In January 2003 Halstead learned that she was to be promoted to general. The frocking ceremony happened in August 2004 (but the pay increase that accompanied the promotion did not take effect until January 2005. Halsted joked “my friends from back home called this a fleecing!”).

In September 2004, she became commanding general of the 3d Corps Support Command (3rd COSCOM), United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany. The 3rd COSCOM was to spend one year training in Germany before deployment to Iraq; the first Iraqi elections were scheduled for November 2005 and their operation had to be in place by then.

In her first command as a general, Halstead was responsible for 20,000 military and 5,000 civilian personnel. The staggering logistical complexity of the operation was a function not only of its sheer size but also of the deployment of Soldiers at different dates and with different levels of training and preparation. (Halstead commented that she could always tell the Soldiers who were new to the Corps because they were quicker to fire.) At the outset, Halstead articulated her outlook and her aims by circulating a memorandum of her “Daily Philosophy” to her entire command. (The full memo appears as Exhibit 7). The memo began:

The purpose of this memorandum is to SHARE my personal philosophy on life and leading. I believe the most effective way to care for people is to get to KNOW them. So, the focus of this written memo is to help you get to know me and have a better understanding of who I am and what is important in my life. Clearly, to be given the responsibility and the opportunity to lead Soldiers is at the top of the list; it is an honor and a privilege. First and foremost, I am very much like all of you: I’m a Soldier, a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, and a friend. In these roles, it is very important to me that I am a person others can trust and depend upon. Two words describe how I try to live each day: “STEADFAST LEADERSHIP.” As a leader, I will do everything within my power to ensure a positive climate and work environment where people come first and missions are always accomplished. “STEADFAST” is an acronym and stands for: Soldiers, Training, Excellence, Attitude, Discipline, Family (and Friends), Accountability, Selfless service, and Teamwork.

Halstead outlined the scope and mission of her command in Iraq:

My unit was to provide the operational logistics (distribution of supplies–fuel, ammo, water, parts, food, clothing, medical, etc–and vehicle maintenance) across all of Iraq in support of the 250,000 military and civilians serving there and the 20,000 military and 5,000 civilians in my direct command were operating out of 55 different bases. I was also responsible for the base defense of 5 bases; one was Balad, the largest logistics base in Iraq. There were 30,000 people located there and, although they did not all work for me, the burden of protecting them was part of my mission. Additionally, I had 3 Infantry Brigades under my command and control–historic for a logistician and female! I also had 3 Iraqi Transportation Regiments in my command and we provided them transportation and maintenance training.

Halstead had one year to plan her operation and train and certify her units for deployments. Certification was necessary for any deployment in the Army and demonstrated that established standards had been met on all aspects of individual and collective performance from firing of weaponry to competency in cultural training. After months of painstaking preparation and training (see Exhibits 8, 9, and 10 for training materials Halstead prepared and distributed to her command), Halstead was confident her Soldiers and unit were ready to be certified for deployment.