I would like to begin this column by taking a moment to recognize the outstanding leadership of Gen. Gustave “Gus” Perna. Over the last four years at the helm of Army Materiel Command, he has been an instrumental figure in leading the sustainment enterprise. The Army has benefited, and I would personally like to thank him for his tremendous leadership.We are currently fighting one of the greatest challenges in our modern history: facing an invisible enemy. A novel coronavirus has ripped through the American and global landscape, inflicting tens of thousands of casualties worldwide and affecting all aspects of life. The U.S. Army and its sustainers are responding and are ensuring that we are focused on the most important priorities: force protection and readiness.On March 16, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) at Fort Lee, Virginia, ramped up measures to prevent the spread of the virus on the installation. Teleworking, social distancing, and curtailing of on-post services were initiated. In response to COVID-19, CASCOM, in coordination with the Fort Lee garrison command team, incorporated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) throughout the installation and executed health protection condition Charlie. The concepts of both quarantine and isolation became part of our lexicon.Our own task organization and processes, which were designed to manage educational institutions, were quickly operationalized and our training and doctrine-centric processes began to resemble concepts more familiar to U.S. Army Forces Command entities. We also immediately initiated an information campaign via social media in the form of virtual town halls on Facebook, safety messages and Twitter posts disseminating pertinent information to inform the workforce and their families to help prevent and detect the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Defense implemented a restriction on movement (ROM) policy effective on March 17, however, the training mission for advanced individual training (AIT) and basic combat training were still considered essential to Army readiness. After a brief pause, the pipeline of Soldiers going through training and onto their first unit of assignment (FUA) was required to remain open. Training was modified to accommodate the CDC guidelines while the high quality of training our Soldiers deserve was maintained. Digital platforms were utilized—such as Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, and Global Video Services—to help enable social distancing. Clean teams were activated down to the company level and were trained by medical professionals. Courtesy patrols ensured compliance with CDC guidelines and first-line leaders inspected the cleanliness of work and living areas.Operationalize Movement of Troops at BCT-AIT-FUAThe pace of operations and rapidly changing situation demanded the restructuring and reprioritization of staff. A center of excellence (COE) staff is not designed in the same way as a brigade combat team, division, or expeditionary sustainment command/theater sustainment command. In order to continue the pipeline of transporting troops, a movement cell was created to focus on ground and air movements of troops being transferred into Fort Lee for AIT and out to their FUAs throughout locations inside the continental U.S. (CONUS) and outside the continental U.S. (OCONUS). This was a significant shift from a commercial movement system, routinely handled by installation transportation offices to an operationalized system executed by CASCOM with military coordinated movements. Fort Lee also served as a central hub for all personnel going to U.S. Army European Command as their FUA. Similar to operational environments, procedures were put in place for movement control such as: operational orders, execution checks, concept of operations, and movement control boards.The movement cell was predicated on the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) pilot of getting Soldiers into the pipeline of training and eventually FUAs to ensure readiness. The movement cell coordinated buses and air transport through our logistics readiness center. After coordination for travel was made, the cell assigned cadre from each of the branch schools to provide escorts for the traveling Soldiers. Keeping Soldiers in a sterile bubble was paramount. The transports were cleaned before and after each movement and the travelers were medically screened before departure and upon arrival. Originally, the movements were point-to-point; but as the holdover populations began to grow, it became necessary to travel further than a 500 mile radius. National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers, who were all in a temporary duty and return status, were exempted from the stop movement in order for them to return to their states and potentially mobilize, as directed, to support COVID-19 measures.Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was selected as the first to receive Soldiers under the pilot movement program. After it was demonstrated that we could safely transport Soldiers during the initial push, we eventually developed ground movements to additional locations. The furthest ground movement was Fort Benning, Georgia, and onward to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida (approximately 830 miles from Fort Lee). As of the date this publication was written, we conducted 17 air and 15 ground movements which consisted of 1,560 Soldiers outbound to their first duty stations. Also during this time period, over 4,300 Soldiers were transported to Fort Lee to conduct AIT.CASCOM was also the initial pilot for OCONUS push of AIT graduates from Fort Lee to Germany via Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) and originating at the BWI Air Mobility Command (AMC) terminal, also known as the Patriot Express. CASCOM consolidated travelers from multiple centers of excellence (COEs), received them, and acted as an intermediate staging base. All travelers coming from other COEs already had a confirmed seat and orders to get on the plane.Surge Planning for Holdover PopulationIn addition to the troop surge to Fort Lee, another significant undertaking involved the establishment of a life support area (LSA) which would convert unoccupied barracks space into functional and clean living spaces for service members held on Fort Lee who were unable to move on to their FUA after AIT. The LSA was originally designed to house up to 500 Soldiers for up to 90 days. The area is self-contained with a dining facility tent (three hot meals a day are served), and mobile showers, latrine, laundry facilities, and internet were provided to ensure quality-of-life activities. All facilities are cleaned three times a day, and social distancing was strictly enforced. Additional space was identified that could house up to an additional 1,000 Soldiers, if required. The LSA is also operationalized and manned with a mayor’s cell, replicating a concept often utilized in deployed environments.The ability to reorganize and the responsiveness of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program contract paid huge dividends. Just over two weeks after the DoD implemented the stop movement order, the LSA was established and operational. This was only possible through critical and efficient coordination of contract support between CASCOM, Army Sustainment Command, and Fort Lee garrison personnel.Pandemic PlaybookEnsuring unity of command—between CASCOM, garrison, and Kenner Army Health Clinic—under the senior mission commander and developing an understanding of key tasks and responsibilities during a crisis is imperative, which necessitated the creation of a pandemic playbook. The playbook is useful when operational teams or staff have to be formed, organically, in an emergency situation. The playbook outlines the local medical facility’s capabilities and limitations. It defines quarantine and isolation procedures, and it helps plan the steps for contact tracing, screening, and clean team operations. It also provides guidelines for how the information regarding our responses will be disseminated and portrayed to our workforce. Battle drills will also be captured and described. They are nested with the six phases of pandemic response (prevent, protect, mitigate, respond, stabilize, and recover), and the actions that take place during each phase. Additional information had to be drawn from the pandemic operation plan.Regardless of plans, the driving force for pandemic response is a resourcing capabilities. To ensure that planning efforts are effective for future response and recovery, staff leads need to ensure that the G-3 (operations), G-4 (logistics), and G-8 (office of the deputy chief of staff) are synchronized early and often with pandemic response planning. National disaster and pandemic scenarios will cause extreme strain to both civilian and federal supply chains. During these scenarios, a solid understanding of knowing what is needed, and how much available funds can be allocated, will provide clarity of future capabilities and constraints. This will offset the long delay times for supplies and prevent unnecessary planning.A major constraint to obtaining Class VIII (medical) supply is that as of now, GCSS-Army does not allow users to place orders for medical supplies. Medical supplies can only be ordered via the Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support system. Getting Class VIII (medical) supplies into GCSS-Army is an ongoing effort between AMC, CASCOM, and Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems that will be addressed more thoroughly in the next Army Sustainment issue.ConclusionWe will continue to capture information and provide initial impressions reports to the Center for Army Lessons Learned during our response to the COVID-19 crisis. Sharing best practices will be critical in our preparedness for potential resurgence of COVID-19-related illnesses or other pandemics. Our nation and Army has stood up to this tremendous challenge. As we continue to work through this new mission, we will learn, adapt, and get better every day to ensure Army readiness is our number one priority. The training pipeline and TRADOC are reopened. The critical mission of maintaining trained and ready Soldiers will continue because our adversaries will not rest. We need to remain positive that our nation and the whole world will get through this pandemic. I wish all the sustainers out there the best for you and your Families. Stay safe and thank you all for your outstanding service to our great nation.--------------------Maj. Gen. Rodney Fogg, commanding general of Combined Arms Support Command, is a graduate of Quartermaster Basic and Advanced Officer Leadership Courses, Command and General Staff College, and the Army War College. He has a master's degree in logistics management from Florida Institute of Technology and a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.--------------------This article was published in the July-September 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