3-1. INTRODUCTION. This chapter describes strategic level movement control organizations. Movement control at the strategic level of war is primarily the responsibility of the DOD. JP 4-01.3 and FM 100-17 outlines the procedures for conducting movement control in support of joint operations.

3-2. US TRANSPORTATION COMMAND. USTRANSCOM is the single transportation manager for the DOD. It is responsible for providing global transport in support of national security objectives. It also uses the GTN and JOPES to manage the movement of cargo and passengers through the DTS. Three transportation component commands are subordinate to USTRANSCOM. These TCCs are:

  • Military Sealift Command. Responsible for providing all strategic sealift movements.
  • Military Traffic Management Command. Manages the surface transport of defense materiel and the CONUS air and surface transport of passengers.
  • Air Mobility Command. Responsible for providing all strategic air movements.

USTRANSCOM coordinates the efforts of these commands with the supported and supporting combatant commanders (see Figure 3-1).

a. Military Sealift Command. MSC provides sealift for the support of strategic deployment and sustainment operations, mobilization, deployment, and emergency plans. MSC acquires organic assets from funding provided by the Department of the Navy. MSC may be augmented from the US-flag charter assets from the Ready Reserve Force, the National Defense Reserve Fleet, and through charter agreements from US and foreign flag commercial carriers. JP 4-01.2 contains more detailed information.

b. Military Traffic Management Command. MTMC manages the surface transport of defense materiel and the CONUS air and surface transport of passengers. Transport is from the point of origin to the SPOE or APOE. MTMC does the following:

  • Coordinates all activities with the supported combatant commander.
  • Recommends SPOEs, establishes cargo booking procedures, and manages the movement of cargo onto common-user ships.
  • Operates common-user CONUS ocean terminals and some SPODs in theater.
  • Operates ports during contingencies (on order) if contracts or HNS provides the labor needed to load and unload the ships.
  • Works with the combatant commander to create water terminal operations force packages to operate SPODs where insufficient infrastructure or unreliable stevedore labor would prevent the use of HNS. JP 4-01.5 contains more detailed information.

Figure 3-1. USTRANSCOM Component Commands

USTRANSCOM, through the MTMC, is the DOD-designated SPM for all worldwide common-user seaports. The SPM performs those functions necessary to support the strategic flow of the deploying force's equipment and sustainment supply in the SPOE and transitions them to the theater CINC in the SPOD. The SPM is responsible for providing strategic deployment status information to the CINC and to workload the SPOD port operator based on the CINC's priorities and guidance. The SPM is also responsible through all phases of the theater port operational continuum. The theater port operational continuum can be from a bare beach deployment (LOTS operation) to a totally commercial contract supported deployment.

c. Air Mobility Command. AMC provides the airlift for strategic deployment and sustainment operations and for common-user missions such as aeromedical evacuation. AMC is also responsible for operating some CONUS and OCONUS military aerial ports. When strategic deployment occurs, Air Force organic airlift assets may be augmented by assets from US commercial carriers either through contracts or activation of the CRAF. At the earliest practical point during large-scale sustainment operations, USTRANSCOM, the combatant commander, and AMC may consider establishing an air express service to link the established CONUS commercial air transportation infrastructure with the overseas theater. JP 4-01.1 contains more detailed information.

3-3. COMMAND RESPONSIBILITIES. Supporting combatant commanders and the Services provide forces to the supported combatant commanders and are responsible for ensuring their arrival at the POE according to port call messages. This entails predeployment activities and the movement of active units from their installations and/or the movement of Reserve Component units from their home stations to mobilization stations or POEs for preparation and training before deployment. As the major supporting command that provides Army forces, FORSCOM has established procedures and systems to discharge this responsibility. These include the Forces Command Mobilization and Deployment Planning System and FORSCOM Regulations 55-1 and 55-2. General responsibilities are as follows:

  • Redistribute personnel and equipment.
  • Coordinate requirements with USTRANSCOM.
  • Coordinate TPFDD changes with the geographic combatant commander.
  • Direct deployment schedule changes to mobilization stations.
  • Relinquish command of deploying units, on order, to the gaining commander.

