By David Vergun, Army News ServiceMay 3, 2018
WASHINGTON -- Getting troops and their gear quickly to the fight, which likely will be thousands of miles from a home station, is an urgent readiness requirement, said Lt. Gen. Aundre F. Piggee.
The luxury of days of buildup at a tactical assembly area are long gone, he said. Adversaries know that playbook and will do their utmost to deny access.
As such, two readiness priorities of Army sustainers are stockpiling weapons and equipment for contingencies and much more rapidly offloading supplies needed by brigade combat teams at ports and runways.
Piggee, the Army Deputy Chief of Staff G-4, spoke Friday at an Association of the United States Army "Sustainment" Hot Topic forum at the Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia.
"We have Army Prepositioned Stocks all over the globe," Piggee said. "Our goal, in the coming years, is to have more than a dozen brigade-sized sets that are configured for combat, meaning being able to fight tonight."
The prepositioning of stocks throughout the world provides the Army with the ability to rapidly equip forces and provide support until air and sea lines of communication can be established, he said. Prepositioned stocks are located at or near the points of anticipated use, ashore and afloat.
Land forces must have the ability to act even when no permanent U.S. presence or infrastructure is available, he added. APS is also used to supply rotating forces, such as those in Eastern Europe or the Western Pacific. This is the purpose of the APS program.
Reducing time for offloading ships and aircraft is the second major priority, Piggee said.
In 2016, the Army conducted 35 BCT operational movements overseas, he said. In 2017, there were 55 such movements and by the end of 2018 there will have been 83.
The reason this is important, he said, is because the Army Army is not only increasing its presence in areas of the world where assurance to allies and deterrence to adversaries is important, but with each movement, Soldiers become more efficient at offloading.
Piggee said last year he personally witnessed the offload of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade at a European port during an Operation Atlantic Resolve exercise.
Because Soldiers had learned the art of combat-loading vessels, they were able to remove their aircraft and parts in just two hours, an operation that normally would have taken a few days, he said.
Combat loading means stowing supplies in a manner that allows equipment that needs to be used immediately to come off the ship or aircraft first. This reduces the time needed to assemble a BCT for combat.
G-4 TOPS CENTURY MARK
Last month was Army G-4's 100th anniversary, Piggee said, noting there was a celebration he attended at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where he reflected on that milestone.
"What struck me first is, our nation has been at war more than a third of the last 100 years," he said, adding that logistics played a pivotal role in those wars.
The second thought, he said he had on that anniversary was "just how many billions and billions and billions of tons of equipment, supplies, ammunition, fuel, and food we produced and transported to all those fights."
And, the general's third thought was that "logisticians do big things. If our first leader, Gen. George Washington Goethals, were alive today, he would recognize our weapons and the bullets we use. Since World War I and World War II, they haven't changed much."
But everything else --- the equipment, how it's manufactured, the network and so on -- would be unrecognizable to him, he added.
Goethals supervised construction of the Panama Canal and became acting quartermaster general of the Army in 1917, during World War I.
Piggee said it's a great time to be a logistician. "We are playing a key role in [Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley's] priority to improve readiness of the force.
"We are regaining basic skills that had atrophied during the wars," he continued, speaking about Iraq and Afghanistan. "We were not used to moving and maintaining equipment, because equipment was waiting for you at forward operating bases, and contractors did maintenance.
"The good news is, we have gotten those fundamentals back through home-station training, training at our combat training centers, and exercises in Europe, the Pacific, and Africa," he said.
In closing, he said: "20 to 30 years from now one of you in this room will probably have my job. I need to make sure that as my successor, you are not stuck with technologies, processes, and doctrine that we used in 2018, because we failed to modernize."