Logisticians need to know what facility packages and civil engineering support are available for military operations other than war.
On Tuesday, 6 September, at 0800 central daylight time, an earthquake occurs on the Reelfoot Rift in the south central New Madrid seismic zone of the United States. The earthquake, which lasts approximately 20 seconds, registers 7.6 on the Richter scale and affects portions of seven states. The epicenter of the earthquake is in a sparsely populated area 5 miles northeast of Marked Tree, Arkansas, about 40 miles northwest of the center of Memphis, Tennessee.
The Army Forces Command names XX Corps as the disaster relief task force for the disaster response in the St. Louis, Missouri, area. The Director of Military Support designates Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base (AFB), Missouri, as base support installations for the relief efforts in St. Louis.
At 1230, 6 September, you, as an acting staff officer of the 20th Corps Support Command, are tasked to conduct a mission analysis. Specifically, the Assistant Chief of Staff, G4, wants to know what is available in the region for bare base development so the deploying troop support does not further drain the resources of the local area. Since you are only vaguely familiar with joint capabilities in bare base development, you search for a source that addresses joint base development.
This scenario is part of the culminating exercise in the Logistics in Operations Other Than War Course at the Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. As the author of the current course and instructor of two iterations of the exercise, I learned that many Army logisticians are not aware of what is available within the Department of Defense (DOD) to support bare base development. I hope this article will be useful as a quick reference for anyone assigned to a unit that may have to deploy and establish a bare base facility to support a joint or combined task force.
Army Regulation 310-25, Dictionary of United States Army Terms, defines "bare base" as "a base having a runway, taxiway, and parking areas that are adequate for the deployed force and possess an adequate source of water that can be made potable." However, each service views bare base operations differently. In general terms, and for the purposes of military operations other than war (MOOTW), bare base development requires the establishment of a troop support site capable of providing quasi-fixed billeting and field service facilities. MOOTW missions that require bare base development range from deployment in sparse and ravaged theaters (such as Somalia, where anything of value was stripped and local support was nonexistent) to operations in less austere sites (as was the case in the Yellowstone forest fires in 1988).
With increasing DOD requirements for joint and combined bare base development in MOOTW, logisticians must become familiar with the various services' troop support and sustainment engineering capabilities. However, the capabilities of the services to establish bare base fixed facilities and provide field services to various troop densities differ significantly. Logisticians should be familiar with the types of facilities available, by service, and the civil engineering support that establishes and sustains the support mission.
Currently, there are three prepackaged quasi-fixed facility systems for bare base troop bed-down operations. They are Force Provider for the Army and Harvest Eagle and Harvest Falcon for the Air Force. Although the Navy and Marine Corps have constructed permanent and quasi-fixed bare base facilities in the past, they currently do not have preexisting, complete deployment packages in their inventories.
With the ability to support up to 3,300 personnel, the Army's Force Provider is the largest single prepackaged bare base capability in the DOD's inventory. The Force Provider package is maintained and operated by a quartermaster general support company consisting of a headquarters section, support operations section, maintenance section, and six provider platoons. Each platoon module is designed to support 550 soldiers, excluding Force Provider platoon personnel.
Inherent in the Force Provider platoon are billeting (TEMPER tents and cots); an operations center; a dining facility; latrines; showers; a laundry; power generators; tentage for a first aid station; and a morale, welfare, and recreation center. Each platoon is self-contained and can be operational within 120 hours, depending on required sustainment engineering.
The Army's goal is to have 36 platoon modules in its operational project stocks-12 positioned on prepo afloat ships and 24 at Sierra Army Depot, California. Currently, one Force Provider module is being used in the relief operations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Of the other two Force Provider companies available, six modules are located onboard the Gopher State in AR3, and two are being assembled. [Note: Army reserve stocks (ARS) are five groups of supplies and equipment aligned and designated to satisfy initial wartime sustainment requirements: AR1 is stored in the continental United States (CONUS); AR2 is stored in Europe; AR3 is pre-positioned afloat near areas of potential conflict; AR4 is stored in the Pacific; and AR5 is stored in Southwest Asia.]
