The Division Logistics Support Element (DLSE) is codified in Field Manual (FM) 4-0, Sustainment Operations. Brigade Logistics Support Teams (BLST), once in direct support to brigade combat teams (BCT), are no more. Army Field Support Battalions (AFSBn) must adapt to this change by centrally managing Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) Logistics Assistance Representatives (LAR) and Field Service Representatives (FSR) through the battalion’s support operations officer.Doctrinally, the AFSBn deploys a DLSE under the operational control of the division to which it is allocated. At Combat Training Centers (CTCs), however, AFSBns still continue to support a brigade with an antiquated BLST mindset.In essence, the AFSBn, deployed as a DLSE, supports a single brigade with a division’s worth of LCMC enablers. Thus, a DLSE is not training for a division fight at the CTCs. The strategic support community is creating a false expectation to supported units during rotational training exercises at the CTCs.The dependency on civilians throughout the Army is a carryover from counterinsurgency operations. After action reviews from the materiel enterprise at the CTCs mirror each other in terms of calls forward for LARs and FSRs. That is, the overwhelming majority of support provided by LARs and FSRs is for a Tier 0-level of support. Tier 0 is synonymous with 10-20 level.A BCT recently finished a Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) rotation at Fort Polk, Louisiana. During the rotation, 300 trouble tickets (requests for LAR and FSR support) involved command, control, computers, communications, cyber, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems, known as C5ISR. Over 95% of those requests were related to training and could have been solved at a Tier 0 or Soldier level.Nonetheless, requests during reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSOI) make sense from a DLSE perspective, as the DLSE will surge LCMC capability at an intermediate staging base in large-scale combat operations (LSCO). This, of course, assumes that RSOI is largely uncontested by the enemy. Friction at the CTCs largely occurs once combat operations (force-on-force) begin.As rotational units at the CTCs transition from RSOI to force-on-force operations, AFSBns notoriously struggle with a call-forward concept. CTCs restrict movement of Civilian subject matter experts (SME) on the battlefield during the force-on-force phase.At JRTC, Civilians are called forward, entering and exiting the training area via the Personnel and Equipment Holding Area buses. LARs and FSRs are largely restricted to working in daylight. Also, AFSBns possess no organic equipment for LARs and FSRs to work out of on the battlefield. The AFSBn’s LARs and FSRs must, therefore, encumber supported units for life support.The bottom line is that DLSE leadership must prioritize LAR and FSR movement to the training area through communication with the Support Operations Cell and the rotational training brigade. This means that not every LAR or FSR may move to the training area on a given day; for those LARs and FSRs that do travel into the training area, their time is limited. It becomes incumbent on the supported brigade to facilitate LAR and FSR movement to address equipment shortfalls.LARs and FSRs evolved into a proverbial ‘easy button’ during training and throughout counterinsurgency operations. For years, Army Sustainment Command (ASC) stressed “back to the basics” and that “LARs need to work themselves out of a job.” The recent removal of BLST chiefs proved a significant step toward cutting LAR and FSR dependency, forcing BCTs to research repair parts and conduct troubleshooting at their level. BLSTs had performed tasks that ought to have been performed at the BCT:Tracking parts statusesLower-level maintenance troubleshootingFacilitation of new equipment training and fieldingThe materiel enterprise is continuing to decrease LAR and FSR capability at the tactical levelThe Logistics Support Teams (LST), resident at each CTC, host the DLSEs. ASC has displaced certain skill sets from the LSTs. First, the logistics management specialists have been removed and repositioned throughout ASC in light of restructuring efforts.Second, the previously large presence of Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) is diminishing. PEO C3T complemented LSTs by facilitating trouble tickets and calls forward via two digital systems engineers (DSE) for each rotation. Presently, DSEs are transitioning away from directly supporting brigade CTC rotations.Third, many of the FSR-supported systems—to include Warfighter Information Network-Tactical—are moving into the sustainment realm and will be absorbed by LARs. There will be a significant decrease in what has been the standard SME package for a rotational training unit.In light of the descaling of the Civilian SME capability at the CTCs, DLSEs must adapt. Calls forward during force-on-force training should be legitimate higher-tier support or should be based on ’white hat’ for issues that are adversely affecting the training scenario. A ’white hat’ would involve an observer-controller (O/C) escort into the training area in order to immediately rectify an equipment shortfall. The CTC leadership or operations group would approve a ’white hat’ based on signal or sustainment O/C recommendations.A BCT should be forced to exercise maintenance or C5ISR troubleshooting within its inherent capability, leveraging the expertise of noncommissioned officers and warrant officers before a call forward is requested for LARs and FSRs. CTCs are inherently realistic, tough environments. In LSCO, LCMC personnel may not be able to enter the battlespace until Phase IV, or stability operations.Deployable logistics support elements provide expeditionary corps and divisions the ability to rapidly integrate into a theater, delivering Army Materiel Command capabilities at echelon. The CTCs are not a forum to truly exercise the DLSE concept. There is an exception: if a division arrived at the CTC with a tactical command post and a robust sustainment brigade presence.That being the case, a DLSE commander and his or her team could plug into the sustainment brigade and division to exercise various reporting schemes while training on various master scenario event lists. This would prepare the DLSE for home station command post or warfighter exercises. A DLSE in support of a brigade has fundamental value in terms of internal DLSE reporting mechanisms, establishment of battle rhythm events, internal DLSE talent management, and building relationships with a single brigade. These are building blocks for the DLSE, not a DLSE-in-practice. AFSBns cannot continue to operate as if the BLST concept is still significant. It creates false expectations with the supported brigade and CTC cadre.The strategic enterprise owes the CTCs a concept of support that nests with an Army of 2028 mindset and new doctrine as written in FM 4-0. Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 4-91, Army Field Support Brigade, has not received an update since 2013. Future revision will surely analyze the DLSE concept, nesting ATP 4-91 with FM 4-0.The role of the material enterprise during the CTCs’ force on force phases will continue to diminish in light of LSCO. FSRs and LARs cannot continue to be called forward for 10-20 tasks. The dependence is counterproductive to fighting near-peer threats in an environment that will hardly mirror the counterinsurgent fight and forward operating base stability. Division Warfighters training events, and exercises such as Defender-Europe and Defender-Pacific, will serve as true tests for the DLSE; challenging the materiel enterprise to deliver readiness throughout RSOI over widely dispersed, often austere environments.LARs and FSRs should operate at our CTCs for RSOI only. Once RSOI is complete, the LARs should not be called forward unless the CTC operations group determines otherwise. At that point the area support LARs, resident at the LST, would cover down.The only time the DLSE should support a rotation is if the division tactical command post is deployed to the CTC. This change in practices will focus the sustainment enterprise’s capabilities on RSOI while simultaneously steering supported units to emphasize equipment readiness.--------------------Lt. Col. Benjamin Kilgore is commander of Army Field Support Battalion-Hawaii, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade, at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Kilgore's previous assignments include Professor of Military Science at North Dakota State University, and Logistics Support Team Chief, 404th Army Field Support Brigade, at Fort Irwin, Calif. Kilgore received his Master in Managerial Logistics degree from North Dakota State University. He is completing a Master in Higher Education degree at University of Louisville.-----------------------------This article was published in the April-June 2020 issue of Army Sustainment.RELATED LINKSArmy Sustainment homepageThe Current issue of Army Sustainment in pdf formatCurrent Army Sustainment Online ArticlesConnect with Army Sustainment on LinkedInConnect with Army Sustainment on Facebook