A moving experience: New navy transportation tool takes off

Aug 05, 2013

In a significant advance for military transportation, a new web-based tool sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) brings an Expedia-like search capability to Navy planners looking to move personnel or equipment around the world quickly and affordably.

The Transportation Exploitation Tool (TET) is software that allows transportation planners to easily find available space among the thousands of military and commercial flights, and ship movements, that take place each day. In so doing, it enables supplies or personnel to get to a destination in the quickest, most efficient way possible—and provides the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard significant cost savings at the same time.

The new system has already saved the naval services more than $30 million in transportation costs to date, even in limited use, officials say. When fully implemented, savings estimates range to over $200 million over 10 years.

"This system is truly revolutionary," said Bob Smith, program manager at ONR. "TET uses advances in technology to provide outstanding optimization of available flights and ship routes, saving our logisticians enormous amounts of time—and that can literally mean saving lives."

An example of how TET works: Imagine a scenario where a U.S. Navy ship in a foreign port urgently needs a particular engine part to complete its mission. TET allows the user to simply enter what cargo needs to be shipped and where it's going, and then provides the planner with all available space on transports across military and commercial sectors, with recommendations for the most efficient routes.

Previously, planners had to search multiple databases to access all civilian and military space availabilities, which could require hours or even days. In the worst cases, separate flights had to be chartered.

"TET will give our Sailors and Marines a better, faster and more efficient planning system," said Smith. "An automated tool to perform transportation planning using the most opportune lift assets has been a serious capability gap for our warfighters."

The cloud-based system, which recently transitioned to the Financial and Air Clearance Transportation System program of record, is now being supported by the U.S. Transportation Command for joint use.

In a sign of how important TET's capability will be for the Navy, the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics, Vice Adm. Phil Cullom, last month named Greg Butler, who was the driving force behind TET's development at Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP), as the 2012 Adm. Stan Arthur Award winner. The prestigious award recognizes military and civilian personnel who epitomize excellence in logistics planning and execution.

"There has been a real need to get things to the fleet faster and more efficiently," said Butler, "and without breaking the bank in this austere fiscal environment. The naval services continue to work on ways to save money and give our Sailors and Marines every advantage we can."

The system was developed with coordinated support from several ONR teams, including the Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department, Swampworks and Technology Insertion Program for Savings, with NAVSUP in the lead.

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