- United States Transportation Command
Infobox Military Unit
caption=Seal of "USTRANSCOM"
dates= 1987 - Present
branch= Branch Immaterial
type= Unified Command
role= Single manager of America's global defense transportation system
command_structure=US Department of Defense
Scott Air Force Base
The United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) is one of ten unified commands of the
United StatesDepartment of Defense. The mission of USTRANSCOM is to provide air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense, both in time of peace and time of war.
USTRANSCOM, located at
Scott Air Force Base Illinois, was established in 1987.As the single manager of America's global defense transportation system, USTRANSCOM is tasked with the coordination of people and transportation assets to allow the US to project and sustain forces, whenever, wherever, and for as long as they are needed. The current commander of USTRANSCOM is General Duncan J. McNabb, USAF. He took over command on September 5, 2008.
Composed of three component commands: The Air Force's
Air Mobility Command, the Navy's Military Sealift Command and the Army's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, USTRANSCOM coordinates missions worldwide using both militaryand commercial transportation resources. Air Mobility Command, (AMC), the air component of USTRANSCOM, is also located at Scott AFB. The AMC fleet can provide refueling capability and deliver people and cargo anywhere around the globe in a matter of hours. Aircraft assets of the command include: C-17 GlobemasterIII, C-5 Galaxy, C-130 Hercules, KC-135 Stratotanker, and KC-10 Extender. Additional long-range airlift aircraft are available during national emergencies through the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, a fleet of commercial aircraft committed to support the transportation of military forces and material in times of crisis. Military Sealift Command, (MSC), USTRANSCOM's sealift component, provides efficient sea transportation worldwide for DoD in peace and war. Located in Washington, D.C., MSC uses a mixture of government-owned and commercial ships for three primary functions: Surge sealift, principally used to move unit equipment from the United States to theaters of operations all over the world; prepositioned sealift, comes under USTRANSCOM's command once the ships have been released into the common-user fleet; and sustainment sealift, the life line to keep deployed forces continuously supplied. MSC assets include Fast Sealift and Ready Reserve Force ships. In addition, MSC charters and books space on commercial ships. Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, (SDDC), located in Alexandria, Virginia, with its Operations Center at Fort Eustis, Virginia, is the overland lift component and primary surface distribution manager for USTRANSCOM. SDDC's mission is to provide global surface deployment command and control and distribution operations to meet National Security Objectives in peace and war. SDDC has a presence in 24 water ports worldwide. In an average year, SDDC manages and directs the movement of 3.7 million measurement tons of ocean cargo, 500,000 personal-property moves, 600,000 domestic freight shipments, 72,000 privately owned vehicles and 518,000 passengers. SDDC assets include 10,000 containersand 1,350 railroad cars. Within the United States, the SDDC works with the Federal Highway Administrationto designate the Strategic Highway Network.
World War II, the Berlin blockade, the Korean War, and the war in Southeast Asia all demonstrated the need for the United States to maintain a capable and ready transportation system for national security. In 1978, however, command post exercise Nifty Nugget exposed great gaps in understanding between military and civilian participants: mobilization and deployment plans fell apart, and as a result, the United States and its NATOallies "lost the war." Two major recommendations came out of Nifty Nugget. First, the Transportation Operating Agencies (later called the Transportation Component Commands) should have a direct reporting chain to the Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS). Second, the JCS should establish a single manager for deployment and execution. As a result, the JCS formed the Joint Deployment Agency (JDA) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla, in 1979.
Despite its many successes, the JDA could not handle the job. Although the JDA had responsibility for integrating deployment procedures, it did not have authority to direct the Transportation Operating Agencies or Unified and Specified Commanders in Chief to take corrective actions, keep data bases current, or adhere to milestones. According to several independent studies on transportation, the Department of Defense (DOD) needed to consolidate transportation. Consequently, President
Ronald Reaganon April 18, 1987ordered the Secretary of Defenseto establish a Unified Transportation Command (UTC), a directive made possible in part by the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, which revoked the law prohibiting consolidation of military transportation functions.
