December 1, 2012  

The COCOM map

Lt. Cmdr. David Coghlan’s article, “Redrawing the COCOM map” [October] makes a good case for the realignment of the current combatant command configuration and is worthy of consideration.

History is full of examples of organizations that kept to old ways that had long outlived their usefulness, or operational environments that were no longer valid. Take how long it took for big-gun battleships to leave the world’s navies, or how the Germans during World War II couldn’t conceive that their Enigma cipher system had been compromised.

What I did not see in the article was a discussion on the other side of the combatant command picture, namely the functional commands. In the Joint Logistics Environment, Joint Publication 4-0 (Joint Logistics) spells out specific roles and responsibilities for the Defense Logistics Agency, U.S. Joint Forces Command and U.S. Transportation Command. According to JP 4-0, DLA and the services “share responsibility as suppliers to the joint force since both ‘manage’ supplies in support of readiness requirements. In this shared role, they support the components of the joint force with equipment and supplies needed for sustained logistic readiness.”

With that in mind, might it be the right time to examine merging DLA and TRANSCOM into a new command — perhaps “U.S. Logistics Command” or “U.S. Distribution Command?” This would truly put end-to-end logistics and in-transit visibility under the aegis of a single combatant commander, responsible for logistics from warehouse to the customer downrange. Shamelessly borrowing from the commercial sector, USLOGCOM/USDISCOM would, like UPS, be able to say it, too, loves logistics.

— Capt. David L. TeskaCoast Guard Reserve, Coast Guard liaison to Joint Staff J4 Logistics, Lawrence, Kan.