The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) held its Institute of Land Warfare Sustainment Symposium and Exposition from 10 to 12 May at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Virginia. This year, much of the focus was on logistically preparing units to leave Iraq and Afghanistan.
Marine Corps Brigadier General William M. Faulkner, the Vice Director for Logistics, J–4, said that plans are in place to complete a withdrawal from Iraq by 31 December. "The drawdown is complex business," said General Faulkner. "Contrary to what others might have you believe, this is not a static relief in place. This is not necessarily a relief during contact, but to some degree you could make the argument that it is."
Faulkner posited that the drawdown requires precise, ongoing coordination and synchronization with other forces, contractors, and the Department of State. "There's significant interagency planning and coordination that's ongoing right now between DOD [The Department of Defense] and the State Department. It's been ongoing for months to ensure that this transition is seamless."
"The countdown has begun," said Brigadier General Jack R. O'Connor, the Army G–4's Director of Operations and Logistics Readiness. "We went from over 100,000 U.S. forces and civilians. We're down under 50,000, and we're drawing down to about 17,000." General O'Connor noted that 75 percent of the force remaining after 31 December will be contracted, and 25 percent will be U.S. military forces and DOD civilians.
General Faulkner said transition coordination has been "a culture change" for State Department assets, which rely heavily on outsourced support. He explained that the military is providing much support to the State Department, including excess equipment from the services (primarily the Army), temporarily loaned equipment, and $10 million worth of medical equipment.
The Department of State also wants to make use of some contract support currently used by the services, including the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP). An additional contract has been added to LOGCAP IV in order to continue support for the State Department. The contract covers base life support and theater transportation to support the continued removal of military equipment.
General Faulkner also addressed logistics preparations to leave Afghanistan, saying, "Planning is already ongoing for the eventual drawdown."
"Clearing the clutter must start now," said Brigadier General Philip R. Fisher, commander of the 184th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Joint Sustainment Command–Afghanistan. "The challenges to this are numerous. As you examine our battlespace you'll understand that although we have a handful of border crossing points coming in, there is currently only one GLOC [ground line of communication] out. Saying that, there are limitations to what we will risk on that GLOC."
General Fisher asked those with influence in theater to encourage cleaning the clutter off forward operating bases. "If you're not using it right now, your replacements won't need it either," said General Fisher. "Get rid of it."
He also said a proof of principle is underway to examine an additional location for the bidirectional flow of supplies and asked that the number of carrier-owned containers be reduced by 50 percent.
Vice Admiral Mark D. Harnitcheck, deputy commander of the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), laid out the transportation challenges faced in Afghanistan. "We have plenty of airplanes, plenty of ships," said Admiral Harnitcheck. "What we do lack is access to airspace and permission to transit on the ground. Looking ahead here, 5, 10, 15 years from now, foreign sensitivities to [the] U.S. military presence have been steadily increasing, not decreasing; and frankly, even close allies may be hesitant to grant access for a variety of reasons."
Admiral Harnitcheck said TRANSCOM is addressing the access issue with a brand new unified command plan mission called the Global Distribution Synchronizer for Campaign Planning, in which it will work with the geographic combatant commanders as they construct their theater campaign and theater posture plans to identify access and infrastructure issues.
JFCOM Launches Virtual Cultural Awareness Trainer–Afghanistan
The U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) has launched the Virtual Cultural Awareness Trainer–Afghanistan to better prepare U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization personnel with language and cultural skills they will need in Afghanistan. The trainer is available through Joint Knowledge Online and focuses on working with interpreters, extending culturally appropriate greetings, and building rapport with local populations.
The program consists of five modules focused on addressing local grievances, coordinating humanitarian assistance projects, setting up checkpoint staffing, conducting training with Afghan National Security Forces, and performing home searches.
The program is also available to multinational, intergovernmental, and interagency partners who will be working in Afghanistan.
Army Considers Force Structure Changes and Equipment Management Strategies
Among the issues discussed at the Association of the United States Army Sustainment Symposium and Exposition were force and fleet management.
Major General Raymond V. Mason, the Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) G–4, said that FORSCOM is looking to assign functional companies to combat sustainment support battalions (CSSBs) and CSSBs to sustainment brigades. General Mason explained that this does not put an end to modularity but instead makes the decision to break apart a unit "conscious" one.
