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Movement control on a nonlinear battlefield.

On 7 June 2002, an 11-soldier advance party from the 330th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control) arrived at Karshi-Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan after a long trip from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Our mission was to establish a movement control center (MCC) for Combined/Joint Task Force 180 (CJTF 180) operating in Afghanistan. Although CJTF 180 was built around the XVIIIth Airborne Corps, this operation definitely would not be a doctrinal corps movement control battalion (MCB) mission.

First, the CJTF 180 was a direct subordinate of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), so the MCC would have to fulfill both theater movement control agency and corps MCB missions. Second, the 330th would be working in a theater that relied almost solely on two modes of transportation--military air and commercial truck. Finally, rather than being part of a traditional corps support command structure, the MCC would be assigned to CJTF 180's Joint Logistics Command (JLC) and would be a subelement of its Distribution Management Center (DMC).

Establishing a Movement Control Center

Although our planning went through many phases and changes of direction, our focus remained on the DMC organizational structure and how the 330th could best fit into it. We felt that fully integrating materiel management, movements, and contracting under the control of a single commander would be the best way to ensure success.

The DMC's mission was to act as the distribution management support element for the JLC and provide staff supervision for the materiel management center and the MCC. The DMC also supervised the planning and coordinating of the time-definite delivery of units, materiel, equipment, personnel, and soldier support to, within, and from the combined/joint operational area (CJOA).

Procedures for setting up movement control operations on a nonlinear battlefield are a bit more complicated than those found in movement control doctrine. Field Manual 55-10, Movement Control, details the mission of corps MCBs and lays out the tactics, techniques, and procedures for establishing and managing movement control operations in the corps rear. The doctrine assumes that the predominant assets will be military trucks operating on a linear battlefield as part of the common-user land transportation pool, along with some Army rotary-wing aircraft and Air Force fixed-wing aircraft. Quite clearly, that would not be the situation in the CJTF 180 area of operations (AOR). The MCC and its subordinate movement control teams would operate in an AOR that was almost completely nonlinear and in which air operations, rather than line-haul operations, would dominate.

All of our planning and decisionmaking leading to the establishment of the MCC was based on the distribution principles found in FM 10-10-1, Theater Distribution.

MCC Operations

The three main transportation nodes in the AOR--Bagram, Kandahar, and Karshi-Khanabad--operated multimodal port activities. The two primary modes of transportation to the AOR were fixed-wing coalition aircraft (primarily U.S.) and commercial containerships. High-priority sustainment shipments and all units moved by air in the landlocked AOR. The vast majority of sustainment materiel moved by commercial container shipments to commercial ports or railheads, where it was loaded on commercial trucks for delivery to its final destination. The few military trucks in the AOR were used almost exclusively at the tactical level (brigade and lower).

Since the mission was nondoctrinal and we were not relieving another unit, we had to make our best guess when choosing the proper structure for the MCC. We did not want to underestimate the complexity of the mission but, at the same time, we wanted to avoid deploying more soldiers than we needed. As a starting point, we referred to the joint movement center structure outlined in Joint Publication (JP) 4-01.3, Joint Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Movement Control, and organized the MCC into three sections--Air Movements; Surface Movements; and Plans, Programs, and Requirements.

Thirteen more soldiers joined the advance party in July, for a total of 24. We committed to conducting a review of our manning after the first 30 days in operation and every 30 days thereafter. We figured that we would become more efficient as we gained expertise and set up systems. This indeed was the case. Our first review indicated that our efforts to establish management systems had borne fruit, and we could realign and reallocate personnel. The final MCC structure consisted of 18 soldiers--14 on the ground at Karshi-Khanabad, and 2 each at the air bases at Rhein-Main, Germany, and incirlik, Turkey.

More With Less

As a part of the JLC, we were able to reduce our footprint significantly. Rather than deploy the entire 330th Transportation Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment (51 people), we were able to rely on the JLC and its supporting corps support group for S-1, S-2, S-4, S-6, and legal functions. We were able not only to complete the mission with fewer personnel, but also to field more movement controllers through judicious use of dual hatting. For example, the chief of our Surface Movements Section was also the battalion S-4. He would revert to the S-4 role as required to support our logistics needs at Karshi-Khanabad or the requirements of our subordinate teams.

