The Air Force and Department of Defense (DoD) spend significant amounts of money each year shipping mission-capable (MICAP) items throughout the world. This article and the research supporting it show that current Air Force shipping policies are less than optimal from a cost standpoint. The article also examines the idea of reducing these costs through another mode of transportation: express less-thantruckload (LTL). A comparison of Roadway and Federal Express (FedEx) shipping costs showed that cost savings could be realized by using Roadway in conjunction with FedEx.
Three Air Force and DoD regulations or instructions govern shipment of MICAP items. While Air Force Instruction (AFT) 24201, Cargo Movement, regulates cargo movement, it does not require a specific mode for shipping MICAP items within the continental United States (CONUS), although it does require movement by the fastest traceable means aboard the General Services Administration contract carrier. (1) The instruction establishes shipment time standards and states, "Commercial air express small-package delivery service ... is the norm for Agile Logistics/2LM [two-level maintenance]/Rapid Parts Movement shipments to meet Air Force sustainment goals." (2) Defense Transportation Regulation (DTR), Part 2, Cargo Movement (the basis for AFI 24-201), establishes shipment time standards and allows use of expedited service when the shipment is urgently needed. (3) Air Mobility Command (AMC) Freight Traffic Rules, Publication No 5, states, "Commercial air service will not be used for transportation of shipments to be de livered within 500 surface miles from the shipping point except when commercial air is the low-cost mode or is the only mode that can meet shipment requirements." (4) However, the definitive word comes from AH 24201:
6.1. General Services Administration (GSA) Small Package Contract Carrier. High-priority shipments, that meet the contract terms, will move via GSA contract carrier to DoD and contract addresses to/from CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Therefore, high-priority shipments, 999, NMCS [not mission capable--supply], MICAPs, Agile Logistics/2LM/Rapid Parts Movement, destined to/from CONUS Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico should be moving by the GSA contract carrier from pickup to delivery at the consigned destination. The DoD is a mandatory user of this contract, except in the following instances:
6.1.1. DoD shipments between 0 and 500 miles from origin.
6.1.2. DoD shipments under DoD contracts or guaranteed traffic agreements in effect prior to award of this contract until expiration of the existing contracts or agreements.
6.1.3. When required by wartime contingency operations.
6.1.4. When …