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American Forces Press Service

Officials Laud Defense Transportation, Distribution Collaboration Efforts

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2012 – In a panel discussion at Defense Logistics 2012, Donald Stanton, assistant secretary of defense for transportation policy, and leaders from U.S. Transportation Command and Defense Logistics Agency lauded combined cost-saving efforts of inter-service, inter-agency and industry partners.

Stanton said coordination with the joint staff and services, combatant commands, and agencies including the State Department, the office of logistics management, the Federal Aviation Administration and Maritime Administration has resulted in the development of key efficiencies programs.

"One of the most important things we do is work directly with Transcom on maintaining the health and viability of the civil reserve air fleet and the voluntary intermodal sealift agreement," Stanton said. "We're leaving no stone unturned in the interagency process … for ways for us to look out for more cargoes for our colleagues in the VISA and CRAF programs."

The CRAF, according to Stanton, consists of 29 carriers and 352 wide bodies, while VISA is comprised of 54 companies, 130 ships and mariners who can provide emergency response.

Stanton explained that efficiency initiatives include developing the maritime security program, strategic ports, defense transportation coordination, and the surface transportation strategy working group.

Cost-sharing with organizations such as the State Department, U.S. Postal Service and the Defense Department has unearthed significant government-wide efficiencies, Stanton said.

"When it makes sense, we will try to combine our operations," Stanton said.

Other measures include improvements to the container management program, approval for operational support aircraft and the space-available policy, he added.

Stanton also shared the successes of the President's campaign to cut waste.

"This is an effort to look at the use of military aircraft or non-tactical vehicles for executive transportation and make sure we're not using more than we need," Stanton said. "There are quarterly reports that have to be done in order to try and save the taxpayers money."

Stanton also noted that Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's vision involves not only cost-savings, but accountability, as outlined in the financial improvement audit readiness program.

"The secretary of defense is committed to making all defense programs corporate audit ready," Stanton said. "Starting in 2014 some will be transitioned over, and by 2016 everybody will be in this new audit standard."

The benefits that stem from collaboration efforts across the enterprise are visible and significant, Stanton said.

"It shows that the DOD is really trying … to reach out and do efficiencies for the department itself, but also to help our CRAF and VISA readiness partners," Stanton said.

Transcom Rear Adm. William Brown, director of strategy, policy, programs and logistics directorate, said the synergies and elimination of duplication efforts to provide the best transportation services and value extend beyond combat missions to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief contingencies.

The admiral praised the collaborative development of a global campaign plan for distribution that coordinates the activities of combatant commands, services, defense agencies, coalition partners, agencies and the commercial sector.

"It's a collaborative effort of all the distribution enterprise … the transporters, processes that go into the system, the policies," Brown said. "The idea is to assess the plans and then assess the vulnerabilities in our global distribution network."

As technology drives the logistics and transportation realms to a faster decision cycle, collaboration will be more vital than ever, said Brig. Gen. Susan Davidson DLA Distribution, Logistics Operations commander.

"It really is always about getting the things to the war fighters on time, whether it's war fighting in pumping water out of tunnels in New York City or war fighting with trigger pullers in any kind of theater," Davidson said. "You can get it fast, you can get it cheap or you can get it good -- pick two; we have to do all three."

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