U.S. Looks at New Ways to Supply Troops in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2011 — The Unit­ed States must study ways to resup­ply troops in Afghanistan if Pak­istan clos­es the sup­ply cor­ri­dor through that coun­try, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s choice to lead U.S. Trans­porta­tion Com­mand told the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee today.

Air Force Gen. William M. Fras­er III tes­ti­fied before the com­mit­tee as part of his con­fir­ma­tion process. He cur­rent­ly leads the Air Force’s Air Com­bat Com­mand, and would suc­ceed Air Force Gen. Dun­can McN­abb at Transcom.

If con­firmed, I look for­ward to join­ing the Unit­ed States Trans­porta­tion Com­mand fam­i­ly, the more than 145,000 men and women who are ded­i­cat­ed to deliv­er­ing, sus­tain­ing and then return­ing our forces,” Fras­er said in his open­ing state­ment before the com­mit­tee.

The sen­a­tors pressed Fras­er about resup­ply of Amer­i­can forces in Afghanistan. He said that some 35 per­cent of the car­go for Amer­i­can forces trav­els through Pak­istan. The rest moves along the north­ern sup­ply routes and via air­lift. If Pak­istan were to cut off that avenue, there would be a dis­rup­tion in sup­ply, the gen­er­al told the sen­a­tors. The pro­fes­sion­als at Trans­porta­tion Com­mand, in con­junc­tion with their com­pa­tri­ots at U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand, are work­ing to lessen any effects if the Pak­ista­nis close that route, he added.

I know ongo­ing plan­ning is hap­pen­ing,” Fras­er said. “I know there would be a dis­rup­tion. But if con­firmed, I would delve deeply into that plan to ensure that any dis­rup­tion that we have is min­i­mal, to ensure that we con­tin­ue to pro­vide that effec­tive yet effi­cient sup­port to the warfight­er.”

The com­mand is work­ing, for instance, to devel­op intrathe­ater air­lift. He said Transcom is work­ing with coun­tries in the Per­sian Gulf for access to ports. Ships would deliv­er mate­r­i­al to the region, and intrathe­ater lift air­craft would take it to Afghanistan.

Trans­porta­tion Com­mand is respon­si­ble not only for sup­ply­ing warfight­ers in direct com­bat with the ene­my, but also for mov­ing mil­i­tary fam­i­lies around the world. The com­mand – based at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. — coor­di­nates the Air Mobil­i­ty Com­mand, the Navy’s Mil­i­tary Sealift Com­mand and the Army’s Sur­face Deploy­ment and Dis­tri­b­u­tion Com­mand.

I know the crit­i­cal impor­tance of rapid, effi­cient and time­ly glob­al logis­tics,” he said. “I also under­stand at the heart of that capa­bil­i­ty is the inno­va­tion and cre­ativ­i­ty of thou­sands of men and women who real­ly make it hap­pen.”

Fras­er cred­it­ed McN­abb with chart­ing a vision for the com­mand based “on mak­ing our forces more effec­tive and more effi­cient through rapid and respon­sive glob­al logis­ti­cal solu­tions and inter­a­gency, non­govern­ment, com­mer­cial and inter­na­tion­al part­ner­ships,” he said. “We will always deliv­er.”

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