users, it cannot use the local RLAS
Many soldiers do not recognize that manning reports change
frequently for Reserve component soldiers but remain relatively
stable on the Active component side of the TSC. For example,
when a Reserve lieutenant colonel is selected for promotion,
he has 90 days to find a new assignment; however, unlike his
active-duty counterpart, he does not have to wait for an extended
period of time to pin on the eagles of a colonel.
Another common misunderstanding arises from the fact that Reserve
component personnel, as citizen-soldiers, can be transferred
in their civilian jobs between drills. They can come in to
drill, and, by the close
of that drill, they have been transferred to another job. This
complicates the tracking of soldiers and positions in the Reserve
components and can be hard for active-duty soldiers to grasp.
Resolving these challenges is critical to the successful administration
of a dual-component headquarters and the interaction of staff
principles, especially those involved in personnel management.
Down the road, the Army may create one personnel system. However,
TSCs cannot wait for that. TSC leaders and administrative personnel
must learn to use the respective Active and Reserve component
personnel management systems. If TSCs are to have mixed, integrated
headquarters, this is a must.
Arbitrary changes in modification tables of organization and
equipment (MTOEs) create problems for Reserve component soldiers.
Like Active component soldiers, Reserve component personnel
need to move to different positions to qualify for promotion
and acquire leadership skills. When a position is eliminated
in the Active ranks, the personnel system reassigns the soldier.
However, when a Reserve position is deleted, the soldier normally
needs to find a position in another organization for himself.
Reserve component soldiers must be well managed by senior Reserve
leaders to enhance the future strength of the Reserve structure.
However, to really enhance the career progression of Reservists,
the Active and Reserve component leaders of the TSC must work
together for the benefit of the Reserve component soldier.
Another challenge for the TSC Reserve element occurs when mid-level
officers assigned to a TSC are denied advanced course training
opportunities because the Army has already trained them in
a combat arms officer functional area. The TSC Reserve element
has no funding to send the officers for training, and the Regional
Reserve Command is unable to provide support. The result is
that a quality officer is denied training for his assigned
unit, and his unit’s readiness reporting suffers accordingly.
As the TSC matures as an integrated organization, TSC leaders
need to look at the challenges facing its assigned personnel.
All soldiers, not just those of one component, must receive
attention. If a slot is designated for a Reservist, a Reservist
should fill it. Likewise, an active-duty soldier must be allowed
to perform his skills in his assigned position. When leaders
start placing personnel in positions intended for the other
component, they begin to toy with a delicate structural balance
as well as with the individuals involved. Soldiers should not
arrive for duty only to find soldiers from another component
performing their duties. The TSC needs to practice total integration,
placing personnel where they are officially assigned to perform
Who should select personnel for the Reserve component positions
in a TSC? Currently, senior noncommissioned officers (NCOs)
and most enlisted personnel are centrally selected and positioned
in Reserve component organizations. However, officer candidates
are canvassed and approved for assignment by Reserve component
senior leaders. Self-recruiting thus is a necessary activity
for Reserve component officers. But making assignments in the
TSC can be complicated. For example, who should fill a Reserve
slot for a logistics (functional area 90A) officer? What role,
if any, should Active component soldiers play in the process?
If the senior section chiefs are active-duty soldiers, should
they have the authority to make the assignment? If the answer
is yes, a problem results because the most interested Reserve
component individuals will not wait until this process occurs.
The reality is that the TSC’s Reserve component leaders
should make the final determination of who is qualified to
be placed where in the TSC.
Recruiting and Retention
What effect the current mobilizations will have on the retention
of TSC Reserve personnel is still not clear. Will they stay,
or will they go? Some members who joined for educational or
financial reasons had no idea they would be called up for the
current extended periods of deployment. Many of these individuals
may leave the ranks when they return home.
The Reserve components have, and potentially will continue
to have, mid-level management (officer and enlisted) shortages.
These soldiers are the backbone of the Army. A TSC should have
quality logistics experts holding down every authorized position.
