FORT LEE, Va. (January 28, 2010) -- A centralized sustainment community is paramount to the operational Army of today and the future, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr.

Casey made that assertion during a Jan. 28 visit to the Army's Sustainment Center of Excellence, headquartered here.

His visit to Fort Lee provided him an opportunity to see growth on post related to the Base Realignment and Closure initiatives and to speak with Soldiers.

"I used to command the 1st Armored Division," he said, speaking to reporters. "That's the triangle patch that has the cannon, lightning bolt and a track on it. They used to say the track doesn't turn, the cannon doesn't shoot and there's no lightning without logistics."

"So this Center of Excellence is absolutely critical to the long-term sustainment of the Army."

As a result of BRAC 2005, the Sustainment Center of Excellence was created to co-locate expertise and logistics schools from several installations. It was stood up last year as the first elements of Transportation, Ordnance and Quartermaster moved into the new headquarters building.

Training facilities for both Transportation and Ordnance schools are currently under construction at Fort Lee and are scheduled for completion next year. The Quartermaster school, which has been located here for decades, will also continue to grow and expand.

Construction of the Army Logistics University, another component of the SCoE, was completed last year. These four schools round out the SCoE institutions located on the Central Virginia installation, which is about two hours south of the Pentagon. A fifth school, the Soldier Support Institute, which includes the Adjutant General School, Finance School, Recruiting and Retention School and the Army School of Music, is located at Fort Jackson, S.C.

The consolidation also created a new Army branch, the Logistics Corps. Casey said it only made sense to move the warfighting functions -- which work closely on the battlefield -- under one roof.

"The synergy of having all our major logistical (functions) at one place is significant," he said. Just having the ability to take a captain, who is a quartermaster, over to the Ordnance School and put him through some training provides the Army with the opportunity to create substantive relationships across the various functions that will enhance their effectiveness.

Casey, who said he has visited Fort Lee only once before, spent about four hours touring new facilities and talking to noncommissioned officers and members of the officer corps. The majority of the time he was at Fort Lee was spent interacting with troops. He said it was imperative to provide them with some clarity in regards to how the Army intends to proceed in Iraq and Afghanistan during the coming months.

"The main thing I tried to give them (was) some feedback on the impact of the Afghan plus-up and on the amount of time that they can expect to be at home," he said.

The Army's share of the "plus-up" is about 20,000 Soldiers, said Casey. But because the Army is drawing down in Iraq and has increased its strength, the increase is not expected to have a significant impact on deployment frequency or dwell times.

"We have actually increased the size of the Army by over 40,000 since 2007," he said, "and have to drawdown in Iraq, where we will go from about 100,000 today to a little under 50,000 by August of this year. It's going to take us to about August of this year to get the whole plus-up in Afghanistan. We're able to execute the additional 20,000 without having to increase deployments or decrease the time (Soldiers) have to spend at home."

During the visit, Casey not only fielded questions from Soldiers, but took time to chat with them at almost every turn. It's always the highlight of these trips, he said.

"I was very impressed with the officers and noncommissioned officers I talked to," said Casey. "Oh, to be a captain again."

Col. Michael Morrow, commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee, said Casey's visit to Fort Lee provided him the opportunity to see firsthand how more than $1.8 billion in BRAC-related construction will double its population and transform the post into a vibrant community.

"We have a lot going on here," he said, "and I thought it was important to give him an overview of all the wonderful things that are happening, the changes to the post. It was really good to get him some time to talk to all the Soldiers and I wish he could've stayed longer."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16