BY CAPT. BRETT STEVENS, SC, USN FORMER DIRECTOR OF LOGISTICS U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND
U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), located on Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska is one of nine combatant commands responsible to the President for carrying out the U.S. National Military Strategy. Unlike geographic combatant commands responsible for forces and operations in a specific geographic area, USSTRATCOM is a functional combatant command responsible to plan, synchronize, advocate and employ nine “functions” around the globe, in space, and in cyberspace. These diverse, strategic functions are vital to our national power and fully integrate with the other combatant commands and the whole of government to deter adversaries, assure allies and control the escalation of conflict. Key among these functions is preeminence in space and cyberspace, and a safe, secure, effective and ready strategic nuclear deterrent.
Pre-eminence in Space and Cyberspace
USSTRATCOM’s global perspective is unconstrained by geographic boundaries and is therefore uniquely suited to carry out its responsibility for military operational matters in space and cyberspace. The vast space domain is without national jurisdictions yet contains capabilities of critical importance to the international community. Indeed, modern navigation, weather forecasting, communications and strategic indication and warning systems all depend upon satellites operating within this domain. The cyberspace domain is similarly unconstrained by geographic boundaries and is an important enabler in the modern era. USSTRATCOM, in close coordination with the Services, ensures robust space and cyberspace capabilities to preserve unrestricted access and freedom of maneuver within these domains.
U.S. Strategic Forces Underpin National Security
A top priority, as reiterated in the latest National Military Strategy, is to ensure U.S. strategic forces are always ready to respond to threats to the homeland and our vital interests. Far from Cold War relics, U.S. strategic forces remain relevant and responsive in today’s transregional, multi-domain, multifunctional threat environment, and are at work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to keep potential adversaries in check and to assure allies of our commitment to their collective security. Safe, effective and ready strategic forces are the foundation upon which our national defense rests.
USSTRATCOM is the only combatant command that plans, synchronizes, advocates and employs U.S. strategic forces. Three delivery platforms maximize resiliency and create a formidable
challenge for potential adversaries to overcome. Submarines are difficult to detect as they stealthily patrol the oceans worldwide. Widely-dispersed, land-based missiles are difficult for an adversary to target all at once, and provide an “always ready” deterrent. Bombers areflexible and overtly demonstrate resolve to allies and adversaries.
Logistics Directorate Support to U.S. Strategic Command’s Mission
Working alongside our Joint military and civilian logistician counterparts, Supply Corps officers assigned to the Logistics Directorate support four lines of effort. The first line of effort (LOE) is readiness and sustainment. This LOE collects, analyzes and reports on space, cyberspace and strategic forces’ operational readiness and sustainment issues, and is one of the principal means used by the commander to assess his command’s ability to carry out its assigned missions. This information also informs the commander’s advocacy role and influences
senior Department of Defense resource allocation decision-makers.
The next LOE is logistics operations, which provides logistics expertise and the Joint Logistics Operations Center (JLOC) to manage worldwide movement of materiel and personnel in support of U.S. Strategic Command’s global mission. It maintains the time-phased force and deployment data for a “level 4” operation plan, the most detailed, comprehensive war plan available. In 2015, the JLOC, working in conjunction with U.S. Transportation Command, managed the movement of 2,100 tons of materiel and 5,400 personnel supporting USSTRATCOM’s operations and exercises.
The Logistics Directorate’s third LOE is logistics plans. It supports the development and execution of USSTRATCOM’s operation plans. The logistics plans team develops the overarching framework for logistics support and then works closely with the Services, combat support agencies and subordinate commands to fill in the details. The details involve multiple supply chains, including food, fuel and parts, and are the critical enablers for the successful employment of U.S. strategic forces across the entire spectrum of conflict. USSTRATCOM maintains many different plans that require constant refinement and adjustment.
The fourth and final LOE is facilities management. The logistics directorate maintains and operates USSTRATCOM’s headquarters complex comprised of 12 buildings and nearly one million square feet, and includes a sophisticated command and control facility. The facilities management team works closely with the local base hosts to keep USSTRATCOM’s headquarters complex in good repair for more than 1,700 employees.
Joint duty at USSTRATCOM provides Supply Corps officers professional experience outside of the Navy and adds diversity to their career paths. Supply Corps officers are exposed to different Service cultures and gain proficiency as a staff officer supporting a four-star combatant command. Their work extends beyond familiar Navy platforms and bases and broadens their thinking on
strategic matters critically important to our national defense. Supply Corps officers add value to the Joint team with their experience and know-how in the areas of logistics planning, petroleum and supply chain management, and operational logistics. These strengths, combined with the collective strengths of our sister services and a talented civilian workforce, directly contribute to USSTRATCOM’s nuclear and non-nuclear warfighting responsibilities and produce a Joint fighting force second-to-none.