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Moving the Force Across Europe:
EUCOM’s Joint Movement Center

More than 95 percent of U.S.-based units moving to Iraq and Afghanistan transit the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) area of responsibility (AOR). The organization responsible for managing these movements through Europe, as well as the movement of EUCOM-based forces, is the Joint Movement Center (JMC) located in Stuttgart, Germany.

As part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the JMC coordinated more than 8,217 missions from October 2002 through January 2004. Approximately 140,000 passengers, 207,400 tons of materiel, and 115,300 square feet of ship tonnage traversed the AOR using multimodal (truck, train, barge, airlift, and sealift) transport. The center also coordinated over 2,060 missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, moving 59,881 passengers, 178,802 tons of materiel, and 6,473,328 square feet of tonnage in a 4-month period.

The multimodal movement of troops and equipment supporting the Global War on Terrorism is the largest force rotation in EUCOM’s history. The JMC plays a pivotal role in planning, coordinating, and executing these movements.

JMC Mission

The JMC manages the strategic and intratheater transportation system within the EUCOM theater. Its primary mission is to manage transportation by planning, allocating, apportioning, deconflicting, coordinating, and tracking deployment, redeployment, and sustainment of EUCOM and EUCOM-supported forces and ensuring that their movement supports the theater distribution plan.

The JMC fully participates in crisis action planning, writes transportation estimates, provides information on airfield and port capabilities and limitations, and contributes to mission analysis and orders preparation for numerous contingency operations. The center’s personnel perform these functions around the clock by working closely with the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), host nation governments, military components, and numerous transportation agencies. The goal is to ensure that all movement is synchronized to meet operations and logistics timelines. The JMC also serves as an interface between U.S. military components and transportation agencies to facilitate planning and resolve mobility issues.

JMC Organization

The JMC is functionally organized based on joint doctrine, and it is designed to expand and contract in response to operational requirements. During normal operations, 26 joint service personnel are assigned to the center. However, during the height of Iraqi Freedom in the winter and spring of 2003, the JMC surged to 53 personnel. Complicating things further, the JMC conducted split-based operations with a forward-deployed organization of 21 personnel at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Approximately 70 percent of JMC personnel are Reservists and National Guard augmentees with tours of duty ranging from 90 days to 1 year. The center could not accomplish its mission without mobilized citizen soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen.

The JMC consists of a Data Transportation Feasibility Section, Plans Section, and Operations Section. The Operations Section is further divided into Sealift, Inland, and Airlift Cells.

The data transportation feasibility section uses 12 automated systems (including the Joint Operation Planning and Execution System, Global Transportation Network, Single Mobility System, Global Decision Support System, and Allied Deployment and Movement System) to track and provide a current and forward view of upcoming movements within the AOR. The section also maintains a database of information on all modes of movement in EUCOM. For example, the database calculates the total number of passengers and tons of materiel moved by each mode of transportation during a given operation. It also provides useful information for tracking mission progress and force closure and a summary of force flow for future planning.

Supporting Iraqi Freedom

The center currently operates the Logistics Sustainment Cell (LSC) at Incirlik. The LSC’s primary mission is to coordinate and monitor the movement of sustainment to U.S. Forces and humanitarian efforts in northern Iraq. From April 2003 through January 2004, the LSC coordinated the delivery of more than 62 million liters of water, 3 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, 447 million liters of fuel, 276 measurement tons of liquid propane gas, 1.3 billion liters of benzene and kerosene, and 12 million tons of miscellaneous cargo. [A measurement ton is a measure of volume; 1 measurement ton equals 40 cubic feet.]

Commercial trucks moved all of these supplies over a ground line of communication (GLOC) from several locations in Germany and Turkey into Iraq. This GLOC averages over 5,000 trucks in the transportation system on a daily basis. It extends from central Germany south through Turkey and crosses into northern Iraq through the only crossing point at the Turkey-Iraq border, the Habur Border Gate. Using this vital supply route significantly reduces airlift and sealift costs. In addition to ground resupply, approximately three strategic airlift channels from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and Moron Air Base, Spain, deliver equipment and sustainment into northern Iraq each week.

Supporting Other Operations

The JMC also manages transportation in numerous other countries throughout the theater ranging from Africa to Russia and the Middle East. Some other major operations the center supports are the Stabilization Force (SFOR) and the Kosovo Force (KFOR) in the Balkans, humanitarian assistance in Africa, support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member nations participating in multinational exercises, the Georgia Train and Equip Program in the Republic of Georgia, and exercise-related construction programs in West African states. Sustainment into the Balkans includes more than 55 trucks daily, 2 trains per month and 6 C–130 flights a week. The trucks cross eight countries (some trips last more than 3 weeks) to arrive at their destination.

