The 1st Armored
Division learned the value of logistics command and control
systems through a series of mission rehearsal
exercises. The Army Battle Command Systems let logistics commanders
view the battlefield so they can support the battle as
Exercising command and control of logistics units
that are supporting fast-moving combat units on a far-flung,
asymmetric battlefield is one of the greatest challenges facing
the division. Units operating in a digital environment must
have the proper Army Battle Command System (ABCS) systems to
provide the commander with a view of the battlefield. The 1st
Armored Division logistics command post (DLCP) uses several
ABCS systems that enable the commander not only to see his
forces, the battlefield, and the enemy but also to anticipate
Two brigades of the 1st Armored Division conducted mission
rehearsal exercises last year at the Joint Multinational Readiness
Center (formerly the Combat Maneuver Training Center) at Hohenfels,
Germany. These exercises, by the 2d Brigade Combat Team (BCT)
in August 2005 and the 1st BCT in September and October 2005,
gave the Soldiers of the 1st Armored Division Support Command
(DISCOM) the opportunity to hone their logistics command and
control capabilities using all of their battlefield ABCS systems.
Although the mission rehearsal exercise is a brigade-level
pre-deployment training event, the Joint Multinational Readiness
Center allowed the DLCP to conduct training as the brigades’ higher
logistics headquarters. The DLCP conducted training on C4ISR
(command, control, communications, computers, intelligence,
surveillance, and reconnaissance), logistics synchronization,
and battlefield distribution, which provided an excellent opportunity
to test and improve the skills of the DLCP.
The experience of the 1st Armored DISCOM demonstrates the vital
role ABCS systems play in establishing and maintaining logistics
command and control. These systems are crucial to the work
of the cells—C4ISR, logistics synchronization, combat
loss regeneration, battlefield distribution (movement)—that
make the DLCP, or division rear command post, function.
Armored Division logistics command post (above)
was set up at Wiesbaden Army Airfield for the mission
readiness exercises. Inside the command post (below),
the C4ISR cell occupied this space.
Note the three projection screens on which information
from the ABCS systems was displayed for all participants.
The ABCS systems the DLCP uses are the Battle Command Sustainment
Support System (BCS3), the Defense Transportation Reporting
and Control System (DTRACS), the Blue Force Tracker, the All-Source
Analysis System (ASAS), and the Command and Control Personal
Computer (C2PC). Here is a quick summary of what each system
in the C4ISR/Fusion area of the tactical operations center
(TOC) provides to the commander.
BCS3. This system supports the warfighting command and control
and battle management process by rapidly processing large volumes
of logistics, personnel, and medical information. It facilitates
quicker, more accurate decision making by providing an effective
means for force-level commanders and combat service support
(CSS) commanders to determine the sustainability and supportability
of current and planned operations.
BCS3 collects and processes selected CSS data in a seamless
manner from CSS Standard Army Management Information Systems,
DTRACS or the Movement Tracking System (MTS), radio frequency
identification tags, manual systems and processes, and other
related source data and hierarchical automated command and
control systems (such as the Blue Force Tracker and the Global
Command and Control System-Army).
Based on these inputs, BCS3 generates and disseminates near-real-time
CSS command and control reports and responses to CSS-related
ad hoc queries, updates its database (every 3 hours on average),
and provides CSS battlefield functional area information in
support of ABCS’s common operating picture of the battlefield.
DTRACS. DTRACS is a satellite-based truck- and rail-tracking
capability. It is used primarily for tracking organic movements
within the U.S. European Command area of responsibility and
in Korea in place of MTS.
The DTRACS fly-away kit allows a unit to exchange text messages
with vehicles on the road. This capability facilitates the
creation of real-time traffic reports and route reconnaissance
updates. The system allows logistics leaders on the move to
maintain in-transit visibility of critical logistics. DTRACS’s
messaging capability enables logisticians to reroute supplies
using battlefield satellite communications.
