Sustainment forum synchronizes enterprise

By Megan GullyDecember 15, 2023

Sustainment forum synchronizes enterprise
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Army’s senior sustainer and Commanding General of Army Materiel Command Gen. Charles Hamilton addresses more than 250 sustainers, both in-person and virtually, at the Sustainment Leader Warfighting Forum, Dec. 14-15 at Fort Gregg Adams, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Megan Gully) VIEW ORIGINAL
Sustainment forum synchronizes enterprise
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Gen. Charles Hamilton, commanding general of Army Materiel Command, and Brig. Gen. Michelle Donahue, commanding general of Army Combined Arms Support Command/Sustainment Center of Excellence, present Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Christopher Lowman with the General Brehon B. Somervell Coin-Medallion of Excellence. Lowman was honored during the Sustainment Leader Warfighting Forum, Dec. 14-15 at Fort Gregg Adams, Virginia, for his years of support to the Army sustainment community. (Photo Credit: Megan Gully) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT GREGG ADAMS, Va. -- The Army’s senior sustainer drove home an important message for the more than 250 attendees at the Sustainment Leader Warfighting Forum, Dec. 14-15 at Fort Gregg Adams, Virginia, and virtually.

“Sustainment is about warfighting – period,” said Gen. Charles Hamilton, commanding general of Army Materiel Command, “to build sustainment operations that understand how to support at echelon. Sustainment can help deter and help win battles, and many of you have seen that over the years.”

Hamilton challenged the room to recognize the expectations for the sustainment community and how the means of achieving those requirements are changing.

“Army sustainment has always led the way across the world in how quickly we can get to the fight and anticipate the requirements. That speed is still going to be expected,” said Hamilton. “The way Private Hamilton fought years ago will not be the way you fight or the way you train the next generation to fight. You have to start thinking about how you’re building sustainment into your operations. How are you going to make our platforms more offensive in nature in the future, as opposed to reactive. How are you going to use data, Artificial Intelligence and technology to anticipate the next move?”

The sustainment community has a once-in-a-generation chance to lay the way ahead for the future of the force, said Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Christopher Lowman.

“Right now, there is national recognition of the challenge of sustainment, as well as the right leaders in the right positions across the board,” he said. “The door is open. We just need to drive through it.”

From a DoD-level, Lowman is working on a campaign of learning of sustainment strategies to see how they will perform in conflict. Key to this, he said, is integrating sustainment in wargames, as well as evaluating the impacts of contested logistics on planning, posturing, capability investments and retrograde flows.

Lowman highlighted the Army’s achievements in tele-maintenance capabilities supporting Ukraine, noting he is working on DoD partnerships to develop forward maintenance in the Indo-Pacific theater that will greatly reduce repair timelines.

“We are working to lay the groundwork to shift sustainment from a pull to a push system,” said Lowman about the importance of data-enabled sustainment.

AMC’s Chief Data and Analytics Officer Dr. Chris Hill highlighted the AMC Predictive Analytics Suite and how lessons learned in providing advanced analytics supporting operations in Ukraine to connect sensor to shooter to sustainer can be implemented across the Army.

“Flexibility and responsiveness are key; we have to provide analytics at the speed of combat,” said Hill about using APAS for defense, counterattack, combat power build, brigade readiness and infrastructure. “For predictive analytics it’s about giving maneuver space and get you ahead of problems, so you have time to solve them.”

Activities in the European theater were a hot topic discussed by multiple presenters, including Maj. Gen. Ron Ragin, commanding general of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command.

“We are operationalizing everything we do to get back to that core of warfighting, and there is no place to do that like Europe,” said Ragin. “There has been a lot of great work from contingency to campaign planning and looking at how we set the theater.”

In the Indo-Pacific theater, Maj. Gen. Jared Helwig, commanding general of the 8th TSC, said traditionally the Army has treated exercises as individual events, but this year the sustainment community connected the series as a campaign and a true sustainment rehearsal from the tactical to strategic level.

“Gen. Hamilton talked about the importance of practicing sustainment in the dirt, getting out and having a realistic exercise,” said Helwig. “There is a renewed realization of sustainment as a warfighting function and, in that, the need for training at echelon. We’ve had the opportunity to focus on sustainment in exercising this year. That gives us the ability to maintain a constant presence by setting the conditions, keeping equipment in the region and continuing to push forward in anticipation.”

Other theater briefs were provided by the 1st TSC in the Middle East and the 377th TSC in North America demonstrating the true global reach of the sustainment enterprise.

“This forum is about support at echelon and how we are getting after it. That is the core of what we do to support our Army and our nation,” said Hamilton. “The core is about supporting Soldiers at the tactical point of contact at the right speed – the right equipment and the right place so we can win, because it’s all about winning.”

He said a key piece of this success is synchronizing the sustainment community to speak with one voice.

“The strength of what we’ve done in the last 20 years is right here in this room,” he said. “A key piece of our power is that we speak with one voice. That doesn’t mean we always agree, but we know that we need the right resources to make sure sustainment stays about warfighting – period.”