Reports from AUSA’s Logistics Symposium 


Lt. Gen. James Pillsbury, deputy commanding general,
Army Materiel Command, speaks on logistics changes at Richmond, Va., symposium and exposition.

Logistics Challenge: What’s the Demand Factor?    

             Among the largest challenges facing the Army today is predicting “what the demand factor” is going to be in five years, a senior service civilian for resources told attendees at Association of the United States Army’s logistics symposium and exhibition in Richmond, VA.

            Speaking June 17, Donald Tison, assistant deputy chief of staff, G-8, said the Army is going “to face restricted budgets,” but “we’re going to modernize.”   

In terms of manpower, he said the Army is already feeling the effects of the standing up of three new commands – Northern Command, African Command and Cyber Command.

            Lt. Gen. James Pillsbury, deputy commanding general of Army Materiel Command, said that as the new commands stood up and will be standing up, the Army is growing by three brigade combat teams and converting 12 others to modularized units.

            “At the brigade level, we’re in a churn” even without deploying them into Afghanistan or Iraq, he added.

            At the same time, “there has been an increase in the number of non-deployables for training, recovery from injuries or illness or moving between assignments. “They make up about 13 percent of the force,” Tison said.

            Congress is considering raising the Army’s active duty end strength above 547,000. “What’s the good number?  Is it 2,000, 30,000?” to make up for the manpower shortfall.

            “The bottom line is we’re trying to increase dwell time,” Pillsbury said. Adding, 750,000 soldiers put on this uniform every day” to meet the Army’s world-wide commitments. “Thank you, guard and reserve.”

            He added the effects of base realignment and closure (BRAC) are starting to be felt across the Army with $4.5 billion in construction scheduled for this year and a like amount in the coming year. 

Pillsbury noted that three of the Army’s four-star headquarters are affected by BRAC. They are AMC, Forces Command and Training and Doctrine Command.  

            Tison said there is an insufficient amount of equipment to train on and there are lags in delivering equipment.  

            Pillsbury said the Army is already looking at what a drawdown of forces in Iraq would mean in terms of what equipment is left behind, what is sent to Kuwait or Afghanistan and what would come back to the United States.

            Even with equipment returning from theater, the Army would only be meeting slightly more than 1 percent of its needs for training.

            The drawdown of equipment includes everything from tanks to well cameras.  “The 900,000 individual [small items] are going to be the challenge.”

            Adding, “What do we retain, what do we retain or transfer?”

            In the past, the Army has been paying for much of its equipment reset and new equipment such as Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles through supplemental appropriations.

“We expect this to be flat” in the coming years, and “a lot of our maintenance dollars sit in the supplemental,” Tison said.

            Pillsbury said AMC is busy rebuilding pre-positioned stocks.

            Looking to the future on force structure and manpower for future budgets, Tison said, “We have not seen anything yet coming out of the Quadrennial Defense Review.”

            He said the guidance from the Defense Department is answering the questions: “If you’re not using it now, is it needed and how quickly can you get it?”  
Tison said the Army’s strategy is to rapidly equip the current force, determine how to do upgrades for the equipment and modernize it in brigade combat teams, to examine how to spin out technologies from the Future Combat Systems to soldiers more quickly.    

            “We’re going to spin out this great technology in ’09 and continue into 10 and 11.


Donald Tison, assistant deputy chief of staff G-8, details Army rebalancing plan at Richmond, Va., symposium and exposition

Army Unveils FM-40 – ‘Sustainment’ – at AUSA Symposium

“Sustainment is a little broader” than combat service support, and it is one of the Army’s six war-fighting functions, the commanding general of the Combined Arms Support Command, said at the unveiling of the Army’s latest field manual, FM 4-0.

            Maj. Gen. James Chambers said his Fort Lee, Va.-based command intentionally used the Association of the United States Army’s logistics symposium and exhibition to debut the work. 

He cited the unveiling of the operations field manual, FM 3-0, in Fort Lauderdale at another AUSA event as the model he was following.

            The manual, titled, “Sustainment: Maintaining Army Readiness and Combat Power,” is in synch with the operations manual, he said, and “we were able to get it done in 13 months.”

            He said the manual drew on the expertise of serving and retired officers, defense industry and academia and was reviewed three times before publication.

            Speaking June 17 in Richmond, Chambers said, “This affects everything else and gets at how we support large formations” and “also talks about supporting full-scale operations.”

            Adding, “4-0 flushes out” how sustainment fits in the larger warfighting picture -- in a joint area, sustaining a modular force strategically and tactically.

            The manual details “how sustainment builds combat power” in logistics, personnel services, maintaining readiness and health service support. 

            “We look at the Army as the executive agency” in such things as mail delivery and supporting other service such as transporting a million gallons of fuel a day into Iraq to support operations.

            Chambers said the command plans to digitize the work into an audio book and will release, over the next year or so, four other complementary manuals.

            “We’re dramatically reducing the number of field manuals and concentrating on big concepts like transportation.” 

Moving Equipment out is Huge
Mission Don’t Turn Kuwait into ‘Parking Lot’ 

            “Our goal is not to turn Kuwait into a parking lot,” a senior Army logistician said about drawing down equipment in Iraq and shipping it back to the United States.

