FORT LEE, Va. - Sustainment leaders from across the Army, National Guard and Reserves gathered here May 7-9 to discuss how to plan, synchronize, and integrate logistics and sustainment assets to support large-scale ground combat operations.
The Sustainment Week began with an opening ceremony hosted by Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg, commanding general, Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) and host for the event. Additional events throughout the week included branch activities by Quartermaster, Ordnance, and Transportation corps and ended with the Sustainment Ball.
"Our operating principle right now is unified land operations and we have to think forward about the national defense strategy and what we need to put on the battlefield -- a credible force for the future," said Fogg. "Where we've been for the last 17 years is executing OPCONs (operational concepts) for COIN (counter-insurgency) operations, we have to move beyond that to multi-domain operations."
The 2018 National Defense Strategy and the Army Field Manual 3-0 Operations (FM 3.0), published Oct. 6, 2017, changed the way the Army fights from brigade combat team-centric fight in a COIN environment to a division/corps-centric fight in large-scale ground combat operations in a multi-domain environment against a near-peer competitor.
"We've been directed to fight large-scale ground combat operations, a decisive action fight. That fight is going to be much different (than we have been fighting)," said Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, Department of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff G-4. "We still have some basic fundamentals that we had 20 years ago that may have atrophied over the years.
"What we need is your help to get back to doing those fundamentals correctly, supply and maintenance programs," said Piggee to the attendees of the Army Sustainment Panel. "IG (Inspector General) went out a year ago and (most units did not have) effective maintenance and supply discipline programs. We are getting better but we still have a lot to do."
To meet these changes, CASCOM is updating the sustainment doctrine portfolio (FM 4-0 Sustainment Operations) so it aligns closely with Army Doctrine Publication 3-0 and FM 3-0.
"Doctrine does drive change and so 3.0 has introduced a new operating principle for us and how we need to organize for that and how we link to the doctrine in 3.0 and the doctrine we are writing right now, FM 4.0," said Fogg. "FM 4.0 tells us what we want to do is help us organize for the future mission command.
"It will be a little bit different than what you've seen before with the sustainment brigades (DSB) assigned to a division and ESCs assigned to a Corps," he said. "Looking at core capabilities within DSB, we want to have a DSSB (Division Sustainment Support Battalion) similar to the CSSB (Combat Sustainment Support Battalion) in the division.
Fogg went on to explain that the DSSB will have organic units assigned to it such as transportation, maintenance, and supply. The organic companies won't be numbered anymore, they will be lettered and they will execute the review of readiness. The organization will work for the division and it will help the troops inside the division as well as the whole area of responsibility.
The CASCOM general identified challenges facing the sustainment community and highlighted three - fuel distribution, sustainment mobility and materiel management.
"What keeps me up at night is ensuring we have the right commodities at the right time at the right place to execute the fight," said Piggee. "I will tell you we have not done that in the past, with work you have done we are prepared to fight tonight so we continue to set the goal that we have the right sustainment capability where we need it."
Along with doctrine changes, Soldier lethality was discussed.
"It is critical that our Soldiers are treated as a system," said Sgt. Maj. Edward Bell, Army G-4 sergeant major. "The core foundation of lethality is a healthy Soldier with mental and physical performance where our soldiers can compete in any environment.
"With holistic health and fitness, a couple of things we are doing is making sure our Soldiers have more nutritional options," said Bell. "Their cognitive and physical performance can be managed best by the way we feed our troops."
The sergeant major added that the Soldier equipping process needs to use today's technology and get away from some brick and mortar operations that are taking too much time away from leaders and actually deliver resources to our Soldiers at the point it is needed.
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Perry, CASCOM sergeant major, said that rigor has been added to the Basic Officer Leadership Course and now is being added to Advanced Individual Training across all sustainment military occupational specialties.
"We are training 'Ready Day One' so that the operational unit gets a Soldier, whether it's a cook, a mechanic, a truck driver, they have to have a stronger foundation -- physically fit, more disciplined, more technical training, more repetition on the more important things we feel foundationally they have to have," said Perry. "They won't be completely trained obviously, but reprioritizing our focus and efforts based upon our training time, we are making it consistent across the board.
"When the operational force gets those Soldiers you have a stronger foundation," he said. "The operational force still has a significant role and responsibility but they will be more ready."
After the panel was over there were breakout sessions for brigade commanders, chief warrant officers, and the Reserve component. Gen. Gustave Perna, commanding general, Army Materiel Command, held a general officer forum and AMC Command Sgt. Maj. Rodger Mansker met with command sergeants major and sergeants major to discuss enlisted issues.