FORT BELVOIR, Va. - A new process for procuring goods locally ensures less expensive products with reliable delivery times for Defense Logistics Agency customers in Afghanistan.
“A lot of the development for this process was to determine how to establish the requirements and the obligations for the military, U.S. government and the contractor,” said Army Lt. Col. Bonnie Rogers, an action officer assigned to DLA Logistics Operations.
Early in the Northern Distribution Network local procurement effort, DLA recommended a system similar to the Defense Travel System be used to move goods procured in South Caucasus, Central and South Asian countries to Afghanistan. The key reasons were cost, custom issues, in-transit visibility, security and freight delivery, Rogers said.
“Transportation costs to move goods from SC/CASA into Afghanistan are expensive for all shippers,” Rogers said. “Previously, DLA’s procurement process included the transportation costs as part of the product cost as a first destination transportation fee, making the overall product cost unjustifiable.”
These commercial, prime-vendor shipments were outside DTS and lacked critical in-transit visibility and customs clearance assistance. The end results were expensive products with unreliable delivery times. DLA’s reimbursement efforts for these intratheater transportation costs were also manual and lengthy, Rogers said.
“DLA cargo procured in the Central Asia states is not eligible to move via the continental United States and European-originating Northern Distribution Network routes, because the NDN consists of intertheater movements. Locally procured goods are considered intratheater and are USCENTCOM’s responsibility,” Rogers said.
U.S. Central Command’s solution to the intratheater moves within its area of responsibility was a commercial tender model based on U.S. European Command’s International Commercial Transportation. This model, known as STCR for Surface Tender CENTCOM Region, was approved in November 2010.
USCENTCOM tasked its Deployment Distribution Operations Center with STCR execution April 26, Rogers said.
The STCR carrier conference was held July 21 in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. Rogers briefed attendees on the prime vendor business model, prime vendor points of contact and potential commodities that DLA could purchase locally.
A contract carrier was selected to perform the proof of principle transport. The cargo departed the supplier in Kazakhstan on July 25 and arrived at DLA Distribution Kandahar Aug. 18.
Due to the successful transport, the program commenced to the pilot phase for shipment of troop support material from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to DDKA.
Coordinating with DLA Troop Support, Rogers established requirements between shippers and carriers, selected cargo, and established dates cargo could be loaded, Rogers said.
“We provided the direct face-to-face with the carrier and made it happen in a relatively quick fashion,” Rogers said. “When the goods came in the first time, there were no problems accepting them because the driver had the correct paperwork and passed the inspection.”
The program’s pilot phase ended Dec. 31, and its enduring phase is scheduled to start Feb 1. The enduring phase will expand the STCR program to all locally procure commodities, throughout the SC/CASA countries, Rogers said.
“Everybody that I worked with was fantastic. They bent over backwards to help DLA accommodate the availability of our cargo. They were very enthusiastic and very driven to get it done,” Rogers said. “Although DLA did not play quite the part the CDDOC and U.S. Army Central did, we did everything that we could to make it as painless for them as possible and to accommodate their needs and desires.”
During the 8th Annual Defense Logistics Awards Dinner, the USCENTCOM Deployment and Distribution Operations Center, DLA, and ARCENT were awarded the Military-Military Collaboration of the Year: Rewarding the Joint Effort award for its work in developing, planning, organizing and executing the SCTR program.
The Defense Logistics awards ceremony was established to honor, recognize and promote logisticians in the Defense Department and the defense industry who have made significant contributions to military logistics.