Executive Briefings

DoD Transportation Command Creates Own Fourth-Party Logistics Provider

Shortly after the start of the war in Iraq, the United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) created a new organization equipped with proprietary processes and technology to coordinate with all Department of Defense agencies involved in the logistics process in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas under the control of the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM). Known as the Central Command deployment and distribution operations center (CDDOC), this highly specialized team bridged many of the gaps interrupting the smooth flow of materiel and people to where they were needed by combatant commanders. In less than 18 months, CDDOC was able to reduce customer wait time (CWT) by over 50 percent and reported a cost avoidance/savings of $26.5m.

The purpose of the new organization was to remove the wall that blocked information flow between the U.S. supply points and military units in the battlefield and other operational areas. The individual services and the Defense Logistics Agency remained responsible for their aspects of the logistics supply chain. USTRANSCOM's CDDOC acted as a fourth-party logistics provider that synchronizes all logistics efforts with its technology and processes. The U.S. center of operations for the CDDOC is Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. It serves as a direct channel between the combatant commander and supply sources in the U.S. so all parties know exactly what is happening in the area of operation.

To provide this high level of communication and coordination, CDDOC developed a web-based, collaborative technology to securely link all parties in the supply chain and to provide total asset visibility from the supplier to final delivery at the front. The system is fed constantly updated data from the DOD's global transportation network. For example, immediately after the fall of Baghdad, thousands of armored vehicles needed immediate track replacements. USTRANSCOM identified the vendors and tracked the orders. When each item was ready to ship, USTRANSCOM coordinated consolidations from the vendor, through the port of departure and all the way to the end users in the field. Previously, virtually all supplies, every piece of equipment and every soldier had to be staged in Kuwait, often for days, before being moved forward. CDDOC allowed direct movement of people and materiel to the point of need within Iraq.

CDDOC played a key role in enhancing armor for Humvees. Its technology was able to track orders within suppliers' systems to make sure the orders were on schedule. It tracked each order all the way to the combat commander. Initial shipments moved by air because of the critical need, and subsequently by ocean.

Among the many other CDDOC successes were:

• Creating processes to return carrier-owned containers and reduce detention charges

• Consolidating individual aircraft pallets for direct shipment to a single customer in the field

• Developing a computer software "macro" that provides RFID tag detail for inbound cargo visibility

• Using commercial liner service for the return and repair of required spares

• Creating visibility of critically constrained helicopter parts in the theater logistics pipeline

• Establishing a distribution facility in Southwest Asia to minimize transportation and distribution costs of commodities

• Maximizing airlift assets to reduce convoys along the most dangerous routes

• Managing reverse logistics for helicopter components needing repair from points in the field to vendors in the U.S.

From the concept stage to actual operation, the CDDOC pilot implementation took only 90 days. The pilot project for the Central Command was so successful that deployment and distribution operations centers (DDOCs) have been implemented for all five commands throughout the world. In total, USTRANSCOM's DDOCs have now reduced worldwide customer wait time by 65 percent and have avoided $400m in transportation costs.

Shortly after the start of the war in Iraq, the United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) created a new organization equipped with proprietary processes and technology to coordinate with all Department of Defense agencies involved in the logistics process in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas under the control of the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM). Known as the Central Command deployment and distribution operations center (CDDOC), this highly specialized team bridged many of the gaps interrupting the smooth flow of materiel and people to where they were needed by combatant commanders. In less than 18 months, CDDOC was able to reduce customer wait time (CWT) by over 50 percent and reported a cost avoidance/savings of $26.5m.

The purpose of the new organization was to remove the wall that blocked information flow between the U.S. supply points and military units in the battlefield and other operational areas. The individual services and the Defense Logistics Agency remained responsible for their aspects of the logistics supply chain. USTRANSCOM's CDDOC acted as a fourth-party logistics provider that synchronizes all logistics efforts with its technology and processes. The U.S. center of operations for the CDDOC is Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. It serves as a direct channel between the combatant commander and supply sources in the U.S. so all parties know exactly what is happening in the area of operation.

To provide this high level of communication and coordination, CDDOC developed a web-based, collaborative technology to securely link all parties in the supply chain and to provide total asset visibility from the supplier to final delivery at the front. The system is fed constantly updated data from the DOD's global transportation network. For example, immediately after the fall of Baghdad, thousands of armored vehicles needed immediate track replacements. USTRANSCOM identified the vendors and tracked the orders. When each item was ready to ship, USTRANSCOM coordinated consolidations from the vendor, through the port of departure and all the way to the end users in the field. Previously, virtually all supplies, every piece of equipment and every soldier had to be staged in Kuwait, often for days, before being moved forward. CDDOC allowed direct movement of people and materiel to the point of need within Iraq.

CDDOC played a key role in enhancing armor for Humvees. Its technology was able to track orders within suppliers' systems to make sure the orders were on schedule. It tracked each order all the way to the combat commander. Initial shipments moved by air because of the critical need, and subsequently by ocean.

Among the many other CDDOC successes were:

• Creating processes to return carrier-owned containers and reduce detention charges

• Consolidating individual aircraft pallets for direct shipment to a single customer in the field

• Developing a computer software "macro" that provides RFID tag detail for inbound cargo visibility

• Using commercial liner service for the return and repair of required spares

• Creating visibility of critically constrained helicopter parts in the theater logistics pipeline

• Establishing a distribution facility in Southwest Asia to minimize transportation and distribution costs of commodities

• Maximizing airlift assets to reduce convoys along the most dangerous routes

• Managing reverse logistics for helicopter components needing repair from points in the field to vendors in the U.S.

From the concept stage to actual operation, the CDDOC pilot implementation took only 90 days. The pilot project for the Central Command was so successful that deployment and distribution operations centers (DDOCs) have been implemented for all five commands throughout the world. In total, USTRANSCOM's DDOCs have now reduced worldwide customer wait time by 65 percent and have avoided $400m in transportation costs.