Depending on the level of mobilization, the numbered armies in CONUS and state area commands play a key role in military convoy movements in CONUS.

a. Continental United States Army. Continental United States Armies may become joint regional defense commands. This usually occurs upon order for full mobilization but may occur to selectively improve command and control for less-than-full mobilization. When this happens, the JRDC's movement control responsibilities include monitoring military movements, providing liaison with POEs and installations, and providing liaison with FEMA regional offices. The JRDC will also prioritize and allocate movement related resources to include road space and marshaling areas.

b. State Area Command. STARCs may become joint state area commands. Defense movement coordinators in the state movement control centers manage military highway movements. They assign road space for units based on port calls, monitor all DOD military movements, and coordinate with federal and state civil agencies for the units mobilization and deployment needs.

c. Military Installations. Military installations play a key role in movement control. When serving as mobilization stations, coordinating installations, or supporting installations, military installations perform the following:

  • Prepare units for deployment.
  • Guide and assist assigned and supported units in preparing, maintaining, and executing unit move plans and related documentation. The ITO at installations process unit data, convoy clearances, and permits. They are also responsible for procuring transportation for movement to the POE.
  • Provide an A/DACG to the APOE and a PSA to the SPOE.
  • Provide selected logistics support to the POEs or en route deploying units as outlined in coordinated plans, SOPs, or regulations.
  • Control units until deployed from POE.
  • Provide marshaling and convoy holding areas.
  • Serve as POC for updating unit movement data through AUEL refinement.

d. Federal and State Agencies. Federal and state agencies also play an important role in movement control. When directed by the President of the United States, FEMA coordinates and settles issues involving priorities and allocation of non-industrial facilities according to DOD Directive 3005.7 and AR 500-10. FEMA, as one of its many responsibilities, maintains a national system for emergency coordination of transportation activities to include resource mobilization policy guidance and procedures. State DOTs or equivalent agencies for public highways, toll roads, bridges, and tunnels administer traffic regulations for their states and agencies.

3-4. TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS IN A JOINT FORCE. US policy states that the Services, however employed, will provide their own logistics support. However, the combatant commander exercises directive authority over logistics operations within his AOR. This authority is given to the combatant commander so he could do the following:

  • Ensure the effective execution of OPLANs.
  • Provide effectiveness and economy in operations.
  • Prevent or eliminate unnecessary duplication of facilities and overlapping of functions among the components.

Combatant commanders have many options when establishing their transportation systems. They may use uni-Service, cross-Servicing, common-Servicing, or joint-Servicing support arrangements. Based on the type of Service support agreement, the combatant commander assigns logistics responsibilities. They may use either the dominant-user or the most-capable-Service concept (see Chapter 2).

The combatant command movement plan is key to a sound movement control system. The plan will integrate the transportation capabilities of the component commands and produce a movement control system with centralized planning and decentralized execution. Figure 3-2 depicts the structure of the transportation movement control organizations in a joint/unified command. The following paragraphs describe the transportation and movement control capabilities of each joint force component.

Figure 3-2. Transportation Movement Control Organizations in a Joint/Unified Command


a. Army Component. The Army provides common-user land and inland waterway transportation. They also furnish water terminal operations and when necessary, LOTS operations. They provide common-user land transportation through the TSC, MCA, Corps MCB, and the DTO.

b. Air Force Component. The Air Force component provides theater common-user airlift. The combatant commander exercises command authority over all theater-assigned airlift forces through the AFCC, who exercises OPCON through the component airlift staff. USCINCTRANS exercises command authority of assigned airlift forces. The commander, AMC, exercises OPCON of USTRANSCOM assigned airlift assets through the air mobility element of the TACC.

