Army Strategic Flotilla (ASF) Army Regional Flotilla (ARF)
The Army Strategic Flotilla (ASF), formerly the Army Regional Flotilla (ARF), is the Army counterpart to the Marine Corps' Maritime Prepositioning Force (Future). The traditional methods of locating sustainment stocks in Theater Reserve sites under local or theater commander control is no longer consistent with supporting the dynamics of a rapidly changing world with constrained resources - nor is it in keeping with current policy objectives. The Army has become a much smaller, predominantly Continental United States (CONUS)-based force. The Army's Strategic Mobility Program, when fully implemented, will greatly expand the Army's ability to quickly move personnel and equipment to potential contingencies throughout the world.
Army Strategic Flotilla (ASF) plans called for three five-ship squadrons anchored in the Mediterranean and at Diego Garcia and Guam, with a total of six LMSRs. Each squadron would include one LMSR carrying a single "1x1" Army brigade set of equipment (i.e., one armored battalion and one mechanized battalion) or heavy unit of action; an LMSR carrying combat support equipment; a pair of container ships, one carrying supplies, the other loaded with ammo; and a smaller, shallow-draft RO/RO ship loaded with special humanitarian/ disaster relief and special-operations support packages. This plan released two LMSRs previously dedicated to supporting the CPF to the Surge Sealift Fleet.
Forward presence will be achieved through minimum Outside Continental United States (OCONUS) stationing, with increased reliance on unit rotations and exercise deployments to provide stability in dynamic regions. To accomplish this objective, a balance of airlift, sealift, and sustainment (prepositioned equipment and supplies) is needed to provide the ability to project forces worldwide and sustain those forces during a contingency.
In May 1992, the Chief of Staff, Army (CSA) directed a reduction in War Reserve (WR) and Operational Project (OP) stocks and transferred management and accountability responsibilities for this materiel to the Army Materiel Command (AMC) and Office of the Surgeon General (OTSG), for Supply Class (SC) VIII. In 1998, the AWR Program was redesignated Army Prepositioned Stock (APS).
The Army has six critical operational goals [COGs] for Defense Transformation. One of these is projecting and sustaining U.S. forces in distant anti-access and area-denial environments and defeating anti-access and area-denial threats. The most significant development for this critical operational goal in 2003 was the Army's APS reconfiguration, the Army Regional Flotilla (ARF) concept and expeditionary basing.
The conceptual driver for this capability is the 1-4-2-1 DOD force-sizing construct. The primary purpose for reconfiguring APS is to enhance responsiveness to crises in the four designated critical regions (Northeast Asia, East Asian Litorals (EAL), SWA and Europe). Prepositioned assets have been reapportioned and relocated to sites providing better response in these regions.
In addition to changes in ground-based prepositioned stocks, the Army is adapting afloat stocks to better align with the evolving defense strategy. Afloat APS will evolve over time using an ARF concept. The ARF concept envisions dividing afloat APS into three afloat sets, dispersed geographically, providing modular capabilities designed and loaded to provide combatant commanders with more flexible response options.
Expeditionary basing concepts are also being considered to mitigate anti-access and area-denial challenges. Concepts under consideration include floating forward-staging bases and an afloat air assault capability. The Army's continued procurement of the shallow draft TSV will contribute greatly to defeating anti-access and area-denial threats by providing greatly enhanced employment options for JFCs.
Theater opening capabilities will be leveraged early in the flow of forces as part of the Army Strategic Flotilla (ASF) initiative. ASFs are the current evolution of what was formerly known as Army Prepositioned Stocks-Afloat and more recently called Army Regional Flotillas (ARFs). ARFs were originally planned to be regionally focused and forward positioned, but as the flotilla concept matured, it was determined ARFs must also be globally employable. The reconfiguration process began in late 2005 and gave the National Command Authority (NCA) more flexibility to move combat forces and the theater opening assets to "hot spots" around the world within days instead of weeks or months.
Army Prepositioning Ships are transforming to the Army Strategic Flotilla, which will operationally mirror the Navy's Maritime Prepositioning Force-Future. The Army also is acquiring new platforms to operate from an offshore base, such as the Army Afloat Staging Base, which is used to project an air assault brigade combat team vertically into the fight, and the Supply Support Activity Afloat, a platform that will be used to sustain troops on the ground.
As of mid-2003 the APSRON-4 Commander had developed a vision for enabling the new Army Regional Flotilla concept under his purview. This covered the disposition of the eight LMSRs heretofore included in the Army's APS-3 (AFLOAT) to include the ?prepositioning of empty LMSRs at both Tacoma, WA and Pearl Harbor, HA to enhance the strategic responsiveness of the Army's Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) in the PACOM AOR.
Two LMSRs were envisioned for each of three Army Regional Flotillas (ARF). One will contain the 1 X 1 Heavy Task Force (HVY TF) replete with a typical brigade level slice of habitual association units such as engineer, artillery, air defense artillery, military police, and chemical units. The second ship comprises units normally associated with theater/corps opening packages, i.e., those units required to move, support and sustain combat forces. These are the combat support and combat service support (CS/CSS) enablers normally found at echelons above division and corps (EAD/EAC). In 2003 dollars, one LMSR costs the Army $44,415.00 per day. In 2004 dollars one LMSR will cost $48,990.00 per day. The average annual price for one LMSR is approximately $17 million, of which the Army had eight prior to OIF = $136 million per year. Annual lease costs for an LMSR are based on 25% underway time and 75% inport time, plus the costs of operating the ships using merchant mariners. Average pax on-board when fully operational are 30 crew; 65 supercargo; minus 15 force protection.