Blue Force Tracker. Blue Force Tracker is a digitized
battle command information system that provides on-the-move,
and near-real-time information to tactical combat, combat support,
and CSS leaders and Soldiers. Blue Force Tracker is a key component
and seamlessly integrates with the other components of ABCS
at the brigade level and below. Blue Force Tracker supports
situational awareness down to the Soldier and platform level
across all battlefield functional areas and echelons. Blue
Force Tracker also allows brigade- and battalion-level commanders
to exercise command when they are away from their TOCs because
they can interface with subordinate commanders and leaders
who also are equipped with Blue Force Tracker.
ASAS. ASAS is an Army program to automate the processing and
analysis of intelligence data from all sources. It is a tactically
deployable, ruggedized, automated information system. It is
designed to support management of intelligence and electronic
warfare operations and target development in battalions, brigades,
armored cavalry regiments, separate brigades, divisions, corps,
and at echelons
ASAS is a “linchpin” system for forming a seamless
intelligence architecture between and across echelons. The
architecture can be broken down into three major groups:
sensors, processors, and communications systems. The systems
each group support simultaneous demands for intelligence
and targeting information at multiple echelons. They support
from the tactical through the strategic levels across the
range of military operations.
C2PC. C2PC is a Windows-based client software application
designed to facilitate military command and control by improving
situational awareness and enhancing operational- and tactical-level
decisions. C2PC collects and assimilates information from
other battlefield tracking systems (such as Blue Force Tracker
and ASAS) to provide the commander with a clear picture of
the battlefield. It uses a collaborative approach to enable
information sharing among commanders and units on the battlefield.
The DLCP is composed of cells that provide critical planning
and operational tracking using all of the ABCS systems.
C4ISR. The DLCP’s C4ISR cell is responsible for the
DLCP’s battle rhythm. This responsibility includes
managing the timing of all actions and controlling all communications
into, out of, and within the DLCP. Battle update briefs are
the primary synchronizing events that control the battle
The C4ISR cell is the integrator of all processes in the
DLCP, and all DLCP personnel participate. An associated process
occurs when the planning cell has to be stood up to support
the military decision making process for the division.
The C4ISR cell uses all ABCS systems to obtain a reliable
picture of the battlefield. Outputs of the cell include division
logistics orders and command and control of assigned battlespace
and all division logistics assets.
Logistics synchronization. The logistics synchronization
cell is responsible for coordinating all CSS and combat health
support requirements and for accomplishing all logistics
missions for all CSS units in the division.
The cell identifies all CSS and combat health support requirements
and measures them against capabilities and shortfalls 24,
48, and 72 hours out from division missions. The daily CSS
synchronization meeting is the primary event that controls
Primary participants in the logistics synchronization process
include representatives of the movement control office, support
operations office, division ammunition office, ground safety
office, class IX (repair parts) section, property book office,
CSS automation management office, division medical operations
center, division G–1, and division G–4 and unit
The synchronization process is scheduled in relation to other
DLCP processes in the DLCP battle rhythm. Synchronization
has an associated process that occurs when the planning cell
is stood up to support the division’s military decision
The logistics synchronization cell mainly
uses Blue Force Tracker, C2PC, and BCS3 to obtain the information
to perform its mission. Outputs of the logistics synchronization
cell include a daily fragmentary order, published by the
C4ISR cell, that is synchronized with the combat loss regeneration
and battlefield distribution processes.
Combat loss regeneration. The combat loss regeneration
cell is responsible for regenerating combat losses of both
and personnel. The regeneration cell monitors the combat
readiness of the division’s assigned and attached units
and works to increase unit readiness.
Regeneration is one of the requirements drivers for other
logistics processes. Process participants include representatives
of the G–1, G–4, materiel management center,
property book office, and class IX section. The regeneration
process occurs daily and is synchronized in the battle rhythm
of the DLCP.
The combat loss regeneration cell relies heavily on input
from logistics status reports, unit liaison officers, C2PC,
and BCS3. The outputs of the regeneration process are the
requirements that the logistics synchronization and battlefield
distribution cells will use.
