AFA Policy Forum
Lieutenant General John R. Baker
Vice Commander, Air Mobility Command
"Supporting Joint Operations: Getting There"
Air & Space Conference 2004—Washington, DC
September 13, 2004
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General Baker: This is an opportunity for me to talk about Air Mobility Command and the mobility
warriors that are serving our country these days. I think you'll hear, I hope you'll hear, how busy they are,
how dedicated they are. We are all over the place, as you might imagine, as we always are. Sometimes I think
it's hard to remember, but as someone said yesterday to me when they knew I was coming here to speak, they said,
“you know, you need to remind them that we talk about warfighting all the time, but without mobility, it's pretty
hard to fight if you can't get there.” That's what we'll talk about a little bit today, where we're trying to go
in Air Mobility Command as we transform ourselves into a force that's more responsive in the environments that we
What I'll start off with is a short clip. We just finished producing a command video, and I think it will
kind of set the stage for my remarks after that. What I would ask that you do as you watch the video is to look
at the faces of the young men and women in this video. I think what you'll see is a degree of dedication and
determination that sort of sets the stage for understanding how our Air Force is committed to the global war on
[Video shown] [Applause]
I think you can be very proud of all the young men and women around the globe today at this moment supporting
the global war on terrorism. We find ourselves putting some incredible demands on them every day, and if you
think that we're not busy, you have another thing to learn. Our airmen, though, are certainly up to the task.
They're out there performing magnificently.
I've managed, in the two and a half years I've been at Scott Air Force Base to be gone about half the time,
visiting our folks out there whether it's in Diego Garcia, on Antarctica, in Al Udaid in Iraq or Bagram or
Kyrgyzstan or wherever we are around the world. And I can tell you from personal experience we're spread out all
over the place. And everywhere I've been, officer, enlisted, active, Guard, Reserve, civilian, contractors—the
mission is being done superbly by all these people and you can be very proud of them.
When I talk about busy times, I pick 11 September for a reason. It's to show you how busy we were on that
particular day. For those of you who don't understand what a short ton is, it's a lot of weight. Trust me. It
takes up a lot of room in the back of an airplane.
Forty-two hundred passengers. Most people don't realize how many people we're moving everyday. Part of this
is part of the Army R&R program out of Iraq and Afghanistan. And 288 sorties, which doesn't sound like a lot
perhaps, but when you look at the next seven days and you look at the peaks that we have, it is considerable.
On average, for example, from January to September 2003, AMC launched an aircraft every six minutes, 24
hours-a-day, for 36 straight weeks in support of the global war on terrorism. That's a lot.
In 1991, if you go back to right after Desert Storm, we were flying about 200 a day that we were tracking in
the Tactical Airlift Control Center (TACC) even before the TACC was built. Today an average day is about 350 and
when we're surging to support AEF rotations or Army and Marine rotations in and out of the AOR, particularly for
CENTCOM or an exercise in PACOM, we can pick out well over 400 and sometimes up to 500 a day. That does not
count, by the way, the sorties that are flown inside the AOR under the control of the CJFACC, because as you
know we have C-130s and tankers that are shopped to the theater supporting them and they're flying anywhere from
50-75 sorties a day in addition to the ones that we're flying around the world and controlling out of the TACC at
Scott Air Force Base.
We can reach any place in the world at a moment's notice because of our Tanker Airlift Control Center. But we
can't rest on our laurels. As you know, the President has announced recently that there is a plan afoot to bring
a lot of the troops home from overseas, whether from Europe or the Pacific. I don't know all the details yet,
don't know when we'll know. But it means that we need to be thinking about an increase in the demands on mobility
because if we do in fact want to be able to mobilize forces and move them rapidly to respond to a crisis around
the world, that's just going to increase the demand on Air Mobility Command.
The way I've put these remarks together is, as you might imagine, as a Title 10 organization at AMC, we look
at organize, train and equip and how each of those support each other and how together they support the
21st century war, I don't have to tell you, is different. It's new. It requires a little bit of out of the
box thinking. The rules of engagement are slightly different and the response times are different.
So when we looked at our organization what we had to do was think about what we need to get assets, whether
it's people or equipment, stuff to the warfighter, wherever they needed it quickly. Whether it's helicopters or
tanks, MRE or razor wire, A-10s or B-1s, AMC needs to be organized to be able to execute that effectively and
quickly within the response times required by the warfighter.