c. Navy Component. The Navy, through MSC, provides common-user sealift to the theater. The Navy component, in cooperation with Army units, can provide the combatant commander with over-the-shore discharge and transfer capabilities, where port facilities are not available or inadequate. Navy cargo handling battalions and Navy cargo handling and port groups are Navy component organizations that conduct limited common-user port operations. The Navy component performs its movement control operations through the Navy component command, naval advanced logistics support site, naval forward logistics site, or a designated representative. The ALSS and FLS provide logistics support, to include movement management, to theater naval forces during major contingency and wartime periods. They coordinate Navy land transportation requirements with Army movement control organizations or the JMC.

d. Marine Corps Component. The Marine Corps has a SMO and an embarkation officer organic to their MAGTAF staffs. The SMO can coordinate Marine Corps movement requirements with the combatant commander, the JMC, and USTRANSCOM. The Marine Corps activates a FMCC within theater to coordinate and provide transportation services to all land-based elements of the MAGTAF. As the Marine Corps primary MCA within theater, the FMCC establishes liaison and communications with the JMC and forwards all transportation shortfalls to the JMC.

e. Special Operations Forces Component System. The special operations logistics officer on the staff of the special operations forces commander, normally directs the coordination of common-user lift requirements. The SOJ4 establishes a system to validate common-user lift requests from SOF units. The nature of the system depends on the composition and mission of the assigned force. The SOJ4 also establishes communication links with the JMC and the JAOC. The special operations liaison element is normally located at the JOAC and assists in coordinating SOF requirements.

3-5. THEATER JOINT MOVEMENT CONTROL ORGANIZATIONS. The theater commander may decide to form a JMC or a JTB. These are described below.

a. Joint Movement Center. If a JMC is established by the combatant commander, it coordinates the employment of all means of theater transportation (including that provided by allies or HNs) to support the concept of operations. The JMC will also be the single coordinator of strategic movements for the combatant commander with USTRANSCOM.

The JMC oversees the execution of theater transportation priorities. It is also responsible for planning movement operations and for monitoring the overall performance of the theater transportation system. When there is no theater JTB, the JMC is the primary advisor to the combatant commander in the transportation apportionment process. The JMC identifies the difference between forecasted requirements and current capabilities of all modes to assist in the planning process. It also expedites action and coordination for immediate movement requirements to ensure effective and efficient use of transportation resources.

The JMC is organized along functional lines and is designed with a peacetime nucleus that can expand in proportion to the size of the joint forces and the desires of the combatant commander. A fully developed JMC will have an administrative section and two divisions such as plans and programs and operations. The combatant commander will first use his own staff and Service component staff personnel resources for the nucleus of the JMC. When expanding a JMC, the combatant commander will consider the structure of his dominant force and component-unique movement control requirements. The combatant commander may also draw on reserve personnel to augment the JMC. The JMC's major responsibilities include the following:

  • Forecasting long-term movement requirements.
  • Planning common-user theater transportation by land, sea, and air (excluding bulk liquid fuel that moves by pipeline).
  • Apportioning common-user transportation capability availability within the command among the projected transportation tasks. JMCs allocate apportioned common-user transportation to the components.
  • Receiving and acting on airlift requests received from authorized component validators. Validates with AMC for intratheater air and USTRANSCOM for intertheater airlift.
  • Monitoring sea deployment of forces and recommending changes to movement requirements and priorities in JOPES. Coordinates with the appropriate port commander for all seaport operations, reviews and validates sea channels, and monitors container control activities of all joint force components.
  • Managing transportation requirements that cannot be met at lower levels in the movement control system.

b. Joint Transportation Board. The combatant commander may establish a theater JTB to review and manage policies, priorities, and transportation apportionments, beyond the authority of a JMC. The JTB consists of representatives from the Service components, movement control agencies, and the combatant command J3 (Operations), J4 (Logistics), and J5 (Plans and Policy). The combatant commander determines who should chair the theater JTB (normally the J4). The JTB is not a day-to-day activity. The JTB's major responsibilities include the following:

  • Recommends priorities.
  • Recommends allocation of assets.
  • Reviews priorities and policies.
  • Resolves conflicts between service component commands.


Join the mailing list