The field artillery brigade (FAB) within the penetration division (PEN DIV) lacks sufficient surge maintenance support capability. To mitigate this insufficiency, the division support battalion’s (DSB’s) support maintenance company (SMC) requires a field artillery (FA) section with the ability to provide a surge maintenance capability to the FAB in the division support area (DSA). If the Combined Arms Center (CAC) and Army Futures Command (AFC) can equip the SMC with additional maintenance capability to the PEN DIV in Army 2030, it will allow the DSB commander a more comprehensive range of maintenance capabilities throughout the DSA in a multidomain operations (MDO) environment.
Last year, Joint Modernization Command (JMC) conducted Joint Warfighter Assessment-Exercise (JWA-E) 22 to assess the concepts, capabilities, and formations in support of a PEN DIV and inform modernization decisions that drive the MDO Army 2030 force. Sustainment assessors determined that the Army 2030 PEN DIV DSB solution to mitigate large-scale combat operations (LSCO) sustainment gaps still lacked the sufficient maintenance required to support a PEN DIV within the DSA.
The current DSB force structure needs the organizational capacity of distribution compared to the volume and velocity of Class III (B) required during LSCO.
Due to the excessive burn rate of the PEN DIV, especially before and after a gap/wet gap crossing, the DSB’s current Class III (B) storage capacity falls short of its requirements. The projected DSB design encompasses a petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL) truck company in Army 2030. This addition to the organizational structure should allow the DSB to meet the PEN DIV’s bulk fuel capacity requirements.
The current DSB force structure lacks the organizational ability to replenish and sustain the division’s scheme of maneuver by matching the mobility of distribution to its transportation requirements.
Integrating the movement control team and the movement enhancement brigade into the division transportation section could enable a more effective synchronization between the support area command post and a sustainment brigade. This would then allow the DSB to have a more robust distribution capability and the ability to anticipate the time and tempo of replenishment to the PEN DIV during a maneuver.
The current DSB force structure provides a material management section but needs a doctrinal construct integrating the division material management section with all maintenance enablers across the sustainment enterprise.
For the DSB to provide sufficient maintenance enablers within the DSA, the DSB’s SMC maintenance surge team requires an FA section. The FA section should have the capability to provide a surge maintenance capability to the FAB and remain tailorable to fill gaps in operational area maintenance support to the M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM), M109A8 Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA), and the next generation wheeled howitzer weapon systems.
JWA-E 22 Focus
Due to the projected complexities of MDO across the spectrum of conflict in Army 2030, JMC’s focus during JWA-E 22 was to assess the 3rd Division Support Brigade (3DSB), enabling freedom of maneuver and operational reach to a PEN DIV in an LSCO environment. In particular, the 3DSB supported the 3rd Infantry Division, an acting PEN DIV, with the continuous ability to receive, store, and distribute critical supplies during a gap crossing. The 1st Calvary Division and 1st Armored Division are CAC projected PEN DIVs in Army 2030.
The Army 2030 PEN DIV will be optimized to attack a narrow front, neutralize enemy defense systems, and seize key terrain. This division concept will provide a unique gap-crossing capability that will destroy the continuity of the enemy’s defense, allowing subsequent isolation and defeat in detail by exploiting friendly forces. The PEN DIV’s essential tasks will be to conduct movement to contact, conduct an attack, conduct a defense, conduct area security, and conduct gap/wet-gap crossing.
The DSB’s current force structure provides distribution management and materiel management and conducts support operations for all units in the division task organization. The DSB provides command and control for all its assigned and attached units. The DSB is responsible for planning, coordinating, and synchronizing the division’s human resources, finance, field services, and field-level maintenance operations.
The DSB is assigned to the division in a subordinate relationship and can coordinate with other sustainment brigades operating near the DSA to provide additional support as needed. The DSB has an organic division sustainment troops battalion (DSTB) and a division sustainment support battalion (DSSB).
The DSTB has an organic headquarters and headquarters company (HHC), an attached field feeding company, human resources company, financial management support company, and a signal company. The DSSB has an organic HHC, a composite supply company, a composite truck company, and an SMC. The DSSB requires a modular ammunition ordnance platoon to operate an ammunition activity within the DSA to support division operations. The SMC has an attached maintenance surge team to provide a field-level surge capability to help reinforce maintenance units supporting critical missions at any location within the DSA.
Currently, the maintenance surge team provides echelons above brigade surge maintenance capability. The surge team can provide support maintenance to M1 Abrams, M2/3 Bradley, and Stryker weapons systems. Each maintenance surge team consists of a platoon headquarters and two to four maintenance sections. DSB maintenance planners must review equipment density across the division to determine surge team capabilities required to augment organic maintenance capabilities.
PEN DIV DSB
CAC’s proposed design for a DSB supporting a PEN DIV in Army 2030 focuses on adding organic sustainment companies to provide functional sustainment capabilities to its formation. The proposed DSB’s responsibilities remain the same, but its mission capabilities increase with the additions and modifications to its force structure. The DSTB will be modified to add a support operations section. The SMC will be moved from the DSSB to the DSTB to increase its commander’s span of maintenance support. A mortuary affairs platoon will be added to the DSTB, expanding the commander’s reach of casualty collection points throughout the theater. The DSSB will be modified to include the addition of an inland cargo transfer company, a palletized load system truck company, a POL truck company, and a modified ammunition company.
CAC’s proposed design for an SMC supporting a PEN DIV in Army 2030 firmly addresses the three sustainment gaps to help mitigate capability shortfalls in the DSB. However, this design still lacks a crucial maintenance capability within the SMC. Although the organization of the SMC will be reestablished in the DSTB, its design is not projected to change. Currently, the SMC consists of three platoons providing allied trades support, wheeled vehicle recovery, maintenance, communication, electronics, special electronic devices, ground support equipment, and test measurement and diagnostic equipment. The SMC, particularly its maintenance surge teams, provides field-level surge maintenance support to units throughout the brigade support area (BSA). However, doctrinally, these surge teams currently only have the maintenance capability to provide field-level surge maintenance support to M1 Abrams, M2/3 Bradley, and Stryker weapons systems.
Maintenance Surge Teams
Currently, the maintenance surge teams’ platoon headquarters and sections have separate standard requirement codes that allow each team to be tailored and independently attached to a supported unit. This flexibility allows planners within the DSB to tailor critical maintenance capabilities based on specific mission requirements in any required location. The current command relationship of the maintenance surge team is attached to the SMC within the DSSB. The DSSB can designate a different support relationship (direct, general, or reinforcing) based on priorities directed by higher headquarters if required. Based on the PEN DIV commander’s priorities, the maintenance surge team may be attached to a field maintenance company within a brigade support battalion (BSB) located in the BSA.
However, since the Army 2030 concept is refocusing its maneuver and sustainment efforts from brigade combat teams to PEN DIVs, a more robust artillery maintenance surge capability must be available to the division artillery (DIVARTY) within the DSA. Due to DIVARTY LSCO demands, a maintenance surge support focused on a more robust artillery capability is required in the DSA. Based on the pace and tempo of MDO, multiple division/brigade-sized fires elements (DIVARTY, FAB) may operate simultaneously within the DSA. The FAB can deliver deep and shaping lethal and nonlethal fires, conduct counter-fire, conduct suppression of enemy air defense, integrate sensors and shooters, conduct Army targeting and support to joint targeting, provide training readiness oversight to the field artillery battalions, and operate dispersed over wide areas while maintaining the ability to mass fires. Some of the FAB’s cannon artillery capabilities include the M109A7 PIM, M109A8 ERCA, and the next-generation wheeled howitzer. However, the operational reach and responsiveness to the FAB, despite the availability of the proposed division combat trains, are insufficient for artillery maintenance surge support within the DSA.
Although the FAB’s BSB headquarters and service company are currently organized to coordinate field maintenance for FA battalions in the BSA, it can derive additional support capabilities through various other units selected to support the FAB mission. A field support company may be attached to the BSB or field artillery battalions but are not organic to the BSB. Therefore, for a BSB to fully support a FAB in the DSA, it must establish a support relationship with the combat sustainment support battalion assigned to the expeditionary sustainment command located in the corps support area. Any additional maintenance support required to support the FAB within the DSA would have to be coordinated by the FAB through contracted maintenance support.
To provide the FAB with sufficient surge maintenance support capability within the DSA, the PEN DIV DSB, DSTB, SMC, and maintenance surge team platoon requires an FA section. Like the Abrams, Bradley, and Stryker sections, the FA section would be attached to the maintenance surge team platoon. This added capability will enhance the PEN DIV commander’s ability to rapidly generate combat power by providing maintenance depth and flexibility at critical points of need throughout the DSA.
Recommendation for JMC:
- Address the current maintenance surge capability deficiency within the DSB to support the PEN DIV FAB in JWA 24 effectively.
Recommendations for CAC/AFC:
- Expand the maintenance surge capability for the DSB by allowing an FA section to be attached to its maintenance surge team platoon. This would provide additional FA maintenance support to the FAB within the DSA.
- Leverage the CSSB’s field maintenance surge capability in the corps support area to the PEN DIVARTY. Maintenance capabilities could flex between the corps support area and DSA for additional FA maintenance support to the PEN DIVARTY/FAB within the DSA.
- Leverage the BSB’s field maintenance surge capability in the BSA to the FAB. Maintenance capabilities could flex between the DSA and BSA for additional FA maintenance support to the FAB within the DSA.
If CAC, along with assistance from AFC, adds this added capability to the DSB’s SMC projected force structure of Army 2030, it could potentially boost the DSB commander’s ability to provide a broader range of maintenance capabilities to multiple artillery units throughout the DSA.
Lt. Col. Michael Spears is the executive officer to the Requirements Division Director, Sustainment-Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate Futures and Concepts Center, Army Futures Command, at Fort Gregg-Adams, Virginia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis on curriculum and teaching from National University. He is a graduate of the Quartermaster Officer Basic Course, Petroleum Officers Course, Mortuary Affairs Course, Combined Logistics Captains Career Course, Intermediate-Level Education, and Advanced Operations Course.
This article was published in the Summer 2023 issue of Army Sustainment.