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Two-year reorganization will streamline MTMC. (Historic Change).

Strategic Thinking

Change at MTMC was heralded by the development of a Strategic Planning Group in fall 1999. The members represented management, labor and field units. The group's mandate was simple: Put the command on a course for the future.

As the group reviewed the command, it found a number of processes that could be assessed and implemented rather quickly. One of the first was the centralization of the entire personal property workload at MTMC Headquarters. Among the early changes was the move of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs workload from MTMC Headquarters to the Deployment Support Command, at Fort Eustis, Va.

With this work well under way, the focus shifted to MTMC's overseas groups and its 24 water ports. Other areas were identified as more protracted and would be addressed later.

The first step in the Strategic Planning Group's work was development of a MTMC Strategic Plan. In the fall and early winter of 1999, Strategic Planning Group members worked on the development of Strategic Plan 2000--a blueprint to focus the command for the next two years. The group matched work, process and output with authorizations, supervisors, and organizational layering.

Implementation of the plan's objectives was begun at once. Representatives of the different organizations and staff sections worked to meet strategic plan goals. Monthly meetings were held to monitor progress and results as the organization's modification began. Hiring was restrained and some positions were eliminated. The supervisor/employee ratio was increased from 1 to 6.7 to 1 to 13.6.

Battalion Evaluation Group

MTMC terminal units had nearly identical missions, but no standard structure. A Battalion Evaluation Group was formed of four MTMC terminal commanders. Group members developed a standard port model staffing of 26 with factoring elements that could be used to justify augmentation based on the military concept of mission, enemy, terrain and tactics.

This standardization provided a positive training impact. Terminal commanders trained their military and civilian staffs to precise standards. As a consequence, MTMC workers could be shifted to other ports--a real force multiplier.

Changes were also made in the organizational structures of the 598th Transportation Group and the 599th Transportation Group. The staffing and job descriptions of the two organizations, with identical missions, were made similar.

In spring 2000, awareness began to build that there were other areas where efficiency was possible.

Standardization & Centralization

There were pockets of personnel, supply, and finance activity in virtually every echelon of the Command, and they were unevenly distributed. Efficiency and effectiveness suffered because there was no single location for many functions among MTMC headquarters, subordinate commands and port units.

The tooth-to-tail ratio in these support areas was also a cause for concern. MTMC had 15 to 20 percent of its total authorizations performing support functions. This number far exceeded the ratios of comparable commercial and industrial firms. As a solution, a study group recommended the centralization of these workloads at MTMC Headquarters. Through aggressive personnel management, no MTMC employees impacted by these actions will be negatively affected through Sept. 30, 2001. The numbers of employees affected is quite small--about a dozen--as a consequence of good personnel management policies and programs.

Together, the battalion standardization and centralization efforts netted a savings of 291 civilian positions and 25 military authorizations, which were returned to the Army.

Changes

An expected bonus of MTMC reorganization efforts was the ability to reshape the organization as it moved from Falls Church, Va., to Alexandria, Va.--in the summer of 2000. This allowed workspaces to be designed to reflect the new, gradually restructuring MTMC Headquarters organization. It also enabled the Command to return leased space back to the Army.

With the beginning of fiscal year 2001, implementation of the study group recommendations and centralization processes began in earnest. Terminal commanders began transforming their battalions, while accommodating some local national concerns at overseas locations. To limit the impact on MTMC employees, outplacement efforts included Department of Defense Priority Placement Program and the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program. Initially, 100 MTMC employees were at risk due to downsizing. This figure has been reduced to approximately a dozen.

With all these moving parts well into execution, reorganization planning now shifted to the redundancies of MTMC's two continental United States operating headquarters and the cost vs. return of Information Management software systems.

New Reorganization Initiatives

There were good reasons to form the Deployment Support Command in October 1998. However, with today's technological advances and communications media, the practical aspects of having two nearly identical headquarters only a few hours apart--with missions that overlapped--is a cost the Command can ill afford. Similarly, the explosion of commercial transportation systems begged for a review of MTMC automation transportation software systems. A study is under way now to determine if existing commercial software systems are available that can do the work of at least 70 percent of MTMC's existing systems. Most major MTMC automation systems are under review. They include the Integrated Booking System, Global Freight Management, Worldwide Port System, Transportation Operational Personal Property Standard System, and the Asset Management System. More changes are likely in Information Management systems in the future as MTMC stays on the leading edge of technology.

Move to a Single Headquarters

In order to eliminate the overhead and inefficiency of two headquarters, 150 miles apart, the Command recommended a split-based headquarters. The Army has now approved that recommendation. In a process that is to be phased in through June 2003, MTMC will slowly consolidate that portion of operations currently located in Alexandria to Fort Eustis.

In the immediate future, the Deployment Support Command will be inactivated as a separate command. The end result will be one headquarters--at two locations.

In the future, MTMC's general officer at Fort Eustis will serve as both Deputy Commanding General and Director of Operations. The reorganization will eliminate duplicate staff functions, improve global operations, and cut approximately 260 personnel spaces, 252 civilian and eight military, or 11 percent of MTMC's 2,346 current authorized positions. Every opportunity will be made to provide assistance to affected employees. Process action teams have been formed to define job duties and responsibilities. This work will be completed by the end of the year. In no case, however, will any employee be adversely impacted by this initiative before June 30, 2003.

The reorganization will allow MTMC to provide seamless end-to-end support to the warfighting Commanders-in-Chief. In addition, the new organization will provide a single global, surface movement, process manager as the Director of Operations for MTMC.

Bottom Line

This transformation has been a collective process. In four fiscal years, 1999-2003, the output of the Military Traffic Management Command is being enhanced. The collective organization and the warfighting Commanders-in-Chief will be the real beneficiaries. The changes in MTMC are now mostly complete. In doing this, since fiscal year 1999, 638 civilian spaces and 47 military positions have been cut and returned to the Army. The savings from these reduced labor costs have created a big dividend. For the past two fiscal years, MTMC has reduced its freight rates to customers. Beginning Oct. 1, many customers will see their freight rates drop for the second straight fiscal year. Cuts are taking place in cargo operations, the shipment of privately owned vehicles and liner over ocean transportation. In cargo operations, the rates are coming down an average of 40 percent for fiscal year 2002. The rates were cut 27 percent in fiscal year 2001.

Final Thoughts

As this complex transition has taken place, Maj. Gen. Kenneth L. Privratsky has watched the gradual changes take hold with a great deal of pride and respect.

"Never in my 31 years of military service have I been in an organization that has taken on so much so fast," said Privratsky. "I am very proud of the MTMC employees. They have been truly selfless as we've worked to orient this Major Army Command for the future."
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Publication:Translog
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2001
Words:1317
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