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BULETIN DE TEORIE MILITARĂ EDITAT DE
STATUL MAJOR AL FORŢELOR TERESTRE
ISSN 20665-4022

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MODULAR SUSTAINEMENT IN US ARMY

Captain Andrei Ciprian VULPE

 

(versiunea în limba română) limba română

Why is the US Army changing?

The changes in the operational environment, and especially the evolution of joint warfare, led the US Army leaders to conclude that the Army required a fundamental restructuring. Unlike the Cold War environment in which the battle space was conventional and predictable, the environment facing today's Army and that of the Future Force is unpredictable and unconventional. This new battle space requires new methodologies, techniques, and modular organizational structures. In 2004, the Army Chief of Staff decided to “create a modular brigade-based Army that is more responsive to regional combatant commanders' needs, has better joint capabilities, facilitates force packaging and rapid deployment, and fights as self contained units”.

In order to accomplish this goal he established two main ways of approach:

A. Create modular Heavy and Infantry Brigade Units of Action (UAs) designed and organized to deploy and fight on arrival as independent units under the Joint Force Commander or a designated Army commander.

B. Create modular multifunctional and functional Support Units of Action (UAs) designed and organized to deploy and fight on arrival in support of Joint or Army headquarters and/or Brigade Units of Action.

What is the Modularity Concept?

Modularity is happening now in the US Army. Modularity is a force design method that will enable parent units to detach modules or elements from the parent unit and to tailor those functions and capabilities for deployment in support of rapidly assembled contingency forces or a projected force. Modules or elements are interchangeable, expandable, and able to meet changing missions and requirements. The goal of modularity is to provide the combatant commander a flexible mix of headquarters and tactical forces. As always, the challenge is to be able to deploy the right force, and the right command and control, at the right time and place.

The modular Army has a theatre-level headquarters (Unit of Employment - UEy) to tailor and administratively control Army forces in the theatre. Divisions will still have important roles, and will become capable of being used as JTF-HQs as US Army moves to a Unit of Employment X (UEx) design. The UEx is the higher level command and support organization for the UAs and is roughly the size of a division. UEx will have Corps-level attributes as well. A UEx will command and control up to six maneuver UAs (modular Brigade Combat Teams) and numerous functional UAs.

BCTs are the primary organizations for fighting tactical engagements and battles. The BCTs have one of three standard designs: heavy brigade combat team (HBCT), infantry brigade combat team (IBCT), and Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT). These BCTs include battalion-sized maneuver, fires, reconnaissance, and logistic subunits. BCTs have organic close combat, combat support, and combat service support capabilities. They are organized as combined arms units down to battalion level.

A mix of other brigades supports the UEx and the BCTs. These brigades include an aviation brigade, a reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) brigade, a maneuver enhancement brigade, a fires brigade, and a sustaimnent brigade. The mission of these brigades is to support BCTs and carry out specific tasks in support of echelons above BCT.

Incorporating elements of the corps and division into its structure, BCTs are flexible, broad based, self-sufficient, and capable of independent action.

This has brought about major changes in the sustaining units of the Army. Moving from the Division-based organizational structure to the brigade based modular, has structured a support force configuration that is adaptable, versatile, and responsive to the war fighting needs of the Joint Combatant Commander. However, they have to change not only unit designs, but Army concepts of operations and logistics support.

The intent of the logistics modular force design is to have a single person in charge of logistics, in a theater of operations, and that person will be the commander of the theater sustainment command (TSC). He may exercise command and control through his deployable command post (DCP) commander.

Modular Force Logistics Organizations

Modular force logistics is executed by a streamlined group of logistics organizations. The major support elements on the field are the Theater Sustainment Command, the Sustainment Brigade, the Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, the Brigade Support Battalion, and the Forward Support Company. Each of these organizations has their own missions and capabilities and as such is only brought to the conflict based on the AOR itself and the sustainment requirements of the operational elements.

Theater Sustainment Command (TSC)

The Theater Sustainment Command is a regionally focused single Army Log Headquarters that has a joint capability of providing Log C2 for multiple JO As. It is globally employable and has an end to end (2 way) vision of distribution operations.

The mission of this structure is to plan, prepare, rapidly deploy, and execute operational logistics within assigned AOs or JO As. TSC is an organization that supports a “brigade-based” army (Brigade Combat Teams).

TSC consolidates most of the logistic functions previously performed by the Corps and Theater into a single operational echelon and is responsible for command and control of logistics operations conducted in support of Army as well as joint, interagency, and multinational forces.

