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Optimizing Aircraft Utilization for Retrograde Operations
Graduate research project May 2011-Jun 2012
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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U.S. Transportation Command USTRANSCOM, the Department of Defenses DOD Distribution Process Owner DPO, coordinates the movement of cargo to and from the Afghanistan and Iraq Areas of Operations AORs. It attempts to optimize movement through the use of airlift, rail, trucking, and sealift while balancing cost and timeline requirements. Past Government Accounting Office GAO studies have found underutilization of airlift capacity as an area to gain more value in the movement of cargo, especially opportune cargo. This research attempts to determine the current utilization rate of airlift departing the AORs and the decisions points for using sealift over available airlift capacity. All C-17 and C-5 flights departing the AOR were analyzed to determine utilization rates with regards to capacity. Then, the additional costs of utilizing this capacity were determined as compared to sealift options to derive decision points. The results show a continued underutilization of airlift capacity on C-17 and C-5 aircraft departing the AOR. However, when time is not a critical factor, the carrying costs involved in loading the additional cargo on these flights is often counterproductive to reducing the overall transportation cost. Recommendations were made on the appropriate weights to carry on these flights to optimize transportation costs.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE