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CHIPS Articles: Joint (experimental) Deployment and Support (JxDS)

Joint (experimental) Deployment and Support (JxDS)
An approach for managing joint, coalition and nongovernment logistics support
By U.S. Army Col. Mark W. Akin and George L. Topic - January-March 2008
U.S. Joint Forces Command has developed a Joint (experimental) Deployment and Support (JxDS) architecture with multiple combatant commander sponsors, whose products can be used to help shape the Joint Deployment Distribution Enterprise (JDDE), which is designed to enable effective force deployment, unit movement and sustainment support to the joint warfighter. These and similar efforts are aimed at logistics support transformation in response to the demands of the joint force.

The JxDS concept is a family of organizational options designed to enhance the coordination, integration and synchronization of operational logistics to increase force employment opportunities and alternatives. JxDS is a building-block, scalable approach that allows combatant commanders to tailor their organizations. These organizations would include the required authority, appropriate personnel and necessary equipment and technology to effectively manage and execute operational-level logistics.

As shown in Figure 1, the JxDS concept depicts the scalability that can be used for logistics operations depending on intensity and workload. Scalability is "the ability for the staff or commander to continue work when the complexity of the problem increases."

Also, this quality includes the ability for staff and commander to increase or decrease in capacity to meet increasing/decreasing workloads over a period of time, according to USJFCOM's, Joint Warfighting Center's Joint Doctrine Series (available at www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/other_pubs/jwfcpam8.pdf).

The four primary organizational structures currently being assessed under JxDS are the Deployment Distribution Operations Center (DDOC), the Enabled J4 (EJ4), the Joint Force Support Component Command (JFSCC) and the Combined Logistics Command and/or Center (CLC).

These structures are described in order of the complexity and effort required to implement them. However, they are not necessarily mutually exclusive, as many of the components and functions of one construct can be integrated into other options.

Deployment Distribution Operations Center. The DDOC, a U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) initiative, is vested with the authority to make decisions in the field concerning execution of distribution (movement and transportation). Its integration function provides the geographic combatant commander a single point for coordination, collaboration and knowledge of the flow of forces, equipment and materiel across all components and, potentially, those of coalition partners. (see Figure 2).

In doing so, the DDOC enhances situational awareness and improves information technology and liaison office support. The proliferation of DDOCs across many of the geographic combatant commands recognizes the need for this capability and the effectiveness of this concept.

Enabled J4 Construct. U.S. European Command (EUCOM) is assessing its EJ4 organization during exercises scheduled for fiscal year 2008/2009. The EJ4 option synchronizes operational-level joint logistics management through the establishment of a fusion cell, growth of its plans cell and distribution management capability (see Figure 3).

The EJ4 is built around three logistics processes: logistics collaboration, joint support planning and joint support execution and tracking. Logistics collaboration provides better command and control through connectivity and visibility and enhanced coordination between J3 and J4, improving the visibility of the joint force commander's (JFC) priorities.

The organization provides a broader reach to USTRANSCOM, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and components to engage all stakeholders. Specific areas of focus include: (1) accelerating the decision-making tempo of the JFC and subordinate staffs'; (2) developing templates and automated capabilities to improve contingency response planning and execution (time and quality); and (3) providing an advanced common operating environment architecture.

Joint Force Support Component Command. This option synchronizes operational-level joint logistics management through the establishment of a fusion center, integration of diverse strategic enablers (such as a DDOC and DLA cell), a robust plans cell and a distribution and commodity management capability.

In essence, this type of command provides the JFC with a single point for command and control (C2) joint logistics capability within the joint operational area. This capability engages the service components and coalition partners, who have their own clearly defined staff roles, functions and processes to maximize logistics planning and execution through collaboration.

The JFSCC has proven adept at assuring operations and logistics connectivity and at leveraging its capabilities to ensure agility and responsiveness to changing conditions. This C2 logistics capability provides the commander with total asset and in-transit visibility through logistical reports, enabling quick responses to mission requirements.

In 2005, the commander, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), elected to implement JxDS via the command-based option, JFSCC, which provides the commander a single point of contact for support. Its primary building block in USFK is the 19th ESC, the Army's 19th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). This command has a two-fold mission: to provide traditional Army support to all USFK and to be the single logistics command with enhanced joint capabilities to coordinate, integrate and synchronize USFK logistics functions, processes and assets in support of commander requirements.

According to Army Col. Mark Akin, USJFCOM Joint Logistics director, the 19th ESC is the test bed in USFK for Joint Forces Command.

"We have used USFK and the 19th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) as our base organization for the JFSCC option; to include enhancing them with the right joint-enabling capabilities. We've added in a base ops and engineering section and contracting section, to include an IT portal structure which gave the JFSCC resource visibility. We incorporated USTRANSCOM's Deployment and Distribution Operations Center," Akin said.

