Command teams and senior sustainment leaders from across the Army met at Club Hood for the 2018 III Corps Sustainment Training Summit, April 9-12.
Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood; Maj. Gen. Douglas Chalmers, III Corps deputy commanding general (U.K.) and Brig. Gen. Douglas McBride Jr., commanding general of 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, officially kicked-off the four-day event.
The 13th ESC hosted this year's summit, in an open forum, to discuss manning, training and equipment shortfalls that impact the readiness of III Corps, and how to improve logistical capabilities for future operations.
Although Funk was on mid-tour leave from Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, he took center stage to welcome the group of senior leaders to the 2nd annual Sustainment Training Summit.
"It is great to see everyone here today. I live to be 'phantom ready and phantom strong' and this summit is all about readiness," said Funk. "We're going to talk about medical, maintenance and logistical readiness; we're also going to discuss those things that make a great Army - greater. So as we focus on building combat readiness to meet the demands of our Nation, we consume equipment readiness in pursuit of excellence that is a hallmark of this great corps."
Logisticians are critical to making U.S. forces greater, and sustainment capabilities have played a pivotal role in determining the outcome of battles, operations and campaigns for decades. However, the battlefield of the future is unlikely to provide the same level of logistical support that has been relied on over the past 17 years.
"The only things we can be sure of are changes and uncertainties," Funk expressed to the leaders.
Sustainment organizations have to thrive in an ever-changing environment and are responsible for projecting the Nation's combat power to foreign lands thousands of miles away.
Due to these obligations, III Corps and sustainment units across all Army components want to reinforce Soldier tasks, skills and responsibilities to empower Soldiers to maintain their equipment to a high standard to overcome challenges across the demanding globe.
Increasing overall readiness to effectively conduct a full range of military operations to defeat all emerging threats is a top priority for sustainment units across the Army.
"That's the power of the summit, and that's why it's a training summit and not a regular symposium," said McBride. "During the planning phase of this summit, we surveyed entire formations across Fort Bliss, Fort Carson, Fort Riley as well as III Corps here at Fort Hood. We wanted to hear from the company, mid-grade level leaders as well as our field grade senior leader and our senior warrant officers."
"What are your challenges and requirements? What opportunities are present?" asked McBride. "This summit promotes honest dialogue between our senior leader and our enterprise partners, which enables our ability to build combat readiness and combat power. So it's a bottom-up reconciliation, once a year, so we can hear different points-of-view from the leaders that are at the 'tip of the spear,' that are living with this equipment, with these Soldiers, with these gaps or perceived gaps that may be out in our formations."
On the last day of the summit, Gen. Gustave Perna, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command and the Army's senior logistician, visited various sustainment units around Fort Hood and took time to conduct a roundtable discussion with the command teams in attendance.
"We have to understand sustainment is not at one level, it is at all levels; tactical, operational and strategic. It is executed at different organizations, not only internally but outside the Army," said Perna. "So, the importance of bringing all these leaders together, is to see yourself (identify unit shortfalls), discuss the different layers of issues and concerns from each level, then start putting the pieces together to develop solutions."
To emphasize their commitment to the progression of sustainment capabilities, the 13th ESC signed the Total Force Partnership agreement with Reserve and National Guard components, laying out the next 12-months of training, to build readiness across all Army components.