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Supporting warfighter distribution requirements: situation update from the distribution process owner.

In September 2003, the secretary of defense designated the commander of U.S. Transportation Command as the Department of Defense Distribution Process Owner. The DPO designation gave USTRANSCOM the authority to coordinate and develop processes, doctrine, business rules, information technology tools, and procedures to make the DoD distribution pipeline more efficient and effective in meeting warfighter needs. But this designation was only the first step in a broader USTRANSCOM vision to transform logistics across the DoD.


USTRANSCOM's efforts to improve joint logistics support continue to expand and produce results as we step up to the plate, creating and implementing world-class global logistics solutions. Working with the DoD, regional combatant commands (COCOMs), joint agencies, and the Services. USTRANSCOM is boldly leading the collaborative effort to make joint logistics a reality. We are leveraging knowledge and using information technology to consolidate logistics requirements in real time, compress the decision cycle, and empower smarter decisions. Through collaboration, we are synchronizing the deployment, distribution, and sustainment of forces to achieve maximum efficiency and interoperability by eliminating duplication and nonstandard practices. Together with our national partners, we are building a truly seamless, end-to-end defense logistics enterprise.

In conjunction with our partners, we have determined the most important issues and identified appropriate leads for each of them, and we have begun building a defense logistics enterprise through a series of joint improvement teams to drive deployment and distribution process enhancements. We have organized transformation efforts into six "pillars" of action that have already produced results:

* Execution -- synchronizes deployment and distribution of forces and materiel from origin to final distribution point during execution.

* End-to-End (E2E) Process -- establishes a framework for developing the optimal distribution processes to support the rapid, effective, and efficient projection of resourced requirements.

* Information technology (IT) -- develops the enterprise architecture and performs DoD distribution portfolio management functions.

* Financial -- improves and standardizes key financial resources, processes, and systems.

* Human Realm -- develops a joint professional community of logisticians to effectively support DPO objectives.


* Integrated Distribution -- integrates and synchronizes distribution processes and segments of the global supply chain.

Linking with the Warfighter

Within U.S. Central Command, the Execution Pillar is eliminating seams between strategic and theater distribution through implementation of the CENTCOM Deployment and Distribution Operations Center. The CDDOC enables USCENTCOM to improve operational effectiveness while avoiding costs to Service components. This is made possible through a national partnership supported by USTRANSCOM, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the Services. The CDDOC provides increased visibility over deployment and distribution flow.

The CDDOC has improved readiness and enabled operational agility by diverting critical items (i.e., armored vehicle track assemblies) to where they were needed most in the USCENTCOM theater, and it accelerated redeployments, such as the 101st Airborne Division, by up to three weeks. Responsiveness to the requirement to relocate combat capability inside the theater also showed an immediate improvement. Cost avoidance grabs headlines, but warfighter support is measured in effectiveness, and the CDDOC has consistently provided timely solutions to improve support.

Single Ticket

Deployment force flow works well at the strategic level. The "Single Ticket" initiative was born out of the idea of trying to mirror what worked on the strategic level and apply it to bridge the gap to the theater level. Prior to Single Ticket, onward movement of arriving units wasn't coordinated until the unit reached the theater at an inter-mediate location that was still short of the final destination. The CDDOC became a CENTCOM subordinate unit with authority to synchronize, prioritize, coordinate, and direct the force flow process.

Single Ticket is oriented on rapid throughput of personnel in USCENTCOM. It creates a single process for all passenger movement across strategic and theater action agencies and eliminates redundant tasks. The visibility of troop movement now extends from the aerial port of embarkation all the way to the final (in-theater) aerial port of debarkation. Force closure velocity has increased, and time spent by troops at intermediate locations has been drastically reduced from more than 72 hours to less than 24 hours.

The CDDOC also redirected shipments from air to surface, realizing a $312 million aviation operating cost avoidance. By identifying and canceling redundant and unnecessary requests, the CDDOC avoided more than $46 million in materiel costs and transportation fees. Additionally, this joint group of logistics experts was able to locate and return misplaced logistics support equipment to the supply system for cost avoidance of $1.8 million. Validated cost avoidances facilitated by the CDDOC initiative total $359.8 million through 2004. And the efficiencies continue to grow.

