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Chapter 7

Transportation Support

Army transportation plays a key role in ensuring that Army and joint forces can execute global force projection and sustain forces in operations. Supporting the JFC and the Defense transportation system (DTS), Army transportation is essential to effective and efficient force generation and sustainment.

Army transportation operates as a partner in the DTS to deploy, sustain, and redeploy forces in all military operations. Transportation provides vital support to the Army and joint forces across the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war. It is a seamless system that unites the levels of war with synchronized movement control, terminal operations, and mode operations. Army transportation incorporates military, commercial, and host nation capabilities. It involves the total Army (active and Reserve Components). More detailed information on Army transportation is in the FM 4-01-series of manuals.


Strategic Transportation
Operational and Tactical Transportation
Movement Control
Terminal Operations
Mode Operations
Information Systems




7-1. At the strategic level, the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) provides air, land, and sea transportation and common-user port management at seaports of embarkation (SPOEs) as well as seaports of debarkation (SPODs). USTRANSCOM controls strategic movements through its transportation component commands (TCC), Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC), Air Mobility Command (AMC), and Military Sealift Command (MSC).

7-2. MTMC is a major command of the U.S. Army and transportation TCC of USTRANSCOM. MTMC's mission is to provide global surface transportation to meet national security objectives, in peace and war, by being the continental United States (CONUS) land transportation manager and providing worldwide common-user ocean terminal services to deploy, employ, sustain, and redeploy U.S. forces. MTMC handles peacetime and war time responsibilities through its single port manager role for all common-user SPOEs and SPODs, responsive planning, crisis response actions, traffic management, terminal operations, global intermodal management, and provision of in-transit visibility, information management, and deployability transportation engineering.

7-3. The AMC is a major command of the U.S. Air Force and a TCC of USTRANSCOM. AMC provides common-user airlift, air refueling, and strategic aeromedical evacuation transportation services to deploy, employ, sustain, and redeploy U.S. forces on a global basis.

7-4. The MSC is a major command of the U.S. Navy and a TCC of USTRANSCOM. MSC provides government-owned and government-chartered sealift transportation services to deploy, employ, sustain, and redeploy U.S. forces on a global basis.

7-5. USTRANSCOM schedules strategic deployment according to the supported commander's priorities. The time-phased force deployment data (TPFDD) is the commander's expression of his priorities. Both MTMC and USAMC generate port call messages based on the TPFDD. These messages specify when units and equipment must be at a POE. Port call messages set in motion the movement from the installation or depot. The Army service component command (ASCC) commander ensures units and equipment arrive at the POE as directed.

7-6. In CONUS, installation transportation offices (ITOs), with movement officers at each echelon, coordinate movement to the POE. The defense movement coordinator in each state movement control center plans and routes CONUS surface movements, in accordance with port calls issued by MTMC. Outside CONUS, the ASCC has movement control units that perform functions similar to the ITO. Deployable movement control units and personnel organic to Army units at operational and tactical levels of war also play an active role in preparing their forces for deployment. However, their focus is on early deployment to develop the operational- and tactical-level theater transportation capability.

7-7. Strategic transportation also includes redeployment through movements back to home station. In CONUS, it may include transportation associated with demobilization. The FM 3-35-series manuals has additional information on force projection.



7-8. The variety and complexity of military operations require the Army to establish a transportation system that is expandable and tailorable. The objective is to select and tailor required transportation capabilities at the operational and tactical levels to achieve total integration of the system. These capabilities include movement control, terminal operations, and mode operations. At the theater strategic and operational levels, sufficient force structure deploys early to conduct reception, staging, and onward movements, which includes opening ports, establishing inland LOC, and providing C2 for movements. An important facet of building combat power during the reception, staging, and onward movement phase of the operation is receiving the force and sustainment supplies at the POE. This same transportation force structure is required to redeploy the force when operations conclude. Ports, terminals, and inland LOC are critical nodes in the distribution system. At the theater strategic and operational levels, transportation supports the reception of units, personnel, supplies, and equipment at PODs and provides for their movement as far forward as required.

7-9. Theater transportation requirements largely depend on mission, enemy, troops, terrain and weather, time, civilian considerations (METT-TC). The logistics preparation of the theater discussed in chapter 5 is essential in determining requirements. Additionally, the Army provides transportation support to other services and multinational partners when directed by the combatant commander or JFC. Establishing communications links to other than Army forces is a challenge; however, transportation planners must integrate all requirements and support considerations into movement plans and programs. At the tactical level, transportation weights the battle through the same functions as at the operational level. However, the commander directs force structure and focus to forward support.



