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The New Modular Movement Control Team

A modular organization will replace the five types of movement control teams now in the field. Each modular team will be able to perform all movement control functions.

The Army movement control team (MCT) is changing. The current structure of five separate MCTs, each designed for a specialized mission, is being replaced with a “one size fits all” multifunctional, modular team. This initiative will provide the foundation for movement control in the modular Army.

The Army Transportation Corps (TC) has been modular at the battalion and group levels for years. This has allowed TC motor transport, terminal, and movement control battalions the flexibility to task-organize for specific missions and operations. Under the “modular concept,” TC units will be even more modular and capable of task-organizing at the company, platoon, detachment, and team levels. It will be possible to detach identical units from their parent units and place (“plug and play”) them in any environment.

MCTs have been deployed and used to conduct missions outside of their doctrinal scopes in the Balkans and in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Two examples of this can be seen in the employment of MCTs by the 14th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control), which is based in Vicenza, Italy. The 497th MCT (Port) provided area movement control support in Iraq, and the 99th MCT (Area) worked at the air base in Aviano, Italy. Another example was the deployment of the 49th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control) to Operation Iraqi Freedom: The 133d MCT (Division Support) performed the role of a port MCT at Umm Qasr, Iraq.

These examples show that the transformation of the five types of MCTs—port, area, division support, cargo documentation, and movement regulating—into one modular team reflects the reality of today’s operations. This concept will provide the Army with a standard pool of teams resourced to perform all movement control missions.

Current Situation

Movement control is the planning, routing, scheduling, controlling, coordination, and in-transit visibility (ITV) of personnel, units, equipment, and supplies moving over multiple lines of communication. It involves synchronizing and integrating logistics efforts with other elements that span the spectrum of military operations. The MCT is the basic and most critical level in the movement control process. MCTs are the common point of contact for mode operators and users of transportation.

The five current MCT types are designed around specific nodes or functions—
• The port MCT has 18 personnel (4 officers, 1 warrant officer, and 13 enlisted Soldiers) and is positioned at air terminals or seaports within the theater to coordinate expeditious clearance of personnel and cargo.
• The area MCT has 13 personnel (1 officer, 1 warrant officer, and 11 enlisted Soldiers) and coordinates transportation support for movement requirements in a given geographical location.
• The division support MCT has seven personnel (one officer, one warrant officer, and five enlisted Soldiers). It is an element of a corps movement control battalion (MCB) that is attached to the division transportation office (DTO) to augment and support DTO operations.
• The movement regulating team (MRT) has 16 personnel (1 officer, 1 warrant officer, and 14 enlisted Soldiers) and operates in separate sections throughout the area of operations to observe, assess, and report on movement operations.
• The cargo documentation team has eight personnel (one officer, one warrant officer, and six enlisted Soldiers) and provides cargo documentation for the transshipment of cargo at water, air, motor, and rail terminals.

These structures were adequate for the static and linear battlefield of the Cold War. As the Army transforms and faces new foes operating in a nonlinear, noncontiguous environment, it is imperative that the MCT have the ability to accomplish multiple tasks from multiple locations.

The current design of specialized MCTs allows very little flexibility in today’s high operating tempo environment. Over the past decade, and as a result of the ongoing Global War on Terrorism, the requirement for numerous movement control capabilities has increased. This requirement has put a strain on the Active and Reserve components, which, in many cases, had to place a team on the battlefield to perform missions for which it was not designed, trained, or equipped.

Creating a Modular MCT

In September 2003, the Army’s Chief of Transportation, Major General Brian I. Geehan, directed combat developers at the Army Combined Arms Support Command to standardize MCTs by merging the functions and capabilities of the current five specialized designs into a modular and multifunctional team that can perform all movement control functions at any node or in any geographical area. The result is the modular MCT (Standard Requirements Code 55506GA00).

The modular MCT is a 21-Soldier team (1 captain, 2 first lieutenants, and 18 enlisted personnel) created with the capability to perform every type of movement control mission. It is designed to provide maximum flexibility in its employment. Each team has a headquarters section and four identical subunits (or sections). The MCT can operate as a single team or separately at up to four different locations. For example, a single modular MCT can be deployed initially to provide movement control functions at an airfield while simultaneously providing cargo documentation. As the mission expands, the team can deploy a section onto the main supply routes (MSRs) to conduct MRT operations. As the operation matures, that same MCT can operate at a second airfield or seaport. The operational use of the MCT can be specifically tailored to the mission and operational environment. The standardization of MCTs increases the number of teams available for deployment, since each unit is modular in the truest sense of that term.