So under the organizational overview, one of the things we've done, two big things really, and some of you may
know about this already, we've created 18th Air Force and we've created contingency response groups. In fact, I
get to go to brief the Chief next month on where we are with the contingency response groups not only in AMC but
across the Air Force.
Our first effort here, because we needed to look at streamlining and how we do business, is to realign the
structure. If you looked at the way AMC was organized during Operation Desert Storm we had numbered air forces
out there and we were trying to manage things from each coast. It was determined after Desert Storm, quite
correctly, that the way we had command and control and information technology in those days, we didn't need to
have two numbered air forces, the East and West Coast, each one of them trying to command and control their own
assets. We needed to centralize the location. Hence, the creation of the Tactical Air Control Center back in
the early '90s.
We've continued to improve that process and when you looked at 15th and 21st Air Force, we had to ask
ourselves, “why do we need these organizations when all the global command and control is being done from Scott
by the TACC?” Plus, we needed other expertise to do other things, and in particular be ready to do expeditionary
operations quickly. So we decided to take on both of those.
With the Tanker Airlift Control Center, we've increased its capability in terms of IT. We've increased its
capability in terms of manpower to be able to plan missions by giving the crews even more time in the air rather
than time on the ground trying to plan the missions and work their own flight plans and check the weather.
In that same sense we took 15th and 21st Air Force and converted them over to what we call Expeditionary
Mobility Task Forces. They're our on-call response force to the warfighter out there. If we need to deploy a
force forward to include a Director of Mobility Operations, then that's where the individuals come from. They're
prepared to move out quickly, they're prepared to move out and do assessments, and we're really encouraged by
what we've seen on both the east and west coast by taking 15th and 21st and turning them into Expeditionary
Mobility Task Forces.
Now that the command structure is streamlined, now that we have a central focus, the TACC which used to work
for the staff, which didn't make a lot of sense, they now work for the single NAF in AMC, 18th Air Force, which
is also headquartered at Scott.
So now our structure looks a lot like the rest of the Air Force. We have a NAF. We have an Air Operation
Center we call the TACC, and they can focus now on the warfighting efforts as 19th Air Force with their CAOC, if
The next thing we've been looking at is lessons learned from OEF and OIF.
Some of you may not have heard of Contingency Response Groups before, but the Contingency Response Group is
again lessons learned from OEF and OIF, particularly the base opening piece. If you think about being an
expeditionary Air Force, one of the things that's inherent in that is being able to go austere places and in some
cases have to go in and fight your way to an airfield; set up operations quickly; bring in the forces to support
operations whether it's fighter, bombers, tankers, or lift; and be able to execute in a rapid fashion.
Afghanistan proved that this was something that we knew something about, but we weren't as fully robust as we
needed to be.
So to be ready to go at a moment's notice, to respond to these demands on a global basis, we needed to look at
a more formal structure and that's where the Contingency Response Groups came from, and in fact the idea
originated in USAFE under General Jumper when he was the commander over there.
So why do we need CRGs? What happened during OEF is it showed that we needed to standardize the process for
the Air Force and we owed the deployed commander and their troops a defined package on how we were planning to
open the base, about how long it would take, and the CRGs would do that in a more robust way than we did with
past organizations. CRGs will be light, lean, quick to deploy and employ, but more capable than a Tactical Air
Liaison Control Element (TALCE) to include functional experts across the spectrum, every ingredient needed to
set up, train, and be ready to perform.
We demonstrated this CONOPs, by the way, during OIF and I'll talk more later about one airfield in particular
where we put our lessons learned in OEF into practice and learned a lot more even during OIF.
So what does a CRG look like?
We sat down with the AEF Center, ACC, USAFE, PACAF and the Air Staff to determine what a CRG would look like.
They're under the Expeditionary Mobility Task Force Headquarters on the east and west coast as you might imagine.
They're focused on expeditionary operations and one way of thinking of it, if you're familiar with the TALCE,
they're like a TALCE on steroids except that word's not acceptable these days, so think of it as a TALCE on
You can see how it fits into the overall concept. The five force modules that were built by General Peppy
when he was still on active duty and working with the AEF Center were the module that supports the base. We did
build upon the experiences from our TALCEs over the last 25 years, the lessons learned in OEF and the lessons
The bottom line is we want U.S. Air Force Contingency Response Groups to be the leading edge of presentation
of forces to the warfighter regardless of the combatant commander for opening bases in austere places. It's
common across the MAJCOMs.
We've been working with the MTF commanders to understand how they're going to operate these CRGs when they're
deployed, and making sure that the expeditionary task force commander knows that his job if deployed is to
probably be the first Director of Mobility Operations on the ground working for the CJFACC once in place. It
doesn't matter either whether the CRG comes from USAFE, PACAF or AMC. All will have the same core capability.
We've been able to work this through the AEF Center because there may be cases, as you can see, where the core
CRG doesn't have a lot of people from certain areas. But with the AEF Center part of this whole process, when a
CRG is asked for or needed, they will augment it as required based on what the threat is, what the condition of
the airfield is, because you may need extra comm, you may need extra civil engineers, you may need extra security
police, and so forth. So the AEF Center has been inherent in all that we've been doing here.
The next thing is to look how we're going to organize these CRGs and that's the next step. In AMC, the way
we're going to do it is quite simple. If you look at 15th and 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Forces, what we
want to do underneath them where they currently have AMOGs and TALCEs, is to create—and again this is part of the
proposal we're taking to the Air Staff next month—Contingency Response Wings which will replace the AMOGs and
then Contingency Response Groups which will replace the TALCEs underneath. So it all fits within the construct
and I think it makes perfect sense to anybody that has the opportunity to sit down and look at the structure.
They're true force multipliers for the warfighter and everybody that's had the opportunity to sit down and talk
about it is enthusiastic about the way we're going.
So now that we've reorganized, how are we going to train all this new structure?
The first thing we'd like to talk about is the newest flag in the Air Force and that's Eagle Flag. How many
of you have heard about Eagle Flag, by the way? Just out of curiosity. [Some raise hands] Good, some of you
The way you need to think about Eagle Flag is it's Red Flag for Expeditionary Combat Support personnel.
Another lesson learned out of OEF even before OIF is that as we go in and open up an air base, somebody's going
to have to run it. Where do those people come from and how do they train to run the base? We went through some
hiccups during OEF as some of you probably remember. At AMC, we already had a training program called Phoenix
Readiness which did some of this already, and when the Chief and the Secretary came for a visit in August of '02
we all sat down and talked about it and we were challenged to create Eagle Flag which we've done at Fort Dix and
McGuire as part of our Air Mobility Warfare Center.
The AEF Center deploys approximately 400 people for every Eagle Flag. They go with about 150 to 180 ETCs,
about 30 functional areas, and it is to try to capture all the people that would go in and operate a base. In
other words, when the CRG finishes taking the installation, setting it up, getting it ready to go, the next thing
that happens is the ESC personnel show up and the idea is the commander of the Contingency Response Group just
hands the key over to the incoming group commander, mission group commander, whoever shows up first, and says,
“this is your base, it's ready to go.” That's the whole idea.
The objective is mission ready, team-oriented ECS warriors who understand that during their AEF training cycle
this is one of the things they have to do, so it all fits within the AEF construct.
Graduates should return to their units ready to go when it's their turn in the AEF bucket. We're very proud
of what we've seen so far. Obviously, the first two we learned a lot because you always do when you're setting
up something this new, but we've had two more since then and the feedback has been very positive. I've had calls
from my counterparts who have told me how much the people that have gone from their commands have enjoyed the
opportunity to understand the other people that they have to work with when they get to some place, whether it's
civil engineering or cops or whoever.
We're also having to look, to be quite frank, at our culture. One of the things that General Haney and I have
talked about off and on in the two years plus that I've been there is, “who are we and who do we want to be?”
So we're reviewing our culture and we're reviewing the way we talk about ourselves. One of the things we are
convinced of is we are no longer about strategic airlift. That's not our business. We are tactical, whether
it's lift or air refueling or any other thing that comes under AMC's mission demands.
Just a few years back, as you might imagine, we were still in deep peace, or at least we thought we were, and
the status quo was not what we're doing today. That all changed for all of us after 9/11. I don't have to
explain that to you.
To give you an example of how we've refocused, we recently have for the first time ever a Mobility Air Force's
Tactics Conference where we sit down and talk in serious terms about the lessons learned in OEF and OIF and in
particular the C-5 and C-17 incidents in Iraq. We talked about deficiencies in equipment, we talked about how
the crews were prepared to go in and, believe me, if you've ever made a tactical approach into an airfield in a
C-5, it's a thing to behold because I don't think that airplane was ever envisioned to be able to bank and be at
the rate of descent that we put it in Iraq today, but the kids are doing it. What we needed to do was document
that so the next generation that comes along won't have to reinvent how to do these sorts of things.
