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Changes for the SDDC community in Holland.

After a time of uncertainty there is light on the horizon for the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command personnel working for the 598th Transportation Terminal Group and 838th Transportation Battalion, both located in Capelle aan den IJssel, The Netherlands.

The U.S. Army's SDDC assets will move to the 'Van Ghentkazerne' in Rotterdam.

This relocation is primarily predicated by the reality that in today's world tighter force protection measures are required. Those increased force protection measures are the principal reason for moving the SDDC community from Capelle aan den IJssel to the Van Ghentkazerne. The office facility in Capelle aan den IJssel is located in the middle of a civilian industrial estate comprised of a printer, laundry facility, several furniture stores and various other office buildings, which surround the SDDC building.

Before the events of September 11, 2001, the SDDC building was inconspicuous. However, after that date stricter security measures have changed the visible profile and have also required the facility to be secured by Netherlands' Armed Soldiers.

Negotiations to realize this move are ongoing. Many parties, to include, the U.S. Embassy in Den Haag, NL, the Rotterdam City and Port Authorities, and the Netherlands' Ministry of Defense are involved in these negotiations.

"For reasons of efficiency SDDC chooses to co-locate with the Royal Netherlands' Marine Corps", said Col. Gary R. Stanley, commander of the 598th.

"Retention of the unit in the Netherlands assures the flow of goods and supplies supporting the U.S. Forces and their families throughout Europe will continue to move through commercial ports in the region for the foreseeable future," said Stanley.

Royal Netherlands Marine Corps Colonel Eric Blommestijn, commander of the van Ghentkazeme is very happy to host SDDC.

"We welcome the SDDC unit. This international cooperation in our "caserne" will be very good for our young Marines who are deployable worldwide. We are also looking in sharing facilities which will optimize efficiency," he said.

Although office space was offered in Germany, SDDC made the decision to maintain its European headquarters in the Netherlands. This decision was based on force protection, retention of the experienced Dutch workforce, and other practical reasons that would affect the community. The high SDDC operational tempo of moving cargo through ocean ports in Europe and Southwest Asia makes it critical that personnel turbulence be kept to the minimum and by relocating within the Rotterdam community SDDC was able to retain all of their highly experienced Dutch employees.

"Since March 2004 there has been a degree of unrest among the Dutch workforce due to the projected relocation," said Pierre Hoogstad, the Dutch MoD personnel officer.

"Several places were surveyed as possible relocation sites to include various locations in Germany, Italy, and the former Eastern Block countries. It is good news that the decision has been made to move to the Van Ghentkazerne. It is really close to the present location", said Hoogstad.

"By moving to the Van Ghentkazerne we are able to combine security efforts, we keep the host nation workforce and we don't have to move our family members to a different location in a different country," said Stanley.

The Van Ghentkazerne is located only 15 minutes (about 5 KM) away from our present location.

"At this moment we follow two tracks. One track is tracing the formal approvals while the other track works with the NL and U.S. officials on a packet of requirements and the structure design following U.S. and Dutch regulations. It looks like it will take a period of at least two years," said Stanley.

The move of the SDDC community will also include tenant units: the Department of Homeland Security representatives, the United States Coast Guard Activity--Europe, the Military Sealift Command Office Northern Europe, the 623rd Movement Control Team-Rotterdam, and the USAF Liaison Office.

The Van Ghentkazerne is one of the Royal Netherlands' Marine Corps barracks. The Caserne was built in 1946 after its previous location was destroyed in the early days of World War II. For quite a long time it has been the location where Dutch Marine recruits start their military career.

Located in the city of Rotterdam, The Caserne is named after Baron Joseph Van Ghent (1626-1672), the first Dutch Marine Commander in 1665.

Bram de Jong and Martin Weteling, Command Affairs Officers, 598th Transportation Group
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:relocation; Surface Deployment and Distribution Command
Author:Weteling, Martin
Publication:Translog
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:718
Previous Article:What I did on my winter vacation.
Next Article:598th commanders conference held in Holland.
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