Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1990-1991


Mobilizing, Deploying, and Sustaining the Army

The Army's ability to mobilize, deploy, and sustain itself is crucial to its success on the battlefield. Planning for these functions by HQDA has been strongly emphasized and closely coordinated with the warfighting commands since the late 1970s. Although planners have concerned themselves with potential contingencies around the world, most planning efforts have been directed toward Europe. Repelling a potential Warsaw Pact attack from the east has represented the primary concern of the national and Army leadership. The actions and programs that flowed from this concern included REFORGER exercises, AMOPS, and various other mobilization exercises, annual screenings of IRRs, the CAPSTONE program, and the upgrading of Army National Guard (ARNG) combat units.

FY 90 and 91, however, saw the Army mobilize, deploy, and sustain itself in operations quite different from those foreseen for Central Europe. Army forces continued their participation in U.S. government operations to pressure the government of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. These operations culminated in Operation JUST CAUSE in December 1989 as Army and Air Force units, acting with the Navy and Marine Corps, struck by night fast and hard into Panama. U.S. forces rapidly neutralized Panamanian resistance, liberated Panama, and captured Noriega. Seven and one-half months later, in response to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's seizure of neighboring Kuwait, Army forces of the CONUS-based XVIII Airborne Corps, along with elements of the other armed services, deployed to Saudi Arabia. These forces formed America's initial defensive force during the early stages of Operation DESERT SHIELD. President Bush's decision in October 1990 to augment U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf resulted in the deployment of the VII Corps from Europe. By January 1991 preparations were complete, and the coalition unleashed Operation DESERT STORM.

These combat operations, in addition to civilian relief operations (Hurricane Hugo) and exercise contingencies during the period, severely tested the Army's mobilization, deployment, and sustainment systems. In


nearly every case, the concepts underlying the systems proved valid, but the systems had to stretch and evolve further to satisfy unexpected requirements and asset shortfalls.


The Army's portion of the FY 90 JCS exercise program included two major mobilization exercises. Exercise OPTIMAL FOCUS 90 continued a series begun in 1989. OPTIMAL FOCUS was designed primarily to test the ability of selected units from the Army reserve components' presidential call-up of Selected Reserve, the initial mobilization increment defined in law, to mobilize and complete home station activities. OPTIMAL FOCUS 90 took place during late January and early February 1990 and involved fifty-four ARNG and Army Reserve (USAR) units consisting of more than 10,000 soldiers. An important aspect of the exercise tested the Army's ability to transmit alert and execution messages from HQDA to individual units through the appropriate chains of command. Some message transmission problems were noted and plans to retrieve unit equipment from remote storage sites needed further examination and refinement. However, the high morale and professional competence of the participating troops were evident to evaluators because most units met schedules for assembly and home station processing.

The Army initiated another mobilization exercise program in the spring of 1990, complementary to the OPTIMAL FOCUS series, with the first iteration of a planned annual series entitled CALL FORWARD. CALL FORWARD was intended to test the ability of selected mobilization stations to accession a large number of reserve components units into active service under surge conditions. CALL FORWARD 90 was conducted at Camp Blanding, Florida, where all units scheduled to mobilize at that installation were sent for annual training. The exercise validated the Army's basic methodology to mobilize large numbers of personnel and also provided useful lessons to HQDA, FORSCOM, and the mobilization station staff on personnel logistics and communications requirements. The FY 91 versions of OPTIMAL FOCUS and CALL FORWARD were canceled because of Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM.

President Bush did not activate reserve components units for Operation JUST CAUSE. Because of his concern for operational security, he required that the operation be mounted by active Army forces. However, many RC volunteers with area and civil affairs skills and other appropriate specialties were activated as individuals to assist in the aftermath of JUST CAUSE and its successor operation, PROMOTE LIBERTY. These soldiers performed primarily nation-building functions and helped the newly installed government gain control of Panama and rebuild the country's


damaged infrastructure. Thus, the brief duration of JUST CAUSE and the small force required to seize and rebuild Panama permitted the President to defer activation of reserve components units.

