|Thoughts for Sustainment
An Interview With the CASCOM
Major General Mitchell H. Stevenson, the Commanding
General of the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM),
was recently asked about the progress of logistics transformation
and, in particular, the effect of eliminating division support
commands (DISCOMs) and creating sustainment brigades that
are part of a single logistics command within a theater of
operations. The questions we asked and his responses follow.
Major General Stevenson, what do you think is the single most
important key to success for sustainment brigade commanders?
I think the most important point to remember is that, though sustainment brigades,
most often, will not be assigned to divisions, there will always be a sustainment
brigade in support of a division and its BCTs [brigade combat teams] and any
support brigades assigned. The sustainment brigade must be the “single
face to the supported unit.” Sustainment brigades will always have assigned
areas of operations—specific geographic areas for which they are assigned
to provide support through their CSSBs [combat sustainment support battalions]
to brigade support battalions (who are supporting their BCTs/brigades) or to
directly support non-brigade-aligned units. This is true both in peacetime stationing
and when deployed.
Sustainment brigade commanders need to ensure their supported units know that
the sustainment brigades are the one-stop shop for echelons-above-brigade support
and that the brigades will then coordinate with their parent sustainment command
for what they need help with. This is especially critical for supported division
commanders and their ADCs [assistant division commanders], who need to feel like
their supporting sustainment brigade commander is a member of their team, but
it is equally true for all supported units.
But if sustainment brigades are not normally assigned to the division, how will
this work at home station?
Though our doctrine says that, most likely, when deployed, sustainment brigades
will be under the
command and control of a sustainment command, when not deployed, most sustainment
brigades in CONUS [continental United States] will be on an installation where
the senior mission commander is a division commander, and so their training,
readiness, and oversight [TRO] will be administered by that division commander.
That is not a violation of our modular force logistics concept in any way. However,
all need to understand that, through the ARFORGEN [Army Force Generation] process,
sustainment brigades are not likely to deploy in support of the division commander
from whom peacetime TRO comes.
Similarly, sustainment brigades are not likely to deploy with the CSSBs they
command and control at home station, nor are the CSSBs likely to deploy with
all of their subordinate companies. This makes it critically important to know
how to quickly build relationships with a new higher headquarters and with new
customers. It’s essential for the sustainment brigade commander to recognize
this and then to teach and mentor CSSB and company commanders on how to build
Speaking of mentoring, can you tell us what the relationship of the sustainment
brigade commander should be to brigade support battalion (BSB) commanders? Since
the BSB commander has no colonel-level logistics commander in charge of his development,
isn’t that a problem?
That’s a very good point. Though there will likely never be a command and
control relationship between brigade support battalion commanders and the sustainment
brigade that supports them, there is much a colonel can do to help develop lieutenant
colonel BSB commanders into good sustainment brigade commanders, and so we need
our sustainment brigade commanders to coach, teach, and mentor the BSB commanders
they support, in a collaborative way. I believe most will be very appreciative
of the effort. Regular events like a quarterly review and analysis, a forum in
which all logisticians on an installation or in a geographic area can meet and
discussions about logistics performance, are an incredibly useful tool in this
What about the new Army Sustainment Command (ASC), the so-called “CONUS
TSC” [theater sustainment command]? What’s their relationship to
the sustainment brigades in CONUS?
For CONUS-based Active Component [AC] units, the Army Sustainment Command (headquartered
at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois) is the supporting sustainment command. ASC
partners with installation DOLs [directorates of logistics] to provide support
locally for things such as rations, water, bulk POL [petroleum, oils, and lubricants],
and even ammunition support. Automated supply support (SARSS [Standard Army Retail
Supply System] 2A functions) will come from Headquarters ASC at Rock Island and
may be provided through local “materiel management teams.” OCONUS
[outside CONUS] units and USAR [U.S. Army Reserve] and ARNG [Army National Guard]
units all have TSCs that support them, much like ASC does for CONUS-based AC
units. When the sustainment brigade is deployed, ASC will step in and fill the
gap left by the sustainment brigade; when the
sustainment brigade is not deployed and mission capable, they must continue to
be the “single face to the supported unit” I mentioned before, just
as they would for those they support when deployed, and maximize the support
they provide to units on the installation.
These have been helpful thoughts. Any concluding comments for current and future
sustainment brigade commanders?
I try to get out and meet all our sustainment brigade commanders, and I know
many of them personally. They are all, to the man or woman, absolutely outstanding
logisticians who will have no trouble with these thoughts. In fact, they are
the source of most of them. They understand logistics modularity and are embracing
it, while at the same time ensuring first-class support to their supported units,
as all good logisticians do. I could not be more proud of them.
Major Mitchell H. Stevenson is the Commanding
General of the Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort
Lee, Virginia, and the Chairman of the Army Logistician Board
LOGISTICS BRANCH IMPLEMENTATION UPDATE
The July–August 2007 issue of Army Logistician introduced
the new Logistics branch and mentioned that the establishment
of the branch was slated for 1 July 2007. The implementation
of the Logistics branch is pending final review from the new
Chief of Staff of the Army. Currently, the implementation is
expected to occur early in fiscal year 2008.
The Logistics branch will comprise commissioned officers in
the grades of captain through colonel who have graduated from
the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course, any logistics
(Quartermaster, Ordnance, Transportation) Reserve Component
Captains Career Course, or from earlier versions of logistics
officer advanced courses. The Logistics branch was designed
to meet the Army’s need for multifunctional logistics
expertise and multiskilled logistics leaders. For more information,
see the July–August 2007 issue of Army Logistician.
ARMY LOGISTICIAN ON LOGNET
Army Logistician now has a topic site on LOGNet. The purpose of this
site is to provide a forum for readers to share their thoughts about articles published
in Army Logistician. Through this site, readers can contradict or concur with statements
and ideas written in the magazine. The LOGNet topic site provides Army logisticians with
the ability to share expertise and participate in discussions. This topic supports the magazine’s
goal of providing a medium for disseminating and exchanging logistics information and expressing
original and innovative thoughts about logistics support.
LOGNet is one of the Army’s primary
tools for facilitating the exchange of knowledge between Army logisticians.
To view Army Logistician’s topic site, log into LOGNet using your Army Knowledge Online
(AKO) password or your common access card and personal identification number.
Under “BCKS Explorer” on the left side, click
on “Sustainment Center of Excellence (SCoE)” and then “Army Logistician.” To
add a comment or start a discussion, go to “Participate” and click on “Contribute.”
To directly visit Army Logistician’s topic site, go to https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/communitybrowser.aspx?id=397443.