U.S. Transportation Command Update|
9/29/2011 - NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (AFNS) -- Remarks from General Duncan McNabb concerning the state of USTRANSCOM during the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition, National Harbor at Oxon Hill, Md., Sept. 21, 2011.
Below is the transcript:
It's great to be back with you all. I can, once again the lights are so bright I can't tell who's sleeping, so I know getting this coveted right after lunch slot always really helps. Everybody's feeling really good and ready to rest up.
What I thought I'd do is, I'm going to have to make up some stories, come up with some stories, because as I look out there I've got so many old friends, old mentors, and I really do have stuff on almost all of you. [Laughter]. I will say, all those deals for the extra dollars, all those things that we went through when I was a programmer, it is time. [Laughter].
What I thought I'd do today is tell you a little story about TRANSCOM. I'm going to take a little time to kind of give you an update, mostly on thinking about things that we're going to try to do for the future, some things that are on the plate to take it to the next level as General Fraser takes over. Things that hopefully we have set the stage so we'll be better even tomorrow, better than we are today, just as we're better today than we were yesterday.
The big part is, you're left at, and the foundation that I got to inherit when I took the helm about three years ago, it was amazing all the things that have been worked so hard over the last 20, 30 years since TRANSCOM was formed, to really kind of take it to the next level and say okay, how do we make this better? We really have learned from really ten years since 9/11 of how we can do this better. I will say that the Air Mobility Command, General Johns right up here in the front, has been at the forefront of everything that has gone on around the world and have been constantly looking for new and better ways to be able to take care of those warfighters, certainly from the air perspective.
From my vantage points as I look across that in many cases what you'll see and what I'll talk about is our ability to bring the joint team together and look at lots of different ways of making sure that General Petraeus and now General Allen; General Odierno, now General Austin; General Maddis and the other combatant commanders, have what they need. Not only the movement of the forces, but then sustaining those forces. And mixing and matching in different ways that we never even really thought about, or if we did, we did it in limited ways. But it really is a great example of an enterprise approach, a great example of the total force using all parts of the total force in ways that have been absolutely complementary and in many cases ground-breaking.
Then our commercial industry partners. Our Civil Reserve Air Fleet and our Maritime U.S. Flag Fleet, and our ability to mix them in and figure out ways to totally utilize and leverage them to max advantage for both the warfighter and the taxpayer. So that's what this story is about.
First slide, please.
The TRANSCOM team. I throw this up because I've got a new member of the team which is the Joint Enabling Capabilities Command. When Joint Forces Command hung up their flag, this is one that General Odierno said this belongs in TRANSCOM because of your ability to move out very quickly and augment the theater combatant commanders to help them not only with lift, but in this case communications, public affairs, and planners. So if you're the Joint Task Force Commander and you're sent to Haiti, like General Keen, he's going to role in there and he's going to say okay, so where's my pros from Dover? Here it is, Joint Enabling Capabilities Command which was an integral part of the Joint Forces Command, now has joined out team. The one thing that they got out of the deal was now they don't worry as much about how they're going to get there. It is amazing what a difference that makes. They said if nothing else that's worth it for them.
From our standpoint it fit very naturally into what we do, especially in the transportation world.
About 150,000 people. If you look at the pie charts you'll notice that we have a fairly small percentage of active duty, so the rest of it we're leveraging. Civilians, total force. When you look at the Military Sealift Command you use this big red, which is civilian, that's those merchant mariners. Like that sixth service, if you will. And play a big role in what we do and making sure that this country has the absolute ability to go to war and go to war quickly.
Then commercial industry. Boy, what a difference they've made. Many folks don't know that when we talk about Afghanistan, that when you take stuff through the Pakistan locks, when you take it by surface, when you take it through there or through the Northern Distribution Network, that is totally being done by our commercial partners and their relationships and their networks around the world.
So you think about how hard that is, and some of these countries we have a little problem with putting U.S. military boots on the ground, but they have no problem with using our commercial partners and their relationships, because obviously it's good for the economy, it's what trade is all about, and I'll tell you what a difference they've made.
So when we talk about the Northern Distribution Network and you say this is all being done commercially, it's pretty amazing. That's the power of that great commercial industry.
You all talk about the tsunami in Japan and the emergency relief of that. A great example of what our industry did. When we turned to them and said we're using T-Tails to move the initial disaster relief equipment, whether that's the crash rescue teams that General Johns had airplanes on alert, went and picked them up down in LA, picked them up here, the Fairfax County team, and took them immediately, and then had a number of C-17s on standby, and C-15s and 130s, but what they were on standby for was as soon as they got a mission, and you can imagine missions like we need you to take a planeload of boron powder to Japan. So immediately when they found out here's what Japan needs, this is what we'll do. The C-17 went and picked that up and then air refueled directly into Japan. That's what you use military airplanes for.
