Several months into their latest assignment as the "first couple" of Fort Lee, Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg and his wife Janie are as eager as ever to serve the Sustainment community and ensure families are taken care of while Soldiers undergo the rigorous training requirements of the Army's future capability strategy.
The Fogg's returned to Fort Lee in September, called back to fill the Combined Arms Support Command's top spot after an unexpected vacancy. Three months prior to that, the family had said farewell to the community when he relinquished command of the Quartermaster Corps, pinned a second star on his collar and headed off to Redstone Arsenal, Ala., to serve as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and Operations at Army Material Command.
Other assignments over the past decade that make Fort Lee familiar territory for the general include a stint as commander of the 49th Quartermaster Group, a Forces Command organization that he helped deactivate in September 2012. Fogg also served as the CASCOM G-3 after that assignment.
"Being a career quartermaster, my beginnings are here," Fogg proudly stated. "I walked up the steps of old Mifflin Hall as a second lieutenant, not knowing anything about the Army. I progressed through multiple assignments that have taken me around the world and all over the place, but every time, I touch back home here at Fort Lee."
It was his lineage of assignments within CASCOM that really prepared Fogg for the CG spot. He said, getting that previous Training and Doctrine Command experience proved vital for understanding how to be successful in preparing the command for the future.
"You can make long-term Army changes in a positive way," Fogg observed. "Being the QM General definitely helped me understand how to work higher-level Army processes."
He's also keenly tuned into the Army's need for fully capable sustainers who are ready to deploy and support operational forces on the day they show up at their first units of assignment. Highest among the major priorities for Fogg is the increased rigor and warriorization of the troops in training here, specifically advanced individual training Soldiers and new lieutenants in the Basic Officer Leader Course.
"We want to make sure Soldiers and leaders are as prepared as we can make them moving into their first duty assignments," Fogg said. "(We want them) in the field environment to make sure they can operate under austere conditions. If we train them to cook or work on the engine of a truck or if they are a lieutenant who is expected to lead troops, we want them to be able to do those things in a battlefield maneuver environment."
Acknowledging the importance of partnerships and leveraging technical expertise and available resources, Fogg said he is appreciative of Army Garrison assets that are engaged in updating training areas here and elsewhere such as Fort Pickett.
"Between transportation, ordnance and quartermaster troops, we have 35 percent of the student load from TRADOC," he said. "We have so many students here at Fort Lee, and as we increase the rigor of their training, we are breathing new life into training areas that haven't been used in a long time."
Part of improving the training here starts with making sure doctrine is on the right path.
"Doctrine is very important because it drives change within your units and organization," Fogg explained. "It drives change on how you train your people."
Responding to the recent release of Field Manual 3-0, "Operations," sustainment leaders at CASCOM have invested great time and effort into Field Manual 4.0, "Sustainment."
"This companion manual on how to support (combat operations) with sustainment will be our capstone field guide," Fogg said. "We put months of effort into it. We have done tabletop exercises with leaders across the Army - logistics and maneuver commanders, strategy experts at the general officer and colonel level, as well as the senior NCO corps. We brought in medical, human resources and finance, and the main thing we're asking is 'what are the most important things we need to do on the battlefield?' (Another goal is) understanding the new concepts that are associated with large-scale ground combat operations and moving away from the (counter-insurgency) fight.
"That's really important and we have made it a major priority," he continued. "The next thing is making sure we have the right capabilities on the battlefield. We know the things CASCOM does and, with our staff, we have the ability to look at capabilities for sustainment logistics across the battlefield."
During this process, personnel at the Sustainment Center of Excellence took a hard look at capabilities, especially in regard to large-scale ground operations.
"What we found is that, maybe, we have potential gaps that are significant," Fogg said. "We are defining those gaps to the Army, and we're working through the procurement processes. We've been doing equipment deep dives, so we are putting a lot of effort into that.
"Honestly, when you've been in conflict for more than 15 years - doing the counterinsurgency/counterterrorism type of operations - sometimes you lose sight of the larger picture that you could have a fight with a near-peer competitor and need the resources it would require. We have atrophied in some of those areas, and we need to place more emphasis there."
Another hot topic in the military is recruiting the best new Soldiers available, and CASCOM can cite many examples of leading the way along the lines of providing opportunities for prospective and newly enlisted troops.
"Recently, I read an article about one of the best ways we bring civilians into the Army to become Soldiers is offering opportunities," Fogg said. "Opportunity is often linked to education and credentialing. When it comes to credentialing, a lot of our military occupational specialties are linked to or tied directly to civilian jobs, like mechanics or cooks. There are ways we have combined efforts with academia and other organizations to provide credentialing."
Additionally, Fogg said the CASCOM team is working with the local Army recruiting battalion to provide resources to assist in its mission.
"We have some pretty interesting equipment, and we have Soldiers who are doing great things that could be of interest to potential recruits," he said. "We have explosive ordnance disposal robots and riggers who jump out of airplanes. We can partner with them at a location with some of our Soldiers and equipment so we can explain what the military life is like on a day-to-day basis and what opportunities the sustainment community could provide for them if they join the Army."
During a recent presentation at an Association of the U.S. Army leadership development breakfast, Fogg noted how "a window of opportunity" has been opened by service leaders who have vowed to increase Army readiness, lethality and modernization. "We are not shying away from these challenges," he then asserted.
Amid improving troop readiness, updating sustainment doctrine and ensuring the Army is recruiting the country's best, Fogg said he wants a team who will keep working hard to get the job done.