Changing the way the Army does business

By MAJ Debra Summerlin
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

FORT HOOD TEXAS (Dec. 18, 2003) — On December 18, the 13th COSCOM activated the Corps Distribution Command (CDC) thereby significantly changing the way the COSCOM will do business in the future. COL Laurie F. Sattler will command the CDC. This provisional, first-of-its-kind unit is part of the Army's comprehensive plan to revolutionize Army logistics. According to Sattler the organization expects official approval of its structure from the Department of the Army sometime in late 2004.

As the "heart of the COSCOM" according to COL(P) James Chambers, Commander of the 13th COSCOM, the CDC will have the opportunity to prove its worth during the COSCOM's upcoming deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In many ways, transformation and modernization are not new issues for U.S. military forces. Yet in recent years, the effort has taken on a new sense of urgency because of fundamental global changes brought about by the end of the Cold War.

This change has necessitated that the Army become more flexible so they can fight the less conventional battles the United States faces these days. In order for logistics to meet the needs of this more flexible fighting force Army logistics must also transform.

During Operation Desert Storm Army logistics experienced significant challenges in its ability to accomplish logistics down to the "last tactical mile" or getting the supplies to the actual user unit. This challenge resulted in part due to a disconnect between the supply management and the movement of those supplies to the user unit.

This disconnect has been addressed though a combination of the use of technology as well as challenging existing processes and organizations. The fusion of logistics information from satellites, radio frequency identification devices and other systems has resulted in a tremendous increase in the level of asset tracking and visibility of supplies.

The CDC concept integrates logistics operations, plans and management into one organization. The CDC has over-watch for the COSCOM's operational battalions which include the 49th Movement Control Battalion (MCB) the 4th Corps Material Management Center (CMMC) and the Special Troops Battalion. Using Satellite tracking systems these organizations can track near-real-time locations of vehicles, materiel and convoys. Satellite tags will help monitor the distribution of food, fuel, spare parts and ammunition that are moved to fighting units.

According to Sattler, the key to the CDC's success will be its unique design that puts supply management and movements of those supplies under one structure that manages distribution to Combined Joint Task Force Seven (CJTF7 ) customers in Iraq. This structure along with the use of informational technology products will ensure the COSCOM will have visibility of distribution down to the actually user organization. This visibility will provide the 13th COSCOM Commander an improved situational awareness and enable logisticians to anticipate and meet the continuing needs of fighting force. This organization will become the standard for Army Logistics according to Chambers.