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ILOC program benefits U.S., Canadian forces

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., (USTCNS) --- U.S. Transportation Command is more than a joint command with American only service members, it also has three Canadian officers assigned. Jeep Pichette, a lieutenant colonel in the Canadian Forces Air Force, is an exchange officer working in TCJ5 Plans and Readiness. The other two are Maj. Phylllis O'Grady in TCSG and Master Warrant Officer Lorraine MacDonald in Global Patient Movement Requirement Center.

He and 10 other Canadians are part of the Canada Integrated Lines of Communications (ILOC) Program. Pichette is the chief of this group.

The eleven members are spread across the U.S. and the world at unified commands: one at U.S. Pacific Command, Hawaii; one at U.S. European Command, Stuttgart; one at the 1st Transportation Movement Control Agency in Kaiserslautern, Germany; one at Military Sealift Command Europe, Naples; one at Military Traffic Management Command 598th Transportation Group , Rotterdam; one at Military Traffic Management Command - Operations Center, Fort Eustis; one at MSC, Washington, D.C.; one at USTRANSCOM/SG; one at the GPMRC; one at Air Mobility Command; and one at USTRANSCOM/J5 (Pichette). One U.S. ILOC billet was established at National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa, but has not been filled since 1992.

According to a 1994 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. and Canada, 'The purpose of the ILOC is to ensure the transportation, movement and medical support of the Armed Forces of Canada and the U.S. for the deployment, sustainment, medical evacuation, and redeployment of their forces anywhere in the world.'

"I am the senior ILOC officer by assignment and appointment, which means that I am responsible for the management of the other 10 members, and the management of the program as well," Pichette said. "This includes the management of various documents of which the key document is the Exchange of Diplomatic Notes, which was the original document establishing ILOC back in 1979.

"Back in 1979, the focus was on NATO," he continued. "It stayed as the key document through the early 1990s. During this period, the document was changed as required to keep abreast of changing situations. In the early 1990s, it was realized that, with the Soviet Union gone, we needed to move from a NATO focus to globalization."

Since the focus turned global, the Diplomatic Notes needed to reflect globalization. "I learned in early November that the U.S. process of the Notes are ready for the State Department's signature, and the Canadian side has worked it way through the military and political processes to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (State Department) for final approval," Pichette said. "This will formalize the program of which I am a part of. Once the Notes are signed, it will update the MOU for which the ILOC is operated from."

The ILOC was used for the first time to send 3,000 Canadian Force members to the Afghanistan theater of operations to support Operation Enduring Freedom. "The ILOC facilitated the deployment, sustainment and redeployment of our troops," Pichette said. "There were lessons learned from this such as where our ILOC members were located, and the fact that we do not have a member on the U.S. Central Command staff. It's my job to work out the details of this to meet the mandate of both nations. This has taken up 100 percent of my time for the last two years."

The colonel is still working on two more billets were ILOC is needed; one at USCENTCOM, and the other at the 436th Aerial Port Squadron at Dover AFB. "The one at USCENTCOM is a bit tricky because of foreign disclosure problems," he said. "The one at Dover may become effective next summer because most of our sustainment supplies flow through there now."

Pichette is also responsible in assisting the J5 R&D people to improve the deployment processes.

"If you look at how future wars will be fought, there will usually be coalition forces involved," he said. "From a coalition perspective, if you want to facilitate coordination, especially when you talk distribution, moving boxes and people using assets from a number of nations, if you want that process to work effectively, you need to have people with the right skill sets already in place that know the system. From an ILOC prospective, if I have people that understand the Defense Transportation System processes, whether the person is at headquarters AMC, MSC or MTMC, these will become invaluable assets to facilitate coordination and execution of moving boxes and people because they already know the system, the points of contact, the capabilities, and have a good idea of the processes and war and contingency plans. All that is needed is a phone call to find out how it will be done, and the mechanism will kick in.

"If you don't have this sort of capability of people already inserted in the other nation's capabilities, then you either do ad hoc planning and hope that it's going to work well, you parachute someone into the headquarters of the other nation hoping the individual will pick up speed and learn the coordination process, or have someone already in place that knows the DTS to facilitate that jointness interoperability, coordination and execution. From my perspective, what we have in place is a win-win situation that benefits the U.S. and Canadian Forces."

Pichette will be with USTRANSCOM until July 2004 when he comes up for reassignment.

Office of Public Affairs - transcom-pa@mail.mil
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