History Office » Lineage

A LEGACY OF COMMAND


The history that leads to the Army Sustainment Command (ASC) is that of military logistics as a whole. Sun Tzu defined logistics as “A general science forming the most essential parts of the art of war.” Logistics has been a struggle that spans the age of war. From the age of conflict in the Roman Empire, to the French Army under Napoleon, to the D-Day Landings at Normandy, and the sustainment of Allies in the Global War on Terror, logistics has been the source of innovations and struggles.

The beginnings of organizational structure of logistics in the United States Military that we see today occurs with the enacting of the National Security Act of 1947, and the transition from the War Department to the Department of Defense (DoD).  The subsequent creation of Major Army Commands (MACs) and Subordinate Commands (MSCs) follows in the years after. 

In 1955, Ordnance Weapons Command (OWC) was established as a “culmination of prodigious experience and planning.”  The command was created to reorganize the Ordnance Department along the lines of commodities to streamline start-to-finish research and development, testing, production, fielding, and maintenance. 

In 1962, following the transfers of installations and missions, the OWC changes its mission focus.  OWC transforms into Weapons Command (WECOM) in the July-August timeframe, specializing still in the commodity of weapons research, development, testing, and production.  During its first year of operation, WECOM is responsible for and manages projects such as the M14, AR15, the Davy Crockett Recoilless Rifle, the Sheridan Weapon System, and the XM70 Rocket Launcher.  WECOM provided joint support to the U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force at this time through their Weapons Research Laboratory (WRL) and Artillery Systems Laboratory (ASL).  The WRL is transferred to Rock Island Arsenal in 1973 and is subsequently renamed the “Thomas J. Rodman Laboratory.”

Prior to this transfer, in 1972, the Army Materiel Command (AMC, established in 1966) had established a structure for Standard Commodity Commands (SCC) to more compartmentalize and specialize the capabilities of research and manufacturing.  The larger portion of the former WECOM transformed itself into Munition Command (MUCOM) in 1974, accepting responsibility for larger weapons and ordnance systems.  The small arms mission formed the nucleus of the new Armament Command (ARMCOM) at the same time.  Shortly thereafter, ARMCOM split into two new commands in 1977.  The research and development mission became the Armament Research and Development Command (ARRADCOM), while the logistics mission was given to the new Armament Materiel Readiness Command (ARRCOM).  ARRCOM’s mission was to exercise logistics management to include procurement, production, engineering, quality assurance, and integrated support.  However, in 1983 it was decided that both command mission sets required a single commander to oversee the life cycle support necessary, thus Armament Munitions and Chemical Command was established through the remerger of these two commands.

COMMANDS AT WAR


AMCCOM oversaw the iron mountains of materiel seen during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield in 1991.  It was identified that logistics and administration required transformation during this time to make the Army more efficient, and to ensure materiel was placed appropriately and never in shortage.  In 1994, the Industrial Operations Command (IOC) was established through a merger of the Depot Systems Command (DESCOM) and AMCCOM.  IOC also gained control of Army War Reserves that were present in Europe and Korea, while also establishing new reserves in Qatar and Kuwait.  In 1996, IOC created a one-star subordinate command tasked with the specific purpose of overseeing all of the obtained and established reserves.  The Army War Reserves Support Command (AWRSPTCMD) under IOC gained control of the Combat Equipment Groups Afloat (CEG-A), and Europe (CEG-E).  It was during this time the MG Joseph Arbuckle defined the need for a Revolution in Military Logistics (RML).  The RML flattened the logistics system in place by putting the Warfighter front-and-center.  It increased the streamlining of materiel management and distribution management while leveraging the full power of the Army’s Organic Industrial Base (OIB).

The IOC, as part of the RML, transformed itself into the Operations Support Command (OSC) in 2000.  The main mission for the OSC was to act as AMC’s “single face to the field” for all materiel support.  The AWRSPTCMD transferred to OSC as its single manager of prepositioned stocks and reserves.  AWRSPTCMD was the international component of OSC that made the command have a worldwide footprint.  Following the attacks on 11 SEP 2001, OSC was charged with putting the concept of RML into action.  Using its prepositioned stocks and reserves, OSC was able to establish a base at Karshi-Kanabad in Uzbekistan by early 2002.  By the end of 2003, an additional Logistics Support Element in Iraq had begun to take form.  The OSC Operations Center was working around-the-clock, with deliveries shipped within eleven hours.  This mission and readiness continue to the present day.

A GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR

In January of 2003, OSC was renamed as the Joint Munitions Command (JMC) and retained its 2-star commanding general.  Prior to this, the AWRSPTCMD had been renamed the Field Support Command (FSC) and was subsequently renamed Army Field Support Command (AFSC) when the transformation to JMC occurred.  As conflict raged in Southwest Asia and an increased emphasis on supply dawned, the decision was made to invert the commands.  This made the AFSC a 2-star major subordinate command of AMC, while JMC reported to the AFSC.  AFSC added additional missions such as the Retrograde Property Assistance Team (RPAT), oversight of AMC Forward (FWD) elements, and RESET.  The AMC FWD units were eventually re-designated as Army Field Support Brigades.

In 2006, JMC broke away from AFSC to become an MSC to AMC.  Meanwhile, the AFSC made its transformation into ASC.  ASC’s mission set grew, unilaterally while it was activated in the Continental United States (CONUS), the Army also activated the first two of seven Modified Table of Organization and Equipment (MOTE) AFSBs to replace the AMC FWDs.  The 401st AFSB in Kuwait and 402nd AFSB in Iraq carried on their wartime support missions without missing a beat.  In October 2007, the 406th and 407th AFSBs were activated and focused on Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) support to combat units in CONUS.  The move to MTOE from Table of Distribution and Allowances (TDA) units meant that the new units were able to be deployed.  In 2009, the last three AFSBs were activated: 403rd in Korea, 404th at Joint-Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), and 405th in Germany.  Contracting Support Brigades (CSBs) were also created at this time, and for a period in 2009, ASC was responsible for both field and contracting support.  The creation of Army Contracting Command ended this mission, but ASC retained tactical control (TACON) of the CSBs.  ACC focused on acquisition and procurement, while ASC was now free to focus on war, RESET, and ARFORGEN.

BUILT TO LAST


In early 2012 ASC was designated the Army’s Lead Materiel Integrator (LMI) to ensure more efficient alignment of materiel resources across the materiel enterprise.  On 1 OCT 2012 the ASC assumed command of the Army’s 73 Directorates of Logistics (DOLs), now known as Logistics Readiness Centers (LRCs).  In 2018-2019 the ASC restructured again to better meet emerging requirements for large scale ground combat operations.  The DMC was dismantled, and the Support Operations Directorate was reinforced.  In the field, 11 Army Field Support Battalions (AFSBn) in support of Army divisions merged with the installation LRC to improve division readiness.  Division and Corps Logistics Support Elements (LSE) were formed in AFSBns and AFSBs to better connect combat formations with the materiel enterprise.

Today the ASC consists of seven AFSBs, twenty-two AFSBns, TACON of six CSBs, and the Army’s LRCs.  In addition, the LOGCAP Support Brigade (LSB) and the Army Sustainment Command Army Reserve Element (ASC-ARE) of the Army Reserve Sustainment Command (ARSC) are controlled and workloaded by ASC.  ASC is “On The Line” to integrate and synchronize the delivery of unique AMC capabilities and enablers at the operational and tactical points of need in order to enable army readiness, strength, and speed.

FLAG & INSIGNIA


DESCRIPTION:
A silver color metal and enamel device, 1 & 1/8 inches (2.86 cm) in height consisting of a black gear wheel with a blue center bearing a yellow stylized caltrop one joint up superimposed by a silver disc voided in the shape of a rounded triangle one point down enclosing a black bomb enflamed red and a light blue disc grid-lined silver overall a silver sword and attached at bottom a silver chevron reversed bearing a black horizontal bar inscribed “ON THE LINE” in silver.
 
APPROVAL:
The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved on 20 July 2000. It was re-designated effective 1 October 2006, with the symbolism updated, for the U.S. Army Sustainment Command.
SYMBOLISM:
The three points of the stylized caltrop symbolize resolve, spirit and professionalism. The silver disc voided by a triangle represents unity; the triangle alludes to stability and strength. The gear wheel underscores efficient support to United States soldiers around the world and industrial operations. The bomb highlights the ordnance mission; the globe represents the scope of the missions and field sustained support. The sword refers to combat readiness and the organization’s support to soldiers. The reversed chevron symbolizes Command’s provision of a single point of entry for all Army Materiel Command units to Army Field Commanders.
 

FLAG:
The Army Sustainment Command flag consists of the Distinctive Unit Insignia centered on a field of teal. The teal color signifies that the Army Sustainment Command is multifunctional and not associated with any one branch of the Army.

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