Partnership At Work: NDTA Industry Members Attend Joint Staff Command & Control Wargame

Mar 25, 2024 | DTJ Online

By Marty Groover, NDTA Technology Subcommittee Chairman

In early November 2023, Joint Staff J-4 (J4) leaders reached out to NDTA’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Craig Hymes. Recognizing the invaluable expertise of the Association’s members, the J4 enlisted the participation of industry experts from transportation, logistics, and passenger travel to support a three-day, classified level Command and Control (C2) Support Command Relationship (COMREL) tabletop exercise (TTX) in Alexandria, Virginia.

Eight NDTA industry partners—Lars Magnusson from APL, Matthew Gehrling from Liberty Marine, Sean Morungy from Mason, Bleu Hilburn from Crowley, Anderson Nowling from The Pasha Group, Ameed Micko from American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier, Dan Boehler from Omni Air International, and Marty Groover from C5MI—attended the exercise which took place 12-15 December 2023.

The goal of the exercise, as articulated by J4-Chief of Defense Industrial Base (DIB) & Logistics Services LTC Sandra (Roshanda) R. Thomas, was to foster a unity of effort among the Services, Combatant Commands, agencies, partner nations, and nongovernmental organizations. This unity, which the group successfully achieved, requires a comprehensive understanding of the Joint and Partner C2 structures, and of the associated authorities and responsibilities supporting the INDOPACOM region.

Pictured (L-R) Anderson Nowling, Marty Groover, Matthew Gehrling, Sean Moroney.

The National Military Strategy (NMS), Joint Concept for Logistics (JCL), and Joint Concept for Contested Logistics (JCCL), as part of the Joint Warfighting Concept (JWC), rely on Joint Logistics Enterprise (JLEnt) to provide real-time visibility and allow for timely adjudication of limited resources. The JLEnt is a complex provider network that executes end-to-end logistic operations from procurement sourcing, warehousing, and global transportation to the warfighter. To manage the complexities of the JLEnt, the partner authorities in the C2 relationships must be fully mapped and understood to ensure there is no guesswork in supporting the execution of the Combatant Commander’s (CCDR) operational plans. The Defense Industrial Base is a critical component of the JLEnt, which is why the Joint Staff wanted to include NDTA industry partners in the exercise.

Industry partners provided foundational background information on day one, including reviews of the five domains of warfare and demonstrations of Logistics Common Operational Pictures (LOG COP) that will be needed to support C2 at speed for decision dominance. The foundational information allowed the industry partners to give their opinion on the DIB portion at the out briefs for each scenario from competition to crisis and then conflict.

The Joint Concept for Logistics (JCL) proposes a concept for how the joint logistics enterprise (JLEnt) could support globally integrated operations in the 2020-2034 timeframe. It entertains three basic questions about the future:

  • What if the challenges of globally integrated operations fully are implemented and the extrapolation of current trends into the future render the current approach to joint logistics inadequate?
  • How might the JLEnt meet that challenge?
  • What capabilities would it need beyond those that exist today?
Image Courtesy The Joint Staff

Image Courtesy The Joint Staff

Industry partners were spread across the three logistics break-out areas for Class V munitions, Class IIIB Petroleum, and General Distribution. They were integrated with the break-out teams and provided feedback on the C2 authorities and opportunities for improvements included in the final report to senior leaders at the conclusion of the exercise. Based on LTC Thomas’s comments, this was the first time that industry partners were included in a classified exercise, and based on the feedback, she stated that the Joint Staff wanted to continue to include them in future events.

The NDTA members who attended volunteered for the exercise and funded the participation of their representatives in the event. Feedback from industry partners was positive. From their perspective and as part of the JLEnt, including them in creating a cohesive network to support the warfighter in a contested logistics environment is imperative. Their participation in the exercise not only contributes to the mission and goals of the NTDA, but also provides them with valuable insights and opportunities for collaboration—demonstrating the value they bring to the JLEnt. DTJ

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