Army movement control is faced with a number of challenges, including its force structure and the doctrine and associated capabilities supporting it. Some challenges are caused by environmental factors, and others are caused by the normal ebb and flow of Army processes. But the most significant challenge faced recently has been one of perception or, more accurately, misperception. As the Army transitions from a multitheater, conflict-driven, rotational force to the fully expeditionary force envisioned in the Army Operating Concept, it is time to relook at the critical role movement control plays in enabling the maneuver commander.
The Army Operating Concept describes an Army capable of several types of operations. Military forces will contend with anti-access/area-denial and cyber threats from state and nonstate actors, conduct movement and maneuver over strategic and operational distances, and face a number of other requirements that will stress deployment and mobility systems and processes.
All the requirements for this future force have a common prerequisite: an enhanced ability to coordinate movements in time and space in order to meet the commander’s intent. Other demands of these types of operations will include the following:
• High effectiveness with maximum cost-efficiency.
• The ability to integrate and even reconfigure forces while en route.
• Nearly immediate transitions from deployment to employment of units–a true “fight off the ramp” capability.
• The ability to see and influence assets in time and space.
• Full integration with joint and coalition partners and allies.
The combat enabler that meets all these demands and more for the maneuver commander is Army movement control.
DEFINING MOVEMENT IN DOCTRINE
For the Army, fulfilling requirements starts with precise doctrinal language. From the sustainment standpoint, Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 4-16, Movement Control, defines movement control as, “The dual process of committing allocated transportation assets and regulating movements according to command priorities to synchronize the distribution flow over lines of communications to sustain land forces.”
While this definition is accurate, it is decidedly sustainment-centric, making it less useful to general discussions between maneuver and sustainment planners.
From the maneuver standpoint, Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 3-0, Unified Land Operations, defines movement and maneuver as, “The related tasks and systems that move and employ forces to achieve a position of relative advantage over the enemy and other threats. Direct fire and close combat are inherent in maneuver. This function includes tasks associated with force projection related to gaining a positional advantage over the enemy.”
While the ADP 3-0 definition is also accurate, it is decidedly maneuver-centric, which once again makes it less useful to discussions between maneuver and sustainment planners. All warfighting functions support the maneuver commander in the command of forces conducting operations, regardless of the mission. So, for a doctrinal definition of movement control to bridge the doctrinal-operational divide and span the broad range of mission types and requirements, the definition needs to clearly link sustainment functions to maneuver functions.
The precursor to ATP 4-16 (Field Manual 4-01.30, Movement Control) proposed a more useful definition than the current publication does. It defined movement control as “the planning, routing, scheduling, controlling, coordination, and in-transit visibility of personnel, units, equipment, and supplies moving over Line(s) of Communication (LOC) and the commitment of allocated transportation assets according to command planning directives. It is a continuum that involves synchronizing and integrating logistics efforts with other programs that span the spectrum of military operations at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. Movement control is a tool used to help allocate resources based on the combatant commander’s priorities, and to balance requirements against capabilities.”
The operational reality is that movement control requires a delicate balance between art and science. That balance constantly fluctuates based on the phase of an operation and how successful the operation has been. The efficacy of both have atrophied considerably over the last 14-plus years.
For Army movement control units to be relevant to the maneuver commander, and “a tool used to help allocate resources based on the combatant commander’s priorities,” a number of changes must occur.
TRAIN THE SCIENCE OF MOVEMENT CONTROL. The Army’s institutional training and associated programs of instruction must instruct junior and midgrade Soldiers and leaders in the science of movement control. This includes reinvigorating training on concepts like march tables, pass times, refuel on the move operations, and the battlefield calculus of moving forces for positional advantage.
That training must be in the context of the maneuver commander’s intent; sustainment planners should know the maneuver synchronization matrix as well as or better than the maneuver planners.
LEARN TO SPEAK THE LANGUAGE. Those same junior and midgrade Soldiers and leaders have to learn to speak the language of the maneuver force. During the early years of Apple’s iPod, several other brands of portable music devices could store more music, had longer battery lives, and included other features that made them better than the iPod. The makers of those other devices used “technobabble”–descriptions of all of the technical and engineering details–to market what were technologically better products.
