Logistics Security —: a critical mission in force protection

Logistics Security —: a critical mission in force protection – LOGSEC

Chester S. Lemanski, Jr.

Each day, the Department of Defense (DOD) provides worldwide support to our forces through a logistics system designed to get the equipment, supplies, and munitions from manufacturers, through the military depot system, to the troops on the front line. The supply system never stops–the movement of military freight, like the national defense mission it supports, is a 24/7/365-operation. This is accomplished by using commercial railroads, motor freight carriers, airlines, inland waterways, pipelines, package delivery services, the U.S. Postal Service, and merchant vessels. At any given moment, there are hundreds of sensitive munitions shipments moving on the country’s roads and rails. Many thousands of additional shipments move daily by all modes of transport. Law enforcement’s support to the logistics system is, of necessity, an around-the-clock operation.


Several major military commands play critical roles in this system. The Army Materiel Command (AMC) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) develop and procure the weapons systems and supplies. Each relies on the defense transportation system to move the supplies to the depots and troops in the field. This system is comprised of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command (AMC), the Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC), and the Army’s Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC). All three of these organizations are subordinate to the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), a joint DOD command located at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Military shippers worldwide rely on MTMC for the surface movement of their cargo. Operating through its subordinate element–the MTMC Operations Center (MTMC OC), at Fort Eustis, Virginia–MTMC receives the requirements for transportation from installation transportation officers (ITOs) and books the cargo with commercial trucking firms, railroads, and other transportation operators. These commands are the “customers” for law enforcement support operations.

Further, whenever the military conducts training exercises at centralized training facilities such as the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California; deploys troops overseas; or redeploys overseas troops to their continental U.S. (CONUS) home stations, MTMC OC handles the movements of the units’ equipment. It deals with the commercial carriers directly, or with the MSC, to charter vessels required for outside CONUS (OCONUS) moves. This command also exercises control of the military out ports in CONUS, the Caribbean, and the Army Reserve transportation units including the MP terminal security companies (TSCs)–the law enforcement components.

The movement of critical military supplies and equipment renders the war materials susceptible to theft or sabotage by criminals, terrorists, or opposing military forces. This is where the Corps plays a vital role in enhancing the security of military property moving through the transportation system. The mission is termed LOGSEC.

LOGSEC is a component of the overall force protection concept addressing the security and integrity of the logistics systems, especially the transportation system. Its mission includes the totality of military law enforcement activities to support the logistics system, and it potentially involves all of the Corps’s assets.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC) coordinates the overall efforts that support the LOGSEC mission. CID elements located on Army installations coordinate with supported unit commanders to ensure that troop and equipment movements are accomplished with minimal exposure to hostile elements. This is especially critical in view of the contemporary concept of force protection in a period of austere budgets. A deploying force must be ready to fight-to-win upon arrival in a theater of war. This necessitates the successful shipment and arrival of all their supplies and equipment–both intact and in a serviceable condition.

The Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU) of the 701 st MP Group, USACIDC, participates in the LOGSEC mission by providing the special agents who liaison with MTMC, the MTMC OC, and USTRANSCOM. These agents ensure the timely and effective communication of troop and equipment movement data from the logisficians to law enforcement. They coordinate effective LOGSEC support for the moves and provide law enforcement expertise to supported commands. They are also law enforcement professionals capable of providing these commands with interface among local, state, federal, and commercial law enforcement authorities and the military.

MPFU also investigates major procurement or contract fraud. This aspect of their mission ensures that equipment and supplies entering the logistics pipeline are compliant with specifications and suitable for use by our forces. Safety is also of concern here–defective, inoperable, or sub-specification equipment can jeopardize life and limb among our service members or deny them the ability to defend themselves adequately. Storing and shipping defective supplies and equipment are also a costly waste of precious resources. Each year, the MPFU successfully investigates and enables the prosecution of numerous defense contractors and their dishonest officials. Millions of dollars are saved, and defective equipment is removed from the inventory.

