PYONGTAEK, South Korea — The U.S. military will open a new high-tech supply operation in South Korea to stock everything from lamps to lumber for U.S. forces in the country, regardless of service branch.
To be called the Defense Distribution Depot Korea, or DDDK, the depot will operate at the Army’s Camp Carroll, a big logistics base in Waegwan in southeastern Korea.
The DDDK will warehouse an array of clothing and equipment items, construction materials and spare parts, said Army Lt. Col. James E. Lippstreu, who was to assume DDDK command at an activation ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Camp Carroll.
“It’ll be the only supply activity in Korea that will serve the supply needs of all the services for classes two, four, and nine,” Lippstreu said.
Class II includes such items as individual equipment, clothing and office supplies; Class IV, construction and barrier materials; and Class IX, repair parts and components such as batteries, spark plugs and fuel lines.
Items the depot is to warehouse range from water cans to faucets, cots to wool blankets. But it will not stock food, fuel, ammunition or medical supplies, which are outside its assigned supply classes.
The DDDK is to operate out of two warehouses the Defense Logistics Agency redesigned under a $3.6 million renovation project and fitted with high-tech equipment. The DLA manages the inventory of “common-use” supply items for all services, Lippstreu said.
“This depot will have the latest technology for depot operations,” he said. “The system itself is fairly paperless. It’s mostly automated.”
Officials said the new depot will mean military units in South Korea can “pretty much” get needed supply items within 24 hours of requesting them.
“There’s been an extensive analysis of the items that have been in demand in Korea — all the services,” said Lippstreu. “They’ve identified items that are in high demand … items that keep moving through the supply system.
“We’re going to be warehousing them here,” he said. “When the customer orders and goes through the requisition process, we will receive that order request and we will ship it out pretty much within 24 hours.”
The depot initially will stock 14,000 items, Lippstreu said. “And then … depending on the demands in this theater, it can grow.”
The operation, he said, will save the services money, partly because the DLA, not the services, will buy the items, move them to South Korea by ship, then stock them at Camp Carroll.
In the past, Lippstreu said, services have incurred transportation and storage costs for items it ends up not using.
“And if the items end up on the excess list, they are turned in for redistribution within the U.S. military or put up for sale,” he said.
“We’re going to go ahead and stock those items here and the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines don’t have to pay for those items to be here,” said Lippstreu.
“That way, the services are not buying the items,” he said. “It’s a big saving … They just buy it when they need it. They don’t have to stockpile it.”
Jackie Noble, a Defense Distribution Center spokeswoman, said, “The real value of having a depot in Korea … is prepositioning,” because moving cargo by ship is “one eighth of the cost” of moving it by plane.
The DDDK becomes the fourth such depot the Defense Distribution Center, part of the DLA, has set up in the past year.
The DDC was set up in 1997. Its 26 depots worldwide currently store 4 million types of supply items and process more than 25 million transactions yearly, according to agency officials.
Opening a depot in South Korea is part of a DLA push to better supply U.S. forces “OCONUS,” or outside the continental United States, Noble said.
“We’re stepping closer to the warfighter,” she said. “That’s really what DLA is focusing on … supporting the OCONUS warfighter. That’s where everybody is these days.”
Within the past year, Lippstreu said, DDC has opened three other depots, in Sigonella, Italy, in Kuwait and on Guam.