Apple turned the idea on its head and simply stated that the iPod could “put a 1,000 songs in your pocket.” Apple used language that consumers understood; sustainers have to use language the maneuver team understands. Save the technobabble of logistics for conversations among sustainers in the tactical operations center.
CONDUCT REHEARSALS FOR EVERYTHING. Prior to 2001, the combat service support rehearsal was a key component leading up to any exercise or operation. On par with the combat rehearsal, it was attended by many of the same Soldiers, especially the combat leaders responsible for operations. Even an operation as simple as a road march to exercise vehicles during sergeant’s time training kicked off with an early morning rehearsal.
Sand tables or the actual ground where the operation would occur were used to rehearse actions on contact, requirements for refuel and resupply on the move, and myriad other details. The rehearsals were conducted as many times and in as much detail as required to ensure everyone–not just the logisticians responsible for the physical execution of the events–understood their roles and responsibilities.
Today systems such as the Command Post of the Future provide even more options to leverage the power of rehearsals. As stated in Field Manual 4-01.30, the Army’s movement control capability in doctrine and in execution has to focus on “synchronizing and integrating logistics efforts with other programs that span the spectrum of military operations at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels” so that every commander can ask for that “tool” designed “to help allocate resources based on the combatant commander’s priorities, and to balance requirements against capabilities.” Rehearsals are part of synchronizing and integrating logistics effects.
FIND OR MAKE THE EXPERTISE. One of the most intimidating challenges for today’s new leaders is that typically no seasoned movement controllers are available to show them the ropes. The Army has substituted civilians and contractors for Soldiers in places where deployment and movement control expertise are needed. Even today’s seasoned leaders likely spent most of their formative years in the Army relying on a mix of contractors, established channel flights, lockstep programs, continental United States-based replacement centers, and personnel assistance points. The solid analytical thinking, teamwork, relationship building, and negotiation skills required to control movement has been turned over to contractors, which is unsustainable because contractors rarely deploy with the unit.
The good news is that over time the institutional knowledge will be rebuilt, smart books will be remade, and modified tables of organization and equipment will stabilize. But in the interim, a focused and disciplined effort has to be made to reinvigorate the art and science of movement control.
Change starts with recognizing and mitigating some of the factors that complicate the relationships among the maneuver force and the movement control capabilities that support them.
ENSURE MCTS ARE TRAINED AND EQUIPPED. Movement control teams (MCTs) must be staffed with trained Soldiers–preferably transportation Soldiers–and led by experienced mobility warrant officers and transportation captains in order to fully support the maneuver commander. Training and experience must be coupled with the latest equipment, systems, and processes to support the capture, analysis, and flow of information.
TRAIN FOR THE FIGHT. Misconceptions brought on by the relative ease of the rotational deployments of the past 14 years must be addressed. Exercises, training events, and simulations must place as much rigor on predeployment and Phase 0 operations as they do on Phases 3 and 4. Wishing away the movement of forces during the deployment phase of an operation–generally referred to as the “magic move”–may work in simulations and exercises, but real logistics always obeys the laws of physics.
Interestingly, savvy logistics planners understand that they can cheat physics by leveraging pre-positioned stocks, operational contract support, and other resources, by limiting the amount of materiel that deploying units need, and by drawing, to the greatest extent possible, from host-nation sources.
ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIPS AT HOME STATION. The relationship between the supporting movement control element and the supported maneuver element must be established at home station long before receiving an order to deploy. Habitual relationships, even those accomplished through simple administrative reorganizations, like aligning MCTs with brigades and divisions at home station, will go a long way toward bridging gaps and reasserting movement control as a critical enabler both on the battlefield and, more importantly, in the mind of the commander.