So what then we had to do is say commercial, we're going to have to do a voluntary departure out of Japan based on the radiological levels. We want to make sure that the families are taken care of. But now all of our T-Tails are between, if you think about Libya going on, you think about Japan, you think about the continuous resupply of Iraq and Afghanistan, pretty much all the T-Tails were pretty well, all the military airplanes were pretty well tied up. We turned to industry and said we need an air bridge, we need your help. It was amazing because the part that folks don't talk a lot about, when you think about March -- spring break is an amazing time to ask for commercial lift. [Laughter].
So next to Thanksgiving, next to Christmas, spring break is what airlines size their fleet for.
They have excess capacity other times, but they do not have excess capacity during those times. If they did, they're not in business anymore. That's how tight it is. So when you turn to them and you say we need your help, and I'll tell you, we called on Friday morning and the first airplanes were leaving Japan on Monday. When you think about that, every once in a while somebody goes well gee, that seems like a long time. I go you know, these airplanes aren't sitting around. These airplanes are on missions. But when we called they basically figured out other ways to take care of those customers, paying customers, and basically spent those airplanes, as General Johns said here's where I need you, here's how quickly I need you to set up the air bridge, and as they went, now they picked up, they've got prepositioned crews, all the things that go on with that, and you think about that all the way across the world. Sit there and think about Japan. They did that and started that air bridge on Monday, and was full up by Tuesday. Pretty amazing. But that's the use of the overall commercial team.
Next slide, please.
It is a global network. One of the things that TRANSCOM has is the authority to use its forces around the world, global, so it allows us to move very quickly. And I would say that this is our military folks, the presence that we have. In many cases this is one and two person teams at an embassy or at a port where we're doing port calls. But I will tell you those relationships, those networks are invaluable to the theater combatant commanders that we support because when something goes down like a disaster, it is these folks that jump in, and they already know everybody. What a difference it makes.
Now if I put on our industry partners. If I put them on this slide, this whole thing would fill up because they bring the power of their whole enterprise.
During Haiti, we were sitting there, and obviously the devastation following the earthquake, when we said to commercial industry, can any of you all help us? We had two companies, U.S. flag companies. One was Crowley and one was Crimson, who immediately came back and said we have great, we spend a lot of time in the Caribbean. We have a lot of experience there. Here's what we can do immediately and here's what we might be able to do if you give us a little time. Within 24 hours they had ships sailing to Jacksonville and also to the Port of Miami to begin picking up relief supplies that were being trucked all across the country, a lot of it DLA, that were being flowed to those ports in anticipation that Crimson and Crowley, somebody would be able to help us.
Our other alternative was to activate ships but that was going to take a little bit longer. So amazing, the power they did. In the end they ended up and rebuilt that port. That's what Crowley did. Again, on a phone call, and then some discussion, and 24 hours later they got the ships flowing, and four days later those ships are loaded and heading to Haiti. That's how you help folks in their time of need. Again, the power of our commercial industry.
I tell folks that two things that you can do for this overall industry is the velocity. You have capacity of mass and you have lots of parts to your system. Lots of parts to your enterprise. A lot of folks think it's platforms, but it's not the platforms alone. It's the whole system.
What you want to do is make sure this velocity goes at the right speed. For air, that's normally faster. If you can make it go faster, it's money. If you increase the use rate, decrease ground times, then the power of each asset becomes much more valuable.
For the airline industry, many of you all know Southwest Airlines, but Southwest Airlines, they're turning those airplanes in the chalks faster than their competition, was money. I remember asking Herb about how fast -- Herb Kelleher -- as I was trying to say how fast did you think you could turn, block it in, clean it, block it out. How fast? I remember him saying we thought we could get down to 10 to 12 minutes. I said how close did you get? He said well, we got to 15-16 minutes. Think about that. Block in, get everybody off, clean, get everybody on, block back out. I said well, 16 minutes. What happened? Then the other airlines started complaining because we were moving the airplanes while people were still standing up. To which he said, you know everybody does that. Back then that was pretty normal and everybody. He said that's why you get that announcement every time. We can't move the airplane until everybody sits down, because they made sure that was industry wide.
He also said in his own defense, by the way, when we did move, they did sit down. [Laughter]. I always thought that was just fabulous.
