As United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) operations evolve in accordance with national strategic priorities and the current operational environment, the 1st Theater Sustainment Command (1 TSC) postures resources and capabilities within the theater to ensure USCENTCOM’s directed sustainment requirements are met. Setting the theater requires 1 TSC to continually assess and prioritize sustainment assets and develop innovative ways to ensure that sustainment is readily available to the warfighter at the point of need. Doing so, demonstrates 1 TSC’s flexibility, adaptability, and agility while operating in an inherently complex environment.
1 TSC provides sustainment mission command and executes anticipatory operational-level sustainment support to Army, Joint, Interagency, and Multinational Forces; sets the theater; and conducts theater security cooperation within the USCENTCOM area of responsibility in order to enable unified land operations in support of Combatant Command directives. The command has a lean but highly effective task organization, representative of our Total Army, which encompasses the complete spectrum of sustainment to include logistics, health service support, financial management, personnel services, as well as garrison base support operations.
1 TSC leverages the 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command (135 ESC), as the 1 TSC Operational Command Post (OCP), to execute day to day sustainment operations for the theater. The ESC command and controls tactical sustainment forces, providing direct and general multi-functional sustainment support to maneuver units, and theater sustainment enabling commands, providing functional sustainment support across the USCENTCOM area of responsibility.
36th Sustainment Brigade serves as the Theater Sustainment Brigade and provides tactical sustainment support to point of need through three logistics task forces. Each task force is arrayed to sustain a geographic region and is enabled to surge forces in support of emerging requirements with little notice. The brigade is enabled to provide the full range of tactical logistics functions throughout the theater.
3rd Medical Command (Forward) provides comprehensive health service support throughout the theater. They possess a deep portfolio of specialties that includes expeditionary surgical, dental, optometry, preventive medicine, and veterinary services that offers fly-away capability anywhere in theater. Additionally, the command retains medical logistics capabilities that includes CL VIII supply and medical equipment repair.
14th Human Resources Sustainment Center (HRSC) provides theater-level human resources operations to Army, Joint, and Multinational Forces in support of USCENTCOM. They are an adaptive unit capable of providing human resources technical guidance, training and subject matter expertise for postal, casualty, and personnel accountability operations within the 1 TSC footprint.
Financial management support is a cooperative effort between the 18th Financial Support Center (FISC) headquartered at Fort Knox, Kentucky and the 326th FISC that serves as the theater FISC. Collectively, they provide theater-level financial policy management and synchronization throughout the CENTCOM AOR.
Aviation maintenance for the theater is managed by the 1109th Theater Aviation Support Maintenance Group (TASMG) who oversees contracted scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and provides reach back to depot-level repair capabilities originating stateside.
Garrison operations are managed on an area role by the two Area Support Groups (ASGs). ASG-Kuwait and ASG-Jordan provide Base Operations Support Integration (BOS-I), force protection, and Host Nation Coordination (HNC) in support of Joint Reception, Staging, and Onward Movement and Integration (JRSOI) in support of CENTCOM contingencies.
Task Force – Sinai is an element of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Egypt. They support the MFO in supervising the implementation of the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel established in 1979 utilizing a rotational infantry battalion and a support battalion comprised of a medical and an aviation company and an explosive ordnance disposal detachment. The task force has served in the Sinai Peninsula since 1982.
1 TSC is also enabled by several partners from the Joint Logistics Enterprise to ensure that sustainment is uninterrupted throughout the area of responsibility (AOR). The 401st Army Field Support Brigade (401 AFSB) manages Army Pre-Positioned Stock and they, along with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), ensure we meet all materiel requirements for the theater. The 408th Contracting Support Brigade (408 CSB) is heavily relied upon to provide contract solutions that augments our military capability to support the theater. Lastly, the CENTCOM Deployment and Distribution Operations Center (CDDOC) and the 595th Transportation Brigade (595 TB) synchronizes multi-modal transportation into and within the theater.
Support to Multiple Named Operations
This compilation of Soldiers, Civilians, and Contractors operates across 11 countries in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Spartan Shield, Operation Enduring Sentinel, and the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai. These four diverse, but mutually supportive, mission sets require the adaptable force structure within the TSC to support the Joint Force in managing persistent threats, defending the homeland, and preserving peace. Operation Inherent Resolve is committed to the military defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in order to enable whole-of-coalition actions to increase regional stability. Operation Spartan Shield is designed to build partner capacity within the Middle East in an effort to build self-reliance and increase security throughout the region. Operation Enduring Sentinel (OES) encompasses the over the horizon support to ongoing operations in Afghanistan.
TF Liberty, a battalion level mission command headquarters, oversees safe haven operations for special immigrant visa applicants in support of OES. Lastly, 1 TSC supports the international peacekeeping force that oversees the terms of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.
The First Team remains grounded in its mission throughout the USCENTCOM area of responsibility through four primary operational focus areas: Middle East recalibration, resetting the theater for emerging threats, equipment readiness, and partnerships. Middle East recalibration is concentrated on optimizing efforts and resources throughout the AOR. 1 TSC has worked diligently to bring property to record and retrograde materiel for reutilization or disposition in order to eliminate excess and ‘right-size’ bases in support of Middle East Recalibration.