For the maneuver commander who understands how to employ it, and the sustainer who understands how to sell it, the Army’s movement control capability is a maneuver enabler that is second-to-none. A trained, integrated, and resourced MCT that is able to coordinate assets in time and space, eliminate waste and inefficiency before and during operations, and provide near real-time in-transit visibility increases the number of options available for the commander.
Fully leveraging and employing Army movement control capabilities gives the maneuver commander the one resource not typically in excess during an operation: time. The bottom line is that it is time to put the movement back into movement and maneuver. ______________________________________________________________________________
Stacey L. Lee is a retired lieutenant colonel with over 25 years of service and a Department of the Army civilian working deployment-related issues for the Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Clemson University, an MBA from Norwich University, and a master of military art and science degree from the School of Advanced Military Studies.
This article was published in the January-February 2017 issue of Army Sustainment magazine.
What is it?
The Human Dimension Concept provides a framework to help Army leaders focus on human development. It outlines the process for how the Army will select, develop, sustain and transition Soldiers and Civilians in the Army.
The human dimension encompasses the cognitive, physical and social components of Soldiers, Army Civilians and leaders, focusing on the organizational development and performance essential to raise, prepare and employ the Army in unified land operations.
The future operational environment, the changing character of war and how the Army will fight in 2035-2050 present challenges to future forces that may require new ways to recruit, assess, train and educate Soldiers, leaders and Civilians. The Army needs an understanding of the attributes that future forces require to maintain overmatch in the physical, mental and moral components of the human performance of land warfare.
What has the Army done?
Training and Doctrine Command’s Human Dimension Division (HDD) has been tasked to develop a means to identify the required human performance attributes of the Soldiers to win in a high-intensity conflict against a peer adversary in 2035-2050. Taking insights from previous studies, seminars, events and concepts, the HDD’s study plan focuses on connecting operators with researchers across Army organizations to prioritize research on human requirements, developing a more science-based, operationally-relevant approach that strengthens the unity of effort across Army organizations focused on human performance.
What continued efforts are planned for the future?
The HDD, along with TRADOC’s Future Warfare Division as part of Unified Quest, are hosting the Human Performance Seminar Dec. 12 to 16 to determine the human performance requirements given the anticipated future operational environment and the demands placed on the force by multi-domain battle and the movement and maneuver functional concept. The outcomes will inform future human performance seminars, engage Army social science researchers (Army Research Institute, Army Research Laboratory-Human Research Engineering Directorate, etc.), and lead to revisions of the human dimension concept and strategy.
Why is this important to the Army?
The Soldier is the Army’s most adaptable warfighting capability. In order to optimize the Soldier for the challenges of 2035-2050, the Army must identify the right attributes in the context of the future operating environment. Through the campaign of learning, the Army has new insights in the character of future war and must now understand what the Army and its Soldiers must be able to do.
- Army Capabilities Integration Center
- Human Dimension
- Unified Quest
- Army Warfighting Challenges
- Army Training and Doctrine Command
WASHINGTON (Army News Service) — The Army’s dominance is in danger when it comes to future warfare, according to its senior leaders. While the biggest threat Soldiers have faced in recent wars has been the improvised explosive device, emerging threats from cyberspace, electronic warfare and unmanned aerial vehicles have Army leaders eyeing new tactics across multiple domains.
Since the rout of Iraqi forces in Desert Storm 25 years ago, potential foes have found ways to counter how the U.S. military wages war within an air/land concept, said Gen. David Perkins, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
“They’ve gone to school on us ever since then while we’ve been doing all kinds of important work for the nation and the world,” Perkins said during a panel discussion at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, Oct. 4.
In Ukraine, Russia and its proxy forces have used cyber attacks and electronic warfare equipment to jam communication networks, while UAVs have set up artillery fires, and advanced air defense missiles have helped ground troops gain air superiority without airplanes.
On the other side of the globe, the Chinese military is using disputed islands in the South China Sea to influence maritime missions.
“They are fracturing our way of war by using other domains,” Perkins said. “We can’t do it with two domains. Air and land is not enough.”
