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Agile Transportation for the 21st Century to Improve Troop, Supply Movement

By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2003 – Troops in the field could reap the benefits of U.S. Transportation Command's information technology initiative, Agile Transportation for the 21st Century known as AT21 -- as early as May, according to the command's director of operations.

TRANSCOM's mission is to move military supplies, equipment and people around the world safely and efficiently.

"The concept for AT21 is as old as this command," said Army Maj. Gen. Robert T. Dail. "It embodies many of the technological capabilities required to more rapidly and efficiently move America's military and cargo. It's not only historic, but transformational."

In developing the $38.9 million program, the general said, the command studied commercial partners and how they embraced supply chain management and distribution execution technologies.

"We have adopted many of these technologies and processes to help us manage the Defense Transportation System," he said. "The focus of the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration is the development and integration of tools that can help us quickly develop optimal transportation plans for rapidly emerging and changing requirements. These processes will ultimately determine the best method for moving cargo and passengers to points around the globe."

Dail said the vision is to have a single point via the World Wide Web or by phone for DTS customers to request transportation.

Under AT21, the command will consolidate requests into a centralized requirements database, the general said. The database, he continued, would provide customer relationship management data, customer profiles and customer analytics, which will, ultimately, help the command better serve its customers.

This information will go to a scheduling engine that will help build a strategic distribution plan for moving units and their support worldwide, said Dail. The AT21 solution considers such constraints as weather, routing restrictions, diplomatic clearances and transportation infrastructure.

One AT21 objective, said the general, is to create a new delivery schedule within 10 minutes of receiving a movement request.

The operations director said today's distribution pipeline often is jammed with unnecessary material that was requested due to the uncertainties of planning or capability to deliver.

"AT21 will improve reliability in delivering troops and sustainment to the regional combatant commander's area of responsibility," said Dail. "The troops on the front line will receive troop and sustainment support more effectively and have more visibility of delivery methods and timelines."

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