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Transportation Command Postures to Meet Challenges

U.S. Transportation Command released its strategy for the next five years today, detailing its challenges, vision and focus areas.

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – U.S. Transportation Command released its strategy for the next five years today, detailing its challenges, vision and focus areas.

“This is USTRANSCOM’s most comprehensive and collaborative strategic planning effort in our 25-year history,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. John E. Michel, who is leading the effort to define the command’s strategy for the future. “With the significant challenges facing us, this was our opportunity to take a hard look at how we did business in the past and how we should best position ourselves for the future. As a result, we’ll be pursuing four main focus areas to achieve our vision.”

That vision was laid out by Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser, III, USTRANSCOM commander, in January this year. “We need to be the transportation and enabling capability provider of choice. I tasked the command to make certain we not only maintain our readiness during peacetime, but become better at how we provide services to our customers.”

The strategy focuses on the challenges senior leadership expects to address in the next few years. “We need a plan where we can serve those who count on us, but keep overhead and operating costs down,” Michel explained. “Preserving the readiness capability our nation deserves will be increasingly dynamic. It demands we better understand all of the elements that go into achieving readiness, better leverage analytics to making smarter decisions, and invest and strengthen all of the relationships with industry that make readiness possible. We simply can’t do our job without our commercial partners.”

USTRANSCOM moves people and cargo worldwide by air, sea and land transportation. The command also provides aeromedical evacuation, seaport opening, air drop, household goods movements, air refueling, and expeditionary enabling capabilities. 

The command receives military support for its mission through four subordinate commands: the Army’s Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, the Navy’s Military Sealift Command, the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, and the Joint Enabling Capabilities Command. 

In addition, commercial business partners play a large part in the transportation world, most recently supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as multiple humanitarian crises around the world. Of the cargo and personnel moved by land, commercial transportation moved about 88 percent; by air, 50 percent; and by sea, 64 percent. 

“It’s not the planes, the trains, the ships or trucks that make these amazing things happen,” said Fraser. “It is the people; they are the lifeline of the warfighter.”

With the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, Fraser says the command has to find ways of being more efficient and effective while maintaining both military and civilian readiness.

“As our workload requirements drop, we must continue to explore ways to ensure we can meet the host of demands our nation looks to USTRANSCOM to provide,” Michel said. “We don’t have the option of letting our capabilities deteriorate, because when USTRANSCOM is needed, we have to be able to do what is needed quickly and consistently.”

Four primary focus areas form the basis of the strategy:

• Preserve readiness capability;
• Achieve information technology management excellence;
• Align resources and processes for mission success; and
• Develop customer-focused professionals.

The methodology of how planners reached those four areas is outlined in a booklet called “Our Story, 2013-2017.” The PDF is available online at www.ustranscom.mil/strategy.

“The end result of our efforts will be a command that can still get service members to the fight, sustain them, enable the war fighting effort, and then bring everyone home again.” Michel added, “But we’ll do it better because we took the time to figure out how to improve our performance. And that’s the real goal of this strategy.”



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