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Combined Arms Support Command Reorganizes for the Future

How Soldiers receive or provide combat service support (CSS) is determined largely by the work done beforehand by the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) at Fort Lee, Virginia. CASCOM is responsible for the training and education of logistics Soldiers and for the development of the concepts, doctrine, organizational structures, and materiel solutions to support the needs of the Army.

CASCOM’s process for supporting logistics Soldiers will change significantly under a headquarters realignment announced recently by Major General Ann E. Dunwoody, CASCOM’s Commanding General. “Our new structure will allow us to approach problems and develop solutions differently than we ever have in the past,” said Dunwoody. “By consolidating the logistics branch functions for training, materiel, force design, and doctrine under two integrating elements—Training and Futures—we are better postured to provide the multifunctional solutions the Army needs.”

CASCOM traditionally has taken a branch-focused approach to logistics across the largest CSS branches: Ordnance, Quartermaster, and Transportation. As a result, proponent-based directorates had subordinate elements with their own materiel, concepts and doctrine, and force design divisions. While this functionally oriented structure provided an effective means to manage at the systems level, it lacked the flexibility to synchronize effectively across the logistics spectrum.

The CASCOM realignment is the most significant change to the headquarters since 1994 because it integrates the workforce across multifunctional lines. “The new organization, provisionally stood up in April 2005 . . . will not only advance our military transformation, but also improve combat effectiveness overall and posture us for success in the years to come,” said Dunwoody. The realignment will provide “tremendous potential for synergy and interdependence among the CSS branches,” she added.

The CASCOM headquarters transformation will greatly facilitate the recently announced Department of Defense (DOD) recommendations under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005 process. Although not yet finalized, the BRAC recommendations provide for the establishment of several joint and army training centers of excellence, including a Maneuver Center, a Net Fires Center, and a CSS Center. Establishment of the CSS Center involves relocating the Army Transportation Center and School from Fort Eustis, Virginia; the Army Ordnance Center and School from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; and the Army Ordnance Munitions and Electronic Maintenance School from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, to Fort Lee. This new “Logistics Center of Excellence” will become the hub of logistics training for the Army.

Establishing Fort Lee as a Logistics Center of Excellence will maximize the capabilities already at the installation, such as the CASCOM headquarters, the Army Logistics Management College, and the Army Quartermaster Center and School, and provide unparalleled synergy among the major CSS elements in the Army. “We are confident that the BRAC 2005 recommendations will advance transformation, combat effectiveness, and the efficient use of the taxpayers’ money,” said Dunwoody after the BRAC recommendations were released.

CASCOM is working closely with the proponent schools and the Army Training and Doctrine Command to define what the end-state Logistics Center of Excellence will look like. The realignments will require close coordination and integration to ensure that the training needs of the Army continue to be met as the schools are relocated from one site to another.

CASCOM is also exploring a number of initiatives that will provide students the best possible training environments. For example, efforts are underway to use nearby Fort Pickett as a state-of-the-art logistics warrior training site. There, Soldiers can become proficient in warrior tasks and battle drills, conduct convoy live-fire operations, use modern simulators and training systems, and train in urban environments while operating out of forward operating bases that replicate current field situations.

Fort Lee will become the focal point for institutional training. Where it makes sense, training will be consolidated. Proposals under evaluation include combining the logistics noncommissioned officer academies rather than maintaining separate proponent-level academies and, in concert with the Army Logistics Management College, establishing a Logistics University that would provide a multifunctional professional education baseline for officers, warrant officers, noncommissioned officers, and DOD civilians. Changes will be made with an eye toward building what will be needed now and in the future.

The latest CASCOM realignment and the BRAC recommendations are yet another step in the ongoing effort to find better ways to support our Army and its sister services. At the center of that development process will be the Soldiers and ensuring that they are provided the best possible support whenever and wherever it is needed.

Story by Colonel Mike G. Mullins, CASCOM