But velocity for airplanes is faster. Velocity for the surface side is normally slow and steady. You want to get it so that it is being metered. You can jam these ports, you can jam this bridge if you will, so what you want to do is get this thing so you can slow it down, you can speed it up, you can make room in case the combatant commander says I need this. This is more important now than what I told you last month. The supply chain, supply line, when you think about going from the States all the way through the whole system, is 60 to 90 days for Afghanistan. So when you say yeah, this is what I want, and I go well, you can't change it for another 60 or 90 days, you can imagine how excited the theater combatant commanders are with that proposition.
So what they say is we need you to be able to adjust when we say. That's your ability to change that velocity, to make room in that pipeline, especially to a place like Afghanistan.
How do you do that? You do that through precision. You do that with command and control. Metrics. Visibility. All those things. Then be able to tweak it as you go. That's what our components are doing and that's what we're doing as far as the overall enterprise, I think, to great success.
This gives you an example of when we were trying to initially get that 30,000 forces that President Obama said I need you to get that in by 31 August, our biggest issue was through-put for the air in Afghanistan. You all know some small airfields. We were using Bagram, Kandahar, and Bastian. Bastian was a very small airfield. A lot of the stuff was going into western Afghanistan in support of the Marines. Bastian is a very very small airfield so we were trying to figure out how are we going to get equipment? In this case, MATVs. Those mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, all terrain, that were being designed for Afghanistan specifically. And when they asked us, hey, you've got to get that in because every time you got that in it literally saved lives. So we were flying every one of these in. As soon as one was manufactured we took it by air all the way into Afghanistan.
Now the question came up, Bastian is a very little airfield. You can kind of see it here, but it had a little horse shoe, you could put one in there and basically had parking in a little horse shoe that if the airplane in front of you didn't get out on time, then you just had to wait. Other than offloading on the runway, it was just very congested. So we said how can we take advantage of this? At this time we were flying C-17s all the way from Charleston. So we said what if, instead of doing this, it requires 40 dedicated C-17s to do this mission. Ground time was 2:15 because of the nature of ground movement, where you could park to offload, and so forth. So ten
C-17s per day at 3 MATVs per plane, we were basically getting 30 MATVs per day into Bastian. Remember, every one that we can get in will save a life.
So basically we said how can we change this? So basically talking to commercial partners --
We basically said well what if we took these into Mazar-e-Sharif, which is an airfield we hadn't used but had just been finished up in the north. It had a new runway, a new international runway. Had a brand new runway that had just been checked out in December. If you remember, that's when the President said go. So we said how can we take advantage of this? We talked to our commercial partners and talked to the theater, CENTCOM, and also ISAF and they said you can come commercially in to Mazar-e-Sharif. We did some things, again, working with industry to be able to do that because of the threat. And they said no, you're going to be good. But the thing is, a single runway and there's a lot going on.
We said what if we use this old runway, back in the C-17, and we had 747s come in, come around this horse shoe, and then we would offload here and put them on C-17s that are backed into these two positions, and then we use that? It works for us. Nobody else was using that. So that's what we did.
We sent in a Joint Task Force Port Opening, they basically ran that portion of the airfield. They were staying completely out of the other side which everybody loves if you say I want to use the part that nobody's using. And sure enough, this became a great success. So commercial 747s which were cheaper, and then we used the
C-17s to now go into Bastian. But now we have a very short leg on the C-17s instead of two hours and fifteen minutes. What we're going to do is, we only need 40 to 45 minutes ground time. We will offload at the end of the runway, we'll get that stuff off, and we'll take off and they will just make circles back and forth between Mazar-e-Sharif and Bastian.
So what happens? Now you've decreased that to 45 minutes, now you can put three C-17s in that 2:15. Now you're getting 30 C-17s per day or 90 MATVs, so you've tripled the effect and taken advantage of that through-put. That's using the assets, all of the assets, in a very different way. This is what Afghanistan pushed us to constantly look for better and better ways to maximize the air fleet.
The other portion here, instead of taking 40 C-17s, this operation took 4. Which means now you have 36 C-17s, now you can go take care of other things in case something like Libya happens, or in case there's a disaster that happens. Like Haiti happened a month later.
I also say it got a little bit better than that, because what we found later was if you did this right you could put five MATVs on each airplane, so each sortie even started delivering more. So we really made money, the warfighter's happier, we're happier, the taxpayer's actually happier. All wins.
