Concerns are growing throughout the U.S. military about the potential difficulties in rapidly deploying large amounts of personnel and equipment into a theater of operations under fire during a major conflict and whether there will be any bases of operation to support them once they get there. Now, the U.S. Army says it is looking for ways to ensure that individual brigade combat teams will have supplies, especially fuel and water, to be able to keep fighting for up to a week without a guaranteed supply chain.
U.S. Army Lieutenant General Aundre Piggee, the service’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, publicly announced the goal, and explained some immediate hurdles, at an Association of the U.S. Army-sponsored Institute of Land Warfare breakfast on Nov. 6, 2018. At present, the service only expects combat brigades, which typically have between 3,000 and 5,000 individuals and hundreds of vehicles and other pieces of major equipment, to be able to sustain independent operations for a maximum of three days.
“Our goal [is] to have brigade combat teams sustain themselves for seven days without resupply,” Piggee said. “That is significant. Seven days, that is a challenge.”
But it’s a challenge the officer explained as being vital to overcome if the Army expects to conduct potential high-end conflicts against “great power competitors,” such as Russia and China, in the future. The Army’s top logistician echoed recent sentiments from other senior U.S. military officials that American forces have become complacent and overly reliant on well established logistical networks and fixed bases of operations after nearly two decades of low-intensity conflicts in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.