The Army cannot just pin on rank and expect logisticians to
Throughout this extended period of deployments to Iraq and
Afghanistan, Reserve component personnel will be challenged
to adjust to a new and growing reality. Future Reserve drill
weekends and annual training periods will require greater commitments.
Deployments will remain a given for Reserve personnel. If the
Army retains the Tier Rating and Department of the Army Master
Priority List (DAMPL) priority procedures, the next time a
TSC headquarters is moved forward, it will be faced with the
cross-leveling of Troop Program Unit members who have never
served in an echelons-above-corps (EAC) logistics organization.
The Reserve component personnel in a TSC must be well trained
and logistics minded. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, our logistics
soldiers clearly demonstrated their ability to get the job
done. Each soldier not only gained experience but also was
cross-leveled into a number of other, related logistics skill
sets. As a result, they now are more prepared than ever to
deliver when called on. Logisticians were successful at the
TSC level because TSC leaders prepared them to do their mission.
TSC personnel trained hard at all levels through exercises
and counterpart training. Once on the ground, they had the
skill sets to carry out the daunting challenges that confronted
The great problem concerned soldiers who were cross-leveled
into the TSC Reserve element as they mobilized before deployment
or who reported to TSC units as fill-ins during the operation.
The workings of an EAC organization are far different from
those of organizations at a lower level. In the midst of preparing
for deployment or during the intensity of logistics operations,
there is little if any time to train. Those unfamiliar with
the TSC’s logistics activities had to learn on the go.
This created rough edges within the staff and in serving external
customers. Fortunately, leaders in most cases were able to
provide a task-specific overview to assist new personnel.
The rating scheme presents a number of challenges to an integrated,
multicomponent organization like a TSC. Ideally, the rating
scheme should be fully integrated for both Reserve and Active
component personnel. However, accomplishing that integration
presents many challenges. The overriding issues are time and
distance. How can ratings be fair when raters and those being
rated have limited face-to-face interaction? How can face-to-face
NCO rating requirements be accomplished? The different cultural
and psychological concerns of the Reserve and Active components
can form a barrier to achieving fair ratings.
During the current contingency, mobilized Reserve component
soldiers received closeout ratings. This created a tremendous
workload for Reserve and Active component staffs. As this process
was unfolding, Reserve component soldiers were being placed
under their Active counterparts’ rating schemes. There
was confusion about where they fit, and more confusion if they
then were launched forward in a split-based operation. As the
soldiers were redeploying, they were subjected to another closeout
report, which created more confusion. Who was responsible for
forwarding the closeout reports to the soldiers’ files?
What address was used for the senior rater on the OER? The
differences in Reserve and Active component cultures added
to the confusion.
At a minimum, senior TSC leaders should be part of an integrated
rating scheme. This creates cooperation, develops loyalty,
enhances integrated teamwork, and improves the functioning
of the integrated multicomponent structure. It is to the senior
Reserve soldier’s advantage to be rated by an Active
component leader. It creates more confusion if he is rated
by the Reserve chain when he is working almost exclusively
for the Active forces
Active Guard/Reserve (AGR) MTOE soldiers who are positioned
in the Active component also must have an integrated rating
scheme. The AGR soldier is the senior Reserve component liaison
on the ground and must represent the interests of the Reserve
components. If the soldier is fully rated by the Active component,
Reserve leaders lose any influence over him. In effect, the
AGR soldier becomes just another Active component soldier.
A majority of rated Reserve component soldiers should be retained
in a compartmentalized Reserve component rating scheme in peacetime.
However, when the TSC is deployed in a true active-duty environment
in a contingency, all soldiers should convert to an integrated
rating scheme. Once the operation is over and
the Reserves move back to a Reserve role, the compartmentalized
rating scheme should return.
The compartmentalized rating scheme appears to be the best
way to rate the majority of TSC Reserve component soldiers
in the future. This reduces concerns about cultural turf and
the fairness of ratings. However, an integrated rating scheme
for senior Reserve component leaders is needed to attain a
truly integrated, fully operational TSC headquarters.
