Thursday June 28, 2012
What is it?
The Northern Distribution Network (NDN) is a bi-directional system air, land and sea supply routes that support the war in Afghanistan from the north.
What has the Army done?
When U.S. Transportation Command wanted to replace lines of communication that involved sealift to Pakistan and over-the-road transport into Afghanistan, it turned to U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) and U.S. European Command for expertise in getting diplomatic approval and establishing a Baltic route traversing Latvia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan (or Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) and a Caucasus route across Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
USAREUR completed missions on its own years earlier that proved the NDN was viable. This success and established relationships with these countries were crucial to securing diplomatic clearances and creating the NDN.
USAREUR members installed radio frequency identification readers at the ports in Riga, Tallinn (Estonia) and the Republic of Georgia, reducing manual tracking, improving visibility of cargo.
USAREUR logisticians also advocated for direct shipments from the Defense Logistics Agency depot in Germersheim, Germany, that can potentially cut shipping time by 10-35 days and container costs by nearly two-thirds. As a result each week approximately 20 trucks traverse the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, the Black Sea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
USAREUR's Logistics Automation Branch continues to engage partner nations to improve visibility of cargo at critical border crossings and ports.USAREUR also continues to pursue direct rail shipments from the EUCOM AOR that could result in rail traffic departing Germany and transiting Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and then continue by rail through Uzbekistan or by truck via Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In addition, USAREUR established an operations hub at Romania's Mikhail Kogalniceanu Air Base to support its deployments, which can also sustain retrograde movement of cargo from Afghanistan to Europe or the United States.
Why is this important to the Army?
With decades of experience working with partner nations strategically located to support U.S. forces, the lead in traffic management, critical roles in obtaining diplomatic clearances and maintaining visibility of DOD material in transit, and other responsibilities, USAREUR is vital to keeping supplies flowing to forces in Operation Enduring Freedom.
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"The Korean War reminds us that freedom is never free. It also reminds the world that people of free nations will stand together to defend it."
- Brig. Gen. Robin B. Akin, U.S. Forces Korea and Combined Forces Command assistant chief of staff for logistics, thanking the veterans for their service and sacrifices at a recent memorial ceremony for the Battle of Chipyong-ni, South Korea, June 26, 2012
"I am a Soldier who is also an Olympian. I am where I am because I am a Soldier. The way I get to train, the lessons I learned -- the Army is why I am here. I wear either the Army uniform or Red, White and Blue every day of my life and I would have it no other way. It is extremely rewarding to represent my country in so many different ways."
- Staff Sgt. Josh Richmond, headed to London for the 2012 Olympics with other shooters from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, speaks emphatically about how the Army has helped him further his burgeoning career with the Olympics as the goal.
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