U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) employs its Army Field Support Brigades (AFSBs) to deliver readiness and enterprise sustainment to the warfighter. The AFSB synchronizes and integrates AMC strategic capabilities in support of Army service component commands (ASCCs), field armies, and corps. Army Sustainment Command (ASC) executes command and control of seven AFSBs—four U.S.-based and three forward-stationed AFSBs—in selected combatant commands. The 407th AFSB is headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas supporting III Corps and is regionally aligned to U.S. Southern Command.
407th AFSB has been implementing changes to meet the ASC commander’s new vision statement. The goal is to have an agile and anticipatory organization that is fully networked to leverage all capabilities in the strategic logistics enterprise, as the AMC ‘face to the field’ to deliver readiness for the supported commander.
This article highlights ongoing ASC and 407th AFSB efforts to operationalize continuous AMC enterprise readiness services and responsiveness to the warfighter in support of contingency operations with a focus to support and sustain large-scale combat operations (LSCO).
Developing ASC Futures Strategy
AMC, ASC, and U. S Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) force development directorates are working together to provide the AMC interface to support commands during multi-domain operations (MDO) and LSCO. Through this effort, AFSBs and the corps logistics support element (CLSE) are the links between the generating force and the operational force to integrate and synchronize the delivery of strategic capabilities of AMC and ASC to supported ASCCs and corps.
The AFSB’s subordinate Army field support battalions (AFSBns) and its division logistic support element (DLSE) sustain 1st Cavalry Division headquarters, sustainment brigades, and other units through synchronization and integration of AMC capabilities into division plans and operations. The AFSB, its subordinate battalions, and logistics readiness centers (LRCs) provide the interface to the broad range of strategic-level support to build and maintain combat power in the strategic support area (SSA).
To achieve CLSE/DLSE objectives in support of the Army’s move to Force 2025 and Beyond, ASC is developing the capabilities and organizational structure to maintain the readiness of Army units to conduct unified land operations. ASC architecture is in sync with the Army Campaign Plan’s phase lines (PL) in regards to MDO: PL Readiness is 2022, PL Overmatch is 2028, and PL Dominance is 2034 for the future operating environ-
ment. These PLs are time-based goals to defeat future competitors.
AFSB’s Corps Logistics Support Element
The 407th AFSB provides daily sustainment, deployment, and redeployment services through its 13 LRCs and four AFSBns. They provide installation logistics support and AFSB operations vital to integrate and deliver readiness and enterprise sustainment. They provide AFSB (corps) key tasks and capabilities:
- Mission command to/for corps-aligned subordinate battalions and operational control (OPCON) AMC capabilities in the area of responsibility (AOR)
- Build Army readiness for operating and generating forces at home station
- Synchronize the delivery of AMC capabilities on the installation, to include life-cycle management commands (LCMCs)
- Manage the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) and advise unit LOGCAP contract officer representatives
- Provide support to power projection platforms and mobilization force generation installations
- Provide AFSB and other AMC capabilities to deploy, as required, with corps/division headquarters to facilitate the planning and execution of materiel enterprise integration into corps/division formations through the deployment and employment process
- Prepare, coordinate, and execute operations that support deployment and redeployment
- Integrate acquisition, logistics, and technology into Army units at home station
At the AFSB headquarters level, the CLSE is a tailorable, deployable element used to support contingency operations and can be leveraged to support corps-level Army warfighter exercises. The CLSE synchronizes and integrates AMC capabilities into corps operational plans, which support logistics operations with materiel and services provided by AMC commands.
The 407th AFSB CLSE provides daily logistic support for III Corps, headquarters, and separate corps brigades and battalions. The CLSE's organizational structure includes military personnel, Army Civilians, four LCMC senior command representatives (SCR), and multiple logistics assistant representatives (LARs). Using the military decision-making process, and analysis of the supported corps mission, the AFSB CLSE is configured to meet mission requirements.
AFSB’s Subordinate Battalions
AFSBs also provide support through their subordinate AFSBn’s DLSE, which is a mission-tailored organization within an AFSBn that deploys with its supported division. The DLSE coordinates and synchronizes AMC capabilities to support division priorities. Led by the AFSBn commander, the DLSE is composed of military officers, enlisted personnel, Department of the Army Civilians, and contracted employees.
When required, the DLSE leverages table and distribution allowances equipment (which is currently being reassessed), which can deploy forward in support of division operations. The DLSE has OPCON and dedicated lead system technical representatives (L-STRs) and LARs from U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM), U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), and Joint Munitions Command (JMC). They are subject-matter experts for the supported equipment resident in the supported division.
