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Flexible distribution plan in Iraq reduces risk for truck drivers

KUWAIT, (USTCNS) --- Recently 250 additional U.S. truck drivers per week were removed from the dangerous roads of Iraq because of expanded air operations that deliver cargo directly from the U.S. to airfields in Iraq. This, combined with existing air operations, now removes approximately 1,280 convoy drivers per week from Iraqi roads.

Army Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, who is in charge of Central Command’s Distribution and Deployment Operations Center (CDDOC) has been working hard not just to get more truck drivers off Iraqi roads, but is also focused on getting convoys off the roads where the risk is the highest.

“91% of all U.S. casualties occur in an area called the Sunni Triangle so that is the area all logisticians were directed to turn their focus to reduce driver casualties,” Scheid said.

“Many cargo operations were flying into airfields that were located in the teeth of the most dangerous areas of Iraq,” he explained. “Truck convoys would then drive outward from these airfields across the most dangerous highways in the world in order to deliver supplies to the military forces. There had to be a smarter way to get supplies to our forces.”

The Air Force increased the amount of aircraft available to mitigate convoy operations traveling through Iraq, but until now the focus was not in the areas where truck drivers were facing their greatest threat.

In today’s adjusted contingency operations, strategic airlift delivers cargo direct from the U.S. to several airfields capable of handling the large air cargo aircraft. A hub-and-spoke system has been established to re-fly just delivered cargo to smaller airstrips where the smaller C-130 aircraft can land, but more important, to locations where the largest concentration of military forces are assigned. These initiatives have not eliminated all trucks on the roads within the Sunni Triangle, but air support has certainly mitigated the threat for at least 250 additional truck drivers per week that once traversed the most dangerous roads in the world.

The U.S. Transportation Command in partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency, the Services and other national providers, established the CDDOC to transform the deployment and distribution process and eliminate the seams between strategic and operational logistics. Partnering with many national logistics providers, USCENTCOM now has a team of joint logistics experts under their tactical command and control (TACON) providing capabilities in a regional combatant command’s theater of operations.

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