Afghanistan Northern Distribution Network: “The New Silk Road”


  • 55 pages
  • For Official Use Only
  • September 22, 2009


The New Silk Road: The Challenge

• Mission:
– Support the imminent doubling of US Forces (primarily in the south and west) and the upgrade of Operating Bases throughout the country, without impacting on‐going sustainment operations or force‐rotations in the north and east regions.
• Enemy:
– Security and Risk of theft along the existing route
– Fragile and fractured political climate within Pakistan
• Terrain:
– Limited ground routes through Pakistan
– Bureaucratic processes at the AFG‐PAK Border vic Peshawar
– Limited maturity of physical Infrastructure,
– Constrained air network in Afghanistan, particularly the south
• Time: Shipment times for Cargo From CONUS, Europe, Kuwait/Qatar
• WILD‐CARD: The “Gray Hole” of Distribution Management Information
• Tasking From GEN Dempsey (Interim CDR, USCENTCOM) Jul 08: By the first quarter of FY 09 initiate use of a complementary Northern Line of Communication into Afghanistan through the Central Asian States.


• Northern Ground Line of Communication (NGLOC)
– Operative word “Ground”
– Limited routing options, flexibility, and partner nations
– Paving an existing set of “cow‐paths”

• Northern Distribution Network (NDN)
– Operative words “Distribution” and “Network”
– Military Teaming among Distribution Process Owner (USTC), DLA, and Geographic Combatant Commander (USCENTCOM)
– Inter‐ and multi‐modal, flexible, with multiple partner nations
– Building on existing commercial relations/partnerships to create a whole new supply and distribution highway for DOD

NDN Challenges

-MitigationTransit Agreements

Regulate cargo flow as required / Improve UZ request timeline

Compliance and accuracy

Managing Expectations




–Military data harmonizationITV (RFID limited viability)

Leveraging commercial industry capability (via USC6)

Working enterprise tracking solutions (via iSDDC, others)

Managing Information FlowSDDC/598th (+ 595th) is central data pointBroad data sharing


–data transparency/info assuranceVast Distances

–New Partnerships



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