Task Force Logistics revamps army sustainment system

Task Force Logistics revamps army sustainment system

The joint-capable theater sustainment command (TSC) under development by Task Force (TF) Logistics promises to help the Army be more effective and efficient in its support of land component operations. The organizational structure of the new TSC eliminates layering of commands by combining operational-level functions of the current corps support command and theater support command, thereby eliminating redundancy and maximizing flexibility.

The Army has created 17 focus areas to ensure that it remains the best force in the world. TF Logistics, a focus area approved in January by Army Chief of Staff General Peter J. Schoomaker, includes logisticians and support personnel from all branches of the armed services. One of the task force’s areas of concentration is the TSC design.

The goal of the TSC is to deploy equipment much more rapidly, and the way to do that is through visibility to the soldier and the command, said Major Chris Stolz, TF Logistics operations officer. The command will be able to know where the soldier is and what he needs, and the soldier will know when he will be receiving the supplies he needs.

The TSC will be a modular organization with a standard headquarters and subordinate support units tailored for the mission requirements of specific operations. Modular subordinate units will provide capabilities for theater opening; theater distribution; medical; bulk petroleum; aviation; civil engineering; and multifunctional supply, maintenance, and transportation support.

The TSC will work under the new unit of employment operational headquarters (known as the UEy), with the TSC commander serving as the senior Army logistics commander in the UEy. The TSC headquarters will provide command and control of assigned, attached, and operationally controlled units.

Sustainment brigades will provide support to operational-level units in the UEy’s area of operations and sustainment support to tactical-level forces engaged in combat in forward areas. This will allow throughput of critical sustainment, such as fuel and ammunition, from the theater logistics hubs to brigade combat teams engaged in combat.

Currently, corps support commands and theater support commands must funnel supplies and equipment through different layers of management before getting it forward to the battle area. With the new concepts and emerging technology, trucks will be able to transport cargo directly from the ports to the requiring brigade combat teams.

Stolz said that the current “stovepiped systems” do not talk to each other. “The emerging systems have integrated communications,” he said. “This means that the logistics information system will receive all requirements, and the computer network will show that. In the past, units could only see what affected their specific segment. With integrated communications, it will be possible to look down the entire pipeline and speed the process by prioritization and reallocation.”

Predictive technology, which is still in the conceptual phase, eventually will be able to show where brigade combat teams will be and what they will need, said Stolz. This will enable delivery of supplies even sooner. According to Stolz, the prediction will take into account the operational environment of the units and anticipate their needs.

“The big difference is in the way the logistics systems will operate. The soldier is going to see that he or she is not going to have to ask for the same thing two or three times. We are going to have Amazon.com type of visibility,” Stolz said, explaining that soldiers will know the status of their orders and have confidence in when they will arrive.

The Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM), at Fort Lee, Virginia, plays a major part in the task of supplying the troops. Colonel John Wharton, in CASCOM’s Directorate of Combat Developments-Combat Service Support and Deputy of TF Logistics, said that the task force is collaborating with CASCOM to develop new standard requirement codes (SRCs) that are associated with tables of organization and equipment. He said that SRC teams, some as small as one or two soldiers, will be able to provide support based on their specific capabilities. Currently, a whole unit must be mobilized to provide support for a job that could be done by a few.

TF Logistics is working with the Army staff, the Army Materiel Command, and the Army theater support commands to develop the required capabilities based on tasks, functions, and missions. It is also collaborating with the Joint Forces Command and several regional combatant commands.

TF Logistics hopes to have 80 percent of the TSC design in place by the end of fiscal year 2004, Wharton said.


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