So we pulled everybody together, we talked about the deficiencies, talked about training, and I challenged
them to write a three day/three tactics manual. I gave them six months to do it, and I'll be darned if they
didn't do it. I'm very proud of the captains and majors out there who pulled together in very short order all
the lessons learned from every MDS, so that we now have a Tactics Training Manual for every aircraft in AMC.
But that's not enough. We need to do more. We continue to push how we're training our crews. Now that we
have a tactics manual, we also need to look at the training tables themselves. So I sat down with a bunch of
people, we all did. General Handy, we talked to him about it. We've taken the training tables and oriented them
towards the tactics manuals. We pulled out a lot of stuff that was left over from the Cold War that we just don't
do any more, so why do we have it in there? If it is important, but we don't need to do it in the airplane, let's
put it in the simulator. We're getting more and more sophisticated simulators out there. Let's focus the
training in the air on the tactics that we know we're going to need to be able to execute in the global war on
We're also looking at how the crews that come to us are trained in the ETC. As you know, in many cases in the
past, AETC, through no fault of their own, had produced pilots and loadmasters and flight engineers and so forth,
and they'd come to us and then we'd have to provide top-off training. Once they get to an active duty base they
can't even start flying yet because they still have to get all their shots, they have to go get qualified in the
9-millimeter, etc, etc. We're trying to work with AETC to get as much of that stuff pushed into the training
environment so when they come up and sign into their AMC base they're full-up rounds.
The other thing we need to do is we need to rethink how we manage the PFT at our FTUs out there. Having been
a squadron commander, I dealt with training in the F-15, for sure. I was always worried about how we could
manage it and how we could get the maximum number of students through. Quality students, not just everybody.
So we're looking again at how we train people at Altus in Little Rock because we need to be able to produce more
crewmembers in each of our positions. The bottom line is our training should match the expeditionary mindset
that we have.
Now you say, “well, if you can increase the number of people you can put through training, are you going to be
able to absorb them?” That leads me to the next step. If you look at how we're stressed in the AOR today, one
of the reasons we're stressed is because we're having to use more manpower, more crew members over there, to
support the global war on terrorism in CENTCOM's AOR than we have in the unit back at home. Let me give you an
example. I'm not going to do any math in public, but let's say that you're in a squadron in the states and your
crew ratio is 1.5. How many of you think that you really have 1.5 crewmembers in your squadron? You really
don't, do you? You have about 1.2 because you pull people out of there to man the wing and the group, the staffs,
so forth and so on. But in the AOR right now we're having to man at 2.0. So how do we fix all that? That's the
next step in the process.
So we're looking at crew ratio demands from the global war on terrorism. We're looking at how we can produce
more people at the FTU level, and that all goes back to UPT. We'll have to obviously produce more UPT as well.
This can all be done, it's not going to be done overnight, but you need to know that AMC is transforming the way
we think about this to respond to the global war on terrorism because we know we're going to need more manpower
if we're going to continue to do this for a long time, particularly when you look at the authorization for Guard
and Reserve and the way we're set up right now.
So let me talk about training and give you one example I alluded to earlier about opening a base in Iraq. I
thought this would be an interesting story for you to know about.
At Talil in Southern Iraq, you can see on the map that it's located in the southern part of the country. It
was not cratered. It was in reasonably good shape based on the intelligence at the time, and it was very
important to the combatant commander and to the CJFACC that we really wanted to have this airfield to operate out
of so that we could actually move forces forward. The tankers were stressed. They were very busy keeping
everybody going. We wanted another place where people could come back and get refueled.
In this particular case I think you'll find out that we very quickly were able to go in because of lessons
learned from OEF, seize that airfield, and put it in operation and very quickly.
In fact it was a phenomenal team effort if you talk to the people that actually went in there.
Cross-functional, it was inter-service, it wasn't all one show by anybody by any means.
Let me give you a quick review of the timing just to give you some idea.
The seizure force went in on the 22nd of March. There was an air mobility liaison officer embedded in with
the Army seizer force.
On the 23rd of March, a special tactics team was in place to provide air traffic control surfaces. They
conducted an assessment of the landing zone and the AMC assessment team arrived to begin to lay out where parking
areas could be and so forth.