CID agents routinely contribute to the security posture of the nation’s commercial and military transportation infrastructures by participating in routine and special LOGSEC operations. The operations include the following:

* Crime prevention surveys (CPSs).

* Logistics system threat assessments.

* Criminal activity threat assessments.

* Economic crime activity threat assessments.

* Criminal activity threat estimates.

* Special security and vulnerability assessments.

A recent example was conducted to support MTMC. CID agents from the MPFU were assigned to three joint-assestment teams comprised of experts in logistics, munitions safety, and LOGSEC operations. MTMC organized the teams under the auspices of its Force Protection Division. The experts came from MTMC, USACIDC, USTRANSCOM, and the Department of the Navy. Team members spent 2 weeks on the road, CONUSwide, to assess the vulnerability of some 31 commercial motor-carrier terminals used for the temporary parking and storage of DOD-sponsored sensitive munitions shipments. The agents were particularly concerned with law enforcement intelligence and coordination among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and trucking terminal operators. This project successfully identified weaknesses in terminal operations and resulted in recommendations to increase law enforcement involvement and develop a new set of terminal security requirements.

Troop movements, whether deployments or redeployments, pose a major challenge to the secure movement of military property. Movements are often intermodal, that is, freight is moved on more than one mode of transportation–like truck, rail, and sealift. Each change of mode requires handling and increases property vulnerability. Further, such movements now often involve elements of several components of the overall force–Active, Reserve, and National Guard. This circumstance creates situations where the movements involve multiple origin points or destination points upon redeployment. Coordination among all military law enforcement components is necessary.

Predeployment planning and in-progress meetings, attended by all interested parties, are critical to successful LOGSEC operations. Obvious, and sometimes obscure, problems are identified and addressed. Specific responsibilities are delineated and intelligence is shared. Comprehensive premovement coordination often makes for strange bedfellows. This is particularly tree in view of the fact that DOD often uses contracted commercial water-port facilities and stevedore services. These realities may result in commercial terminal management representatives, longshoremen’s union officials, and waterfront commission representatives being involved in the premovement coordination sessions.

Foreign-flag vessels are often contracted by MSC to perform the actual overseas movements of the equipment. Recent movements involved a Saudi flag vessel with a British captain and a substantially Iraqi crew. Another recent redeployment move involved a Jamalcan flag vessel with a permanent, all-Russian crew. U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and FBI intelligence elements should be involved in view of this circumstance. FBI involvement resulted in the removal of two crewmembers from one of these vessels before it was allowed to sail.

Our vessels sail from ports that are under the jurisdiction of the USCG. Its involvement in premovement planning is essential, especially regarding waterside security for vessels in port. The USCG has the authority to establish security zones around berthed vessels upon request by MTMC. These security zones may be enforced by armed USCG vessels and boarding parties. Waterside security cannot be underestimated. The USS Cole incident is testimony to that.

Finally, military contractor representatives may be involved in LOGSEC operations planning and execution. This is true in cases such as the manufacturer of the radio frequency tag (RFT) system for RFTs applied to equipment and seavans during movement. These tags register when passing a monitoring station and verify the onward progress of the tagged cargo element.

The logistics system is highly dependent on automated information technology systems. Naturally, such critical systems are logical enemy targets. Law enforcement’s answer to this threat is the Computer Crime Investigative Unit (CCIU) of the 701st MP Group. This unit has highly trained agents who are also computer experts equipped with the latest technology for battling hackers and saboteurs. Their mission is termed information assurance enforcement and is critical to maintaining our information flow integrity in the contracting, supply, and transportation arenas. Refer to Lieutenant Colonel Carl Hunt’s article on page 37 for a closer look a the CCIU.

