LAKEHURST, New Jersey –
Recently, a team from Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Headquarters traveled to Lakehurst, N.J., to participate in the U.S. Transportation Command’s assessment of Joint Task Force Port Opening airport and distribution operations.
The team of about 200 military and civilians from DLA Distribution, the 821st contingency Response Group, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., 690th Rapid Port Opening Element and Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., participated in Turbo Distribution 15-7 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix from July 18 through 24.
The exercise was designed to challenge the JTF-PO forces to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief in as short of time as possible. In most instances teams are ready to deploy 12 hours after notification. An aerial port of debarkation is determined and the JTF-PO forces are among the first forces on the ground, with their main focus to support geographic combatant commanders during initial phases of the operation.
USTRANSCOM has used this unique capability to meet many real-life challenges. Most recently being Operation United Assistance, the 2014 mission to help combat the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.
The Turbo Distribution exercise not only shows how the joint service teams blend well and work together for the mission, but it also helps USTRANSCOM find ways to improve the overall JTF-PO operations.
One improvement to the operation made this year was the addition of the DLA Support Team. This addition brought added capability and expertise to contracting, warehousing and forward distribution. The four DST members joined the joint assessment team. Their efforts in making international contracts for things like warehousing, fuel, food and other goods and services focused on the ability of the team to sustain the mission in the future, to ensure that anyone called in after the JTF-PO mission is complete will be able to continue efforts.
"We are able to bring in a DLA support team that is mission-tailored to support the crisis, such as contingency contracting officers, distribution subject matter experts who specialize in supply chain distribution, and petroleum operations specialists who specialize in providing fuel support," said Stanton Olsen, Joint Logistics Planner for DLA at Fort Belvoir, Va. "This Turbo Distribution exercise has given us the opportunity to test our plans and identify how we can more fully integrate ourselves with the expeditionary theater opening experts. Our goal is ultimately to give the combatant commander greater operational flexibility and support during a crisis."
Joint tasks such as Turbo Distribution 15-7 are used as exercises to build trust among the partners involved. This allows each component to get to know who they are working with, to practice working together. When they actually go to the field they will know each other’s tactics, techniques, procedures and processes, ensuring smoother flowing missions.
“It is our duty and responsibility to keep these capabilities current and continue to improve our JTF-PO processes to support our U.S. national whole-of-government approach in the international community, especially during humanitarian crises,” summarized exercise director, Air Force maj. Gen. Giovanni Tuck, USTRANSCOM’s Director of Operations and Plans.