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Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today representing United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM).
USTRANSCOM is one of nine unified commands. As a unified command, USTRANSCOM has a broad, continuing mission under a single commander and is composed of forces from three military services. However, USTRANSCOM is also a functional command with worldwide responsibilities, not bounded by geography.
USTRANSCOM's mission is to provide air, land, and sea transportation for the Department of Defense (DOD), both in time of peace and war. USTRANSCOM executes its day-to-day worldwide mission through its three Component Commands: Air Force's Air Mobility Command (AMC); Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC); and Army's Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC).
One portion of USTRANSCOM's mission is the movement of conventional ammunition and hazardous materials. The events of 11 September 2001 have placed even greater urgency and importance on this critical mission. To facilitate USTRANSCOM's management of Defense Transportation System (DTS) weapons shipments, DOD directives assign USTRANSCOM the role for providing policy and procedural guidance for DOD shippers in the field. The command publishes these policies and procedures in the Defense Transportation Regulation (DTR). Actual execution of shipments is handled through USTRANSCOM's component commands. MTMC provides surface transportation services to include commercial carrier selection, rates, and routing to DTS customers for most munitions movements. Munitions requiring further transport overseas are then moved on military or chartered U.S. commercial airlift provided by the Air Mobility Command or sealift provided by the Military Sealift Command.
USTRANSCOM works closely with the Department of the Army, who is the single manager for DOD of conventional munitions. The Army is also the lead agency for all emergency responses to transportation mishaps involving DOD munitions. Additionally, we at USTRANSCOM work with the DOD Explosive Safety Board (DDESB), serving as the board's liaison to the Department of Transportation and to the commercial transportation industry.
As a result of the findings of the GAO munitions shipments investigations on 11 May 2001, USTRANSCOM was much better prepared when the terrorist actions of 11 September 2001 occurred. USTRANSCOM and MTMC have worked for five months to correct the findings and also implement new and additional policies and procedures that improve security.
Let me say up front that USTRANSCOM is appreciative of GAO's assistance, cooperation, and handling of the reports before and after 11 September 2001. We concur with the GAO findings. In fact, immediately after receiving the draft reports, USTRANSCOM and MTMC implemented corrective action and initiated our own review. This review was conducted by multi-disciplined threat assessment teams dispatched by USTRANSCOM and MTMC and each was composed of a physical security specialist, explosive safety specialist, ordnance manager, traffic manager, and a law enforcement officer. We examined not only the sites investigated by the GAO, but all terminals used by the DTS for the shipping, handling, and tracking of these munitions. This review gave us a more comprehensive picture of the situation and command-wide view of what needed to be improved and where.
From the receipt of the first draft report, USTRANSCOM and MTMC have worked diligently to correct deficiencies. However, the 11 September terrorist attacks compelled us to accelerate actions to respond to identified deficiencies and to look beyond where we had looked before. Major General Privratsky, the MTMC Commander who is with us today, will detail for you how we have proactively responded through the implementation of a four-part strategy to correct the deficiencies. This strategy targets; (1) Safety and security at carrier terminals, (2) Carrier qualification/performance, (3) Shipment planning and execution, and (4) Command and control for shipments. USCINCTRANS has been personally involved in reviewing the threat assessment team findings and directing the corrective actions. Additionally, we have not limited ourselves to an analysis of the surface transportation of munitions, but have also expanded our scope to include the air and sea elements of our defense transportation system.
Shipments of munitions by air and sea are required to process through military managed and operated air or ocean terminals. USTRANSCOM, through the DTR, provides direction to local transportation offices for the movement of weapons and munitions and provides guidance for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) technical instructions for air transportation, International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations, and International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations for air and sea transport of munitions and hazardous cargo.
The command's current focus is on resolving deficiencies within DOD. MTMC has taken the initial steps in revising its directives and contracting practices. USTRANSCOM is working now to develop new guidelines for the DTR and recommended changes for DOD publications. Even more importantly, we must work with the Department of Transportation and our commercial industry partners to ensure the safety of all hazardous materials shipments within the United States. The commercial weapons and munitions shipments made by DOD constitute only 40,000 of the estimated 300 million commercial hazardous shipments made each year. The Department of Transportation (DOT), in conjunction with state and local authorities, is responsible for safety oversight of all hazardous cargoes. Our goal is to work in concert with DOT and our civilian partners to focus on the vulnerabilities of the domestic commercial hazardous material transportation industry, including those specific vulnerabilities identified by GAO and others that may be beyond DOD's authority to remedy.
Let me close by saying thank you, once again, for this opportunity--to present USTRANSCOM and its ongoing munitions security and Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection efforts to this committee. I stand ready to answer your questions.
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