Precision. Let me talk about some of the things that we're doing for the future. This primarily has to do with command and control. This had to do with something General Handy had started back when he was the Commander of TRANSCOM. He basically said as part of BRAC we think we can come up with a different way of doing things. Where traditionally we've done, okay, the higher headquarters will verify the requirements, and then they will give it to the components and the components will plan it and execute. It was pretty simple. If it was air we'd turn to AMC and say here it is, and they would then figure out the very best way they could figure out, whether that was commercial air or military air or whatever combination. We did the same thing with the surface, so it was pretty cut and dry.
But what the last ten years has done is say listen, you can really plan these things differently because again, if you think back to that velocity thing, there's sometimes that the priorities are going to change. What we need to do is be able to leverage the whole enterprise and figure out better ways to do that. So one of the things we did was looked at all of our processes, normal things that normal companies do, business process, and look at every part of it and say hey, are there other ways we can get at this? We made it part of the Base Realignment and Closure on saying how can we fuse our operations and maybe bring the planners and the folks that are executing together in a way that has not been done before. Boy, what a difference that's made. So Ray Johns' folks are sitting in there working on the plan with our planners asking the questions they need asked, and then help write the tasking that then General Johns has to execute. Well, it's a little easier if you do it that way.
It used to be we would plan it and we would give them the execute order and then we would have this dialogue back and forth, well that won't work, here's what else we need. Now you're doing it at the very beginning. A huge difference. We also saved a lot of people by doing this fusion, saved about 400 people and a little over a billion dollars. So in the end it was one of those good things to do.
So BRAC moves, set up this fusion center and business process, and here's where we were. Basically what we said is now we need the IT to back this up so that our folks can take full advantage of what industry has found on how do you really make a supply chain hum. So that because AT-21. Agile Transportation 21.
I will say it's been really interesting watching this grow. We had gone through a lot of this over the last ten years, kind of the conceptual architecture. If you're doing a house, this is kind of where we were. The vision, here's what we're trying to get at.
Then we got into the blueprints and started really designing it. That could be the BRAC, that could be the fusion.
Now we're at the final part. We're basically doing the construction. We are in the middle of that, starting to deliver, and you ought to see the difference it's making.
Go ahead, build that on out.
So we have gone through these first couple, but now as we get into okay, here's all the parts of the puzzle and now we're going to take the best of industry and figure out how we can make sure that we can control that velocity and take advantage of places where we can save some money.
This is what it looks like, but I'll only say that there's a lot going on. Every once in a while folks go that TRANSCOM stuff, that mobility stuff, that must be pretty easy stuff because it sure seems to go well. As Admiral Mullen, what he said to us, he came and visited us, and not only did he go through, he said you're satisfying the warfighter, you guys are doing great, but I need you all to talk a little bit about cost. I need to have you think about that a little bit. We said think about cost? Let us show you all the stuff we do on cost. He goes, you know, this is amazing. You guys are like oxygen. We just kind of take it for granted. But just like oxygen, if you don't have it, it's the only thing you can think about and if you don't have it for long, you die. I said Chairman, I think you've got it. It's the life blood of the force. And if you give this and make sure they have the logistics superiority out there, even in a place like Afghanistan, you give those warfighting commanders, those joint task force commanders, those combatant commanders, you give them every advantage to win. And that's what I promised. So I promised General Maddis, General Petraeus, now General Allen. I said my job is to make sure you don't worry about this. We'll figure out how to get it there. It may be more expensive, it may be cheaper. I don't want you to think about that. I don't even need you to worry how we're going to do it because I don't know yet. I may just figure out a commercial way that I can get that all done, and if I asked you about it you'd have looked at me like a pig looking at a wristwatch. So let us take care of it.
That's what this dynamic planning does. It takes all of these things and says how do we do this without doing so much change that it becomes chaos. So how do we do that? So that's where we are. Every once in a while we have Industry Day and FedEx, UPS, all the players came out. We had not only industry, but we also had the maritime industry as well. We had the think tanks and we had academia. Everybody coming in. Everybody's figured out supply chain is huge. Wal-Mart's advantage, Dell's advantage, Target's advantage. It is their dominance of the supply chain. That's where they get their advantage. So they're in there.
I remember folks every once in a while will ask how come you just don't do it as well as FedEx or UPS? Dave Ronzack, the President of FedEx, he stands up and he goes, I just want to tell you, you all do what you do better than anybody in the world. We could never do what you guys are doing. It's not in their part to have to do the resupply over the South Pole. It's not in their job jar. They don't have to figure out how to get the helicopters in to a small airfield in Pakistan in the middle of everything that's going on. They don't have to figure out how to get supplies to a forward operating base under attack in Afghanistan. That's what we do.
