thousands of troops in rotation, the Defense Department is seeking
ways to expedite transportation services and make better use of
the available means, officials say. The intent is to be able to
rapidly match commanders’ needs with transportation assets
such as aircraft, ships or trucks.
“We discovered that at U.S. TRANSCOM we can do a better job
of organizing ourselves better to support the war-fighting customer,”
says Army Lt. Gen. Robert Dail, deputy chief of U.S. Transportation
A closer collaboration now exists between TRANSCOM and U.S. Central
Command, which helps improve the response to the combatant commanders,
Dail tells National Defense.
“We’ve already started to take action to change some
of our processes and how we are going to organize ourselves at TRANSCOM
and CENTCOM to support the upcoming rotation,” he adds. Web-based
technology recently acquired allows planners based in Kuwait and
at TRANSCOM headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., to share
information in real time. The technology, for example, allows planners
to run simulated drills so they can come up with alternative courses
of action that are based on commander requests and available resources.
A decision-making process that would take three to four days to
achieve consensus now can be accomplished in a matter of hours,
Dail points out.
Another way to expedite transportation services is to streamline
the bureaucracy, he notes. “We determined that today we provide
support to war fighters in a very ‘stove-piped’ manner.
Depending on how fast you need something delivered, you contact
a different person at TRANSCOM.” Separate organizations manage
air, surface and ground transportation.
Under the current reorganization, says Dail, “We have one
single face to the regional combatant commander. One element focuses
only on CENTCOM to plan transportation movement and support.”
If this works out well, he adds, “Our intent is to do the
same for other regional combatant commanders.”
Similar efforts were applied in Afghanistan, where commanders complained
that critical supplies were being delayed as a result of transportation
logjams. Improvements have been reported in recent months, says
Dail. “We went from more than 2,000 containers in the pipeline
to 1,000. We’ve been able to save a considerable amount of
money … Sharing information about what’s in the pipeline
made the difference.”
The new technology employed by TRANSCOM is funded under a project
called Agile Transportation for the 21st Century, or AT-21.
The web-based networking software is a suite of commercial systems.
A tool called Yantra is used for process control and order management.
The Manugistics Networks Transport assists the scheduling and analysis.
The MayaViz (TransViz) helps visualize and analyze in a collaborative