We also made ample use of cross-trained personnel. Although we had no S-1 or personnel administrative center (PAC) deployed with us, we did have one sergeant from the battalion PAC who cross-trained as a traffic management coordinator (military occupational specialty 88N) and worked in our Surface Movements Section. When needed, she handled the seemingly endless flow of evaluations, awards, and other personnel actions generated as units were attached to and detached from the battalion.

As the MCC for a CJTF, we operated simultaneously at three levels--strategic, operational, and tactical.

Strategic-Level Functions

On the strategic level, we coordinated changes to the time-phased force deployment data with the CJTF staff and CENTCOM and worked directly with the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) to redirect strategic lift as the situation changed. Although CENTCOM had a joint movement center at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, its focus was on intratheater air transportation, which left us to deal directly with CENTCOM's Strategic Movement Center, TRANSCOM, and the Air Mobility Commands Tanker Airlift Control Center on any issues concerning strategic lift.

Operational-Level Functions

At the operational level, we assumed missions usually performed by a theater movement control agency and took full responsibility for coordinating personnel and materiel movement into, within, and out of the CJOA to properly support the CJTF. We planned and coordinated the reception and redeployment of units according to priorities set by the CJTF CJ-4, maintained information on the status of shipments received in the theater, and facilitated delivery of the shipments to their proper destinations. We also coordinated with sister-service movement control organizations and TRANSCOM or its components as required.

As the senior movement control organization in the AOR, the MCC managed the transportation flow by keeping track of resources that were passing through the nodes and by maintaining a constant status of movement capabilities. To meet the needs of the command more effectively, we established a system For tracking shipments that were deemed critical. A "track, trace, and expedite" spreadsheet was posted on our Web site and updated as new information came in. The spreadsheet became a tool used by both logisticians and warfighters in and out of CJTF 180 who needed up-to-date information on the status of critical shipments. We also developed movement control procedures for the CJTF and, in coordination with the CJ-4, drafted the policies needed to make the most efficient use of transportation assets and supporting infrastructure in the CJOA.

Tactical-Level Functions

At the tactical level, the 330th had command and control of movement control teams at Bagram, Kandahar, and Karshi-Khanabad. Through these subordinate teams, we coordinated with supported units and transport operators. The teams played a critical role in planning and executing the reception and redeployment of personnel and equipment, and each node ran model marshaling and staging operations adapted to the physical limitations of their respective areas.

The teams were also the key links for managing, tracking, and reporting on the thousands of intermodal containers that moved in and out of the base camps. The teams' daily supervision and reporting, combined with constant interface with the logistics task forces that ran the base camps, enabled us to establish control over inbound containers. Our ability to provide positive inbound clearance of containers enhanced anticipatory and predictive logistics planning and improved force protection.

The teams also managed container detention and provided daily reports that gave us the data needed by the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) to adjudicate carrier detention claims. (Detention results when a shipper or consignee holds containers beyond a reasonable period for loading, unloading, obtaining forwarding directions, or any other reason.)

Force Structure

Our initial mission analysis indicated that we needed a port movement control team at each location. However, when we first hit the ground, the structure we inherited consisted of a port movement control team and a cargo documentation team at Bagram, the 101st Airborne Division's movement control team at Khandahar, and, at Karshi-Khanabad, a five-soldier adhoc team deployed from the 330th Transportation Battalion earlier in the year. Fortunately, we had been involved in the planning cycle early enough to influence subsequent requests for forces, and, by the end of July, we had port movement control teams at all three nodes.

Each node also had a platoon (-) from a cargo transfer company that worked both the airfields and the container yards. In Khandahar, the platoon was placed under the command and control of the port movement control team commander. This worked so well that the JLC commander issued instructions to make the same command and control arrangements at all three nodes. When the full structure was deployed, we had a port movement control team, a platoon (-) from a cargo transfer company, and a cargo documentation team at each node to handle air and surface (intermodal containers and breakbulk truck) shipments. Over the course of the mission, a total of 12 different teams and platoons from both the Active and Reserve components were attached to the 330th.

Lessons Learned

The soldiers of the 330th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control) learned a number of valuable lessons during the 8 months they spent supporting operations in Afghanistan, many of which they were able to pass on to their fellow 330th soldiers deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom

* Distribution management center. Our experience supporting CJTF 180 as the "movements piece" of a DMC confirmed the value of this concept in making the Logistics Transformation a reality. Although there is no official organization For a DMC, the basic components--movements, materiel, and a coordinating cell--are the same regardless of echelon. Again and again, our ability to anticipate and predict requirements, to "see" what was in transit and on hand, and to redirect or redistribute shipments saved both money and, more importantly, time.

