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Army Rebuilding Logistics Support for Bigger Combat

Lt. Gen. Gustave F. Perna
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AUSA
Thursday, June 02, 2016

The Army logistics community is making the adjustment from 15 years of concentrating on serving small-unit operations to refocusing on supporting potential large-scale combat, the service’s top logistics official said June 2.

Lt. Gen. Gustave F. Perna, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for logistics, G-4, said years of having small units operating from static forward operating bases on predictable rotations allowed the Army to slip into a “comfort zone” where some important skills “atrophied.”

Speaking at an Association of the U.S. Army’s Hot Topics forum on Army Force Projection and Sustainment, Perna said the Army is changing. “We knew when we were going to go. We knew who we were going to transition with. We knew the mission we were going to do, and we were comfortable, for lack of a better term, in our execution,” Perna said.

Now, the Army needs to bring back skills related to force projection, onward movement, and distributing and managing materiel for a large force involved in a fluid operation, he said. That means being prepared to “support ourselves across great tyrannies of distance,” sustaining brigade and division-size units on battlefields “in Europe, North Korea or you-name-the-country,” he said. “We are driving ourselves to do the things we need to do to be ready for decisive-action deployment.”

The AUSA Hot Topics forum features experts discussing how to develop future logistics leaders, the challenges of getting soldiers and their firepower to the fight, and honing “expeditionary logistics” in joint and multinational environments.