Wednesday, September 23, 2015 –
CAMP PARKS, Calif. – The 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) is the first unit of its type to conduct a “Command Post Exercise – Functional” of the eight ESCs in the United States Army Reserve. During this exercise, the 311th staff and leadership simulated managing logistics and transportation units in a forward-deployed expeditionary environment from 16-23 Sept.
Maj. Gen. Megan Tatu, Commanding General, 79th Sustainment Support Command, stated, “The active Army cannot go to war without the Army Reserve” and ESC’s provide the backbone for USAR expeditionary capabilities. ESCs are structured to plan and coordinate logistical and transportation support for forces in a forward deployed area of operations. It is vital U.S. Army Reserve sustainment units continually work to improve because 65 percent of the Army’s logistics support lies within the Reserve structure.
With the assistance of the 75th Training Division, 593rd ESC, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, 155th and 371st Combat Sustainment Support Battalions, and other units, the 311th ESC was provided expert soldiers, role-players, and observers. The 311th ESC was able to practice processes and staff coordination through realistic scenarios designed to challenge the staff to grow as a team to the next level.
Using a closed computer network, the 311th ESC operated a command post within a simulated theater of operation, complete with inputs and feedback from notional higher, lower, adjacent, and adversary units. The 75th Training Division designed the scenario to include hypothetical nations with a realistic storyline founded on geopolitical events which could happen in several regions around the globe. Within this training setting, the 311th ESC simulated U.S. forces transitioning from combat operations to stability operations. This required ESC planners to anticipate and often skillfully react to changing situations.
The exercise is part of the 311th's preparations for the uncertainty of a deployment. Brig. Gen. David Elwell, Commanding General, 311th ESC, asked his Soldiers, “I can see what's going on in the world. The world is a very unstable place. ESC headquarters have been deployed steadily ... If we have to deploy to any of the hotspots around the world, are we ready to go?”
Since returning from their 2013 deployment, the 311th ESC has undergone significant personnel changes. With this exercise, more than 100 311th ESC staff members worked together, training for their deployment mission for the first time. “The number one priority for the Army is to be individually and collectivity ready to deploy and fight the nation's wars,” said Elwell.
Much of the mentorship for the exercise came from the Active Component 593rd ESC, out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Soldiers from the 593rd routinely participate in exercises with I Corps and Pacific Command. Their recent training events include Talisman Sabre and Pacific Pathways which roll up as many as nine different exercises in multiple partner nations. They also join in subject matter expert exchanges with the Philippines and India.
Elwell said, “We need the knowledge the 593rd brings to us.”
The ESC Soldiers will continue to hone their collective processes between now and the June 2016 Combat Support Training Exercise. Other ESCs are scheduled to follow the 311th’s lead with their own Command Post Exercises during 2016.
“Even if it’s difficult to do, we need to continue this training on our battle assemblies,” stated Elwell. “Let’s build on the progress we made here.”