In the areas in which the JFSCC exercises control, it directs support activities for service, functional and national components of the task organization. It coordinates and maintains contact with supporting unified commands, service and national military support agencies and commands, regional host nations and national and international interagency participants as directed. See Figure 4 for the organizational structure used by USFK during Exercise Ulchi Focus Lens (UFL) 06 and 07.

UFL is a combined joint peninsula-wide computer-driven exercise, which tests the ability of the Republic of Korea and U.S. military forces to work together to deter aggression. But the focus for transforming military logistics support has more to do with collaboration and sharing resources than fielding the latest technology.

"It is not so much technically focused as focused on better processes, better rules and better organizational structures. The new processes included a plan-decide-execute cycle which synchronized the execution of resource sharing. Members of the JFSCC used the joint log IT portal to gain a common joint logistics/common operational picture for seeing across the different services of what is available," Akin said.

"Once the JFSCC member sees what is available, he or she targets how it can be fulfilled against a mission essential task the commander is trying to complete by using the plan-decide-execute cycle to synchronize the potential sharing of resources — it's a battle rhythm they quickly get into. They are linking the strategic flow of resources with those that need it, utilizing processes such as joint distribution boards and joint logistics boards to share, correlate and collaborate the sharing of resources. If resources do need to be shared, either between services or between the U.S. and Korea, the consensus is reached at the JFSCC level, put into a FRAGO (fragmentary order) and pushed back up to the USFK J-3's level for execution. Then the cycle repeats itself," Akin explained.

According to Akin, the JFSCC has been a huge success and a great asset to Commander, United Nations Command, U.S. Forces Korea and the Combined Forces Command, Army Gen. B.B. Bell.

"When we started doing all of these revolutionary, almost evolutionary actions, we significantly empowered the Joint Force Support Component Commander; he now has the necessary rules, tools and processes that he can offer back up to the USFK commander, Gen. Bell, options that he didn't have available before.

"Joint logistics now becomes a force multiplier for that commander. This past month [October 2007] Gen. Bell declared the Joint Force Support Component Command in USFK fully operationally capable," Akin said.

Although, Gen. Bell has seen improvements in logistics support across communications, transportation, field services, ammunition, maintenance, medical, engineering, security, personnel, supply and petroleum, the decision to stand up the JFSCC in Korea was made before Gen. Bell took command, according to Akin.

"Originally, the request to target that operational level gap of sharing resources came at the early stages of the OIF conflict. The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) J-4 at the time [Army] Maj. Gen. William Mortensen asked JFCOM to design a better way to share resources in support of OIF at the operational level.

"At the same time, in the 2002-2003 time frame, [Army] Gen. Leon LaPorte, the commanding general for USFK, said that instead of going to CENTCOM to fix the gap, I am going to offer U.S. Forces Korea to help DoD resolve this operational gap challenge."

LaPorte offered USFK to be the experimentation site through two experimentation venues, RSOI (Reception, Staging, Onward-movement and Integration) and UFL (Ulchi Focus Lens) to flesh out the JFSCC concept.

"When Gen. LaPorte was in command, the former Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, volunteered the 19th Theater Support Command, now called the 19th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), as the test bed in USFK for development of a Joint Force Support Component Command (JFSCC) option which targeted resource sharing at the operational level. When Gen. Leon LaPorte left, Gen. B.B. Bell took command. He fully embraced what Gen. LaPorte had already started."

It took two years to achieve JFSCC operational success by tackling the different components of logistics support in incremental steps, according to Akin.

The complexity of staging the RSOI and UFL exercises is staggering, but to mimic real-world operations, resources and processes must be tested.

"You plan out six to eight months before the exercise kicks off on exactly what you want to experiment with. If you look at how we develop and design the JFSCC, we took it in bite-sized increments from Demo 1 (RSOI 06) through Demo 4 (UFL 07). In Demo 1, we only looked at munitions, POL [petroleum, oil and lubricants] and transportation. When we achieved success coming out of RSOI 06, Gen. Bell declared the initial plan operationally capable of the JFSCC," Akin said.

In Demo-2 for UFL 06, in addition to munitions, POL and transportation synchronization, planners begin redesigning host nation support, international programs in contracting and common items. For RSOI 07, other support functions such as maintenance, retrograde, salvage, mortuary affairs, services and medical logistics were added, according to Akin.

"In our last demo, Demo 4 for UFL 07, we did the entire Joint Force Support Component Command. We did everything previously tested and added base support and operations and engineering. When you do it in bite-size increments, exercise after exercise (like building blocks) you can see the tremendous value the full-up JFSCC brings to the warfighter."

Combined Logistics Command and/or Center (CLC). The CLC option expands the types of functions found in a JFSCC and adds in the capability to manage coalition logistics. This concept focuses on operations and logistics integration that synchronizes support for combined military missions — the way most of our efforts will be executed in the years ahead. It aids in the development of a strategic/operational logistical course of action in support of assigned tasks by conducting logistical analysis of the area of operations.

