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Ensuring reservists' success: deployment support command will provide training and readiness oversight of transportation assets ...

With operation tempo remaining high and no sign of easing up, the Military Surface Deployment & Distribution Command mission keeps U.S. Army reservists working round the clock worldwide. Coordination for reserve Soldiers is a never-ending cycle of call-ups and deployments of which service men and women must be equipped and trained when it comes to the latest in transportation processes and programs.

Pursuing possibilities that will both support the organization's mission to support the Warfighter and ensure success for reservists on the job, SDDC leadership is on the edge of establishing the Deployment Support Command. According to SDDC Training, Readiness and Mobilization Director Col. Bob Askey, the operationally capable DSC will exercise command and control of SDDC-aligned Army Reserve units. In addition, the DSC will fulfill a much-needed requirement to provide necessary technical training, as well as maintain readiness oversight for all non-aligned Army Reserve terminal, watercraft, rail, movement control and deployment and distribution units.

"The concept to create some sort of reserve transportation functional readiness command is one that the force structure staff of SDDC has been working on since shortly after 9-11," Askey said. He explained that a succession of commanders has continued to champion the idea and the implementation of the new modular Army structure has amplified the need for such a command. Askey said now there is buy-in from all the right people.

The Chief of the Army Reserve approved the concept plan for the DSC in principle in October and SDDC Commander Maj. Gen. Kathleen Gainey signed off on the plan in November. According to SDDC officials, their anticipated approval of the plan will allow the DSC to go into carrier status by April 2007. This means SDDC can begin standing the unit up by October 2007, to include full mission capability established within one year.

Providing transportation/deployment and distribution training and operational opportunities to all Army units engaged in missions that support the distribution process around the globe, the new command will impact all SDDC units--both active and reserve. Historically, SDDC has conducted multi-component training.

However, all other Army surface mobility units that will benefit from the training opportunities provided by the DSC--most importantly the Warfighter--will be supported by an Army transportation community that is properly equipped and trained to the same technical standard. When all is said and done, the DSC could impact almost 200 units comprised of more than 10,000 Soldiers, active and reserve, according to Askey.

"All units will train to the same standard, regardless of their location or separate chains of command," Askey said, explaining that properly training and equipping reservists for the mission will ensure that all service members work side-by-side, armed with the same knowledge and opportunities to reach mission success.

Understanding and recognizing the need for change in the way it was doing business, the U.S. Army Reserve Command did some initial reorganization across the board. But it quickly became apparent that there was a need for a transportation command to provide Army mobility units the technical tools and associated training to support the Warfighter in end-to-end deployment and distribution support.

Placing the DSC under the operational control of SDDC, and ultimately U.S. Transportation Command, would complete the linkage to the distribution process owner to better support the organizations and service members serving.

"The DSC will have the added benefit of an administrative control relationship with the 377th Theater Sustainment Command, which is responsible for training and readiness of all expeditionary sustainment commands in the Army Reserve," Askey said, explaining that this will tie functional transportation capability to the Army's new modular sustainment structure.

Maj. Gen. Skip Philips, commander of the 377th, enthusiastically supports this concept.

"The DSC is the vehicle by which the Army Reserve will leverage SDDC's considerable expertise in deployment and distribution operations," Philips said. "It provides a complimentary capability to the Army's sustainment commands."

The Army's modular force transformation structure is said to be the most extensive restructuring of the Army since World War II. Designed to create standardized modular combat brigades, these units would be self-sufficient, more rapidly deployable and better able to conduct joint operations.

by Jennifer Sanders

SDDC Headquarters, Fort Eustis
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Author:Sanders, Jennifer
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Previous Article:Change of command: in a ceremony steeped in tradition, Maj. Gen. Kathleen Gainey assumes command of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution...
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