Small cohort forms nucleus of Materiel Enterprise
February 22, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Synchronizing and delivering acquisition, logistics and technology capabilities to the 82nd Airborne Division and other units here places Army Field Support Battalion -- Bragg at the heart of the Materiel Enterprise.
"We're the single face to the field for Army Materiel Command," said Lt. Col. Aaron Stanek, battalion commander.
"We're embracing continuous improvement while enhancing materiel readiness of the operating forces we support over a five-state area," Stanek said. "We're heavily involved in Army Force Generation activities while also managing the Logistics Assistance Program and supporting battlefield and contingency operations."
An element of Army Sustainment Command's 406th Army Field Support Brigade, AFSBn-Bragg gets the job done with barely 100 people while supporting 12 brigade-level units and elements located as far-off as Forts Lee and Eustis in Virginia.
"Our role is identifying and filling gaps that occur where the brigade-level operating force encounters the supporting Materiel Enterprise," Stanek said.
Of the battalion's seven logistics support teams, two connect with operating forces at installations, and five are directly engaged with brigade combat teams.
"We're fully integrated into our brigade's operations," said Maj. Erin Harkins, brigade logistics support team chief for the 82nd's 1st Brigade Combat Team. "At every step in the ARFORGEN process - before, during and after deployed operations - we're right there with our 1st BCT Soldiers."
Harkins' small team of 10 expert logisticians adds experience, expertise and reach-back capability, bringing the full power of the Materiel Enterprise to bear on the battlefield. "Our logistics assistance representatives are mostly former Soldiers with special skills and direct access to their parent AMC life-cycle management commands, like CECOM, TACOM and AMCOM," Harkins said. "If we don't have an answer, we know how to tap into the enterprise and get results."
In addition to field support operations, the battalion anticipates adding installation Directorates of Logistics activities to its mission set. It's another aspect of integrating AMC's logistics capabilities with the operational forces.
"Transferring DOLs from Installation Management Command to AMC makes sense when building a Materiel Enterprise," Stanek said. "From AMC to its operational arm, ASC, to the 406th, and on to our battalion, we're able to apply logistics management expertise and resources to logistics operations."
Ten DOLs, with very diverse missions and stretching from North Carolina up to Maryland, are in line to come under the operational control of AFSBn-Bragg.
"To some extent, we've been engaged with DOLs since the formation of field support brigades and battalions," Stanek said. "In connection with our ARFORGEN activities, we've been workloading DOL maintenance facilities for years."
"What's new is the breadth and visibility of our new capabilities. We've operated mostly behind the scenes, sending work and money, but without ownership -- and limited contact with Soldiers and their Families," Stanek noted. "Now, we're adding dining facilities, transportation, ammunition storage and supply operations, among other things. All these activities push us right into the spotlight, adding a human dimension on a vast scale."
Stanek was quick to point out DOL operations are well-established and run by experienced professionals. "The household goods movement advisors, the bus drivers and food service workers will all continue to do what they do so well," Stanek said. "It's the command and control element that's transforming, enabling installation-level logistics to become part of the Materiel Enterprise. From a supply clerk at Fort Lee, to the four-star commander of AMC, we're forming a continuous chain of logisticians, on the line with and for Soldiers and their Families."