The AFSBn commander forms the DLSE and staff synchronize AMC LAR technical support at the division level to address readiness-related issues. Through LAR support, the DLSE obtains technical assistance in diagnosis and repair, determines battle damage, identifies and resolves systemic logistics problems, and facilitates disposition instructions. The DLSE commander can leverage installation-level logistics capabilities needed to resolve logistic problems that impact readiness in the supported division. This capability was not available before the 2018-2019 consolidation of the installation LRCs under the AFSBn.
Both the CLSE and DLSE focus daily to anticipate and identify logistics issues that impact materiel readiness and the responsibilities of the AMC enterprise. They focus on trending problems that affect readiness for corps separates, tenant units, and divisional units, and provide problem-solving solutions to operators and maintainers. The CLSE/DLSE readiness tracking employs ‘readiness effects’ bins:
- Original equipment manufacturer: Newly fielded equipment integration
- Organic industrial base: Equipment modernization/Modification work orders/Field-level inspection and repair
- Obsolescence: Divestiture
- Unit training/Soldier education: AMC LAR-focused training and education
This information provided by the AMC LARs is reported through the CLSE/DLSE to analyze data and categorize trends for the AMC enterprise team to resolve unit equipment and training issues. Additionally, the CLSEs/DLSEs track fleet readiness and focus on the readiness effects and resolution courses of action for fleets falling below 70% operational readiness.
Before deployment, the CLSE/DLSE commander coordinates with corps or division headquarters and establishes memorandums of agreement in support of a joint deployment. These agreements may vary due to multiple types of missions requiring CLSE/DSLE support.
There are three types of deployable scenarios AFSBs take into consideration to employ a CLSE/DLSE:
- Combat training center (CTC) support: CLSE/DLSE will use CTCs as training opportunities and participate in the exercise from pre- through post-training. Based on the deployable organizations and equipment, the CLSE/DLSE commander will designate CLSE SCRs or AFSBn L-STRs to manage LCMC LARs and choose LSTs logistics support elements (LSEs) to provide accountability on site. To date, 407th AFSB CLSEs/DLSEs have successfully supported several CTC rotations under the new concept of support.
- Deployment in a mature theater: If a continental U.S. (CONUS) CLSE deploys into a mature theater that is geographically under the command and control of another AFSB (i.e., Europe or Afghanistan), both CONUS AFSB and AFSBn commanders coordinate with their outside the continental U.S. (OCONUS) counterparts to ensure there is no duplication of services. The CLSE or DLSE is under OPCON of the corps or division it supports and is under the administrative control (ADCON) of the originating AFSB. Currently, ASC’s OCONUS AFSB are under the tactical control (TACON) of the ASCC and theater sustainment command (TSC) to set ASCC policy and manage theater assets.
- •Deployment in contingency operations: An immature theater indicates there is no dedicated AFSB (i.e., South America or Iran). Support for an immature theater requires the highest level of CLSE and DLSE support. The CLSE/DLSE provides the expertise to stand up an AMC enterprise single-support focal point for the corps or division headquarters. All equipment required for the mission is shipped from the originating corps or division into the theater and used to support life, health, and safety or logistics. The 407th AFSB, leveraged multiple DLSEs from three subordinate AFSBns during the early establishment of the Defense Support of Civil Authorities mission along the nation’s southern border in 2018-2019.
Life Cycle Management Command Support
LCMC SCRs are OPCON to the AFSB commander. There is one SCR per LCMC—TACOM, CECOM, AMCOM, and JMC—and they are deployable. LCMC SCRs provide advice and guidance to commanders to attain and sustain materiel readiness. Each SCR is responsible for representing its LCMC commander and act as the senior member, supervising all LCMC civilians in the AFSB footprint. The SCR coordinates, synchronizes, and integrates LCMC resources to execute the AFSB/AFSBn concept of support. They are responsible for tracking and reporting LCMC support provided to the corps, separate tenant units, and divisional units.
AMC LARs who support corps separate units are OPCON to the AFSB headquarters, and in coordination with SCRs, integrate as part of the CLSE. They are responsible for providing technical expertise and maintenance of their LCMC's commodity, tracking readiness issues, and reporting corps-separate and tenant-unit materiel operation and maintenance requirements.
Army and Joint Materiel Enterprise Enabling Tools
AFSBs are capable of split-based operations using reach-back and call-forward capabilities to the SSA. The AFSB may deploy a LSE based upon variables within the operational area. The LSE is linked with the supported G-4 (logistics). It is responsible for integrating AFSB support actions in the operational area and coordinating with the supported unit for facilities, logistics support, and security. The LSE serves as the forward headquarters element and provides the AFSB commander information systems capability and connectivity.
