Logistics: Privatizing Mail Call

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October 28, 2005: The Department of Defense is being forced to privatize the delivery of troops mail, mainly because having the Department of Defense do it with its own people has not worked well, no matter how many times the system has been reorganized. Right now, it's costing about $350 million a year to fly mail (letters, but mostly packages, because of the growing use of email) overseas to the troops. However, so inefficient is the system that some 30 percent of the mail returns to the United States, because the recipients have since returned to the United States. The current military mail system was allowed to evolve over time, and it's biggest flaw is that it is not part of the military logistics system (which has received updates to keep up with the latest commercial advances.) Thus the military mail system uses old procedures, old equipment, old ideas, and does not really have the authority to get the job done. A Department of Defense panel, composed of retired logistics officers and business executives, believe the mail could be civilianized, just as food service and laundry have, and save the Department of Defense over $100 million a year, and get the mail to the troops more efficiently. Louder complaints from troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan is making such a shift more likely. In the past, once troops overseas settled down somewhere, the military mail system worked pretty well. But whenever there was a war, and the troops moved around a lot, the military mail system broke down.

 


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