Senior logisticians get first-hand view of ongoing Iraq drawdown efforts
July 29, 2009
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq -- Thirteen senior logisticians met here to discuss the plans for continuing the responsible drawdown of forces and equipment in Iraq and the repositioning of assets to Afghanistan, July 23.
The general officers traveled from around the world and included Lt. Gen. Mitchell H. Stevenson, deputy chief of staff, Army G-4; Lt. Gen. James H. Pillsbury, Army Material Command deputy commanding general; Lt. Gen. Kathleen M. Gainey, director of Logistics, J4, the Joint Staff; and Vice Admiral Michael K. Loose, deputy chief of naval operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics, N4.
The logisticians, some of the most senior in their respective services, participated in a conference and visited facilities here in order to learn about ongoing drawdown operations across Iraq.
The key topics the attendees discussed were obtaining accurate accountability of Department of Defense property in Iraq and acquiring sufficient cargo and transport to support the drawdown efforts.
"The name of the game is responsible use of taxpayer money and 100 percent accountability," said Pillsbury, who commended the efforts of sustainment units in Iraq on laying the groundwork.
Since arriving in theater June 2008, the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and its subordinate units led an initiative to improve accountability by bringing over 40,000 items back onto records. Additionally, they sent Mobile Redistribution Teams to bases looking for excess inventory for shipment to the Forward Redistribution Point here. The FRP then determines its serviceability and stores or ships it to where it is needed.
The quantity and serviceability of shipping containers was also addressed. Thousands will be needed for the drawdown operations, and retrograde of equipment out of Iraq.
Container Repair Yards are planned for several major bases. The 3d ESC's subordinate brigades also field Mobile Container Repair Teams to inspect and repair shipping containers. Last month, MCRTs inspected approximately 3,300 containers and performed minor repairs to 104.
The Coalition also partners with the Iraqi Transportation Network to facilitate the movement of equipment throughout the country, especially Al Seqir, a consortium of tribally-owned trucking companies.
"We're going to need more transportation (assets) as we downsize and take all this [equipment] out," said Lt. Col. Peter M. Haas, commanding officer, 49th Transportation Battalion, referring to Al Seqir.
Some assets in Iraq, to include several military units and over 1,300 vehicles, have already repositioned to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"In the coming months, it's going to take a massive team effort from the Army and joint community to execute the drawdown of forces in Iraq," said Brig. Gen. Michael J. Lally, commanding general, 3d ESC from Fort Knox, Ky.
"I think with the team [we] saw here today - the senior logisticians from each service and Joint Staff - we have the right organizations and some of the smartest logisticians in the world working to make this happen right," he said.