Battlefield distribution (movement). The battlefield
distribution (movement) cell is responsible for synchronizing
among sectors and to and from forward operating bases in
the division’s battlespace. The cell identifies and
schedules all movements 24, 48, and 72 hours out for divisional
and nondivisional units that move in the division’s
battlespace. Battlefield distribution is linked to all
other processes in an effort to find the best way to use
assets while also meeting requirements for force protection
of combat logistics patrols.
Members of the cell include G–3, G–4, movement
control office, division transportation office, support
operations office, division materiel management office,
and corps movement
control team representatives and unit liaison officers.
The battlefield distribution cell’s ABCS contributors
include C2PC, ASAS-Light, BCS3, and DTRACS. Cell outputs
include a daily division movement matrix and division orders
with force-protection requirements for combat units.
Military Decision Making Process
The military decision making process is accomplished by
members of the DLCP battlestaff and participants from the
different processes. The military decision making process
is the sum of all of the other processes. The staff members
who represent the DISCOM in the division’s military
decision making process are the support operations officer
and the G–4 planner.
The military decision making process occurs as needed. The
output from this process is a division order or annex. It
is followed by a separate military decision making process
for the DISCOM that results in the DISCOM’s order for
its subordinate units.
Logistics Command and Control Training
The 1st Armored Division DLCP used the BCT mission rehearsal
exercises to create a training scenario for command and
control of the division’s logistics support systems
and then integrated those systems to furnish a common operating
picture in the C4ISR cell.
By using the command and control systems, the DLCP tracked
not only the logistics systems and convoys in the division’s
battlespace but also the brigades’ combat operations
and the Red Ball convoys that brought supplies from the posts
where the units were stationed to the Hohenfelds Training
Area. Tracking each repair part from a supply support activity
to Hohenfelds became a primary focus of both mission rehearsal
exercises as the fight continued and returning essential
combat systems to the fight became a crucial mission.
The Red Ball convoys and Iron Bullet Express missions logged
over 110,000 miles in 45 days. Soldiers on those movements
also served as essential observers of conditions on the autobahns.
They provided text messages through DTRACS that updated road
conditions, which allowed later missions to try to find more
expedient routes. The DLCP used the German traffic-monitoring
Web site to get the most
up-to-date road conditions for all
convoys before they left their starting points. The DLCP
also sent text messages to the convoys alerting them to any
accidents or traffic jams.
of the ABCS systems to show battlefield information
are demonstrated in this view of a BCS3 computer
screen. It shows the locations of radio frequency
tag interrogators at Wiesbaden Army Airfield.
The ABCS systems fit into
the processes by providing the DLCP staff with the information
that they needed to see themselves,
the battlefield, and the enemy. Inside the TOC, information
was displayed on three projection screens in a standard
setup so that everyone knew to look for the information in
configuration. This enabled the staff to rapidly detect
problems or issues before they developed or before inaction
any potential solution so that it would be too late to
Armed with the ABCS systems and the processes managed by
the cells, the DLCP developed into a very capable logistics
command and control headquarters. The DLCP continued to refine
its procedures and processes during three 1st Armored Division
Iron Focus exercises in October 2005, December 2005, and
February 2006. These division-level exercises were conducted
in preparation for a division War-fighter exercise in 2007.
In the Iron Focus exercises, the DLCP combined with elements
of the division staff to form the division rear command post.
All systems were exercised with division teammates present
in order to develop the logistics estimate for the orders
process. The DISCOM will continue to refine the processes
through the upcoming division Warfighter exercise to ensure
success for the 1st Armored Division.
The ABCS systems provide logistics commanders an unprecedented
view of the battlefield, which will enable them to support
the battle as it is being fought and anticipate future requirements.
The systems allow commanders to see where the enemy can disrupt
the supply chain and, most important, where the logistics
commander can intervene to sway the fight in favor of victory.
Major James E.P. Miller is the S–6 for the 1st Armored
Division Support Command in Wiesbaden, Germany. He served
as the Deputy G–6 of the 1st Armored Division in Iraq.
He holds a bachelor's degree in general science education
from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate
of the Army Command and General Staff College.