Army begins transforming logistics in continental U.S.

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, Public Affairs Officer, 13th SC(E)

Austin, Texas — The 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) hosted more than 80 Army logistics commanders, command sergeants major, school commandants, and various civilian and Soldier logistics-related staff at a conference in the Radisson hotel here Jan. 19 and 20 to discuss the future of Army logistics in the continental U.S.

The conference was part of the new Leveraging Sustainment Operations in the Continental U.S. initiative which is intended to reduce the Army’s dependency on civilian contractors, save money, and improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of Army logistics despite planned force reductions. .

Speakers interactively discussed an array of topics, suggestions, and plans. Topics included force structure, availability of resources, better ways of determining a unit’s readiness and ways to ensure only qualified Soldiers are promoted.

Training, however, was the most talked-about topic. Speakers covered how to improve training, training with other branches, saving money on training, and unconventional means of training. .

Commandants from four different logistics schools explained the improvements in their schools such as the issuing of smart phones with visual applications to keep students’ attention and the teaching of automotive repair theory to mechanics so they can solve problems instead of merely installing replacement parts. Speakers and audience members alike expressed the importance of broadening Soldiers’ education to make them increasingly multifunctional. .

Col. Dave Williams, Force Development Directorate director, discussed plans to reduce vehicle maintenance costs by assigning higher-level mechanics to truck companies that often must send their vehicles away for repairs. Williams also spoke of ways to reduce the number of wheeled vehicles while maintaining the force and explained an initiative to upgrade safety equipment on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles while continuing to replace older vehicles with newer MRAPs. .

Lt. Col. Angie Holbrook, Human Resources Command chief of soldiers support branch enlisted management, discussed ways to fill field-grade officer and enlisted positions despite shortages. She also mentioned how large numbers of Soldiers who are medically unable to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan created difficulty. She cited the example of admin specialists, 9.8% of whom cannot deploy. .

Col. Terence Hildner, the 13th SC(E) commander, stressed his belief that LSOC is the only way to deal with the Army’s current logistical challenges. .

“We are going to reduce some structure, we are going to have fewer units … if we don’t work together we will fail because there’s just not enough of us to succeed unless we work together,” Hildner said. .

Maj. Gen. Raymond Mason, U.S. Forces Command deputy chief of staff G4 – the staff section largely responsible for logistics – explained the basics of the LSOC initiative. LSOC bisects the continental U.S. from West to East. LSOC-West is coordinated by 13th SC(E) at Fort Hood, Texas, and LSOC-East is coordinated by 3rd ESC at Fort Knox, Ky. .

Mason explained that while deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan ESCs control sustainment brigades in theater, but at home these brigades are controlled by higher headquarters units that are not logistics oriented. LSOC is intended to create a formal mentorship relationship between the ESCs and other logistics-oriented units to help with training, mission support, and overall communication and coordination between the units.

Hildner explained his intent for the conference, held primarily for LSOC-West, was to build personal relationships and bring the Army’s logistics community together as one to discuss the issues and solve problems. .

“What I’m hoping that LSOC will become in terms of a power of one is that the one community we’ve been talking about will be able to take care of itself in terms of training because we are who it’s designed to train and we are the corporate stakes holders of that same organization,” Hildner said. .

Hildner said the collective voice of sustainment commanders led the Training and Doctrine Command to support the Command Post Exercise Sustainment – training exercises for logistics units – by moving to permanently add it to the post budget only a day after it was discussed in the conference. .

Future conferences will focus on materiel management, reducing contract costs, and relationships with the reserve component, Hildner said. .

LSOC-West is comprised of 15th Sust. Bde. at Fort Bliss, Texas; 1st Sust. Bde. at Fort Riley, Kan.; 43rd Sust. Bde. at Fort Carson, Colo.; 4th Sust. Bde. at Fort Hood, Texas; 593rd Sust. Bde. at Fort Lewis, Wash.; 916th Support Brigade at Fort Irwin, Calif.; 404th Army Field Support Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; and 407th AFSB at Fort Hood, Texas. LSOC-East is comprised of 10th Sust. Bde. at Fort Drum, N.Y.; 49th Quartermaster Group at Fort Lee, Va.; 7th Sust. Bde. at Fort Eustis, Va.; 82nd Sust. Bde. at Fort Bragg, N.C.; 101st Sust. Bde. at Fort Campbell, Ky.; and 3rd Sust. Bde. at Fort Stewart, Ga. .

-

 

news photoBrig. Gen. Robin Akin, commander of 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), speaks during a Leveraging Sustainment Organizations in the Continental U.S. – West conference at the Radisson hotel here, Jan. 19. 3rd ESC is the senior mentor of LSOC-East. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs)

 

news photoGeneral officer logisticians participate in a Leveraging Sustainment Organizations in the Continental U.S. – West conference at the Radisson hotel here, Jan. 19. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs)

 

news photoCol. Terence Hildner, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) commander, speaks at a Leveraging Sustainment Organizations in the Continental U.S. – West conference at the Radisson hotel here, Jan. 19. 13th SC(E) is the senior mentor of LSOC-West. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs)

 

news photoMaj. Gen. Raymond Mason, U.S. Forces Command deputy chief of staff G4 – the staff section largely responsible for logistics – speaks at a Leveraging Sustainment Organizations in the Continental U.S. – West conference at the Radisson hotel here, Jan. 19. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs)