Military News

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Transcom Completes Test for New Transportation Management System



By Michael P. Kleiman U.S. Transportation Command

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., Dec. 13, 2017 — U.S. Transportation Command has completed a proof-of-principle effort that fused an off-the-shelf commercial transportation management system capability with government-integrated platforms.

A TMS allows users to plan and execute the shipment of cargo of any kind more efficiently, reliably and cost effectively. The new system has the potential to substantially increase Transcom’s ability to manage its logistics enterprise by delivering enhanced air, sea, and land movement solutions, as well as real-time visibility of cargo from point of origin to destination.

Testing New System

The proof-of-principle process started on 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.

Transcom’s TMS journey demonstrated that the new 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 replan; and

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

After the 2016 alternatives decision to the Joint Staff-approved program, integrated multimodal 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 proof of principle of the 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.”

Successful Demonstration

Following a successful system demonstration on Dec. 1, 2017, Transcom Deputy Commander Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Broadmeadow subsequently directed the command to move forward in establishing 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, Transcom capabilities and information resident in today’s existing systems will be leveraged to ensure success.”

During the upcoming months, Transcom’s joint integrated product team will partner with key strategic stakeholders, customers, and transportation partners to create and execute a detailed implementation plan

Total Force Team Takes On Runway Repair Project



By Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Cohen Young, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 13, 2017 — A team of 322nd Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron airmen spanning six specialties has taken on an extensive runway repair project to protect aircraft from potential foreign object damage -- known on flight lines as FOD.

“We had a lot of damaged concrete which could affect the aircraft,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Larson, a pavement equipment construction operator. “That’s a big part of our job out here on the runway -- to reduce FOD. We’re repairing the runway to make it suitable for the aircraft.”

The runway gets heavy use by coalition partners flying missions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the effort to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

“This airfield has been used heavily lately, as we’ve been flying a lot of sorties giving ISIS a little bit of trouble and keeping them up at night, so we need this airfield in order to sustain this operation,” added Larson, a North Dakota Air National Guardsman. “The C-17s, C-130s, F-15s, F-16s and our coalition partners are flying hot and heavy out of this airfield.”

Difficult Project

The project is not an easy one, because the airmen can only lay the concrete first thing in the morning, due to resources and weather, so they do a little bit each day. The project has been going on for two weeks, and the team has completed much of the current airfield.

“We laid 900 to 1,000 yards of concrete, repaired 60 dilapidated slabs, and over 425 spalls,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Nathan Laidlaw, superintendent of heavy equipment repair. The project calls for a lot of labor and a specific skill set that wasn’t readily available in numbers, he noted.

The 332nd ECES doesn’t have many heavy equipment operators, so Laidlaw built his team from available resources, using plumbers, heating ventilation and air conditioning technicians and power production technicians to accomplish the sizeable task and complete the mission.

Team Effort

“We’re a conglomerate of active duty and National Guardsmen working together on this project,” Laidlaw said. “Due to a lack of ‘dirt boys’ on this jobsite, we have HVAC, power pro, plumbers, you name it. We came together as a team and trained together as a team, and we’re completing this together as one.”

“We blended together,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Erin Eagleson, a quality control technician from Minot, North Dakota. “It’s great -- you don’t realize if someone is active duty or guard or from one unit to another unit.”

Before the team could start laying the concrete, the airmen had to test the material for fluidity, workability and strength.

“We performed slump tests and made concrete cylinders to test the [pounds per square inch] of the concrete,” Eagleson said. “We do this to measure the moisture content in the concrete. … The more water in your concrete, the higher your slump number will be.”

Eagleson tests two samples from each truck to ensure quality. She’s the quality control expert and ensures the concrete will be strong enough.

“We test a cylinder at seven days and at 28 days,” she said. “This gives us the strength of the concrete, and it should be at 50 percent at seven days, and at 28 days, it should be measuring at 6,000 psi, which would be a 100 percent.”

There’s a bit of pride in every member of the team as they strive to do their part. “It means a lot to everyone to make sure we get these planes back in the air,” Laidlaw said.

Command Sergeant Major Navigates Unexpected Warrior Transition Path



By Annette P. Gomes U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 13, 2017 — As a policy maker and administrator in the Army, Command Sgt. Maj. Jerome Wren never expected to end up in a warrior transition battalion.

“During my 32-year career I have accumulated a few bumps and bruises, but I have always been able to bounce back or, as we say in the Army, ‘suck it up and drive on,’” Wren said. Known to push himself to the limit in the past, he says it was time to listen to his body.

“I go where my soldiers go. I’ve had a few injuries while on training missions and during wartime deployments. I recently returned from Liberia … where I sustained injuries that brought me to the Fort Campbell Warrior Transition Battalion,” Wren said.

“It was here I learned about the Adaptive Reconditioning Program,” he continued. This is one of the best programs currently in the military. It gets soldiers back in the fight, and [for] the ones that are deemed medically unable to continue service, it prepares [them] to meet the challenges of civilian life. However, as I pushed myself mentally, my body told me it was time to take a knee and reset.”

Reconditioning Through Cycling

As Wren began to recover at the battalion, he fell in love with cycling, even participating in the 2017 Bluegrass Rendezvous bike ride, a two-day trek in and around Fort Campbell and the surrounding areas of Kentucky and Tennessee.

“This was an experience that I will cherish for years to come,” he said. “It was a grueling ride, considering the many injuries I was dealing with, but in the end, I finished. This is something that I would have never have considered doing if it was not for the Adaptive Rehabilitation Program.”

When he first arrived at the battalion, he said, he thought it was just a requirement to occupy his time. “But what I came to realize,” he added, “was this program was staffed by a group of individuals dedicated with helping each soldier improve their well-being, both physically and mentally.”

Beyond the physical and mental changes that cycling can provide, Wren said, he learned an important lesson when interacting with his fellow wounded, ill and injured soldiers.

A Humbling Experience

“Coming to the WTB was very humbling for me, because I have always been out front and never had to take a knee,” he said. “My intention was to get here, have my surgeries and get back in the fight. I thought I had it bad with my injuries, but as I interacted with my fellow wounded warriors and listened to their stories and observed some of the challenges they faced, it made me really look at life and career differently.”

Differently is precisely how Wren said he wants others to view the Adaptive Reconditioning Program, noting that it goes beyond sports activities.

”The Adaptive Reconditioning Program uses adaptive sports to strengthen the body, but more so to build mental toughness,” he explained. “The Fort Campbell site coordinator and the team of therapists and assistants provide the extra one-on-one physical training, motivation and encouragement that pushes you to find your new 100 percent.”