DESERT SHIELD was a different story. Prospective host governments in the Middle East had permitted no stationing of U.S. troops and only limited preparation of a few sites to accommodate American forces. Those governments generally had proven even less willing to permit stockpiling of materiel on their soil. BRIGHT STAR and associated exercises, however, had begun to prepare the governments for the magnitude of a potential U. S. deployment. Moreover, many installations in Saudi Arabia had been built to support the operations of Saudi units equipped with U.S. systems. Other positive factors included Saudi Arabia's modern port facilities, excellent airfields, and good roads near major towns. Nevertheless, deploying into an essentially austere inland environment presented a challenging task to maintaining a heavily armored U.S. force. CENTCOM plans had long been based on the assumption that its CAPSTONE combat support and combat service support units would be activated and deployed to the area of operational responsibility (AOR) early in any contingency. As it frequently happened, the reserve component combat service support structure originally designated to facilitate CENTCOM's deployment and subsequent employment was called late, if at all, and then usually in a piecemeal fashion.

This occurred because the National Command Authority (NCA) decided to call up reserve components later than DOD planners had assumed, to deploy large forces in two separate increments, and to call up and deploy the leanest possible force. All of the major units of ARCENT initially deployed belonged to the XVIII Airborne Corps and anticipated combat operations right away. Several support units, such as the 7th Transportation Group and the 593d Support Group, arrived prior to much of the XVIII Corps and were echelon above corps. The logistics support structure for ARCENT, which was constituted ad hoc, in-theater, and ultimately became the 22d Support Command (SUPCOM), resulted from these decisions and the thinking behind them. The 22d SUPCOM, which formed initially to support one corps, ultimately became a de facto theater army area command (TAACOM). As such, the 22d SUPCOM included many of the units that would have been subordinate to the 377th TAACOM, had it been mobilized.

In part, the unwillingness to call the 377th TAACOM to active duty stemmed from the initial deployment of only one corps and the President's desire to keep the number of activated reserve component troops as low as possible. Thus, each unit called had to provide a capability that was demonstrably necessary to the success of the operation. Unit identification codes (UIC) are the means by which the Joint Operations and Planning Execution System (JOPES) and the Army Mobilization and


Operations Planning System (AMOPS) identified the units with those necessary capabilities. One way in which Army mobilization operators were able to acquire special capabilities for the force was to activate only the needed portion of a larger unit's UIC. This solution caused many cells, or small groups of personnel, to be called up without their units' command structures or internal support organizations.

The decision not to mobilize and use reserve components units which were CAPSTONE to CENTCOM, such as the 377th TAACOM, resulted in part from the fact that a revision of CENTCOM's contingency plan was in progress when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The Soviet Union's dissolution had led, earlier that summer, to CENTCOM's Exercise INTERNAL LOOK, based on a contingency similar to the one that U.S. forces faced. The revision process, however, had not reached the point of a completed force list and a Time-Phased Force Deployment List (TPFDL). Therefore, the identification of force structure, particularly the individual combat support and combat service support companies and detachments needed to support CENTCOM's major units, was incomplete. HQDA worked closely with CENTCOM,ARCENT, and FORSCOM to build the TPFDL as requirements and priorities for different kinds of units fluctuated. This process resulted in the mobilization and deployment of the minimum essential force considered adequate to defend against further Iraqi attacks. The minimum essential force justified, in the Army's view, the creation of 22d SUPCOM's precursor, but not necessarily the activation of the 377th TAACOM.