The concept of multi-domain battle, using not just air and land but also sea, space and cyberspace domains, is now being seen as the way forward. An Army of the future could have infantrymen possessing cyberspace skills, enemy aircraft being deterred by innovative air defense systems, or even ground-to-ground missiles targeting enemy ships.
“We’re going to sink ships, and we’re definitely going to have to dominate the airspace above our units from hostile air or missile attack,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said during another discussion at the conference. “This is going to require sophisticated air defense capabilities that are not currently in our unit inventories.”
The Army’s top general suggests an overhaul of the service, along with increased support from other services and nations, to roll out such changes.
“The next 25 years are not going to be like the last 10 or the last 25,” he said of the future battlefield. “The culminating challenges we face in the changing character of war is unlike anything our current force has ever experienced in intensity and lethality.”
Back at the drawing board, senior leaders will use this overarching concept to develop functional concepts that will eventually be tested before creating new doctrine for Soldiers.
“That’s the power of concept,” Perkins said. “Once you have one, it drives change in the Army.”
It’s still too early to know when the concept will be done, said Perkins, adding that the air/land concept took eight years to come out after it first was introduced in 1973. While he doesn’t expect it to take that long, it will be a long process to get the other services involved.
“This is pretty much the beginning of a new way of thinking,” he said, noting that talks with leaders from the other services have already started with more to come. “This takes a lot of collaborative discussions.”
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller is one of the leaders taking part in these joint talks. He and the Army chief of staff, he said, are looking to reinvigorate the Army-Marine Corps Board to discuss ideas and requirements.
“We’ve been shoulder and shoulder on multi-domain battle and land concepts,” he said at the panel discussion. “We can’t afford to waste any resources on duplication when it’s not necessary. We see the problem the same way; we have the same conclusions.”
As new ideas come in, some Army programs may be altered or cut to make room. Perkins said they’ll look at the Army’s programs to see if they match up with future plans or if they need to be stopped in order to reinvest funds for another priority.
“We’re looking internally in the Army,” he said. “Do we have the right priorities out there? That is not an easy process. It takes a lot of thoughtful analysis.”
Any changes could also drastically affect funding, which Perkins said would be an ongoing process over time.
“Once we gain clarity of where we’re going, it’ll make it easier for Congress to understand what we want to use the money for,” he said.
Additional funds might also come from a new Defense Department warfighting fund.
“We’re confident that the Army can get after it, but we also know that resources are tight,” Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said at the event. “That fund is designed to let the Army get after it.”
The multi-domain battle concept would fall under Work’s Third Offset Strategy, a DOD-wide plan that will likely be heavily influenced by human-machine systems.
While autonomous assistance from technology is foreseen in the future battlefield, Soldiers and other military members will still be making the decisions.
“We will use machines to empower the human, not vice versa,” Work said. “This is not about Skynet and Terminator, this is about Ironman. This is machines helping the human achieve effects.”
Having a multi-domain concept rooted in trained and confident Soldiers will also give the Army an advantage over enemies that may have similar technology, according to Perkins.
“It’s hard to steal training and leadership,” the general said. “You can’t hack into it and it won’t fit on a thumb drive. So, we think that is our asymmetric edge.”
What is it?
Unified Quest is the chief of staff of the Army’s future study program designed to identify issues and explore solutions critical to current and future force development. Unified Quest 2016, managed by Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Army Capabilities Integration Center – Future Warfare Division, helps senior Army leaders understand, visualize, describe, direct, lead and assess critical changes to the future operational environment and their implications for the future force.
What has the Army done?
Among other achievements, previous Unified Quest future studies resulted in the publication of TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5-500, “Commanders Appreciation and Campaign Design,” and revisions to the Army Capstone Concepts, Army 2020 narrative and required capabilities development.
What continued efforts are planned for the future?
Unified Quest 2016 and 2017 focus on developing a common understanding of the 2030-2050 future operational environment. Through this understanding, the Army will develop concepts for how the Army, along with its joint, inter-organizational and multinational partners, could fight in the future operating environment. The future study plan will also identify the characteristics, attributes, and required capabilities and opportunities of the future force under realistic scenarios.
