U.S. Transportation Command hosts first Senior Enlisted Leader Summit

U.S. Transportation Command
Story by Stephenie Wade

Date: 11.08.2019
Posted: 11.08.2019 16:42
News ID: 351173
U.S. Transportation Command host first Senior Enlisted Leader Summit

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- More than 20 senior enlisted leaders representing all combatant commands and military services attended U.S. Transportation Command's first Senior Enlisted Leader Summit here Nov. 5-6, 2019.

USTRANSCOM Commander U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Lyons opened the summit by discussing the complexities of providing logistics in an ever-changing joint environment.

Lyons noted how the relationships with our partners and allies allow USTRANSCOM to support a logistics network at a global scale, and he encouraged attendees to push questions to either him or the command’s Senior Enlisted Leader, U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason France.

“The purpose of the summit was to gather senior enlisted leaders from across the joint, total force to discuss our leadership roles in globally integrated operations, focusing specifically on USTRANSCOM’s mission to project and sustain military power,” said France.

Topics included readiness, process improvement and how to enhance partnership capacity.

Master Chief Jason Vanderhaden, Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard, said one of its responsibilities is to inspect Military Sealift Command vessels prior to them leaving ports and it is important USTRANSCOM understands Coast Guard requirements for coordinated movement.

“I learned what our opportunities and challenges are with USTRANSCOM,” said Vanderhaden. “It was interesting to me to see how USTRANSCOM is using data and analytics to better utilize the resources and be more efficient. The Coast Guard is trying to do the same thing and I will take the lessons learned here back to build on.”

The conference also focused on building stronger relationships and partnerships across organizational and service lines.

“Our adversaries are operating in all domains and across geographic lines, and there is nothing we do in one theater or domain that does not have impacts in the others,” said France. “Engaged leadership is a crucial element of keeping our warfighters focused on the right things and ready to compete, deter, and win against our adversaries.”

Command Sgt. Major Ted Copeland, Command Sgt. Major of the U.S. Army Reserve, said the U.S. Army Reserve Chief recently announced an initiative to stand up Ready Force X, a package of forces capable of mobilizing and deploying much faster into a major contingency operation.

“Right now, if we go to war it requires 300 units plus out the door in less than 120 days, but it’s harder to get our equipment to meet us where we are going on time,” said Copeland. "We are not going to get anywhere without USTRANSCOM. They are the orchestrator, and if we are not tied in very closely we will not get where we need to be."

Another topic was how to better leverage the logistics capability USTRANSCOM provides to all the services, including the Guard and Reserve.

U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Christopher Kepner, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chief, National Guard Bureau, said there is one program specific to the National Guard where he believes USTRANSCOM capabilities would prove very useful.

According to Kepner, the State Partnership Program has built relationships for 25 years and includes 81 nations around the globe. The SPP links the National Guard with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country to conduct military-to-military exercises and training, which requires movement of equipment and people.

“I didn’t realize the extent of USTRANSCOM’s capabilities,” said Kepner. “I think when people hear USTRANSCOM they automatically think airlift. I’ve never thought about the diversity of movement and complexity of the organization. For example, the National Guard sends Strykers to Lithuania for the SPP. I plan to see how [the National Guard] can benefit from USTRANSCOM capabilities to support the SPP strategic plans.”

France said he hopes all the senior enlisted leaders will take what they gained from the summit and use it to increase understanding of the implications of service initiatives and organizational activity in the joint deployment and distribution enterprise.