The role of the Mobilization Division of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans (ODCSOPS) during Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM was crucial as HQDA worked to facilitate the mobilization of U.S. Army units and personnel to resource ARCENT. The Mobilization Division oversaw the call-up, validation, and deployment of reserve component units from across the nation. Unit readiness was a major factor in determining which units were alerted and activated. Unit Status Report (USR) data for active component units was sometimes 60 days old, whereas for ARNG units it might be 90 days old, and for USAR units, as old as 180 days. The inconsistency of the USR data required HQDA to work closely with FORSCOM to obtain accurate unit readiness data. Once requirements for particular types of units were defined and candidate units identified, the Army Staff then justified to the Secretary of the Army (later to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs) ARCENT's need for a particular unit.

During the crisis, ODCSOPS and the rest of the Army Staff supported several cells that worked on various parts of the Army's effort to resource ARCENT. The Crisis Action Team, established by the staff at the outset of DESERT SHIELD, took up quarters in the Army Operations Center


(AOC), where representatives from each staff agency monitored and integrated details of their roles in the immediate action. The Crisis Planning Cell concerned itself with near term planning. The Strategic Planning Cell took a long range look at various scenarios that included war termination. The Logistics Cell, which functioned as the Logistics Operations Center (LOC), focused on deployment and sustainment matters. The Personnel Cell investigated personnel matters that ranged from the call-up of IRR soldiers and retirees, to the creation of the CONUS replacement centers, to dealing with a wide variety of family problems that arose. The Special Operations Forces (SOF) Cell dealt with requirements and responses to matters concerning SOF.

Once the Persian Gulf war ended, the Army Staff as a whole, ODCSOPS, and the Mobilization Division changed their focus from mobilizing and sending units overseas to returning and demobilizing U.S. Army forces deployed to the Persian Gulf and elsewhere. Activity within many of the special cells turned from DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM to Operation PROVIDE COMFORT, the effort to succor the Kurds in northern Iraq and to protect them from Saddam Hussein's retribution. Although the intensity of these efforts was lower than it had been at the height of the DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM build-up, both tasks occupied the Army beyond the end of FY 91.

Throughout DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, Army Inspector General teams periodically assessed the activities of mobilization stations and made several observations:

-The absence of a standardized FORSCOM training validation plan led to unit training validation efforts that varied significantly among the mobilization installations.

-Operational guidance in both AMOPS and the FORSCOM Mobilization and Deployment Planning System was insufficient for mobilization scenarios like DESERT SHIELD that do not proceed quickly to full mobilization.

-Generally, preparation-of-overseas-replacements processing successfully expedited the movement of troops, and civilian and military personnel support to mobilization stations was proficient. Installation family assistance centers and legal services provided adequate and timely support to deploying soldiers and their families.

Before the end of FY 91, the Army began to act on shortcomings in its mobilization system revealed during Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM including the following areas:

-A need for AMOPS to address more fully the potential range of scenarios under a presidential Selected Reserve call-up (200,000 reservists).

-A need to revise Section 673b, Title 10, U.S. Code, to increase the call-up period from a maximum of six months to a year and to access a


portion of the IRR for qualified fillers and augmentees during a 200,000-reservist call-up, a procedure not permitted prior to partial national mobilization.

-A need for a policy and authority to identify and mobilize units needed early in a mobilization, such as transportation terminal units that operate ports of embarkation.

-Absence of a program to federalize selected ARNG facilities early in a contingency to handle large numbers of mobilizing units.

The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Logistics, and Environment tasked the Army Staff early in 1991 to assess the adequacy of the industrial base to meet future Army mobilization needs. The report that responded to this request was integrated into the broader Integrated Army Mobilization Study and a study plan approved by the General Officer Steering Committee on 15 February 1991 to analyze mobilization issues across a wide spectrum of scenarios for the period 1991-99.


Deployment means transporting personnel and materiel to sites, usually overseas, for employment in military operations. The period of FY 90 and 91 began with the Army continuing to make its forces readier to deploy through refinement of doctrine and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), deployment readiness exercises for both active and reserve components units, and more stringent enforcement of required deployment criteria for individual soldiers. The Achilles' heel of all contingency planning that required significant strategic lift for troops and materiel, however, remained the nation's lack of sufficient lift assets. The Army proposed various solutions to these short falls, but the onset of JUST CAUSE and DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM found little progress or interservice concord on such programs as the C-17 Airlifter or the procurement of additional roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) vessels for military use.