On the 24th of March, the base was open. The TALCE began to move into place and prepared to accept aircraft.
On the 26th of March, the perimeter had been secured by ground forces. The TALCE was prepared.
On the 27th of March, the first C-130 arrived, bringing in supplies and personnel. Four days after the
airfield was seized.
On the 28th of March, they established the Air Force command post, provided the initial air expeditionary
group commander and staff, the critical C-2 noted to begin operations.
On the 29th of March, A-10s began to use Talil as a refueling stop. It wasn't but a couple of days after that
that they actually moved A-10s up there to operate.
On the 30th of March, the commander arrived.
On the 31st of March, the assessment team. And what you would today call the CRG Commander gave the keys to
the base over to the commander and they were good to go.
It's pretty amazing when you think about it. We did that at six other airfields in Iraq during the period of
time that we're talking about OIF.
But organizing and training is not everything. Obviously, in order to be able to do this effectively, you've
got to have the right kind of equipment, so let me shift focus here for a minute and go over to where we are with
equipping our air forces to respond to the global war on terrorism.
One of our highest priorities, and it has been for some time, is night operations. To give you some sense, I
was amazed to learn that up until a few years ago there were still people in the Air Force, not just in AMC, but
elsewhere, that said, “ah, flying at night is dangerous, flying with night vision goggles is dangerous.” Now all
we want to do is fly at night on night vision goggles because everybody understands those things provide a
magnificent capability that we've never had before.
We've been pushing it very hard and for those of you who understand how the procurement process works you'll
understand sometimes how difficult it is to get pieces of equipment, particularly when they can't produce them
fast enough. But I just got good news on Friday that we've been authorized to expend several million dollars to
procure several hundred additional night vision goggles for the crew beginning in '05. Long overdue. We need
them desperately. Our goal is to have every crew member out there equipped and trained to use night vision
goggles, to include the people on the ground. Because it doesn't do any good to have the air crew equipped with
night vision goggles if the aerial port kids driving the forklift and the loaders have to have all the lights on
to see what's going on. If we're going to do things in the dark all the time, as we did in southern Afghanistan
with the Marines, then we need to have everybody equipped with night vision goggles.
A funny story as an aside. Remember the C-17s that took the Marines in and landed in southern Afghanistan
during OEF? I'm always amused when I see pictures of a Marine standing there saying we're the first into
southern Afghanistan and there's a C-17 in the background. I guess he was technically correct in terms of
In terms of AlerCom, for those of you who don't know, this capability is a very, very important countermeasure
for our assets, particularly big airplanes and the threat from MANPADS. We've already installed a number of
these kits on C-17s, one or two on the C-130s. Our plan is to try to get at least a third if not more of the
C-17s, and we have plans for at least 40 C-130s, C-5s are on the horizon.
The FLIRs are separate from AlerCom. FLIRs are obviously very important to us right now because we're not
going to be able to get AlerCom produced fast enough to get them on all the aircraft, but FLIRs are out there.
One of the lessons we learned on OEF and now in OIF is we needed a different cocktail, a different mixture of
different kind of FLIRs. We were able to work with AFMC and the other MAJCOMS and we've been able to solve that
problem fairly quickly. They've upped production of the kinds of FLIRs we need to make this a very effective
cocktail, and it's really important that we stay ahead of the threat out there. As you know, there are lots of
different ManPads out there available to the bad guys and they're definitely using them against us. And not just
KC-135s. The challenge there is, as you've heard before, the E model of the KC-135s were old and tired. The
need for air refueling is not going to go down. We were thin during OEF, thinner during OIF, because at some
point in time there we were doing OEF, OIF, Homeland Defense, all at the same time, plus the air bridge, plus
supporting the other theaters. We were stretched really thin. Like I said earlier, tankers put global in global
reach and global power, so we need to focus and continue to focus on getting replacements for those old airplanes.
C-130Js, an interesting program. We have 35 delivered so far, all in the Guard and Reserve. I take that back.
We have one J-model down at Little Rock getting the AETC folks ready for training. There are 19 that are combat
ready. The rest are at Kiesler Air Force Base, hurricane hunters. We're still working on the radar to get that
up to speed and there's a few of them at Harrisburg.
The J model has been through some interesting times, but it's ready to go, we think. 1 December we're going
to ship them over and start supporting the AOR in CENTCOM. It's been a long road, but we're going to get there.
It's a good airplane, has great capability. We're just taking our time to get it there.
