Logisticians Are Sustainers, Not Targeters

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Logisticians Are Sustainers, Not Targeters
by   major donaLd a. maCCuish

    t is amazing how much terminology is appropriately       of selecting and prioritizing targets, matching the
    and inappropriately used by Army personnel. This         appropriate response to them, integrating fires into the
    is particularly true for the sustainment community.      operations process, and creating desired effects neces-
Take convoys, for instance. While in Iraq, we called         sary to achieve objectives.
sustainment convoys “combat logistics patrols,” or              The process of targeting helps integrate and synchro-
CLPs. The Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk,      nize fires with the other warfighting functions (includ-
Louisiana, likes to use the term “combat logistics con-      ing sustainment). However, synchronizing sustainment
voys,” or CLCs. (See Center for Army Lessons Learned         in the targeting process and describing the sustainment
[CALL] Handbook 08–23.) But wait. I find that neither        process as targeting are distinctly different.
of these terms is used in doctrine and that the term
“logistics package” (LOGPAC) is the preferred term at        Pitfalls of Using Targeting With Sustainment
the Battle Command Training Program.                             Sustainment synchronization, unlike targeting, is
   The Army has always had situations like this. For         designed to support friendly forces, not attack enemy
instance, a few years ago maneuver units called logistics    capability. Both targeting and sustainment are part of
functions “man, arm, fix, and fuel.” At the same time,       the operations process, but they link into the operations
the sustainment community called the same functions          process quite differently. For this reason, we should
“supply, field services, maintenance, transportation.”       stick to existing sustainment terminology rather than
                                                             misuse the doctrinal terms “target” and “targeting.”
The Sustainment Targeting Process                            Likewise, we do not need to invent a new term by
    In May 2008, CALL published the Brigade Support          calling a synchronization meeting a “sustainment target-
Battalion Battle Staff TTP [tactics, techniques, and         ing meeting.”
procedures] Handbook. Chapter 6 of that handbook is              I see three consequences of using the term target-
titled “The Sustainment Targeting Process.” The hand-        ing in the sustainment planning and synchronization
book makes some very good points that are highlighted        process. First, “sustainment targeting” misuses the
time-and-again in CALL trend analyses. Sustainment           current doctrinal definition of targeting. If we misuse
units have a tough time synchronizing logistics across       the terms associated with targeting to fit sustainment,
the brigade combat team (BCT) area of operations. This       we run the risk of misusing the original term when it
is a valid observation and should be a focus of collective   is used in the context of lethal and nonlethal targeting.
training events. Where I take issue with the handbook        We also confuse other warfighting functions and joint
is in the development of new terminology: sustainment        and multinational partners by taking a task specifically
targeting, sustainment targeting matrices, and sustain-      designated in doctrine as a fires function and using
ment targeting meeting. The underlying problem with          it to describe how the sustainment function operates.
creating this new terminology is that it misrepresents       Further, a doctrinal process already exists that does not
current Army terminology related to targeting.               take the current terminology out of context. As stated
                                                             earlier, CALL trends show that the BCTs have a tough
Doctrinal Definitions of Targetin
Description: Joint Publication 3-60 describes targeting as a method of selecting and prioritizing targets, matching the appropriate response to them, integrating fires into the operations process, and creating desired effects necessary to achieve objectives. [...] sustainment targeting" misuses the current doctrinal definition of targeting. [...] by using the terms target and targeting beyond their intended use, we actually change the meanings of the words and weaken the understanding of their purpose.
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