I'll throw in a few cents.Originally Posted by Wraith601
1st article - here's a better link that has some diagrams:
I agree that the structure of support is very austere. However, the author misses the boat in a few areas.
First, the Stryker can carry in the stowage racks and fuel can brackets 100 gallons of fuel, or 1.9 extra tanks of JP8 (you could carry more on top, but then you run the small risk of punctured fuel cans spilling into open hatches rather than down the side of the vehicle. If you need to mitigate your risk for operations on tough terrain that will burn fuel faster than planned, there's your solution. You just need to balance the risk that low volatility JP8 on the outside of your vehicle brings and weigh it with doing refuels more often than every 72 hours. Also, he doesn't mention wet wing refueling ops while you initially establish your airhead, or the fuel blivets on PLS racks that are designed to be dropped at fixed locations (TOCs) to keep their fuel requirements sustained. This was an addition sometime in the late 2002/2003 timeframe to align the force structure with the sustainment requirements. I apologize that I don't recall the number of blivets, but I believe that they got 2 x 500gal blivets per maneuver battalion, which would have required 8 x blivets, 4 x PLS racks (CROPS is the official acronym), and 2 x PLS (or LHS, can't remember which one would be appropriate here), and the personnel to man those. Also, using Millenium Challenge 2002 as his baseline data is weak - a single company's worth of data in their very first training exercise without providing more context as to distance moved and the operational requirements of the mission make his statistics less meaningful. Was this a failure of planning (operational requirements?), failure of just not knowing what fuel mileage is on hilly and sometimes soft terrain in 8x8 (first training exercise ever with the Strykers), drivers not using the appropriate drive mode for the conditions (staying in 8x8 the entire team instead of adjusting from 4x4 to 8x8 and adjusting the the CTIS levels from highway to cross-country mode as necessary?), or running the vehicle too long while stationary to keep the batteries charged to feed all the electronics on board? I don't recall what our gas mileage ended up averaging in tougher conditions where you needed to use 8x8 frequently, but it wasn't in the 40-60% timeframe. I recall that refuel (without extra gas cans) was somewhere between 48-60 hours instead of 72 hours. Also, we switched the batteries that we used to a marine battery with a deep discharge capability to sustain battery life as well as to increase the time between having to run your on-board generator or the vehicle engine itself to recharge the batteries. Finally, don't underestimate how much juice the MILES kits steal from the batteries. We'd have to run the vehicle at least every hour to recharge the batteries at NTC and JRTC. In Iraq, we only had to run it every two hours (no MILES).
Second, assign an organic infantry company to the BSB? He's smoking crack!. The reason loggies get shot up at JRTC and real world is because of their poor combat training standards. I had BSB vehicles show up without radios and soldiers show up without NVGs during training events because they didn't want to lose this equipment and so they kept it in the arms room. Is this rampant, no. But the fact that this attitude exists at all is scary. For our convoy into Iraq, I had my company's serials lined up and radios filled the night prior (it was about 1/5 my vehicles, the combat power in each serial, 1/5 FA vehicles, and the rest were from the BSB). My RTOs had to fill the majority of the BSB vehicles because they were either so slow or didn't know what they were doing or hadn't gotten the proper fills. Then, some of the BSB vehicles pulled their filled and radio checked commo equipment out of the vehicle because they would be too uncomfortable sleeping at their vehicle so that the equipment would be under guard. Infrickingcredible! However, the BSB commander did the same thing, so there wasn't much I could do about it except have my RTOs fix their commo problems again the next morning when they couldn't. So, with that ranting and raving aside, the biggest issue in their force protection is themselves. With that being said, we escorted nearly all BSB convoys when the risks were high, especially in the BDE sector. It was recognized that the structure was austere and when you are getting close to black on fuel, water, and ammo, there is a large incentive to escort those supplies. I just don't see the issue here that he does, since leaders recognize assigning combat power to your lifeline when necessary and much of the danger is self-inflicted. (I was my BN's S-4 for 18 months and so I worked with the BSB on a daily basis. They had a lot of great officers, NCOs, and soldiers; however, there are not enough of those and so soldiers are brought up in a culture standards aren't enforced regularly and combat is the job of the infantry, not soldiers. It is an evil cycle that sustains itself just a a good unit with good NCOs will bring up soldiers the right way so that the unit's success is self-sustaining. So, please don't take this as a blanket bash the loggie tirade).
Second and third articles are pretty straight forward. Looks like the blivet package that was added is bigger than I thought - it's 3 blivets per flatrack.
The last link that has a response to the article is pretty weak. Risks are the same, change your mindset, look what we've done in a short time, blah, blah. While true, I'm disappointed that the response didn't challenge facts where appropriately and more important, offer solutions.
One final comment - the CSSCS system which was supposed to be the underpinning link to achieve anticipatory logistics (by allowing the BSB to monitor unit LOGSTATs in real time as they were updated) was cancelled finally in 2003. It never worked under field conditions and rarely was capable of accepting the FBCB2 driven LOSTATs in a office environment. Thus, a system of spreadsheet analog reports still drives the train for logistics planning. I don't know how the new system is working, but it wasn't ready for us to use it for our deployment and someone in the BSB or BDE S4 shop resisted using the capabilities of the FBCB2 system in reporting LOGSTATs, which always infuriated me. Once you had a default setting loaded into the FBCB2, individual platforms could enter their LOGSTAT, send it to their higher HQ (squad to PSG vehicle, PSGs to the XO, XO to the S4, etc.) where it would be automaticallly collated. No calculators, no spreadsheets, no pain. Instead, no one would get the default setting tailored to what we needed (default settings on the software were for 4ID, the first unit to get FBCB2) and so my PSGs and XOs did extra work that was unnecessary.