USTRANSCOM History

United States Transportation Command - A Summary

The United States Transportation Command, located at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., was established in 1987 and is one of nine U.S. unified commands. As the single manager of America's global defense transportation system, USTRANSCOM is tasked with the coordination of people and transportation assets to allow our country to project and sustain forces, whenever, wherever, and for as long as they are needed.

Responding to the needs of the Department of Defense's warfighting commanders is USTRANSCOM's No. 1 priority. Composed of three component commands -- the Army's Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, the Navy's Military Sealift Command and the Air Force's Air Mobility Command -- USTRANSCOM skillfully coordinates missions worldwide using both military and commercial transportation resources.

The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, is a unique Army command with the global mission to provide deployment and distribution services in support of the Department of Defense. The command's services reach beyond seaports, to the hazardous roads into Afghanistan, the railroads of Iraq, the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and anywhere American combat boots touch the ground. Serving as DOD's global surface transportation expert, SDDC plans, books, ships, and tracks cargo; conducts port operations; and manages personal property and privately owned vehicle moves for warfighters and other federal employees and their families.

Military Sealift Command, USTRANSCOM's sealift component, provides efficient sea transportation worldwide for DOD in peace and war. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., MSC uses a mixture of government-owned and commercial ships for three primary functions for USTRANSCOM: Surge sealift, principally used to move unit equipment from the United States to theaters of operations all over the world for contingencies; prepositioned sealift, some of which comes under USTRANSCOM's command once the ships have been released into the common-user fleet; and sustainment sealift, the life line to keep deployed forces continuously supplied. MSC assets include: Large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships, or LMSRs, and Ready Reserve Force ships. In addition, MSC charters commercial ships when needed.

Air Mobility Command, the air component of USTRANSCOM, is also located at Scott Air Force Base. The AMC fleet provides aerial refueling capability, aeromedical evacuation, and delivers people and cargo anywhere around the globe in a matter of hours. Aircraft assets of the command include: C-17 Globemaster III, C-5 Galaxy, KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender. Additional commercial airlift aircraft are available during national emergencies through the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, committed to supporting the transportation of military forces and material in times of crisis.

Because USTRANSCOM must respond quickly in support of U.S. objectives worldwide, the command must focus its attention across the full spectrum of support from humanitarian operations to contingencies. Recently, USTRANSCOM supported humanitarian missions such as the devastating earthquake in Haiti, flooding in Pakistan, the Deep Horizon gulf oil spill, and participated in numerous Joint Chiefs of Staff exercises. USTRANSCOM's land, sea and air assets continue to support major operations, such as Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.