On May 16, 1957, Congress approved for the third Friday of every May to be designated as National Defense Transportation Day. This became a day to observe the contributions our transportation and industry experts provide when it comes to smoothly running and maintaining our nation’s transportation systems. We often don’t think about how much maintenance, renovation, and collaboration goes into the upkeep of the transportation and infrastructure systems we use daily, not to mention in times of emergency or defense.
The United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) provides air, land, and sea transportation—in short, full-spectrum global mobility solutions for the Department of Defense in times of peace and war. It is a functional combatant command, providing services for all the branches of the Department of Defense. Using a global perspective, USTRANSCOM operates an efficient and responsive system for deploying, sustaining, and redeploying military forces wherever and whenever required. Some staggering USTRANSCOM statistics include
- 1,900 air missions and 10,000 ground shipments are conducted on average every week by USTRANSCOM, and
- 8 U.S. combatant commands are supported by USTRANSCOM in addition to the military services, defense agencies, and other government organizations.
The ability to reliably move materials and people efficiently can best be described as a supply chain, and LMI has decades of experience in optimizing supply chains. Since 2010, LMI has supported USTRANSCOM through a series of Future Deployment and Distribution Assessments (FDDAs)—thoughtful and award-winning analyses of USTRANSCOM’s deployment and distribution capabilities and how to further develop them.
Today’s military supply chains require management expertise, global networks, and the ability to rapidly shift capabilities as warfare takes new forms and humanitarian needs multiply. It used to be true that much of the heavy lifting could be done with large ships, a fair amount of planning, and enough lead time. But needs are changing. Battles and humanitarian crises often occur unexpectedly and far from major ports. Today, America’s adversaries are nimble and will impede USTRANSCOM’s missions if they can. As a result, USTRANSCOM is focused on becoming more agile and resilient to deliver national objectives at the speed of need.
In the face of mounting needs, how does USTRANSCOM balance the competing priorities of many combatant commanders? One way is through LMI’s support for collaboration among members of DoD’s global distribution community of interest (combatant commands, services, and agencies) to identify issues, capture ideas, develop resolution plans, and assign responsibility for getting things done.
LMI plans, schedules, and facilitates an annual Global Distribution Synchronization Seminar where people from many different missions and backgrounds learn about their shared interests and competing demands. This event forges common ground for brokering consensus solutions. More than 120 representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, Defense Logistics Agency, military services, and combatant commands attended the 2017 Global Distribution Synchronization Seminar.
As we celebrate National Transportation Week (May 13–19) and National Defense Transportation Day on May 19, keep in mind the contributions and immense efforts our transportation experts and workers offer us when it comes to our nation’s transportation systems and the maintenance it requires to keep it running smoothly at all times, in any situation.
Doug VanWiggeren, a consultant in the Transportation and Distribution group at LMI and former Air Force officer, came to LMI from the automotive and aerospace industries, where he developed a bar code-driven warehouse management system, coordinated internal material delivery to production, and managed spare parts production and sales. Mr. VanWiggeren has 35 years of logistics experience, 12 of which have been with USTRANSCOM. He has a BA in administration of justice from Southern Illinois University and an MS in logistics management from the Air Force Institute of Technology.