POST-IRAQI LOGISTICS EVALUATION
While the recent U.S.-led war with Iraq was by most accounts a transportation logistics success, officials at the Defense and Transportation departments want to start a “lessons learned” evaluation.
Officials say the goal is to make the military’s supply chain even more efficient in terms of handling and information management from origin to the soldier in the field.
A major difference between Desert Shield/Desert Storm in the early 1990s and Operation Iraqi Freedom was the absence of so-called “iron mountains” of containers without adequate information about their contents, officials said.
“We were able to deliver equipment and supplies to Gen. Franks quickly and decisively,” said Maj. Gen. Ann Dunwoody, commander of the Military Traffic Management Command, at the National Transportation Week Conference in Washington May 12. “We provided the war fighter combat capability instead of just stuff.”
It’s estimated that MTMC and its counterparts at the Military Sealift Command moved about 1.3 million short tons and 27,000 containers of cargo to Iraq in half the time it took to move cargo to field during Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Earl Boyanton, assistant deputy undersecretary of defense transportation policy at the Defense Department, said there were still problems with tracking cargo once it passed the port of discharge overseas. He said the military’s “future logistics enterprise” must ensure “end-to-end customer support.”
U.S. Maritime Administrator William G. Schubert praised the improvements in cargo ship deployment to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. However, he warned about the ongoing lack of sufficient product tankers to transport fuel and that the nation is “dangerously close” to having inadequate access to ship repair facilities for emergency work. “We’re focusing our attention on this,” Schubert said.