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Army briefs transformation, modularity to LOGCOM

By Joel C. Guenther | | August 28, 2008


Two U.S. Army officers briefed 60 Marines and civilian personnel from Marine Corps Logistics Command on the Army’s Transformation and Modularity Program, Aug. 19, at the Base Conference Center here.

Army Lt. Col. Dan Graves, chief of Current Concepts and Modularity for Combined Arms Support Command, Ft. Lee, Va., and Army Maj. Guillermo Torres, logistics staff officer, Office of Strategic Mobility, Army G-4, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., narrated numerous visual aids which showed the Army’s logistical restructuring from a regiment-based structure to a brigade-based structure.

 The program, according to Graves, is the Army’s method of moving into a brigade mindset.

“The Army wants to send units not just into war, but into any theater and be more self-sufficient. So, the Army is going towards being brigade-centric,” Graves said.

“We want to have more of our operating units to be brigades and their supporting units can then revolve around those brigades to better support them,” Graves added.  He called this “a different look” for the Army.

Graves said that the Army is dividing the primary logistics command and control.

“So,” he said, “we have a single boss in theater and underneath that you have different, smaller elements.”     

He compared the model to Wal-Mart where you might have a large store over other, smaller stores, and when a product leaves any of the smaller stores, the larger one knows it.

As a result, Graves said, “The bigger Wal-Mart (Theater Sustainment Command) is the command and control and they know what every other Wal-Mart is doing.”

The Army’s T & M program began in 2003 when it was decided that smaller units may act more effectively than larger units, at least in terms of deployment.

Torres said, “With modularity, you can mobilize part of a unit, not necessarily the whole unit.”

He said this means the Army may have to deploy only a few teams rather than a whole company. In that way, he said, only the resources needed are mobilized.

 Graves said that the Army, under T & M, can be more flexible depending upon the mission.

“We can bring in different types and smaller units to accomplish the mission.” He added that this means they can develop special-purpose units which can, then, respond to various contingencies rather than one, monolithic structure that is trained for only a few contingencies.

Torres said the soldiers in the field “have been able to adjust to T & M rather quickly.” He said he was in Iraq in 2005 and “everything began to get a bit easier then.”

Graves said that from the headquarters standpoint, we’ve seen a lot of changes—growing pains. “Some units have been more successful than others,” he said. “But,” he added, “we’ve gotten a lot of feedback pointing out that it has been successful.”

In another, similar issue, Graves said the Army is moving towards “interoperability,” meaning that everything will be joint; all materiel between the Army and Marines will be serviceable by any Army or Marine Corps logistics support group.

“Therefore,” he said, “the Army can repair Marine equipment and vice versa.”

Marine Maj. William E. Arick, head of the Planning Branch, Logistics Operations Planning Division, Logistics Operations Center, LOGCOM, said of the briefing, “We just got a good overview of how the Army is organized for their combat logistics support units and how they have transformed over the last few years.”

He added, “From a logistics perspective, it’s interesting to see how the Army operates. 

Michael Madden, executive deputy, LOGCOM, added, “I think that in a joint environment, we all have to better understand how everyone is organized so that when certain services or certain functions are needed, we already know how to do it.”

He summed up, “In the end, we all fight together. When we are operating together, the more you can understand how we fit together, the more agile we can become.”