The C-130 Amp program. As you probably know, we have lots of different versions of the C-130. We have places
where we've had E models and various H models. The crews can't swap airplanes. It's been a real thrash for
years. We do have a modernization program, $4.5 billion by the way. It's critical to upgrade these aircraft.
The first aircraft, I'd been out to the facility at Boeing a couple of months ago to see how they're preparing
for this. They have some really good programs in place. The first aircraft begins modification in '07 and the
first delivery in '09. It will take several years because, as you know, we have a lot of C-130s, but we want to
get as many as possible configured the same as quickly as we can.
To say the least, we are working hard on organize, train and equip. There's a lot more to do, but we have a
Total Force out there that's very dedicated to getting the job done and you can be very proud of them.
All our airmen are working hard, therefore we have to work harder to ensure that organize, train and equip
means something and that it's responsive to today's environment.
If you look at that picture there, you can imagine standing on the ramp at Bagram like I was maybe a year ago
now. As you can see, there's not a lot of room on either side of the main gear of that C-17. We're putting our
kids in some interesting places and asking a lot of them and they are doing magnificent work. The thing we have
to continue to remember is what we're doing is supporting soldiers, sailors and marines who are out there doing
the tough day-to-day job. You read the papers and see the news just like I do.
I guess I'd close with a favorite story I've heard General Handy talk about before. Of course, being a big
NASCAR fan, he probably has lots of these stories, but this is a story that comes from Richard Petty himself.
He says after 20 years of incredible success in the NASCAR business, to include winning Daytona 500 seven times,
his team found themselves at a crossroads. Other teams were developing new technologies, refining their cars
with more sophisticated engineering. Petty's team became complacent, satisfied with their great successes in the
past and not looking to the future.
You can fill in other names for Richard Petty and so forth. You can probably figure out where I'm headed with
Petty said later, “we'd been winning steadily for 20 years and decided we wouldn't change. We should have led
the way in developing new technologies, but we didn't even follow.” He concluded without a win in the last eight
years of his distinguished career.
I believe the Air Force now finds itself at one of those crossroads and I also believe we're choosing the
right course. We will not be complacent. Rather, we'll be prepared for the future and remain miles ahead of
our adversaries as we continue to win the global war on terrorism. As I said earlier, it's really hard to carry
the fight to the bad guys if you don't have some way of getting there, and quickly.
I do want to thank you all very much for the support that you give those young men and women out there in the
mobility forces. They're doing a great job. I ask that you keep all of them in your prayers. Yesterday in
Kuwait it was 129 degrees. That was the air temperature, not the temperature on the ramp. And they're still
flying sorties every day. They're not complaining about it, they're getting the job done. You can be very proud
of your mobility airmen.
Thank you very much.
Q: The stability and predictability that the AEF construct has promised is not being seen amongst AMC's
airframes. What can be done to give the hardest working aircrews in the Air Force the stability and
A: There's two things that we're doing. Timing, it's a good question. I've asked the staff to come
talk to me a week from Friday about the next rotation. The focus is on tankers and C-130s because they're the
ones that do the most rotations back and forth and have the highest TDY rate of any of the crews in terms of
actually living over there.
We had quite a thrash the last two times because of last-minute changes based on the requirements in the
theater. Something that we don't necessarily like, but we can anticipate that there's always going to be changes
at the last minute because the enemy has a vote, remember, in how they're going to react to what we do.
So in some cases it was simply a response to what the bad guy was doing and what the combatant commander
thought he needed in certain locations and in certain numbers, so I'll give them that. But, by the same token,
we can do a much better job both for ECS personnel and for the aircrews in determining what the expected numbers
and expected rotation dates are. I think that's where we've fallen down on the mark.
I've told the staff I want them to come in with three different proposals: one that they have, one that the
theater has, and one the AEF center has. I want all three of those organizations to come in with one best
solution to minimize the confusion that's out there.
Q: Is the Army constraining weight growth of Stryker and will the Air Force be able to carry two
Strykers on a C-130?
A: We can barely carry one on the C-130. I think the issue, and I've had the opportunity to go brief
the Army Vice Chief about a year and a half ago—General Keene, when he was still the Army Vice Chief, and his
senior staff. I took my smartest C-130 kid along with me to explain to them what they didn't understand about
Now there was information out there for them to have, but what has happened is as the Stryker was being
developed within the Army they had what we all call “requirements creep.” Anybody heard that term before?
