Sustaining Expeditionary Joint Forces
Evidence from current operations, including
joint and service wargaming exercises, clearly shows that the operational
environment has changed. Joint, interagency, and multinational (JIM)
operations are now the norm. New organizational structures and mobility
and distribution platforms provide new opportunities for deploying,
employing, and sustaining operational capabilities. Tactical, operational,
and strategic lines have long been blurred in the sustainment arena,
and now joint and service planners can contemplate a similar blurring
of the functional lines of deployment, employment, and sustainment.
Effects-based sustainment will complement the emerging Effects-Based
Operations concept of the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM).
Operation Iraqi Freedom confirms that future
operations will be jointly executed, with each service component
lending its unique and important capabilities to the joint battle
plan. Army warfighting and sustainment concepts must be developed
within a JIM environment.
This new environment requires different sustainment
command and control (C2) organizations and continuing improvements
to critical sustainment enablers. Joint sustainment C2 organizations
for regional combatant commanders and a joint national logistics
command also will be required. Further technological enhancements,
an increased logistics common operating picture capability, and
improved mobility and distribution assets will be needed to achieve
a more rapid and agile joint distribution network.
This spring, the Army and JFCOM cosponsored
a wargame, Unified Quest 2003, that provided glimpses of future
conflict and military requirements. Evidence from the wargame clearly
shows that joint sustainment C2 and enhanced technologies that lead
to improved distribution management processes are critical to supporting
future joint operations. This article addresses issues emanating
from Unified Quest 2003.
Unified Quest 2003 (UQ 03) was conducted at
Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, from 27 April to 2 May. The theme
was "Expanding the Power of Coherent, Joint Operations."
It was the first of a series of transformational wargames cosponsored
by JFCOM and the Army. UQ 03 employed a demanding scenario-a major
contingency operation in a total JIM environment-that allowed joint
and service planners to work in the environment envisioned for future
operational-level warfare. Army sustainment concepts were played
in support of JFCOM's Joint Operations Concepts (JOpsC).
Joint and Army sustainers were involved in
operational planning, exercise assessment, and game and information
systems analysis. Participating Army personnel came from the Office
of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, Headquarters, Department of the
Army (DA); the Army Materiel Command; the Army Forces Command; the
Army Special Operations Command; and the Army Training and Doctrine
Command (TRADOC). Each participant brought unique and valuable experience
to the exercise. Broad Army participation will help ensure that
sustainment insights and issues captured during the wargame will
be integrated into ongoing development of Combined Arms Support
Command (CASCOM) and Army Objective Force sustainment concepts and
Two overarching themes surfaced during the
game. First, we observed that what had been three distinct functions-deployment,
employment, and sustainment-are merging into one continuous operation
across a distributed battlespace. Second, we identified critical
components needed to achieve successful joint sustainment: a logistics
common operating picture; distribution and sustainment enablers;
and joint distribution management.
These emerging themes give rise to two questions-
- Within the JIM environment, what is the best
joint sustainment management process?
- Under an appropriate joint sustainment management
process, what are the requirements for a logistics common operating
picture, physical enablers, and distribution management?
The JIM environment and the evolving operational
concepts will determine potential solutions to the first question.
It therefore is important to understand the operational framework
before trying to frame an appropriate joint sustainment management
Future Operational Framework
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (in
Chairman Directive CM-907-03) tasked JFCOM to develop a coherent
joint process and operational structure that captures the complexities,
opportunities, and realities that the joint commander and his service
components will encounter in future conflicts. The operational requirements
and the resulting supporting concepts developed during UQ 03 provide
a clear understanding of what will be required from joint force
The Deployment, Employment and Sustainment
(D, E&S) operational framework is a maturing JFCOM concept that
recognizes the changing complexity and interdependence of what had
been three separate and distinct operational actions. Coherent operations
are achieved when the functions of deployment, employment, and sustainment
are coupled into one operational process and not developed as distinct
individual actions or separate phases of an operation. In the end,
D, E&S will result in a coherent joint process.
The conflict in Iraq and the wargame experience
in UQ 03 demonstrate that the future battlefield will be characterized
by multiple and simultaneous operations across the full spectrum
of missions. Operations over extended distances and the frequent
absence of secure lines of communication throughout a distributed
battlespace will be the norm. Rapid, decisive operations, coupled
with simultaneous stability and support operations capability and
humanitarian operations, will challenge joint sustainers. Extended
joint operational areas and multiple task forces will challenge
existing deployment and sustainment systems.
The nature of future conflict makes the current
approach of conducting distinct deployment, employment, and sustainment
operations unacceptable. The history of Operations Desert Shield
and Desert Storm demonstrated that logistics processes do not have
distinct strategic, operational, and tactical levels. Early indications
are that the same change is occurring for the functions of deployment,
employment, and sustainment in current and future operations.
