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Section I. Definition of Movement Control

2-1. INTRODUCTION. Movement control consists of the following:


  • Planning.
  • Managing priorities
  • Validating.
  • Coordinating.
  • Allocating.
  • ITV and force tracking.
  • Routing.



Movement control is also the commitment of apportioned transportation assets according to command planning directives. It is a continuum that involves coordinating and integrating logistics, movement information, and programs that span the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war. Movement control is guided by a system that balances requirements against capabilities and assigns resources based on the combat commander's priorities.

2-2. ELEMENTS OF A TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM. The transportation system is comprised of three distinct elements (see Figure 2-1). These elements are mode operations (highway, rail, water, and air), terminal operations, and movement control. Of these elements, movement control is the most critical component of the system. A movement control system must coordinate the transportation modes, terminals, Services, commands, and host nations during deployment, sustainment, and redeployment.
Figure 2-1. Elements of a Transportation System


The transportation system also supports patient and enemy prisoners of war evacuations, noncombatant evacuation operations, and force redeployments. Redeployments planning must address them early in an operation.

The transportation system must be capable of moving joint forces by multiple modes. It must move forces over long distances and through many different types of terminals. It must accomplish all this while adhering to the timetable of the supported CINC.

The complexity of the transportation system requires that both the providers and users develop integrated, executable movement plans. An effective interface between the strategic and theater movement systems is crucial. The supported combatant commander and Commander-in-Chief, United States Transportation Command, along with other supporting CINCs, are responsible for establishing that interface.

Geographic combatant commanders have many options when establishing their transportation systems. They may use uni-Service, cross-Service, common-Service, or joint-Service support arrangements. Based on the type of Service support agreement, the geographic combatant commander assigns logistics responsibilities. He may use either the dominant-user or the most-capable-Service concept as explained below. Regardless of the method, it should allow the components to use the common-user system for requirements that exceed organic capabilities. When implementing a concept, the geographic combatant commander should plan for contingencies that would require a different arrangement.

a. Dominant-User Concept. The geographic combatant commander assigns to the Service component (that is the principal consumer) the responsibility for providing or coordinating logistics support to the other Service components in the theater or designated area.

b. Most-Capable-Service Concept. The geographic combatant commander assigns responsibilities to the Service component most capable of performing the mission. Usually, the most-capable-Service arrangement is the most efficient and flexible.


Section II. Movement Control Principles and Functions

2-3. PRINCIPLES OF MOVEMENT CONTROL. The six movement control principles, as shown in Figure 2-2, govern the planning and execution of movement control operations. These principles are discussed below.

a. Centralized Control and Decentralized Execution. The most efficient method to provide movement control is to centralize control of movements at the highest level. Centralization means that a focal point for transportation planning and resource allocation exists at each level of command involved in an operation. The focal point is an individual or unit that is aware of the current and future requirements of the supported force as well as the capabilities available to meet the requirements. Centralization of movement control normally occurs at the levels charged with integrating logistics support. Decentralized control of mode and terminal operations is equally important. Decentralized execution of transportation missions means terminal and mode operators remain free to assign and control the specific transportation assets that will meet the requirement. This practice enhances the flexibility to prioritize support and accomplish the mission.

Figure 2-2. Movement Control Principles


b. Regulated Movements. Movement control authorities regulate moves to prevent terminal congestion and scheduling conflicts among Service components. Proper management of transportation assets and the transportation network is critical. Advances in technology have increased both the capability and requirement to regulate movements. Highly mobile forces, longer distances, increased consumption rates, and shared LOCs are a few of the challenges.

The regulation of movements has three applications. One deals with the apportionment of cargo carrying capacities to movement requirements. The second deals with the regulation of traffic through the LOCs, including MSRs. The third deals with force projection.

Transportation planners must determine which traffic and LOCs require control. The free flow of goods and services will work in a non-saturated environment. However, saturation of the system normally occurs because highly mobile forces extend resupply lines. Increased consumption rates and a desire to reduce stockpiles are additional causes of saturation of the transportation system. Movement controllers must therefore regulate movements and execute the commander's priorities for use. Inadequate transportation capabilities in relationship to the size of the force supported will also require prioritization. An additional consideration is the support the Army provides to the other Services. In a joint and combined environment, regulation of transportation assets and LOCs will prevent congestion and enforce priorities. Regulation of LOC movements is critical. This is always important when US forces must share available airfields, roads, rail lines, water terminals, and inland waterways with allied forces and the HN. A clear articulation of priorities is essential. MP organizations help by providing security, reconnaissance, and traffic control.