Anybody been guilty of that before or been a victim of it before?
So what turned out to be a vehicle that was supposed to weigh in the low 30,000 lb class is in the high 30,000
and some variants of the Stryker are in the mid- to low 40,000 class weight. That's also about how much
clearance there is on either side of the Stryker in the back of the C-130. So you can see this is not something
that's very easy to load, and when you put it on there in one of the heavier versions you're not going to go very
far because there's an interesting technical dilemma with the C-130 that has to do with fuel in the wings to
provide strength when it has a lot of weight on it. So if you put a lot of weight on it, guess what you have to
do? Any aerodynamic experts in here? What you have to do is you have to keep fueling the wing to keep it stiff
because of all that weight in the fuselage. So there are certain constraints.
You put a lot of weight on that C-130, you keep fueling the wings that you cannot use while you're flying with
that Stryker on board, what does that tell you? Any guesses? You're not going to go very far.
So the answer is you put three of them on a C-17, because you can put three on a C-17 with all their equipment
and all their personnel, but to carry it on a C-130, if it's real hot outside and you have a long way to go
you're probably not going to get there.
Q: Is Air Mobility Command a main target of al Qaeda in the global war on terrorism? And do you have
any comments on the Civilian Reserve Air Fleet?
A: Well, I would tell you that the air bases that we're operating out of are under constant threat. I
don't think anybody should be surprised by that. We’ve obviously had two of our aircraft, a C-17 and a C-5, hit
by MANPADS. So yeah, we are definitely a target. Just about any airplane flying in and out of the major hubs
over there have to take care. That's one of the reasons we sat down and we were so insistent on getting the
tactics that we're learning over there documented.
The Civil Reserve Air Fleet if they're around can do great work, but if you saw the paper today what did it
say about USAir? Bankruptcy. What else did it say on the front page of the Wall Street Journal? What are the
airlines going to? Smaller airplanes. What does that mean for me? Less useful.
So I'm very concerned about CRAF. I'm concerned about the number of viable in-business American airlines that
are capable, because we depend on them to move passengers more than cargo. About 90% of the people we moved in
support of OIF we moved by CRAF. But that was because they had lots of large 747-class aircraft. But if the
airline industry goes to smaller and smaller airplanes no longer capable of those long ranges we're going to be
in an interesting dilemma when it comes to CRAF.
Q: A couple of questions regarding future procurement. One has to do with your opinion as to whether
or not AMC is procuring the right mobility lift assets with technological advances in mind to meet the needs of
the future. And secondly, what will become of the C-5 in both the short and the long term?
A: We need the C-5, no doubt, because it's the only aircraft we have that can carry certain out-sized
cargo. And until the rest of the Department of Defense decides they don't need to move out-sized and over-sized
cargo, we're going to need the C-5.
The challenge we have with that aircraft is we have two versions. We have an A model and B model. A's in the
'60s, B's in the '80s. We cannot send the A model into a threat area because what does the A model not have?
Anybody know? The A model has no defensive systems on it whatsoever—nothing. It's just like a commercial
So the challenge we have, we definitely need to do the Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) and Reliability
Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) on the C-5s, particularly the B's. What we're trying to get people to
understand is we want to AMP and RERP the A's, we also have to roll in the cost of putting defensive systems on
them because I can spend a lot of money AMPing and RERPing] the A model C-5s, but they'll still be a commercial
aircraft when it comes to where I can fly it. See what I mean? So we have to look at what it's going to cost to
put defensive systems on that aircraft. So that's the situation with the C-5. We definitely need C-5s, there's
no doubt about it.
As far as where we're going in the future and what other airlift do we need, obviously we think we need as
many C-17s as the Air Force can afford to buy for us because the airplane has just done absolutely magnificent
things for us all around the world. You would not believe some of the statistics and some of the places and some
of the things that we've done with this airplane over the last two and a half years. It's been phenomenal.
C-130s, obviously we have a lot of old C-130s, just like we have a lot of old KC-135Es. So we're going to
have to look really hard at the J model 130, how many of those we want? And what is going to be the follow-on to
the C-130? Or is there going to be one that's in that class, or is it going to be something between the C-130
and the C-17? We've actually asked industry to give us some ideas.
Q: Continuing this same train of thought, has there been any thought of using C-17s for new tankers
instead of pursuing the 767s?
A: The aerodynamics behind the C-17, you wouldn't be able to sit back there and refuel. It's just too
turbulent. We have asked that question.
