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Improvements in Container Management Training

As the Global Container Manager, the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command has improved the quality and availability of container management training through a variety of online tools.

Logistics is directly related to military mission success in short- and long-term conflicts. The movement of supplies in full-spectrum operations has to keep up with the operational tempo and must be flexible based on the battlespace. Containers give the Armed Forces' logisticians the ability to meet these two very critical requirements.

Over the past few years, containers have become a major focus of the Department of Defense (DOD). DOD regulations and joint and Army publications have been changed to address the need for better container management. This shift in focus has caused a major change in how we train our Soldiers in container management.

Container management training for DOD employees is what supports the transition to, and incorporation of, new and diverse technologies in the field. The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), which was designated as the Global Container Manager (GCM) by the U.S. Transportation Command, is responsible for training and educating the container management community. GCM works with all of the services and the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to ensure that Soldier training and doctrine meet the new DOD container management requirements.

Container Management Smartbook

Container Management Training Online
GCM created a distance learning container man-agement training course, available through the Army Enterprise Lifelong Learning Center, to close the training gap for deploying Soldiers. This web-based training was deployed in June 2010 and has been completed by more than 3,107 students. The training also has been adopted by country container authorities in Southwest Asia as a prerequisite to receiving access to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Container Management System for tracking and accounting for containers.

This training is now part of the mandatory systems training for deploying country container authorities and container control officers into CENTCOM. It serves as the prerequisite course for all continental United States training conducted by GCM.

The opportunities for our armed forces to receive container management training are better than before, but GCM continues to find ways to reach as many Soldiers as possible before deployment. The training section of GCM has created another training platform through Defense Connect Online (DCO). By using DCO, GCM can train deploying units by setting up accounts for them at their home stations. This platform provides effective training while cutting travel and lodging costs normally associated with a training team's travel to the military facility to conduct this training.

Container management training materials

Container Management Training Working Group
GCM also has established a training working group with the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff, G–4; the Army Logistics University (ALU) Noncommissioned Officer Academy; and the Transportation Management Coordinator Course at the Army Transportation School at Fort Lee, Virginia. This working group is designed to facilitate leader development at every logistics level.

The working group realized that container management training must be taught to give Soldiers a higher percentage of mission success in container management tasks. The courses currently provide container management training for ALU and Army Transportation School students, but this working group's focus is to enhance training based on the current operating tempo of containers being used in Southwest Asia.

Container Management Training App
The Combined Arms Support Command's Sus-tainment Center of Excellence (SCoE) has developed an optimum training platform that trains Soldiers while keeping their creative minds energized. In a collaborative effort, SCoE Mobile and GCM launched the first container management training available in the form of a mobile application (app). The product, released 1 July 2011, is called the Integrated Booking System Container Management Module and can be downloaded directly to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

The app includes the integrated Container Man-agement Smartbook created by GCM that covers container topics ranging from procurement to disposal. The smartbook provides current training aids and up-to-date DOD container regulations and policies all in one place. This app eliminates the need for Soldiers to carry large and pocket-sized manuals and gives them easy access to training materials, guidance, or process validation at a minute's notice.

The application is free through Apple's App Store. To download the application, users must connect to the Internet and type "container management" into the search bar. When the search results become available, they should select "Integrated Booking System Container Management Module."

GCM continues to "lean forward" to find more training platforms and innovative technology that not only meet the needs of the container management community but also capture the attention and interest of today's Soldiers.

Thomas Catchings is the Programs and System Program Manager for Global Container Management with the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. He holds a B.A. degree from Alabama State University and is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. He is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College's Civilian Advanced Course and the Civilian Education System Foundation and Basic Courses.

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