Council of Colonels
The challenge of trying to make the multicomponent processes
of the TSC work involves all EAC TSCs and a multicomponent
council of colonels at the senior levels of the Army. The TSCs
represent a unique element of the multicomponent community.
The challenge of aligning the components in the TSC is daunting
and raises the question of whether or not such an integrated
headquarters is even needed. Who should spearhead the challenges
of creating a seamless, integrated TSC headquarters?
Since TSC commanding generals usually cannot spend time on
this matter, it falls to the TSCs’ deputy commanding
generals and chiefs of staff to work with the council of colonels
to resolve issues affecting the TSCs. They express the immediate
concerns of the TSC community to the council of colonels, along
with suggested solutions. Providing a clear vision must be
the goal of the representatives if the TSC is to be supportive,
flexible, and forward leaning in logistics.
TSCs should use STAMIS technology to overcome
the factors of time and distance that separate
TSC elements, communicate and coordinate on a timely basis,
and ensure that soldiers’ STAMIS skills are used regularly
and not allowed to fade with time.
For the most part, use of the Standard Army Management
Information Systems (STAMIS) has been a TSC success story.
use STAMIS technology to overcome the factors of time and
distance that separate TSC elements, communicate and coordinate
timely basis, and ensure that soldiers’ STAMIS skills
are used regularly and not allowed to fade with time. Reserve
and Active component leaders in TSCs have worked to ensure
that appropriate technology is available to their soldiers.
Reserve component soldiers must be trained and certified in
anticipation of an alert and follow-on deployment. Those holding
key positions in an integrated staff sometimes need special
training and updated technology so they can perform their missions.
However, in some instances it appears that the funding of STAMIS
training is still hung up in the cultural conflicts between
the Reserve and Active components. Regardless of who is going
to get STAMIS equipment and training, soldiers from both components
must work together. The excuse that the Reserve element should
be supported by the Army Reserve Command, even though it is
under an Active component flag, makes little sense. Information
technology will improve the ability of TSC soldiers to see,
prioritize, and assess critical information for the logistics
warrior. The Army needs to accept that, regardless of flag
affiliation, training resources should be funded adequately
for all soldiers in a TSC.
Army Reserve Relevance
Reducing the numbers of personnel in the Army Reserve raises
the question of the Reserve’s continued relevance. Certainly
change is necessary. More important, however, is how we achieve
that change. Studies show that a corporation’s staying
power is diminished as its structure is reduced. What message
does the Army send when it continues to reduce personnel
numbers? There is a point of no return.
Force structure change does have immediate consequences for
a Reserve component member. Normally, Active component soldiers
serve their tours and then are moved on to their next assignment
by their personnel system. In contrast, Reserve component leaders
constantly must be looking out for their soldiers and their
future assignments and promotions. In a changing world, it
may be harder to meet the logistics needs of an integrated
headquarters. High-speed recruiting is critical to retaining
vital professional logisticians.
Personnel who use the personnel system to duck alerts must
be eliminated. Reservists must show the Army that they
are in fact critical to the Armed Forces’ logistics needs.
The Army Reserve is the backbone component that provides the
Army’s needed logisticians.
The integrated, multicomponent TSC has been a great success.
Unit packages incorporating a separate Reserve or Guard element
in their overall structure have worked extremely well. However,
an EAC integrated, multicomponent structure embodies tremendous
challenges. Many of the issues facing TSCs remain unresolved
despite lots of hard work. How does the TSC align itself in
its present con-
figuration with the concepts of One Army and trans-formation?
Do we need to make changes? If so, what are they? Here
are a few suggested changes to
TSC commanding generals should have their deputy commanding
generals get together to discuss, formulate, and share workable
solutions to such issues as how to resolve differences in Reserve
and Active component regulatory guidance. They need to create
a future of better and more seamless internal operations in
Collectively, TSCs must influence the various Army headquarters
to make changes so TSC daily administrative needs, training,
and operational mechanisms perform better. Regulatory guidance
must be revised, or exceptions made to regulations, to improve
the operations of TSC integrated headquarters. One clear need
is to distinguish the integrated, multicomponent headquarters
structure from other Army multicomponent structures.