But what we do ask them to do is the stuff that fits into their model that works very well, and they can do that better than us. Now we've figured out ways to bring that all together. That's what you see here.
I will just say that as we managed it we had a very program specific, every logistician in the world -- I'll say every service is different, every tribe within every service was different, and every sub-tribe within every tribe, they were different. And they all had a different plan of, and they had some computer expert that goes hey, I've written this out. This is the best way I can do this.
So we had quite a few things. And when you said okay, TRANSCOM, you guys put this all together --
Go ahead and build.
This is those interfaces that we look at. This is only half of them. I'll tell you, I don't know what all this means, but doesn't that look nasty? It looks like a thunderstorm, doesn't it? So every time you said well by the way, we'd like to change this one thing, it meant you had to change all of these interfaces. Every time you changed was a $150,000 to $300,000 for one interface. Can you imagine how hard it is to change from status quo when every time you have to do anything one, you have to coordinate with all those people; can you imagine how many people say oh, yeah, great idea. And then OSD comes back and says where's the money? So this is not a very good model if you're thinking about requirements going up like this, resources coming down like this. So even TC Jones, this is one of the things that got TC. TC said I don't know what to do about this, but this is bad juju.
What we did, and you think about Amazon.com, anybody do Amazon.com where you just go -- This is magic, and I know if I push this button everything in my bank account's going to be stolen and everything else is going to go. Then sure enough, here it comes, it shows up, and you go this is magic. Magic. Basically, instead of using a program approach they use a service approach. They have a single integration point, and what they do is say here's the standards. To fit into us you have to have these basic standards, but once you've had that then we will integrate it here below, and then now you just do all the other stuff and it all works great. So you say that to MasterCard, you say that to any of the people, if you want to be part of this, this is what it takes.
That's what we're doing. That's pretty exciting stuff. When you think about our corporate service vision, that's what it is doing. That single integration point, it is something we've worked with with DLA and said if we can get the data right, get that integration point, then the rest of this plays. Anybody ever done JOPES? Boy, is that fun. It used to be that every time you'd have to do something the hardest part of any contingency was making sure you got the JOPES in. Finally I'd say why don't we just do this with phone calls? That's what you did. So this is going to really change the game.
So we are on this journey for AT-21. Green has already been completed and we are well on our way, this will never be complete. This is one that we'll constantly work at. But I'll tell you what, by taking advantage of industry and setting up that underlying CSP, we just shut down GTN, which is Global Transportation Network. We just shut it down. This is exciting times. I just hope it works, otherwise Will Fraser's in deep trouble. [Laughter].
But here are some of the things they came up with when we talked to industry. So this is dynamic. [Replaying] all the things that you think you need to do to control that velocity.
But now you start bringing in social networking, which you can think about a Haiti, or think about a Katrina, or think about a flood in Pakistan. Think about once you can take advantage of the power of social networking, not only to figure out what's going on, but ideally figuring out how to share resources. Think about the NGOs. Think about how you can take advantage of that. This is the stuff we're in the middle of now. This is kind of cool stuff.
The other one is gaming. We've been talking about, we brought these folks in, the gamers. Think about Sim City. Now I say you get to build the Northern Distribution Network. How are you going to do it? I can get folks to go figure it out. Young folks. They get better at logistics. They get better at all of the options they have. They learn. But then you can actually use it for an operation as people get better and better. Because now you can say hey, I've got 24 hours, give me some different ideas. Now you can start seeing how this might fit together in ways you hadn't even thought.
Now let's talk about sharing resources. One of the hardest things we have is, if you're a support clerk, supply sergeant, supply officer, your only sin is if you have zero. If you have ten and you're only supposed to have one, there's no sin there, no sin. So they all have ten because they want to make sure they don't have zero because they know that's really bad stuff. All the Army guys nod their head, they say you bet. And if you say, will you share that with a buddy, they look at you and go I'm not going to tell my buddy I have it because then he'll want it and I don't want to give it to him because I know if I have zero, I die. If I have ten, I don't die.
So now you've got ten's all over the place. You can imagine using some of these different techniques and being able to share resources. Big dollars for the department.
DPO, Distribution Process Owner. This has to do with our end-to-end. This is what Will Fraser gets to have fun with. As the TRANSCOM commander I have forces to do the inter-theater portion; but as the Distribution Process Owner I control the whole enterprise. I don't own it, but I can make suggestions and say how else can we do, how do we make this better?
