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Logistics Officer Corps Update: Blending Functional and Multifunctional Expertise

On 1 January 2008, the Logistics Corps as a branch became a reality. Long before 2008, quartermaster (QM), ordnance (OD), and transportation (TC) officers had served for a generation in multifunctional logistics positions in legacy forward, main, and corps support battalions. Today, after approximately 9 years of sustaining deployments and combat operations across the globe, the planning, coordination, synchronization, and execution of multifunctional logistics is definitely well within the comfort zone for this current generation of officers.

With that said, confusion seems to abound in the field as to what happens to the functional logistics skill set (QM, OD, and TC) that an officer brings to the table. After being inculcated for their first 3 to 5 years as a proud member of one of the regiments—QM, OD, and TC—does that knowledge vanish after graduation from the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course (CLC3)?

Every Logistics Officer Has a Functional Area

The answer to that question is a resounding “No!” Despite the advent of the Logistics (LG) branch and the proliferation of forward support companies (FSCs) across our formations, a requirement, codified in numerous modification tables of organization and equipment and tables of distribution and allowances, still exists for functional QM, OD, and TC officers at the captain, major, lieutenant colonel, and even colonel ranks.

What this means for career path and professional development purposes is that LG officers must be aggressive in self-study and look for developmental op­portunities to sharpen their functional skills. Human resources managers at the Army Human Resources Command and the Senior Leader Development Office can help by ensuring that officers have opportunities to rotate between multifunctional jobs and functional jobs as much as possible throughout their careers. This becomes much harder to do the more senior the officer is, but based on an officer’s own desires and the needs of the Army, it must be a factor in future assignments.

Career Paths of Logistics Officers

Logistics officers, regardless of what regiment they were accessed from, become Logistics Corps officers upon graduation from CLC3—period. The intent, as developed by Lieutenant General Mitchell H. Stevenson during his tenure as the commanding general of the Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM), is for the officer to think of himself first and foremost as a multifunctional logistician. To quote General Stevenson, who is now the Deputy Chief of Staff, G−4, Department of the Army (DA), “Otherwise, why would we have bothered to go through all of what we went through?”

The challenge is that we also have an obligation as a unified corps to nourish and sustain our individual areas of functional expertise. Future division transportation officers, chiefs of the Office of the Quartermaster General, and chiefs of ordnance have to be developed.

Logistics officers are strongly encouraged to read DA Pamphlet 600−3, Commissioned Officer Professional Development and Career Management, and become acquainted with recent updates, including an expanded list of key developmental positions for majors and an updated career path chart. If officers have further questions, they should talk to their sustainment chain of command, human resources managers, or the chief of the Logistics Branch Proponency office at CASCOM.

The bottom line is that as an LG officer, one must be ready to do it all—fight, support, and survive. The LG officer must be both a functional expert and completely familiar with multifunctional sustainment. If it were easy, they would not call it logistics.

Lieutenant Colonel Marshall N. Ramsey is currently serving as the chief of staff for the Army Combined Arms Support Command and Sustainment Center of Excellence at Fort Lee, Virginia. He previously served as the chief of the Logistics Branch Proponency Office and as commander of the 842d Transportation Battalion, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.

Lieutenant Colonel Tim Gilhool is en route to be the commander of the 782d Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He recently served as the commander of the 71st Student Battalion at the Army Logistics University at Fort Lee.

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