            Speaking June 17 at an Association of the United States Army’s Logistics Symposium and Exhibition in Richmond, Va., Maj. Gen. Vincent Boles, assistant deputy chief of staff, G-4, said the drawdown has already begun as Forward Operating Bases are being closed and U.S. forces are preparing to leave Iraq’s major cities by the end of June.

            Describing what happens in those closings, Lt. Col. Darren Werner, commander of the 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, said it “involved moving over 200 containers of equipment, identifying every piece of equipment in it. It was a huge mission.”

            He added the ammunition that was left behind was moved to different places in Iraq. “And we did it in 30 days.”

            Lt. Gen. Mitchell Stevenson, deputy chief of staff, G-4, said, “We have a lot of stuff there.  Imagine if you haven’t PCS’ed in eight years.”

            Adding, “We got lots of warning” about when U.S. combat forces are to leave, “not like Desert Storm.  We’ve got a year plus to plan it.”

            Stevenson and Boles said that anything the United States does not need now or is planning to leave for the Iraqis is being moved now.

            “You’re not going to start seeing significant drawdowns until March,” Stevenson said.  This will allow the American forces to be in place for provincial elections in December and their immediate aftermath.

After that, “equipment from three to four brigades [will be moved out] every month through August,” the deadline for U.S. combat forces to leave Iraq.

            About 50,000 American soldiers will remain to help train Iraqi national police and the Iraqi army.

            At the same time, the Army will have to decide what to do with “white equipment, equipment bought by contractors for use by them,” Jeffrey Parsons, executive director of the Army Contracting Command, said.

            “A very large footprint of contractors has been left behind,” Werner said.

           As to how the equipment will be returned to the United States, Col. (P) John R. O’Connor, deputy commander of Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, said sealift will lead the way from ports in Iraq, Turkey and Jordan. “There’s a lot of capacity out there” in the Military Sealift Command and possible charters if needed  
Brig. Gen. Richard Mustion, Soldier Support Institute;
Col. (P) John O'Connor, Military Surface Deployment
and Distribution Command; Maj. Gen. Vincent Boles, assistant deputy chief of staff, G-4; and Lt. Gen. James Pillsbury, deputy commanding general, Army Materiel Command, participate in panel on how the force is changing during an AUSA Logistics symposium.

NCO ‘Brainstorm’ Offers Non-Technology Solution Use Mules to Move Supplies

            “An NCO brainstorm came up with a solution to the difficult problems” of moving supplies and equipment around Afghanistan,” the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command told attendees at an Association of the United States Army logistics symposium and exhibition. The solution: “Why not mules?  They are pack animals.”

Command Sgt. Maj. David Bruner
of the Training and Doctrine
Command explained the expanded role noncommissioned officers play
in today's Army at a dinner during an AUSA symposium and exposition in Richmond, Va.
              Speaking June 17 at the Richmond, Va., symposium dinner, Command Sgt. Maj. David Bruner said a special forces’ noncommissioned officer pressed the point that “we need to move like the locals.”    

        Adding, “How easy it is to be blinded by technology” and not accept a creative solution that is really and old, but tried one.

            “This is one of the reasons 2009 is the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer. They are where the rubber meets the road

            Bruner then offered a series of anecdotes of different ways of solving the problem of what to do with a “dead horse.”

            “Sometimes we buy a stronger whip to beat the dead horse” or “appoint a committee to study how to ride the dead horse” or “we’ll blame the dead horse’s family” or “we’ll do a study to see if a contractor could ride the dead horse more cheaply” or “promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.”

            NCOs can make a difference in looking for innovative solutions to continuing problems, including using old-fashioned ones, he said.

            “There is nothing old-fashioned about loving and serving your country.”

The First Thing You Do: Listen to the First Sergeant  NCO Anticipate the Needs, Make them Ready

            When a young officer attending the captain’s course asked a panel of senior noncommissioned officers what tips would they offer to a second lieutenant reporting in, Sgt. Maj. Patrick Strong, from Army Materiel Command’s business transformation directorate said, “The first thing you can do is listen” to the first sergeant.

            He reminded them noncommissioned officers are speaking with the voice of experience against the officer’s recent college education. “Let the two mesh together. … We don’t do it for the money. We do it because we love our country and we love what we do.”

            Adding, if the first sergeant “isn’t doing something illegal, immoral or unethical, support him.”

            Command Sgt. Maj. Bernard McPherson, from PEO – Soldier advised new company commanders to “ensure you have a meeting with everyone in your company and one of the first should be with the first sergeant.”

            “Speak with one voice. The soldiers should never hear: ‘he said, she said’ [when officers and seniors are talking in front of them. Speak with one voice,” Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Blake from Sustainment Command said.

            In looking at his position, Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Aubain, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, said, it is “anticipating their needs” and ultimately to make them ready.”

            He praised the work of PEO -- Soldier did with the Rapid Fielding Initiative in better protecting soldiers.

            “Over 40 years, we had two [protective] vests. In 1999, interceptor body armor was introduced.  Since 2003, three vests and 17 enhancements,” he said. 

            Two other vests are being test. 

            “We’re cutting the flash to bang time.”