Military turns to buses, trains to get recruits to basic training

With airlines grounded and flights severely limited for much of last week following the Sept. 11 terrorist hijackings, the Defense Department's Military Traffic Management Command faced an enormous logistics challenge--finding a way to get thousands of military recruits to basic training.

Gail Andrews, chief of recruitment movement at the Military Traffic Management Command, said about 80 percent of all recruits usually get to basic training by commercial airliner. The rest arrive by train or bus. But last Tuesday, there were no airliners available and a fast-rising backlog of 7,000 recruits.

"We had to look to surface transportation to move people," said Andrews, adding that some commercial bus carriers called the command to offer their services without being asked. None of the bus carriers or Amtrak declined to provide additional seats, she said.

The bulk of the recruits were moved over the weekend from 62 military entrance points across the nation to basic training sites that include Fort Jackson, S.C., Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Ill., Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot, S.C. Andrews and her team of traffic management specialists worked around the clock to rearrange thousands of travel itineraries.

Andrews said the Military Traffic Management Command had few contingency plans and no experience in moving recruits without commercial airline service.

"We have gone through airline strikes before, but nothing where it affected everybody," she said.

A key lesson learned from the crisis was that clear coordination and continual communication is key, Andrews said. And of course, she said, flexibility is also vital. For example, the military relaxed rules that prohibited recruits from traveling between midnight and 6 a.m.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.