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The Department of Defense’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) has announced an open season for accepting applications from freight carriers. This is a chance for transportation professionals who would like to move military freight to kickstart their working relationship with the SDDC. The period during which you can take advantage of the opportunity runs from January 9 to February 28, 2017.   

Let’s look at the SDDC requirements for military freight carriers, and why this open season is something you can take advantage of.  

Why use the open season opportunity? 

Freight carriers who want to transport military cargo have two main options. They can use an SDDC-approved broker as the middleman between the DoD and their business. Then they need to get listed on a broker’s carrier list.  

For carriers who would like to work directly with the SDDC, the open season is thus a convenient way to start this working relationship.   

Carriers who are new in the industry and have less than three years of experience will not be considered during this application session. Since the requirements for obtaining a DOD authority for hauling military freight are quite elaborate, it’s best to apply only if you are sure you can meet them all.  

The conditions of SDCC’s open season option 

The open season is an excellent opportunity to start working with the SDCC and enter military freight transportation. However, not all freight carriers can apply. 

The SDCC requires that applying carriers prove that:  

  • They at least three years of keeping a Department of Transportation (DOT) authority as a Domestic Transportation Service Provider (TSP). 
  • This experience is consecutive and unbroken as of January 9, the starting date of the open season.  

If you comply with the rules set forth by the SDCC, you can get in touch with the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command via email at or via mail:  

1 Soldier Way 
Scott AFB 
IL 62225-5006  

SDDC’s requirements for military freight carriers 

If you’re planning to apply for a DoD authority for the first time, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with the SDDC requirements for military freight carriers. Here is an overview of the steps: 

1. SCAC Number 

All carriers have to first apply for a Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) from the National Motor Freight Traffic Association. Your SCAC starts with the first letter of your company and is a two-to-four-letter code unique to your business. This is your identification code for working with the DoD.  

2. U.S. Bank Agreement 

You also need to open an electronic account with the U.S. Bank Freight Payments to receive online payments for the work you do for the SDDC. You need to get PowerTrack, or Syncada, certification as well. Only when you have your SCAC and Syncada at hand you can apply online with the SDDC.  

3. DoD Performance Bond 

Freight carriers who have been approved by the SDDC need to obtain a DoD performance bond as well. It serves as an extra layer of protection for the SDDC against carrier’s default and non-delivery of military freight.  

If you are planning to transport in one state only, the bond you have to post is $25,000. The amount is $50,000 for working in up to five states. If you want to transport across the U.S., you have to obtain a $100,000 bond.   

In case you have registered as a small freight carrier with the Small Business Administration (SBA) program, you can benefit from lower bond requirements. You will need to post a $25,000 bond for operating in up to three states, $50,000 for up to ten states, and $100,000 for more than eleven states.   

Got any more questions about SDDC’s open season? Feel free to leave us a comment! 

Vic Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates. He is a surety bond expert who helps freight brokers get licensed and bonded. Vic graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.