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Chapter 5

Operations at the Port of Debarkation (POD)

The weakest segment is in the theater of operations. Specifically, the hand-off of personnel, equipment and materiel from USTRANSCOM to the CINC at the ports of debarkation appears to be the "critical seam" where disruption of the deployment flow is most likely to occur.

Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Mobility
August 1996

OVERVIEW

5-1. When serving as a UMO or in any leadership or technical capacity in the movement process, unit commanders rely heavily on unit movement experts during the arrival/reception phase of a unit's move into a exercise location, operation area or theater of operations. This chapter gives a broad overview of the reception, staging, onward movement and integration (RSO&I) process associated with deployments, with focus on movement activities and responsibilities during the reception and staging phases that take place at sea or aerial ports of debarkation. Additionally, this chapter addresses movement activities that take place at a motor transport or rail arrival terminal.

Section 1: RSO&I Overview

5-2. This chapter deals with reception and onward movement of units arriving in an area of operations and delineates responsibilities. Reception is a command responsibility. The senior Army logistics command in theater, normally a theater support command or and augmented corps support command, is responsible for the health, welfare, and life support of arriving forces and for assisting with their onward movement. Onward movement is coordinated by movement control units to ensure a smooth flow of personnel, equipment, and supplies through the PODs and inland lines of communication. Transfer of data from United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) through Global Transportation Network (GTN) and Total Asset Visibility (TAV) programs to the gaining command is essential to plan for reception and onward movement. (See figure 5-1 that depicts the reception process.)

Figure 5-1. Reception Process.
Figure 5-1. Reception Process

5-3. Reception and onward movement within the theater of operations require extensive coordination between transportation managers and the arriving unit commanders and staffs. TC-AIMS II assists both of these elements to accomplish this needed coordination.

5-4. The senior theater movement control element (MCE) serves the primary role in managing the reception, staging, and onward movement operations in the theater. The MCE is responsible for movement of unit equipment and personnel arriving at seaports and airfields and their movement forward through marshaling areas and intermediate staging areas to their tactical assembly areas (TAA).

5-5. The port of debarkation (POD) is the normal transfer point of command authority to the supported theater commander. The responsibility of moving the unit and maintaining intransit visibility (ITV) shifts from USTRANSCOM to the senior theater MCE, which continues movement control of the unit to its final prescribed location in the theater.

5-6. Theater reception begins with the arrival of forces and their sustainment at the POD. The primary challenge of this process is port clearance. Except in the case of forcible entry, port-opening forces should precede the arrival of combat forces. Other combat support (CS) and combat service support (CSS) forces may either precede or arrive concurrently with combat forces to conduct force reception and onward movement operations, establish theater distribution infrastructure, or to conduct security operations.

5-7. Transportation request procedures are required for the orderly and expeditious onward movement of unit equipment and supplies. The same principles for onward movement from the POD apply for both aerial and sea ports.

NOTE: The supporting movement control team (MCT) using TC-AIMS II, plans for onward movement in coordination with the unit. The supporting MCT provides guidance and movement instructions to units to ensure that vehicles that move by rail or air are only reconfigured or fueled as required or authorized by the mode operator.

Section 2: Seaport

UNIT RECEPTION AT THE SEAPORT OF DEBARKATION (SPOD)

5-8. An SPOD is a port designated by the theater commander in coordination with USTRANSCOM. When vessels arrive at the SPOD, the port commander is responsible for discharging the unit equipment, staging the equipment, maintaining control and ITV, and releasing it to the unit. The port commander remains responsible for unit equipment and supplies until they reach the staging area where arriving units assume responsibility for their supplies and equipment. The port MCT coordinate, plan, control, and manage the processing of the units' equipment for onward movement. Their actions are based on advanced manifests received via Worldwide Port System (WPS), available transportation, theater priorities, tactical situation, and throughput capacity. See figure 5-2 for a notional SPOD.