7-10. Movement control is the linchpin of the transportation system. Movement control units and staffs plan, route, schedule, and control common user assets, and maintain in-transit visibility (ITV) of personnel, units, equipment, and supplies moving over lines of communication. They are the using unit point of contact for transportation support. Units request transportation assets from the servicing movement control team (MCT) in their area. The MCT commits (tasks) allocated transportation modes and terminals to provide support in an integrated movement program according to command priorities. Movement control remains responsive to changes in METT-TC, which require adjustments to the plan. A responsive theater distribution system, operating over extended distances, requires centralized control of transportation platforms and synchronized movement management allowing commanders to shift limited transportation resources to move assets forward to influence the tactical situation. Effective movement control requires access to information systems to determine what to move as well as, when, where, and how. It also provides visibility of what is moving, how it is moving, and how well it is moving.

7-11. Transportation staff planners and movement managers at each echelon perform movement control activities. Movement control is integral to distribution management centers/elements (DMC/Es) at each echelon. They coordinate the efforts of the movement control units and the materiel managers. Movement control personnel coordinate routinely with operations planners and other combat service support (CSS) personnel; movement control is tied directly to maneuver as well as distribution. It also relies on support from military police in their mobility support role. All these staffs work together to plan movements. Otherwise, congestion on LOC and at terminals hinders movements and degrades combat effectiveness. The movement control units implement priorities established by the ASCC/ARFOR commander to support the JFC's concept of the operation. Movement control is the information conduit for the theater on personnel, units, and supplies moving from the strategic sustaining base to the AO.

7-12. In addition to synchronizing movements with other Army elements, movement control personnel coordinate movements with other services and countries when operating as part of a joint or multinational force. The JFC may create a fully integrated joint board or center (such as a joint transportation board [JTB] or a joint movement center [JMC]) to exercise directive authority for movement control. The JTB organizations consist of representatives from the service component movement control activities and the U.S. operations directorate (J3) and logistics directorate (J4). The JMC plans future operations and monitors overall theater transportation performance. It performs the planning tasks by continually monitoring the balance between forecasted requirements and current capabilities of all modes. A service movement control organization may create a JMC. It should act as the movement C2 cell for the deployment process of an operation. The Army theater transportation command provides movement controllers that normally form the nucleus of the JMC. Similarly, a multinational force commander may form a multinational movement control agency. JP 4-01.3 discusses joint movement control.

7-13. At the operational level, the senior movement control organization looks forward to activities within the AO, as well as rearward to the sustaining base. This requires communications that connect both systems and decision-makers at the strategic and operational levels to facilitate reception and onward movement. This information exchange is crucial to the supported commander for operations planning. Movement control personnel coordinate with materiel managers for efficient distribution of materiel. They develop movement plans that take into account all movement requirements, the transportation system capabilities, and the commander's priorities. Movement control elements use these factors when tasking transportation units to meet movement requirements. FM 55-10 has more information on movement control.



7-14. A terminal operation is the staging, loading, discharge, transfer handling, and documentation of cargo and manifesting of personnel among various transport modes. Terminals are key nodes in the distribution system that supports the commander's concept of operation. When linked by modes of transport, they define the transportation structure for the operation. Force projection missions require early identification and establishment of terminals. A well-conceived plan assures that terminals can support the deployment, reception, and onward movement of the force and its sustainment. Crucial to executing the operation is assigning the right personnel, cargo, and materiel-handling equipment at each terminal. ITV of materiel moving through the transportation system also provides the joint force commander with information pertaining to location and final destination of all cargo.

7-15. Ocean-water terminals include major port facilities, unimproved port facilities, and bare-beach facilities. Major port facilities are improved networks of cargo-handling facilities, specifically designed for transferring ocean-going freight, vessel-discharge operations, and port clearance. They normally have roll-on/roll-off service and container-handling capability. Unimproved port facilities are not as fully developed as major ports. They may require support from terminal units and shallow-draft lighterage to discharge vessels. Lack of fixed-terminal facilities at bare-beach locations requires that lighterage deliver cargo across the beach. Ports may be degraded by enemy action such as sinking vessels or damaging cranes or piers. Such activities can quickly turn a major port into the equivalent of an unimproved port.