During May’s Deep Future Wargame, study participants developed initial projections of the 2030-2050 operational environment, an assessment of the sources of military power with respect to threats and missions, and implications for Army and military operations. This information will be used to develop draft chapters of TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5-300, “Vision of Future Conflict 2050.”
Why is this important to the Army?
Unified Quest provides a venue for the Army to explore a wide range of possible futures, generate innovative ideas, and consider how to integrate new capabilities into doctrine, operations, and force structure. Unified Quest does this by using a resource-informed perspective that is not limited by the resource constraints that typically drive near-term planning and programming.
- TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5-500, “Commanders Appreciation and Campaign Design”
- TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1, “Army Capstone Concepts”
Army modernization exercises hosted at Fort Bliss are making a significant shift this fall, from formal tests focusing on the Army’s network, to early assessments of possible technology and capability solutions to meet the Army Warfighting Challenges. These assessments will take place through the Army Warfighting Assessment 17.1, or AWA, where fleets of Army vehicles are currently being configured to support the interoperability of the systems.
Planning for the Army’s first official AWA has been ongoing for more than a year, with Army leaders refining its concept for the past several years. All of this work leads up to an October field event taking place in the realistic operational environment of the Fort Bliss desert, where Soldiers will employ and utilize the innovative capabilities in a variety of mission scenarios.
The AWA is derived from the Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, which was formerly a semi-annual event. Now, the annual NIEs will continue to mature the Army’s tactical network from a test and evaluation perspective, while annual AWAs will focus on early development and assessments of new technologies for the battlefield.
“As the Army continues to execute and refine modernization efforts, aligned with that are the respective NIE and AWA processes,” said Col. Terrece Harris, director, Capability Package Directorate, or CPD. “AWA efforts will have a tremendous positive impact on the Army’s ability to assess early network and non-network capabilities that can have significant near term benefits for Soldiers.”
Harris leads the team accountable for designing, configuring and integrating the platforms and vehicles utilized during NIEs and AWAs. CPD works with Program Executive Offices, program managers, and industry, who have a variety of capabilities that are in need of Soldier feedback. To give Soldiers time with those capabilities on Army platforms, engineers created 36 different vehicle designs to support the first official AWA.
“What makes AWAs and NIEs so unique is that the vehicle and network architecture changes twice a year, whereas traditional units spend several years on a single architecture,” said Eric Nevarez, integration chief for Capability Package Directorate. “With the AWA being a joint and coalition event, we face the challenge of aligning each Army AWA architecture with other services and nations.”
AWA 17.1 is expected to include more than 44 different capabilities. Engineers and integrators must focus on important factors when integrating capabilities onto vehicles, such as size, weight, and power. Neglecting any of these factors may affect the interoperability of the systems and the overall performance of the equipment for Soldiers executing the event out in the field.
“What we provide to the AWAs are integrated-vehicle networked platforms that will provide the coalition with a network to rely on for the brigade,” said Nevarez. “We also provide an opportunity for the world to see how these technologies and concepts emerge and show how the Army is taking into consideration the need to evolve from legacy Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance systems and what our team is doing to augment that evolution.”
For AWAs, there is a common theme of collaboration. Several stakeholders participate in this joint and coalition environment, which will facilitate improvements of technologies as well as multinational interoperability between the Army and its allies. The combined effort will help develop and refine new concepts and capability requirements by obtaining Soldier feedback early and often.
“Within this world of modernization, we don’t work in a stovepipe fashion,” explained Nevarez. “Instead, we promote working with all stakeholders, take legacy platforms, rapidly integrate and deliver them to meet the AWA mission in just a matter of months. This exemplifies how the Army is working to improve intra-agency cooperation to make Army priorities happen.”
Photo credit: During the Army Warfighting Assessment 17.1 Fleet Build, a Soldier swiftly inspects his vehicle while inside one of the bays at the Integration Motor Pool at Fort Bliss, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Vanessa Flores)