Transportation Command's Priority: Supporting Warfighters
By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2004 Supporting the warfighter is "job No. 1" for U.S. Transportation Command, the TRANSCOM deputy commander said here today.
The command's mission, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gary H. Hughey said, is to provide responsive, reliable and synchronized transportation support. The focus "as it should be, is on the warfighting combatant commanders," he added.
TRANSCOM has the "unique capability to project a force anywhere in the world at the time of our choosing," said the general. "It enables this nation to take the fight to our enemies wherever they plot, plan or hide."
Hughey said it also allows the United States to help friends and allies. This includes large-scale operations such as humanitarian assistance or disaster relief operations, as well as smaller operations such as moving a patient to medical facilities.
In the next six weeks, the command will move approximately 250,000 men and women as it swaps out troops and equipment from the U.S. Central Command area of operations.
"This is a tremendous undertaking," said Hughey. "It's an extremely exciting time at TRANSCOM. It's something that no logistician would want to be left out of. It's a tremendous effort, and we're meeting combatant commander's requirements."
Advances in technology have enabled TRANSCOM to do its job better, noted the general.
Unlike Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, when it took about eight months to put a force in place, Hughey said the use of technology has given TRANSCOM the ability to move a unit from fort to port more quickly.
He cited the movement of the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq. "From the time the first trooper put boots on the ground (to the time) the entire division arrived, married up with its equipment, moved into forward support areas and was ready for combat, (it was) 12 days."
The command's recent designation as DoD's distribution process owner is another way to help combatant commanders, said Hughey. It's a combination of supply and transportation that provides the warfighter with one entity that he can turn to for a solution to a problem with transportation or supply support, he added.
"This new designation is very challenging," he said. "We've seen improvement in speed and reliability in getting what it is you've ordered from the factory to the foxhole. One person is virtually responsible to the combatant commander," said Hughey. "It's a more reliable system."