US Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) has officially assumed a new role as sole manager for the management and delivery of all bulk fuel shipments for the US Department of Defense.
This responsibility was given to USTRANSCOM by Congress through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2022. The goal of this new role is to coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders in the Department of Defense fuel supply chain to ensure that the needs of regional combatant commands are met.
As manager, USTRANSCOM will fill existing gaps in the joint oil company, leading to improved processes for the transport and distribution of fuels before and during crises.
In April 2023, President Joe Biden signed the Unified Command Plan 2022 outlining the combat commands’ missions, responsibilities, and geographic areas of responsibility. Earlier last month, in a memorandum, the Secretary of Defense formally appointed USTRANSCOM as the Department of Defense’s sole manager for global bulk fuel management and delivery (GBFMD).
This new mission represents a significant departure from the way goods are traditionally handled within the US Department of Defense’s Joint Logistics Enterprise. USTRANSCOM Air Force Commander Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost underscored the magnitude of that responsibility Monday at a ceremony marking the command’s new role at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
“The magnitude of the command’s new responsibility cannot be underestimated,” said Commander Van Ovost. “TRANSCOM is a team of teams working in lockstep with combatant commands, services and the Defense Logistics Agency. Together we will continue to provide safe delivery to warfighters.”
To live up to its responsibility for integrated material management, USTRANSCOM works closely with the Defense Logistics Agency on tasks such as procuring, transporting and storing bulk fuels until they reach the point of sale, and will continue to do so in this new role.
Guest speakers at yesterday’s ceremony included Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics Leigh Method and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Logistics Operations Director Rear Admiral Joseph Noble. They stressed the importance of continued support to allow USTRANSCOM to achieve full operational capability by September 2024 and enhance the Department of Defense’s ability to rapidly refuel and resupply armed forces worldwide.
The establishment of USTRANSCOM’s new role leverages the strengths of USTRANSCOM and the DLA to ensure the Department of Defense’s global fuel delivery capability, particularly in contested environments.
The greater responsibility of the US Transportation Command arises from the reality of the potential of high-intensity conflict and the logistical challenges it presents. Commander Ovost in May described this “revolutionary” approach to Department of Defense logistics as “(introducing) a warfare perspective and shared justice into a process previously focused predominantly on service and combat support agencies.”
While the DLA has managed mass fuel effectively in day-to-day operations, the changing nature of warfare requires new concepts of operations that have yet to be tested in the conflict. The establishment of USTRANSCOM’s new role leverages the strengths of USTRANSCOM and the DLA to ensure the Department of Defense’s global fuel delivery capability, particularly in contested environments.
The Pentagon hopes that better distribution of fuel can increase deterrence and support in crises and increase general war readiness.
“How we accomplish this mission depends on our relationships with each other,” said Commander Van Ovost.
“We will win together by aligning with (the Secretary of Defense’s) priorities in the ever-changing operational environment. We will adjust our posture, our capacity (command and control) and integrate with the supported combatant commands as needed. And stay responsive globally.”