Once military equipment and supplies have been successfully transported OCONUS, the LOGSEC mission continues. In-theater MP resources and deployed CID elements continue the mission from in-theater land transport to intermediate supply points, to forward supply points, and ultimately into the hands of the fighting force. This may be in either a limited conflict scenario or major theater-of-war environment.

Another consideration in LOGSEC operations is the pre-positioned afloat fleet of cargo vessels. The pre-positioned afloat program involves a fleet of MSC-owned and -operated vessels, augmented by a fleet of chartered commercial cargo vessels or floating warehouses. These vessels carry a wide range of military supplies and equipment–howitzers to bottled water. Each of the regular Army-sponsored vessels contains sufficient equipment and supplies to provision an entire division for 30 days. Specialized vessels carry heavy pieces of equipment, including Army Transportation Corps harbor craft such as tugs, barges, and amphibious craft. This equipment is necessary to establish new logistics-over-the-shore operations (open beach out pons or logistics beachheads). Both the Army-sponsored and other service-sponsored vessels periodically use Army out ports to rotate and maintain their cargo. Vessel and port security, as well as the security of the cargo while on the ground, are of concern in the LOGSEC context. CID involvement in intelligence gathering operations, such as the USTRANSCOM Joint Intelligence Center and coordination with antiterrorism task forces, is essential.

Supply diversion prevention and blackmarket counteroperations are not new concepts to Army law enforcement. The prevention and detection of supply thefts by foreign adversaries, U.S. military or civilian support personnel, and local-national criminals have been critical MP missions for years. Supplies and equipment stolen from the logistics system are useless to the fighting force and may even be used against our own troops.

Recent operations by the 202d MP Battalion, USACIDC, Germany, identified a pattern of stolen high-mobility, multipurpose wheeled vehicles from various military installations across the country. Its Special Investigations Branch collected and analyzed criminal intelligence data and coordinated with German federal police authorities. They conducted a wide-ranging investigation that ultimately led to the identification of several German criminal enterprises that were stealing and reselling the vehicles. Ultimately, police agencies in other countries, including Italy, were brought into the investigation. The recovery of the stolen vehicles was so thorough and efficient that more vehicles were recovered than were reported stolen!

Finally, LOGSEC operations are perpetuated into the redeployment phase movement of our forces to ensure that returning units are mission-ready. The deployment procedures employed are simply reversed. Returning units inevitably leave behind obsolete, unserviceable, or damaged supplies and equipment OCONUS. Such military property must be properly disposed of through the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) operated by the DLA. It is essential that sensitive weaponry be demilitarized in strict accordance with prescribed procedures. Equipment that is so sensitive that it cannot be demilitarized adequately overseas must be securely shipped to a location where adequate destruction can occur–classified technology must not fall into the hands of the enemy. Law enforcement is involved in the security of the depots and DRMO sites and CID conducts CPSs and investigations, which may involve surveillance, to ensure that the prescribed demilitarization/disposal procedures are followed strictly. Violators are identified, and wrongfully disposed of items are recovered.

Once, an observant CID agent questioned why a scrap-metal dealer would competitively bid for scrap aircraft aluminum returned from Vietnam at a bid price higher than the maximum open market value of the metal. The ensuing investigation revealed that the aircraft components, specifically the wings, had been inadequately demilitarized. Each wing still contained a very expensive, highly sensitive, reusable laser-sighting system component that should have been removed. The scrap dealer would have intentionally sustained a loss, but realized a far larger profit on the prohibited laser components. The investigation resulted in the recovery of the laser components and made sure that there were no further sales of the scrap metal until adequate demilitarization was performed.

Each member of the Army law enforcement community has a responsibility for the continued integrity of the logistics system supporting our fighting force. Fences, locks, seals, and camera systems are useless without the presence of the human component–especially the one wearing the badge. Think LOGSEC!

Special Agent Chester Lemanski, Jr. works in the Major Procurement Fraud Unit of the 701st MP Group, USACIDC.

COPYRIGHT 2002 U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center

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