The Army is prioritizing and posturing to meet the challenges of great power competition. Due to these growing challenges, the ability to rapidly deploy forces strategically from home station and receive them at the tactical point of need is more important than ever. The Army maintains a strategic power projection capability in order to support a calibrated force posture, provide a sustainable forward presence to deter aggression, and strengthen and assure allies. The calibrated force posture is comprised of joint and interagency capabilities positioned to serve the needs for daily competition, but with the ability to maneuver strategic distances as required. This enables flexibility to respond to provocations worldwide because adversaries will normally avoid direct confrontation. A calibrated force posture must be optimized to simultaneously deter and defeat enemy aggression, disrupt violent extremism, and competition below the threshold of war, and defend the homeland.To support within this emerging multi-domain operating environment, Army Sustainment Command (ASC) and other enterprise partners must adapt and modernize how they operate in the strategic support area (SSA). U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet 525-3-1. Multi-Domain Operations (MDO), defines the SSA as the “area of cross-combatant command coordination, strategic sea and air lines of communications, and the homeland.” ASC enterprise partners include other commands within Army Materiel Command (AMC), such as Army Contracting Command (ACC), Installation Management Command (IMCOM), and AMC’s lifecycle management commands (Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, Aviation and Missile Command, Communications-Electronics Command, and Joint Munitions Command). The broader materiel enterprise includes Defense Logistics Agency, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA(ALT)), Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA), G-4 (Logistics), Office of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, and others.ASC adapts and postures to meet the demands of MDO and bridges the capacity and capability at echelon from the SSA to the operational and tactical point of need. ASC does this through shifting to a division, corps , and theater-aligned force structure, enhancing logistics readiness centers, modernizing logistics assistance programs, combat-configuring Army prepositioned stocks, and program management of a global contracting capability.Strategic Support Area: Contested Readiness and Power ProjectionWith the shift from counterinsurgency to large-scale combat operations (LSCO) and the emergence of MDO, sustainment planners must be able to provide support in contested environments before they even leave home station. Additionally, Army logisticians will be challenged by the fluidity, pace, and depth of LSCO, particularly since potential adversaries will be capable of launching long-range precision fires deep into the division, corps, and theater support areas. Current joint and Army doctrine does not fully account for the future challenges posed by competition and conflict in the SSA.Power projection was already challenging during both world wars and the Cold War, but adversaries now have unprecedented capabilities to disrupt deployments deep within the homeland. This includes contested power projection, disruption to the supply chain, and pressure across political, economic and social domains by proxy actors, cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, direct attacks, and other actions intended to slow or stop power projection and sustainment.Shift to Expeditionary Division and Corps AlignmentASC shifted assets from the brigade logistics support teams (BLSTs) and ASC headquarters to optimize and enable support at the division level through dedicated Army field support battalions (AFSBn), and at the corps level through dedicated Army field support brigades (AFSB). ASC provides continuous support to units from home station through their deployment and in the operational environment. AFSBns and AFSBs provide many forms of support at home stations with other enterprise partners that enable readiness, power projection, and modernization to deter and defeat our nation’s adversaries while defending interests at home and abroad. These units provide a dedicated single interface and unity of command for the entire materiel enterprise. This single face to the field for all AMC capabilities enables brigade and battalion commands to anticipate requirements and responsively bring the full capability of the materiel enterprise into the division and corps concept of support from planning to execution.When the divisions and corps deploy, a mission-tailored logistics support element from the AFSBn or AFSB will deploy alongside with this new alignment. Through this alignment and embedded element, ASC can continue to seamlessly synchronize and integrate the materiel enterprise into planning and execution. Furthermore, it will enhance unity of command and effort at echelon in order to mitigate the risk of enemy disruption in the multi-domains that will interfere with the ability to reach back for support and provides materiel enterprise synchronization at the tactical and operational point of need.Enhancing Logistics Readiness Centers to Posture Power ProjectionThrough logistics readiness centers (LRCs) and in conjunction with IMCOM and other partners, ASC generates force readiness at home station through a host of installation readiness functions which enable mobilization and strategic power projection. These include central issue facilities for individual Soldier clothing and equipment, dining facilities, supplies, ammunition, transportation, contracting support, and maintenance.ASC also delivers integrated technical support and identifies systemic readiness trends to pass back to the materiel enterprise through AMC logistics assistance representatives (LAR) from each of AMC’s lifecycle management commands. ASC distributes equipment to units in accordance with Army priorities. Equipment and installation readiness—provided in con-junction with IMCOM and other enterprise partners—enables high-quality, realistic training that facilitates overall readiness to fight and win.Modernizing the Logistics Assistance ProgramThe Army is modernizing the force to meet the future demands of MDO through the acquisition of advanced new equipment and development of multi-domain formations. ASC supports this in several ways. First, modernizing the Logistics Assistance Program (LAP) in conjunction with ASA (ALT), Program Executive Office, Army Futures Command, and other partners ensures the right technical expertise will be present where it is needed on the first day of a conflict. Second, relentless enterprise-wide