Transcom Leverages Commercial Resources, Commander Says

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — U.S. Trans­porta­tion Com­mand val­ues com­mer­cial indus­try part­ners that assist its mis­sion of trans­port­ing warfight­ers and sup­plies any­where in the world, U.S. Air Force Gen. Dun­can J. McN­abb said.

Speak­ing dur­ing the Air Force Association’s 2011 Air & Space Con­fer­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Expo­si­tion here yes­ter­day, the Transcom com­man­der said his orga­ni­za­tion seeks to har­ness the pow­er of com­mer­cial indus­try to aid the warfight­er.

“[We’re using] our com­mer­cial indus­try part­ners, our civ­il reserve air fleet, and our mar­itime U.S. flag fleet,” McN­abb said. “[It’s] our abil­i­ty to mix them in and fig­ure out ways to total­ly uti­lize and lever­age them to max advan­tage [that will ben­e­fit] both the warfight­er and the tax­pay­er.”

“So that’s what this sto­ry is about,” he added. “It real­ly is a great exam­ple of an enter­prise approach, [and] a great exam­ple of using all parts of the total force in ways that have been absolute­ly com­ple­men­tary, and in many cas­es, ground­break­ing.”

Accord­ing to McN­abb, Transcom has a new com­po­nent which helps to increase its effi­cien­cy along­side Sur­face Deploy­ment Dis­tri­b­u­tion Com­mand, Mil­i­tary Sealift Com­mand, Air Mobil­i­ty Com­mand, and its com­mer­cial part­ners.

“I have a new mem­ber of the team which is the Joint Enabling Capa­bil­i­ties Com­mand,” he said. “When Joint Forces Com­mand hung up their flag, [U.S. Army] Gen. [Ray­mond T.] Odier­no said: ‘This belongs in Transcom, because of your abil­i­ty to move out very quick­ly.’ ”

McN­abb said the new com­po­nent enables Transcom to aug­ment the­ater com­bat­ant com­man­ders by assist­ing them with lift capa­bil­i­ty, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, pub­lic affairs and plan­ning.

“From our stand­point, it fit very nat­u­ral­ly into what we do, espe­cial­ly in the trans­porta­tion world,” he added.

McN­abb used Afghanistan as an exam­ple to high­light the ben­e­fits of using com­mer­cial indus­try part­ner­ships.

“Many folks don’t know when we talk about Afghanistan … when you take stuff through the Pak­istan locks … that is total­ly being done by our com­mer­cial part­ners and their rela­tion­ships and their net­works around the world,” he said.

“Think about how hard that is, and you know some of these coun­tries would have a lit­tle prob­lem with putting U.S. mil­i­tary boots on the ground,” McN­abb point­ed out.

“But they have no prob­lem with using our com­mer­cial part­ners and their rela­tion­ships, because, obvi­ous­ly, it’s good for the econ­o­my, and it’s what trade is all about,” he said.

McN­abb praised com­mer­cial com­pa­nies for the dif­fer­ence they’ve made through the North­ern Dis­tri­b­u­tion Net­work — air-and-ground trans­port sup­ply routes that ship sup­plies through Cen­tral Asia to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

“When we talk about the North­ern Dis­tri­b­u­tion Net­work — and this is all being done com­mer­cial­ly — it’s pret­ty amaz­ing,” he said. “And that’s the pow­er of the great com­mer­cial indus­try.”

“It is a glob­al net­work,” McN­abb added. “One of the things that Transcom has is the author­i­ty to use its forces around the world, glob­al­ly, so it allows us to move very quick­ly.”

McN­abb referred to “dynam­ic plan­ning” as a crit­i­cal way of syn­chro­niz­ing the dif­fer­ent orga­ni­za­tions that are help­ing Transcom move sup­plies and equip­ment around the world.

“We ask them to do stuff that fits right into their mod­el that works very well,” he said. “They can do that [stuff] bet­ter than us and so now we’ve fig­ured out ways to bring that all togeth­er [through] dynam­ic plan­ning.”

“That’s what this dynam­ic plan­ning does,” the gen­er­al con­tin­ued. “It takes all of these things and it says, ‘How do we do this with­out mak­ing so much change it become chaos?’ ”

McN­abb said he is very com­mit­ted to his respon­si­bil­i­ty of ensur­ing Transcom meets com­bat­ant com­man­ders’ logis­ti­cal needs.

“[Logis­tics are] the lifeblood of the force, and if you make sure they have the logis­tics pri­or­i­ty out there even in a place like Afghanistan, you give them every advan­tage to win,” he said.

“And that’s what I promised them,” McN­abb said. “I said, ‘my job is to make sure you don’t wor­ry about this. We’ll fig­ure out how to get it there … I don’t want you to think about that.’ ”

The gen­er­al said he mea­sures Transcom’s suc­cess through the eyes of its cus­tomers: the warfight­ers.

“It’s about them, it’s about their plan, and it’s giv­ing them the flex­i­bil­i­ty they need and make sure they do not wor­ry about this part,” he said.

“At the end of this [sup­ply chain], we know there’s a sol­dier, sailor, Marine or air­man that absolute­ly depends on this,” McN­abb added. “This per­son is bet­ting that we will be there and we must always, always deliv­er for them.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)