Across the spectrum of Soldier and leader development, the Army’s institutional domain continues to evolve as a key link in education, training and experience. The Army’s ability to build forces capable of conducting unified land operations is strengthened by operating and training with joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational partners.
CASCOM’S MULTISERVICE TRAINING
At the Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) and Sustainment Center of Excellence, more than 113,000 personnel from all services are trained and educated on critical sustainment skills every year. The command spearheads training and education across five Army branches covering 57 military occupational specialties and 18 critical functional specialties.
Having multiservice integrated training within the Army institutional domain means that Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force personnel train under a single program of instruction. Most of the training is conducted at Fort Lee, Virginia, and Fort Jackson, South Carolina. However, the training touches more than 78 different sites across the continental United States and overseas.
Exposure to sister services creates unique Soldier and leader development opportunities not seen in most Army institutional environments. These educational experiences create shared professional understanding as Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen progress to higher levels.
For Army sustainers, the institutional domain includes CASCOM, the sustainment schools, sustainment learning materials from other schools across the Army, and other Department of Defense training institutions. These institutions provide initial training and subsequent functional courses and integrate multiple services into the Army’s institutional domain.
CASCOM trains more than 11,000 students from services other than the Army and 500 international students each year. Following the co-location of the c, Quartermaster, and Transportation schools at Fort Lee, the installation experienced an influx of multiservice students. This effort created numerous efficiencies and established multiple joint institutional training organizations.
Fort Lee became the home of three joint centers: the Joint Culinary Arts Center of Excellence, the Joint Mortuary Affairs Center, and a consolidated transportation management element. The other services established training detachments to align instructor and mission command capabilities in support of these efforts.
The Marine Corps Detachment Fort Lee, for example, provides training in 11 specialties with 180 staff members and 2,500 students annually. The training audience includes entry-level Marines through officers.
The training involves personnel retrieval and processing (mortuary affairs), airborne operations and air delivery (parachute rigging), bulk fuel, food services, maintenance, and ammunition handling. The detachment also serves as the proponent for those specialties across the Marine Corps. The detachment writes and updates Marine Corps, joint, and multiservice doctrine.
JOINT CULINARY TRAINING
The Army and Marine Corps have trained their food service students together at Fort Lee since 1999. The Navy and Air Force culinary training programs relocated to Fort Lee in 2010. The Joint Culinary Center of Excellence’s Joint Culinary Training Center is the focal point for all entry-level and advanced food services training for all branches of the armed forces.
Although food service operations differ among the services, the core skills are the same for all food service personnel. Joint classes cover the core skills, and the services provide service-specific skills training and education during follow-on phases.
The Army’s Culinary Specialist Course is the foundation for the first phase. This phase focuses on cooking, baking, and garrison and field operations and has an average annual student load of 2,500 Soldiers, 450 Marines, and 1,150 Sailors. The Air Force, while co-located at the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence, does not participate in this consolidated training with the other services.
The Advanced Culinary Skills Training Course is a fully joint course with students from all services and the Coast Guard. This single program of instruction includes multiservice instructors, which makes it a truly joint institutional training environment. This highly specialized course trains about 100 students per year, with the Army comprising 40 percent of the student population and the Navy comprising 30 percent.
The Joint Culinary Center of Excellence’s Enlisted Aide Training Course has just under 100 students per year and is attended by Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard personnel. Air Force students will begin attending in fiscal year 2018.
The Military Culinary Arts Competitive Training Event has been conducted annually since 1973 and is spearheaded by the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence. It provides a unique venue for military chefs around the world to compete.
Personnel from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and foreign countries’ armed services all participate in the competition. In 2017, 240 military personnel competed on 25 teams from the U.S. military branches, France, Germany, and Great Britain. Winners go on to compete in the American Culinary Federation competition held each summer.
JOINT MORTUARY AFFAIRS
The Quartermaster Center and School is the proponent for joint mortuary affairs. It provides continual, sustainable, global mortuary affairs support for the Department of Defense.
All mortuary affairs training and doctrine development are conducted at the Joint Mortuary Affairs Center (JMAC), which serves as a center of excellence. It also serves as the Department of Defense mortuary affairs training and doctrine integration center for all services and trains more than 250 military personnel annually. The center trains and certifies mortuary affairs specialists for both the Army and Marine Corps.
The Navy also sends students to the JMAC to support the joint mission at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. The Marine Corps has the only non-Army mortuary affairs company, and all of its personnel complete institutional training at JMAC. Multiservice students historically represent 10 to 15 percent of the JMAC’s training population.
PETROLEUM AND WATER
The Quartermaster School’s Petroleum and Water Department conducts three enlisted advanced individual training courses and a single officer course. Each course regularly consists of students from across all services and has an average student load of more than 550 non-Army personnel per year.
The Petroleum Laboratory Specialist Course provides training to just under 500 students per fiscal year. Army students make up nearly 70 percent of the training mission while Airmen and Marines comprise the other 30 percent.
These students learn about petroleum quality surveillance requirements and compliance. This encompasses training on inspections, sampling, testing, quantity measurement, control, and documentation to monitor the quality and quantity of fuels being received, stored, and issued within the supply chain.
