Army Support Operations Officer Duties, Responsibilities and Job Description

What should you know about the Army Support Operations Officer? What do they do and what are they responsible for? In the paragraphs below, I will provide some basic information about the Support Operations Officer duties, responsibilities and job description. Let’s get started.

Army Support Operations OfficerWithin each maneuver brigade there is typically a Brigade Support Battalion or Forward Support Battalion that provides logistics to the brigade. Inside either of those two support units there is a Support Operations Officer. That person is responsible for coordinating and planning the direct support logistics between the maneuver elements in the brigade and the support battalion. In other words, when the brigade needs some type of logistical support (supply, maintenance, and medical), the request goes through the Support Operations Office.

The Support Operations Officer is normally an experienced Major. He or she typically has a staff consisting of some maintenance personnel (a Warrant, Captain and NCO), some supply personnel (fuels, supply, mortuary affairs) and medical personnel. Most Support Operations sections have somewhere between 10 to 20 Soldiers in them (at the brigade level).

Within the Support Battalion, the Battalion XO handles the internal logistics to support the battalion. However, the Support Operations Officer handles the external logistics and makes sure the Support Battalion supports the Brigade with the required medical, supply and maintenance support.

Here are a few of the duties and responsibilities of the Support Operations Officer:

  • Plan, coordinate, and enable the external support provided by the battalion’s subordinate units
  • Supervise personnel within the Support Operations Office
  • Monitors the brigade’s operational readiness with equipment (026 Report)
  • Handles all mortuary affairs issues
  • Manage the SAMS-2 box and SARRS-2 STAMIS
  • Provide directives to the Shop Officer concerning maintenance priorities
  • Handle all logistical requests within the Brigade
  • Provide logistical updates to the Senior Maneuver Commander and Support Battalion Commander
  • Serves as LNO between Brigade Commander and Support Battalion Commander concerning logistics

Additionally, there is normally a Support Operations Officer at the Division Level.  Within the Sustainment Brigade (formally DISCOM) there is also a Support Operations Officer.  This SPO coordinates between the Division’s units and support units.  They have pretty much the same functions as a Support Operations Officers in a maneuver brigade, just on a different scale.

If you’ve ever spent time as an Army Support Operations Officer, I would love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment to this post to  talk about your experience or share any insights that you can.  Thanks.

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Chuck Holmes

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10 thoughts on “Army Support Operations Officer Duties, Responsibilities and Job Description

  1. MAJ Baker

    Hello all. I am a BSB SPO for an MEB and have been for a little more than a year. Here is an account of my time, perhaps you will see similarities and maybe even possible options. The first thing I did was to sit down with the entire section, open up the 4-90, and talk about what it means to us. We realized that it did not mean much! Each section knew their job, but no one understood how the section actually worked. What I did was develop a sheet that tracks the process through the shop. Here is what I mean… when the LOGSTAT arrives, the OP NCO initiates the check list and sends it to the MM section. They calculate how many pallets and how many HIPPO are required, then they send it to the fuel NCO who calculates how much and what configuration will work (M969’s, etc.). Then she sends it to the Ammo section who calculates pallets and weight required to fill 1/2 ABL (usually), then the completed sheet goes to the transportation officer who determines if there are enough platforms to meet the requirement. This works pretty slick and provides written record of your staff work. Once all of the calculations are made, the TMR (Transportation Movement Request) is filled out and sent to the BN S3. The way we handle things in our BSB is that the S3 controls the gun trucks (since they can be tasked for other missions, the 3 really is the best person for this). The 3 then sends it to A Co. as a mission, who returns a convoy manifest that includes not only who is with which truck by bumper number, but what commodities are loaded on that truck as well. This is copied to my SPO NCO and attached to our original calculation sheet. We close it out (read “file it away”) once the LOGPAC has returned.

    As for me, I run a LOGSYNC meeting daily at 0900. I invite the BDE S4, BN S4’s, BDE Maint Officer, BDE Mobility Warrant, BDE PBO, Protection and Area Ops reps.
    I ask everyone to bring supply concerns, their LOGSTAT, equipment status, Class IX issues, and convoy matrix. I am the chair, but the BDE 4 is the decision maker. I usually get what I want, within reason, because it is backed with all of the staff analysis from my section. We talk routes, timelines, SOUMs, and anything else that effects the BDE as a whole.

