FORT KNOX, Ky - The 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) held its second STAFFEX, or staff exercise, in two months on Fort Knox July 6 - 8.

The exercise brought together the officers and non-commissioned officers who lead the 3d ESC's various staff sections for briefings, discussions and working group sessions designed to prepare the unit for future deployments.

Col. Richard Parker, director of operations and plans for the 3d ESC, says the STAFFEX is an academic exercise which helps the unit leadership refine its processes and procedures from past deployments and be ready for any number of possible missions the 3d ESC may be assigned in the future.

Parker, a Knoxville, Tn. native, says the focus of STAFFEX 2 was on improving understanding of the 3d ESC's list of essential tasks and their supporting tasks in order to improve the unit's ability to accomplish those tasks on a deployment.

"It lets us build on our current processes and procedures. It also builds simultaneously competencies in the areas our officers and our NCOs have not necessarily focused on in a long time," said Parker.

The unit's recent 15-month deployment to Iraq, followed less than six months later by a no-notice deployment to Haiti have emphasized the need to develop and hone a wide variety of skills in order to be prepared for future challenges.

"We need to know what we don't know about our ability to conduct full spectrum operations in an austere environment," said 3d ESC commander Brig. Gen. Robin Akin during the exercise's opening session.

The STAFFEX large-group sessions included briefings from strategic partners the 3d ESC routinely works with during deployments. Partners traveling to Fort Knox and participating in the conference included AMC (Army Materiel Command), DLA (Defense Logistics Agency), DCMA (Defense Contract Management Agency), SDDC (Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command). Briefings at the STAFFEX included LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Program) and JLOTS (Joint Logistics Over The Shore).

Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Lobo, of the 3d ESC's support operations section, has been with the unit less than a month and says that STAFFEX 2 gave him a better understanding of the 3d ESC's mission.

"A lot of it for me was being able to see the big picture and how everything comes down to the smaller organizations, seeing it from the top down, versus from the bottom up," said Lobo, a native of Houston, Tx.

STAFFEX 2 also included smaller working groups which conducted planning for deployment preparation, battle drills, building an expeditionary force and establishing a common operating picture.

The 3d ESC leadership plans to use the knowledge gained and the work accomplished during STAFFEX 2 to prepare for future exercises included in their progressive training strategy. The command has scheduled exercises of increasing length and complexity to take place in August and October. The unit also plans to participate in an 18th Airborne Corps exercise at Fort Bragg in September and in the pre-deployment certification of the 3d ESC's 7th Sustainment Brigade at Fort Eustis, Va. in November.


Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Dave McClain, 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs. For queries, contact 3d Sustainment Command Public Affairs at (502) 624-8601. For high-resolution photos and stories by the 3d Sustainment Command, please contact the Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System at (678) 421-6612 or access them online at

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