Process Owner Initiatives Are Underway
by Rear Admiral Christopher C. Ames, USN
U.S. Transportation Command’s new role as the Department
of Defense’s Distribution Process Owneris becoming a reality.
designation of the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) as
the Department of Defense’s
(DOD’s) Distribution Process Owner (DPO) in September 2003
began a series of unprecedented actions to transform the way DOD
supports its warfighters.
Only months after Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered
authority and accountability for end-to-end DOD distribution placed
under a single combatant commander, USTRANSCOM combined existing
structure and associated personnel to form a Deployment and Distribution
Center (DDOC). In January, the DDOC deployed a pilot group of about
65 of those experts to the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), where
they now serve under the control of the USCENTCOM commander. Staffed
with representatives from the Defense Logistics Agency, the Army’s
Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, the Air Force’s
Air Mobility Command, the Navy’s Military Sealift Command,
the Army’s Joint Munitions Command, and the services’ respective
logistics commands, this team is directing air and surface distM’s
material and transportation management systems and information technology,
has achieved early successes in facilitating key inter- and intratheater
movements, “end-to-end” throughput, and total visibility
in the factory-to-foxhole pipeline for which USTRANSCOM is now responsible.
Ongoing evaluations ribution operations in theater.
The DDOC-Forward, by plugging USCENTCOM directly into USTRANSCOwill
refine those processes.
Distribution Transformation Task Force
Along with the deployment of the DDOC-Forward, USTRANSCOM continued
building on its collaborative relationships with industry partners,
Federal agencies, and the services by creating an “all-star” team
of logistics professionals to plan, evaluate, and coordinate DPO
initiatives. This team, the Distribution Transformation Task Force
(DTTF), includes senior military logisticians from the Office of
the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the services,
the combatant commands, and Defense agencies. The task force’s
focus is on improving speed, reliability, and efficiency.
During its inaugural meeting in December 2003, the DTTF sanctioned
pursuit of several top DPO initiatives, including—
and Deployment Processes.
• Billing, Funding, and Budget Processes.
•End to End (E2E) Distribution Architecture.
• Direct Vendor Delivery Processes.
• Radio Frequency Identification.
• Supply and Transportation Priority System.
• Time Definite Delivery.
Focused integrated process teams (IPTs) led by several distribution
partners have been formed for each of these initiatives. Here is an
update on the status of four initiatives.
Billing, Funding, and Budget Processes
Because the current financial system is fragmented and disjointed,
the Billing, Funding, and Budget Processes initiative seeks to improve
and standardize key
distribution financial processes. Customer feedback is clear: The billing process
is too complex, and DOD’s distribution community needs a simpler process
for billing. The goal is a single, end-to-end bill. The IPT has mapped the various
billing processes and identified one area in which to test the concept of a single
bill. This test will focus on the movement of reparable items by air from overseas
locations back to the United States and then by surface transportation directly
to the repair facility, with all transactions along the way billed on a single
bill. E2E Distribution Architecture
DOD currently lacks a defined, integrated E2E Distribution Architecture, which
is needed to provide a framework for improving distribution performance. Development
of this architecture is a key DPO initiative. Establishment of a desired E2E
distribution process and associated data exchange requirements is needed to drive
the development of the systems architecture and supporting IT requirements. Future
IT decisions will be the basis for increased integration, interoperability, and
IT capability requirements.
The IPT has finished its review of the approximately 200 distribution-related
systems that constitute the current capability. The team selected class V (ammunition)
as a model on which to develop a standard methodology for examining the E2E distribution
architecture. E2E distribution starts with the DOD source of supply and ends
with material being received by the unit placing the order. The next task under
this initiative will be establishing process business rules for guiding the development
of the distribution
Direct Vendor Delivery Processes
A third DPO initiative is Direct Vendor Delivery Processes. Vendors frequently
deliver cargo to DOD distribution nodes without proper documentation and with
insufficient information about the ultimate recipient of the cargo. Valuable
time is lost in tracking down information required to move the cargo on to the
customer. In many cases, the material was ordered with a Government Purchase
Card (GPC). Vendors do not have the means to determine the correct shipping instructions
or to produce a military shipping label.
Ongoing efforts to resolve these issues include establishing a Web-based tool
that permits GPC holders to place orders on line and allows vendors to automatically
print required shipping labels and ship-to instructions. The system could be
linked to various cargo routing files to ensure that vendors ship to customers’ current
shipping addresses. To the maximum extent possible, this capability will be a
commercial off-the-shelf product requiring minimal changes to implement within
time is lost in tracking down information required to move the
cargo on to the customer.
The overarching goal of the Time Definite Delivery (TDD) initiative is to achieve
consistent, reliable distribution service to the customer—distribution
service that is predictable and can be counted on. TDD’s measurement
of success is consistent distribution of cargo to the warfighter
in timeframes mutually agreed on by the customers and the distribution
process providers. For forward distribution to customers outside
the continental United States, TDD will be achieved through the
collaborative efforts of the Defense Logistics Agency, the services,
USTRANSCOM, and each receiving theater commander. The concept underlying
TDD is building customer confidence and assurance in the distribution
system, thereby relieving the tendency of customers to submit duplicate
orders or increase requisition priorities in order to “game” the
The TDD IPT is focusing on the European and Pacific theaters for
initial implementation of the TDD program. Several U.S. European
Command and U.S. Pacific Command distribution lanes have been identified,
and TDD time thresholds are being examined for each line. The end
state will be a process that provides on-time distribution—delivery
that is neither early nor late.
These actions are only a snapshot of the work needed to achieve real
in the overall efficiency and interoperability of DOD’s current distribution
process. Achieving these improvements is the responsibility of the newly designated
The DPO—a watershed development in Defense logistics management—is
engaging the full range of distribution partners in industry, DOD, and other
Federal agencies. Its work involves all who are interested in efficient transportation,
logistics, and distribution. Its creation appeals to all who would help provide
a seamless, synchronized distribution process for our warfighters.
Admiral Christopher C. Ames, USN, is the Director of Strategy,
Policy, and Programs (J–5) at the U.S. Transportation
Command at Scott Air Fore Base, Illinois. A naval aviator, he has
a B.S. degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a M.P.A. degree from
the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Before his current assignment, Admiral Ames was commander of Amphibious