SDDC’s Total Force: People Are Our Strategic Advantage
Commanding General Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen addresses members of the SDDC headquarters workforce, including active-duty and Reserve Soldiers, government civilians and contractors, at an SDDC Town Hall held at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
By MG Stephen E. Farmen, USA, Commanding General, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC)
round the globe, SDDC performs operations supporting the warfighter with a Total Force made up of trusted professionals from the active-duty and Reserve components, government civilians, contractors and local national employees, and our fourth component, commercial industry partners.
SDDC is both the Army Service Component Command to the US Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) and a major subordinate command to the US Army Materiel Command (AMC). We are a key member of USTRANSCOM’s Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise (JDDE) and the global intermodal surface connector, harmonizing the kinetics between the JDDE and AMC’s Materiel Enterprise, at echelon, by connecting surface warfighting requirements through distribution network nodes to the point of need.
Our Army’s readiness is at the highest point that it has been for a long time, and our Surface Warriors work hard to connect the kinetics to keep it that way. SDDC’s Total Force Surface Warriors are the connective tissue that binds this whole distribution network together, and it takes a professional, skilled and extremely dedicated workforce to make this a reality. Simply put, our people are our strategic advantage.
SDDC’s active-duty force is manned, equipped and trained, and geographically positioned to ensure warfighting readiness. They provide surface mobility options to ensure strategic readiness, instill confidence in our Allies and mission partners, deter our enemies, and support warfighting requirements to the point of need.
With five active-duty transportation brigades and their subordinate battalions located throughout Europe, Asia, the Pacific and the continental United States, these units do not need to deploy to support Combatant Commanders because they are already there, ready to deliver readiness and lethality.
SDDC’s US Army Reserve force, the Deployment Support Command (DSC), provides SDDC with an integrated Total Force capability that is critical to sustaining our readiness. Half our strength and power resides in the DSC, and the integration of SDDC’s active and Reserve components is a primary capability that enables our mission readiness.
The DSC brings significant capability to the fight and supports SDDC operations by providing four Reserve transportation brigades and an Expeditionary Rail Center. Operationally controlled by SDDC and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, the DSC is a direct-reporting command of the 377th Theater Support Command, located in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.
By consolidating all Army Reserve surface mobility units under a single organization and providing mission command, technical training and readiness oversight, the Surface Warriors of DSC are key enablers for SDDC.
The majority of SDDC’s workforce is made up of government civilians. Often, when civilians are discussed, the one thing that is always mentioned is that they provide the force with continuity. Within SDDC, that is indeed true. However, the civilian Surface Warriors of SDDC provide far more than just continuity—they provide the leadership and expertise required to maintain and execute the many specialized systems and programs the command requires to deliver readiness and lethality.
When SDDC’s missions occur outside the continental United States, we often rely on a special set of civilians—local national employees, also known as host-country nationals—to help bridge the gap between host nations and the command. SDDC employs over 230 local nationals to assist its brigades, battalions and detachments. These Surface Warriors are essential to our long game. They bring continuity, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the community and language capabilities, that allows SDDC to successfully operate within their respective regions.
Some of our local nations have worked in their SDDC jobs for decades and they are an important part of the SDDC Surface Warrior Family. They share, along with their military and government civilian counterparts, camaraderie as part of a supportive and cohesive team which is based on mutual trust and a shared identity as Surface Warriors.
SDDC’s fourth component, our commercial carriers and industry partners, performs an indispensable role in SDDC’s success. Commercial carriers and partners contribute approximately 88 percent of continental US land transport and 80 percent of global sealift for USTRANSCOM’s global mobility capability. They provide expertise, capability and professionalism, and their continued support, coordination and synchronization is vital to our ability to deliver readiness and lethality in support of our Nation’s objectives. They are more than just partners, they are critical members of the SDDC team.
In today’s complex and unpredictable world, Surface Warriors are unified in our purpose to move, deploy, and sustain the Armed Forces to deliver readiness and lethality at S.P.E.E.D.
Strategic in execution, being “left of boom”
Power projection, which is what we do
Enabling war-fighting readiness
Experts in intermodal operations
Dynamic force employment
When we get those elements of speed right, we move at the speed of war, the speed of assembly, the speed of documentation, the speed of trust, and then we move at the speed of relevance.
SDDC responsively projects power by effectively integrating, synchronizing and providing global deployment and distribution capabilities in support of our Nation’s objectives around the globe. The Surface Warriors who make up SDDC’s Total Force team, and the diverse capabilities they bring to our mission, provide the command with a strategic advantage that cannot be matched.