Exfiltration logistics runs into bottleneck in Kuwait
Imagine a parking lot as large as 100 football fields and filled with nearly every type, make and model of U.S. military vehicle, covered in dust and dirt and baking under a desert sun in Kuwait.Your job: Find one specific vehicle, read its serial number and catalog it for transport back to the United States.That’s part of the daunting task facing theResponsible Reset Task Force, which must inspect thousands of vehicles used in the Iraq War and decide which ones are worth sending back to the United States.“There’s just this huge, big expanse of sand with a fence around it,” saidArmy Col. Jeffrey Carra, the task force’s former chief of operations. “Forty rows of stuff that’s just parked head to tail.”
They include Humvees, trucks, trailers, cranes, bulldozers, tanks, personnel carriers and howitzers. One Humvee can cost more than $1 million, and a tank, a couple of million.“I’m sure it’s over a billion dollars,”Col. Carra said of the value of the military vehicles in Kuwait.
Before a vehicle can come stateside, it needs to stripped of extra equipment, washed, sterilized and brought to a port. It will spend more than a month at sea before arriving in the United States. Roughly 5,000 vehicles that came out of Iraq are now en route to the United States.The vehicle then will be transported to a depot to be refurbished to factory standards and redistributed wherever necessary.
About 2,000 contractors are also involved in the program. They are supposed to take an average of 20 hours to find and prepare a vehicle for shipment, but they usually take much longer.
Sometimes a contractor carrying a handheld scanner spends days walking around a parking lot the size of a sports stadium parking lot in search of a specific vehicle.It cost $20 million over a seven-month period to complete the process at just one lot, according to an Army study. That cost did not include shipping, which can run thousands of dollars per vehicle. Shipping a single vehicle from Afghanistan to the United States costs $7,000....There is probably not another country in the world capable of a logistic operation of this scale. Many of the returning Humvees and trucks will be donated to law enforcement units in Texas and other states. Some can be used for patrolling along the border with Mexico.