Addressing Force Sustainment for Future Combat Operations

MG Rodney Fogg
U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command

From Armor & Mobility, October 2019 Issue

Major General Rodney D. Fogg currently serves as commanding officer, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM). He is a native of Castlewood, Virginia. In 1987, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History from King College, Bristol, Tennessee, and was commissioned through Army ROTC at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee.

MG Fogg’s key leadership and command assignments include: Company Commander of the 102nd Quartermaster Company (POL), 561st Corps Support Battalion, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, deploying to Somalia and Haiti; Logistics Officer for the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia; Support Operations Officer and Battalion Executive Officer, 526th Forward Support Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky, deploying to Iraq; Commander, 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Fort Richardson, Alaska, deploying to Iraq; Commander, 49th Quartermaster Group (POL), Fort Lee, Virginia; Executive Officer to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; Commanding General, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Fort Hood, Texas, deploying to Iraq; the 54th Quartermaster General and Commandant, U.S. Army Quartermaster School, Fort Lee, Virginia; and most recently as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, G-3/4, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

He is a graduate of the Quartermaster Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the Army War College. He has a master’s degree in Logistics Management from Florida Institute of Technology and a master’s in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.

Armor & Mobility had the opportunity to speak with MG Rodney Fogg, Commander, Army CASCOM, regarding command efforts to support force sustainment and readiness objectives, including developing better processes to advance related priorities.

A&M: Please discuss the primary mission and current focus for CASCOM Sustainment Center of Excellence.

MG Fogg: CASCOM’s primary mission is to train, educate, and develop agile sustainment professionals for the U.S. Army. We are also responsible for innovative Army and joint sustainment capabilities, concepts, and doctrine to sustain Large Scale Combat Operations (LSCO). Our current efforts are primarily focused on these two broad areas.

As the Army’s Sustainment Center of Excellence, we are responsible for training all Adjutant General, Financial Management, Ordnance, Quartermaster, and Transportation professionals. We train 57 military occupational skills (MOSs), which makes up 35% of TRADOC’s annual training load. This equates to over 240,000 sustainers trained per year across all ranks—nearly 83,000 in face-to-face courses and over 157,000 through distributed learning. The professionals here at Ft. Lee do not take this mission lightly and are constantly looking for better ways to perform it. We understand the way we do business must evolve with the younger populations joining the Army, and we embrace that change. Maximizing the use of smart devices and virtual training environments is just one way we are evolving to best prepare sustainers to support the Army across the globe.

An important part of training and leader development in support of LSCO is our responsibility to create multi-functional leaders – those that can think beyond a single area of expertise in transportation, supply or maintenance. Sustainment leaders must understand LSCO and the challenges of being contested on a multi-domain battlefield where the integration of sustainment will be larger in scope, more complex, and under the most adverse conditions compared to recent counter-insurgent operations. One of our initiatives in this area involves incorporating new ways of thinking early in an officer’s career, starting at the Basic Office Leaders Course (BOLC). CASCOM has implemented a multi-functional BOLC that consolidates maintenance and ammo (OD), supply, aerial delivery, mortuary affairs (QM), and transportation (TC) into one course. While CASCOM still provides branch-specific training for officers, we are focused on creating strong multi-functional leaders that are ready no matter what duty position they are placed in for their first assignment. The goal is to provide sustainment professionals capable of visualizing the multi-domain battlefield and leading complex multi-functional sustainment operations in combat.

We are not limiting this required culture shift to officers. For NCOs, we are revamping the Advanced Leaders Course (ALC) and the Senior Leaders Course (SLC) to include more rigorous training focused on strengthening the backbone of the Army. As sustainers, our NCOs need to be technically proficient but also ready to transition into staff jobs. SLC is working to inculcate an understanding of integrated sustainment and battle staff procedures to ensure success at any level. NCOs armed with this type of understanding become critical to a staff working across the planning and execution spectrum. Part of this understanding for all cohorts includes integration of sustainment into maneuver operations in LSCO. Sustainment is critical to all commanders’ ability to maintain momentum.

We are also charged with integrating total force sustainment which includes Regular Army, National Guard, and Reserve components. We work hand in hand with all the components on this training mission and our other responsibilities because almost 80% of the Army’s sustainment resources are in the Guard and Reserve.

In addition to training world-class logisticians, CASCOM is also responsible for capturing sustainment requirements and making them reality. For new combat systems, we work to ensure the sustainment plans include maintenance, movement/recovery, and deployment plans as well as the right training. Synchronizing new systems with sustainment plans is critical to ensuring that operational units are equipped with an end-to-end enabling capability as we continue to modernize.

A&M: In terms of prioritization of weapons support, what are some areas of CASCOM focus in maximizing force potency?

MG Fogg: Modernizing weapons systems has significant impacts on the supply chain and sustainment support on the battlefield. A new weapons system may increase our warfighting capability but only if we can adequately sustain it. Without repair parts, ammunition, and other support, it quickly becomes useless in battle. CASCOM uses the DOTMLPF-P (doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, facilities, and policy) framework to determine the capabilities required to sustain weapon systems. We work closely with the Army Futures Command (AFC), and the Acquisition community to ensure that our efforts are synchronized with the modernization priorities of the Army. The CASCOM team also works closely with Army Materiel Command (AMC) and HQDA G-4 on development of the holistic sustainment plan for all new systems. We adjust sustainment concepts and support equipment to meet the demands of those new systems. This is a fairly technical process that is a joint effort between technical experts and resource managers working within tight time constraints.

To keep up with the speed of technology, we invest a lot of manpower into the development of everything from maintenance plans to fielding plans.

A&M: With the Army’s modernization strategy including Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) readiness, how is CASCOM supporting force needs?

MG Fogg: My job as the CASCOM commander is to define equipment requirements and organizational formations necessary to deliver the potential solutions for MDO. We have taken several steps to enhance our ability to perform that role in the wake of the stand-up of the AFC.

Army Futures Command’s sustainment directorate was created from a slice of the CASCOM staff. Though that group has been moved to the AFC structure, it still resides at Ft. Lee. This is advantageous to sustainment because AFC and CASCOM create synergy by having both teams working side by side. The processes of integrating fielded force readiness and planning for future MDO are highly dependent on one another. As the two staffs work different perspectives of support requirements, they ensure sustainment is comprehensively addressed from the cradle to grave of systems.

To fulfill our duties in this approach to modernization, CASCOM will continue to focus on maintaining current force readiness while planning for an objective Army of 2035, capable of countering the security threats of a peer competitor nation. That responsibility involves addressing several areas that we expect could lead to potential gaps for sustaining forces on the future battlefield. As we attack these challenges, we invite innovative thought processes and out-of-the-box thinking! Our staff is constantly scouting for the latest innovations in coordination with AFC, and we work to leverage industry innovations as we pursue solutions to sustainment challenges delivering a combat credible force.

A&M: In terms of large scale combat operations (LSCO), talk about some ways CASCOM is working to better integrate sustainment capabilities.

MG Fogg: The focus on LSCO is changing how we operate on the battlefield. The approach to sustainment that the Army has used for over a decade in counter-insurgency (COIN) operations is vastly different than what is needed to sustain LSCO. Instead of focusing on large stockpiles of supplies and contracted support for sustainment on the front lines, we must be ready for a very austere environment with minimal luxuries. This fundamental shift has led us to significant changes in sustainment doctrine, organizations, and equipment development, in addition to the changes in training and leader development discussed previously.

In the doctrine area, CASCOM has re-written FM 4-0, Sustainment Operations, to align with FM 3-0, the Army’s capstone operations doctrine. This manual changes our mission command approach and lays out how sustainment units conduct support operations during LSCO against a peer enemy in a highly contested environment. Included is how the new organizations we are creating will operate. Those organizations include division sustainment brigades (DSBs) and division sustainment support battalions (DSSBs) with organic companies in order to better support and enable the division as a warfighting organization.

Fundamental to the DSB and DSSB design is that they belong to the division. This change moves sustainment away from the modular structure more suitable for COIN. The new DSB has an organic special troops battalion (with field feeding, finance, and human resources capabilities) and a DSSB with assigned maintenance, supply, and transportation companies. This allows division commanders to operate with an organic sustainment capability optimized to support their division in LSCO and MDO. It also enables units to train as they fight without having to ask for significant external support.

In terms of equipment initiatives designed for LSCO, CASCOM is working to extend operational reach by increasing sustainment capacity. One effort is the bulk fuel distribution system. Its 8,500-gallon fuel capacity will replace the outdated 7,500- and 5,000-gallon line haul fuel tankers we currently have. This increases the Army’s fuel capacity without increasing the number of Soldiers required to move the fuel on a highly lethal battlefield. We’re also re-designing our division sustainment organizations (DSSBs) adding approximately 100,000 gallons of fuel distribution inside 10 divisions. These efforts significantly increase our battlefield fuel capabilities answering the demands of our heavier combat platforms and higher OPTEMPO required during large scale combat.

We are also working on a leader-follower solution for our palletized loading system (PLS) truck companies. This technology integrates unmanned vehicles in convoys to increase our ability to distribute critical supplies without requiring more Soldiers. We can improve the effectiveness of our truck companies by increasing the number of sustainment vehicles on the road with more frequency while minimizing Soldier exposure to risk.

The future of sustainment has many other technology-based capabilities that are being tested now. We are excited to be a part of this pivot towards technology enabling sustainment formations to keep pace with LSCO.

A&M: Feel free to speak to other goals/challenges moving forward.

MG Fogg: I touched on it earlier, but CASCOM is working hard at increasing rigor in the classroom and field environments while leveraging virtual training that improves the technical and tactical proficiency of our Soldiers as they take their assignments in the operating force. We are working across all our Army schools and taking a comprehensive approach toward change that includes every rank, sustainment cohort, and skill set – from AIT Soldiers, BOLC officers, leaders in the Logistics NCO Academy and captain’s courses all the way up to Command and General Staff College (CGSC) and the Army War College (AWC).

In other areas, CASCOM is working a host of materiel, concepts, and doctrine initiatives, as well as updating force design in order to sustain LSCO and drive toward a Multi-Domain capable force. Examples include:

  • Incrementally improving our information and mission command systems toward a Sustainment COP (Common Operating Picture) using Global Combat Support System – Army (GCSS-A) and Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army (IPPS-A)
  • Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) fielding
  • Improvements to materiel management
    and maintenance capabilities

Finally, CASCOM is working closely with the entire sustainment enterprise to develop and deliver a holistic concept of sustainment connected to LSCOs and MDO requirements, while maintaining a readiness focus. Codified in FM 4-0, our doctrine describes sustainment across the strategic roles – shape, prevent, consolidate gains, and offense/defense. It links sustainment capabilities required to project forces from “Fort to Port” through an operationalized strategic support area (CONUS) into a theater set for reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of combat units into the fight. It provides improved sustainment capabilities to better enable our corps and division headquarters. Modernization and reorganization improve our most significant challenges – fuel, mobility, materiel management, and maintenance in the near term while looking for 10X innovations to reduce the overall sustainment demands on the battlefield through alternative power, sensors, and artificial intelligence-enabled command systems.