MSG Half-Mast recently paid a virtual visit to Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, home of the Headquarters of the US Army Sustainment Command (ASC). While there, he sat down with ASC’s commanding general, MG Chris Mohan, to discuss the command’s mission and some of its recent initiatives.
MG Mohan is a native of North Carolina who took command of ASC in June 2021 [he changed command in July 2022]. To learn more about him, click HERE for his biography.
: MG Mohan, thank you for taking the time to speak with PS Magazine
today. Briefly describe Army Sustainment Command’s mission and how it supports readiness across the force.
MG Mohan: The Army Sustainment Command is what I refer to as the “quarterback” for the synchronization and application of the Army Materiel Command’s resources, so we can build and sustain combat readiness for the Army – both in garrison and training environments, and also while deployed in contingencies and operations such as our support to the US European Command (USEUCOM).
: As a follow-up, in light of current world events, how is ASC’s mission being both validated and challenged?
MG Mohan: We’re seeing unprecedented demand right now for our capabilities. For example, normally we would have one brigade headquarters forward operating in Europe; right now, we have three out of seven ASC brigades, and we just deployed another in CONUS to move from one location to another to support the additional capabilities that we’re providing to USEUCOM.
: As you’ve traveled around the command, which has a worldwide footprint, what positive trends have you seen concerning readiness that need reinforcement and what negative trends need improvement?
MG Mohan: Spurred on by what’s going on in Europe, with a large-scale combat operation – and particularly in our heavy forces – I see a renewed emphasis on maintenance and I see a renewed emphasis on readiness. I see units that were placed on “prepare to deploy” orders that are turning wrenches and getting their equipment ready at a much higher level of preparedness. I think this is very positive for our Army.
On the flip side, I still see units that are too reliant on what ASC (including its logistics readiness centers) does, even when they have the internal capability, from both the material management and maintenance standpoints. We’re working hard with our partners from across the entire enterprise to educate and push as many resources to the units as possible, so we support the training of our next generation of leaders.
: From your vantage point, what lessons are we learning or should we learn from the war in Ukraine about the importance of maintenance and logistics, particularly at the tactical level?
MG Mohan: That confidence in your equipment is everything...that confidence in your leaders in everything. When units at the tactical level are focused on readiness – in training, in maintenance, and in taking care of Soldiers – that can make all the difference in the world when it comes to providing the will to fight and win. We’re seeing the Ukrainian Army – and note that the US Army has been involved in Ukraine since 2014, training their forces – give the Russians a very hard time. They’ve developed a professional non-commissioned officer corps which is the secret sauce that every other country wishes it had, and that our own US Army definitely has. You can see this playing out on the battlefield every day.
: Please share one ASC initiative about which you’re excited and why.
MG Mohan: I’m excited about the way we’re changing our organization and doctrine to provide our combatant commanders – and maneuver commanders on the ground – with more options. We’re doing that by providing them with options on the placement and projection of Army Prepositioned Stock (APS); APS is a program that we run for the Army. Both in Europe and out in the Pacific, we are pushing APS to the point of need, setting the grid and issuing equipment rapidly to Soldiers versus them coming to our sites to draw. What that allows us to do is get that combat capability out forward, closer to the need as units are deploying. We just did this on an unprecedented scale in Europe, and we just did it off of an APS ship in the Philippines at a commercial port.
Another ASC mission is our effective utilization of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program – LOGCAP – which is also an ASC responsibility. LOGCAP provides our field commanders with life support services such as housing and dining facilities. During Operation Allies Welcome (support to Afghan refugees), we also used LOGCAP to provide medical care and movement control – in effect, a full-scale suite of services, furnished rapidly at the point of need.
: Any final thoughts you’d like to share with our readers?
MG Mohan: I’m very proud of my teammates in ASC. I’m very proud of our blue-collar roots and our blue-collar mindset. We do the work that’s put in front of us, and we’re very good at our jobs. I have nearly 40,000 teammates who are all about Army readiness. I’m very proud of the work we do.
That being said, as we look to the future and see the Army’s mindset change from a counterinsurgency fight to preparing for a large-scale ground combat fight, we’ve got a lot of work to do. But I’m confident that, with the team we have at ASC, we’re up to any challenge.