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Growth and creativity: an interview with MTMC's commanding general.

Q. How has the MTMC Operations Center grown and evolved in the current War on Terrorism?

A. It was last year at this time that we decided to centralize MTMC operations at Fort Eustis, to establish the position of Deputy Commanding General, and to subordinate Groups to the DCG. Our original plan was to implement changes by June 03, standing down the former Deployment Support Command in November 01. We are still keeping with that timeline. Events of September 11th, however, propelled us forward at a faster pace. Immediately following that day, we accelerated the transfer of operations responsibilities, to include end-to-end management of force and sustainment movements. It was a hugely successful shift in the way we do business. A month after September 11th, we activated hundreds of reservists to assist in the escorting of special commodity shipments and to increase force protection at important ports. All that was coordinated by our emerging Operations Center. A few months later, we stood up the 597th at Sunny Point as a Group and subordinated CONUS battalions to it; we then transferred command and control of that Group and the 598th and 599th overseas Groups to the DCG, providing much-needed, end-to-end control of MTMC forces worldwide into the Operations Center. Meanwhile, as all this was under way, our work force and contractors were emplacing data feeds and displays and workstations to control movements in the Operations Center building at Fort Eustis. We have made remarkable progress in a very short period of time. The Operations Center has collaborated with industry to produce multi-modal shipment solutions through Russia and Pakistan to support the continuing war in Afghanistan. They routinely coordinate with the combatant commanders to provide best solutions. Today, with the great assistance of the TEA-produced Intelligent Road Rail Information Server, the MTMC Operations Center is tracking the movement of cargo using realtime data feeds. And as you may know, several senior managers from our Headquarters in Alexandria have accepted positions in the new Operations Center and have moved there. Placement of other employees will start shortly. In short, another remarkable success story is in the making. It hasn't been easy at all times, but it has been very effective.

Q. You have talked about the creativity of MTMC and industry in working together on surface transportation shipments to Southwest Asia. What aspects of this process impressed you the most?

A. Well, I never imagined that I would be involved in shipping cargo through Russia in support of military operations in a place like Afghanistan. In the mid-80's, I spent much time planning for possible military moves into the Soviet Union in the pretext of two super powers slugging it out. Here we are today partnering with a former enemy to fight the War on Terrorism. That in itself is quite a statement, I think. What continues to impress me, though, is the extent to which our commercial partners are making this happen. We in the military have a tendency to think we have to be involved in everything. We are shipping cargo into Afghanistan today, end-to-end, by leveraging commercial capabilities and with no military intervention en route. What I'm telling you is that our industry partners are delivering containers from origins in the United States to destinations in Afghanistan totally through their commercial system. Every now and then we hear people questioning the viability of contractors on the battlefield. The next time you hear that think about our industry partners putting supplies on the steps of warfighters inside the war zone. It's impressive. I am very proud of our partnerships with industry that enable such new things to happen.

Q. As MTMC continues streamlining, there is some anxiety for employees. What advice can you give?

A. I would encourage employees to have confidence that MTMC will work its best to take care of them if they are the ones affected by reorganization initiatives. In the past two years, we have turned back more than 500 spaces to the Army, and we have adversely affected only two people. The battalion commander who owned those two people says we didn't affect them, either because they simply didn't care about working with us, or because they wanted to find other employment opportunities. I don't know of another example anywhere where an organization has taken care of people so well while implementing change. MTMC has a proven track record of taking care of its employees while changing for the future. This command will do everything possible to take care of people. I would also like to tell employees that we have many heroes in PAL who have produced this success story of taking care of people. Take time to thank them!

Q. In your travel to MTMC terminal units, what are some of your observations and impressions?

A. In the past several months I have visited MTMC units operating in Italy, Greece, Turkey, the Azores, Thailand, and Korea. I am always impressed by the professionalism of the MTMC work force, both military and civilian. It doesn't matter where I go; I come away grateful to be part of such a fine organization. MTMC is a great place to be. I see evidence of that everywhere.

Q. You recently provided the introduction for the opening of the presolicitation conference for the Surface Transportation Management System. How will this system benefit MTMC?

A. The Surface Transportation Management System, nicknamed STMS, is probably the most important acquisition action we have under way. Over the years, we have developed a series of software systems that have met our needs. Unfortunately, they don't interface with each other well. The purpose of STMS is to integrate two of our important systems--the Integrated Booking System, which drives most of our international shipments, and the Global Freight Management System, which drives domestic shipments. We are now in the process of acquiring a systems integrator to merge those two systems using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software with a demonstrated track record of success in the commercial market place. This will provide us a system for managing transportation end to end, a capability that we have never had in a single system. We will adjust some of our processes, if necessary, to accommodate features of the adopted COTS product. We will become far better traffic managers with such a system, and we will be able to provide much-improved support to combatant commanders worldwide. It just so happens that STMS will save us nearly $100 million over the next decade, too. That's gravy, which makes it even better.
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Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2002
Previous Article:Proud of MTMC. (Letters to the Editor).
Next Article:Surface shipments sustain troops in Afghanistan.

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