Command priorities guide the regulation of all movements. Therefore, transportation planners, operators, and users must exercise discipline when establishing and using available transportation assets. The exercise of discipline ensures meeting the commander's priorities. A disciplined transportation system enhances the confidence users have in the system's ability to support the mission. When planning and executing movements, commanders and movement control elements must not validate, approve, or start any move if a terminal or mode in the transportation system cannot meet the requirement.

c. Fluid and Flexible Movements. Transportation systems must provide the uninterrupted movement of personnel, supplies, and services. This means the system must be capable of rerouting and diverting traffic. Maintaining flexibility is one of the biggest challenges facing transportation planners and operators in a changing battlefield with shifting conditions and priorities. To accomplish this task successfully, the transportation system must be linked to information and communications systems. These systems provide timely data to adjust the responses of the terminals and modes in the system. Automated identification technology is an essential component in providing timely data and is further discussed in Appendix A.

Transportation planners and operators can also improve response time and flexibility by using the right modes for the right cargo. They can also anticipate the need for alternate modes and routes. For example, if a functioning rail system is available, movement of heavy armor over long distances is best suited for movement over rail as opposed to highway if the tactical situation permits.

d. Effective Use of Carrying Capacity. Transportation is a limited asset. Therefore, planners must understand when to use a specific mode of transport and when to optimize the use of each mode's unique capabilities. This principle involves more than loading each transport vehicle to its maximum carrying capacity. It also means using all available transport capability in the most effective manner. While allowing for adequate equipment maintenance and personnel rest, transportation operators should keep transportation assets loaded and moving as much as the operational and tactical situation permits.

e. Discipline. The timely return of committed transportation assets from destination back into the system is an integral part of movement control. Transport vehicles and containers need fast off-loading and return to the system to increase the transport capability for later operations. Discipline is the prompt return of transportation assets that ensures their availability for subsequent operations and avoids possible demurrage, storage, and other penalty charges against the government. Similarly, transportation assets must support the retrograde of personnel and cargo operations.

f. Forward Support. Forward-oriented transportation support is a combat multiplier; it allows the commander to concentrate all of his forces on the enemy. The principle of forward support includes fast, reliable transportation to provide support as far forward as possible. The key to forward support is the reception and clearance capabilities at the destination units. These units may require equipment and personnel augmentation to enhance their reception and clearance capabilities. Forward support may entail the provisioning of operational level transportation assets to support tactical level units. However, any requirement for forward support that relinquishes centralized control for an extended time must be balanced against the effectiveness of the overall transportation system.

2-4. THE FUNCTIONS OF MOVEMENT CONTROL. The functions of movement control consist of planning, validating, allocating, routing, managing priorities, coordinating, and ITV and force tracking. Figure 2-3 shows the process for these functions.

Figure 2-3. Movement Control Functions


a. Planning. Transportation planning is vital to the success of military operations at all levels of command. Staff planners serve on the coordinating or special staffs at each echelon of command. They perform common functions integral to deploying and sustaining the force. The staff planners provide expertise in the development of operations plans and estimates during the planning process. They also advise commanders and staff on transportation matters, coordinate transportation staff actions, and evaluate the effectiveness of the transportation system. Staff planners also coordinate with other functional planners that have an impact on transportation to ensure requirements which relate to the transportation system are adequately covered. Because most facets of logistics interface with the transportation system and movement control, planners must look forward, backward, and laterally, as appropriate, to ensure plans are coordinated with supporting and supported commands.

b. Validating. Shipments presented to USCINCTRANS or a combatant command transportation controller for movement must be validated by authorities within the requesting unit's chain of command. The validation confirms the need for the movement, shipment configuration, dimensions, and routing. This validation ensures that all parties, including the chain of command, are cognizant of the requirement.

c. Allocating. Allocating assigns specific transportation resources against planned movement requirements. It involves dividing the common-user transportation capability among the transportation tasks according to priorities. It is a critical function in decision making because it forces planners to analyze all transportation tasks and in the broad sense, divide the transportation capabilities among those tasks. At the strategic level, the CJCS apportions strategic lift assets during the OPLAN development. Theater level apportionment supports the combatant commander concept of operations. They are usually expressed in percentages and developed in planning cycles. After receiving its share from the supported combatant commander, the ASCC apportions and distributes resources to the Army force. If the Army provides support to other Services, then its apportionment of common-user lift must reflect that mission.

d. Routing. Routing is the process of coordinating or directing movements on MSRs or ASRs. When routing traffic, movement planners should consider the fundamentals and principles which govern routing. The fundamentals are balance, separation, and distribution.

(1) Balance. This process matches vehicle characteristics with route characteristics. Balance ensures that traffic never routinely exceeds the most limiting feature of a route. It considers the military load classification of the vehicles, bridges, and the route. Balancing also identifies requirements for upgrading routes or ordering caution crossings for certain bridges. Planners should use TB 55-46-1 to obtain vehicle characteristics. Route characteristics are obtained during the planning process.

(2) Separation. This process allocates road space for movements to ensure that movements do not conflict. The goal of separation is to prevent congestion on regulated routes. Planners must not allocate road space or time blocks to more than one movement requirement.

(3) Distribution. This process allocates as many routes as possible to reduce the potential for congestion and prevent deterioration of road surfaces. Distribution also promotes passive defense by distributing and separating traffic.


