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The Unit Movement Officer in the Redeployment Process

The current redeployment process for a company, battalion, or brigade can be described as cumbersome at best. If you are a commander or a unit movement officer (UMO), you understand how many tasks you must complete for your unit to redeploy.

An example of the complexities of redeployment is the requirement for an additional container for shipment. Just to receive an additional container, a unit must first request it through a container yard; have someone complete the Ammo-43 Course to be able to certify it; order the Department of Defense Form DD2282, Reinspection Decal Convention for Safe Containers, certified stickers from their supply chain; in-gate the container; and submit a local transportation movement release (TMR) form in order to spot the container in the unit area. I propose that the mayor’s cell perform those functions for the unit. This would require fewer organizations to manage the functions associated with each task.

The current redeployment process has the UMO contacting many different agencies in order to accomplish redeployment tasks. To meet redeployment requirements, the UMO must repeat tasks that someone else has already completed. The redeployment process could be simplified for the user (the redeploying unit), making it less time consuming for unit leaders and preventing potential errors. Redeployment tasks should be accomplished by the organizations that have experience in those functions, the ability to expand as needed to take on the tasks, and the resources to accomplish the tasks.

Proposed Structure

The Army should consider a simpler structure that clearly defines the responsibilities, functions, and roles of the agencies that work with the unit. Once the unit receives its redeployment orders, it should only make three contacts about redeploying equipment: the mayor’s cell, the movement control team (MCT), and the liaison officer (LNO).

Mayor’s cell. The mayor’s cell should provide deploying units with seaworthy containers and pallets for packing and shipping. It should be the main point of contact for requisitioning containers. Under the current system, the procedure for obtaining a container to pack is extremely segmented. The chart below shows the current process versus the proposed one.

The proposed process consolidates container management functions under the mayor’s cell. The mayor’s cell deals with the management of containers as a part of its daily operations, so it would make sense for it to inherit these extra responsibilities. The UMO would save time under the proposed system by making only one contact (not including unit supply) to get the containers he needs for redeployment.

MCT. The MCT should document and mark containers to keep shipments from becoming frustrated. The improved system would give the MCT more robust capabilities, allowing the MCT to ensure that units get redeployed. The MCT should be asking the UMO, “What do you want to move?” and “When?” Then the MCT should coordinate all the actions needed to ensure that the equipment is moved without problems or delays, which commonly appear in the form of frustrated cargo. Once these questions are answered, the MCT will be able to provide greater capability with little additional support. The advantage of this structure is that it gives ownership of these essential functions to the people with the most container redeployment knowledge.

LNO. The LNO should develop an early partnership with the UMO to reduce problems in the redeployment process. The current LNO structure has the unit pushing information up to the LNO. In the proposed structure, the LNO should pull information from the unit. The LNO ensures that the unit makes progress in completing redeployment tasks so that it will meet the available-to-load date.

A unit leaving a theater has clearance requirements in addition to movement requirements. Most of the clearance requirements deal with the unit’s many supply accounts. The final clearing memorandum and paperwork for redeploying the unit from theater require the completion of sequential tasks. It is important for LNOs to contact UMOs and inform them of these requirements. The last few weeks before the unit’s available-to-load date are fast paced. The UMO cannot get bogged down in issues such as who he needs to see to clear and where they are located.

These problems can be solved with a simple solution. The LNO should have his own redeployment packet that he can give to the UMO. This redeployment packet should include—

  • Contact information.
  • Reporting and documentation requirements.
  • The names of UMOs from other units that are also redeploying.
  • Lessons learned from other redeployments the LNO has handled.

Without this packet, Soldiers run the risk of losing valuable time trying to find their LNOs, missing important reports, and repeating the mistakes of other units. These things make the entire redeployment process more time consuming and more difficult than it needs to be. The biggest risk that the unit runs is that it could be delayed in entering the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) cycle.

Implementation

As with all new policies and procedures, obstacles present themselves when considering how to implement this new procedure. However, the benefits of the change should outweigh the effort required to implement it.

The mayor’s cell will encounter problems with staffing and training for its additional duties, but the additional responsibilities should help the cell members with their own missions. The mayor’s cell already coordinates TMRs for found-on-installation containers. Coordinating the spotting of containers would increase the volume of TMRs submitted for the local materials-handling equipment assets. With the proper training, personnel supported by the mayor’s cell could perform this additional function.

The MCT will need additional personnel and resources to be able to perform the functions. These could be provided by the units being supported by the MCT. Their training could be completed by certifying the assigned Soldiers in customs inspection and hazardous materials handling under Code of Federal Regulation Title 49, Transportation.

The biggest barrier to overcome would be acquiring a Transportation Coordinators’ Automated Information for Movements System II to allow the local units to work with their unit deployment lists. This should be requested from the geographic divisional command since their implementation would require the G–6 to install the network.

The LNO’s responsibility in implementing this new structure would be minimal in comparison to the benefits. Additional work for the LNO would include making initial contact with the redeploying unit and creating a redeployment packet for each unit. The redeployment packet then could be updated as necessary and given to subsequent units.

Changing the redeployment process will not be an easy undertaking. However, the results would be well worth the effort. I invite those with comments about this subject to join me in a discussion on LOGNet at https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/communitybrowser.aspx?id=397443&lang=en-US. It is essential for UMOs who have been through the redeployment process to discuss this possibility. Comments, suggestions, and best practices can help create a redeployment interaction model that reduces confusion, errors, and delays while increasing resources, conservation, and leader effectiveness.

Captain Paul L. Moeller, Jr., is attending the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course. He was a platoon leader for the 57th Transportation Company, 548th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), at Fort Drum, New York, when he wrote this article. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business science from Indiana State University.

 
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