Capabilities:

• Command and control for all assigned, attached, and OpCon units (for 5 to 8 Bdes/Group sized units);

• Coordination and conducts of inter-theater logistics support operations and joint operations;

•   Distribution  management  for Army,  Joint,  Interagency,  and Multinational Forces in theater;

• Planning, coordination, and supervision of intelligence, physical security, and area protection activities for areas assigned by the Army Forces Commander.

The command will include a standardized headquarters organization with modular subordinate units capable of providing multifunctional logistics: supply, maintenance, transportation, petroleum, and port and terminal operations. Other specialized capabilities such as mortuary affairs, aerial delivery, financial and soldier support are available as a force pooled asset. The combination of these capabilities gives the TSC commander the ability to organize and provide tailored support such as theater opening, distribution, or support to a Division or Corps. Using the Modular Concept, units can change based on METT-TC (mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support).

The TSC commander will serve as the senior Army logistics commander in the Corps/Theater. The TSC will provide command and control of assigned, attached, and OPCON units executing theater opening, theater distribution, supply, maintenance, field services, contracting, contract management, procurement, transportation, human resources, and financial management.

The TSC will maximize throughput of Army forces and other supported elements. It will provide support to the operational level units in the Theater AO and overall support to Army forces. The TSC will also execute those lead service Common User Logistics (CUL) support requirements that the Theater commander assigns. It is capable of deploying multiple Sustainment

Command (Expeditionary) (ESC) for command and control in an operational environment with widely distributed forces.

Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC)

The ESC is the TSC's forward presence for expeditionary operations for theater, Joint Forces Commander (JFC), or Regional Combatant Commander (RCC) forces. The ESC is a deployable command post for the TSC. The focus is on an assigned area of operations (AO) and those units deployed in the AO (corps or divisions). The ESC synchronizes the AO distribution systems and provides distribution oversight. The ESC can assist in tracking where requests are in the supply system and coordinates distribution assets when appropriate to redirect essential items based on the priority of support and the division or corps commander's priorities.

Army Sustainment Command (ASC)

This is the single Army national materiel manager for units stationed in the Continental United States (CONUS). It provides continuous equipment and materiel readiness to CONUS forces through effective planning, materiel and distribution management in accordance with the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) process.

It accomplishes this in order to quickly and efficiently generates and project combat power to support expeditionary operations. It performs the same materiel management functions for units in CONUS that a TSC would for deployed forces. It achieves this by synchronizing Acquisition, Logistics and Technology support from the strategic through the operational to the tactical level. Serves as AMC's single face to the field and facilitates reach back across AMC to enhance mission support. It supports Army, Joint and Coalition forces across the full spectrum of operations Manages Army Prepositioned Stocks.

Sustamment Brigades (SBs)

These brigades execute the materiel management and distribution guidance from the TSC or ESC (from ASC for those sustainment brigades stationed in CONUS when not deployed). When deployed, the command relationship with the ESC enables the TSC to issue directives to redistribute and surge logistics capabilities across the theater to fulfill requirements as needed. Under certain conditions a sustainment brigade may be OPCON to a Division for a specified purpose or period of time. A Division/Corps does not routinely command and control supporting sustainment brigades.

The sustainment brigade support operations officer (SPO) interfaces with the TSC or ESC (or ASC) materiel managers for asset management, visibility, and distribution to support the division or any other assigned customer units. When deployed, sustainment brigades provide physical distribution and distribution management of materiel to brigade combat teams and echelons-above-brigade units as part of a theater-wide distribution process and area support to units within an assigned AO, normally under the command and control the TSC or its ESC.

Capabilities:

• Theater Opening (T.O.) - capable of establishing and managing initial theater opening operations to include RSOI functions and establishing the theater base.

• Theater Distribution (T.D.) - distributes to and retrogrades from maneuver BCTs and other support brigades operating in the theater/JAO.

•  Sustainment Operations - provides supplies, field services, field and selected sustainment level maintenance, recovery, and field feeding for itself and its assigned subordinates.

The sustainment brigade's only organic subordinate unit is its' BTB. The BTB provides C2 for assigned/attached personnel and units. It directs logistics support operations for the BTB and provides logistics advice to supported commanders in the BTB. The building blocks of the Sustainment Brigades are the Combat Service Support Battalions.

Figure no. 1. Exemple of a Sustainment Brigade Structure Figure no. 1. Exemple of a Sustainment Brigade Structure

Combat Sustainment Support Batalions (CSSBs)

These battalions are modular and standardized to provide a full spectrum of logistics support. Their designs will be standardized and they will usually consist of five to seven companies; are flexible and multifunctional organizations and can be task organized to support theater opening, distribution, or life support functions.

