As the Army pursues its greatest transformational change in nearly four decades to prepare for large-scale combat operations (LSCO) across multiple domains, its sustainers and logisticians will continue to serve as its most critical enabling force. The Army’s collective readiness—across the strategic and tactical space—is the product of a sound Army sustainment enterprise (ASE) that is in the process of holistically modernizing for the future fight. From munitions distribution to medical logistics, each and every component of sustainment will be foundational to advancing Army senior leader priorities and objectives as outlined in the Army Modernization Strategy.
To garner more in-depth insight into how the ASE is posturing its force for the evolving and complex dynamics of the future fight, Army Sustainment sat down with Lt. Gen R. Scott Dingle, Surgeon General of the Army and commanding general of Army Medical Command (MEDCOM), and Lt. Gen. Charles R. Hamilton, the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, to discuss their perspective on driving modernization across the force while bolstering readiness at echelon.
The Army’s ability to set the theater has long been a key strategic advantage as a deterring force and foundation for rapid action. Moving forward, how will changing conditions across echelons affect this ability and its anticipated effects? Moreover, how is the ASE operationalizing the way it modernizes to drive readiness now and for the future?
Hamilton: Setting the theater is a complex and continuous process throughout competition, crisis, and conflict. We’ve proven extremely proficient at executing all of its supporting activities in the past as a recent example from this spring, it took an entire armored brigade less than one week to deploy from Georgia to Germany and draw materiel from Army prepositioned stock (APS) for training. This ability shouldn’t come as a surprise, however—we spent years setting the European theater prior to that deployment, so our quick response was expected. Looking toward the future, we will need to be more flexible in how we assume operations will play out in both the strategic and tactical space. We’re assuming a potentially contested homeland, so that will guide how we modernize our organic industrial base to surge for LSCO with efficiency and resiliency. Modernizing our APS sets in preparation for dispersed and contested operations around the globe is another key effort. Precisely forward positioning the right materiel and supplies ensures our enhanced ability to set the theater for LSCO. Overall, though, operationalizing sustainment modernization is an ASE-wide effort. We have a massive leg up from our last large-scale modernization effort some four decades ago, as we’ve integrated with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology and Army Futures Command to ensure that each new materiel capability developed and delivered is done so with sustainment firmly in mind.
How is MEDCOM—as a key member of the ASE—ensuring the Army’s ability to sustain medical logistics (MEDLOG) needs across theaters and drive readiness now and for the future?
Dingle: The Office of the Surgeon General (OTSG) and MEDCOM are part of the Army’s phase 0 MEDLOG sustainment concept governance process, as led by the Army Medical Logistics Command in support of Army Materiel Command—the lead Army command for this endeavor. These forums are planning to achieve integration of CL VIII supplies and MEDLOG within the ASE to support LSCO through three proposed lines of effort: maintenance; information technology (IT) and materiel management; and distribution. Additionally, the overall effort is divided into multiple doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF-P) working groups to facilitate a multidisciplinary approach in developing an overall concept of operation. As an example, to support Army medical maintenance, working groups are analyzing aspects of organization, personnel, facilities, and systems to develop an enduring model to support and sustain medical equipment, ensuring combat medics and clinicians have the tools needed to perform their duties in LSCO while enabling total Army readiness. Another key forum focus is ensuring that the general officer steering committee is building toward an Army-level decision on which national-level IT system the Army will use to support MEDLOG. Our mission at OTSG/MEDCOM is to provide the best medical advice to ensure mission success in the complex and contested future environments we anticipate facing.
Sustainment modernization extends far beyond simply buying new or updating existing materiel capabilities. How is the ASE approaching modernization from a policy perspective that effectively resources new capabilities to a development perspective that ensures the entire force is appropriately trained to execute the sustainment warfighting function in support of multi-domain operations (MDO) within and across multiple theaters?
Dingle: Developing and implementing policy that keeps pace with modernization is central to those phase 0 forums I mentioned earlier. Integrating Army supply support activities into the MEDLOG sustainment concept will require us to update existing policy or create new policy to guide that integration. Of course, effective policy needs to be nested with the other DOTMLPF-P domains to proactively resolve any MEDLOG-specific readiness gaps when we’re discussing setting theaters for MDO. From a policy perspective, we’re focused on reviewing current Army regulations, which outline key roles and responsibilities required to plan and execute MEDLOG now and with a future focus. To execute this at scale, we work in tandem with Army Medical Logistics Command and other key stakeholders to identify policy gaps that may hinder those modernization efforts. This also requires that we identify dependency topics that are addressed across the DOTMLPF-P space that have that direct link to policy, such as master data management or supply support activity stockage capabilities. This activity ensures our policies are aligned to support all MEDLOG modernization planning and execution.
Hamilton: Both our doctrine and policy need to be reflective of our modernization efforts and their collective end-state. Our initiatives related to Enterprise Business Systems—Convergence (EBS-C) provide a great example of how we’re modernizing to enhance our ability to execute sustainment and enable the warfighter in MDO. By integrating five legacy EBS into a single transactional system, the Army can seamlessly share information between both systems and commands, increasing decision space for commanders. The EBS Multi-Functional Capabilities Team (EBS-MFCT) is driving the effort writ large with critical support within and beyond the ASE across all of the Army’s business mission area domains. Among other things, our role in the G-4 is to provide functional, domain-specific expertise throughout development while serving as a key enabler of business process reengineering efforts to align project scope to desired outputs as we approach full operational capability. From the start of this process, the EBS-MFCT has been a fantastic partner, ensuring that financial, logistics, acquisition, and human resources inputs from Soldiers and civilians are sourced to align requirements with current and future capability needs. The goal is to deliver a unified system that will offer commanders rapid and reliable insight from day 0, and all of this synchronization is working to make that a reality for the Army of 2030 and beyond.
Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle currently serves as the Army Surgeon General and commanding general of U.S. Army Medical Command. Prior to that position, he served as the deputy surgeon general and deputy commanding general (support) at MEDCOM. He earned his bachelor’s degree as a distinguished military graduate from Morgan State University, a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University, a Master of Military Arts and Science from the School of Advanced Military Studies, and a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College. His military education includes the Army Medical Department Officer Basic Course, the Combined Logistics Officer Advanced Course, and time spent at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies, and the National War College.
Lt. Gen. Charles R. Hamilton currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4. He most recently served as the assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, G-4 3/5/7. Hailing from Houston, Texas, Hamilton enlisted in the U.S. Army. Upon completion of basic and individual training, he was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas. In February 1988, he graduated from Officer Candidate School as a distinguished military graduate and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Virginia State University and Masters’ Degrees in Public Administration from Central Michigan University, and Military Studies from Marine Corps University. He also is a graduate of a Senior Service College Fellowship – Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellows Program.
This article was published in the Summer 2022 issue of Army Sustainment.