Lasting just over 10 weeks, the Petroleum Supply Specialist Course applies more than 75 percent of its curriculum to hands-on training for Army and Marine Corps students. While the Navy does send students, the course does not produce a certified occupational specialty for Sailors.
The course creates a common framework for petroleum supply operations, environmental standards, gauging and sampling, aircraft refueling, pipeline operations, and the Marine Corps bulk fuel system.
The Petroleum and Water Officer Course trains Soldiers, Marines, and Sailors. Infrequently, Air Force officers or noncommissioned officers attend. The course, which produces an additional skill identifier for Army officers, trains more than 50 students per year. It provides students with the skills and knowledge to perform petroleum and water logistics management duties for both staff and supervisory operational assignments.
AERIAL DELIVERY AND FIELD SERVICES
The Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department graduates on average more than 150 multiservice students per year from the Parachute Rigger Course. The Air Force alone had 84 personnel graduate from the course in 2016. Marines at Fort Lee also complete the Multi-Mission Parachute System Course. The department develops airdrop, rigging, and sling-load doctrine in addition to all training support materials.
The Army Ordnance Corps and School at Fort Lee trains more than 20 mechanical maintenance specialties. The school provides current and relevant training to build technical skills and confidence for maintenance operations. The Armament and Electronics Maintenance Department and the Track Metalworking and Recovery Department train both Army and Marine Corps students.
While individual Soldiers and Marines are responsible for the upkeep of their own weapons, small-arms and artillery repairers perform field and sustainment levels of maintenance on weapons and towed artillery. The Smalls Arms and Artillery Repairer Course teaches students to diagnose, troubleshoot, and repair malfunctions. The course graduates more than 360 Marines each year.
Fire control is a precise science that enables tanks to have a first-shot capability. The Fire Control Repairer Course trains nearly 130 Marines each year on laser range finding, diagnostic test sets, fire control devices for towed artillery, and infrared observation devices.
When Army and Marine Corps units need a part repaired or fabricated immediately, an allied trades specialist is an invaluable asset. The Allied Trades Specialist Course trains more than 130 students each year to operate metalworking machinery such as drill presses and grinders.
The students also master the use of oxygen-acetylene, metal inert gas, and tungsten inert gas welding equipment as well as arc and air arc cutting and gouging equipment. Allied trades specialists maintain the high standards of precision necessary to fabricate virtually anything combat forces require.
MUNITIONS AND EXPLOSIVES
Annually, more than 360 Marines share classrooms and field training experiences with Army students at the Ordnance School’s Ammunition Specialist Course. They learn ammunition and explosives management through aggressive training on receiving, storing, and issuing conventional ammunition, guided missiles, large rockets, and explosives. They also learn to operate materials handling equipment that is used on the battlefield.
Explosive ordnance disposal training is balanced between the Army Ordnance School and the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal. Soldiers complete a rigorous Phase 1 of the course at Fort Lee before attending Phase 2 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The course trains approximately 1,800 military personnel each year.
The Defense Ammunition Center and the Army Technical Center for Explosives Safety provide all military services with both instructor-led and online training each year. The scope of training for more than 161,000 students per year covers ammunition training, explosives safety, and engineering.
The two-week Technical Transportation of Hazardous Materials Course is taught at locations all over the world. This course meets the mandatory certification requirements for military personnel involved in all aspects of transporting hazardous materials. It also covers regulations for hazardous materials transportation across all modes to include land, sea, and commercial and military air.
Led by a Marine Corps chief warrant officer and subordinate to the Army’s Adjutant General School under the Soldier Support Institute, the Interservice Postal Training Activity trains Soldiers, Marines, and Airmen.
Two courses create the multiservice capability. The five-week Postal Operations Course trains students from pay grades E-1 through O-4 in basic postal skills and expands to go deep into mail processing and finance operations.
The Postal Supervisor Course, which lasts two weeks and four days, trains leaders to supervise postal operations in contingency operations and to manage the numerous responsibilities associated with military postal services.
FUTURE JOINT TRAINING
The demands on sustainment leaders will continue to be challenging and complex in the future operational environment. The integration of joint sustainment functions, including maintenance, transportation, supply, field services, distribution, operational contract support, general engineering, human resources, financial management, health service support, and band operations, must be applied across the operational and institutional domains.
Future joint and multiservice training within the Army institutional domain must be characterized by a strong appreciation of joint combined arms maneuver, expeditionary sustainment, total force sustainment integration, strategic sustainment enterprise operations, and common sustainment information systems. Functional courses, such as the Joint Logistics Course and Joint Operational Contract Support Planning and Execution Course, will bridge capability and operational environment gaps.
Education provides intellectual constructs and principles. It develops individuals and leaders who can think, apply knowledge, and solve problems under uncertain or ambiguous conditions. As it becomes more jointly integrated, the Army institutional domain will incorporate deeper “how to think” methodologies and enhance multiservice commonalities in unknown and ambiguous environments.
Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams is the previous commanding general of CASCOM and the Sustainment Center of Excellence at Fort Lee, Virginia.
Lt. Col. David L. Thompson is the commander of the 832nd Ordnance Battalion at Fort Lee, Virginia. He is a graduate of the Advanced Military Studies Program.
This article was published in the July-August 2017 issue of Army Sustainment magazine.