Another elongated movement is the delivery of cargo and sustainment to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. In addition to C–17 airlift, materiel moves on trains through Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Ships carrying cargo to Enduring Freedom sail across the Mediterranean Sea, through the Suez Canal, and over the Indian Ocean to Karachi, Pakistan. The cargo is offloaded at Karachi and transported by truck north into Afghanistan.

A smaller but significant mission was the role played by the JMC in the Joint Task Force (JTF) Liberia operation last year. The JMC deployed personnel to the JTF and assisted in developing and executing a JTF Liberia JMC in support of the humanitarian assistance and stability operation in that war-ravaged West African country.

In addition to contingency movements, the JMC resolves numerous issues, including—

• Airspace and overflight coordination and approval.
• Transit rights through various countries within the EUCOM AOR.
• Force protection for all vessels transiting the Mediterranean and calling at ports in the EUCOM AOR.
• Bed-down locations for aircraft and passengers (air-to-air interface sites).
• Fuel, subsistence, replenishment, and maintenance support for aircraft, ships, and vehicles transiting the EUCOM AOR.

Supporting Allied Forces

One of the center’s most challenging missions is planning, coordinating, and executing coalition movements for the Polish-led Multinational Division-Center South (MND–CS) sector in Iraq and other troop-contributing nations in support of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The contributing nations include 17 countries within the EUCOM AOR, while the MND–CS involves 23 countries from around the globe.

In order to effectively execute movements in support of these forces, the JMC established the European Deployment Cell (EDC) in Warsaw, Poland. The EDC is responsible for movements through numerous air and sea ports of embarkation and debarkation to ensure that troop-contributing nations within the EUCOM AOR meet U.S. and NATO standards for movement on U.S. military transports. In addition to NATO countries, the EDC has moved Albanian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Moldovan, and Ukrainian forces. Teams from the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command augment the EDC to execute port of debarkation operations in countries such as Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Spain. U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) and U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) operated the EDC during the Iraqi Freedom rotations.

Another JMC initiative was training Polish military personnel for unit movement certification. This certification ensured that allied forces possessed the skills they needed to prepare passengers and cargo for movement according to U.S. and NATO standards. USAREUR’s 7th Army Training Command conducted the training, which included unit movement, hazardous materials, and load-planning courses. The 45-day training certified 21 Polish military personnel to perform functions previously executed by the U.S. military, which produced significant cost savings for the U.S. Government. This first-ever training set the standard for future training so that troop-contributing nations can achieve unit movement standards.

Redeploying U.S. Forces

Recently, the JMC was responsible for developing the concept of a forward aerial transload hub at Incirlik. The hub served as an intermediate transfer point for redeploying more than 8,000 U.S. personnel from northern Iraq. This operation expedited the redeployment of personnel and equipment from Operation Iraqi Freedom II to the continental United States and adhered to the “boots on the ground” timeline. It also minimized the use of precious C–130 intratheater air assets and reduced load capacity on the aerial port at Kuwait City International Airport. USAFE’s 39th Airlift Wing executed the transload operation, which ran from January through April 2004. Most importantly, the use of the Incirlik hub demonstrated the Turkish commitment to the Global War on Terrorism.

The JMC is a multifaceted, diverse entity that executes short- and long-range movement issues to improve transportation into, out of, and through the EUCOM AOR. The center is committed to meeting every challenge and executing a seamless movement of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines and their equipment and sustainment as they transit the EUCOM AOR. The key to its success is a simple movement formula: Planning + Coordinating + More Coordinating + Flexibility in Execution = Success. ALOG

Lieutenant Colonel David R. McClean is the Chief of the Joint Movement Center, J–4, at the U.S. European Command at Stuttgart, Germany. He has a B.S. degree in structural engineering from West Virginia University and an M.S. degree in human resource management from Central Michigan University. He is a graduate of the Transportation Officer Basic Course, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the School of Advanced Military Studies.

Captain Phillip E. Henson, TNARNG, is assigned as a Surface Movements Officer to the Joint Movement Center, J–4, at the U.S. European Command at Stuttgart, Germany. He has a B.S. degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee and is a graduate of the Signal Officer Basic Course and the Field Artillery Officer Advanced Course.