Sustainment leaders from across the Army gathered virtually and in-person at Larkin Hall on Nov. 5 to “synchronize initiatives, cultivate shared understanding of best practices across commands, and promote dialogue within the community,” according to a conference overview. 

Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, opened the one-day Theater Sustainment Command, Expeditionary Sustainment Command and Sustainment Brigade Command Team Forum.

After thanking everyone for attending, the commanding general said, “We want to talk about things that focus on where the Army is going, and we have topics and an agenda that do just that. We really look forward to the conversation about sustainment. The slides are a guide, but it’s about the questions and the back-and-forth conversations.”

Gen. Edward M. Daly, commanding general of Army Materiel Command, followed Fogg. “As we look at this, what’s a really good purpose for today?” he posed. “Rodney hit on it a bit. It’s not about the topics we want to talk about. That just really drives the conversation. We’re really trying to get at a couple of things. Based on the Army senior leaders, we really want to make sure we are all synched and integrated from a sustainment warfighter perspective as we are all sustainers and logisticians.”

Daly indicated that there were many topics the forum attendees could talk about such as O5 and below talent management, or colonel management and assignments. They could also discuss mentorship, coaching and training in the realm of the sustainment community. These are the topics he said he felt were important and relevant.

“The subsequent thing we really want to discuss is where we are and where we’re going in regard to sustainment warfighting function and capabilities. ... We’ll hit a whole bunch of things in terms of this, but there’s this delicate balance between current readiness and the future, (which is being defined by) ReARMM 2022, WAYPOINT 2028 and AIMPOINT 2035.

“I know there’s a lot to take in, but I think it’ll help you understand where we’re going, so when you’re dealing with frustration in the field, you’ll know there’s a plan – a long-term plan.”

After his short remarks, Daly returned the forum to Fogg, who started working through the agenda and the various topics of discussion. Those included Balancing Readiness and Modernization, Joint Concept for Contested Logistics, Army Functional Concept - Sustainment, Project Convergence, Global Posture, and more. The day-long conference would end with mentorship and select general officer discussions with Daly.

As Fogg worked his way through “Balancing Readiness and Modernization” and the new equipment needed to close capability gaps, the participants started to warm up and the discussion started like Daly suggested.

 Col. Fredericka R. Harris, commander of the 406th Army Field Support Brigade, was one of the first to ask a question of Fogg during his briefing.

“As we take a look at the capabilities we are adding to close the gap, where are we capturing those 92Ys, and some additional 92Bs, in order to sustain what we are trying to increase?” she asked.

 “Right now, Lt. Gen. James Rainey (Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth commanding general) has us executing what is the force of 2028. What is the WAYPOINT Force?” Fogg answered. “He’s looking at very definitive divisions that are built to execute certain missions. He’s also looking at CAB capabilities and then organizing so that division commanders can fight as a formation and support the main effort. ...

“And we’re thinking through ‘how we want to fight,’” Fogg added. “You have to know how you want to fight before you can equip and train appropriately.”

Later in the forum, Daly put rather succinctly one of the many things sustainers needed to focus on to make their work more efficient.

“We’re finding some really interesting things as we collect data,” he said. “Dozers in the Army get, on average, under 100 hours of work every year. Do you know what commercial sector dozers get? About 2,000-6,000 hours per year. But yet we’re maintaining our equipment, maybe over-maintaining our equipment.

“The point is, there are things we need to do to inform us that we don’t need to do so many services, we just need to do the right services and the right things,” Daly concluded.

These are just a few of the questions and comments the participants touched on during the opening session. During a subsequent break, John Hall, deputy to the commanding general, summed up in plain language what the sustainment leaders were going to be doing during their day online and at Fort Lee.

“Sustainment is how we feed, move and supply the Army,” he explained. “We’re working to modernize it, and make it more effective and efficient. We’re enabling the Army to make very rapid decisions on the battlefield. Today, we think of it as what’s going to happen 24, 48 and 72 hours out. In the future Army, we’re going to be thinking about making decisions much faster than we have so far.”