By Erwin, Sandra I.
National Defense , Vol. 90, No. 621
The Army is expanding its logistics and transportation operations as part of a broader reorganization intended to field combat brigades that can operate independently, without the support of higher echelons.
The plan is to morph the Army's 10 combat divisions into 77 self-deployable brigades. Each brigade, however, will have to deploy with its own logistics battalion because it will no longer have division- or corps-level support for supplies and transportation.
"That's a big change," says Lt. Gen. Claude V. Christianson, deputy chief of staff for logistics. "We've made brigades more independent."
In a brigade today, the support battalion has no trucks to deliver supplies to the combat battalions, he says in an interview. The support battalions in the new brigades will be able to move supplies out to the combat brigades. "That's a huge increase in the amount of trucks and truck drivers in that brigade," he adds.
A light infantry brigade that currently has 92 trucks, for example, would need as many as 584 trucks. A heavy brigade's support battalion would grow from 539 to 657 trucks.
"We continue to go through the 'total Army analysis' process to refine these numbers," says Christianson.
The surge in transportation assets is attributed to the Army's shift from a "supply-based" to a "distribution-based" organization, he explains. That means the Army no longer will set up supply depots in the field to support combat units. Each brigade's support battalion will be responsible for distributing supplies to the front lines.
This does not mean necessarily that the Army's "logistics tail" is getting larger, he asserts. The increases in truck units will be offset by the elimination of other organizations that were intended for the supply-based system. "Some supply and maintenance organizations will go away, or will be converted to transportation units," says Christianson. …