7-16. MTMC is USTRANSCOM's global single port manager (SPM) for DOD. The SPM integrates the commercial transportation industry, MTMC's commercial business practices, and military force structure. MTMC information systems are linked, through the Worldwide Port System (WPS), to the Global Transportation Network that provides the combatant commanders visibility over ocean cargo. Theater execution of SPM duties in support of a major theater war (MTW) will be the responsibility of a deployed MTMC transportation group. As the theater SPM, a MTMC transportation group is responsible for pre-deployment planning on water terminal issues to include coordinating JLOTS operations, facilitating contingency water terminal expansion and, where available, arranging for contract stevedore and related terminal services. A combination of commercial contract, military units, and/or HNS could perform actual stevedoring operations based on the situation. SPM provides for transitioning terminal units to a commercial contract as early as the situation permits. Accomplishing this (LOGCAP, third country contractor, or host nation) is situation dependent. Normally, during small-scale contingencies, single port manager (SPM) responsibilities remain the same; however, the size of the MTMC SPM team will be METT-TC driven.

7-17. Terminal/cargo transfer operations at APODs and SPODs provide the initial visibility and movement of items as they enter the AO. Critical to reception is executing the port clearance program. This program schedules transportation assets for onward movements based on anticipated arrival dates. The program identifies available port capacities, capabilities, and workloads at various modes and segments of the transportation network.

7-18. Army transportation units establish inland terminals where required, throughout the theater to transship, load, and unload cargo. They operate motor transport terminals and trailer transfer points at both ends, and at intermediate points along line-haul routes. These terminals link local-haul and line-haul service and assist in changing the carrier or transportation mode, when required. Army units and host nation assets also operate terminals at both ends, and at intermediate points along rail lines.

7-19. Forces establish an intermodal terminal early in the AO to provide cargo transfer and mode operations functions. As the scope of the operation enlarges, the commander adds additional sections/companies to meet the demand flow. While the operations may differ slightly, the essential units and command and control structure of the hub remain constant. Cargo transfer operations at the intermodal terminal assist in the throughput of supplies and materiel, configure multiple consignee shipments into single consignee shipments, and process frustrated cargo. In a mature theater, contracted U.S. or host nation civilians may perform intermodal terminal functions.

7-20. In addition to intermodal terminals, Army cargo transfer units perform transfer functions at intermediate transfer points on inland waterway systems. Army cargo transfer units clear Army cargo and personnel from air terminals served by the AMC or from theater airlift aircraft. They may also provide such assistance at forward landing fields that are not regularly scheduled stops for theater airlift aircraft. FM 55-17 has more information on terminal operations.



7-21. The Army can move personnel, cargo, and equipment by motor, rail, air, and water with organic, host nation, or contract assets. While each situation may not be conducive to using a particular mode, the Army must prepare to operate, or supervise, the operation of all these modes of transport. Mode platforms include trucks, trains, containers, flatracks, watercraft, aircraft and commercial delivery, when permitted by METT-TC. Mode operations include intratheater air (C-130 and CH-47); local and linehaul motor transport; heavy equipment transport; and rail, coastal and inland waterway transport. Mode operations and movement control elements working together match up the correct asset capability, cargo characteristics, and required delivery time.

7-22. Movement control sections coordinate the transportation assets. Air-asset requests are normally coordinated through the S3/G3 channels to the Air Force and Army aviation units. Watercraft and other lighters are tasked in coordination with movement control element and liaison personnel from the watercraft/lighter provider. The source provider may be the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, multinational forces, host nation military, or commercial watercraft/lighters. The size and mix of transportation units depend on the size and scope of the operation and the terrain and facilities available.



7-23. Tactical vehicles are the backbone of the support structure. They are mobile, flexible, and reliable. The motor transportation unit and equipment mix for an operation depend on METT-TC. Planning factors include the planned flow of personnel and materiel and the availability and quality of the road networks. Motor transport provides the connecting links between the PODs and the receiving units. The right tactical trucks, in the right place, at the right time are essential to the success of any military operation.

7-24. Each echelon centrally controls common-user motor transport assets to respond to the commander's priorities and weight the CSS effort. At division level, the DISCOM provides motor transport support under control of the movement control officer. At corps and above, motor transport units provide support on an area basis and respond to taskings of the movement control teams in the area. Host nation or multinational force support elements may augment the Army capability.