Stateside primarily services, DLA. If you think about that. If you think about over the theater, inter-theater, CENTCOM. Final is ISAF. USFORA, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. But if you're at the end of this line, you're that soldier, sailor, marine, airman, coastguardsman, he or she, or if you're a disaster victim, you do not care one iota how this works. You know if you have it or you don't. Black and white. If you don't have it, you don't like to hear all the places and all the scenes that they have. So that's what we do as the DPO is to look and say how do we fix these seams? Because it becomes huge on dollars. It becomes huge on your ability to make sure you prioritize as the combatant commander on the ground needs you to prioritize. That's what we work.
Over the last, since 2003 we saved about $5.6 billion by just doing smart things between the services, by doing that consolidation as the DPO.
I'll just say that we've also invested money over the last couple of years, for the next advance. We ended up with about $60 million. We're headed towards realizing about another $500 million per year. Also increasing velocity by 25 to 45 percent. These are numbers that the business world look at and go hey, that's not bad. Pretty exciting stuff.
Let me just give you an example of the power of being able to take that whole thing together. Some of you have seen this, but I'll just say originally, and I'll use MATVs again as an example. After we did the Mazar-e-Sharif, that initial resupply of Bastian, getting those to the Marines that are going in there at the ground, it was okay, how do we sustain this? This keeps going up and they started saying I think we can build a thousand MATVs per month if you can deliver them.
So in this example, again, we were flying them all, and just as we did Mazer-e-Sharif we were also looking at this option, and then this delivered in the spring.
Basically, fly them all over, all types of different airplanes. This is about the average cost.
Because we had a little bit of time, because they couldn't receive a thousand in theater, we said how about if we put some on ships? We'll get them to the Gulf, and then we'll take them in by air from there. Very similar to the Mazar-e-Sharif, but we're just not using air for that first part, we're using surface.
Brought it into Bahrain, and at night we would convoy them over to Shaikh Isa, put them aboard C-17s, and C-17s then would take them on into Bastian and Kandahar and Bagram. So a thousand a month, air only, $142 million a month. By doing a combination, multi-modal, $26 million per month. $110 million a month saved. Those are big dollars.
The other one is, that freed up, additionally on the C-17, I talked to you about that 3x5, that was when we got our weapon school grads in there. General Johns. They go in there and take a look and they go here's how we can do it with a few changes of tactics. This is what we can do. We can do this safely. Here's how we'll train up the crews and that's become routine.
Not bad. Not bad when you think about that. But again, the biggest thing from my standpoint was we freed up 36 C-17s that now can go do air drop and things like that. Huge on what it can do.
So the power of this, and you can imagine, we're now doing multi-modal on a lot of different operations, moving Strykers, anything else that we can think of, if we can do multi-modal you get that savings that you get by surface and you're using air for that last part where perhaps you've got to jump over the hurdles that are otherwise in your way.
This last year we saved $3 billion overall, which I kind of look at folks. I keep bringing this up to the folks in OSD and say if you could let us take a little of that and reinvest it into our enterprise. I will say they never question me when I say here's $3 billion that I'll give back to you. But when I go to Bill Davis and say can I have like $10 million to go do something smart? He goes you know, $10 million is a lot of money. [Laughter]. I'll just throw that out. That hasn't changed. When the programmers, TCU used to steal this money in a second.
Obviously if you can slow us down it will be to your advantage. We have a lot of folks out there trying to figure out how you can slow us down logistically because it is in their interest. But the other one is, if you can figure out what we're doing logistically, you can figure out what we're doing operationally. And I will say that's on the cyber side. I will say whether it's piracy or IEDs or surface-to-air missiles, trying to stay ahead of this is the thing I lose sleep at night about. So I will just say this is a constant battle and it's one that we'll stay always on and always focused on.
A couple quick on Afghanistan and I just want to save five minutes at the end.
I told you about Afghanistan. Again, if you wanted to pick a country -- They used to say that if, back when we were working on C-17s and making the case that we needed this thing that could get into small airfields and get back up and do all terrain. They said, like when would you need that? I said, well, like if we had to go do something in Afghanistan. Can you imagine in the '90s everybody looking at me and going Afghanistan? I'm sure. Give me a break. Why don't you just pick the hardest place in the world. So we did.
Here's Afghanistan. Surrounded by the highest mountains in the world; very interesting neighbors; but most importantly, from my standpoint and I'll make sure I pass this on to General Fraser, a quote that Secretary Gates said to me when he handed me the flag. It was this quote at the bottom, "My logisticians are a humorous lot. They know if my campaign fails, they will be the first ones I will slay." Then he said, "Good luck, Duncan." And came to give me the flag.
