Support: March 30, 2004

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The "camp in a box" idea is catching on in a big way. The concept, developed by the U.S. Air Force over several decades, packs all the things you need, to house several hundred troops, into shipping containers, ready to be flown to any foreign air base that the air force has to use on short notice. The army adopted this technique after the 1991 Gulf War, when they also noted that the first army troops to arrive in Saudi Arabia by air often endured much less comfortable living conditions than nearby air force troops. 

The U.S. Army now has 36 Force Provider Modules, each containing all the housing, power generators, kitchens, latrines, laundry and recreation gear needed for 550 troops. Everything is packed into 91 8x8x20 foot shipping containers. A specially trained Engineer platoon sets it up (or supervises set up if the users want to be housed more quickly) on 5-15 acres of space (depending on how much space is available.) The Force Provider Modules are meant to make life easier for the first troops to arrive in a distant war zone. These are the folks who often have to prepare better living accommodations for the much larger numbers of troops that follow. The less these early arriving troops have to worry about their own living conditions, the more work they can get done, and done quickly. Each of the army Force Provider Modules cost five million dollars. The tent town created by one Force Provider Modules often serves as a center of a larger base built around it. Each Force Provider Module can provide more electricity, water and other services than 550 troops need. 

The containers are also used for storage, or even housing and work areas if needed. Force Provider Modules make it a lot easier to get troops operating quickly when sent to a distant war zone on short notice. In the past, the first troops either spent a lot of time improvising living accommodations, or lived rough and suffered more sickness, and were less effective because of lack of sleep, clean clothes and decent food. Healthier and better rested troops are more effective troops, a lesson learned as far back as World War II. 

 


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