Karen T. Farren, born 4 September 1950 in Killeen, Texas, joined the US Army Logistics Center at Fort Lee, Virginia, in 1980 as Ordnance Force Structure Analyst, Force Development Directorate. With the establishment of the US Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) at Fort Lee and the realignment of Ordnance Combat Development from the US Army Ordnance Center and Schools at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to CASCOM in 1996, she became Chief, Force Development Division, Directorate of Combat Development for Ordnance (DCD-OD), CASCOM. For about two years, Farren served as Deputy Director for Quartermaster Combat Development at CASCOM but returned to DCD-OD at the request of the Chief of Ordnance in 2001 when the Deputy Director position opened up.
From 2001 to 2005, she served as the Deputy Director of DCD-OD, and during much of this period was also the Acting Director as the Director, a Colonel, was assigned to fill quotas in deploying units. Following a CASCOM reorganization in 2005, Farren assumed the position of Deputy Director, Concepts and Doctrine Directorate, until 2006. Except for her short stint with the Quartermaster Corps, she worked tirelessly on improving Ordnance force structure and doctrine to meet the changing needs of a modernizing Army.
In the area of Ordnance doctrine, Farren streamlined the number of field manuals from 19 to 8 while also revising them to reflect the Army's emerging Transformation initiatives. She also reviewed over 100 publications from other proponents to insure that Ordnance doctrine was properly reflected. She played a key role in the transformation of doctrine from four levels to two levels of maintenance, devising an implementation plan and preparing the documentation needed to change the force structure to support two-level maintenance.
She also implemented a host of force structure changes to reflect the Army's shift to multi-functional logistics units and to implement the Force XXI logistics transformation. She developed the organization for the Electronic Maintenance Platoon and redesigned Air Defense Artillery maintenance units to meet the changing needs generated by new air defense systems and organizations. She improved the structure of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units to enhance their capability and flexibility.
Farren was also involved in the Battlefield Distribution initiative, developing a modular structure for ammunition units. She led in the development of Force XXI structure, preparing concepts and force designs for all Echelons Above Brigade Ordnance units to reflect the shift to two-level maintenance. She also played a key role in fielding new equipment, such as the Forward Repair System, the family of Quiet Tactical Generators, and improved EOD bomb suits, to enable the new force structures being developed.
Karen Farren retired in 2006 after 26 years of devoted service. She continues, as a consultant for Logistics Management Resources, Incorporated, to serve the Ordnance Corps, playing a key role in developing the Ordnance structure needed at Fort Lee to support the Base Realignment and Closure move and the establishment of the Sustainment Center of Excellence.