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European edition, Thursday, August 30, 2007

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Webster’s Dictionary defines “sustain” as “to keep in existence; keep up; maintain or prolong.”

The newly renamed 21st Theater Sustainment Command aims to fulfill the definition.

In changing its name this summer from the 21st Theater Support Command to the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, the organization is undergoing substantive change, said Brig. Gen. Scott G. West, 21st TSC commander. The move is not a change in name only, he said.

The 21st TSC must be as agile as the units it supports, West said.

“Probably the biggest change is our shift from a largely industrial-type operation to a much more agile, flexible organization that’s capable of doing both theater-level sustainment functions and expeditionary sustainment functions simultaneously,” West said.

The 21st TSC’s changes are part of transformation that is occurring across the Army and U.S. Army Europe. Theater sustainment commands combine some functions of corps support commands and theater support commands, thereby effectively eliminating a layer of logistics headquarters, according to Army Logistician, the official magazine for Army logistics.

When West took command in September 2005, the 21st TSC boasted around 6,600 soldiers and just fewer than 3,000 civilians. In the next couple years, the command could have between 6,000 and 6,500 soldiers and 2,000 to 2,200 civilians.

Just in the past few months, the 21st TSC has inactivated three brigades — 200th Theater Distribution Brigade, 37th Transportation Command and 1st Transportation Movement Control Agency — and stood up another, the 16th Sustainment Brigade. Also, Kaiserslautern’s 29th Support Group is slated to inactivate in September 2009.

Some of the positions from the inactivated brigades have moved under the 21st TSC’s headquarters. Previously, the command’s headquarters was composed of 430 people — half of whom were reservists and National Guardsmen. Now as a sustainment command, the headquarters is made up of about 440 active-duty soldiers.

The command — under its headquarters — also is forming a deployable command post with command-and-control capability that gives the 21st TSC the ability to perform expeditionary sustainment while providing theater sustainment, West said.

“We’re not quite sure how large it will be, but it’s scalable,” he said. “You size it to fit the need.”

One major change is that the 7th Army Reserve Command now falls under the 21st TSC. Other moves this year in the command include General Support Center-Europe becoming Theater Logistics Support Center-Europe.

“It has all the old supply and maintenance functions in it,” West said. “It also has the ammunition mission, the theater transportation mission and, in about the next six months, it’s going to own a deployment processing center — a civilian operation that will be used to push green-suit, military formations out of Europe.”

In addition to manning the deployment processing center on Kaiserslautern’s Rhine Ordnance Barracks, the TLSC-E unit will be able to travel to other bases to perform deployment processing.

“With these new capabilities, new organizations now we’ve got to get ourselves into this expeditionary mind-set — that says how you change the way you train,” West said. “That’s happening. We’re not there yet. I would tell you, we’re 70 percent, maybe 75 percent of where we need to be with the physical transformation. We’re probably less than 25 percent of where we need to be on the intellectual piece, but we’re getting there.”

7th ARCOM switch begins with command

On Sunday, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command became responsible for the 7th Army Reserve Command at a change of command ceremony in Schwetzingen, Germany.

The transfer of operational control for the reserve command came with Brig. Gen. Jon J. Miller, 21st TSC deputy commander, taking command of the 7th Army Reserve Command, which has nearly 1,000 reserve soldiers, according to press releases from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and 7th Army Reserve Command.

Prior to the switch, the 7th Army Reserve Command fell under U.S. Army Europe.

Miller will serve as both 7th Army Reserve Command commander and 21st TSC deputy commander, according to a 21st TSC press release.

Within a year, the 7th Army Reserve Command will move from Schwetzingen to Kaiserslautern’s Daenner Kaserne, said Brig. Gen. Scott G. West, 21st TSC commander. The reserve command will undergo some transformation changes itself, focusing more on civil affairs. As such, the reserve command will experience a name change to 7th Civil Support Command, according to a reserve command press release.

Miller took command of the 7th ARCOM from Brig. Gen. Richard M. Tabor, who will continue to work for U.S. Army, Europe in his civilian career as the chief intelligence officer, according to the release.

And as West, commander of the 21st TSC, approaches two years in command, it is unclear exactly how much longer he will remain in his current position.

“I will stay here as long as Gen. (David) McKiernan and the United States Army are willing to leave me here, and when they’re not willing to leave me here, I’ll go where I’m told to go,” West said last week.

— Stars and Stripes

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