Army Objective Force and joint operational
concepts are based on the concepts of operational maneuver from
strategic distances (through multiple unimproved points of entry)
and simultaneous and disparate operations. CASCOM's early Objective
Force concept work determined that operational maneuver from strategic
distances means deployment equals employment. D, E&S takes this
concept to the next level, where sustainment occurs simultaneously
with deployment and employment throughout the operational spectrum.
This evolving operational framework requires a different joint sustainment
management process and C2.
Sustainment Management Command and Control
To achieve this end state, joint sustainment
C2 organizations will be required to synchronize, prioritize, integrate,
coordinate, and direct sustainment operations across all JIM capabilities
available to the joint force commander.
Joint sustainment C2 should create joint sustainment
effects from separate service component and JIM capabilities. During
UQ 03, current sustainment C2 was not adequate to support the full
range of joint operational plans. Sustainers were challenged to
integrate unique component capabilities to craft functional plans
that produced joint sustainment. While initial operational planning
produced coherent force packages, sustainment challenges surfaced
after operations began that required a more functional C2 organization
than a single staff element could provide. Simultaneous multiple
task-force operations required a unified sustainment effort to a
much greater degree than in previous wargames. Component support
and sustainment organizations, when appropriately integrated, can
provide synergistic, effective, and efficient support to the regional
combatant commander (RCC) and the joint task force commander.
Combatant commanders have suites of operational
concepts, systems, and capabilities they can use to integrate component
warfighting capabilities to conduct successful operations. Perhaps
the best example is the air tasking order (ATO) developed by the
joint force air component commander. The ATO integrates all air
capabilities that are available from the service components and
multinational sources. The ATO ensures "air" unity of
effort. However, there is no similar joint or service process that
allows sustainers to generate a similar level of joint sustainment
to support joint operations.
Combatant commanders also have directive authority
for logistics and exercise that authority through the J-4 and joint
boards and staff elements. While individual service sustainment
and support planning is effective for each service component, there
is no evidence that these individual plans and operations are generating
the most effective and efficient joint sustainment effects for the
joint force commander.
To meet joint force sustainment requirements,
the services and civilian agencies provide a wealth of capabilities
and resources. However, they operate with service-centric and stovepiped
organizational structures-a condition that in some cases fosters
duplication of effort, competition for the same resources, and waste
of materiel and manpower. It is difficult to achieve either effectiveness
or efficiency under current organizational arrangements.
Providing joint sustainment requires a centralized
management process, under a single command or activity, that has
oversight of both requirements and assets and provides the combatant
commander with a single point of focus for sustainment. This process
begins with service functions and organizations designed for joint
operations. An effective joint sustainment process can remove seams
and gaps between the services and their strategic systems and integrate
warfighters, component support, and logistics capabilities with
national support elements such as the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)
and the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM).
Joint sustainment management does not require
a single sustainment corps, but it does imply a more direct and
centralized approach. Joint sustainment management, by including
the services, civilian organizations, and contractors working within
a joint structure, will enhance effectiveness and facilitate efficiencies
in generating sustainment for simultaneous operations. At the joint
force level, the same dynamics are occurring in the design of and
relationships among service support structures. Working closely
with JFCOM, we agree that a requirement exists for a joint-level
functional component support command. A joint support component
command (JSCC) on a par with land, air, and sea components supporting
across the JIM force is required. The JSCC, working for the RCC,
would be in a position to leverage the full range of sustainment
and support capabilities across all JIM partners to support all
maneuver operations. The establishment of a JSCC organization would
facilitate the setting of priorities for strategic and operational
support across all components, similar to what the JFACC accomplishes
with the ATO today.
Within the Army, significant changes are required
in sustainment C2. TRADOC and CASCOM are developing new organizations
and refining existing structures as part of a DA-directed Echelonment
Study. An important part of this effort is redesigning the theater
support command (TSC).
The current TSC has served the Army well, but
it is not deliberately organized for joint and multinational support
and multiple simultaneous operations throughout the RCC's area of
responsibility (AOR). By design, the TSC is an Army- and ground-centric
organization. The JOpsC calls for the full integration of joint,
interagency, and multinational partners, and the concept of focused
logistics requires the same integration of joint sustainment capabilities.
This means that the Objective Force TSC must be a joint organization
capable of supporting from strategic distances across the services.
While the TSC is designed to accept joint liaisons, it does not
have joint billets and therefore is ad hoc by nature, which is insufficient
to support JIM operations. From the joint perspective, the current
TSC also does not have the integrated information systems needed
to interface routinely across the JIM environment. Specifically
lacking is visibility of the entire, end-to-end joint distribution
system. Finally, today's TSC design does not accommodate flexible
C2 arrangements. The TSC needs greater C2 capability and flexibility
to support the Army service component commander in executing the
spectrum of operations, meeting administrative control and Army
support to other services responsibilities, and integrating JIM
Generating joint sustainment centers on leveraging
support and sustainment capabilities across the components and JIM
partners. At the strategic level, we envision continuing an unbroken
joint sustainment chain, starting with an enhanced TSC, with providers
such as DLA and TRANSCOM executing strategic responsibilities and
component organizations such as the Army Materiel Command and the
Air Force's Air Logistics Command executing traditional Title 10
responsibilities. This support continuum will be joint, integrated,
and linked from the national level to tactical formations.
