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Command at Scott Air Force Base now responsible for transporting all military fuel

U.S. Transportation Command
U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base will now plan the movement of any amount of military fuel more than 52 gallons.

U.S. Transportation Command, based at Scott Air Force Base, has a new responsibility as the sole manager of the military’s bulk fuel supply around the world.

This designation from the Department of Defense gives TRANSCOM another related responsibility, as the command already coordinates moving the nation's troops and military supplies, among other duties.

“This is just a huge shift in terms of how the Department of Defense views global bulk fuel,” TRANSCOM Col. Daniel Mendoza said. “When we talk about how we plan, posture and execute global bulk fuel operations, this is really a paradigm shift in terms of how we look at that problem set.”

The official assignment to plan the movement of any amount of fuel more than 52 gallons came in early May after Congress passed and the president signed last year’s National Defense Authorization Act.

Leaders at the command celebrated their new mission at a ceremony on Monday.

This new designation will triple or quadruple the number of employees at TRANSCOM’s fuel office over the next year. Mendoza said the office has about 15 workers right now. One set of employees, known as fuel integration and synchronization officers, will also be stationed at 10 other command locations around the globe.

“This new mission set basically leverages what TRANSCOM is already doing,” Mendoza said.

Previously, the U.S. military either acquired fuel from local suppliers wherever it was needed or the military shipped and transported it through a variety of means. That, however, was planned through a service known as the Defense Logistics Agency, which has locations scattered across the country.

Under the new arrangement, all the planning responsibility shifts to TRANSCOM, which will continue to use some of the existing means of preparing and delivering large amounts of fuel around the world.

This assignment is all part of the Defense Department’s combat readiness plan, which aims for the military to be prepared for conflict at a moment's notice.

The changing style of modern military conflicts also show the importance of protecting supply chains during battle, said Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, commander of TRANSCOM.

“TRANSCOM’s core competencies of global distribution, command and control and prioritization can project and sustain a joint force at any time and location — wherever the mission needs us to go," said Van Ovost, who knows well how the U.S. military has supplied the Ukrainian government during its ongoing war with Russia.

Mendoza said logistics studies and war games conducted by the military showed strategic gaps in its previous plans regarding transporting fuel. The hope is that the new assignment combines the proven basis of the previous system and TRANSCOM’s added logistics capabilities.

“It really took the best of both worlds,” he said.

Daniel Mendoza smiles, as Jacqueline Van Ovost speaks.
Will Bauer
St. Louis Public Radio
In front of a poster board detailing U.S. Transportation Command's assignment, Col. Daniel Mendoza, left, and Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost talk on Monday.

Will Bauer is the Metro East reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.