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How The Defense Transportation System Works

How The Defense Transportation System Works image via Wendover Productions

How Does The Pentagon’s Massive Global Transportation System Work?

John Konrad
Total Views: 10996
September 4, 2023

by John Konrad (gCaptain) Contrary to popular belief, Maersk is not the world’s largest shipping company, nor is Delta the world’s largest airline. However, both companies have substantial contracts with an organization that is a major player: the Pentagon.

Many in the shipping industry may not fully grasp the vast scale of the US Military’s air and ocean freight operations. The United States Department of Defense stands as the world’s largest ship owner, the world’s largest employer, the foremost logistics organization, and the topmost consumer of energy.

This colossal entity boasts a workforce of nearly 3 million, encompassing active-duty troops, civilian employees, US Merchant Mariners, and National Guard personnel. Serving in various locations globally on a rotational basis, their operations necessitate extensive air and ocean logistics support.

The world’s best-funded military is global, so it needs a transportation network that exceeds that of legitimate, well-known ocean shipping companies but few people understand how military logistics professionals at organizations like Transcom, Military Sealift Command, Air Mobility Command, and MARAD move equipment around the world.

This video by Wendover Productions explains how it all works.

*NOTE The video does get a few small details about prepositions ships wrong. MPSRON One – the prepositioned fleet in the Mediterranean – was deactivated due to budget cuts in 2012 and the US Marine Corps has its own prepositioned ships (they are the ones painted black), which they are in the process of deactivating, apart from the Navy.

The definition of the US Merchant Marine is also not accurate but Wendover can’t be blamed for this considering even top National Security think tanks routinely conflate the US Merchant Marine, US Merchant Service, Strategic Sealift Officers, and Military Sealift Commands’ CIVMARS.

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