* ITV and TAV systems. We made constant use of a variety of in-transit visibility (ITV) and total asset visibility (TAV) systems, including the Global Transportation Network (GTN), Joint Total Asset Visibility (JTAV), radio frequency automatic identification technology (RF AIT), the Global Decision Support System (GDSS), and the Single Mobility System (SMS). Later, we began using MTMC's Intelligent Road/Rail Information Server (IRRIS) to obtain data on the contents of intermodal containers inbound to the CJOA.

As we received attached movement controllers from across the Army, it became apparent that training on GTN and JTAV is spotty among traffic management coordinators and transportation officers, and knowledge of the Air Force Systems (GDSS and SMS) is almost nonexistent. We were fortunate that MCC soldiers had been using these systems almost daily in the XVIIIth Airborne Corps Operations Center and that all deployed soldiers had passwords for every system, classified and unclassified. Our experiences and initial reports from soldiers participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom highlight the continued need for movement controllers to be skilled in using these systems.

Feedback from our teams deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom also indicates that the lines between the different types of teams have been blurring and that our area and highway regulation teams have been used interchangeably with each other and with port teams. This makes it critical that soldiers serving on all types of teams, as well as those in an MCC, are familiar with these systems and that commanders develop training strategies that will keep all users current.

* Computers, computers, computers! In the 21st century, an MCC lives and dies by its computers and reliable connectivity. We relied on computers for access to ITV and TAV systems and for the majority of our secure and nonsecure communications. Our needs were enormous. The 14 soldiers at Karshi-Khanabad kept 14 machines (7 secure and 7 nonsecure) occupied almost full time. As an example, the Air Movements Section, manned by two soldiers during the day shift, had three computers assigned to it--two secure and one nonsecure. All intratheater air requests, load plans, and email moved on one secure terminal. The second secure terminal was used to operate the GTN and GDSS, and the single nonsecure terminal was used for SMS and other unclassified systems. The MCC commander and deputy commander/operations officer had both secure and nonsecure terminals on their desks since message traffic moved by both means. Movement control units preparing for this type of mission will find that they can't have too many computers.

*ITV and TAV shortfalls. Our ITV and TAV systems have come a long way from the days of Operation Desert Storm, but they still have a long way to go. We experienced varying levels of success with ITV and TAV systems. In general, both JTAV and GTN gave reliable answers about air shipments. There were occasional problems; for example, GTN sometimes showed a shipment as being in Dover, Delaware, or Ramstein, Germany, when it was actually sitting in the cargo yard at Bagram. However, almost all of those incidents could be traced to human input error. GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) rules.

The story was much different for intermodal containers. In July 2002, we spent a whole day searching via the GTN and JTAV systems to find out how much transportation and content information was available on containers inbound to the CJOA and how accurate it was. The results were not impressive. Of the 691 containers that MTMC provided information on (via emailed spreadsheets), we found that only a handful were entered in the GTN or JTAV systems and none had content data. Eleven years after the lessons of Desert Storm, we still could not tell the commander what was in the boxes.

To make the DMC concept work as advertised, we had to be able to tell the commander exactly what was en route to the AOR from the continental United States, Europe, and the Persian Gulf. With the failure of existing ITV systems, the Surface Movements Section developed an elaborate system of work-arounds to gain visibility of container shipments destined for the base camps in the CJTF 180 AOR. This system consisted of getting the vendors and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to transmit container packing lists directly to the Surface Movements Section and establishing a "call-forward" procedure to ensure a flow of materiel from the ports that would reasonably correspond to base camp requirements. The call-forward procedure required constant telephone and email communication with commercial freight forwarders in Pakistan and Uzbekistan and involved manually updating spreadsheets that became more and more unwieldy as the volume of containers increased.

A number of organizations, most importantly MTMC and DLA, have now begun a variety of initiatives to improve content visibility of surface shipments by addressing both infrastructure (more RF read-and-write stations and use of RF identification tags by all services) and business practices (MTMC will not move a container until the shipper has provided the information, including the detailed content information needed to populate ITV systems).

The DMC concept cannot realize its full potential until this kind of information is readily available through a single ITV system to users in the field. We must conquer this challenge if the "stockpile in motion" is to become more than a good bumper sticker and justification for further cuts to combat service support forces.