The UTC Implementation Plan (IP) outlined the new unified command's responsibilities, functions, and organization. Christened United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), its mission was to "provide global air, sea and land transportation to meet national security needs." It had three transportation component commands--the Air Force's Military Airlift Command (replaced by Air Mobility Command in 1992), the Navy's Military Sealift Command, and the Army's Military Traffic Management Command, (renamed Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command in 2004). The JDA's missions and functions transferred to USTRANSCOM on
April 18, 1987, when the agency became the command's Directorate of Deployment. Additionally, the IP located the command at Scott AFB, to take advantage of Military Airlift Command's expertise in command and control. On June 22, 1987, the President nominated Air Force Gen. Duane H. Cassidyas the first Commander, USTRANSCOM, and on July 1the Senate confirmed the recommendation, thus activating the command at Scott. The commander of USTRANSCOM received operational direction from the National Command Authority(NCA) through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
USTRANSCOM appeared, at first glance, to be the long sought after remedy for DOD's fragmented and often criticized transportation system. Its establishment gave the United States, for the first time, a four-star, unified combatant commander to serve as single-point-of-contact for Defense Transportation System (DTS) customers and to act as advocate the DTS in DOD and before Congress. But it soon became apparent that, in reality, the nation's newest unified command was created half-baked. The IP allowed the Services to retain their single-manager charters for their respective transportation modes. Even more restrictive, the document limited USTRANSCOM's authorities primarily to wartime.
As a result, during peacetime, USTRANSCOM's component commands continued to operate day-to-day much as they did in the past. They controlled their industrial funds and maintained responsibility for service-unique missions, service-oriented procurement and maintenance scheduling, and DOD charters during peacetime single-manager transportation operations. They also continued to have operational control of forces. It took a wartime test by fire,
Desert Shield/ Desert Storm, to bring to maturity a fully operational, peacetime and wartime, USTRANSCOM.
The strategic deployment for Desert Shield/Desert Storm ranks among the largest in history. USTRANSCOM, in concert with its components, moved to the
United States Central Commandarea of responsibility nearly 504,000 passengers, 3.7 million tons of dry cargo, and 6.1 million tons of petroleum products in approximately seven months. This equated roughly to the deployment and sustainment of two Army corps, two Marine Corps expeditionary forces, and 28 Air Force tactical fighter squadrons.
The DOD learned much from the deployment to the
Persian Gulf, and foremost among those lessons was that USTRANSCOM and its component commands needed to operate in peacetime as they would in wartime. Consequently, on February 14, 1992, the Secretary of Defense gave USTRANSCOM a new charter. Stating the command's mission to be "to provide air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense, both in time of peace and time of war," the charter greatly expanded the authorities of the USTRANSCOM commander. Under it, the Service Secretaries assigned the components to the USTRANSCOM commander in peace and war. In addition, the military departments assigned to him, under his combatant command, all transportation assets except those that were service-unique or theater-assigned. The charter also made the USTRANSCOM commander DOD's single-manager for transportation, other than service-unique and theater-assigned assets.
Because USTRANSCOM must respond quickly in support of US objectives worldwide, the command must focus its attention across the full spectrum of support from humanitarian operations to contingencies. During 1995, USTRANSCOM supported 76 humanitarian missions and 94
Joint Chiefs of Staffexercises, visiting approximately 80 percent of the 192 countries.
Since Desert Shield/Desert Storm, USTRANSCOM has continued to prove its worth during contingencies--such as Desert Thunder (enforcement of
United Nationsresolutions in Iraq) and Allied Force(NATO operations against Serbia)--and peacekeeping endeavors--for example, Restore Hope ( Somalia), Support Hope( Rwanda), Uphold Democracy ( Haiti), Joint Endeavor ( Bosnia-Herzegovina), and Joint Guardian ( Kosovo). Likewise, the command has supported numerous humanitarian relief operations transporting relief supplies to victims of natural disasters in at home and abroad. After terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001that killed nearly 3,000 people and wounded thousands more, USTRANSCOM became a vital partner in the United States' Global War On Terrorism supporting the warfighter in Operation Enduring Freedom( Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq). From October 2001 to the present, USTRANSCOM, its components, and its national partners have transported over 2.2 million passengers and nearly 6.1 million short tons of cargo in support of the war on terrorism.
September 16, 2003Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfelddesignated the Commander, USTRANSCOM as the Distribution Process Owner (DPO) to serve "as the single entity to direct and supervise execution of the Strategic Distribution system" in order to "improve the overall efficiency and interoperability of distribution related activities - deployment, sustainment and redeployment support during peace and war." With the most capable and ready air, land and sea strategic mobility forces in the world, and with the authorities as the DPO, USTRANSCOM will continue to support the United States and its allies, in peace and war.
"This article includes text from the
public domain" [http://www.transcom.mil USTRANSCOM Official Homepage] .
Distance in military affairs
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