By Cmdr. Paul R. Benishek, Logistics Director, Military Sealift Command Pacific
Military Sealift Command (MSC) N4 sponsored the seventh annual Combat Logistics Force (CLF) Logistics Officer (CLO) Operational Planning Workshop in August 2018 at the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management & Humanitarian Assistance at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Ford Island, Hawaii. The five-day collaborative event allowed the CLO teams and partners to assess and advance team alignment with the Chief of Naval Operation’s operational logistics in a contested maritime environment concept.
This year’s workshop saw the largest number to date of key supporting and supported stakeholders in attendance, bringing together a collective forum represented by the surface warfare and submarine warfare communities, logistics/war planners, supply chain experts, combat logistics support agencies, and information technology professionals, as well as fleet operational logisticians.
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From left to right: (Front Row) Capt. Robert Brooks, MSCHQ N4, technical director, Pete Budi, MSCHQ N4, director, Cmdr. Paul Benishek, MSCPAC CLO, Parrish Guerrero, MSCFE, assistant CLO, Candace Thomas, MSCLANT, deputy CLO, Ronald Soriano, MSCCENT, deputy CLO, Emily Hingada, DLA, Troop Support Pacific Japan, Thomas Mattson, MSC N6, Bartolome Miranda, MSCPAC, deputy CLO. (Second Row) Michael Robinson, MSCHQ N46, Lt. Col. Andy Black, MSCHQ N3/N5, Joseph Hennessy, MSCFE, assistant CLO, Mike O’Neill, MSCHQ N45, Britt Skogstad, MSCHQ N4X, Capt. Susan Ayers, MSCHQ N10, Cmdr. Jamal Smyth, MSC CLF Support Unit CO. (Third Row) Cmdr. Paul Fox, MSCCENT CLO, Zach Fittro, NAVSUP WSS T&D, Damian Alvarez, NAVSUP T&D, Andrew Armacost, MSCHQ GSC, William Davis, NAVSUP HQ N41 (Fourth Row) William Daniels, MSC CPF Deputy LNO, Michael Graham, MSCHQ TALUGA, Greg Turner, DLA Troop Support Pacific Singapore, Tom Tichy, CPF N41, Capt. William May, MSCHQ N4 reserve director, Cmdr. Rustin Dozeman, MSCFE CLO, Mark Kaniewski, MSCHQ N46A, Cmdr. Joe Peth, USFF N41X, Capt. Charles Dwy, CLWP N4, Lt. William Wright, MSCEURAF deputy CLO, Danny Osborn, MSCHQ N48F, Lt. Michael Swerda, MSCHQ N6, Lt. Raymond Alley, MSC CLF Support Unit XO, Cmdr. William Murray, MSCLANT CLO, Cmdr. William Scott, MSCEURAF CLO. –photo by Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) Mission Support Branch
The level of involvement and participation achieved a significant milestone since the inception of the CLO network in 2011. The invaluable collaboration from having key stakeholders present and deliberating towards a common goal brought a unity of focus that will ultimately help identify wartime capability gaps in the fleet sustainment network and accelerate MSC’s ability to “bend the curve” at an enterprise level.
MSC Fleet Sustainment Director, Mike Robinson, set the tone for the presentations and discussions by reinforcing that CLOs have to envision operating beyond a steady-state environment where they will work in a very pressurized sustainment model requiring agile and timely decision making to source customer requirements, right size, and optimize last tactical mile delivery options, all while operating in a contested environment. This environment demands the highest degree of flexibility and logistic resourcefulness in order to successfully support U.S. naval warfare strategies.
The August 2018 workshop “Posturing for Phase II and Beyond” tasked participants to rethink current tactical sustainment and delivery methodologies to a more fluid construct. The new model can be described as “any payload to any platform” which will potentially expand to commercial ship charters, unmanned aircraft systems, Joint operations and multimodal delivery options when supporting major combat operations.
Some of the topics covered included Pacific Fleet mobile logistics, ordnance phasing/force flow, contested environment communications, battle menu feeding, Reserve unit support and contested environment logistics.
The workshop was also intended for the worldwide CLOs to share best practices, foster innovation, and implement continuous process improvement initiatives as well as enhance their interoperability as a globally integrated network. It also served as an opportunity to level set the CLO competency for newly assigned personnel.
Featuring keynote addresses by both the Director and the Reserve Director, Logistics, Fleet Supply and Ordnance, N4, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Kristen Fabry and Rear Adm. Jacquelyn McClelland, respectively, showcased the importance of this workshop and ensured the focus remained closely aligned with fleet sustainment policies.
“In this era of great power competition and the prospect of a “high-end fight,” the CLOs will be faced with unprecedented challenges,” said Pete Budi, MSC logistics director. “As such, they are uniquely positioned to enact operationally flexible sustainment strategies and solutions, particularly during Phase II or contingency operations.”
A key workshop take away was an expectation for an exponential increase in combatant presence in a wartime scenario, the same can be said with the myriad logistics and connector platforms that will be in play beyond CLF ships that CLOs typically manage today. The cargo loads in a Phase II environment will be highly mobile and likely include pre-positioning on some very untraditional platforms and expeditionary locations.
In planning for future operations, Budi emphasized, “From a Phase II perspective, it is vital for logistics partners that will be in the fight together also be proactively working together and team building in the posturing phase that we are currently in.” The workshop illustrated that posturing for Phase II will demand the highest degree of agility, resourcefulness, and high velocity learning from the CLOs, our fleet and logistics partners in order to be decisive in a warfighting environment unlike that we have ever faced before.