DLA, USTRANSCOM may soon benefit from fusion of commercial, gov transportation system

By DLA Public Affairs

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Note: This story is adapted from a story by U.S. Transportation Command.

A major partner organization of the Defense Logistics Agency announced it has successfully completed a test run of a transportation system that could give DLA and its customers additional options for supplying the warfighter and other customers.

U.S. Transportation Command just completed a successful-proof-of-principle effort fusing a commercial and government-integrated transportation management systems, the command announced Dec. 13. Working with USTRANSCOM, DLA coordinates a global distribution network of more than 12,000 suppliers.

A TMS allows users to ship cargo more efficiently and reliably. Fusing commercial and government TMS could give USTRANSCOM more options for moving supplies via air, sea, and land, as well as real-time visibility of cargo throughout its journey to the customer.

“USTRANSCOM and DLA work in partnership every day, around the world, to get the warfighters critically needed items,” said Air Force Col. Michael Erhardt, Chief of DLA’s USTRANSCOM Liaison team. “Merging the best systems from the business world with the government systems our organizations have long relied on will provide both organizations enhanced transportation planning capability and greater efficiency.”

The PoP started Aug. 7, and during the next four months, the TMS team, along with the command’s components, worked with industry and subject experts from across the joint deployment and distribution enterprise.

Together, they identified capabilities within numerous scenarios to “stress” a TMS and also validated that the system would support the command’s transportation requirements.

Ultimately, the command’s employment of TMS smartly leverages enterprise technologies to maintain America’s competitive advantage in logistics operations. USTRANSCOM’s TMS journey demonstrated the system:

  • Brings people, processes, technology, and data together across the organizational enterprise
  • Provides management and visibility of all transportation requirements and shipments in one system for optimized planning, including real-time deviation alerts and the ability to re-plan
  • Delivers the capacity for cost-informed options and end-to-end shipment financial visibility for fiscal improvement and audit-readiness compliance in a single system.

“The world we live in today demands we do things differently than what was done yesterday. The pace of technology and information, as well as the changing character of war will not wait for us to catch up,” said Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew, commander of USTRANSCOM.

“TMS supports the command’s effort to evolve for tomorrow by enhancing our operational processes and supporting information technology to conduct efficient and effective multi-modal operations, while providing proven, end-to-end, best-practice transportation solutions,” he said.

After the 2016 alternatives decision to the Joint Staff-approved program, Integrated Multi-Modal Operations, which evaluated readiness, life-cycle costs, and risks, the command subsequently identified TMS as the preferred solution from five options.  

Six months later, McDew directed the formation of a TMS Joint Planning Team to rapidly conduct a 120-day PoP of TMS and government off-the-shelf systems, assessing its ability to perform global transportation-management functions. He charged the team to strain the system, stating, “If it’s going to break, let’s break it fast.”

Following a successful system demonstration Dec. 1, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Broadmeadow, deputy commander of USTRANSCOM, directed the command to establish a Joint Integrated Product Team to develop a TMS prototype.

“The TMS is not just an internal solution for the command, but it will redefine how we do business on a global scale,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. John C. Millard, the command’s TMS Joint Planning Team lead. “In implementing the TMS prototype, USTRANSCOM capabilities and information resident in today’s existing systems will be leveraged to ensure success.”

In the coming months, USTRANSCOM’s JIPT will partner with key stakeholders, customers and transportation partners to create and execute a detailed implementation plan.