WHAT IS A CLO? Combat Logistics Officers: Improving Logistical Support to the Warfighter

BY CMDR. RONALD J. KISH, CLO & DIRECTOR OF LOGISTICS COMMANDER, TASK FORCE 63/MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND EUROPE AND AFRICA

For the last five years, Military Sealift Command (MSC) Combat Logistics Officers (CLOs) have played an integral part in today’s worldwide logistics network.

The participants of the 2015 Combat Logistics Officers (CLO) Wor kshop held in Bahrain. Back Row (left to right): Lt. Cmdr. James Foster, Cmdr. Ronald Kish (CL O CTF 63), Cmdr. Sean Andrews (CLO CTF 83), Cmdr. Cole Cox, Lt. Wes Hawkins, Mike Robinson (CLO Program Man ager), Mark Kaniewski, Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Eli Quintanilla, Bart Miranda. Front Row (left to right) Cmdr. Will Booth (CLO CTF 53), Capt. Chong Hunter (CLO CTF 33), Lt. Cmdr. Carlos Lopez, Cmdr. Mark Axinto (CLO CTF 73), Candace Thomas, Capt. Ernie Harden, Capt. Amy Lyons, Ron Soriano, Pete Budi (Military Sealift Command N4).

The participants of the 2015 Combat Logistics Officers (CLO) Wor kshop held in Bahrain. Back Row (left to right): Lt. Cmdr. James Foster, Cmdr. Ronald Kish (CL O CTF 63), Cmdr. Sean Andrews (CLO CTF 83), Cmdr. Cole Cox, Lt. Wes Hawkins, Mike Robinson (CLO Program Man ager), Mark Kaniewski, Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Eli Quintanilla, Bart Miranda. Front Row (left to right) Cmdr. Will Booth (CLO CTF 53), Capt. Chong Hunter (CLO CTF 33), Lt. Cmdr. Carlos Lopez, Cmdr. Mark Axinto (CLO CTF 73), Candace Thomas, Capt. Ernie Harden, Capt. Amy Lyons, Ron Soriano, Pete Budi (Military Sealift Command N4).

In 2010, MSC implemented United States Fleet Forces (USFF) and Commander, Pacific Fleet Combat Logistics Force (CLF) Fleet Sustainment Concept of Operations replacing Afloat Officer In Charge billets and military departments onboard CLF vessels with CLOs and supporting military and civilian billets in each of the fleet areas of responsibility. This new revolutionary support model transformed traditional ship-centric fleet sustainment toward a more capable theater-based support network utilizing information system portal and ship/shore data replication technologies. CLOs are MSC Area Command billets embedded in the staffs of the Theater Logistics Task Force Commanders and serve as the customer engagement entry point for CLF customer sustainment.

“The program’s innovative approach and IT decision-support software allows the CLO to combine logistics data and maneuver to provide surface combatants with the in-stride sustainment options necessary to extend their ‘on-station’ time in support of disaggregated operations,” said Capt. Pete Stamatopoulos, Director, Fleet Ordnance and Supply for USFF. “The speed of coordination and speed of control our CLOs now enjoy improves CLF agility and responsiveness at a lower price point–which is exactly what our warfighters want and our Navy needs!”

Over the last four years, CLOs have become recognized throughout the fleet as the customer order fulfillment focal point for deployed customer sustainment for subsistence, high usage load list, fleet issue load list, aviation ordnanceman deckload, and fleet freight within their respective theaters. The greatest impact of the transition ashore has been the value of the “CLO Network,” which has allowed MSC to cross geographic area of responsibility (AOR) boundaries and implement a new level of business process standardization and total asset visibility that directly translates into improved customer support. CLOs have also become significant go-to points of contact for facilitating the delivery of logistics support with other logistics partners such as Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) (troop support and prime vendor contractors), fleet contracting officer representatives, and supporting unit logistics staffs.

“The CLO fleet sustainment network is a success story for naval logistics,” said Commander Rear Adm. Thomas K. Shannon of Military Sealift Command, “With expanded theater-level responsibilities, they replaced the Supply Corps commanders aboard our T-AKEs.”

In their expanded role, CLOs have been instrumental in ensuring the new Expeditionary fast transport vessels, formerly known as Joint high speed vessels, are properly prepared and supported in their challenging deployments to remote/austere locations. In many of the AORs, CLOs have also been heavily engaged in the husbanding service provider reforms and off-ship bill payment processes and procedures. Other successes have included coordinating with the DLA on the establishment of blanket purchase agreements with local vendors for subsistence support in austere and remote locations not supported by the Subsistence Prime Vendor Program. They have developed innovative sustainment strategies to support major exercises like Rim of the Pacific, Talisman Saber, and Valiant Shield and have been vital partners in supporting DLA forward stocking initiatives and expanded use of CLF stocks for Marine Expeditionary Unit support.

In November 2015, MSC held their fourth annual CLO workshop at Commander, Task Force 53/ Military Sealift Command Central, Bahrain. These annual workshops bring the active duty, Reserve and civilian CLO teams together to cover a wide range of fleet sustainment topics, share lessons learned and best practices, review CLO network changes and enhancements, and reinforce the network synchronization. Some of the significant topics included: husbanding service provider changes, business continuity in a cyber threat environment, operational logistics in a contested environment, financial improvement and audit readiness compliance, distributed agile logistics/emerging concepts, cargo fuel operations and reviewing metrics for customer order fulfillment, customer surveys, and Cargo Inventory Readiness.

CLOs coordinate the last tactical mile of at-sea sustainment, as well as at remote ports around the world. CLOs have established an excellent reputation throughout the fleet, as MSC continues to expand the envelope in supporting our deployed forces worldwide.

March/April 2016