Training exercises which required deployments from CONUS, such as the REFORGER, TEAM SPIRIT, and BRIGHT STAR series, have been planned well in advance. Thus, available air and sealift assets were programmed ahead of time, and DOD planners simply worked around known deficiencies. JUST CAUSE to some degree, and DESERT SHIELD to a considerable extent, underscored the real-world challenges inherent in depending upon a limited number of aircraft and ships for contingencies. The orchestration of loading and departures, and the simultaneous timing of air drops, with assaulting ground troops already in Panama during JUST CAUSE, were conducted almost flawlessly. JUST CAUSE, however, was a small-scale operation and was thoroughly planned and rehearsed for several months prior to its execution.


Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, on the other hand, forced the U.S. armed forces to react quickly to the perceived Iraqi threat to Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states. Deployment planners and coordinators at the Joint Staff and HQDA were graphically reminded that sick ships and aircraft cannot be healed overnight. Nor, they found, did ships summoned from the Ready Reserve Fleet or distant ports always arrive on schedule and mechanically sound. HQDA was a resourcing agency for ARCENT, the Army component of CENTCOM, as well as the DOD executive agent for logistics, prisoner-of-war processing, and other functions. Thus, HQDA expended considerable effort to identify and coordinate ARCENT and CENTCOM requirements and to ensure that Army forces and agencies responded promptly and efficiently. Much of HQDA's efforts in deployment dealt with ascertaining how well the rest of the Army was able to respond to FORSCOM and U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) requirements.

The LOC served as the focal point for the HQDA effort to track movements of troops, equipment, and supplies. The LOC maintained contact with TRANSCOM, the Military Sealift Command (MSC), and the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) to ensure that it had the latest information on ship and air movements. LOC officers briefed the Chief of Staff and the Army Staff daily on air and sea movements of units, equipment, and vital supplies and parts. The LOC and the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (ODCSLOG) also ensured that necessary adjustments were made whenever delays occurred. JOPES was the Department of Defense's automated system that tracked deploying units and equipment. Although JOPES had proven an effective tool in training exercises, the fast pace of DESERT SHIELD deployments demonstrated JOPES' inability to locate a particular unit's loads until the final ships' manifests were put into the JOPES data banks. The JOPES input and publication process sometimes took several days.

The deployment system functioned well enough, however, so that by the end of DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, the United States had transported to Southwest Asia the following items:



Tracked Vehicles


Wheeled Vehicles




Ship Containers


Ammunition (short tons)


Among the major deployment problems experienced by the Army during Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM were


-The lack of joint deployment training, especially for heavy units, caused disruption and delays in the troop movement process

-The paucity of RO/RO ships maintained by the MSC and the Ready Reserve Force (RRF) made the DOD too dependent upon the expensive chartering of RO/ROs from foreign flag commercial carriers

-The poor condition of many RRF vessels delayed shipment of some equipment and supplies that might have been crucial had combat operations begun earlier.

Military aircraft only partially met the airlift requirements for DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. For the first time since its inception, the Civili an Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) was activated by the President, and specially outfitted commercial aircraft provided personnel and cargo lift to Southwest Asia. The fact that the Army, as well as the other service s, depended upon a political decision to activate the CRAF reemphasized the need for more and better equipped military airlift aircraft. Thus, the Army renewed its support for the C-17 Airlifter. By late FY 91 the Army had re fined its support for the C-17 program by including a service life extension program for C-5B aircraft currently in the fleet. Regarding sealift, the Army leadership emphasized that deployment readiness required the capability to move two armored divisions and their support elements to a theater of operations any where in the world in thirty days. The remainder of an entire corps must follow in seventy-five days. Therefore, the Army supported expanding the current fleet of Fast Sealift Ships operated by MSC and adding modern RO/RO ships to the RRF. The Department of Defense Mobility Requirements Study, conducted throughout 1991, was the driving force behind the air/sealift enhancements intended to benefit the Army.


