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Experts and technology speed the delivery of hurricane relief operations

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., (USTCNS) --- Using lessons learned in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) has deployed an operations center to assist U.S. NORTHERN COMMAND (USNORTHCOM) in the coordination and synchronization of assistance in the movement of victims, relief supplies and special equipment to the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. It arrived within days of the hurricane to support relief efforts.

Located at Fort Gillem, Ga., with JOINT TASK FORCE KATRINA, commanded by LTG Russell Honorè, the Northern Command Deployment and Distribution Operations Center (NDDOC) links Department of Defense national logistics and distribution experts with state-of-art information technology. The goal is to save lives, effectively deliver supplies and provide supporting services needed to rebuild affected Gulf Coast communities.

The NDDOC is coordinating the movement and distribution for all Department of Defense Hurricane Katrina support, including the deployment of forces – active duty, guard and reserve – as requested by U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). This NDDOC operational capability will soon move a forward element even closer to the Gulf Coast.

At the end of the first week of operations, USTRANSCOM had flown about 250 missions, evacuated about 2,500 patients by air and had transported about 3,750 short tons of cargo and nearly 8,800 passengers.

The NDDOC includes personnel from USTRANSCOM, its Army, Navy and Air Force components and the Defense Logistics Agency. It is patterned after similar coordinated elements created by USTRANSCOM that have supported other U.S. commands around the world, most notably U.S. Central Command in Southwest Asia. This is the first time that USTRANSCOM has provided this critical capability to USNORTHCOM -- at home in the United States.

DDOCs were created after Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s September 2003 designation of USTRANSCOM as the single entity responsible for Department of Defense Distribution processes, which includes making improvements throughout and across the Department. The DDOC teams – armed with the latest computer and communications technology and the best practices of the military and commercial transportation and supply industries – began operating in January 2004. In addition to supporting deployed war fighters, improved logistics coordination has saved American taxpayers millions.

USTRANSCOM has also deployed other rapid response capabilities to support USNORTHCOM efforts including airfield openings, Medical Air Evacuation Command and Control, and aircraft to numerous locations in the relief area. These response elements were in place within hours after the hurricane passed. USTRANSCOM, through its Navy component, also provided five Military Sealift Command and eight Maritime Administration ships to the Gulf Coast region providing fuel and electricity.

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