MSC favorably considered the concept of prepositioning LMSR ships in the near-term to both Tacoma, WA and Pear Harbor, HA, in support of the SBCTs stationed/to be stationed at those locations. The ships will remain in the Prepo Afloat program.
As of mid-2003 G4 was considering recommendation of a third LMSR in each ARF to split the load of a 1 X 1 HVY TF in order to reduce the STOW factor, increase on-board maintenance, and thus improve operational readiness rates. While the 1 X 1 HVY TF will load onto one LMSR, reducing the STOW factor to improve readiness is a major lesson learned from OIF. Otherwise, increased maintenance cycles from the current 30 month cycle down to 18-24 months is the only alternative to improving readiness of on-board equipment if stowed tightly as was the preferred method to date.
The Army's Reset program was utilized for numerous equipment assets returned from SWA and not repairable at CEG-A. Equipment was transported to various Reset facilities on a repair and return basis. As of March 2004, Reset actions had been accomplished in APS-4 (Korea), two ammunition ships, the 1x1 brigade set for ARF (Army Regional Flotilla) Guam/Saipan, and the 1x1 brigade set for ARF Diego Garcia. Almost half of the equipment for the second Large, Medium Speed Roll On/Roll Off Vessel (LMSR) in ARF Guam/Saipan (the combat support/combat service support sets) had been redeployed from SWA and was undergoing repair and refurbishment at Charleston, South Carolina. None of the ARF 1x1 brigade sets had been completely filled with all authorized equipment. The shortages were primarily caused by APS equipment remaining in theater.
In FY04, AFSC, in cooperation with Department of Army and Department of Defense APS Strategic Planning Guidance, began applying lessons learned from OIF. The APS sets were configured and located with the capability of supporting two major contingencies. As the Army began to Reset, the need to modernize and improve the APS program became increasingly important to remain strategically responsive. To reflect the Army's vision of a leaner, expeditionary force, the Army Regional Flotilla (ARF) concept was developed. The new APS strategy had afloat capabilities dispersed geographically in three critical regions providing a new set of modular capabilities designed to provide regional Combatant Commanders with flexible response options. Using regional flotillas can support a whole range of military operations from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to full scale combat ops.
As of late 2004, there were seven brigade sets in APS. Five were on land (one in Europe, three in SWA, and one in Korea) and two were afloat at Guam/Saipan and Diego Garcia. The concept of APS-3 afloat in a single location gave way to three Army Regional Flotillas (ARF) positioned in the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
In 2004 APS-3 was redesignated as Army Regional Flotilla (ARF). In 2005 APS-3 was redesignated as Army Strategic Flotilla (ASF). Originally plans were for the Army to begin the transition to the new ASF structure by FY 2008.
The FY05 budget provided for the lease / operations of 12 ships, including eight Large, Medium Speed Roll-On/Roll-Off ships. This fleet represents the Army's initial effort to reset and reorganize the APS sets based on modularity and an approved Army Regional Flotilla concept. Army Prepositioned Stocks in Southwest Asia (APS-5) along with the Army Prepositioned Stocks Afloat (APS-3) unit sets were issued to fight Operation Iraqi Freedom. During 2005 land based APS sets were undergoing limited reorganization /reconfiguration to incorporate OIF lessons learned and support for modularized units.
During FY 2005, the ships of the Army Regional Flotilla (Guam/Saipan) were loaded with equipment to support theater opening and were positioned to support US Pacific Command. The Army's goal is an integrated, modular organization that can quickly open a theater and support continuous sustainment throughout the joint operations area. Initial studies are under way for reconfiguring one of the Army's Corps Support Groups into a Theater Opening Group. The Army also is working with the DLA to place tailored stocks of supplies in strategic forward locations to support expeditionary operations.
The objective of the CSA APS management policy is to change the use and ownership of APS materiel from specific Combatant Commands (COCOM) and theaters to a common user stockpile of equipment and supplies that can support the worldwide requirements of any warfighting COCOM. These stocks now fall under the broad heading of APS materiel and are grouped into five regions. APS-1 consists of CONUS based stocks, APS-2 stocks are stored in Europe, APS-3 stocks are prepositioned aboard ships, APS-4 stocks are located in the Pacific, and APS-5 covers Southwest Asia. The APS program encompasses prepositioned Brigade/Unit Sets, Operational Projects (OP), and sustainment stocks.
- (1) Four (4) Brigade Sets:
- (1) Immediate Ready Force Battalion (BN)
- (1) in Korea - 2x2
- (1) in Kuwait - 2x2 issued for OIF, pending "set the force" funding
- (1) Patriot BN in Qatar - pending "set the force" funding
- (2) Two Afloat: Two (2) 1x1 two currently uploaded:
- Army Strategic Flotilla (ASF) - ASF I, II, III ships
- Combat Support ships
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