A unique feature of the Force Provider company is its "type B" strength order designation in its table of organization and equipment, which allows nonmilitary personnel to replace up to 90 percent of the Force Provider personnel. This designation is particularly expedient in MOOTW because it allows the Army to use indigenous contract labor to bolster the local economy after a natural disaster, war-stricken civilians seeking to help their country, or host nation support to accomplish the unit's mission.
Harvest Eagle and Harvest Falcon
The Air Force's Harvest Eagle and Harvest Falcon systems complement Force Provider's capabilities and applications in MOOTW. Smaller than the Force Provider company, Harvest Eagle and Harvest Falcon systems can support 1,100 personnel each. However, of the two Air Force systems, the 50 Harvest Falcon sets are more comprehensive and consist of four major component sets: housekeeping, industrial, initial flightline support assets, and follow-on flightline support. The housekeeping sets are designed to support personnel and include TEMPER tents, hardwall shelters, latrines, showers, a dining facility, and support vehicles. Industrial sets expand the basic capabilities of the housekeeping sets by providing underground water, sewage, and electrical services. Industrial sets also can support other facilities such as warehouses, maintenance and engineer shops, field exchanges, and even chapels. Although of limited use in MOOTW, initial and follow-on flightline sets offer airfield lighting and aircraft hangars. In total, current Harvest Falcon systems can support up to 55,000 personnel and 750 aircraft at 14 separate bases.
Not as robust as Harvest Falcon, Harvest Eagle systems consist of two major components: a housekeeping set and a utility support package. Harvest Eagle's housekeeping set is similar to Force Provider's in that its principal focus is on basic troop support. Equipment in the set includes, but is not limited to, TEMPER tents, water purification units, latrines, a laundry, power generators, showers, fuel and water storage, and airfield lighting. Four Harvest Eagle sets are kept in U.S. Air Force, Europe, four in the Pacific Air Forces, and four in CONUS. The utility support package consists of upgraded generators, primary and secondary distribution centers, and plumbing and is only available with the four CONUS sets. The CONUS sets, stored and maintained at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, are earmarked for worldwide deployment.
Prime readiness in base service (Prime RIBS) teams provide supplies and services to the military and civilian personnel assigned to the Harvest Eagle and Harvest Falcon systems. Some of the basic support they provide includes food service, mortuary affairs, and laundry. Support requirements for the Prime RIBS teams are also tied closely to the type of environment in which they are deployed. For example, arid climates demand more water, cooling capabilities, and lightweight clothing.
Although the Navy and Marine Corps do not prepackage a specific system to support bare base operations, their eclectic approach to bare base operations works. They use the advanced base functional component system (ABFCS), which is a grouping of personnel, facilities, equipment, and materiel designed to perform a specific function or to accomplish a mission of an advanced or forward-deployed base. Some ABFCS components are operational and contain all of the subcomponents required to perform certain mission elements. However, complete ABFCS's are not preassembled and held in stock for contingency issue.
Another prominent facet of the ABFCS is the usefulness of its data base as a planning and design instrument. Logistics and engineer planners can query the ABFCS data base for information on bills of material, facility design characteristics, manpower, and equipment requirements.
Essential to any bare base development operation is sustainment engineering. Sustainment engineering is defined in Field Manual (FM) 5-114, Engineer Operations Short of War, as "tasks that support the force through the construction and repair of billeting, support and logistics facilities as well as lines of communication (LOC)." The FM also states that "engineer unit capabilities vary, depending on the type of unit." This statement, referring to Army units, is even more accurate when applied to joint engineering units and their capabilities. Each service has designated units to provide sustainment engineering support to complement their base development requirements. The logistician assigned to a joint operation requiring bare base development needs to be aware of the specific engineering roles and capabilities each service can offer to maximize the support effort.
Combat heavy engineer battalions usually consist of a headquarters and support company and three engineer companies. Each engineer company has a company headquarters, a construction platoon, a horizontal platoon, and a maintenance section. According to FM 5-116, Engineer Operations: Echelons Above Corps, these companies can perform construction, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, and modification of airfields, command posts, main supply routes, supply installations, bridges, and other related facilities.