The CSSB's mission is to plan, coordinate, synchronize, and execute logistics. It provides command and control over subordinate logistics organizations that support decisive operations. It receives and employ modular logistics units in support of its mission. It can provide direct or area support depending upon requirements. It oversees distribution, Sustainment, and movement control operations and coordinates external logistics functions.

Capabilities:

• Command and control of all company level operations of the battalion;

• Establishes and operates a supply support activity (supply classes: I, II, III, IV, V, VII, VIII, IX and water);

• Provides field maintenance, recovery, and selected Sustainment level maintenance on an area basis;

• Provides human resource services, postal, finance, and religious services for units of the battalion.

Brigades Suport Battalions (BSBs)

It is the optimal force specifically designed to provide logistics and combat health support to the IBCT anywhere in the world while it operates within the confines of the Operational and Organizational (O&O) Concept.

Brigade Support Battalions are organic components of Brigade Combat Teams (BCT). They consolidate selected functions previously performed by division support commands, area support groups, corps support groups and forward support battalions into a single operational echelon. They provide the BCTs with a self-sustaining capability for up to 72 hours. They plan, coordinate, synchronize, and execute operations in support of BCT operations.

Mission:
• This unit provides command and control for all organic and attached units of the Brigade Support Battalion (BSB).

• The BSB is organized to perform distribution based sustainment.

• Supplies are tailored and packaged for specific units based on a specified time and location.

Capabilities:
•  Command and control, personnel accounting/ strength reporting and casualty reporting for units assigned, attached, or OPCON to the BSB.

• The planning, direction, and supervision of CSS for all assigned and attached units in the brigade.

• Movement management for all transportation assets operating in the brigade area.

• The planning and direction of rear operations and limited area security as assigned by the supported brigade commander.

Forward Support Companies (FSCs)

Mission: The FSC is a multi-functional company assigned to the BSB and may be OPCONed to a supported battalion. The FSC provides field maintenance and all classes of supply (minus Class VIII).

Capabilities:
• A multifunctional unit organized to perform distribution of all classes of supply, minus medical, to its supported maneuver battalion.

• It is designed to provide the first reload of fuel, ammunition and supplies.

• The Company HQs contains all field feeding assets for the supported maneuver battalion.

• The Distribution (Supply &Transportation) Platoon provides POL (Bulk and Packaged), ammunition and general supply support to a maneuver battalion.

Figure no. 2. The Modular Concept of Support Figure no. 2. The Modular Concept of Support

• The Field Maintenance Platoon from the FSC provides dedicated automotive/track field maintenance and recovery capability to the maneuver battalion.

• Health Service Support is provided by Medics embedded in the maneuver battalion HHC, and the BSB Medical Company.

The following figure will help us to better understand the whole concept of support presented in this article. The units pictured in the following figure have been discussed already. However, the emphasis is on how supplies get to the war fighter - unit and throughput are the major methods of distribution pictured here.

Conclusions:

In the years immediately following 2004, critics of the Army's modularity plan continued to worry about its alleged drawbacks, but the Army continued to express satisfaction that adequate progress was being made on implementing it in the aftermath of its adoption. Supporters of the modularity plan, inside the Army and outside, celebrated its transformational qualities, as well as its potential contributions to making the Army more swiftly deployable, better able to handle multiple different contingencies, and more effective on the battlefield.

 

REFERENCES:

***** Army Comprehensive Guide to Modularity, US Army Training and Doctrine Command, 2004.

***** FMI 3-0.1 - The Modular Force, Headquarters Department of the Army, 2008.

***** FMI 4-93.2 - The Sustainment Brigade, Headquarters Department of the Army, 2006.

*****  FMI  4-90.7  -  Striker Brigade  Combat  Team  Logistics, Headquarters Department of the Army, 2007.

***** Modular Force Logistics Organizations, in “Army logistician”, Volume 39, Issue 3, 2007.
Beougher, Guy, C.,  Improving Division and Brigade Logistics in the Modular Force, in “Army logistician”, Volume 38, Issue 3, 2006.

Kugler, Richard, L., Case Study in Army Transformation: Creating Modular Forces, Center for Technology and National Security Policy, 2008.

 

Internet:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigade_combat_team (4 mai 2011)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformation_of_the_United_States_Army (4 mai 2011)
http://www.almc.army.mil (4 mai 2011)
http://www.fas.org/man/crs/RL32476.pdf (4 mai 2011)
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2004/02/mil-040224-usa01.htm (4 mai 2011)

 

    





 

 

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