Transportation Command Continues 'To Get Things Done'
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
MILWAUKEE, Sept. 15, 2004 Upon receiving a high-level memorandum last year authorizing his command to reach out to improve the military's supply and transportation systems, U.S. Transportation Command's leader interpreted it in just one way.
Air Force Gen. John Handy recalled today at the National Defense Transportation Association annual conference here that the memo gave him the license "to get things done." The Sept. 2003 document had come from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. It designated TRANSCOM as DoD's Distribution Process Owner.
And the command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., has been getting things done. For example, in mid-January, Handy noted, a deployment and distribution operations center was set up in Kuwait that has greatly facilitated U.S. Central Command's supply and personnel distribution systems.
Improvements in communications and supply asset visibility, the general observed, enabled the recent turning back of 1,700 containers not needed by U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf.
In fact, he continued, an examination of supply and transportation operations has resulted in avoiding more than $280 million in costs since January.
That represents "a lot" of savings to taxpayers, reduced headaches for military logisticians, and improved customer service for warfighters, Handy noted.
This kind of transformation continues as a partnership, Handy asserted, noting that military logistics and transportation organizations and civilian contractors routinely team up to find joint solutions to thorny supply and transport problems.
Today, Handy said, one challenge is to incorporate more proven private-sector business practices and technology into the military logistics and transportation systems.
"We're now just discovering" how useful those practices can be in improving supply and transportation services to war fighters, he concluded.