Modular MCT Missions

The modular MCT is designed to be able to provide movement control on a 24-hour basis. Movement control procedures will still follow the guidelines established in Field Manual 4–01.30, Movement Control. The MCT will be able to conduct the following missions—
• Validate transportation requirements and coordinate transportation support, highway clearance, and inbound clearance for moving units, personnel, and cargo.
• Coordinate transportation movements, diversions, reconsignments, and transfers of units, cargo, and personnel.
• Provide technical expertise to transportation users within its assigned area of responsibility.
• Provide ITV of unit equipment and sustainment cargo movements in an assigned battlespace.
• Observe, assess, and report on the progress of tactical and nontactical transportation movements along MSRs or alternate supply routes and through critical nodes.
• Adjust movement schedules as necessary to coordinate the movement of authorized traffic.
• Provide first-destination reporting points.
• Provide as many as four sections to separate locations, each providing a different aspect of movement control.
• Commit transportation assets.

Personnel and Equipment

The modular MCT was designed with the doctrinal tenet of fluid and flexible movements in mind. This is evident in both the personnel and the equipment in the MCT. The personnel structure gives the correct mix of skill levels and leadership to provide movement control at up to four separate locations and missions. The approved equipment list is also a critical part of attaining flexibility. For example, if mission, enemy, terrain, troops, time, and civilian considerations (METT–TC) factors dictate that the MCT needs to be split into four sections in different locations, each section can be properly equipped with the vehicles, communications equipment, Standard Army Management Information Systems, and generators it needs to operate independently.

The equipment mix for this new team is more robust than the current five designs. It includes up-armored high-mobility, multipurpose wheeled vehicles; the Transportation Coordinators’ Automated Information for Movement System; and the Movement Tracking System. Soldiers and leaders from the field provided maximum input to the creation of this equipment list. For example, past and present movement controllers stated that two radios are required at each site to allow the MCT to monitor the MCB’s network as well as the supported customers’ network, so combat developers designed the equipment list with enough radios to meet this requirement.

The unit personnel and equipment lists will increase the effectiveness of each MCT. The design will allow the MCB commander to use a set of 4 to 10 teams to cover a variety of missions at 6 to 15 sites simultaneously and to change the team placement and mission as the situation changes day to day. The intent is to provide maximum capability and flexibility to the MCB commander and the warfighter by providing them with the right personnel and equipment to carry out the mission.

Theater Distribution of MCTs

Modular MCTs will be assigned to the theater sustainment command (TSC) and attached to MCBs to decentralize execution of movement responsibilities on an area basis or at essential transportation nodes. They will be further attached (for operational control and tactical control) to sustainment brigades and brigade combat teams (BCTs). The MCTs are designed to be able to operate independently of MCBs if the size and scope of the mission requires them to do so.

The current planning allocation of MCTs in a theater of operations is one per aerial port of embarkation or debarkation, one per sea port of embarkation or debarkation, one per distribution hub, one per sustainment brigade, one per 100 miles of MSR, and two per sustainment brigade in the corps. The number of MCTs in the division and corps sustainment brigades is subject to change based on METT–TC. The current design also allows for one MCT per BCT headquarters, thus allowing one movement control section (one subunit) to be allocated to each BCT brigade support area, with the headquarters section operating with the division G–4 transportation officer. (This is subject to change in upcoming rules-of-allocation conferences.)

No changes are planned for the MCB headquarters. The MCB will continue to provide command, control, and technical guidance to 4 to 10 MCTs, provide asset visibility and maintain ITV of tactical and nontactical moves within its assigned geographical area (including unit moves and convoys,) assist in planning and executing plans and operations, apply and meet movement priorities provided by the TSC and sustainment brigade, and support end-to-end distribution. The MCB also will coordinate with host nation authorities for cargo transfer locations, road clearances, border clearances, escort support, and transportation support. The MCB will have as many subordinate MCTs as needed to operate in its area of operations, based on the number of customers, air terminals, rail terminals, seaports, and MSRs it must support. The MCB will provide logistics support to the MCTs under its command and control. MCTs operating away from their headquarters, however, will require logistics support from other units.

There are currently 121 resourced MCTs across the Active and Reserve components, totaling 1,639 TC Soldier positions. Currently, the Army is resourcing 110 of the new modular MCTs, which will create a total of 2,310 positions. This increase shows the importance of movement control to the modular Army. The conversion of MCTs will begin in fiscal year 2007 and be completed by the end of fiscal year 2009.

The redesign of the MCT is an important part of Army transformation. This multifunctional, modular unit will be better able to support the Army Chief of Staff’s intent to create a modular “brigade-based” Army that is more responsive to the regional combatant commanders’ needs, facilitates force packaging and rapid deployment, and operates as self-contained units on the nonlinear, noncontiguous battlefield.

ALOG

Major Jonathan G. Cameron is a combat developer in the Distribution Division, Force Development Directorate, of the Army Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia. He has a bachelor’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in logistics management from the Florida Institute of Technology. He is a graduate of the Transportation Officer Basic Course, the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, and the Logistics Executive Development Course.