Headquarters personnel assigned to TSCs must be committed and
must bring an attitude of teamwork and cooperation. Personal
agendas can damage a fluid environment that needs teamwork
and cooperation to function successfully.
Effective integration of the TSC multicomponent headquarters
requires the integration of the rating schemes of Active component,
Reserve component, and civilian personnel. To ensure that TSC
personnel are loyal to the combined components of the TSC,
Reserve and Active component soldiers need to be rated through
an integrated rating mechanism. AGR officers and NCOs also
must have an integrated rating scheme. This process must not
be a pencil exercise but a meaningful rating process.
The TSC headquarters must enforce monthly exchanges among
senior leaders, including routine visits by Active soldiers
elements on the latter’s drill weekends. The exchange
of working visits to Active and Reserve locations must
be a normal aspect of business. Without these visits, the
of TSC operations will be stymied by a lack of shared understanding
We must keep in mind that the Reserve components bring
a cheap yet highly professional labor pool to the fight.
are the retention pool of logistics knowledge in the Army,
especially for the TSC. The routine rotation of Active
component personnel in and out of TSC assignments leaves
component soldiers in possession of the command’s institutional
knowledge. Recognizing Reserve component strengths and using
techniques and materiel solutions that maximize the TSC’s
collective abilities will be the TSC’s greatest future
Civilian planners are critical to the success of the TSC.
To ensure stable TSC operations, civilians assigned to
distribution and allowances positions should have job descriptions
based on an 18-month tour at the TSC’s Reserve element
headquarters. Civilian planners provide solid support for
the Reserve staff and can be helpful in integrating planning
operations outside of the continental United States.
The Army’s proposed unit manning initiative (the practice
of keeping soldiers together in a single unit for fixed periods
of time) needs to be applied to the TSC. The result would enhance
the TSC’s capability to meet robust logistics requirements
in a theater. Unit manning must apply to the Active as
well as the Reserve elements.
Overseas deployment training (ODT) should be conducted by section
when feasible. This would force each TSC directorate chief
to work in a cohesive environment with all of his logisticians.
Reserve component personnel should receive more than ODT orders;
they should be eligible for orders that allow them to operate
in danger zones such as the Balkans. This will enhance the
use of Reserve soldiers and minimize complaints by Active component
soldiers about the value of Reserve soldiers on active duty.
Combatant commanders should be authorized to determine policy
in this area.
The senior leaders of the TSC headquarters’ Reserve and
Active elements must develop a memorandum of agreement (MOA)
that ensures the headquarters’ proper integration and
operation. The senior leaders also must understand fully the
MOA’s contents. In fact, a number of MOAs are needed
among the TSC’s Active component headquarters, Reserve
component headquarters, and senior headquarters above the
TSC leaders should be focused on organiza-tional goals
as opposed to component goals. This would reduce misunderstandings,
foster growth within the organization, and
influence better cooperation and knowledge.
Our Nation’s ongoing military operations will affect
the future of the TSC. Soldiers who leave the Army take
with them the skills they have learned. No number of new
can immediately replace these skilled soldiers. However,
with a solid foundation of supportive leadership, future
opportunities, career progression, and high morale, the
Army should be able to maintain the numbers of skilled
TSC leaders must think of the future growth of their personnel.
They must forward proposals to move skilled military logisticians
into positions of opportunity, in command or at schools.
We cannot hold them back—that would be unprofessional.
TSC commanders must be leaning forward in thought and action.
Leaders must recognize that, when deployments conclude
or are winding down, soldiers must receive appropriate
of their sacrifices. Leaders must promote these events
extent that the command fully engages in an appropriate “thanks.” When
done correctly, command recognition creates a lasting impression
of gratitude in soldiers, which will increase bonding,
organizational allegiance, and retention. Sincere leadership
and care for
the soldier are always the hallmarks of effective leadership. ALOG
Major General George
William (Bill) Wells, Jr., USAR, is the Assistant Deputy Chief
of Staff for Mobilization
and Training, Army G–4. He previously
served as Chief of Staff of the 21st Theater Support Command in Indianapolis,