Enduring Freedom tests logistics

Operation Enduring Freedom is a military exercise unlike any other in that it left little time for planning and is mostly expeditionary in nature, situations that combined to pose a logistical nightmare for the armed services.

But the Defense Department is getting the job done by applying lessons learned from such recent conflicts as Operation Desert Storm and Kosovo, while also paving new ground in the unprecedented war on terrorism.

Brig. Gen. Gilbert Hawk, director of command, control, communications and computer systems for the U.S. Transportation Command, said that DOD's main system for in-transit visibility (ITV) — knowing exactly where an asset is from the factory to the foxhole — is performing admirably during the current war.

That system, the Global Transportation Network (GTN), is an enormous data warehouse that has more than 2,500 sites feeding into it, Hawk said, speaking Dec. 6 at the Defense Logistics 2001 conference in Pentagon City, Va. He said GTN usually receives 2 million transactions per day, with 60 percent coming from Defense agencies and the remainder coming from commercial partners.

The network is averaging better than 90 percent ITV accuracy during Operation Enduring Freedom, a substantial improvement over its accuracy level of just a few months ago, Hawk said, but the goal is 100 percent.

In order to provide the high levels of ITV to the department, Hawk formed a data integrity team to ensure that the information coming into the system was accurate and then performed detailed analysis for every mission during the ongoing operation as well as trend analysis on rejected loads.

That work proved that ITV must be included in all levels of operations planning and that the armed services should begin to "train like we fight — since half our systems are only used in times of war," Hawk said.

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