collaboration and focus on reforming processes to provide the most efficient and effective sustainment possible affords the Army additional resources to invest in modernization. Modernizing LAP will enable the materiel enterprise to identify systemic issues and mitigate them early to save resources, especially precious training opportunities.AFSB Support to Army Service Component CommandsAFSB also help Army service component commands and theater sustainment commands by providing a single interface for all AMC capabilities, with command and control over all AMC assets in theater. AFSBs also provide the materiel enterprise more coherent and integrated understanding of theater requirements, infrastructure, and relationships. AFSBs enable forward-postured and rotational forces operational reach through affordable and efficient Logistics Civil Augmentation Programs (LOGCAP) and other contracted support.AFSBs are involved with theater planning to ensure materiel enterprise and contracted capabilities are available to set the theater and optimize support to theater war plans. AFSBs accelerate the reception and integration of forces into theater with Army prepositioned stocks, contracted surge capabilities, technical support from LARs, and much more. LOGCAP and other contracted capabilities use resources and assets already in theater. They are prepared to assist with receiving forces and do not compete for transportation assets and infrastructure. AFSBs and ACC contract support brigades work behind the scenes to coordinate the most responsive, anticipatory, and economical contract support to ensure the best value for the American taxpayer.Finally, AFSBs integrate AMC and materiel enterprise capabilities to the theater in LSCO to the operational and tactical point of need. They can vastly increase the operational reach and endurance of combat forces with AMC call-forward capabilities, like forward repair activities and specialty repair teams. These call-forward capabilities bring sustainment maintenance and specialized technical capabilities into the theater to rapidly return battle-damaged equipment and components to combat.Global Contract Capability– Speed of Support to RequirementLogistics planners need to rapidly identify capability gaps and turn them into well-defined requirements in order to access contracted surge capabilities to develop and posture strategic power projection to respond to this new operating environment. The Army cannot prepare for every potential mission with force structure but can anticipate requirements and prepare to develop, award, and employ contracted assets when they are needed. Contracted surge capabilities, to include LOGCAP, expedite deploying forces while enabling military sustainment units to focus on tactical sustainment.Current contract management challenges include lengthy requirements approval and funding processes with supported commands, and subsequent management of requirements over time. This can lead to uncontrolled cost growth while personnel turnover can lead to oversight problems. These delays make it more challenging for contract professionals to develop an accurate cost analysis and provide cost predictability. Contract professionals must also quickly reconcile locally customized requirements with a global outlook and capabilities.The U.S. Army requires an Army-level, global contract capability that can provide seamless contracted sustainment in support of setting and surging the theater in the continental U.S. (CONUS) and outside the continental U.S. (OCONUS). This capability must support the force-generation process and deployment of expeditionary forces; and then through responsibilities cited in Title 10 of the United States Code, support joint operations across the conflict continuum.There must be a singular contract vehicle that provides a capability to support the seamless flow of forces from CONUS mobilization force generation installations and power projection platforms (PPP) sites to reception, staging, onward movement and integration (RSOI) sites in the OCONUS contingency operations area. These capabilities will be much more responsive and effective in contingency operations if we develop and routinely employ them during phase zero. ASC, ACC, and other partners continually refine LOGCAP and other contract mechanisms to optimize the use of the broad array of capabilities and capacity available in the private sector in the most affordable way possible.ConclusionAFSBs, AFSBns, and these capabilities have been battle tested and proven in the emerging multi-domain environment. ASC elements have deployed in support of divisions in Afghanistan, with divisions and corps to warfighter exercises, training center rotations, and during exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20. A broad spectrum of these capabilities has been recently tested while supporting Operation Judicious Archer in response to Iranian aggression, and ongoing support to U.S. Army North for defense support to civil authorities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.The materiel enterprise provides the resources and tools to enable the Army to simultaneously defeat, deter, and disrupt our adversaries while defending the homeland. By transitioning its focus from brigade-centric rotational deployments to supporting LSCO ASC has enhanced focus on divisions and corps. Through this shift, ASC is best postured for the demands of MDO, enabling projection of forces and supplies; and integrating them at the operational and tactical point of need through AFSBs and AFSBns based in CONUS and in forward locations overseas. ASC efforts and cooperation with all sustainment enterprise partners continue to bridge the capacity and capability of the defense industrial base from the SSA and integrate forward at the operational and tactical point of need at echelon.--------------------Maj. Gen. Steven A. Shapiro serves as commander of U.S. Army Sustainment Command. Previously, Shapiro served as commanding general of 21st Theater Sustainment Command since June 2017. His military education includes Ordnance Basic and Advanced Officer Leadership Courses, Army Command and General Staff College, and Army War College.Col. Todd J. Allison earned a Master in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and is a qualified Joint Planner. Allison is currently serving as Chief of Plans/Deputy Chief of Staff, G-5, for Army Sustainment Command.Retired Lt. Col. Jonathan Jeckell earned a Master in Systems Engineering and graduated from the Advanced Military Studies Program (AMSP) at the School for Advanced Military Studies (SAMS). Jeckell is currently a plans analyst in the Future Plans directorate, Army Sustainment Command.--------------------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