BY LT. JAMES CHEUNG, SC, USN, EOD EXPEDTIONARY SUPPORT UNIT ONE
LT. JEFF PHILLIPS, SC, USN, LOGISTICS SUPPORT UNIT TWO
LT. JEREMY SANTIAGO, SC, USN, NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE DEVELOPMENT GROUP
LT.J.G. GREG CUMMINS, SC, USN EOD EXPEDITIONARY SUPPORT UNIT TWO
Since 2001, the Supply Corps has been called upon to serve in some of the most austere and arduous conditions in support of expeditionary units. From Iraq and Afghanistan to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, Supply Corps officers have been providing first-class logistics support to Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Teams and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units conducting operations in support of the geographic combatant commander (GCC). As operations became more enduring, logistics support units were formed to better provide personnel and structure to support the warfighter. As a result of creating the three Logistics Support Units (LOGSUs) and two Expeditionary Support Units, all of which are commanded by Supply Corps commanders, Supply Corps officers have had vast opportunities to serve in the field of expeditionary logistics.
Four Supply Corps officers presented an Expeditionary Logistics brief at the Navy Supply Corps Senior Leadership Symposium to educate and inform those senior officers who have not had the opportunity to serve in an expeditionary billet. In doing so, the presenters aimed to provide a better understanding of what they do and how they operate in the expeditionary environment. Lt. j.g. Greg Cummins kicked off the brief by comparing traditional and expeditionary billets. He highlighted direct support to the warfighter, the training/inspection/deployment cycle, leadership of various personnel and rates, the management of inventories, budgets, and processes as well as preparation for inspections and certifications. He continued by highlighting the deployment disaggregation each Naval Special Warfare or EOD unit faces on deployment; when one of these units deploys, the warfighters are dispersed among two or more GCCs and are supported by the deployed Combat Service Support Troop (CSST).
Lt. Phillips and Lt. Cheung continued by describing the construct of a CSST. Sent on temporary assigned duty from LOGSU to the team, a lieutenant Supply Corps officer serves as the N4 and the CSST Commander, leading 40-50 personnel made up of 13 different rates. These Sailors work as a separate troop (or team) and report to the CSST Commander throughout the training and deployment cycle. Serving as the CSST Commander is a unique opportunity wherein a Supply Corps officer is leading so many different personnel of various rates. The N4 supports the SEAL Team throughout each six-month phase of the training cycle to include Professional Development, Unit Level Training and Task Group Integration, all of which take place at various CONUS locations. In preparation for deployment, the CSST tracks and coordinates all personnel, gear and flights around the world, sometimes made up of 40 different locations in 30 different countries. The cycle culminates with the CSST accompanying the SEAL Team or EOD unit on deployment to provide direct logistics support.
Lt. Jeremy Santiago followed by describing common deployment requirements and methods of acquiring these items. For common-user logistics items, such as Class 1 (subsistence), Class 3 (POLs), or Class 4 (construction material), the CSST can order these items by using a DODAAC, similar to how the Fleet requisitions via MILSTRIP. However, when non-standard items are required such as non-tactical vehicles, berthing/latrine trailers, or various types of generators, these items must be purchased via contracting. Lt. Santiago continued by giving examples of various supplies, services and minor construction projects for which he was the authorized government official to sign contracts during his last two deployments as a contracting officer warranted by Special Operations Command. The group concluded the brief by describing the various 3100 billets at expeditionary commands and highlighting the career milestones each achieves. From Ensign to Captain, there are numerous opportunities to serve in expeditionary assignments. These assignments develop leaders and require the incumbents to serve with a sense of independence, lead Sailors of various rates, and many times serve alongside other Services.