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USTRANSCOM, DLA join forces for rapid global logistics response

U.S. Transportation Command and the Defense Logistics Agency have joined efforts to provide even greater logistics responsiveness to regional combatant commanders during times of crisis.

U.S. Transportation Command and the Defense Logistics Agency have joined efforts to provide even greater logistics responsiveness to regional combatant commanders during times of crisis.

USTRANSCOM commander Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew and DLA director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andrew E. Busch signed a formal memorandum of agreement for the integration of Joint Task Force-Port Opening and DLA Support Teams. The MOA became effective Jan 15.

USTRANSCOM’s JTF-PO is a joint expeditionary capability to rapidly establish and initially operate and clear a port of debarkation and conduct cargo handling and movement operations to a forward node, facilitating port throughput in direct support of combatant commander requirements. The task force can rapidly establish and conduct either airport or sea port operations as well as open distribution centers.

The JTF-PO (APOD), or aerial port of debarkation, comprises contingency response airmen from the USTRANSCOM’s Air Force component, Air Mobility Command, and rapid port opening element soldiers from the command’s Army component, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. JTF-PO (APOD) is ready to deploy 12 hours after notification.

The seaport task force, or JTF-PO (SPOD), or seaport of debarkation, is made up of SDDC soldiers and sailors from USTRANSCOM’s Navy component, Military Sealift Command, and is ready to deploy 36-96 hours after notification.

The DST is a deployable organization that will bring added and complementary capability and expertise to JTF-PO operations. Most of the DST team is Department of Defense civilians. The DST consists of subject matter experts in distribution, fuel, multiple classes of supply and expeditionary contracting with the goal of sustaining follow-on forces when the port opening mission is complete.

In addition, the DST deploys with the JTF-PO initial joint assessment team to determine the laydown for DLA operations.

When the units deploy together, USTRANSCOM will have operational control of the JTF-PO and DST. The DST will continue to report administratively to DLA for manning, training and equipping.

“We have seen  the  importance  of  USTRANSCOM commander's authority to rapidly deploy assigned forces globally such as the JTF-PO  over  the  past  decade,”  said  Lt. Gen. Steve  Lyons, deputy commander of USTRANSCOM.  “This has included successfully opening the supply chain in West Africa during Operation Unified Assistance efforts to stem the tide of the Ebola virus.”

In fact, lessons learned from  this operation reinforced the value of coordinating across the logistics enterprise to save lives, alleviate suffering and provide the required joint effects for the supported commander. 

The USTRANSCOM commander and DLA director agreed to link what had been independent, but related, capabilities. The organizations leveraged a Turbo Distribution exercise in July to validate the concept.  Such joint training will continue annually under the memorandum. 

“The DSTs can move quickly and bring tremendous capability to combatant commanders  by coordinating vital logistics lifelines,” said Lyons.

Tom Shively, DLA liaison at U.S. Transportation Command, summed up the integration. He said, “We are proving again DLA and USTRANSCOM are unrivaled partners for end-to-end distribution, and by working together in this, way we can provide more effective support to combatant commanders, the military services, the DOD and our nation.”


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