Additionally, with the emergence of new threats causing a reorientation for USCENTCOM operations, sustainment personnel and equipment have shifted to better support operations to counter emerging threats, including establishing new supply support activities, bulk fuel storage, and ammunition supply points. Moreover, the establishment of multi-modal lines of communication throughout the theater provide an agile and responsive theater distribution network capable of supporting full spectrum operations.
Momentum is sustained through a comprehensive approach to equipment readiness utilizing both military and contracted maintenance solutions to support unit organic and theater provided aviation, rolling stock, and ground support equipment. The oversight and positioning of Army Prepositioned Stocks is a critical component of theater readiness and provides a ready capability to deter aggression in the region.
Lastly, regional cooperation and partnership remains a cornerstone effort to foster relationships built on trust and mutual respect, to build interoperability and to gain efficiencies together throughout the Middle East. 1 TSC accomplishes this through Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEE) and combined training exercises with our partner nations.
People First Philosophy
People are the strength of our formation. The diverse composition of 1 TSC includes a mix of each of the Army’s three components including 22% Active component, 18% National Guard, and 60% Army Reserve. Coupled with our Army Civilians and Contractors, 1st TSC is a true representation of our Total Army and the command fully leverages the skillsets and civilian experiences within this multi-compositional force to more effectively accomplish its mission. This inclusivity is a cornerstone within 1 TSC.
The 1 TSC Commanding General maintains an ‘all in’ approach to our investment in people. From his acclaimed “CG’s D.I.E.T.” acronym which represents diversity, inclusion, equity, and team, to his leadership professional development series on “The Enemy of Unit Cohesion…Biases!” In this series the CG offers insights on how to recognize an individual’s own biases and then how to use our Army Values to overcome these biases to be a more productive leader. The goal of these initiatives is to build teams that know better, be better, do better, and act better and therefore minimize risk to force and risk to mission. Another one of the Commander’s initiatives is to reassess the training of our rotational forces prior to entering into the theater in order to orient them quicker to what challenges and missions they may encounter over a 9-month deployment. These early engagements have proven very beneficial, so much so, that they have been continued beyond the latest proof of principal conducted during the most recent inbound rotational Expeditionary Sustainment Command (135th ESC).
The 1 TSC takes a proactive stance in the way it addresses the training requirements and executes training for the ESCs as they mobilize for deployment. In partnership with 1st Army, the TSC realigned the culminating training exercise (CTE) from the Fort Hood, Texas mobilization site to Fort Knox, Kentucky where the ESC staff can better integrate with the TSC staff. The relationship building aspect of this change has paid dividends in preparing ESCs for their mission. Additionally, 1st Army is instrumental in identifying training for personnel executing special duties such as the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and Unit Victim Advocates (UVA), which is only available on a limited basis, far enough in advance for the units to meet compliance prior to deployment. This collective focus on people first within the First Team is intended to generate a more ready and resilient force.
The past 12 months has seen 1 TSC heavily invest in innovative ways to enhance the efficiency of the theater distribution network. Several proofs of principle and experiments designed to expand ground lines of communication (GLOC) and air lines of communication (ALOC) show promise. Additionally, regional cooperation and partnerships renewed interoperability and increased access throughout the Middle East. Most notably, these partnerships were key in expediting the customs process for cargo transiting the AO. 1 TSC also recently re-established a Joint Movements Board (JMB) to appropriately prioritize and assign cargo for multi-modal distribution. Collectively, these refinements optimized the total distribution pipeline and drastically reduced customer wait times throughout the area of responsibility.
After twenty plus years of operations within the Middle East, 1 TSC understands that setting, and now re-setting, the theater is a continual process and necessitates a flexible and adaptable organization to meet USCENTCOM’s requirements. By configuring the task organization for competition, conflict, or crisis, investing in its people first, and seeking innovative ways to satisfy wicked problems, identifying and leveraging opportunities along with proactive preparation for emerging new challenges, 1 TSC continues to make significant gains towards optimizing sustainment throughout the AOR. As the theater evolves in preparation for its next challenges, 1 TSC is postured to sustain the warfighter at the point of need, always delivering on time and on target, and always before the 11th hour. First Team! Patton’s Own! Winning Matters!
Maj. Gen. Michel M. Russell, Sr. serves as the commanding general of 1st Theater Sustainment Command operating at Fort Knox, Kentucky and Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. He previously served as the 28th Chief of Transportation and commandant of the US Army Transportation School and as the commanding general of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command in South Korea. He holds master’s degrees from Central Michigan University, the Marine Corps Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces – Eisenhower School.
Maj. M. Shawn Abbott serves as the Director of the Commanding General’s Initiatives Group at 1st Theater Sustainment Command. He is a graduate of the Quartermaster Basic Officer Leaders Course, the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course, and the College of Naval Command and Staff. He has a master’s degree in Defense and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Command and Staff.