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Action items progress.

Last year, the Fall Meeting was a co-chaired/co-sponsored event between NDTA and United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM). Together, our two organizations designed five round table sessions to collaboratively address Reset & Rebalance for the Future concerns, as well as projections across all Department of Defense (DOD) modes of logistics and transportation. We are happy to report several recommendations from the Fall Meeting were taken for action along with dozens more suggestions created and being worked within each respective modal Executive Working Group (EWG) and/or NDTA National Committee. The following is a snapshot of a few of the action items that resulted from the 2013 Fall Meeting along with their current statuses.


Status: Action item closed, though overall outreach efforts remain ongoing.

As a means to extend outreach, the Department of Transportation (DOT) was asked to brief at several subsequent NDTA/DOD events on its efforts to ease transitioning active duty members with truck driving specialties and safe records to be able to transfer those credentials to the commercial trucking industry. In Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century MAP 21, DOT conducted a study and on November 8, 2013 provided a report to Congress on the differences between military and civilian licensing, as well as ways to fill in the gaps. With DOT's help, all 50 states' legislatures have taken regulatory/policy measures regarding military members and veterans in pursuit of a commercial driver's license (CDL) and have since adopted a Military CDL Skills Test Waiver. To date, more than 2,000 waivers have been issued! Various transitioning programs include: Virginia's Troops to Trucks, New Mexico's Heroes to Highways, Wisconsin's Truck Driver to Commercial Bus & Truck Driver, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters' (IBT) Helmets to Hardhats. Future considerations include ensuring that military training and testing mirror the civilian model, as well as the facilitation of commercial partnerships on military installations. Across the board, getting the word out to DOD personnel centers, military truck driver schoolhouses, and veterans outreach locations is key.


Status: Closed.

While this initiative started within the Surface EWG in July 2013, discussion during the Fall Meeting's "Surface Issues & Solutions" Roundtable actively included industry's request for more comprehensive advanced shipment forecasting and advanced shipment planning to increase carrier efficiencies which could ultimately better stabilize rates. At the direction of the USTRANSCOM Deputy Commander, an IPT was formed with representatives from the Joint Munitions Command (JMC), the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), and the trucking industry's Transportation Protective Service (TPS) carriers. Overall the IPT took a Lean Six Sigma approach to assess TPS shipment planning and identify opportunities for efficiencies. The IPT's process mapping and root cause analysis resulted in JMC and industry identifying several forecasting products to include: receipt and issue forecast data, new production schedules, vessel schedules, open CONUS documents, near term data from the Total Ammunition Management Information System (TAMIS), as well as the need for other Service forecast data. All JMC depots were examined against a 48-hour performance metric. Consequently, those depot forecasting methods and processes which clearly contributed to increased productivity, increased readiness, and optimized consolidation were benchmarked and are being incorporated at all JMC depots, where possible. This action item has resulted in JMC implementing process improvements across their depots and TPS carriers receiving better advanced forecasting data.


Status: Closed.

The USTRANSCOM Joint Distribution Process Analysis Center (JDPAC) provided an executive overview regarding their modeling and analysis on rail movements. The briefing provided a better shared understating of DOD's anticipated railcar usage of major out-load operations and the expected interfaces at DOD installations and ports.


Status: Closed.

Out of concern over the uncertainty of the Afghanistan drawdown, air carriers asked USTRANSCOM to provide better fidelity of future airlift requirements. The Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) EWG addressed this issue and now USTRANSCOM provides long-range forecasts and monthly passenger flow estimates. As noted under other action items in this article, increased fidelity of future transportation requirements are now being provided in both the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) and Surface EWGs, as well as in various modal forums.


Status: Ongoing.

During the 2013 Fall Meeting's "Surface Issues and Solutions" Roundtable, NDTA, on behalf of its commercial motor carrier members, requested assistance from USTRANSCOM in facilitating discussions with both the Departments of Labor (DOL) and DOT regarding the application of certain rules and regulations under the SCA to the truckload industry. General Fraser (then USTRANSCOM Commander) asked industry participants to develop a draft of an SCA Commercial Compliance Guide for DOL's review and approval, which takes into account SCA requirements and the operational constructs of the irregular route motor carrier industry. Subsequently, NDTA Surface Committee members worked on the guide, socialized their recommended compliance solutions with USTRANSCOM, and conducted a survey of TPS carriers. Survey findings reported that over 65% of TPS carriers do not fully understand the impacts of SCA. Responses included: significant manual processes required for compliance would increase administrative costs; uncertainty of application; lack of definitive DOL guidance; belief tender system falls within the tariff exemptions; and belief owner/operators qualify for exemption as business owners. In April 2014, the NDTA President and the Surface Committee Chair met at DOL Headquarters with members from the DOL Wage and Hour Division, DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and USTRANSCOM. During this meeting, NDTA requested that DOL publish either via a supplement to the SCA Compliance Guide for USTRANSCOM, previously provided by DOL, or through an advisory letter: 1. Authorization for the use of DOT Hours of Service logs to compute "hours worked"; 2. Clarification of business entity and personnel management requirements for exemption; and 3. If an exemption does not apply, then approve use of carrier-determined fleet wide annual cost-per-mile expenses.

Based upon comments by DOL representative at the July 24, 2014 EWG meeting and subsequent follow-up, DOL is working on amendments to the SCA Compliance Guide it previously provided to USTRANSCOM and industry members. Any changes to the Compliance Guide are expected be provided by the DOL at the 28 October 2014 Surface Committee meeting being held in conjunction with the NDTA-USTRANSCOM Fall Meeting in St. Louis.


Status: Ongoing.

USTRANSCOM has shared concerns with DOT's Maritime Administration (MARAD) over the health of the USflag international trading fleet. While the US domestic (Jones Act) fleet is seeing a recent resurgence, the international fleet is in continued decline. DOD and USTRANSCOM rely on commercial industry to augment the government-owned organic fleet during the initial surge of combat power, and for the vast majority of sealift in peacetime and sustainment phases of contingency operations. Access to the commercial fleets is formalized through MARAD programs such as VISA, the Maritime Security Program (MSP), and the Voluntary Tanker Agreement (VTA). Through these programs, DOD gains critical access to an enormous amount of US commercial capabilities, while ensuring the availability of a viable US-flag maritime industry and US-citizen Merchant Mariner pool in times of national emergency.

With a responsibility to manage the global mobility enterprise, USTRANSCOM is dependent on a healthy US Merchant Mariner pool. US Merchant Mariners are critical to USTRANSCOM's ability to meet its military requirements, and its training and proving ground are the commercial vessels of declining US flag fleet. Since DOD's organic fleet is maintained with partial crews until needed for real world operations, a loss of Merchant Mariners in commercial industry could risk our ability to bring the ships to full operating status when the need arises.

USTRANSCOM has pledged support for MARAD's development of a National Maritime Strategy that will provide recommendations aimed at supporting the growth of the US maritime industry and ensuring the availability of US-flag vessels for our nation's economic and national security. It has also pledged support for DOD as it embarks on a Commercial Sealift Study which will explore the commercial maritime industry's continued ability to meet DOD mobility requirements.

Thank you to members of NDTA's EWGs and National Committees for providing the content for this article.
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Publication:Defense Transportation Journal
Article Type:Conference notes
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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