Sustainment means the ability to assemble the correct numbers and types of personnel and materiel in the proper place and at the right time to generate decisive combat power. Adequate sustainment requires organic support forces, pre-positioned equipment, war reserves, transportation capabilities, and a firm industrial base. HQDA is charged with providing to the CINCs Army units that are manned, equipped, organized, and fully trained with sufficient sustainment capabilities in personnel, equipment, and supplies to perform their missions. Without adequate sustainment, the warfighting CINCs cannot accomplish their wartime missions. Weaknesses in logistics also can subvert deterrence, because potential enemies may interpret these weaknesses as irresolute will.

Many Army sustainment programs continued throughout FY 90 and 91. Among these ongoing programs were strategic mobility, pre-positioning of materiel configured to unit sets (POMCUS) in Europe, wartime host


nation support, medical sustainment systems, tactical water support, industrial preparedness, war reserve stocks, and computerization of logistics control systems. These programs were greatly affected by the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, subsequent calls for accelerated downsizing of the Army, and Operations JUST CAUSE and DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. As discussed previously, the Army sought throughout the FY 90 and 91 period to enhance strategic mobility by supporting procurement of the C-17 and up grading the numbers and quality of vessels in the RRF. This concern related to attainment of the congressionally mandated sixty-six million ton-miles (MTM) per day of airlift capacity and the Army's need to transport about 95 percent of its equipment and supplies by sea. Projections as early as 1989 indicated that fifty-four MTM per day would be attained by 1994 with the advent of the C-17 fleet. Efforts to attain sixty-six MTM per day airlift capacity would require activation of the CRAF.

Another program designed for European scenarios that continued throughout the period and supported Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM was the POMCUS program. The Army had built and modernized these sets of unit equipment since 1961. By 1989 POMCUS stocks stored in Europe had grown to nearly six complete division sets. They proved a significant asset when the Army Chief of Staff decided to use them to modernize the equipment of early deploying DESERT SHIELD forces in Southwest Asia. Another example of a continuing program influenced by Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM was wartime host nation support (WHNS). WHNS had existed in the civil affairs community for a long period as a concept with global application. However, published Army statements usually had characterized it as a program in Germany. Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states provided massive in-kind and monetary support to U.S. forces assigned in Southwest Asia. This support decreased the logistics requirements, the air and sealift requirements, and the dollars spent.

Several Army medical sustainment programs were either altered or accelerated as a result of changing world conditions. The program to stock as many as six warmbased 1,000-bed general hospitals (partially established hospitals located at the intended site of wartime use) in Europe was laid aside as the Soviet threat dissipated. Nevertheless, medical readiness remained important as concern heightened about potential opponents capable of employing chemical and biological weapons. In another medical matter, the Army pushed development of the Field Medical Oxygen Generation and Distribution System to obviate a requirement to airlift bottled medical grade oxygen. Similarly, development and fielding of the Resuscitative Fluids Production System was reemphasized because it would dramatically reduce airlift requirements for these fluids and also provide better service to the soldier in the field.


Even though it had political and military significance, Operation JUST CAUSE did not place heavy sustainment demands upon HQDA. Sustaining the force in Panama required only marginally increased efforts from most of the Army Staff. Commander in Chief, U.S. Southern Command's (CINCSOUTH's) requirements for volunteer Spanish linguists and civil affairs specialists, however, presented an unusual situation. Because the reserve components were not activated and tasking channels were changed by the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, CINCSOUTH's personnel requests went directly to FORSCOM, the specified command that provided forces to the CINCs. Since HQDA controlled individual soldiers, however, FORSCOM passed the CINCSOUTH personnel requirements along to HQDA in order to solicit volunteers and bring them on active duty. The volunteers were called, proving that the system worked.