Figure 5-2.  Notional Seaport of Embarkation
Figure 5-2. Notional Seaport of Embarkation

STAGING AREA

5-9. As the vessel readies for off-loading, the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) port commander establishes a staging area for the transshipment and accounting of equipment. The port commander determines discharge priorities based on the supported combatant commander's guidance and assigns missions to terminal service units that discharge vessels. The port commander assumes custody of the cargo from the vessel master upon discharge. Equipment offloaded is then staged by support elements based on theater onward movement requirements. Transportation terminal brigades (TTB), PSAs, cargo transfer companies, and cargo documentation teams may be assigned to operate staging areas under MTMC control. As unit personnel arrive in the theater, support units transport them to the staging area to assume custody of their equipment. Units assemble their equipment and supplies, assume custody, and move it to the marshaling area outside the terminal.

Military Traffic Management Command Responsibilities in the Staging Area

5-10. When unit personnel, equipment, and supplies arrive in the staging area, a MTMC element is there to meet the following responsibilities:

  • Supervise discharge of unit personnel, supplies, and equipment from vessels.
  • Operates the staging area to receive and control all equipment departing the vessel.
  • Ensures equipment and supplies are properly documented.
  • Transfer custody of equipment and cargo to arriving units in the staging area.
  • Establishes and directs port communications.
  • Establishes and directs safety policies, and physical security procedures for sensitive (protected) and classified items. Within this general category of safety and security, plans and implements procedures for the safe handling and storage of hazardous material (HAZMAT); and controlled, sensitive, and pilferable items. Provides safety briefings. Ensures that HAZMAT items are properly labeled and documented as HAZMAT, and staged and stowed IAW CFR 49 and other prescribed regulations.
  • Regulates military traffic within the port.
  • Scans or interrogates all unit equipment and sustainment cargo as it leaves the vessel. Incident to this tracking, makes a final check of automatic identification technology (AIT) tags to ensure they are readable and properly affixed. Repairs or replaces any AIT tags or military shipping labels (MSL) that are damaged, inaccurate, or missing. Sends the data to the GTN. (MSLs and AIT tags are scanned and the data sent to WPS then passed to GTN.)
  • Provides vehicle operators for all types of equipment to move vehicles from the vessels to the staging area and otherwise assist unloading the vessels.
  • Provides vehicle recovery area during unloading of vessels.
  • Perform liaison with arriving units.

Unit Responsibilities in the Staging Area

5-11. Generally, arriving units are recipients of support in the staging area. Unit responsibilities in this area are very basic. Staging area responsibilities of units are shown below.

  • Assume custody of equipment and supplies from the port commander.
  • Assemble equipment and supplies for movement to the marshaling area.
  • Move equipment and supplies to the marshaling area outside the terminal.

NOTE: If marshaling areas are not available, as may be the case OCONUS, units should be prepared to move directly to their tactical assembly area (TAA) or to an Army prepositioned stock (APS) site to draw equipment from the staging area. When this is necessary, marshaling area functions have to be performed in the staging area. Marshaling areas are virtually always available in CONUS.

MARSHALING AREA

5-12. Prompt clearance of cargo from the terminal is essential to the efficiency and success of the total theater logistics system. It is also necessary to avoid serious congestion in the terminal staging area. To clear the port efficiently, marshaling areas are established. The marshaling area is a location next to the port where units their equipment and supplies to assemble, reconfigure them, and prepare for onward movement.

Support Element or Other Tasked Unit Responsibilities in the Marshaling Area

5-13. In order to clear the port area quickly to maintain an efficient flow and avoid congestion, the port commander ICW the receiving command establishes support elements in the marshaling areas. These are elements from units tasked to provide the support and frequently come from the area support group (ASG) OCONUS. In CONUS, they are provided by installations or other organizations tasked by the receiving command. Regardless of their source, support element responsibilities and functions that can be expected in the marshaling area are shown below.

  • Maintain a central control and inspection point.
  • Provide a security area for sensitive items.
  • Provide life support facilities.
  • Create a traffic circulation plan showing movement flow into the marshaling area and from the staging area.
  • Provide for maintenance and fuel area for vehicles and equipment.
  • Assist units in unpacking containers and repacking cargo as secondary loads.
  • Use TC-AIMS II to consolidate movement requirements and submit movement taskings.
  • Provide emergency supplies and equipment for isolating and disposing of HAZMAT spills.
  • Scan cargo and equipment and it enters and leaves the marshaling area and using TC-AIMS II provide the information to the local ITV server which will provide it to GTN.