The CDDOC developed and executed a risk mitigation concept of operations to reduce the number of truck drivers exposed to life-threatening hazards in Iraq. In today's adjusted contingency operations, C-17 aircraft deliver cargo direct from the United States to several airfields capable of handling large air cargo craft. To complement this capability, a hub-and-spoke system has been established to re-fly just-delivered cargo to smaller airstrips; there C-130 aircraft can supply locations where the largest concentration of military forces are assigned. These initiatives have not eliminated all trucks on the roads within the Sunni Triangle, but air support has certainly mitigated the threat for at least 1,200 truck drivers per week who once traversed the most dangerous roads in the world.

Improving the Process from End to End

The E2E Process Pillar is laying the foundation for all DPO efforts by developing a joint distribution process architecture. Working with our national partners, we are mapping the DoD deployment/distribution process from end to end--from the point of entry for a commodity, the "factory," to the forward-most point of distribution or that hand-off point where materiel travels its last mile to the "foxhole."

This initiative will allow us to identify organizational, process, and IT gaps to enable process improvement through joint solutions. To date, Class V (conventional munitions) distribution has been analyzed and process improvement opportunities identified. Concurrently, the E2E Process Pillar is working closely with the IT Pillar to automate process activities where appropriate.

Managing IT

The IT Pillar is overseeing implementation of IT support to reach our goal of providing COCOMs with detailed tracking information on the movement of cargo throughout the defense transportation system. USTRANSCOM is the primary partner to the Defense Information Systems Agency in developmental test and evaluation efforts for DoD-deployable satellite communications. We are working to achieve network-centric long-haul communications capabilities using rapidly deployable, easy-to-operate, and bandwidth-efficient satellite communications packages. USTRANSCOM, designated Distribution Portfolio Manager by a joint memorandum signed in July 2004 by the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics and the director of logistics for the department's joint staff, is implementing portfolio management controls over DoD deployment and distribution IT systems. The objective is to focus DoD IT investments to deliver required force movement and sustainment IT capabilities to our warfighters using accepted DoD portfolio management methodologies. We are collaborating with our national partners at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the COCOMs, the Services, agencies, and other organizations to develop an overarching IT backbone for DoD deployment and distribution. This important initiative is on track to provide our warfighters with more effective IT support that allows them to see what is coming, to meter the flow, and to make decisions.


Streamlining Financial Management

The Financial Pillar, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, is transforming business and financial processes and systems to improve warfighter support. As part of the DoD Business Management Modernization Program, USTRANSCOM initiated the Defense Enterprise Accounting and Management System. The overall objective of DEAMS is to provide a single, integrated financial system for USTRANSCOM and the U.S. Air Force that provides reliable, accurate, and timely information. At full implementation, DEAMS will be an example of a cross-Service application of the business enterprise architecture and will reflect the best and most consistent financial management practices across USTRANSCOM, the Air Force, and--potentially--throughout DoD.

Creating Joint Logisticians

The Human Realm Pillar has made significant progress toward development of a community of joint professional logisticians. USTRANSCOM partnered with the Defense Logistics Agency to catalog the available supply chain and distribution courses within DoD's educational institutions and academia. The resultant directory forms the basis for logistics education and training. The Human Realm Pillar has briefed at many of the institutions, teaching USTRANSCOM's DPO mission to a variety of faculty members and students. These outreach efforts have opened doors to other possibilities. The Industrial College of the Armed Forces is well-suited to develop a program that is responsive to educating military and civilian logisticians for operations in the emerging distribution environment.


Integrated Distribution

The Integrated Distribution Pillar is closing seams with our commercial partners. Approximately 10 percent of all DoD cargo movement is managed directly by commercial suppliers or vendors through a process known as direct vendor delivery. In the majority of scenarios, DVD offers significant cost-saving to DoD by leveraging the efficiencies of the marketplace and more effectively combining total acquisition and transportation requirements.

DVD is an important component of our total supply chain, but these purely commercial and often free-flowing supply chains must be thoroughly integrated with our defense distribution system, especially during contingency operations when distribution may be affected by hostilities, delivery congestion at the destination, limited lift within theater, or other constraints.

This past year, we initiated two programs to integrate our information systems and standardize our practices in the handling of DVD shipments. First, under the government purchase card process improvement pilot, we designed an alternative process to bring together four DoD purchasing and transportation systems with merchant-ordering processes, generating standard data and documentation for individual government purchase card shipments. Second, we tested active performance management, a program designed to fix problem shipments already within the distribution system. APM is a collaborative tool to facilitate real-time problem resolution for shipments that have been delayed en route.

Two key enablers are providing tools to execute and manage USTRANSCOM's DPO responsibilities. First, DoD's delegation of authority for procurement of commercial transportation services to USTRANSCOM in 2004 provides the needed authority to manage acquisition programs, develop successful acquisition strategies, and execute emerging DPO requirements. Second, USTRANSCOM is establishing a corporate metrics "dashboard" to unify all DPO efforts. The dashboard is a set of simple but comprehensive metrics to evaluate the institutional health of USTRANSCOM and our component commands.

Two critical measures are customer wait time (measuring the speed and reliability of our service to the warfighter) and financial performance (measuring our stewardship of taxpayer dollars).

Looking to the Future

To better optimize logistics across a theater, combatant commanders need to exercise their logistics elements jointly. USTRANSCOM, in coordination with the COCOMs and Services, is championing development of needed concepts, procedures, and doctrine to enable combatant commanders to manage theater logistics operations with more control, precision, and accuracy.

USTRANSCOM is taking CDDOC lessons learned and assisting other COCOMs to assess their respective theaters' deployment and distribution requirements. USTRANSCOM leads an effort to standardize and document a joint deployment and distribution operations center concept for implementation through the COCOMs. Each COCOM has chosen to establish a permanent JDDOC scaled for its region and assigned missions. These theater-specific JDDOCs, created by reorganizing existing theater structures, provide the authority and capability to better synchronize and integrate deployment and distribution processes.

USTRANSCOM is active in defining future warfighting concepts and needs. We have partnered with the U.S. Army to develop a joint integration concept on joint deployment and distribution. The results will feed DoD's Joint Capabilities Integration and Deployment System (JCIDS) process.

Developing a rapidly deployable, early-entry, theater-opening capability is critical to future operations. The Joint Contingency Response Group will provide this capability to future USTRANSCOM commanders. Similar to air operations benefits offered by the Tanker Airlift Control Elements, the JCRG concept envisions an operational systems architecture to receive follow-on forces. Focusing on the entire transportation and distribution infrastructure from a truly joint perspective, the JCRG will connect surface reception with air operations. We envision JCRGs made up of active-duty forces positioned for quick deployment from both coasts of the United States and in Europe and the Pacific.

Rather than weeks, this capability could be deployed within days or hours, readily accepting follow-on forces. After four to six weeks, the JCRG would be prepared either to hand over operations to Air Expeditionary Forces, a U.S. Marine Corps landing support battalion, or an Army theater support command; or to contract the mission. The JCRG will set the stage for establishing joint theater logistics and will offer another bridge in the gap between the strategic and operational levels.

Logistics Transformation Near and Far

Future distribution requirements are not limited to contingency operations in distant lands. The Defense Transportation Coordination Initiative is a distribution initiative that contributes to logistics transformation and the goal of the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics to integrate logistics and become more efficient. The DTCI concept proposes use of a transportation coordinator to integrate and synchronize movement of freight within the continental United States. The goal is improved reliability, predictability, and efficiency of material movement. USTRANSCOM, in partnership with DLA, has lead responsibility for the effort and is standing up a joint project management office to launch the effort.

Our work is far from complete. DPO efforts are forging new partnerships and facilitating collaborative, joint solutions to meeting warfighter requirements for today and well into the future, both at home and abroad.

For more information, please contact

Gen. John W. Handy, USAF

Handy was commissioned in 1967 and received his pilot wings in 1968. He has logged over 5,000 flight hours. He currently serves at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., as commander, U.S. Transportation Command, and commander. Air Mobility Command.
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Author:Handy, John W.
Publication:Defense AT & L
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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