By SDDC Public AffairsSeptember 9, 2019
When military units deploy in support of the nation's objectives, early, detailed planning and continuous open communications are critical components to successful port operations.
This week, the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's 842nd Transportation Battalion demonstrated that capability at the Port of Port Arthur, Texas, in support of the 25th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team as they conduct their deployment to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
SDDC coordinates movements like this daily. As soon as a unit receives movement orders, SDDC's Surface Warriors begin planning the steps needed to accomplish a successful movement.
"The way we get ready for a massive movement like this starts with the planners," said 1st Lt. Kenshonti Jones, 842nd Transportation Battalion operations officer/terminal management team commander and operations mission lead for this movement. "Our planners coordinate with the unit by setting up key leader engagements, vessel operation needs, port requirements, ensuring unit deployment lists are completed and anything else needed for a smooth mission run.
"To make a move successful, a close relationship has to be created. We do that best using transparent communication throughout the whole process," she said. "This kind of communication allows for plans to succinctly flow. Through this collaboration we are able to make two plans turn into one."
By ensuring a synchronized communication flow, SDDC and the units they support are on the same page across multiple levels and organizations.
"This creates a shared understanding and helps reduce constraints we can catch early," said Lt. Col. Gordon Vincent, 842nd Transportation Battalion commander.
When SDDC units start early with strong communication and planning on both sides, Vincent said they are able to get ahead of potential issues, providing proactive rather than reactive mission support.
"It allows us to adjust planning, especially for receipt of a large unit, when we know how the unit is going to flow to us," he said. "Having an understanding of the unit's overall readiness and commander's priorities for onward movement allows us to succeed at our mission. That happens through transparent communication."
According to Vincent, when communication and planning does not happen correctly, the mission could find itself moving toward potential failure.
In that case, said Vincent, "We have to apply additional resources, such as labor and time. It forces us into a catch-up mode where we are unable to be predictive and get ahead of issues.
"Proper communication and planning is a must. At the end of the day, it can directly impact a commander's ability to levee combat power on an objective," he said.
While the process can seem daunting, SDDC's Surface Warriors are ready to move, deploy and sustain the Armed Forces -- at speed.