NOTE
If there is no MCT or ITO element in the marshaling area, the port transportation officer must provide the movement coordination support.

Unit Responsibilities in the Marshaling Area

5-14. While arriving units are recipients of support in the staging area, they assume custody and responsibility for equipment and supplies there and move to the marshaling area. Unit responsibilities in the marshaling area are the usual responsibilities for its equipment and supplies. Marshaling area responsibilities of units are shown below.

  • Ensure all personnel, cargo, and equipment is accounted for.
  • Conduct necessary maintenance and reconfigure equipment for onward movement.
  • Fuel equipment for onward movement.
  • Unpack containers and repack cargo as secondary loads.
  • Reconfigure secondary loads as necessary for onward movement.
  • Ensure HAZMAT is correctly packed and segregated for onward movement.
  • Provide security for sensitive items.
  • Provide movement requests to the supporting ITO or MCT using TC-AIMS II.
  • Prepare to conduct operations (OCONUS).

General: The arrival/unloading processes that occur at a motor transport or rail intra-theater terminal are similar to those that take place at a SPOD. Though there is more flexibility with motor transportation, both motor transport and rail arrival terminals have a similar organization to their terminal operations to include staging and marshaling areas. A UMO should not have trouble operating at a motor transport or rail terminal if he knows his responsibilities, what external support is required, and what MTMC's responsibilities are during arrival/unloading terminal operations.

Section 3: Aerial Port

UNIT RECEPTION AT THE AERIAL PORT OF DEBARKATION (APOD)

5-15. An APOD is an airfield that has been designated for the sustained air movement of personnel and materiel, to serve as an authorized port for entrance into or departure from the country in which it is located. It is designated an APOD by the supported combatant commander in coordination with USTRANSCOM. Reception at the APOD is coordinated by the senior logistics commander and executed by (an Air Force) tanker airlift control element (TALCE), a port movement control team (port MCT), an arrival/departure airfield control group (A/DACG), or both, depending upon the magnitude of the operations. The port MCT and/or A/DACG must be in the lead elements of the transported force. Augmentation with cargo transfer companies, cargo documentation teams, theater support contractor, and host nation support (HNS) is desired to rapidly clear the port. The port MCT has the mission of coordinating transport services for the APOD and ensuring quick clearance of cargo movements into and out of the APOD. Both Air Force and Army have responsibilities at an APOD. Their locations are reflected in figure 5-3.

Figure 5-3.  APOD Responsibilities at a Notional APOD.
Figure 5-3. APOD Responsibilities at a Notional APOD.

5-16. The main areas of the APOD are the off-load ramp, the holding area, and the unit marshaling area (see Figure 5-3). The TALCE supervises off-loading arriving aircraft. The A/DACG escorts loads to the holding area and assists the unit in assembling and moving to the marshaling area.

OFF-LOAD RAMP AREA

5-17. The TALCE controls the off-load ramp area activities. The off-load ramp area is where the aircraft are off-loaded. Each load is released to the A/DACG for return to unit control at the holding area.

TALCE Responsibilities in the Off-Load Ramp Area

5-18. The TALCE is the Air Force authority that operates the airfield and supervises the off-load ramp area. Some responsibilities and functions of the TALCE are to:

  • Advise the A/DACG of the airflow and expected arrival of aircraft.
  • Plan and supervise aircraft parking.
  • Receive passenger and cargo manifests from the aircraft loadmaster.
  • Supervise off-loading the aircraft, including removal of shoring and dunnage.
  • Provide all MHE and special off-loading equipment including operators.
  • Provide ITV using AIT to scan cargo and equipment as it comes off aircraft and use Global Air Transportation Execution System (GATES) to transmit the data to GTN.

A/DACG Responsibilities In The Off-Load Ramp Area

5-19. The A/DACG supports the TALCE in the off-load ramp area. Its mission is airfield clearance operations. Some responsibilities and functions the A/DACG are to:

  • Maintain coordination with the arriving unit and TALCE representatives.
  • Coordinate for a detail from the arriving unit.
  • Provide off-load teams and support equipment to the TALCE as required.
  • Accept each planeload from the TALCE at the established release point.
  • Ensure that shoring and dunnage from the aircraft is removed and transferred to the arriving unit.

