POZNAN, Poland – As Napoleon once said, "an army marches on its stomach." This statement still rings true in every time period and every part of the world. For this reason, the U.S. Army established Army Field Support Brigades, teams responsible for the supply of bases and units within the Army.
An AFSB provides the interface with Army Materiel Command, with battalions under the brigade to ensure that supplies, materials, food, and ammo make it to the individual unit, making sure that a Soldier is well-supplied to accomplish their mission.
"As commander of the Army Field Support Brigade, I make sure that my people have the right resources to be able to achieve their mission," said U.S. Army Col. Jennifer S. Karim, commander of the 407th Army Field Support Brigade. "We are the connective tissue from the tactical level to the strategic level."
The 407th AFSB is responsible for various regions and units; among those is the 1st Infantry Division. As the 1st ID fulfills its mission in Europe, the AFSB provides food, furniture, equipment, and transportation across its area of responsibility.
"Whether a Soldier eats it, shoots it, drives it, any life support when we talk about sustaining a force, logistics-wise, we are the face of that," said Karim. "So the various transportation means, the buses that are utilized to transport a Soldier from a base to the next, the support facilities, your household goods, all those things are managed and overseen by my team."
The AFSB also includes civilian contractors, known as the Civilian Augmentation, relying upon them to establish a life support area in austere environments in a short time.
"Oftentimes, we go to organizations or we go to an austere environment, and we need to have life support stood up in a hurry, and that's where the civilian augmentation comes in," said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Damarco B. Wyatt, senior enlisted advisor to the commander of the 407th AFSB. "When you talk about logistical planning, the AFSB has logistical planners within the organization who go out and do site surveys, establish contracts and ensure that the process is completed in a timely manner."
"My team is very heavily populated by civilians," said Karim. "Most of them are retired personnel, sergeants major, warrant officers, officers, so these are lifetime supporters of the warfighters that are part of my organization."
These units are essential to complete any mission, ensuring that Soldiers have appropriate supplies, no matter the time or location in the world. Their support determines the depth and duration of operations and is essential to retaining the initiative gained on the battlefield.