(This interview appeared in the Military Logistics Forum Magazine 2010 Volume: 4 Issue: 6 (July) and is reprinted with permission. http://www.military-logistics-forum.com/military-logistics-forum )

Major General Yves J. Fontaine serves as commanding general of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command (ASC), a position he has held since September 2, 2009. As commanding general of ASC, Fontaine leads a global organization responsible for providing frontline logistics support to combat units. The command manages Army pre-positioned stocks located in strategic sites around the world; maintains weapons and equipment at bases in forward areas; and oversees the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), which provides contractor support in theaters of operation.

Fontaine came to ASC from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where he served as commanding general of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command. Prior to that assignment, Fontaine served as the G4 (Logistics) for U.S. Army-Europe, 7th U.S. Army, in Heidelberg, Germany.

Fontaine has also served as the G4 for the 82nd Airborne Division and the G4 and Chief of Staff for the U.S. Special Operations Command, both at Fort Bragg, N.C. After assuming command of the 1st Corps Support Command, Fontaine deployed from Fort Bragg to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During Operation Desert Shield, Fontaine deployed to Southwest Asia with the 24th Infantry Division. When Operation Desert Storm began, Fontaine acted as liaison officer with France's 6th Light Armored Division. He then became support operations officer for the 24th Infantry Division's 24th Support Battalion at Fort Stewart, Ga.

Other key assignments held by Fontaine during his career include commander of the 82nd Forward Support Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division; maintenance officer for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Materiel Fielding Team, and materiel operations officer for the 19th Maintenance Battalion, 3rd Corps Support Command, in Vilseck, Germany; company commander and battalion maintenance officer with the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Carson, Colo.; and platoon leader, shop officer and battalion maintenance officer with the 8th Infantry Division in Germany.

Fontaine was commissioned as an Army officer in 1976 following his graduation from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, Pa., where he was named as Distinguished Military Graduate. Along with the Bachelor of Science degree in management which he earned from LaSalle, Fontaine holds master's degrees in business administration from Webster University in St. Louis, Miss., and in advanced military studies from the Army's Command and General Staff College. He also completed the Training with Industry program at the Defense Contract Management Agency in Indianapolis, Ind. His military education includes the Ordnance Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the School for Advanced Military Studies, and the U.S. Army War College.

Fontaine's awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal; the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters; the Bronze Star Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal; the Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters; the Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster; the Combat Action Badge; and the Master Parachutist Badge.

Q: Could we start with the basics of the command-meaning its size, overall structure and organizations and budget'

A: Let me start out by talking about our mission and how we're structured to execute that mission. Put simply, Army Sustainment Command synchronizes distribution and sustainment of materiel for the Army Materiel Command to and from the field in support of the warfighter. And, on order, we execute the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program. Essentially we are the operational arm of the Army Materiel Command and we execute this mission through seven geographically dispersed Army field support brigades.

We are the program execution arm for several tactical level Army operational requirements. For instance, we have a number of Army force generation [ARFORGEN]-related responsibilities that include executing the Army's Left Behind Equipment Program, the Field Level Reset Program and the Pre-Deployment Training Equipment Program. We also provide field level maintenance sustainment capability directly in support of Army units throughout the ARFORGEN cycle.

With transformation to modularity, we have the responsibility to provide materiel management to CONUS forces. We are also in the midst of transferring operational control of garrison directorates of logistics [DOL] organizations to Army Sustainment Command. So, when you take a look at just the CONUS missions that this command oversees, and you take what we're doing with ARFORGEN missions, the materiel management missions and the transition of DOLs, we are essentially operating as the Theater Support Command for CONUS.

Now, to give you the full perspective, we also execute the Army's Prepositioned Stocks Program-strategically forward positioned equipment afloat, in Southwest Asia, in Northeast Asia and in Europe. Lastly, we execute LOGCAP-a program that provides a contractual augmentation capability to our force structure for combat service support missions such as transportation, base life support, postal support, dining facilities, and supply and maintenance operations.

This worldwide command is somewhat unique in that it is made up of seven brigades heavily manned by contractors and presently consists of 586 military, 2,030 civilians and over 78,000 contractors.

Our Brigades are located in Afghanistan; Iraq; Korea; Fort Lewis, Wash.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Germany. We have 12 battalions focused on ARFORGEN functions, four battalions supporting the APS mission, and four provisional battalions supporting OIF and OEF operations. Key to our success is providing support to the warfighter through our brigade level logistic support team [BLST] elements embedded in each BCT [approximately 12 personnel]. These BLSTs serve as AMC's conduit to the warfighter and resolve equipping issues rapidly for the units they support. They truly have the power to reach back to the strategic capabilities of the Army Materiel Command.

