CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — During its third iteration, Project Convergence is providing sustainers insights into the future fight and the ability to examine emerging sustainment capabilities across air, land and maritime domains.
Project Convergence 22, or PC22, is a joint and multinational campaign of learning designed to aggressively advance and integrate the Army's contribution to the developing concept of combined joint all-domain command and control. Throughout the series of experiments, Army sustainers are exploring technologies that will enable the execution of the sustainment warfighting function in a contested multidomain environment.
“This is a key piece of our Army’s greatest transformation in more than 40 years,” said the Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville at the PC22’s demonstration day for scenario A at Camp Pendleton, California, Oct. 20. “We are at an inflection point to prepare for large scale combat operations and to do that, we have to take advantage of all our systems, looking at speed, range and convergence — and convergence is the secret sauce. Because if you think about it, you can have weapon systems that are extremely fast and go far, but if it takes them too long to get to them to the fight, you lose your window of opportunity.”
Nearly 3,000 U.S. and multinational service members and civilians participated in scenario A, which experimented technologies in an Indo-Pacific theater scenario.
“Each theater poses unique challenges for delivering, sustaining and maintaining the force; the Indo-Pacific Command is focused on the pacing challenge of China in a maritime-dominant domain,” said Gen. Edward Daly, commanding general for the Army Materiel Command and the Army’s senior sustainer.
Recently, the Secretary of the Army, Christine Wormuth, tasked Army Materiel Command to take the lead in a comprehensive effort to bolster logistics and sustainment in support of the joint force in the Indo-Pacific region.
“We must strengthen deterrence in the Pacific by building out our logistics and sustainment support over the region's vast distances and by demonstrating what ready, combat-credible Army forces can do,” said Wormuth at October’s Association of the United States Army annual meeting. “With new modern watercraft fleets and experiments like the hybrid Stryker vehicle, we will push ourselves to embrace the challenge of contested logistics to ensure we can meet this challenge.”
To focus on the INDOPACOM threat, Army sustainers worked throughout scenario A to evaluate three objectives: to assess the Army’s current watercraft capability, autonomous resupply capabilities, and the Army’s interoperability with joint and international partners.
“Theaters represent extended battlespace; they will be contested, expeditionary, multi-domain and focused on potential large-scale combat operations,” said Daly. “Sustainers must provide geographic combatant commanders the capabilities to demonstrate access, presence and influence, and ensure freedom of action, extend operational reach and prolong endurance.”
At demonstration day, Army sustainers briefed that scenario A underlined that the current Army watercraft fleet is unable to support operations at the size and scale needed in an INDOPACOM setting.
“In practical application, the Army’s watercraft failed to deliver combat power and sustainment to the right place at the right,” said Col. March Callis, director of the Sustainment Capabilities Development Integration Directorate, who briefed the scenario A findings. “Our current Army watercraft simply couldn’t get it done.”
To prepare for LSCO, the Army is developing a watercraft strategy to ensure it possesses the right capabilities and capacities. The five keys to this strategy are speed, range, payload, active and passive protective systems, and command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, said Callis.
During the demonstration, sustainers showcased autonomous resupply technologies, which are essential to extending operational reach, prolonging endurance and ensuring freedom of action. These technologies included the Squad Operations Advanced Resupply, which has the potential to launch from a sea-based watercraft and can provide resupply to small units while minimizing exposure to aircraft during operations. It also included the Joint Precision Aerial Delivery System, which provides autonomous precision delivery during ground operations or in support of forces entry operations.
“We executed the successful resupply for squad-sized elements,” said Callis. “The benefits of autonomous resupply are huge in a contested environment, including keeping people away from our adversaries’ threat systems.”
An essential part of PC22 was participants working across joint and multinational lines, giving sustainers the ability to examine emerging technologies in a way that improves interoperability with allies and partners. To demonstrate this capability, British soldiers were able to successfully print — for the first time ever — U.S. Army materiel replacement parts using a British Army 3D printer.
Using these technologies to produce materiel at the point of need reduces delivery times and lessens the overall burden on the distribution network, said Callis.
Throughout the entire experiment, sustainers are employing technologies designed to extend and sustain operational reach in a contested environment, including information advantage, autonomous resupply, production at the point of need, and joint maritime operations, advanced power and energy solutions and medical technologies.
Those technologies are being experimented currently at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, in scenario B which simulates responding to a land-based threat. The lessons learned will be presented at a demonstration day, Nov. 9.