Last year, after Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Defense developed a whole-of-government effort to provide support to Ukraine. In response to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s now famous call to action – “I need ammunition, not a ride” – Joint Munitions Command, with support from U.S. Transportation Command, distributed munitions in record time to support these emergent requirements. JMC and its subordinate arsenals, depots and ammunition plants have the mission to produce, store, distribute and demilitarize conventional munitions for the U.S. Department of Defense. USTRANSCOM’s mission is to project and sustain military power globally to assure U.S. allies and deter potential adversaries, and JMC has provided ammunition at a volume and velocity that the command has never done before.
“We are shipping to places we haven’t done before, thanks to the synergy, coordination and collaboration we have with USTRANSCOM,” said Col. Landis Maddox, commander of JMC, logistics integrator for life-cycle management of ammunition and provider of a global presence of technical support to frontline units.
“It is amazing how everyone has stepped up and communicated back and forth to meet requirements,” said Dave Banian, munitions logistics director for JMC.
“It’s all about teamwork. The transportation industry partners are making sacrifices, too. They are truly patriots,” Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, USTRANSCOM’s commander said.
Since February 2022, more than $32.5 billion in military aid has been provided by the U.S. to Ukraine. JMC has requested more than 3,500 Transportation Protective Service trucks through USTRANSCOM and Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (the Army’s service component command to USTRANSCOM) to deliver munitions from eight installations to six airfields and one seaport for shipment in support of Ukraine. With assistance from rail and trucking partners, JMC produced an additional 3,500 containers of munitions – 2,000 by rail and 1,500 by truck to port terminals to be moved by vessel. Through special assignment airlift missions, JMC executes orders at the speed of relevance. JMC’s yearly average of SAAM execution is typically 80 per year, but in the past 15 months it has executed over 500 SAAMs of ammunition in support of Ukraine.
JMC’s ability to react swiftly to each presidential drawdown order has led to a steady flow of munitions to the battlefield. The normal planning timeframe for a SAAM is 45 days from receipt of requirement to SAAM departure, but JMC and the Defense Travel System enterprise have reduce it to five days. The normal timeframe for a sustainment vessel is 135 days from identification of requirements to final delivery to the seaport of embarkation, and the enterprise has been able to execute this process in as little as 11 days through extraordinary coordination to meet emerging requirements. JMC has moved, and is currently moving, an unprecedented amount of ammunition at the speed of war to ensure our allies are ready, reliable and lethal.