More than 200 Soldiers, officers, visitors and distinguished guests listened to briefings, discussed current issues and fellowshipped with their peers during the annual Quartermaster War Fighter Symposium held May 17-18 at Fort Lee’s Mifflin Hall and other post locations.
The event, themed “Sustaining the Modular Army,” serves to provide a forum for current and future issues that impact the Quartermaster Corps and its mission.
This year’s symposium featured an impressive list of attendees that included a number of subject matter experts and five Active-Duty Army general officers.
Brig. Gen. Mark A. Bellini, commanding general, Quartermaster Center and School, hosted the symposium.
He said the symposium is always, as it should be, an occasion in which quartermasters keep abreast of current issues, and the means to express ideas, thoughts and concerns.
“We had a great opportunity to connect to our quartermasters around the world — to hear what they’re experiencing, what their needs and concerns are as well as to give them a good update about the current initiatives within the Corps,” he said.
One of those updates came from Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, deputy chief of staff for logistics at the Department of the Army.
The former commander of the Combined Arms Support Command talked about the Army’s plan for modernization and the ways it will impact how sustainers perform their missions.
“My message was that these are dynamic and challenging times,” the Army’s highest ranking female Soldier and highest-ranking Quartermaster said.
“It’s going to take a full-court press from everyone – the Active Army, Guard and Reserve – to keep this Army whole and the best in the world.”
Gen. Charles C. Campbell also talked about modernization efforts. The commanding general, Army Forces Command, detailed Army Force Generation, a process to ensure a ready pool of trained, equipped and deployment-ready personnel.
Campbell said the plan will take effect when the Army grows by several thousand Soldiers, and that could take a while.
At one point, he joked, “Does anybody out there have more resources than they need?”
One feature of ARFORGEN is the limitation of deployments to once every three years for the Active Army and once every five for the Army Reserve and National Guard.
Campbell said that even without ARFORGEN, deployments may become less frequent.
“It’s not beyond the pale that between 18 and 24 months we’ll see the demand (for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan) going down,” he said. “I’m not making any assurances, but my belief is that over the period of persistent conflict, the requirements will wax and wane.”
Campbell had earlier in the day visited one of his subordinate units, Fort Lee’s 49th Quartermaster Group, at Fort Pickett to get a familiarization of the Inland Petroleum Distribution System.
Later in the day, the crowd heard from Maj. Gen. Mitchell H. Stevenson, CASCOM commanding general, on Base Realignment and Closure issues and the establishment of the Logistics Corps.
While discussions were ongoing through both days at Mifflin Hall, a number of static equipment displays were set up at Sgt. Seay Field across the street from the schoolhouse. These included petroleum and water systems, food service mobile kitchens, airdrop systems and laundry and bath equipment.
Crowds at the displays were sometimes large and infrequent due to the threat of rain on both days.
The symposium began with a barbecue and reception at the Petroleum and Water Training Area and was preceded by the Association of the U.S. Army Logistics Symposium held May 15-17 in Richmond.