CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait--The 1st Theater Sustainment Command regularly rotates three small teams from its main command post at Fort Knox, Kentucky, to become the 1st TSC forward plans team in support of its operational command post at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
The 1st TSC FWD Plans Teams bring subject matter experts from numerous fields together to provide integration between 1st TSC - MCP and the forward expeditionary sustainment commands that staff the majority of the 1st TSC - OCP.
The current 1st TSC FWD Plans team arrived in late 2020 comprised of subject matter experts from various backgrounds including sustainment, force protection, signal, safety, knowledge management and force management.
1st TSC FWD’s presence closes the gap on the Expeditionary Sustainment Command’s structural design limits, its future and long- range operations planning capabilities; and provides forward/home station synchronization. According to Maj. Jeff Shamsi, team one lead, 1st TSC FWD Plans, filling those gaps is exactly what they do.
“We integrate gaps in the operational command post created by time and space as well as echelon of command,” Shamsi said. “The MCP and Joint Logistics Enterprise is CONUS-based and 7-8 hours separated, and the ESC’s planning horizon culminates in future operations, so they lack an integral planning horizon capability.” CONUS stands for the contiguous United States.
While forward, the team’s main focus is to supplement the 1st TSC-OCP as a future operations plans cell, looking at and planning operations up to six months away. The 1st TSC FWD Plans team is broken down even further into specified focus areas and commodities.
Maj. John Terminato, a force manager and team two lead, 1st TSC FWD Plans, has the job of being the 1st TSC’s eyes and ears to strategic partners and higher headquarters on all things Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to ensure proper coordination is made prior to the transition to the 1st TSC - OCP.
“Our 1st TSC FWD Team is particular to our TSC HQ,” says Terminato. “There’s no single combatant command or Theater Army that’s the same; likewise, 1st TSC — as the senior sustainment Headquarters—must be flexible in how we operate. The FWD Team gives our commanding general multiple choices in planning efforts to accomplish our mission.”
Additionally, the split-based operations planning teams provides the 1TSC with the ability to conduct nearly continuous planning operations. On a routine basis, one command post planning team starts a planning process, then at the end of the duty day, hand over the planning to the other CP to continue the process, to then turn it back over to the primary CP to execute.
A recent example that highlights the benefits of a continuous planning cycle occurred April 27, 2021. With only 19 hours’ notice, 1TSC produced and conducted an Operation Freedom Sentinel sustainment update to Gen. Edward Daly, the commanding general of Army Materiel Command.
1TSC-MCP SPO generated an initial package and turned it over to the 1TSC-OCP SPO/ FWD Plans for assistance with building and refining the product, providing the most current information overnight. The following day the MCP was able to finalize and conduct the update brief.
Within the Army the 1st TSC is without equal, due to mission and real-time combat sustainment support. No other theater sustainment command must sustain troops in conflict, with a majority of its down trace units scattered across multiple countries. Col. Marc Mueller, deputy commanding officer, 1st TSC, advises the 1st TSC FWD on its augmentation of the OCP that gives the 1st TSC’s continuity in theater which ensures effortless transitions and connections with strategic partners.
“The 1st TSC Forward is unique in that it serves as a bridge providing continuity of effort between the dynamic, turbulent planning environment of rotational forces forward,” said Mueller. “The deliberate, long term planning conducted by the enduring, non-rotational headquarters at CENTCOM, U.S. Army Central, and the 1st TSC necessary to set the theater across the joint force and host nations.”
The 1st TSC FWD Plans has the ability to affect many across the CENTCOM area of responsibility. It is likely that if a Soldier served in the CENTCOM theater of operation within the last few years, 1st TSC FWD had a part to play in their logistics or sustainment operations.
The 1st TSC FWD’s mission provides operational-level planning capabilities in support of multiple lines of effort, additionally supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Spartan Shield, and other unified land operations planning and strategic partner synchronization.
At the conclusion of their time forward, the current team will redeploy back to the 1st TSC – MCP at Fort Knox, and fully integrate the knowledge and skills of current theater operations improving the 1st TSC’s planning and interoperability, by incorporating it into their everyday jobs.
When the next team takes over they will continue to build on the solid foundation that previous forward teams have established.