Our direct budget for fiscal 2010 was $2.3 billion. Of that, 92 percent is provided through supplemental funding. In addition to our direct funding, we also execute over $5 billion to support our LOGCAP requirements.

Our top priorities are to support ongoing operations; specifically the surge in Afghanistan and the drawdown in Iraq, while supporting reset of redeploying forces; we also focus on executing ARFORGEN requirements, LOGCAP, APS; transforming our Distribution Management Center into the CONUS Materiel Management Center; and executing operational control of the DOL maintenance and supply missions.

Q: Do you expect your budget to remain steady for the next several years'

A: I expect our funding to remain steady in fiscal year 2011 to support drawdown in Iraq and surge requirements in Afghanistan. Although still too far out to gauge, beginning in FY12, the expectation is that supplemental funding will start to be reduced commensurate with changes in the president's strategy.

Q: Your command has responsibility to also react in humanitarian and disaster relief efforts. Explain that concept and how it was put into play in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.

A: Our role is to support full spectrum operational requirements for the Army and AMC. ASC subordinate brigades, battalions and logistics support teams are directly linked to deployable units, including elements of the global response force.

Upon request for U.S. assistance from the government of Haiti, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division and its associated Brigade Logistics Support Team from ASC, deployed to Port-au-Prince to assist in recovery and relief operations. The BLST, which consists of 12 personnel, provided an immediate reach-back capability to the national sustainment base. The ASC further deployed a small C2 cell to act as the senior AMC representative in Haiti.

At Fort Bragg and other CONUS locations, Army field support brigades and Army Field Support Battalions began the process of readying and moving assets for onward movement to Haiti.

In Europe, 3rd Battalion, 405th AFSB is responsible for the storage and maintenance of the U.S. Agency for International Development's emergency humanitarian assistance commodities under an interagency agreement. The 3rd-405th AFSB put together pallets of humanitarian aid drawn from stocks in the USAID's U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance warehouses on Leghorn Army Depot, Italy. The aid included 10,000-liter water bladders, water purification units, personal hygiene kits, plastic sheeting and more.

To assist in sustainment and port opening planning, members of the 406th AFSB and Logistics Civil Augmentation Program deployed to the area of operations as part of Joint Task Force-Haiti. Their efforts supported the World Food Program in the delivery of more than 8.3 million pounds of food to 2.6 million people, obligating $2.7 million for 71 contracts, and more.

The 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command established the Joint Logistics Command. Other Army logistics organizations included the 7th Sustainment Brigade, and the Army's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. As the U.S. military footprint increased, ASC deployed a forward headquarters to act as the Army Materiel Command Headquarters Forward in support of the 3rd ESC and directed approximately 170 soldiers, Department of the Army civilian employees and contractors from throughout AMC.

In short, ASC sent a deployable, scalable command and control headquarters that provided communications, command and control, reach-back to national capabilities and the ability to meet urgent needs through contracted services or other means.

Q: I know that Army Materiel Command has been given the lead in the drawdown from Iraq. With your forward deployed field support, what role does ASC have in the process'

A: The 402nd AFSB in Iraq supports the drawdown operations for ASC through synchronization and in support of ARCENT and AMC forward element-the Responsible Reset Task Force. Through a network of 12 mobile retrograde property assistance teams and eight fixed retrograde property assistance teams, the 402nd assumes accountability of theater-provided equipment in Iraq and coordinates with the 1st Theater Support Command to transport this equipment to Kuwait.

All property is accounted for in the Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced, or PBUSE, system. Disposition for repair of the equipment is generated through Logistics Support Activity's theater-provided equipment planner programs and results in assignment of national level document numbers from the life cycle management commands.

In some instances, equipment that is excess to a unit's needs is repaired in Iraq and directly shipped to Afghanistan for use in equipping OEF surge units. After equipment is transferred to Kuwait, the 402nd AFSB receives the equipment and processes it through a series of steps to prepare the equipment for requirements in Kuwait [i.e., Theater Sustainment Stocks, Army Prepositioned Stocks], shipment to CONUS or another OCONUS location.

After shipment to CONUS, the retrograde process is closed when the source of repair receives the equipment against the sustainment number generated in Iraq by the Life Cycle Management Command. After repair, equipment is distributed in accordance with Army priorities. This is no small feat, since so far this year, the theater has retrograded more than 11,000 pieces of rolling stock and tens of thousands of pieces of non-rolling stock.

Q: What are some of your more important acquisition requirements in the near term'

A: The command is currently processing three important acquisition actions. Two are in the solicitation process as full and open competitions, and a third is in development.

The first solicitation in process encompasses an integrated logistics service support contract that will primarily provide property accountability for Army Sustainment Command global operations.