* Liaison teams. The corps support group that originally opened Karshi-Khanabad placed representatives at two critical nodes outside the AOR and we continued that practice. We established what we called "movement control liaison teams" at the Incirlik and Rhein-Main Air Bases.

Incirlik was a key sustainment hub for daily C-17 Globemaster and commercial L-100 Hercules flights to Bagram and Karshi-Khanabad. The Incirlik team was staffed by a staff sergeant and a sergeant who were responsible for interacting with the Air Force air mobility squadron to maintain visibility of CJTF 180 "thru" cargo, alerting the MCC and the movement control teams about this cargo, and expediting selected cargo as directed by the MCC. They also assisted selected CJTF 180 soldiers transiting lncirlik and helped soldiers who were departing the CJOA on emergency leave.

A first lieutenant and a sergeant first class from the MCC and two soldiers from the Karshi-Khanabad logistics task force manned the Rhein-Main Air Base movement control liaison team. Their functions were similar to those of the Incirlik movement control liaison team, except that their primary role was to facilitate unit movements through Germany into and out of the CJOA; Rhein-Main was the primary passenger hub. They also coordinated with the U.S. Army Europe Movement Control Team at Ramstein Air Base to maintain visibility of CJTF 180 cargo and expedite selected items. While these teams were nondoctrinal and movement control organizations are not staffed to provide them, they were the natural solution to the shortcomings of the ITV systems and the desire to have more control over what was flowing into the AOR. Although we enjoyed great relationships with other nodes and received fantastic support from the staff at most of them, most notably Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and Camp Snoopy in Qatar, we would have put teams at every one of our cargo nodes if we had had enough personnel. Even with all of the ITV and TAV systems and the wonders of email, there is still no substitute for having a set of boots from your organization on the ground.

The 330th's experience as the MCC for CJTF 180 was both challenging and rewarding. The unique aspects of this mission thrust young officers and noncommissioned officers into situations not usually encountered until much later in a transporter's career. Our night shift air chief was a second lieutenant who dealt directly with the Air Force colonels at the Tanker Airlift Control Center, negotiated changes to strategic air mission routing, and coordinated additional missions to get the best possible support for the combatant commander. The Surface Movements Section chief, who developed and established the system that gained us control and visibility over surface shipments in the face of ITV systems failure, was promoted to captain while deployed. This very young team answered the call and put into place the structure and processes needed to manage and track the movement of thousands of tons of cargo carried in over 6,000 aircraft missions and thousands of intermodal containers. They also managed the movement of a volume of personnel that equaled moving the entire 82d Airborne Division eight times. The hard lessons they learned and the important initiatives they began served as the catalyst for changes that are currently paying great dividends in the support provided to U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom, many of whom are 330th veterans of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

On 31 January 2003, after 8 months, the 330th Transportation Battalion redeployed to Fort Bragg, leaving the MCC in the capable hands of the 257th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control) from Gainesville, Florida. The MCC structure no doubt will continue to evolve as the missions and situations change. ALOG

Principles of Distribution

(FM 100-10-1, Theater Distribution)

* Centralize management.

* Optimize infrastructure.

* Maximize throughput.

* Minimize forward stockpiling.

* Maintain continuous and seamless pipeline flow,

LIEUTENANT COLONEL ROBERT W. PETRILLO IS THE COMMANDER OF THE 330TH TRANSPORTATION BATTALION (MOVEMENT CONTROL) AT FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA. HE HAS A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN POLITICAL SCIENCE FROM SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY. HE IS A GRADUATE OF THE ARMOR OFFICER BASIC AND ADVANCED COURSES.

MAJOR DANIEL W. CARPENTER IS THE EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE 330TH TRANSPORTATION BATTALION (MOVEMENT CONTROL) AT FORT BRAGG. HE HAS A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN HISTORY FROM NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY AND MASTER'S DEGREE IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT HUNTSVILLE. HE IS A GRADUATE OF THE ARMOR OFFICER BASIC AND ADVANCED COURSES.
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Title Annotation:movement control center established in Uzbekistan for Combined/Joint Task Force 180 in Afghanistan
Author:Petrillo, Robert W.; Carpenter, Daniel W.
Publication:Army Logistician
Geographic Code:9AFGH
Date:Sep 1, 2003
Words:3421
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