7-25. Whether at the operational or tactical level, motor transport units provide a general support role within a specified area or along specific routes. Placement should ensure efficient, responsive support, convenient to major customers and distribution operations. Motor transport units can expect to move frequently in response to changes in requirements. FM 55-10 has detailed information on motor transport units and operations.



7-26. Rail is potentially the most efficient method of hauling large tonnages of materiel by ground transportation; the Army normally depends on the host nation to provide this mode of transportation. The Army has limited railway operating, construction, and repair capability. These Army assets augment host nation support or provide those capabilities in theaters where host nation support is not available, or is not capable or reliable. Rail operations are limited to existing rail networks. Information on rail transport units and operations is in FM 55-20.



7-27. Air is the most flexible transportation mode. While wide-ranging CSS needs within a theater require U.S. Air Force and Army airlift assets to support forces, commanders normally employ Army aviation in a combat support role. However, the ALOC becomes increasingly important as the intensity, depth, and duration of operations increase. Airlift relieves forces from total dependence on ground lines of communication that can become congested or interdicted. It also allows rapid support to the force with minimum regard to terrain peculiarities. It makes possible rapid resupply of critical items over extended distances directly to or near forward units. Therefore, commanders should allocate Army aviation assets for transportation use when required. Air Force and Army airlift assets provide airlift within a theater. Army cargo and utility helicopters provide support at the operational and tactical levels through movement control channels in response to mission requirements and the commander's priorities. Likewise, the U.S. Air Force provides theater airlift support to all services within a theater through a process of allocating sorties on a routine basis or providing immediate support to operational requirements. While airlift is the preferred method of delivery, airdrop is a field service that can provide flexibility to the transportation system by extending ALOC.



7-28. Army watercraft is an essential component of theater transportation. They provide efficient transportation to relieve other lines of communication. They may augment capabilities of other modes when integrated with appropriate terminal operations. Army watercraft move materiel and equipment along inland waterways, along theater coastlines, and within water terminals. Their primary role is to support cargo discharge and onward movement from the SPOD to inland terminals or to retrograde from inland terminals. Army watercrafts have a role in joint operations along with Navy and Marine Corps lighterage, or in conjunction with HNS assets.

7-29. Watercraft perform docking and undocking services for oceangoing transport vessels. Terminal commanders may also employ watercraft in utility missions. These may include patrolling, ship-to-shore transport of personnel, harbormaster duties, and command and control functions.

7-30. Watercraft are integral to port-opening capabilities, whether employed at fixed terminals or for bare-beach operations (such as logistics-over-the-shore [LOTS]). They must deploy into the theater before the first ocean transport vessel arrives. The watercraft fleet consists of logistics support vessels (LSVs), medium and heavy landing craft, and a variety of specialized vessels, causeways, barges, and equipment. Army watercraft are assigned to watercraft companies and detachments, which operate in transportation terminal battalions. FM 55-80 has details on Army watercraft units and operations.



7-31. This discussion covers only those transportation systems essential to transportation operations in a theater of operations. Technology allows the transportation system to better manage cargo and transportation assets.



7-32. Transportation coordinators' automated information for movement system II (TC-AIMS II) is a joint system that combines and integrates the functionality of-

  • Cargo management operations system (CMOS).
  • Transportation coordinator-automated command and control information system (TC-ACCIS).
  • Department of the Army movement management system-revised (DAMMS-R).
  • U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Marine air-ground task force deployment support system (MDSS).
  • USMC TC-AIMS information systems.
  • TC-AIMS II will bring these legacy systems into one single information system used by all the services. It furnishes unit movement officers and transportation organizations at all levels with standardized policies, procedures, and formats to produce and execute a variety of required tasks:

    Installation Transportation Office(r)


    7-33. TC-AIMS II will be used by the installation transportation office (ITO) to support day-to-day installation-level transportation operations. It provides the functionality essential for moving all inbound and outbound cargo and personnel. TC-AIMS II facilitates the movement of units deploying from home station, the daily non-unit transportation-related activities for outbound shipments, and the deploying of units back to home station. TC-AIMS II also provides accurate shipment location information by employing automatic identification technology devices to create, collect, and transmit movement data.

    Unit Movement Officer


    7-34. The unit move module of TC-AIMS II has four basic functional areas.

    • It stores unit personnel and equipment information.
    • It maintains deployment information, and plans and schedules deployments.
    • It manipulates/updates information for convoys, rail, and air load planning, and personnel manifesting. Other transportation systems share unit movement information.
    • It allows units to update their operational equipment list (OEL) and unit deployment list (UDL) and electronically send the updates through the chain of command to the ITO.