The principles that govern routing are as follows:

  • Assign highest priority traffic to routes that provide the minimum time-distance.
  • Consider the sustained capabilities of roads and bridges when assigning movements.
  • Separate motor movements from pedestrian movements.
  • Separate civilian traffic (vehicular or pedestrian) from military movements.
  • Consider consolidating shipments that can be applied to a selected route.

e. Managing Priorities. Movement personnel manage requirements and priorities when there are not enough assets to satisfy all transportation requests. They also regulate movement on LOCs to prevent conflict and congestion. This is called highway regulation for movement on roads. Movement control units require automated support to receive transportation requests and movement bids, process them, and communicate schedules and itineraries to the requestor. The TSC is the ultimate manager for the theater.

f. Coordinating. Movement managers are the customers POC for transportation support and their point of entrance to the transportation system. They concentrate their efforts on those functions of movement control, which directly relate to providing continuous transportation support. Their efforts are central and integral to effective transportation support by all modes. Coordinating is where movement control units interface with units and shippers to provide transportation support. During this process, they match requirements with modes based on priorities and consider the principles of movement and mode selection criteria. Movement control units then commit or task mode and terminal operators to provide support. Coordination extends to allied forces, HNs, and non-governmental agencies within their AOR. Reliable communications enhances response time and are crucial to this process. A standard transportation request process and validation system are inherent to coordination.

g. In-transit Visibility. ITV is a process used to continually update the location of units, equipment, personnel, and supplies as they travel within the transportation system. It enables movement control units to answer the commander's information needs, divert shipments based on changes of priority or destination, and coordinate and manage movements. ITV is enhanced with the evolving AIT (discussed in Appendix A) which uses sophisticated means of identification like radio frequency identification. It is required for all levels of war and stability or support operations. The United States Transportation Command uses GTN and JOPES for strategic movements. Theater systems must provide similar capabilities and link with strategic systems. Assured communications are essential.

h. Force Tracking. Force tracking provides situational awareness of combat-ready units within the AOR. This process actually begins in the staging area, where equipment and personnel are reassembled into combat-ready units. Staging operations must have the communications, data processing equipment, and personnel assets to provide and manage force tracking data. Efficient movement control is one means of force tracking. Movement control must be able to communicate directly with operational commanders. Alternatively, movement control can be maintained using the established chain of command. Presently, there are a number of joint and multinational systems in various stages of development that provide visibility of force deployment and sustainment. Unfortunately, present systems do not completely satisfy the requirements of force tracking for planning and executing deployments.


2-5.HER CONSIDERATIONS. In addition to the basic principles of movement control, there are several other considerations that are involved. The below considerations have a direct bearing on how movement control is performed.

a. Peace to War. To the maximum extent possible, commanders assign transportation responsibilities, establish procedures, and train using the same organizations throughout the range of military operations. From a movement control perspective, the initiation of a military operation should only represent an increase in intensity, not a shift to new procedures and systems.

Implementing this consideration is not simple. For example, the force projection Army requires that CONUS-based and forward presence transportation organizations become involved concurrently in the strategic deployment of its organic elements and the planning of the transportation system needed to support the operations. An important factor is identifying and sequencing transportation elements during the deployment. This is crucial to the success of the operation. Movement control elements must arrive in the AO at the right time and with the right equipment to get the transportation system functional.

Movement control elements should be among the early modules deployed in the theater force opening package. Early deployment allows for the timely establishment of a transportation system with the capability to receive and program the onward movement of the deploying force and manage its growth.

b. Origin to Destination. The goal of the Army transportation system is the movement of passengers and cargo from origin to destination. This goal can be achieved efficiently when cargo and personnel proceed with minimum disruptions while in-transit. This concept of operations is called throughput. In addition to throughput, Army transportation organizations consider the intermodal capabilities available. Intermodality, the use of multiple modes for the same shipment, facilitates the handling of cargo while in-transit. To the maximum extent possible, Army transportation planners strive to move cargo and personnel from origin to destination using throughput and intermodality as key considerations.

c. Stability or Support Operations. The primary effort of many stability or support operations is logistics, and as such, transportation. Considerations include operating with the UN to support coalition forces and allies. Other considerations include working with personnel from non-governmental agencies and private organizations and developing HN capability to provide support.

Movement control functions during stability and support operations are not materially different from those used during conflicts. Basic tasks and missions remain the same. However, these missions and tasks take place under the direction of the JFC. The JFC establishes a CMOC to coordinate activities outside the military requirement of the operation. The planning process at all command levels must involve transportation planners to determine the extent of transportation and movement requirements. Following the analysis, transportation planners can recommend the force structure needed to support the particular operation.

d.Geographic Location. Principles of movement control are applicable regardless of the geographical location of the theater of operation. Each theater is confronted with its own unique set of challenges, because of varied world geography, when planning and establishing a transportation system and its associated movement control program. Appendix B provides guidance for transportation and movement control managers when planning for a specific geographic area.


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