Another solicitation will provide Army prepositioned stocks set maintenance, supply, transportation, and logistics support.

The third major action we are developing is a replacement tool for the FIRST [field and installation readiness support team] contract still in the acquisition strategy approval process. The replacement tool is called the Enhanced Army Global Logistics Enterprise [EAGLE] contract and is scheduled for award in 2012. This contract will standardize performance work statements and quality assurance oversight in support of the Directorate of Logistics mission. My goal is to generate efficiencies while improving readiness. We have already conducted one industry day for the EAGLE contract and we will provide an update to industry during ASC's advanced planning brief for industry scheduled for August 2010.

Q: Is the way in which LOGCAP contracts are awarded to several primes and then task orders bid out the most efficient way to handle those combat service support requirements' Can you give me an idea of the scope of the awards for 2010 so far'

A: Absolutely. The Logistics Civil Augmentation Program uses private sector contractors to provide a broad range of logistics and support services to U.S. and allied forces during combat, such as those missions now under way in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to other contingency, peacekeeping, humanitarian and training operations.

The LOGCAP III contract was competitively awarded to KBR in December 2001. In April 2008, the LOGCAP IV contract was awarded; under LOGCAP IV, DynCorp International LLC, Fluor Intercontinental Inc, and KBR compete for task orders.

The use of multiple contractors increases competition while reducing the risk of using a single contractor. The LOGCAP IV performance contracts are being awarded as indefinite quantity/ indefinite delivery contracts with one base year and nine option years. Each contract has a maximum value of up to $5 billion per year. This allows the Army to award a total annual maximum value of $15 billion and a lifetime maximum value of $150 billion.

We have managed the transition from LOGCAP III to LOGCAP IV in a manner intended to assure the delivery of services to field units will continue without interruption.

To date, 13 task orders have been awarded under LOGCAP IV: three for project management offices-one for each contractor; three for services in Kuwait, where the transition to LOGCAP IV was completed in June 2009; four for services in Afghanistan, where the transition to LOGCAP IV is scheduled to be completed in July; one in support of the U.S. military relief effort to aid the victims of the earthquake that struck Haiti in January; and one to provide corps logistics support, theater transportation, and postal operations services in Iraq.

Q: Last year you held an Advance Planning Briefing for Industry in August. Do you plan on holding a similar event this year' Any sneak preview as to what some of the key elements of this year's briefing will bring'

A: Thanks for bringing that up. The advance planning briefing for industry last August had an attendance of over 200 contractors. I thought that was a tremendous turnout. The purpose of that session was to share information on upcoming contracts and programs for services that contractors were already making and could provide for us in our national defense efforts. In addition to briefs from command personnel, there were briefings from two senior industry executives to share their perspective on partnering with the federal government, military, etc.

This year's APBI is taking place August 2-3 at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa. This is a great opportunity for industry to learn about and discuss ASC's future requirements. This year's event promises a large turnout with industry interest in our upcoming competitive EAGLE program.

I'd also like to say that we were very pleased with our success in April as a participant in the 2010 Midwest Small Business Government Contracting Symposium held in Moline, Ill. We had two displays. One booth highlighted ASC's various missions, and the other booth was staffed by our small business office, with literature on the contracting process.

The event explained how small business can contract with the federal government. Many businesses are eager to offer their services to the government, but don't know how to go about it. It can seem overwhelming, but with good direction, very doable.

The symposium provided presentations from industry experts and networking opportunities for small business contractors, subcontractors and prime contractors. All in all, a great event for partnering.

We hope to participate again next year to get the word out on how local businesses can contract and support the Army. Private industry offers unique capabilities and technologies that can greatly benefit the military.

Q: Any final thoughts you'd like to add about the people or mission of ASC'

A: First, I am very, very proud of all the people that make up the Army Sustainment Command-soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, and the many contractors serving our nation around the world. Everyone is busy executing our missions every day...most importantly our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. I knew coming here that this was a world-class organization whose reputation was well known throughout the Army. It's a privilege to lead it.

The mission of this command has evolved during this decade based on developing and ongoing needs. I can honestly say that the warfighter can concentrate on the tactical mission and not worry about how they will get logistically supported.

The real power of the command is its people and the strength of our diverse work force. Caring for people involves having a trained and sustainable work force who maintain a lifestyle balance between work and family. Our training programs are designed to provide opportunities for all to develop these skills and allow us to build the bench.

It is clearly evident to me that the Army Sustainment Command workforce is truly dedicated to support the soldier.

My predecessors constructed a rock-solid foundation prior to my arrival here, and I intend to build upon that and continue to sustain our Army to the highest standards while taking care of our soldiers, civilians and their families.