Logistics Common Operating Picture
An effective joint sustainment management process
addresses the first question for the UQ 03. The second question-under
an appropriate joint sustainment management process, what are the
requirements for a logistics common operating picture, physical
enablers, and distribution management?-concerns the specific means
of generating sustainment. Joint sustainment is developed by means
of logistics information and data, physical assets to accomplish
sustainment operations, and a distribution management process and
system that plan for and oversee distribution execution.
A logistics common operating picture (LCOP)
is a joint requirement that can provide visibility of data and decision-support
tools needed to manage an end-to-end joint distribution system.
Significant progress has been made in the past few years in achieving
joint total asset visibility (TAV). However, visibility alone does
not provide all that is needed to execute sustainment operations
at the component level or, even more critically, at the joint level.
Actionable information and data must be coupled with sound operational
understanding and integrated architectures to provide joint and
component sustainers with solid information. Component management
systems cannot provide the data required for joint sustainment.
The Battle Command Sustainment Support System
(BCS3) is the foundation for the Army LCOP. The Global Combat Service
Support-Army (GCSS-Army) integrated into the joint GCSS provides
joint interfaces. The right information presented and analyzed in
the right operational context (LCOP) can bring predictability, speed,
and precision to sustainment. This information and data structure,
with decision-support aids, can provide the tools for effective
joint sustainment C2. Satellite-based communications systems, with
single-entry data points and multiple users and purposes and that
are not limited by geography or distance, are required. For example,
this capability can provide for dynamic rerouting and retasking
vital to sustainment operations across the future battlefield.
Also critical to sustainment are physical resources.
During UQ 03, technological enablers, especially deployment systems
and advanced mobility and distribution capabilities, suggested new
warfighting opportunities. Increasing the speed of deployment, and
thus employment, at multiple entry points reduced force vulnerability.
Joint force planners and commanders also saw the opportunity to
enter into decisive operations earlier than in the traditional deploy-and-employ
framework. The D, E&S operational framework focused on this
However, mobility and deployment enablers required
for early, rapid operational employment also are required for early-on
and continuous sustainment. The challenge is complicated by the
fact that operations are conducted simultaneously. This leads to
what can be described as the "enabler paradox:" while
enhanced enablers provide improved operational opportunities and
capability, an improved operational capability will demand even
more enablers. Generating sustainment will require dual-capability
mobility and distribution platforms, a much greater integration
of operations and sustainment than ever before across the joint
force, and, finally, a process that can sense and react to dynamic
battlefield conditions and the natural tension between operations
and sustainment requirements.
Joint Distribution Management Process
Joint distribution management must blend transportation
and supply functions successfully into an end-to-end distribution
system. The Objective Force distribution system encompasses both
force and sustainment requirements within a seamless, end-to-end
Distribution management is a circular, not
a linear, concept that begins when requirements are generated and
ends when requirements are satisfied. It is based on prediction,
speed, and precision; relies on various service, national, and multinational
assets and capabilities; and is controlled by a joint process that
seeks the greatest efficiency practical.
The distribution management system's design
has to overcome the tyranny of time and distance and, when properly
organized, must manage scarce resources, eliminate excess, and generate
efficiencies in support of operational effectiveness.
The Army's sustainment organizations and capabilities
must be designed and built to operate in support of joint operations
across the JIM environment and within the D, E&S operational
framework. The current TSC, with modifications, can provide the
Army service component commander with robust and capable sustainment
C2; when appropriately restructured, it can provide the RCC with
joint sustainment C2. Joint capability at one echelon and not another
will not work. RCCs need an unbroken joint sustainment C2 structure
throughout the AOR and back into the strategic base. It is time
to start developing a National Logistics Provider.
Enabling information and data technologies
and mobility and distribution platforms will continue to support
new joint operational and sustainment concepts. A common operating
picture is a fundamental requirement for an effective joint sustainment
management process on a distributed, noncontiguous battlefield.
However, a common operating picture is only relevant if the physical
means are available to execute sustainment at the right place and
time. A delicate and very difficult balance will be required in
developing and fielding both operational and sustainment capabilities
so that neither is marginalized by a shortfall, or an enhanced capability,
in the other.
Army sustainers are joint sustainers. The Army,
while inherently joint, is the sustainment force of choice for combatant
commanders. Army organizations, units, and capabilities are designed
for sustained land combat. Army capabilities, combined with those
of other components, can generate joint sustainment. As concepts
mature and operational ideas crystallize, Army sustainers will continue
to lead joint sustainment efforts.
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