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Commander's corner.

The Global War on Terrorism requires the rapid movement and sustainment of forces worldwide at an unprecedented operational tempo. SDDC's capabilities and contributions continue to be instrumental to the success of this effort. However, the stress of continued operations points to several areas of opportunity for substantial improvement to our current business model.

When I came to SDDC, I saw the tremendous capabilities of our organization and identified four focus goals in order to be more relevant to the challenges of today and tomorrow. Progress in these areas, in my view, has the potential for long-term improvement in support of our critical missions

Our first goal is to simplify the deployment process for units. By focusing and coordinating our capabilities to reduce the administrative burden on units, we have the opportunity to improve our own ability to support them. We can say we've made very good progress in this effort. We've tied together, for the first time, the deployment support from home station to the seaports of embarkation/debarkation and all the way to final destination. Operating more end-to-end than we've done before has benefitted deploying units by taking some of the burden of deployment preparation off of them, and to our own benefit because of the increased accuracy of information that we need to deploy them. As they say, life is easier when you plow around the stump. We are making it easier for the units and at the same time we have made it easier for ourselves. Equally important, SDDC now has a direct face to the customer--the resulting trust and confidence is evident.

The second goal is to empower this end-to-end process. We put an SDDC battalion in Iraq. We put our soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan, and we've put them in Pakistan. We are putting our personnel in places throughout the supply chain where they truly empower this end-to-end process. An example is container management. As we organized to address this management challenge, we developed structure, processes and tools that enabled us to track and manage these containers from origin to final destination. Then we put our experts where they were needed to effectively manage this process. Empowering this end-to-end process is a growth industry. We are doing it in Korea, we are doing it in Guam, we are doing it in a lot of other places, and we are making real progress.

Our third goal is to leverage the capabilities of commercial industry. This is both a lead and lag challenge. Sometimes we have more cutting edge capabilities than commercial industry; RFID in the early stages is a good example. Sometimes industry has more capabilities than we do; the growth of commercial applications for movement tracking is an excellent example. Under the auspices of the National Defense Transportation Association, we are making great progress in leveraging industry's capabilities to our own benefit. We are going to industry solutions more and more to both move and manage surface deployment and distribution. In all, this is a win-win across the board.

The last goal is to develop common management platforms, systems, and processes. We went to war with technology that was based on a supply-based system in which we echeloned supplies from one level to another. In this war we became dependent on a distribution based system. Just as Wal-Mart and others leaned their distribution process to make themselves more cost-effective, we have essentially done the same thing in order to be more responsive.

We are a command that is often invisible to those we support. In a sense, we are victims of our own success. In today's demanding environment we are moving more, we are moving it with fewer people, we are moving it with greater precision. In short, we're moving it better than we did before. That is a testimony to our SDDC personnel and to our relationship with our commercial partners.

It is the SDDC personnel that represent our greatest asset today, and will remain our greatest asset in the future. If there is one area that has shown measurable improvement, it is the investment in our people. From the quality of training plans to the expansion of training opportunities, training is on the rise and there is more to come. Lean Six Sigma training is a major effort under development.

In summary, these are demanding times supporting a nation at war with a workforce facing the challenges of BRAC, but there is much to be proud of in the quality of the support you provide everyday.

Thanks, Surface Warriors!

Maj. Gen. Charles W. Fletcher, Jr

Commander, SDDC
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Title Annotation:Surface Deployment and Distribution Command
Author:Fletcher, Charles W., Jr.
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2006
Previous Article:Warrior's corner.
Next Article:Fifty years of service: Sunny Point meets milestone.

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