A deployed AFSB CLSE or AFSBn DLSE has AMC call-forward capabilities for augmentation from numerous national-level provider organizations. These organizations (except the theater aviation sustainment maintenance group) are ad-hoc organizations formed from existing AMC capabilities, based on operational variables. The actual size and composition of these organizations varies with mission requirements. Critical call-forward capabilities that are available include:
- Development of acquisition-arranged contract support requirement packages for system support contracts of newly fielded equipment
- Commercial-off-the-shelf equipment
- Redistribution property assistance teams to facilitate the turn-in of equipment for redistribution or retrograde
- Test measurement and diagnostic equipment calibration support coordination in the theater AFSB to provide Army calibration expertise and technical assistance AFSBs can request a liaison officer from ASC to assist with mission support and provide general support to the unit-level sustainment automation support management office, technical assistance, system troubleshooting, software replacement services, and software system change packages for logistics information systems. ASC also deploys mobile labs to provide flexibility and rapid response to support Army Oil Analysis Program requirements.
AFSBs can be augmented with operational readiness analysis teams to monitor and collect readiness data on supported unit equipment. The collected data identifies maintenance failure trends and systemic readiness problems. AFSB support activities include, but are not limited to, maintaining operational readiness, training, and contingency planning from the very beginning to the end of supported AMC enterprise logistics services.
Another AMC service available to support contingency operations is enabling sustainment maintenance capabilities. If requested, the AFSB/AFSBn commander can form mission-tailored support, forward repair activity (FRA) that originates from CONUS LCMC depots or installations, and are comprised of DA Civilians and contractors. The TSC, expeditionary sustainment command, and AFSB validate the request and send this information to the selected LCMC. The FRA is a task-organized activity designed to accomplish repairs on specific types of equipment or components and has no standard design.
AFSBs are responsible to manage the LOGCAP in contingency environments. The AFSB and AFSBn commanders can seek ASC-operated LOGCAP support for CLSE/DLSE contingency conditions-based operations. AFSBs help determine if the requirement is LOGCAP-supported or contractor-sourced through the normal contracting processes. LOGCAP capabilities normally support the theater support area. The OCONUS theater AFSB works closely with the contracting support brigade to determine sourcing solutions for operational contract support requirements.
The AFSB headquarters has deployable LOGCAP professionals from ASC’s LOGCAP Program Management Office for augmentation until the LOGCAP support brigade mobilizes their respective battalion. Given the dynamic nature of a LSCO, most of the LOGCAP professionals work the required packages under the management of the AFSB. The intent is to have LOGCAP support officers move forward to support the requirements using a hub-and-spoke concept that is condition based in the operational environment.
This article explains how the ASC AFSBs formations are structured to deliver continuous AMC enterprise readiness services as AMC’s 'face to the field’ for contingency operations with a focus on LSCO. Over the past decade, ASC and its AFSBs, AFSBns, and LRCs, have evolved to better support Army forces. The use of the AFSB CLSE/AFSBn DLSE is a continuation of this maturation process to ensure the Army is on track to meet the requirements of MDO and resolve the sustainment challenges of the future operating environment.
Incorporating and maximizing the usage of the tremendous capabilities of the AMC materiel enterprise in support of contingency operations and the deployed Army unit (be it at the corps or division level) is the focus of the AFSB/AFSBn commander. These emerging capabilities fully support AMC’s mission to deliver logistics, sustainment, and materiel readiness from the installation to the forward tactical edge to ensure globally dominant land force capabilities. ASC and 407th AFSB embrace their roles to represent the AMC enterprise readiness initiatives. They will continue to sustain and seek improvements for mission success.
Col. Scott Noon currently serves as commander, 407th Army Field Support Brigade. His career includes seven deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and Inherent Resolve. He was commissioned from James Madison University with a degree in international affairs. Noon has completed the Combined Logistics Officer Advanced Course, Command and General Staff College, School of Advanced Military Studies, and Joint Advanced Warfighting School in Norfolk, Virginia for Senior Service College.
Mark W. Akin currently serves as deputy to the commander, 407th Army Field Support Brigade. He has six deployments, including four while on active-duty military service and two while being a Department of the Army Civilian in Afghanistan and Kuwait. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Management from Texas A&M University, a Master of Science in Logistical Management from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University. He is certified as Level III in Life Cycle Logistics.
Ken Wycoff has earned a Bachelor of Science in Management, a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management from Wayland Baptist University, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
This article was published in the July-September 2020 issue of Army Sustainment.