Sunday, January 15, 2006

$10 million a month is a small price to pay for not waiting

“As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want.” – Donald Rumsfeld, Dec. 9, 2004

Rumsfeld’s infamous words apply to more than just body armor – they also apply to cargo containers. When the Army started deploying troops and equipment to Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, there was a shortage of government owned cargo containers. Waiting to purchase the necessary containers would have slowed the momentum of the war. And momentum, I have learned from years of roller coaster riding, is what makes things fun.

So instead of having a boring, momentumless war, the Army borrowed cargo containers from the commercial shippers and let the good times roll. The shippers let the Army use their containers free of charge as long as the Army unloaded the containers and returned them to the ships within a certain amount of time, usually about 15 days. Every month after that, there would be a late fee.

But everyone was having too much fun fighting the Iraqi army and completely forgot to turn the containers back in. Two years later, the U.S. government was spending over $10 million a month on container late fees, according to Lt. Col. Patrick Lyons, the man the Army turned to shape things up.

Lyons, along with his hard working team from the 840th Deployment Distribution Support Battalion, have tracked down and returned many of the carrier-owned containers. They also worked out rent-to-own deals with the cargo companies. Most units were using the containers for storage rooms, but one unit had cut the top of their container and made a swimming pool.

Over the last year, the 840th lowered the detention costs, or late fees, to about $350,000 a month. Unfortunately, Lyons and his team do not get a commission on the money they save the Army every month.

The big question now is what is the Army going to do with all that extra dough? I have a few suggestions.

1. Give every servicemember in Iraq an $800 bonus at the end of the year.
2. Buy a piece of artwork every month off e-bay, like an autographed picture of Joe Montana for $5 million (Picured above. This is for real, here’s the link:
3. Create an army of robots to replace American soldiers in Iraq. Their superior strength and inability to be depressed will help bring peace to this troubled land.
4. Pay the foreign fighters to screw with Iran instead of us.

These are just a few suggestions. Anyway, my hat’s off to the 840th for making the Army more efficient so that autographed pictures of Joe Montana can stay in the U.S. where they belong and not in the hands of terrorists, communists or any other ‘ists’ that scare Americans.

photo caption: With the money the Army's saving it could buy two of these works of art a month.


Blogger Unknown said...

You forgot pacifists - the most dangerous "ists" of them all.

2:33 PM  

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