Unit Responsibilities in the Off-Load Ramp Area

5-20. Unit responsibilities in the off-load ramp area are:

  • Provide assistance to the loadmaster.
  • Comply with instructions from the off-load team chief when unlashing and off-loading the aircraft.
  • Ensure that all aircraft tie-down equipment is returned to the TALCE.
  • Retain all shoring and dunnage for further use.
  • Provide passenger and cargo manifests to the A/DACG.

HOLDING AREA

A/DACG Responsibilities in the Holding Area

5-21. Arriving units are responsible for providing unit liaison personnel to the A/DACG and for assisting the A/DACG as required. The A/DACG will perform the following:

  • Coordinate with the TALCE and arriving units.
  • Provide support to arriving units as determined during the joint planning conference.
  • Use AIT to scan unit equipment and cargo and use TC-AIMS II to report the information to the regional ITV server.
  • Release aircraft loads to the arriving unit commanders or their representatives at a predesignated location.
  • Coordinate MHE and transport of the movement of aircraft pallets to the unit marshaling area for pallet breakdown.
  • Provide fuel, oil, and minor maintenance for transported vehicles.
  • Provide emergency services to accomplish the mission.

Unit Responsibilities in the Holding Area

5-22. In the holding area, arriving units locate their equipment, prepare it for movement to the marshalling area, and generally begin the process of "marrying-up" with organic supplies and equipment. Arriving units perform the following:

  • Provide unit liaison personnel to the A/DACG.
  • Assist the A/DACG as required.
  • Assume custody of equipment and supplies.
  • Move equipment and supplies to the marshaling area outside the terminal.

NOTE: If marshaling areas are not available, units should be prepared to move directly from the holding area to their TAAs, to an APS site to draw equipment, or to the SPOD to receive unit equipment off-loaded from vessels. When this is necessary, marshaling area functions are performed in the staging areas.

MARSHALING AREA

5-23. The marshaling area is a location next to the port where units reconfigure their equipment and prepare for onward movement. Prompt clearance of cargo from the APOD is essential to the efficiency and success of the total theater logistics system. It is also necessary to avoid serious congestion in the port holding area.

ASG or Other Tasked Unit Responsibilities in the Marshaling Area

5-24. Planning must focus on moving units through the APODs quickly. Marshaling areas are established to allow rapid clearing of the APODs, and to allow units to complete the process of restoring their equipment and supplies from shipment configuration to operational configuration, and get ready for onward movement. Moving these activities to the marshaling areas reduces port congestion, thus reducing the potential for work slowdown or stoppages during off-load operations.

5-25. The support unit in the marshaling will:

  • Maintain a central control and inspection point.
  • Provide a security area for sensitive items.
  • Provide life support facilities.
  • Create a traffic circulation plan showing movement flow into the marshaling area and from the staging area.
  • Provide maintenance and fuel for vehicles and equipment.
  • Use TC-AIMS II to consolidate movement requirements and submit movement taskings.
  • Provide emergency supplies and equipment for isolating and disposing of HAZMAT spills.
  • Scan cargo and equipment and it enters and leaves the marshaling area and using TC-AIMS II provide the information to the local ITV server which will provide it to GTN.
  • Use TC-AIMS II to obtain convoy clearances and special hauling permits for arriving units.
  • Use TC-AIMS II to arrange for movement of cargo and equipment beyond the requesting units' organic capabilities.
  • Provide technical assistance to units on loading commercial assets and railcars.

NOTE: The unit assigned to run the marshaling area might include an MCT. If not, the port MCT provides MCT functions.

Unit Responsibilities in the Marshaling Area

5-26. Marshaling areas are established to allow units to complete the process of restoring their equipment and supplies from shipment configuration to operational configuration, as well as to clear the port area. The marshalling area is where the unit prepares for onward movement. In this area the unit is responsible to:

  • Breakdown pallets.
  • Ensure that all aircraft pallets and nets are returned to the TALCE or A/DACG.
  • Perform required maintenance checks and refuel equipment.
  • Configure secondary loads for onward movement.
  • Use TC-AIMS II to plan convoys.
  • Mark convoy vehicles properly.
  • Use TC-AIMS II to create requests for convoy clearance and special hauling permits.
  • Use TC-AIMS II to create support requests.


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