I remember going, could we talk about the slay clause just a little bit longer? Because ever since then that slay clause has come up. But the big part was, if you only have one way to get into Afghanistan by surface, perhaps you're on that edge of being slayed, because if we have a problem, and we were having problems in Pakistan, and trying to get the stuff through, whether it was threat, theft or attack or pilferage, or weather just slowing you down, this was a very vulnerable position to be in.
When we started, 80 percent of our stuff came in by surface through Pakistan, through the Port of Karachi, then up the roads, and then into Afghanistan. Everything high value, everything lethal, everything sensitive, we brought in by air. So we had a little bit higher than normal, 20 percent by air. But again, still pretty vulnerable.
Then we began to build the Northern Distribution Network. Starting through the Caucasus. Immediately after that Russia came aboard and said we'd like to help for this sustainment of resupply. So we began to diversify the portfolio. You see that as we just, each year we would get more folks. Again, our industry is the one that would come and say, countries came and said we'd like to play. All of this came together. And as we finally ended up, we ended up having one come through Siberia. We've had over 50,000 containers delivered, but I'll tell you, a great story of the interagency and how well that played.
Today we sit with 35 percent by air, you might say it went from 20 to 35 percent. You all now know the answer of why that is. Multi-modal, because we made that make more sense. So now we have stuff that is of less value than before but still high value. Now we put that on the multi-modal. Thirty-five percent on the NDN and 30 percent on the pack lock. So now you've got a situation where if somebody wants to leverage you, you go listen, we appreciate all your help you've given us, you are useful but not essential. We have other ways of getting this. And this is what you want to do, is make sure we give the theater commander options so that he knows that one thing is not going to end the day.
Air drop, I think General Johns probably covered this. I'll just say that this going from 2005 and two million to approaching 100 million this year, this is where freeing up those C-17s so that they're taking care of that military mission makes all the difference. Same thing with the 130s.
Lots of opportunities here, lots of things going on. I wanted to show you, again, he probably talked about the joint precision air drop system and the ability to deliver on a dime using a square chute and a GPS. But the other one is low altitude/low cost, where it doesn't cost much, all disposable. So what you want to do is say we will get it to you. We'll figure out the best way. If we can get it to you cheap, we'll get it to you cheap. If it takes [inaudible], we'll take care of that. But the part that we're getting to now is the high speed CDS which the Special Ops folks use. This allows you to drop at 250 knots at 250 to 300 feet. We had to redesign the chutes. C-17 and the 130-Js have the heavier tails that can handle that. But you can imagine how much easier that is for folks that fly air drop, having flown a lot, your most vulnerable time is when you slow down to 150 or 130 knots for passengers or troops, and as you slow down, that's when you're the most vulnerable. So I'll just say huge on that, and what a difference that's going to make. General Johns is in the middle of making sure that comes home and I'm hoping it will be all done before I leave in two weeks. I'm sure it's right around the corner.
Another one that's real exciting is the Arctic Overflight. I'll just say the fact that we can use that, Chicago to Manas, Chicago to Bagram is about 12-13 hours. You change the game because you don't have to make that additional stop like in Europe or in the Pacific because you go directly over the top. Most of us have not done that, and I will just say that getting Russia and Kazakhstan and the other countries to say yes, one of the things that the President actually played directly in and asked about, and pretty cool. Pretty cool when you think about what opportunities. And we're still trying to figure it out. It's a little different than any of our experiences, but I'll tell you what, you save big dollars by doing this.
I think I'm just going to -- Last year I showed this to you and I'll just say that we get asked some very demanding things. We need to get 30,000 troops in by 31 August, and when you talk about what might happen, I briefed this last year to you, here's the kinds of things that happen in addition to trying to get those forces in by 31 August.
This year was no different. I'll just say that when we think about March Madness, and again I think you probably talked about March Madness, I know that one of the panels talked about that today.
I'll just say it is amazing how quickly you're going to have to pivot this enterprise. So what we're trying to do is design it so that you can use all parts of the enterprise very rapidly and pivot it between theaters. Whether that's Libya in a no-fly zone, whether that's aiding Japan in its time of need, whether that's helping with, as the President visits South America and then we've got to move the tankers across to another assignment, to the constant resupply and needs of ISAF in Afghanistan and also bringing the forces out of Iraq. What you want to do is be able to leverage this, move it, and expand it when needed. I'll tell you what, it has stood up magnificently.