Brigadier General Robin B. Akin, the commander of the 3d Expeditionary Sustainment Command, said equipment configuration also plays a role in how modular units operate. "We realized coming out of Haiti that the word 'expeditionary' is a misnomer," said General Akin. "My headquarters cannot self deploy. We do not have the capability to do a lot of our own stuff, so what we've done is we have developed force packages."
Force package 1 can deploy in support of a global response force in less than 96 hours. "We had to do that because we never know where we are going to be. . . . We've also provided that capability down to the sustainment brigades."
Colonel David Bassett, the Project Manager, Tactical Vehicles, said the Army needs to learn to manage its fleets for an Army Force Generation cycle and determine storage solutions for accessories, such as b-kit armor, Blue Force Tracker, and driver vision enhancer, that have come back from Afghanistan. "I think that in the long run we may end up having to develop something like deployment-readiness kits that capture what is a good theater capability and make it available to units that are in that available and ready pool," said Colonel Bassett.
How and what the Army modernizes, recapitalizes, and divests will affect the force. Colonel Bassett said that by investing fiscal year 2012 funds, all Army fleets are expected to be well under the Army's target fleet age. Part of this will be accomplished in the next 3 years with a divestiture of legacy high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles over 20 years old that are in excess of the long-term Army requirement.
Family of medium tactical vehicle investments will allow the Army to divest its entire legacy 5-ton fleet much sooner than the current fleet strategy indicates. "We've already begun the process of looking at the maintenance expenditure limits so that we're not investing in legacy 5 tons in a way that is inappropriate given the limited lifespan of that vehicle," said Colonel Bassett.
The Army will continue to recapitalize heavy expanded-mobility tactical trucks and palletized load systems into more current models because that is the most cost-effective option for those platforms.
AMC Completes New Headquarters Building and Base Closure and Realignment Moves
The Army Materiel Command (AMC) held a "touchdown" ribbon cutting on 15 June to recognize the opening of its new headquarters at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and the completion of relocating more than 11,000 AMC employees to locations recommended by the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission.
"For the first time in our history, we'll have a shared common operating picture across the command and across the world, giving us the ability to reach out to the commanders in the field and respond to ever-changing requirements in the field from our warfighters," said General Ann E. Dunwoody, AMC's commanding general.
The new headquarters building is colocated with the Army Security Assistance Command and was completed on 15 March.
|The new Army Materiel Command and Army Security Assistance Command complex at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, was completed on 15 March. (Photo by Cherish Washington, AMC Public Affairs.)
Army Contracting Command and Expeditionary Contracting Command
Move to Redstone Arsenal
The Army Contracting Command (ACC) and its subordinate unit, the Expeditionary Contracting Command (ECC), uncased their colors on 22 June to mark their move from Fort Belvoir, Virginia, to their new home at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
ACC and ECC will be working in temporary structures until permanent facilities to house them are built. The project is expected to be funded in 2013, and ACC executive director Jeffrey Parsons hopes to be in a new structure within the next 4 years.
ACC was created in 2008 in an effort to improve Army contracting management, particularly in expeditionary operations. Its creation implemented the recommendation of the Commission on Army Acquisition and Program Management in Expeditionary Operations to "restructure organization and restore responsibility to facilitate contracting and contract management in expeditionary and CONUS [continental United States] operations."
The move to Redstone Arsenal fulfills a 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission recommendation and locates the command near the new Army Materiel Command headquarters and the Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command.
Stock Readiness Regulation Gets Overhaul
A new Army regulation (AR) and a revised Department of the Army pamphlet (DA Pam) governing the implementation of the Army's portion of the Department of Defense (DOD) Stock Readiness Program are expected to be released this year. The program was established by DOD to ensure that materiel remains in fighting condition between the time an item is procured or released from maintenance and the time that it is needed by the warfighter.
AR 700–32, Packaging of Army Materiel, and the new DA Pam 700–32, Packaging of Army Materiel, will govern the Army's stock readiness operations, which are run by the Packaging, Storage, and Containerization Center, Logistics Support Activity, Army Materiel Command (AMC). The center centrally administers the program, provides technical packaging expertise, and performs audit visits.
