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Who? MSC--that's who!

Who operates a fleet of more than 110 civilian-crewed ships every day in nearly every time zone of the world? Who operates this fleet with a global workforce of more than 9,000--with about 80 percent at sea at any given time? Who has delivered more than 100 million cubic feet of combat cargo and nearly 13 billion gallons of fuel in support of the U.S. and coalition forces in the global war on terrorism. Here's a hint: It's the Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC).

MSC, headquartered at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., has long been the cornerstone of the U.S. military's global power-projection capabilities. Since 1949, the Military Sea Transportation Service, and later, MSC, have each served as the single U.S. government agency responsible for Department of Defense ocean transportation.

MSC Missions

Today, MSC operates a mix of both governmentowned and commercially chartered ships in four major programs: the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force (NFAF), Special Mission, Prepositioning and Sealift. MSC's missions are as diverse as the ships in its inventory.

MSC's approximately 40 NFAF ships include oilers; dry cargo/ammunition ships; ammunition ships; fast combat support ships, fleet ocean tugs; rescue and salvage ships; combat stores ships; and the hospital ships USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Most NFAF ships replenish Navy combatants at sea--keeping ships at sea, on station and combat-ready for tasking when needed.

MSC's special mission ships comprise more than 25 ships that serve as seagoing platforms in support of a variety of U.S. government agencies. Some of the ships include submarine and special warfare support ships; oceanographic survey ships; ocean surveillance ships; and the command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20).

MSC operates more than 30 prepositioning ships that strategically place combat equipment and supplies at sea, making them readily available for delivery to U.S. forces ashore. These ships support all branches of the U.S. military, as well as the Defense Logistics Agency, and are forward deployed to eliminate lengthy loading and transit times.

MSC's Sealift Program operates more than 25 ships involved in point-to-point transportation of DoD cargo. By policy, MSC must look to the U.S.-flag commercial market first to meet its sealift requirements. Government-owned ships are used only when suitable U.S. flagged commercial ships are unavailable. MSC's government-owned ships include tankers, dry cargo ships and large, medium-speed roll-on/roll-off ships.

In a crisis, MSC's sealift capabilities can be expanded by activating ships from the Maritime Administration's 44-ship Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ship. Ordinarily, RRF ships are kept pierside in reduced operating status with cadre crews aboard. When activated, the ships are fully crewed and come under MSC's operational control.

At any given moment, MSC ships are transporting a variety of mission-critical commodities. In fiscal year 2008 alone, MSC transported more than seven million cubic feet of dry cargo and 2.3 billion gallons of fuel in support of U.S. deployed forces. Approximately 18.5 percent of the dry cargo and 22 percent of the fuel were delivered by MSC's underway replenishment ships at sea.

MSC also participated in 25 major maritime exercises, and it's NFAF and special mission ships operating tempo included more than 11,000 days at sea. Additionally hospital ships Mercy and Comfort have been particularly busy, highlighted by the four-month humanitarian deployments of Comfort to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2007 and Mercy to Southeast Asia and the Pacific in 2008.

MSC Leadership

MSC is commanded by Rear Adm. Robert Reilly Jr., USN. Reporting to him is Director, Contracts & Business Management, Capt. Mark A. Stiles, SC, USN. He is the Chief of MSC's Contracting Office and maintains oversight of all acquisition, business management and business systems integration. With a staff of two active-duty Supply Corps commanders, one active-duty Supply Corps contracting intern and 105 civilian contracting officers and personnel, Capt. Stiles is involved in every facet of MSC's operations.



Capt. Stiles reviews and approves acquisitions for multi-million dollar ship repair and refurbishment and for multi-billion dollar multi-year ship chartering. His directorate integrates MSC's requirements, resources and asset/product acquisition--ensuring assets are available to execute MSC's strategic missions and support the maritime strategy of the United States. Rounding out Capt. Stiles' staff of active duty officers is Cdr. Michael Corsey, Special Assistant to the N10 Director for eBusiness Systems Implementation and Integration; Cdr. Lorenzo Williams, Director, Policy and Compliance Division; and Lt. Joshua Quenemoen, a contracting intern gaining invaluable and hands-on experience in the Prepositioning Program.

Responsible for MSC's enterprise resource planning (ERP), Cdr. Corsey maintains oversight of functional information systems required to execute MSC's acquisition mission. Cdr. Williams, as the Policy and Compliance Director, serves as the Knowledge Manager for acquisition policy, training, and standardization. He also is the Command's Procurement Performance Management Assessment Team Leader and is responsible for compliance alignment. As MSC's military intern, Lt. Quenemoen executes cradle-to-grave contracting actions for operational contracts. He is completing Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification, and will attend the Business Resource Management Program (BRMP-Darden) in 2009.

MSC's Contracts and Business Management Directorate is at the forefront of finding innovative acquisition methods and products for MSC to meet its mission requirements while reducing costs. One such instance was the chartering of the kite-powered cargo ship MV Beluga SkySails in October 2008 to transport U.S. Army and Air Force equipment from Europe to the United States. Estimates called for fuel cost savings of 20 to 30 percent. Though the ship's wind power was not a factor in awarding the contract, the potential for fuel savings likely made the ship operating company's offer more competitive.

So, who provides the sustainment tail for U.S. Navy combatant ships? Who provides humanitarian aid both abroad and at home? Who provides support to our military seven days a week and 365 days a year? MSC--that's who!

Cdr. Lorenzo Williams' previous tours include Executive Officer to the Vice Director, Defense Logistics Agency; Office of Special Projects; Naval Supply Systems Command Office of Personnel; USS John Rodgers (DD 983); and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). He completed an Individual Augmentation assignment with Multi-National Forces-Iraq (MNF-I) Resources and Sustainment, Camp Victory, Iraq.

By Cdr. Lorenzo Williams, Director, Policy and Compliance Division, Naval Sea Systems Command
COPYRIGHT 2009 U.S. Department of the Navy, Supply Systems Command
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Author:Williams, Lorenzo
Publication:Navy Supply Corps Newsletter
Date:Mar 1, 2009
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