McHugh touts importance of Army ammunition ocean terminals
November 17, 2013
CONCORD, Calif. (Nov. 17, 2013) -- Secretary of the Army John McHugh was at the Military Ocean Terminal Concord to assess the facility's requirements and capabilities for the safe and secure delivery of munitions to and from the U.S. Pacific Command area of operation, Nov. 15, 2013.
While here McHugh discussed the importance of Military Ocean Terminal Concord's, or MOTCO's, support to the Pacific area of operations; an effort he said is becoming increasingly important as the United States, in line with the National Military Strategy, rebalances to that region.
"This terminal's location and capability provide vital support to the troops in the Pacific," McHugh said. "There is no single facility, or combination of facilities, along the West Coast that can handle this important mission."
Maj. Gen. Thomas Richardson, commanding general for the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, known as SDDC, added that while MOTCO may not be as familiar as other, larger military installations, its strategic importance cannot be denied.
"For more than a half a century, our nation has relied on these terminals to safely and efficiently manage the movement of munitions around the world," Richardson said. "I am confident that as the terminals are modernized, their capabilities will remain crucial to U.S. military operations for decades to come."
McHugh explained that the U.S. Army has long been a major presence in the Pacific, and although operations in Southwest Asia have forced the U.S. military to shift its focus to that region, as operations in Afghanistan wind down, senior Army leaders are making adjustments to better prioritize the service's most pressing needs.
"We will continue to match our resources to our most important national security requirements," McHugh said. "Our military must be agile and deployable, and we must have a full-spectrum force that can deter conflict, project power and win wars. Our military ocean terminals will certainly play an important role in that future."
Personnel assigned to the 834th Transportation Battalion, 596th Transportation Brigade, are responsible for operations at MOTCO, one of two U.S. Army ammunition terminals.
During his visit to MOTCO, McHugh recognized several 834th Trans. Bn. personnel, and received a number of briefings from SDDC and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers experts. In addition to a mission briefing, the McHugh received updates concerning critical operational, safety and security infrastructure improvements to the terminal. According to SDDC officials, infrastructure improvements will ensure the terminal continues to achieve the required ammunition throughput capacities and sustain U.S. military operations well into the future.
In addition to terminal operations and installation management responsibilities, the 834th Trans. Bn. provides customs clearance for all DOD cargo arriving at California seaports, and is also responsible for manifesting vessels that transport DOD cargo entering and leaving the battalion area of responsibility.
Both Army ammo terminals -- MOTCO on the West Coast, and MOTSU on the East Coast -- also play a major role in retrograde operations, receiving munitions back from theater and sending them to a final destination; an installation, depot or arsenal. The terminals also ship munitions to ally nations through the Foreign Military Sales program; support a variety of national and international exercises; and provide support to DOD pre-positioned munitions, ensuring the Defense Department's capability to quickly deliver munitions to theater destinations.
As a major subordinate command of Army Materiel Command and the Army Service Component Command to U.S. Transportation Command, SDDC is responsible for planning, booking, shipping and tracking cargo; conducting terminal operations; and managing personal property moves for America's warfighters, other federal employees and their families. The command also partners with the commercial transportation industry as the coordinating link between DOD surface transportation requirements and the capability industry provides.