New military unit to speed supply lines

The military took another step toward improving the delivery of supplies by creating an innovative organization that tapped personnel from all military agencies to address logistics problems.

The Deployment and Distribution Operation Center (DDOC) merged existing computer systems using Web technologies that enable Central Command (Centcom) logisticians to order and track supplies heading to troops in the Middle East.

Since military officials opened the

center in Kuwait four months ago, DDOC has decreased the time needed to deliver supplies from weeks to days. Because of

its success in Iraq, the military's eight

other unified combatant commands that oversee military responsibilities world-

wide want similar operations centers in their backyards, according to logistics

officials.

"DDOC is the right answer at the right time," said Louis Kratz, assistant deputy undersecretary of Defense for logistics plans and programs.

"DDOC is innovative thinking," said Lt. Gen. Richard Hack, deputy commanding general of Army Materiel Command. The organization at Fort Belvoir, Va., oversees vehicle repairs, part orders and supply deliveries for the service.

"In the end, the DDOC has provided the warfighter with a single 'bellybutton' touch point to leverage the power of national systems to help the warfighter get logistical needs in a quicker and more efficient manner while saving taxpayers' dollars," said Army Brig. Gen. John Levasseur, DDOC

director.

Since operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1991, military officials have talked about creating an organization that solves logistics problems involving ordering, tracking and delivering of supplies. Air Force Gen. John Handy, commanding general of U.S. Transportation Command (Transcom) at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., who oversees the transport of military supplies and vehicles, conceived the DDOC idea, said Army Maj. Gen. Robert Dail, director of operations for Transcom.

"His vision was to create a capability from the various national-level logistics organizations and deploy it into a theater of operations, linking the strategic with the theater levels," Dail said.

Defense Department officials discussed forming DDOC last November. Officials from Transcom, Centcom, Joint Forces Command, Army Materiel Command, the Defense Logistics Agency and other military logistics agencies rethought how to ship, receive and track supplies. Handy then scrutinized the concept with the Joint Staff, which advises Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and service leaders, he said.

The military created DDOC Jan. 2 and deployed it to Kuwait Jan. 16. The 63-

person unit supports Centcom, the military's unified combatant command that oversees warfighting plans and programs from eastern Africa to southwest Asia, including the Middle East, said Levasseur, who also serves as director for reserve mobilization in DLA's Joint Reserve Force.

New computer systems were not needed to build DDOC. The military simply merged existing systems into a Web-based network so personnel could track supplies, said Dail, who previously served as commanding general of Army Transformation Command at Fort Eustis, Va.

"DDOC members leveraged the operational architecture, systems and equipment used to execute [DOD's] strategic logistics mission," Levasseur said. "These systems enabled DDOC professionals to immediately improve logistics performance."

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