The DOD program ensures that the actual condition of materiel in storage is known, reported, and properly recorded and the materiel is provided with adequate packaging protection to prevent degradation. The program performs functions related to the receipt, identification, classification, and preservation of materiel during the receiving process and the care of supplies in storage, including in-storage inspection, the repackaging of damaged or improperly packaged items, and the periodic inspection and sustainment of materiel in long-life reusable containers.
The program's success increases materiel readiness and ensures stock issued to the warfighter is serviceable. Stock readiness also prevents further deterioration of unserviceable items awaiting maintenance induction that otherwise might become nonreparable.
The overall cost of the program is less than 1 percent of the materiel's value, saving the Army substantial amounts of money in the replacement of unprotected assets. Funding is used to purchase packaging materials and tools, pay for labor, and provide installation supply support activity personnel with asset protection instruction and formal military packaging training. Since the program's implementation in 2005 at Army installation supply support activities, over $1.2 billion worth of materiel has been packaged, preserved, and stored.
System Integration Laboratory Measures Base Camp Energy Usage and Provides Solutions
The Product Manager, Force Sustainment Systems, opened a base camp System Integration Laboratory (SIL) at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, on 24 June. The SIL is a 10-acre site that will test units' water, fuel, and power consumption and evaluate technologies to create more energy-efficient base camps.
The technologies that will be tested include energy-efficient shelters, water-filtration and water-reuse systems, and alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power. A comparison will be done between two sites: one base camp where units are using the new technologies and one where standard Force Provider services are in use.
New technologies that prove effective will be shared with currently deployed and future expeditionary forces as well as with the other services so that the technologies can be implemented.
The new energy-efficient technologies are expected to reduce water demand by up to 75 percent and fuel requirements by 20 percent.
New System Will Train Financial Management Soldiers for Real-World Operations
The Soldier Support Institute has released a new training software package, the Financial Management Training System (FMTS), that will increase individual and unit FM training proficiency by replicating real-world FM operations in a training environment.
With FMTS, FM personnel will have access to the full suite of FM applications resident in the Financial Management Tactical Platform (FMTP). FMTS will provide online training scenarios and exercises that were unavailable in the past, permitting FM Soldiers to "train as they fight" while at home station. FMTS will also give sustainment brigade and special troops battalion commanders the flexibility to train and reinforce the FM critical tasks in a garrison training environment.
FMTS was developed by the Soldier Support Institute; the Software Engineering Center–Fort Lee, Virginia; the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Indianapolis, Indiana; and the Department of the Treasury. It is scheduled to be fully operational by 30 September 2011. Questions or comments may be directed to Colonel Roosevelt Corpening at email@example.com or (803) 751–8600.
1st Theater Sustainment Command Hosts Sustainer Challenge in Kuwait
The 1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) hosted the Sustainer Challenge at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, on 6 and 7 April. The competition, designed to determine the best Soldier within the sustainment command, pitted nine 4-man teams from units subordinate to the 1st TSC against each other in six events: a 10-kilometer road march, a live-fire range, M2 .50-caliber machinegun disassembly and reassembly, the Army physical fitness test, a medical evacuation exercise, and a combatives challenge.
Two teams from the 230th Sustainment Brigade won many honors in the competition. Best male warrior went to Staff Sergeant Michael Taylor from the brigade headquarters and headquarters company and best female warrior went to Staff Sergeant Chrystal Yazzie from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 553d Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB). The 553d CSSB also placed first in the team competition.
|Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters
Company, 230th Sustainment Brigade, disassemble an M2 .50-caliber machinegun during the 1st Theater Sustainment Command's Sustainer Challenge at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. (Photo by SGT John Dedman, 230th Special Troops Battalion)
New President Takes Command of Army Logistics University
John E. Hall, the new president of the Army Logistics University (ALU), passes the ALU guidon to Command Sergeant Major Robert Tolbert, the ALU command sergeant major, during a change of responsibility ceremony on 22 July 2011 at Fort Lee, Virginia. A retired logistics colonel, Hall is a member of the Senior Executive Service and previously served as the deputy director of logistics operations at the Defense Logistics Agency at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Hall took over the duty of ALU president from Colonel Mark A. McCormick, who assumed the role of ALU commandant/military deputy. (Photo by Julianne E. Cochran, Army Sustainment)