The African Distribution Network Forum continues to increase its operational reach across the African continent, using 23 U.S.-sourced commercial missions to support partners in the Sahel.
The ADNF is a multinational network of 28 partner nations that collaborate to synchronize logistics efforts, reducing demand on fiscal and personnel resources while building relationships and interoperability.
Plans for the implementing ADNF operations had already been underway when Russia invaded Ukraine and the C-17s that were planned for use to move cargo in Africa were diverted to support NATO allies and the effort in Europe. This change forced the U.S. Africa Command team to come up with creative solutions to continue to move assets in and out of sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the flexibility and agility of the network.
In lieu of its organic airlift assets, U.S. Transportation Command employed a Commercial Multi-Modal contract to move 1.3 million pounds of cargo as part of the effort. As the name implies, CMM contracts employ capabilities from two or more modes of transportation to move large volumes over a short period of time. When employed, they offer planners additional capabilities in a region where the tyranny of distance drives a heavy reliance on airlift to sustain deployed forces.
“I am proud of the teamwork across the Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise to execute a CMM contract on behalf of our partners,” said Maj. Gen. Laura Lenderman, director of operations with U.S. Transportation Command. “The contract solution preserved valuable capacity for other global missions as the team found a different way to tackle difficult issues in such a short time.”
This effort marks yet another step for the ADNF in its efforts to drive the enterprise towards partner-centric distribution options especially in a resource-constrained environment.
“At the forefront of the ADNF’s recent successes is the routine collaboration across several staffs spread throughout Europe; their visibility into movement requirements and available airlift capacity using existing tools and access to systems of record, and the willingness to try something different,” said Col. Uduak Udoaka, director for U.S. Africa Command’s Logistics Operations Division.
While the CMM contract vehicle is not a new mechanism, it is a new approach for distribution support within an ongoing operation where logistics is concerned.
From a strategic view, U.S. Africa Command’s Director of Logistics, Rear Adm. George Bresnihan, sees this effort as vital in strengthening existing partnerships, and exemplary in highlighting to others the benefits of sharing resources where common interests exists.
“We would like to normalize this initiative and leverage emerging technology to improve visibility and forecasting and eventually extend the network to willing and capable African partners,” Bresnihan said.