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Bahrain's Military Distribution Center is Model of Efficiency

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071010-08
Release Date: 10/10/2007 11:44:00 AM

By Master Chief Postal Clerk (SW/AW) James McCaffrey Jr., U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Sigonella-Bahrain Postal Office Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Military Distribution Center (MDC) in Bahrain is the busiest overseas joint mail hub operation in DoD and one of the most complex. It is also one of the most efficient mail operations in the world.

Bahrain is the major hub for all military mail for forces deployed in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR). In 2005, the Navy’s stakeholders there—Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), Commander, Task Force (CTF) 53, and Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (FISC) Sigonella—and the U.S. Air Force combined efforts to partner with international shipping company DHL, which has served as the international hub for much of the military mail destined to the Middle East since 2002.

In May 2005, the Navy and Air Force entered into a partnership with DHL to streamline military mail operations in Bahrain and assist in the processing and distribution of more than 65 million pounds of mail for forces operating in the CENTCOM AOR. As a result, DHL opened a separate Military Distribution Center (MDC) in July 2005 exclusively for handling military mail.

“Our mission success here in Bahrain is yet another example of our unique ability to leverage government and commercial service partners to ensure best value global logistics support,” said FISC Sigonella Commanding Officer, Capt. John Camuso.

Military postal operations are important to military members and their families and friends around the world, especially those deployed to the CENTCOM AOR. FISC Sigonella’s postal operations provide world-class logistics services to forward-deployed Sailors, Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, and their families.

“Mail remains the primary means of communication between military members and their families,” said FISC Sigonella Site Bahrain Regional Supply Officer, Cmdr. Ivan Stamegna. “Most would presume that postal mail volumes would decrease with the technological advances in communication such as the Internet, e-mail, instant messaging, and online video conferencing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Military mail volumes have actually increased,” he said.

The dedicated military postal clerks assigned to the MDC in Bahrain recognize the importance of mail distribution in theater and enthusiastically strive to exceed mission requirements daily.

FISC Sigonella Site Bahrain operates a Fleet Mail Center (FMC) and the U.S. Central Command Air Forces (CENTAF) operates a Mail Control Activity (MCA). The FMC operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is responsible for processing more than eight million pounds of mail per year supporting over 250 5th Fleet units operating in the NAVCENT AOR. The MCA is responsible for coordinating the movement of over 60 million pounds of mail in support of forces operating in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Several benefits have been realized from the consolidation of the FMC and MCA operations. They include: a centralized delivery point for military mail;
consolidated control and management by postal officials for Navy, Air Force and Marines; cost savings with a single lease for one facility; improved quality control (military personnel can focus more on quality assurance rather than managing a day-to-day operation); and reduced personnel and deployment rotations for military postal clerks, thereby saving in excess of $700,000 in Navy personnel costs annually.

Additional benefits include on site X-ray, Bahrain customs officials, and trucking; and complete visibility and control of where the mail is at all times. There is also a benefit to having a single Middle East location providing daily flights to every country and military base in the region.

“The MDC in Bahrain is a phenomenal success,” said Stamegna. “It’s a model operation that proves military postal clerks from different services can be co-located and work alongside a contractor. All parties work together to achieve the common goal of supporting the warfighters and our forward-deployed forces and their families.”

The combined efforts of FISC Sigonella, NAVCENT, and CTF-53 along with the U.S. Air Force and contractor not only provide a streamlined, more efficient means of mail distribution throughout the theater, they provide added value to the customer. The MDC represents the model for future overseas joint postal distribution operations.

FISC Sigonella and CENTCOM continue to explore opportunities to leverage best practices and create partnering initiatives to support the warfighter and deployed forces in support of the global war on terrorism.

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