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DLA assesses third joint DDOC, contributes to tsunami relief

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FORT BELVOIR, Va. (USTCNS) --- The Defense Logistics Agency and partners United States Transportation Command, the military services and the United States Joint Forces Command met at Camp Smith, Hawaii, Nov. 29 to collaborate on its third joint Deployment Distribution Operations Center, or DDOC, this time for the United States Pacific Command.

These operation centers are at the heart of what DLA Deputy Executive Director for Distribution and Reutilization Policy Army Col. Richard Brooks calls “the transformation effort to change the way combatant commanders manage and monitor movement of forces, equipment and supplies.”

Brooks and a team made-up of these national partners were successful in standing up a United States Central Command DDOC at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, last January. The goal of the CDDOC was to resolve the complicated deployment and distribution challenges that were present in the theater in Southwest Asia.

As lessons learned were compiled from the CDDOC stand-up, which helped to fill gaps in the distribution pipeline for Operation Iraqi Freedom in real-time, it appeared advantageous to spread the processes of this operation center across all of the combatant commands throughout the world.

Members from the CDDOC team joined a similar effort during USPACOM exercise Ulchi Focus Lens in August 2004, where DLA staffed a PACOM DDOC-Forward in Korea.

The success of these operation centers caught the eye of USPACOM Commander Navy Adm. Thomas Fargo, as well as USPACOM Director for Logistics Army Brig. Gen. James Lewis Kennon, who then requested an assessment of USPACOM’s logistics organization and processes to determine if a similar organization would be beneficial to the Pacific theater.

“DLA’s participation within the PACOM DDOC was the next logical step,” Brooks stated.

The assessment took place over a two-week period during PACOM’s Tier 1 exercise—Terminal Fury 2005.

During the exercise, according to Brooks, the team observed USPACOM, the military services and Joint Task Force logistics staffs in action as they handled complex logistics challenges relating to transporting and sustaining forces during a simulated contingency scenario.

“The USPACOM theater is even less contiguous than the USCENTCOM theater,” Brooks said, “so it presents even more profound challenges. We had to determine how to sustain a crisis or contingency across a very large and diverse PACOM theater and assess what would be involved.”

Even the obstacles of disjointed borders in the region was resolved with a DLA team of USCENTCOM DDOC and Korea DDOC veterans including former CDDOC Commander and DLA Director for Reserve Mobilization Brig. Gen. John Levasseur along with DLA J-37 Transportation and Distribution Staff Officer Lt. Col. Rose Ramirez, J-4 Planner Mike Hilert, DLA's Liaison Officer to US Forces Korea Lt. Col. Cal Reid, and Defense Supply Center Philadelphia Commodity Specialist Lt. Col. Ed DeLissio.

DLA was able to recommend an organizational template to be used at the discretion of the USPACOM leadership to manage sustainment operations within the Pacific theater.

The experience the DLA team gained in the other two stand-ups as well as utilizing the broad knowledge in DLA commodities and distribution operations assisted them in proposing a solution that leveraged existing staff structures and capabilities while adding DLA subject matter experts to the project. These experts would monitor and manage the distribution of DLA materiel throughout the complex and broad PACOM theater, according to Brooks who led the effort to outline recommendations for a sustainment cell. Kennon will determine the final structure from the proposal.

The content of the exercise could not have been timelier, however, as a major disaster relief operation, unbeknownst to USPACOM, was only a few weeks ahead of them. No one at the command could have imagined the magnitude of the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia Dec. 26 and the logistical power that would be needed to deploy relief forces and distribute relief materiel to the region. The PACOM DDOC concept was shifted into reality as the command worked to provide drinking water, shelter, food and medical support.

“Within days of the disaster,” Brooks explained, “the USPACOM Director for Logistics Kennon asked USTRANSCOM and DLA to implement portions of the PACOM DDOC organizational template to assist his staff in handling the massive effort. DLA responded immediately by temporarily augmenting USPACOM with experts from within the DLA-Pacific organizations.

“Experts at DLA headquarters, at Fort Belvoir, Va., Defense Distribution Command and Commander DLA-Pacific resourced three personnel to replace the initial responders and those three employees are in place and working with the newly formed PACOM DDOC as they meet the deployment and distribution challenges head on,” Brooks said.
Even as the tsunami relief efforts continue, the third operation center is taking shape in the Pacific while other joint DDOC efforts are being developed and implemented.

DLA staff members are assisting the Joint Staff, USTRANSCOM and USJFCOM in designing changes to joint doctrine that will outline a basic construct for a joint DDOC. The working group, according to Brooks, expects that this new organization will be flexible and modifiable to meet unique theater requirements.

A stand-up for a United States European Command DDOC is also on the horizon in fiscal 2005, where DLA will have a full-time presence in the operations center. DLA will also have a full-time presence at USTRANSCOM headquarters at Scott Air Force Base as part of its DDOC.

All of the operating and proposed DDOCs will continue to improve communication between distribution and transportation agencies and combatant commands in order to reduce costs while supplying and sustaining the needs of America’s armed forces.

DLA, headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., is DOD's logistics combat support agency. DLA is the source for nearly every consumable item, whether for combat readiness, emergency preparedness or day-to-day operations for DOD. The Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard rely on DLA to provide a huge variety of items, including food, fuel, medical supplies, clothing, construction and barrier materiel and more than 90 percent of weapon systems repair parts, both in times of peace and war.

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