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Partnerships key to supply management efficiencies

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., (USTCNS) --- Achieving newly directed efficiencies in Department of Defense distribution management will build on existing industry-defense partnerships, according to Army Maj. Gen. Robert T. Dail, director of operations, U.S. Transportation Command.

"As we move beyond our TRANSCOM core deployment and mobility missions and assume the role of Distribution Process Owner for the Department of Defense, we're going to continue to grow our partnerships with the commercial industry. In addition to our traditional commercial partners in the transportation industry, I can see growing involvement from the information technology sector. In the future, commercial partners will be more tightly integrated into our processes in the joint mobility operations center and, eventually, in support of the emerging requirement to synchronize distribution overseas," he told the Scott-St. Louis Chapter, National Defense Transportation Association meeting Oct. 23 in Belleville, Ill.

Dail said a critical step in achieving distribution and supply synchronization may involve a combination of existing USTRANSCOM operational structures and what he called a Joint Intermodal Distribution Operations Center (JIDOC) " … to integrate deployment and sustainment concepts into one pipeline."

"We envision that this capability would deploy into an overseas theater under the tactical control of the combatant commander, nest itself into an existing logistics organization - not a new one - and essentially perform the mission in the theater that TRANSCOM strategically performs today. It would encompass the IT, materiel management and transportation management systems that are resident in USTRANSCOM and its national partners from the Defense Logistics Agency and Joint Munitions Command. These expert professionals could be deployed overseas with the power and authority to direct air and seaport operations and intra-theater movements in a more effective and efficient manner. We must continue to work the seamless throughput between strategic and operational domains," Dail said.

In September, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appointed USTRANSCOM as Distribution Process Owner, with the goal of providing supply chain management from factory to foxhole. In October the command completed the Secretary's first milestone of developing a charter with goals of:

· Eliminating existing seams between distribution processes;
· Standardizing DOD supply chain policies and performance goals;
· Institutionalizing sustainment planning into contingency processes, and
· Streamlining accountability under a single combatant commander.

The Scott AFB - based combatant command is continuing consultation with the services, combatant commanders, defense agencies and industry to coordinate its new responsibilities. "That combination, that great partnership with defense and commercial partners is a continuing, evolutionary process. We are looking beyond just transportation solutions to a full service distribution solution. Our desire is to create an integrated capability that would ensure the timely delivery of forces, passengers and equipment. Under it's new designation as Distribution Process Owner, TRANSCOM would serve as the single synchronizer for DOD", Dail added.

USTRANSCOM was established in 1987. It coordinates commercial and military transportation assets worldwide, in peace and war. The Air Force Air Mobility Command, the Army Military Traffic Management Command and the Navy Military Sealift Command are USTRANSCOM components.

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