The origins of the modern United States ArmySustainment Command can be traced back to the early 1990’s. It was a time ofreduced defense spending and Army downsizing. In this environment, the Armystruggled to remain an efficient, effective and frugal force. The six?month build up in 1991 and the subsequent quick victory in OperationDesert Storm exposed long standing deficiencies in the logistics. After theFirst Gulf War, the Army implemented a fundamental change in strategy,concerning the philosophies of warfighting and logistics.
In order to obtain arevolution of military affairs, there had to be a revolution in militarylogistics. The general principles of the revolution in military logistics relyupon velocity, visibility, and leveraging technology to support and sustainforces. The most significant modification in the way the Army would provide logisticswas the transition from supply? based logistics todistribution?based logistics, which essentially exchangedmass for velocity. The evolution of this command would progress over the nextquarter century and become a key player in a holistic change to logisticalsupport for the Army and its Joint Forces. Under leadership of the Departmentof the Army and the United States Army Materiel Command, the command hasdeveloped from an industrial command into a worldwide logistics provider. Priorto taking command of the organization, many of its commanding generalsparticipated in the planning of different RML stages, which allowed them to puttheir ideas into motion.
The evolution of the command, has transformed it froman industrial command to the “Home of U.S. Army Logistics”. Today, Army Sustainmentremains “On the Line”, providing global logistics to Warfighters around theworld. The first steps towards creating the first modern version of ASC occurredafter incorporating the recommendations of the Base Realignment and Closure commissionof 1991. The commission proposed the merger of the Depot System Command and theArmament, Munitions, and Chemical Command into a single organization.
Thisentity, called the Industrial Operations Command, would have its headquarterslocated at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. Essentially, the IndustrialOperations Command would be comprised of Depot System Command’s depot systemand the ammunition and industrial base capabilities of Armament, Munitions, andChemical Command. The motivating factors for this merger was the Army’s effortto downsize as a result of reduction in force and budgetary constraintsfollowing Operation Desert Storm. The general challenge for the Army was how tobecome more flexible and efficient to adequately handle any contingency acrossthe globe with fewer people. The notion that permeated the Army was that itshould shed expensive infrastructure that private industry could provide, whileincreasing efficiency and ridding redundancies across command competencies. TheCommanding General of the former Depot System Command, Gen.
Dennis L. Benchoffwould become dual?hatted after the retirement of the Armament,Munitions, and Chemical Command Commander, General Paul Greenberg. The actualmerger would not occur officially until Fiscal Year 1995. During itsprovisional status, General Benchoff commanded a workforce that had to navigatethe realignment of responsibilities and the integration of formerly independentcommands would pose a significant obstacle during the formation of IndustrialOperations Command. The Industrial Operations Command represented the foundation of the evolutionary path of thecommand that would eventually develop into the United States Army SustainmentCommand.