A rapid engineer deployment, heavy operational repair squadron engineering (RED HORSE or RH) squadron is a separate squadron within the Air Force that is not aligned with any particular air wing or base. The RED HORSE concept of operations states that the unit's primary mission is to provide major force bed-down, heavy damage repair, and heavy engineering operations within its regional area of responsibility.
The RED HORSE squadron is structured to deploy in one of three packages designated RH1, RH2, and RH3. RH1, a team of up to 16 airmen plus equipment, is the advance party. RH1 prepares the initial base for the follow-on RED HORSE elements, conducts a site survey, and develops plans for construction requirements. The "bed-down echelon," RH2, consists of 94 airmen and a limited quantity of engineering vehicles and equipment and is capable of conducting light to medium construction responsibilities. The entire squadron, RH3, or the "construction echelon," includes all 296 airmen and more than 1,100 tons of vehicles and equipment. RED HORSE is the most heavily armed engineering force within the Air Force.
Prime base engineer emergency force (Prime BEEF) is an Air Force headquarters, major command, and base-level program that "organizes civil engineering force teams for worldwide direct and indirect combat support roles" (Air Force Pamphlet 93-12). It assigns civilian employees and military personnel to peacetime real property maintenance and wartime engineering functions. Prime BEEF is made up of 50-, 100-, 150-, and 200-man teams of major command-assigned civil engineering personnel identified by selected skills and designated as Prime BEEF-deployable. The major command then places these selected individuals on mobility status; when called upon collectively, they become the Prime BEEF team. Selected pieces of equipment are also earmarked for deployment status to accompany the deployment team.
The backbone of the naval construction force is the naval mobile construction battalion (NMCB). Unlike the Army, the NMCB has functional, rather than multifunctional, companies assigned to it from which deployment packages can be task-organized into detachments up to one-half the size of the battalion. Its organic companies are a headquarters company, an equipment and horizontal construction company, a utilities and camp maintenance company, and two vertical construction companies. Unique to the battalion is its air detachment (AIRDET), consisting of 89 personnel and 34 engineer support vehicles. Like the NMCB, the AIRDET can operate independently and can conduct operations in an austere environment for up to 30 days except for classes I (subsistence); III (petroleum, oils, and lubricants); and V (ammunition).
The Marine Corps engineer support battalion (ESB) is a multifunctional combat service support organization designed much like the Army's corps support battalion. When the Marines are tasked to conduct MOOTW, the ESB is the preferred engineer force. The ESB consists of a headquarters and service company, a bridge company, an engineer support company, a bulk fuel company, and three engineer companies. The engineer companies are responsible for sustainment engineering within the battalion. Fleet Marine Force Reference Publication 1-11 lists tasks assigned to the engineer company in support of bare base development. They include repairing, stabilizing, and reinforcing airfield taxiways and runways within organizational capabilities; preparing sites; installing, repairing, and maintaining expeditionary airfields; constructing, repairing, and maintaining LOC's and main supply routes; providing vertical construction; conducting construction surveys; and preparing drafting designs to support construction missions.
In MOOTW, the broad brush of missions and humanitarian conditions that we face as logisticians dictates that we know what bare base facilities exist and that we be flexible enough to employ them with maximum effectiveness. Since we can only speculate on what the next disaster, peace operation, or other MOOTW support requirement may be, the information available during the mission analysis stage directly impacts how we plan and execute support.
Remember your G4 tasker? Fortunately, you recall that you took the Logistics in OOTW Course at CGSC. Rushing to your personal library, you quickly locate your notes from the course, organize your thoughts and material, and head back to brief the G4. He is quite impressed with your astuteness and asks you what you know about United Nations logistics. But that's a subject for another day.
Major Thomas G. Roxberry is a logistics instructor for the Logistics in Operations Other Than War Course at the Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is a graduate of the Army Logistics Management College's Logistics Executive Development Course, the Army Command and General Staff College, the Supply and Services Management Officer Course, and the Transportation Officer Basic and Advanced Courses. He holds a bachelor's degree in organizational communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a master's degree in materiel acquisition management from the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida.