Winter Strike 23 Lessons Learned | Partner Integration Key to Joint Operation Success

By Lt. Col. Christopher M. Richardson, Maj. Karl P. Thompson, and Sgt. Maj. Travis L. JacksonAugust 1, 2023

(Photo Credit: Sarah Lancia) VIEW ORIGINAL

The 1st Infantry Division (1ID) conducted a command post exercise (CPX) while deployed to Europe to support the Ukraine incursion from Dec. 7-15, 2022. The CPX was named Operation Winter Strike 23 and brought multinational partners from Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, and Finland to observe a U.S. Army division’s operations and to increase interoperability. The inclusion of Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, and Estonia was of special importance as they have been establishing their own army divisions.

The exercise was very successful for all participants, and 1ID gleaned three significant lessons learned: integration of the division materiel readiness center (DMRC), integration of the division logistics support element (DLSE), and the benefit of functional battle rhythm. Integrating our logistics enterprise enablers with the partner and allied liaison officers ensured the G-4 made more insightful decisions. The addition of the DLSE and DMRC significantly increased the rear command post’s (RCP’s) ability to drive decisions based on analytics, especially as the RCP concept was being put through its paces for the first time since its change in doctrine from the support area command post.

Integrating the DMRC into the 1ID RCP via the One DMRC concept was highly beneficial. Our DMRC comprised 11 personnel from the DMRC of the 1ID Division Sustainment Brigade (DSB). This brought capabilities and subject matter expertise to the head of the division’s sustainment enterprise. The One DMRC concept supports the division regardless of mission location. It is a tailor-made purposeful team that is highly mobile, certified, credible, and can plug into the RCP in austere and mature locations. The DMRC brought experts of every commodity and class of supply to provide insights on capabilities and analysis of the division’s current situation, which ensured we remained a combat-credible force. The significance of the DMRC’s integration significantly contributed to creating and managing our analog and digital trackers. These systems aided with the calculation of the desired divisional posture required to transition from defense to counterattack. The DMRC’s insight and understanding of the regeneration of combat power gave the chief of sustainment and divisional commander the understanding required in terms of space and time to shape and prepare for the counterattack. Critical to this success was the DMRC’s inclusion of a full augmentation, including the distribution integration branch, a full transportation section, and Class VII for reconstitution. This provided a deeper section by commodity while aligning with the 1ID tactical standard operating procedures for manning and operations from the 1ID DSB.

Integrating the DLSE in the RCP ensured Army Materiel Command capabilities were properly leveraged, enabling 1ID to rapidly regenerate combat power to meet the desired operational end state. The DLSE participated in daily logistics synchronizations (LOGSYNCs) and maintenance meetings, which provided more significant insights into identifying systematic readiness trends and understanding of 1ID’s current and potential combat power. The DLSE proved a combat multiplier, enabling us to forecast track and ancillary parts for operational requirements. This capability drove critical decisions for the G-4, deputy commanding general-support (DCG-S), and commanding general for both defense and counterattack. Going forward, we recommend the DMRC and DLSE package be integrated into the division’s train-up to provide quicker analysis to enable the division to retain the initiative in driving towards prolonged endurance, freedom of maneuver, and operational reach.

A battle rhythm that facilitates data and information sharing is vital to every operation’s success. We had a unique challenge of distance and time. Our RCP was in Poland, while the DCG-S was at Fort Riley, Kansas. With a difference of seven hours and 4,980 miles (8,014km), we adapted our battle rhythm to a morning and evening logistics status report (LOGSTAT), with the morning report providing critical data that drove meetings, working groups, and boards for the rest of the day. We leveraged the evening LOGSTAT to confirm our forecast and assessments. We reviewed the morning LOGSTAT at the LOGSYNC to confirm combat power, battle losses, critical stockage levels, and requirements for the next 24, 48, and 72 hours.

The division transportation office (DTO) took the requirements output from the LOGSYNC into their movement working group to allocate transportation assets to fulfill logistic requirements from the division support area forward to the brigade support areas (BSAs). The DTO then took the outputs from the movement working group to the protection working group to ensure protection platforms were available and integrated into the movement of assets forward to the BSAs. We took the brigade requirements, allocated transportation assets, and integrated protection platforms based on a minimum of a 1 to 3 ratio, based on our assessment of the enemy that secured sustainment as it moved forward. We then briefed the deputy DGC-S on the status across the division for sustainment and the plan to safely resupply each brigade within the area of responsibility. This enabled the DCG-S to provide guidance for the next day’s plan before going into the nightly commander’s update assessment.

In conclusion, integrating subject matter experts from the DMRC and DLSE into the RCP and an efficient battle rhythm enabled the G-4 to sustain the division as a combat-credible force. These lessons were learned through a warm start of the exercise and were not implemented until a few days into the exercise. The lessons learned throughout the exercise enabled the sustainment enterprise and maneuver elements to successfully conduct operations in contested environments.


Lt. Col. Christopher M. Richardson is currently the chief of sustainment, assistant chief of staff, G-4, for 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas. He served as the Regimental Support Squadron, 2D Cavalry Regiment commander, and J-4 of the Joint Navigation Warfare Center, U.S. Space Command. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, Joint Professional Military Education II, and Advanced Navigation Operations. He holds a Master of Business Administration and a master’s degree in management and leadership from Webster’s University, Missouri. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from the University of Maryland.

Maj. Karl P. Thompson is currently the supply and services officer in charge, G-4, for 1st Infantry Division (1ID), Fort Riley, Kansas. He served as the division transportation officer, G-4, for 1ID. He served as the brigade S-4 for the 595th Transportation Brigade, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. He commissioned as a lieutenant in the Transportation Corps from the U. S. Military Academy. He holds a master’s degree in operational studies from the Command and General Staff College. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in human geography from the U.S. Military Academy.

Sgt. Maj. Travis L. Jackson currently serves as the chief mechanic maintenance log sergeant major, G-4, for 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas. He served as the former headquarters and headquarters company brigade first sergeant of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. He served as the G33 operations sergeant for the 82nd Airborne Division. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy. He holds an Associate of Arts in general studies from American Military University and a Bachelor of Arts from Command and General Staff College in leadership and workforce development.


This content is published online in conjunction with the Summer 2023 issue of Army Sustainment.


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