How Does The Pentagon’s Massive Global Transportation System Work?
by John Konrad (gCaptain) Despite popular opinion, Maersk is not the world’s largest shipping company and Delta is not the world’s largest airline. But both do have massive contracts with the organization that is: The Pentagon.
Few people in the shipping industry understand the full extent of the US Military’s air and ocean freight operations. The United States Department of Defense is the world’s largest ship owner, the world’s largest employer, the world’s largest logistics organization, and the world’s biggest consumer of energy.
Nearly 3 million employees sit on this roster, including active-duty troops, civilian staffers, US Merchant Mariners, and National Guard personnel. These staff work all around the world on a rotating basis, which requires enormous amounts of air and ocean logistics.
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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