March was the first time that I ever remember in my whole career that every combatant commander had a Priority One mission. The first time ever. And yet the ability of not only General Johns but our other components to be able to swivel and use all parts of the puzzle was absolutely superb. Our promise is that when the President says go, we go, in support of those combatant commanders that are out there.
I'll just end with hybrid air ships, and I'll just say that this is one of those next opportunities that I think might make a huge difference.
It is very different. I'll tell you what, rather than go through all of them I'll just say that this becomes very cost-effective and it fills a very very good niche. When you think about, it's about three times as expensive as normal surface. It's about one-third the cost of normal air. And much less expensive than EVOS.
When you think about it, if you can think about ships, think about fixed wing air, think about this being one of those things that can fit right in between and really make a difference.
It is different than this. I've gotten to fly the Navy airship. Buoyancy control becomes a little different, but I'm pretty amazed. Plus I really wanted to make sure I had done that before I came here because I can look at everybody and say anybody else flown an airship? Yeah, Igor. Put your hand down. [Laughter]. But you see, what a difference it made.
I will say, it's more like a barge than it is like a balloon. If you think about a barge and how it doesn't fit everything but it fits very nicely in some things, that's exactly what it does. Versatile, accessible, durable, economical. This really may be one of those game-changers for the future.
I'll just say some day, later, I'll have General Fraser come -- When you talk about the dollars and the cost, it really does become economical.
Just go to the end.
In essence, that's what this is about. Get the warfighter to the fight, sustain them while they're there, support rapid maneuver, and then bring them home. But the bottom line is we want to make sure everybody knows that we will get it done. Not only will we get it done today, we're looking to the future to figure out how we do this. We measure our success through the eyes of the warfighter. It is about them. It is about their plan. It is about giving them the flexibility they need and make sure they do not worry about this part.
I think that's the neatest thing of all. At the end of this we know there's a soldier, sailor, marine or airman that absolutely depends on us. This person is betting that we will be there. They are [inaudible] and we must always, always deliver for them.
When I think about the soldier, sailor, marine or airman at the end of that line it reminds me of Chaplain Baldwin and you think about these brave young Americans that raise their hand for freedom. You think of the celebration we just had on 9/11 and the honor that we gave to the great people that have done so much. Obviously a time when we not only had to remember but also honor the great way folks came together across this nation and said we will stand up to this great evil.
They'll have heard me talk about 9/11. Talk about everybody knows where they were. And I will say on 2 May of this year, after almost ten years, Osama bin Laden was found in his lair and taken care of. I think all of us had a chance to think about what that meant. Not only ten years, but do you know that from the first, the very first break and perhaps how we can track him down, and you know there were lots of places that everybody was looking, but four years from the time that folks got that first clue and started chasing that down. And everything that had to go, and whether that's the intel community, whether that's the special ops community, whether that is the direct support of the operations across the board, whether that's the day-to-day operations that we did that helped flush people, all of those things as we methodically figured out where he was, and took care of that.
One of the sisters of one of the folks that was killed in the Twin Towers said it very well. She said I take great comfort from the fact that the last thing that Osama bin Laden thought about on this earth was the Americans have come.
So when that SEAL team said Geronimo, we have him. You can imagine what that meant. But that meant that we sent an unmistakable message to potential adversaries that if you attack our people or you attack our freedom, we will come, and we will change your world.
But it is that same capability and capacity that allows us to come to the needs of our friends in their time of need like Japan following the tsunami, or Pakistan following the flood, or Haiti following the earthquake. That's what's so tremendous about this. We have these great young Americans that when the nation said, "Who shall we send, who will go for us?" great young Americans raised their hand for freedom and said, "Here I am, send me."
They are forever changed. They know that they have ridden to the sound of the guns; they know that they have been tested under fire; and they know that they have been found worthy. No matter what they do the rest of their life, it is indeed the next greatest generation.
As you look at all these young folks, and I look out and I go God, this is a great thing to be part of.
It reminds me of Chaplain Baldwin, who as many of you all who went to the Air Force Memorial Ceremony, he says it very well. "When it is dark the stars come out. Stars are always present, you just can't seem them all the time. It is absolutely true in the tragic moments of human history when brave women and men are called to fight against the darkness of aggression and terrorism, the stars come out. And when it is the darkest is when the stars shine most brightly."
Every generation has asked the question, where do we find these people? But when freedom and security are at risk, the stars always come out.
So let our friends and allies know that we will be there in their time of need. And let our potential adversaries know that if they attack freedom, we will come, and we will prevail, and this beacon of freedom and this hope from all mankind will go on for generations to come just as it has for generations before.
It's great to be with you all. God bless you. Thanks for what you do.