After a decade of sustained conflict, the U.S. military must reposition itself to engage a world that has substantially changed since the terrorist attacks of 2001. With the conclusion of the Iraq war and a target of 2014 to withdraw from Afghanistan, the U.S. military is focusing on reshaping its force structure and preventing conflicts in other parts of the world, most notably the Far East. The Army must adapt to meet these evolving requirements.
In 2011, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey (then Chief of Staff of the Army) outlined his vision for the Army of 2020. With "Army 2020," he launched an initiative to transition the Army to address the security challenges for 2020 and beyond. Changes in the structure of the brigade combat team (BCT), its equipment, and training are at the heart of Army 2020. Operationally, the Army of 2020 will be characterized by the redeployment of the force to a continental United States environment while remaining expeditionary in nature and postured to deploy rapidly and win.
Sustainment 2020 Initiatives
The sustainment community has a number of initiatives to develop and implement the Army of 2020 Sustainment Strategy. This article highlights three ongoing key initiatives: tactical sustainment force structure changes, the rewrite of Department of the Army Pamphlet (DA PAM) 600--3, and the Global Logistics Concept effort.
Sustainment Force Structure
We are redesigning our combat sustainment support battalions (CSSBs) to support pending changes within the BCT designs. The Army 2020 concept is making several changes to the BCT, and our sustainment strategy will likewise evolve. In an era of diminishing resources, and in order to meet the active force end-strength reduction, logistics capabilities may be shifted to echelons above brigade (EAB) in order to balance the BCTs. Capabilities such as water purification, some bulk fuel distribution and storage, and troop movement may migrate to EAB, either in part or completely. These proposed "pass-backs" create tactical-level sustainment gaps that must be addressed while offering an opportunity to provide these capabilities in a more efficient manner.
The Combined Arms Support Command's Force Development Division is analyzing the pass-backs, conducting gap analyses, and reviewing lessons learned from the past 10 years of war to ensure sustainment forces are postured to support Army 2020. A key aspect centers on habitually aligning selected logistics capabilities with 3 corps-aligned CSSBs and 10 division-aligned CSSBs in the active force and 8 division-aligned CSSBs in the Army National Guard. Each CSSB would be designed with the same core capabilities--supply, fuel, water, transportation, and maintenance--to support units located in a corps or division.
Using area support, CSSBs would simultaneously support BCTs and division or corps EAB units. This provides agility and economies of force to meet the sustainment requirements of units on the battlefield without compromising the responsiveness or effectiveness of support. In addition to supporting the tactical fight, this approach improves home-station operations by dedicating support assets to major installations and providing a capability set at home station.
We are also addressing other sustainment gaps, including the lack of forward support companies in the Stryker BCTs, duplication of effort in the brigade support battalion of the fires brigade, a need for standard human resources companies in each sustainment brigade, and a lack of habitual relationships between sustainment units and supported units.
The goal is to make most of these changes transparent to the warfighter. By making these organizational and support relationship changes to the current sustainment formations and operating principles, the Army leverages efficiency and flexibility while providing the same--and in some cases, better--support to the maneuver force. These changes are pre-decisional at this point but have the full support of the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and Army Headquarters staffs.
DA PAM 600--3
As we navigate our way forward to 2020 and beyond, we are rewriting DA PAM 600--3 to provide our logistics officers with a roadmap to guide their careers. We've learned from 11 years of war that our logistics warriors must continue to be tactical experts and have detailed knowledge of the entire sustainment operational environment, which includes operations and strategic formations as well as the industrial base. Understanding these organizations, capabilities, and limitations requires a different way of thinking about how we develop our logisticians in support of Army 2020.
Once officers complete their developmental requirements, they will be encouraged to pursue broadening assignments. These assignments challenge officers mentally and, in many cases, place them outside of their comfort zone to develop adaptive leaders with critical thinking skills. Officers compete for, or are assigned to, broadening experiences as senior captains, majors, and lieutenant colonels. They are encouraged to compete for normative broadening assignments through advanced civilian schooling, training with industry, fellowships, internships, theater logistics planning, red teaming, and the like.
Broadening is linked to talent management, which incorporates, recognizes, develops, and manages each officer's unique skills. Our leaders are expected to identify talents and mentor officers to pursue broadening opportunities in appropriate areas.
The new DA PAM 600--3 will ensure officers know the correct path to gain the training, education, and experiences they need to lead and implement the Army of 2020 Sustainment Strategy. It will also ensure that senior leaders have the information they need to mentor and produce the type of officers needed for 2020 and beyond.
Global Logistics Concept
The Army Materiel Command, the Forces Command, TRADOC, Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF), and others are working a collaborative effort on the Army 2020 Global Logistics Concept (GLC). The purpose of the GLC is to assess the future operational environment in order to identify doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities solutions for recognized gaps.
The GLC addresses strategic-level gaps in five areas: industrial base capability and capacity to meet emerging requirements, unity of effort to optimize support for forces from home station through contingency operations, better integration of ARSOF, integration of the Army into joint logistics capabilities and vice versa, and rapid integration of ready Reserve component (RC) sustainment units in support of future Army requirements.
The GLC sustainment white paper takes a critical look at the gaps listed above and other issues that affect sustainment organizations at all levels. It also outlines a strategy for how the Army can better work with industry and strategic and joint partners to provide effective and synchronized sustainment for the next conflict.
The sustainment white paper is the prelude to the next Army Functional Concept for Sustainment. The functional concept will allow the TRADOC force modernization processes to fully analyze and understand the impacts on sustainment in the future while identifying sustainment capabilities for Army 2020. Those processes will pave the way for implementing changes to ensure sustainment is postured, prepared, and ready to meet the uncertainties of tomorrow that will allow us to prevent, shape, and win in support of unified land operations.
As sustainers, we have performed tremendously over the last 11 years, but we cannot rest on our laurels. There is work to be done. Collectively, as a logistics community, we are working the sustainment strategy very hard. I am confident that the sustainment strategy that we are developing and employing will yield the dividends to support and sustain our great Army.
I look forward to our continued dialogue in future articles, as we address the details of the Army of 2020 Sustainment Strategy. Future articles will include discussions of professional credentialing programs, skills-based training, Global Combat Support System--Army, force structure changes, leader development, ARSOF integration, joint logistics capabilities, and RC integration, just to name a few. As we further develop our concept, we will leave no doubt that the sustainment community remains laser-focused on supporting the warfighter.