Sustainment of forces deployed to Southwest Asia entailed a massive planning and coordination effort. Simultaneously with DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, HQDA responded to Army needs worldwide. The Army Chief of Staff captured the scope of the Army's multiple responsibilities with the formulation of three vectors. First, the Army would provide all necessary support to DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. Second, the Army must maintain a trained and ready force to meet ongoing commitments worldwide. Finally, the Army must continue to shape the Total Force for the future. The austere environment into which ARCENT deployed and the Army's executive agent responsibilities for all U.S. armed forces in theater presented major challenges. Ammunition, water, food, chemical equipment, bulk petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL), and transportation terminal support required intensive effort by Army sustainers. As a result, HQDA was heavily involved in sustainment planning and execution for DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. This involvement included close and continuous coordination with ARCENT, the MACOMs, and the Army components of other unified commands that supported CENTCOM, along with the Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and private industry.

Many ongoing sustainment programs proved their worth during the Persian Gulf war. The tactical water support program fielded 600-gallon-per- hour Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units (ROWPU) to each division that deployed to Southwest Asia. These water purification units had proven their worth when Hurricane Hugo damaged public water supplies in Charleston, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands in the fall of 1989. In addition, higher capacity water purification systems were included in the materiel stored aboard ship at Diego Garcia as part of the Army's Afloat Pre-positioned Stocks (APS). The APS program provided a much needed store of ammunition, selected support equipment,


and supply items to early deploying units and more than justified its costs. As FY 91 closed, the Army had discussed, but initially rejected, an expanded APS program that would include an afloat POMCUS.

The Army's war reserve stocks likewise paid dividends by giving the nation's industrial base the time it needed to gear up production of commodities needed in Southwest Asia. Nevertheless, establishing stocks in theater at levels defined by Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command (CINCCENT) forced the Army to take many war reserve stocks from CONUS and other theaters, especially ammunition and preferred/ smart munitions. Automating data handling in many logistics functional areas also proved useful for the Army in Southwest Asia. In order to handle repair parts ordering and supply in ARCENT more efficiently, HQDA issued large numbers of computers, software, and other equipment needed to emplace the Unit Level Logistics System (ULLS). Other Army automation efforts during FY 90 and 91 were directed toward standardization and compatibility of logistics data systems. The Army Strategic Logistics Agency has undertaken a project for the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (DCSLOG), the Army Strategic Logistics Program. It has a near term goal of modernizing and synchronizing existing Army wholesale and retail systems into a single system that ties factory and foxhole together. For the long term, the Strategic Logistics Agency will explore and define functional logistics concepts necessary to adapt Army logistics to the changing requirements of AirLand Battle.

The Air Line of Communication (ALOC) Program began as an effort to provide air delivery of routine priority equipment, repair parts, and maintenance-related items to selected overseas Army combat service support units. One primary objective, which has been achieved, was to reduce the time elapsed between ordering and shipping. During DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, the ODCSLOG used the concept to establish ALOCs from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, and Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, to ship priority repair parts and material to Southwest Asia. As a result, when ODCSLOG had to orchestrate the aerial shipment of fuel tanker versions of the High Mobility Tactical Truck to the Persian Gulf for the ground offensive, ALOC provided the service.

Programs oriented toward the soldier in the field assumed added importance after JUST CAUSE, and especially during and after DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. Spurred on by the chemical warfare threat and the austere environment in Southwest Asia, the Army pushed enhancements to the Field Service Support Systems. The objective of these systems is to improve the personal care and, hence, the combat readiness of the soldier in the field through better laundry service, mobile showers, clothing repair and exchange, field bakeries, and delousing facilities. The Laundry and Decontamination Dry-cleaning System, a laundry system that virtually


eliminates water requirements and decontaminates individual clothing and equipment, is under development. An interim laundry system that has a water recycling capability was fielded to forces in the Persian Gulf and provided significant water savings.


Go to:

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

Search CMH Online
Return to CMH Online
Last updated 30 October 2003