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Camp Shelby to become equipment hub

Mar. 28, 2014 - 10:01AM   |  
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HATTIESBURG, MISS. — Officials from Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center announced Wednesday an agreement with a national transportation research organization.

The agreement — which was signed with The National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison — is designed to assist military planners in identifying Camp Shelby as a critical part of a strategic military intermodal logistics hub.

Camp Shelby is one of several sites in the South Mississippi Defense Corridor — which includes such military sites as Keesler Air Force Base, Stennis Space Center and Combat Readiness Training Center-Gulfport — that is being considered as a platform to streamline the return, reset, redeployment and disposal (R4D) of equipment from Operation Enduring Freedom.

“What CFIRE has recognized is the infrastructure that’s available in South Mississippi,” said Maj. Craig Sumrall, mobilization officer at Camp Shelby. “We have a port expansion (in Gulfport), a military base that is one of the largest mobilization platforms in the United States, and other military installations including Army, Navy and Air Force. I don’t believe you could find that type of joint interaction anywhere else.”

The idea for the agreement came last month in Gulfport during a symposium hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi.

“Based on our knowledge of locating freight facilities, we thought this was actually something worth looking at,” CFIRE Executive Director Teresa M. Adams said. “There’s already a lot of military activity going on (in that area), so the community is already welcoming to that, and it seems like a good site.”

According to Army officials, the Department of Defense will spend $7 billion to ship nearly 750,000 pieces of equipment worth $36 billion as combat operations come to and end this year. Officials from Camp Shelby and CFIRE believe the agreement could save the DOD millions of dollars as military equipment begins to make its way back to the United States from Afghanistan.

“This is a rare opportunity to take advantage of the synergies that exist in the South Mississippi Defense Corridor,” said Camp Shelby commander Col. William “Brad” Smith in a statement. “It’s a military site selector’s dream. It’s reassuring that an organization like CFIRE can see this from 1,000 miles away.”

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