The organization chart shown in Figure 5 was developed as a proposed configuration of a Combined Joint Force Support Component Command (CJFSCC) used during the Unified Quest '05 war game. In U.S. Forces Korea, a Combined Logistics Center is still under development but could mirror many of the functions found in a CJFSCC.

The four JxDS options described here have both strengths and weaknesses. The DDOC option has a great capability to synchronize distribution management between strategic and operational levels, yet its joint manning and training vary across the combatant commands.

The EJ4 option shows much promise in its ability to plan and track joint logistics management, yet its development is still very much in its infancy. The JFSCC is proving to be a great joint synchronizer of USFK resources during events such as RSOI, but its two-fold mission stretches the structure of the 19th ESC.

According to Akin that are four areas where the J9 is trying to show value-added to the warfighter in using the JFSCC: better joint logistics command and control; better joint logistics planning and analysis; better joint log execution and tracking; and better joint log/operations collaboration.

"In all cases, it was hitting home runs. We received faster identification of theater requirements. We received clearer understanding of the synchronization of theater capabilities. We received faster identification of theater shortfalls. We received faster, more effective prioritization of theater shortfalls.

"Through that plan-decide-execute and collaborative environment, we had more effective adjudication of conflicting priorities. We saw improved capabilities in the direct feed of log resources.

"Every bit of these improved joint log capabilities had a direct impact on the operational effects that Gen. Bell was seeing. We saw improved joint logistics planning come out of UFL 06. In RSOI 07, we saw improved casualty evacuation. In UFL 07, we saw improved ammo ship diversion supporting offensive operations, and resupply of Patriot missiles. That is just four examples. We have pages of the same type of operational effects where we were showing strong value-added using this JFSCC concept. Because of this (especially coming out of UFL 07) there was a resounding cry from many of the generals that JFSCC 'can hunt.' The JFSCC is a great value tool," Akin said.

Success is not limited to USFK operations; J9 supports all the combatant commands worldwide with many initiatives occurring at the same time, according to Akin.

"Much of this support is happening concurrently. We are working with SOCOM (U.S. Southern Command) now to help them develop their Warfighting Support Element (WSE) during a January/February exercise. USSOUTHCOM requested interagency development help.

"For USCENTCOM, I recently completed a quick assessment team visit to Iraq and Kuwait in order to initiate the development of a theater-wide Joint Logistics IT Portal. We are going back to EUCOM in March to help flesh out their Enabled J4 staff options using a common set of rules, tools and processes.

"When I say concurrently — it is literally that. I have a team of contractors and a small group of military officers, who spend much of their time on the road trying to spread some of this goodness of what we are learning and developing to the combatant commands we support," Akin said.

Success for continued use of these options will be gauged by how often combatant commands wish to employ them and the operational effects each of these options provide the JFC. Consequently, these processes and options must be turned into Joint Logistics doctrine to become a reality.

"We're global. We are trying to help the geographic combatant commander as much as possible. If they need the support, and JFCOM thinks it is a worthwhile endeavor, then teaming and support to that combatant commander happens," Akin said.

Driving the continued JDDE efforts will be the work done by the geographic combatant commands, with USTRANSCOM and USJFCOM as the process owners for distribution and deployment, and our supporting partners such as the Joint Staff J4 and DLA.

Akin said the logistics community is encouraged by the improvements in joint planning and execution.

"It is an exciting time to be a joint logistician. We are trying to spread the gospel of joint logistics synergistic effects and how much goodness it can bring to the combatant commander."

– Edited from the original article by Col. Mark Akin and George Topic that appeared in the Joint Forces Quarterly, Issue 47, 4th quarter 2007, with additional information given by Col. Akin in an interview with CHIPS Oct. 24, 2007.

For more information about USJFCOM, go to www.jfcom.mil.

Figure 1. Joint (experimental) Deployment and Support Building Blocks.
Figure 1. Joint (experimental) Deployment and Support Building Blocks.

Figure 2.  Deployment Distribution Operations Center (generic organization).
Figure 2. Deployment Distribution Operations Center (generic organization).

Figure 3. Enabled J4 (EJ4) Construct.
Figure 3. Enabled J4 (EJ4) Construct.

Figure 4. Joint Force Support Component Command.
Figure 4. Joint Force Support Component Command.

Figure 5. Combined Joint Force Support Component Command Structural Model – Exercise Unified Quest 2005.
Figure 5. Combined Joint Force Support Component Command Structural Model – Exercise Unified Quest 2005.

Army Col. Mark W. Akin
Army Col. Mark W. Akin

Two U.S. Marines prepare to offload supplies from a helicopter assigned to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in Bamna, Bangladesh, Dec. 2, 2007. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe.
Two U.S. Marines prepare to offload supplies from a helicopter assigned to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in Bamna, Bangladesh, Dec. 2, 2007. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe.
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