Expeditionary readiness is important sustainment competency

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The U.S. Army has determined its highest priorities for training and developing future sustainment leaders for the expeditionary force of 2025 and beyond, said Maj. Gen. Darrell Williams, commanding general, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) – Sustainment Center of Excellence and Fort Lee.

Speaking during a panel discussion at the Association of the United States Army’s Hot Topic forum on Army force projection and sustainment, Williams discussed CASCOM’s sustainment competencies or sustainment pillars – “those things that we think all sustainment leaders of the future will definitely have to possess.”

Among the sustainment competencies, first and foremost is the issue of expeditionary readiness, Williams said. 

Expeditionary readiness consists of “our understanding of reserve component mobilization, deployment/redeployment processes, setting the theater, and movement, management and control in theater.”

Another sustainment competency involves the Army’s push for a “Total Force” approach – efficient and effective use of all three Army components (Regular Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve). 

Within the sustainment realm, somewhere in the order of 70 or 80 percent of our force resides in the reserve component,” Williams said.

He added that with the current drawdown, more capabilities will be shifted to the Reserve component, making them even more critical for future expeditionary deployment.
In today’s joint and multinational environment, “we won’t go anywhere alone,” Williams said. 

This means that future logistics leaders will have to understand how to work with different Army organizations, military services, government agencies and international partners.

Williams said that operational contract support will continue to be an important function in Army sustainment. 

“Although we are trying to minimize the number of contracts, it will remain a significant part of our expeditionary Army,” he said.

The final competency is sustainment information systems. 

Williams said logistics operators will have to be able to integrate new and current systems the Army uses, such as GFEBS (General Fund Enterprise Business System) and IPPS-A (Integrated Personnel and Pay System).

Williams also noted that, contrary to what many believe, sustainment is much broader than just logistics. 

“When we talk logistics, we often think of transportation, quartermaster, and ordinance units. Sustainment also includes our human resources, medical functions, financial management, and other things that commanders of theater sustainment commands manage on a daily basis,” he said.