The SCoE Simulation Center Supports Training for a New Deployment Mission
MAJ Jeffrey L. Schultz and MAJ Ralph L. Poole
In October 2009, the 240th Quartermaster Battalion at Fort Lee, Virginia, was notified that it would deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in early 2010 as a combat sustainment support battalion (CSSB). This announcement presented the unit's relatively inexperienced staff with the dilemma of planning, training, deploying, and executing an entirely new mission in a short timeframe.
The training required coordination with many external organizations. Exercise planners within the Sustainment Center of Excellence (SCoE) and the Logistics Exercise and Simulation Directorate (LESD) took advantage of the opportunity to support the unit in its training while also assessing the capabilities of the newly established SCoE Simulation Training Center (STC).
The 240th Quartermaster Battalion is one of two Active Army pipeline and terminal operating battalions. It commands and controls six active-duty companies: a headquarters company, two petroleum pipeline and terminal operating companies, one mortuary affairs company, and two petroleum supply companies. The battalion's new role as a CSSB requires it to perform a multifunctional mission with a mix of Active and Reserve component subordinate sustainment companies from other installations.
Lieutenant Colonel Skip Adams, the battalion commander, considered the challenges faced by the 240th and asked training activities located at Fort Lee for assistance. Colonel Sharon L. Leary, director of LESD, a tenant activity at Fort Lee and a directorate of the National Simulation Center (at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas), agreed to support the unit in this effort, which fell under the LESD's primary mission - to properly train sustainment staffs to perform battle command missions. The intent was to support the planning and execution of a simulation training exercise tailored to meet the unit's specific training objectives.
The exercise took place during the first week of December 2009 and consisted of a series of master training events supported by the Joint Deployment Logistics Model (JDLM). JDLM is the primary training simulation for logistics and is used to simulate the Army's Battle Command Sustainment Support System.
The 240th Quartermaster Battalion, using JDLM, was able to replicate reporting procedures from subordinate units and create logistics status reports to transmit to higher headquarters. The unit was also able to simulate various transportation, maintenance, and personnel issues that it might experience during its deployment to Iraq.
The officers and civilians of the STC provided guidance and direction on training plans and events while learning new techniques and procedures for conducting an exercise at the battalion level. Assisting a battalion with building an exercise was new ground for STC simulation trainers as well as for the members of the 240th. The two groups worked together closely to create and execute a battalion-level command post training exercise that met the commander's expectations and provided the battalion staff with greater confidence in assuming its new mission.
The 240th Quartermaster Battalion, assisted by members of the STC, successfully executed the exercise and met its short-term training objectives. The achievement was considered a success not only for the 240th but also for the STC. Members of the SCoE and LESD were able to exercise the original STC concept and are now developing a pilot training program designed to support future units with similar training requirements. Continued improvements to this new capability will complement the Army's Battle Command Training Strategy by incorporating training support from the Army's newly established centers of excellence.