sometimes, if it’s large enough, a combination of rail,
sea and air might actually be faster and cheaper. Well,
That’s the kind of thing that we have enhanced our
ability to do over time. We have also incorporated our
analysis center into just about everything that we do,
and we’re trying to bring on better software tools to help
us make some of those decisions in an automated way.
Could you talk a little bit more about this
McDEW: JDPAC [Joint Distribution Process Analysis
Center], they are the DoD’s No. 1 logistics analysis
team. Their ability is to help us have rationale behind
our mobility requirements — how many ships we
need, how many planes we need, how much throughput we need through ports, what ports are most viable
and available for us — that kind of work.
What about interagency cooperation? Because
you’re talking about ports, you’re talking
about commercial enterprises, and your command, more than any, really, kind of bridges
those two worlds. Has that become easier over the years? Have your partnerships
expanded for interagency/joint agency?
McDEW: Yes. I think the entire interagency has gotten
better over the last decade. If you would go back 35
years ago, I don’t know if we even had a word for it, let
alone a way to do it. Our interagency cooperation and
coordination inside the federal government is much
better than it was, say, a decade ago. TRANSCOM’s is
better and it continues to grow because, also, some
interagency partners realize where they could partner
with us and how reliant we are on each other.
We have conversations routinely with the Department
of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security.
We are partnering greatly with the Coast Guard. All of
those interagency connections — we have people in our
headquarters from all the intel agencies — and, so, we
have a lot of connective tissue in the interagency.
Do you have international partnerships,
McDEW: Because some people might call U.S.
Transportation Command a functional combatant
command, I like to think of us as a global combatant
command. We definitely have functional responsibilities. We have a global scope and a global view.
In that global view, I go around the world trying to
Is there something about TRANSCOM’s
help the State Department build relationships in nations
because access doesn’t happen when you need it; access
is available before you need it. I just came back from
Africa, visiting several African countries, seeing how I
could help U.S. Africa Command in their region, but it
also helps us globally.
story that you would like to expand on?
McDEW: As you walk through the number of readers you have, every one of them has a view of what
needs to be enhanced inside either the Department
of Defense or the federal government when it comes
to national security, which is my lens. Each of them
believes that theirs is the most important, and I can’t
deny that what they think is important. But I will tell
you, each one of them needs to consider the logistics
impact of what they’re trying to achieve.
If you just build more airplanes, if you just build
more ships, if you just build more troops and don’t
put the foundation in of how are you going to get it
there, it’s not as powerful as it could be. That is what
I’m saying. As we build the force, as we strengthen the
force, strengthen the foundation, too. n
Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew, commander, U.S. Transportation
Command, delivers the keynote address at the Sea-Air-Space
Exposition’s Sea-Air-Space Luncheon April 4 at the Gaylord National
Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Md.