    Battalion S3/S4


    7-35. TC-AIMS II supports unit deployments/movements to exercise sites, and the functions of convoy planning and transportation requirements estimating. The battalion operations, plans and training staff (S3), and the logistics staff (S4) prepare a deployment schedule of events/flow table to use as a management tool.

    Deployment Manager


    7-36. TC-AIMS II provides deployment managers with a system that supports their information needs to successfully deploy a combat-ready force on time.

    Motor Transport Operator


    7-37. The system supports day-to-day fleet management missions. Integrated with the MTS and AIT equipment, TC-AIMS II effectively manages the tactical-wheeled fleet.

    Movement Control Team


    7-38. TC-AIMS II, integrated with MTS and AIT equipment, allows MCTs to manage dozens or hundreds of movements each day/shift and meet the customer's transportation needs in a deployed theater.

    Movement Control Headquarters


    7-39. TC-AIMS II provides the information tool to conduct transportation planning, manage transportation assets, and synchronize transportation operations within the theater.

    Cargo Transfer Operator


    7-40. The system will be the primary mission support tool when integrated with MTS and AIT equipment. It allows the cargo documentation elements to expedite the transshipment operations for both unit equipment and sustainment cargo within a theater.



    7-41. GTN is an information system used for collecting transportation information from selected systems. It provides automated support for planning, providing, and controlling common-user airlift, surface, and terminal services to deploying forces. It provides the user with the ability to track the status, identity, and location of units, non-unit cargo and passengers, medical patients, and personal property from origin to destination. GTN also-

  • Provides ITV information about units, forces, passengers, cargo, patients, schedules, and actual movements.
  • Displays current operational asset information and provides transportation intelligence information on airfields, seaports, and transportation networks using graphics and imagery.
  • Provides future operations information and models to support transportation planning and courses of action.
  • Provides efficient routing for patient movement and provides ITV of individual patients.
  • Interfaces with the consolidated aerial port system II (CAPS II), CONUS freight management system (CFMS), CMOS, Defense automatic addressing system (DAAS), Defense transportation tracking system (DTTS), global command and control system (GCCS), JOPES, Global Decision Support System (GDSS), Mechanized Export Traffic System (METS), Passenger Reservation and Manifesting System (PRAMS), TC-ACCIS, TC-AIMS II, and WPS.


    7-42. The movement tracking system (MTS) provides the capability to identify position, track progress, and communicate with the operators of tactical wheeled vehicles. With positioning and communication satellites, transportation movement control and mode operators can locate and communicate with tactical wheeled vehicle (TWV) anywhere.

    7-43. The MTS is a satellite-based tracking/communication system consisting of a mobile unit mounted in the vehicle and a base unit controlled/monitored by movement elements control and mode operators. The MTS includes-

    • Global positioning system capability.
    • Capability to send messages between base and mobile units.
    • Capability to locate/track a vehicle position on a map background using personal computer-based software.

    7-44. These capabilities provide the communications and tracking necessary for all tactical wheeled vehicles to complete and survive distribution missions on the digitized battlefield. MTS provides real-time, in-transit visibility of vehicles and cargo within a theater. It also redirects cargo and units based on changes to battlefield requirements and tactical unit relocations. It provides an embedded movement control capability that improves trafficability on main supply routes (MSRs) and reduces the potential for fratricide. As a key CSS enabler, MTS is essential to providing in-transit visibility for distribution and velocity management at DMCs.



    7-45. Radio frequency identification (RFID) uses radio wave transmission and reception to identify, locate, and track objects. Information is stored on a radio frequency (RF) tag with media storage capability similar to a computer floppy disk. Antennas, commonly called interrogators, read and pass information contained on the RF tag attached to vehicles, containers, or pallets. This information passes to a central database. Units attach a RF tag to all major shipments in theater. RF interrogators are located at key transportation nodes to provide visibility of the shipments en route to final destination. MTS integrates RFID technology to provide total visibility of in-transit cargo.



    7-46. The Worldwide Port System (WPS) is the primary source system for ITV and total asset visibility of surface cargo movement in the DTS. WPS provides timely and accurate information to the supporting and supported combatant commands through the GTN. Upgrades to WPS include a shipload-planning module capable of concurrent planning for multiship operations.


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