hen Warrant Officer 1 Kevin Coleman, a brigade mobility officer from the 91st Engineer Battalion, guided the rail load team in prioritizing loading containers on Sept. 28, 2020, at the rail operation center at Fort Hood, Texas.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – hen Warrant Officer 1 Kevin Coleman, a brigade mobility officer from the 91st Engineer Battalion, guided the rail load team in prioritizing loading containers on Sept. 28, 2020, at the rail operation center at Fort Hood, Texas. (Photo Credit: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edilma Cruz) VIEW ORIGINAL
Maj. Bo Olsen, the S-3 from the 1-7th CAV CAV, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team (1ABCT), 1st Cavalry Division, assisted with the accountability of equipment arriving at the Port of Beaumont for 1ABCT while collaborating with the 842nd Battalion SDDC Surface Deployment and Distribution Command on Oct. 8, 2020,  at the Port of Beaumont, Texas.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Maj. Bo Olsen, the S-3 from the 1-7th CAV CAV, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team (1ABCT), 1st Cavalry Division, assisted with the accountability of equipment arriving at the Port of Beaumont for 1ABCT while collaborating with the 842nd Battalion SDDC Surface Deployment and Distribution Command on Oct. 8, 2020, at the Port of Beaumont, Texas. (Photo Credit: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Sidiq AL-Uqdah) VIEW ORIGINAL

The U.S. Army has faced many adverse challenges due to COVID-19, and yet we continue to stay ready and lethal for deployment and redeployment operations. This requires forward thinking to meet mission requirements while caring for the well-being of Soldiers. Leaders must continually educate subordinates on the importance of successful execution during the first two deployment phases. These phases—pre-deployment activities and fort-to-port operations—set conditions for the rest of the deployment. Pre-deployment activities and fort-to-port are vital to the reception, staging, onward movements, and integration (RSOI) process to ensure units stay lethal and ready. Mobility warrant officers (MWOs) play a vital role in supporting the deployment and redeployment process. MWOs need to look at operations from a transportation feasibility lens and convey their commander’s strategic message. This requires synchronization at the tactical, strategic, and operational levels which allows MWOs to assist anywhere during the deployment process.

During my time in 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team (1st ABCT), 1st Cavalry Division, senior leaders understood the importance of educating all leaders on the importance of People First, Command Deployment Discipline Program (CDDP), critical tasks, maintenance readiness, and accountability of equipment. In the spring of 2020 during Operation Atlantic Resolve, brigade readiness was more dependent on personnel implementing CDDP to meet the commanders’ intent. The 1st ABCT developed a Combat Leaders University where leaders learn the importance of reporting accurate equipment status reports, especially concerning non-mission-capable equipment that would hinder the fort-to port operation. Additionally, commanders learn the significance of reporting accurate unit deployment lists, as these affect the allocation of resources and assets, including commercial trucks, railcars, vessels or aircraft, and material handling equipment for fort-to-port operations.

Power Projection Platform

For a successful fort-to-port operation, your power projection platform (PPP) must efficiently support multiple simultaneous operations for rotational deployments, training exercises, and no-notice missions, especially during a pandemic. PPPs are Army installations that strategically deploy one or more brigade combat teams and/or mobilize and deploy high-priority Army reserve component units per Army Techniques Publication 3-35, Army Deployment and Redeployment. Installations should provide the installation deployment support plan, which defines the concept of support and should include measures to address the quality of its services as it prepares units for deployment. Some installations possess the capabilities required to de-conflict the utilization of assets, while others outsource these assets. Also, other organizations are available to augment the civilian workforce, such as movement control teams (MCT). Incorporating the MCTs early during the planning phase will aid in identifying shortfalls and bridging capabilities gaps for fort-to-port operation. Additionally, this provides experience to the MCT personnel, helping them stay proficient in their occupation. PPPs should host a synchronization meeting with the unit, installation transportation office, supporting agencies, and higher echelons to ensure the combatant commander’s intent is being met.

Troop/Equipment Movement

The ability to conduct equipment’s rapid and orderly movement throughout fort-to-port operations is imperative to project combat power at decisive points. Thinking ahead is essential during the planning process to ensure leaders achieve “Ready to Fight” standards for the equipment and personnel arriving in the theater. The Military Decision-Making Process will help the unit determine the different types of force packages based on prioritizing equipment departing from installation. While working with the brigade S3 operations staff, I learned that operations drive logistics, and understanding this helps prioritize personnel and equipment outflow from installation. This includes your recovery support, life support, communication plans, mission at hand, specialized occupations, and key personnel.

Rehearsal of Concept Drill

A rehearsal of concept (ROC) drill is a dry walk-through of a plan between a commander and their subordinates. The ROC drill creates a shared understanding of the unit’s plan and is key to the fort-to-port operation. The recommended attendance is the brigade and battalion command teams, brigade and battalion staffs, and node officers in charge. Army Doctrine Publication 5-0, The Operations Process, is a good reference when discussing how to prepare, plan, and execute. A best practice is for other units on the same installation deploying later to attend the ROC drills and to have a planner embedded into the current unit deployment operations. ROC drills allow the execution of fort-to-port operations to be a seamless process. In 1st ABCT, we used a ROC drill to cement our brigade plan and allow us to see potential issues in time and space, especially potential delays with the sterile yards. It also allowed us to fragmentary order the plan as the agricultural sanitization node handed off equipment to the sterile yard. Furthermore, we conducted the initial site survey with the battalion that owned the port and created a mutual understanding of port operations. Additionally, upon arrival at the Port of Beaumont, Texas, we conducted a ROC drill with the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command personnel that demonstrated how we broke down tasks across the port detail.

Have you ever heard leaders continuously ask where their equipment is located? This is because equipment accountability is extremely important to commanders, and they require constant status updates. Placing field grade officers or senior captains with a senior NCO facilitated a great reporting chain throughout the brigade and provided crosstalk among units. Understanding that multiple systems are in place for in-transit visibility and having representation throughout the process always stresses the importance of accountability. This assists in command and control of personnel and equipment, allowing leaders to speak with outside agencies on behalf of commanders as changes in the execution phase occur. Additionally, the unit held nightly fusion cell synchronization meetings with brigade and battalion leaders, which allowed the team to rapidly reallocate resources as needed and kept the brigade moving in the right direction.

The goal is for all Soldiers to understand the importance of how we move, and how we fight to continue to be a lethal force and to be ready when called upon. We must learn from one another and be open-minded to new ideas to reach the same objective.

--------------------

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin Coleman currently serves as a mobility warrant officer. He holds an associate degree in Homeland Security, Emergency Management.

--------------------

This article was published in the Spring 2022 issue of Army Sustainment.

RELATED LINKS

Army Sustainment homepage

The Current issue of Army Sustainment in pdf format

Current Army Sustainment Online Articles

Connect with Army Sustainment on LinkedIn

Connect with Army Sustainment on Facebook