    Weekly I also sit down with A Co. and B Co. (separately) to be briefed on status. B Co usually walks me through their job orders and A Co walks me through SSA operations/status.

    This is how we conduct operations in my BSB. Now, as to the TACSOP: WRITE ONE!!! Capture your process on HOW you do what you do. Everyone knows what you do, but the TACSOP is to capture HOW to do it. Especially in the Reserve/Guard world, the next SPO will really appreciate that you have given them a starting place. We have just validated our TACSOP during annual training by having it open all day, and flipping to the right place/battle drill, and using it as a check list. If you write yours right, you can do this too. It then becomes a tool to be used and not just a bullet on your OER.

    I hope someone finds this useful. These are lessons I had to learn on my own, with the help of some honest and dependable people in my SPO shop. Good Luck!

    MAJ B

    Reply
    1. Chris Ikeda

      MAJ B, Can you send me the checklist you use? If you look me up in the global it’s Christopher Ikeda.

      Mahalo!

      Reply
  2. sharon flynn

    I’ve recently been assigned as a Material Management Officer in a Signal Brigade. The issue is that nobody, including my Assignment Officer at HRC seems to have a good grasp on what the specific duties are in relation to this position. Does anyone have a duty description from an OER for this job? Thanks so much!

    Reply
  3. Israel Kim

    Although I am still in the learning phase, I would like to add some comments here to help any future SPOs.
    I am currently in 125th QM Co. and I have been assigned as a SPO since I got to this unit. I have been serving as a SPO for about four months now.
    As a SPO, my CO expects me to write an OPORD for every drill. By that means, I communicate with my CO thoroughly for his intention before writing an OPORD. Also, during drills, I set up a SPO tent, where I oversee the operations. Since we are a water Company, I make sure each Plt is setting up TWPS and ROWPUs at the designated location, since we have limited space often.

    I am also working on our Company TACSOP. Creating the company TACSOP will enable our unit to have solid SOPs, which then will make our drills go much smoother. As you all know, many drill weekends can be spent inefficiently. Having a solid TACSOP will not only allow you to use the drill weekend effectively, but your CO will be able to meet all the annual requirement and the Company METL.

    I hope it helps!
    2LT Kim, Israel

    Reply
    1. Justin Long

      Israel,

      Thanks for the post and the great ideas. One thing I would like to share from my experience with respect to your TACSOP. Remember, while it is great to “write” a TACSOP, the reality is that nobody is going to read it. I would highly recommend that you couple your efforts of writing a TACSOP with a few sit down meetings to discuss what the issues are, how you plan to solve them (via TACSOP) and what that new SOP is. Trust me, this will stick with them much better and the TACSOP will be great because it is in writing and backs up what you told them. Always explain it in terms of problem, why it is a problem, how to fix and the fix. That’s what the Soldiers care about…

      Reply
      1. Charles Holmes Post author

        I agree with you, Justin. An SOP or TACSOP is no good if it just sits on the shelf and collects dust. Ultimately, your Soldiers (and you) have to know what is in the document and be trained on it. I think the best way to write a TACSOP is to write it based on how your unit already does things. When your units finds a better way to do something, update the TACSOP. But don’t do it the other way around. Just my two cents.

        Reply
        1. Candace Ginestar

          I agree with Justin and Chuck. Thanks for all the useful information about being a SPO, Israel. It sounds like a good duty and that you don’t have a lot of down time.

          Reply
  4. Charles Holmes Post author

    I’d like to chime in to my article and tell you that my first job in the Active Duty Army was working in a Support Operations Office (for a month or two). I was put in the position while I was waiting for a Platoon Leader slot to open up within the Maintenance Company.

    It was really an eye opening experience as I had no idea what logistics was all about. Everyone in the office was busy doing their job. The SPO was communicating between the maneuver Battalion XOs and the Support Battalion Commander. It looked like a tough, but fun job.

    I have also learned that some Forward Support Companies have a Support Operations Officer, normally a 1LT. That SPO is responsible for handing all the logistics issues within the battalion (maneuver). They handle all the logistical requests and plan and coordinate support missions done by the FSC for the maneuver battalion.

    Reply

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