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U.S. Transportation Command

The United States Transportation Command, headquartered at Scott AFB, Ill., was established in 1987 and is one of nine U.S. unified commands. As the single manager of America's global defense transportation system, USTRANSCOM is tasked with the coordination of people and transportation assets to allow our country to project and sustain forces, whenever, wherever, and for as long as they are needed.

Responding to the needs of the Department of Defense's warfighting commanders in chief is USTRANSCOM's No. 1 priority. Composed of three component commands: The Air Force's Air Mobility Command, the Navy's Military Sealift Command and the Army's Military Traffic Management Command, USTRANSCOM skillfully coordinates missions worldwide using both military and commercial transportation resources.

Air Mobility Command, the air component of USTRANSCOM, is also headquartered at Scott AFB. The AMC fleet can provide refueling capability and deliver people and cargo anywhere around the globe in a matter of hours. Aircraft assets of the command include: C-17 Globemaster III, C-5 Galaxy, C-141 Starlifter, KC-135 Stratotanker, KC-10 Extender, and C-9 Nightingale. Additional long-range airlift aircraft are available during national emergencies through the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, a fleet of commercial aircraft committed to support the transportation of military forces and material in times of crisis.

Military Sealift Command, USTRANSCOM's sealift component, provides efficient sea transportation worldwide for DoD in peace and war. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., MSC uses a mixture of government-owned and commercial ships for three primary functions: Surge sealift, principally used to move unit equipment from the United States to theaters of operations all over the world; prepositioned sealift, comes under USTRANSCOM's command once the ships have been released into the common-user fleet; and sustainment sealift, the life line to keep deployed forces continuously supplied. MSC assets include: Fast sealift and Ready Reserve Force ships. In addition, MSC charters and books space on commercial ships.

Military Traffic Management Command, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., is the overland lift component and primary traffic manager for USTRANSCOM. MTMC's mission is to support DoD and the mobilization community worldwide during peace and war with responsive planning, crisis response actions, traffic management, terminal operations, integrated transportation systems and deployability engineering. MTMC has a presence in 25 water ports worldwide. MTMC assets and equipment include: More than 12,000 containers; more than 1,350 rail and tank cars; and 142 miles of government-owned railroad track. In addition, the command contracts with commercial transportation resources to provide additional transportation capabilities.

Under its Railroads and Highways for National Defense program, DOD, with the support of the Department of Transportation (DOT), ensures the Nation's rail and highway infrastructure can support defense emergencies. The Strategic Rail Corridor Network (STRACNET) consists of 38,800 miles of rail lines important to national defense and provides service to 193 defense installations whose mission requires rail service. The Strategic Highway Network (STRAHNET) consists of 61,000 miles of highways defining DOD's public highway needs. An additional 2,000 miles of STRAHNET connectors link important military installations and ports to STRAHNET. These highways define the total minimum public highway network required to support defense emergencies.

World War II, the Berlin blockade, the Korean War, and the war in Southeast Asia all demonstrated the need for the United States to maintain a capable and ready transportation system for national security. In 1978, however, command post exercise Nifty Nugget exposed great gaps in understanding between military and civilian participants: mobilization and deployment plans fell apart, and as a result, the United States and its NATO allies "lost the war." Two major recommendations came out of Nifty Nugget. First, the Transportation Operating Agencies (later called the Transportation Component Commands) should have a direct reporting chain to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). Second, the JCS should establish a single manager for deployment and execution. As a result, the JCS formed the Joint Deployment Agency (JDA) at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, in 1979.

Despite its many successes, the JDA could not handle the job. Although the JDA had responsibility for integrating deployment procedures, it did not have authority to direct the Transportation Operating Agencies or Unified and Specified Commanders in Chief to take corrective actions, keep data bases current, or adhere to milestones. According to several independent studies on transportation, the Department of Defense (DOD) needed to consolidate transportation. Consequently, President Reagan on 18 April 1987 ordered the Secretary of Defense to establish a Unified Transportation Command (UTC), a directive made possible in part by the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, which revoked the law prohibiting consolidation of military transportation functions.

The UTC Implementation Plan (IP) outlined the new unified command's responsibilities, functions, and organization. Christened United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), its mission was to "provide global air, sea, and land transportation to meet national security needs." It had three component commands--the Air Force's Military Airlift Command (MAC), the Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC), and the Army's Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC). The JDA's missions and functions transferred to USTRASNCOM on 18 April 1987, when the agency became the command's Directorate of Deployment. Additionally, the IP located the command at Scott AFB, Illinois, to take advantage of MAC's expertise in command and control. On 22 June 1987, the President nominated Air Force General Duane H. Cassidy as the first Commander in Chief, USTRANSCOM (USCINCTRANS) and on 1 July the Senate confirmed the recommendation, thus activating the command at Scott. USCINCTRANS received operational direction from the National Command Authorities (NCAs) through the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

USTRANSCOM appeared, at first glance, to be the long sought after remedy for DOD's fragmented and often criticized transportation system. Its establishment gave the United States, for the first time, a four-star, unified command CINC to serve as single-point-of-contact for Defense Transportation System (DTS) customers and to act as advocate for the DTS in DOD and before Congress. But it soon became apparent that, in reality, the nation's newest unified command was created half-baked. The IP allowed the services--Air Force, Army, and Navy--to retain their single-manager charters for their respective transportation modes--air, land, and sea. Even more restrictive, the document limited USCINCTRANS' authorities primarily to wartime.

As a result, during peacetime, USTRANSCOM's Transportation Command Components (TCCs) continued to operate day-to-day much as they did in the past. They controlled their industrial funds and maintained responsibility for service-unique missions, service-oriented procurement and maintenance scheduling, and DOD charters during peacetime single-manager transportation operations. They also continued to have operational control of forces. It would take a wartime test by fire, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, to bring to maturity a fully operational, peacetime and wartime, USTRANSCOM.

The strategic deployment for Desert Shield/Desert Storm ranks among the largest in history. USTRANSCOM, in concert with its TCCs, moved to the United States Central Command area of responsibility nearly 504,000 passengers, 3.7 million tons of dry cargo, and 6.1 million tons of petroleum products. This equated roughly to the deployment and sustainment of two Army corps, two Marine Corps expeditionary forces, and 28 Air Force tactical fighter squadrons. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, no nation ever moved so many and so much so far so fast.

The DOD learned much from the deployment to the Persian Gulf, and foremost among those lessons was that USTRANSCOM and its component commands needed to operate in peacetime as they would in wartime. Consequently, on 14 February 1992, the Secretary of Defense gave USTRANSCOM a new charter. Stating the command's mission to be "to provide air, land, and sea transportation for the Department of Defense, both in time of peace and time of war," the charter greatly expanded USCINCTRANS' authorities. Under it, the Service Secretaries assigned the TCCs to USCINCTRANS under his combatant command in peace and war. In addition, the military departments assigned to him, under his combatant command, all transportation assets except those that were service-unique or theater-assigned. The charter also made USCINCTRANS DOD's single-manager for transportation, other than service-unique and theater-assigned assets.

Since Desert Shield/Desert Storm, USTRANSCOM has continued to prove its worth during contingencies--such as Desert Thunder (enforcement of UN resolutions in Iraq) and Allied Force (NATO operations against Serbia)--and peacekeeping endeavors--for example, Restore Hope (Somalia), Support Hope (Rwanda), Uphold Democracy (Haiti), and Joint Endeavor (Bosnia-Herzegovina). Likewise, the command has supported numerous humanitarian relief operations, Hurricanes Andrew, Marilyn, Georges, Mitch, and Floyd, to name just a few.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to: realign Fort Eustis, VA, by relocating the Army Surface Deployment and Distribution Command to Scott Air Force Base, IL, and consolidating it with the Air Force Air Mobility Command Headquarters and Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) Headquarters at Scott AFB; realign Hoffman 2, a leased installation in Alexandria, VA, by relocating the US Army Surface Deployment and Distribution Command to Scott AFB, IL, and consolidating it with the Air Force Air Mobility Command Headquarters and Transportation Command Headquarters at Scott AFB; realign US Army Surface Deployment and Distribution Command -Transportation Engineering Agency facility in Newport News, VA, by relocating US Army Surface Deployment and Distribution Command - Transportation Engineering Agency to Scott Air Force Base and consolidating it with the Air Force Air Mobility Command Headquarters and Transportation Command Headquarters at Scott AFB.

Collocation of TRANSCOM and Service components would (1) collocate activities with common functions and facilitate large-scale transformation proposed by the TRANSCOM Commander, and (2) reduce personnel to realize long-term savings. The realignment would also terminate leased space operations in the National Capital Region (143,540 GSF in Alexandria, VA) and near Norfolk, VA (40,013 GSF in Newport News, VA).

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Page last modified: 27-01-2012 13:51:41 ZULU