Q: Are Air Reserve units in the AEF buckets being sent to Eagle Flag? And if so, does their time
there count for ORT completion, and does that mean they spend less time in the AOR because of the time spent in
A: That's a fair question. If you're in an ECS functional area and you are assigned to an AEF budget
(which all air mobility personnel in the Total Force are), you should be in an AEF bucket. That's what General
Handy and I asked the staff in the AEF center to do—posture all our people in an AEF bucket.
The challenge for us, of course, is mobilization because if we don't have people mobilized then it's very
difficult to manage those folks, and I understand the training dilemma that you have in terms of how you can find
the time, whether you volunteer or otherwise, to be able to go over there for 60, 90, or 120 days. It is not an
easy problem for us to solve, to be quite frank.
I would like for everybody to be able to go to Eagle Flag if you're ECS. The issue of using your annual
training time to go to an Eagle Flag during your training window is not a bad idea. How we formalize that is
something we've still got to work out with the AEF Center, because if we don't have it forecast out far enough,
it won't match your schedule as a reserve officer or enlisted person and then you'll lose your opportunity. And
we'll lose our opportunity. So yes, that's something that has to be worked very carefully.
Q: When can we expect a formal training course on the use of Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) by our air
medical crew members and aerial port professionals?
A: I know that the A-4 on the AMC staff is already working on a training plan for aerial porters.
We've had discussions about AE personnel and NVGs. The issue there is lighting in the backs of the airplanes,
and do we really want them treating patients in NVGs? The issue is mostly getting the patients from wherever
they are to the airplane and the conditions for NVGs are required. The medical folks are looking at that. I
know we've asked the question. I don't know what the answer is.
Q: During your brief you mentioned that AMC's focus is no longer strategic airlift. Does that mean
that fixed, en-route locations will eventually be manned and equipped to include parts to support transient
C-130s and perhaps KC-135s?
A: That's a good question. When I say we're no longer focused on strategic, it's the way we think
about how we do business. Like I indicated with the C-5 story going into Baghdad, it really is kind of an
interesting phenomenon to see a C-5 thinking tactically, but that's what we're having to do.
As far as the en-routes are concerned, I know that the A-4, we've asked that question twice now about spare
parts and en-routes, and it is a challenge for us in a couple of locations that I know of personally—one in
Europe and one in the Pacific.
I quite frankly don't know how far along we are in establishing the requirement to fill up the bins with
certain parts at those locations. I think it's a bigger problem for the C-130 than it is for the KC-135 based
on all the traveling I've been doing on the tankers over the last couple of years.
Q: Will AMOCs that currently service the MAJCOMS be moved to the new WFHQs? Will MAJCOMS retain
control? Or will TRANSCOM reshuffle?
A: That's a good question. As some of you may know, the warfighting headquarters movement that the
Chief started some time ago is kind of on a steady hold right now. They put together an IPT.
For AMC, we did our warfighting headquarters restructuring sometime back. That's what 18th Air Force is all
about. That's what the 15th and 21st EMTFs are all about. And we changed the staff from two digits, XO, DO, XP
and so forth to A-1 through A-8. So for the warfighting headquarters, are far as AMC is concerned, we're pretty
As far as the AMOCs overseas, in particular PACAF and USAFE, as I assume your question is about, we'll have to
wait and see what their plan is. Quite frankly, I have not seen their plan yet. In fact, I guess Corona is
later this month, is that correct? That's going to be a hot topic of discussion, so we'll know a lot more after
Q: Does the AMC headquarters A-staff structure work? And does it make it easier to work with the
unified commands and the joint staff?
A: It is working quite well, as a matter of fact. I've been very pleased. As far as I can tell,
there have been no hiccups. In fact, 18th Air Force does not have a staff. A lot of people are shocked when I
say that, but when we created 18th Air Force we purposely stood up the A-staff at the same time so that the only
thing the 18th Air Force Commander has, he has all his legal staff and he has an executive officer and those
kinds of folks and he has an orderly room to do admin functions to help him with OPRs, EPRs, awards and
decorations. But all the staff functions, stand-evaluation, IG, personnel, and so forth that you might imagine
that would be in a NAF, is now on the AMC staff, and when he has something that needs to be worked he has the
authority to task the staff to support him if it is something that his own internal staff or one of his wings
cannot do for him.
He infos me so I can keep track of what the workload is. We've been doing this for almost a year now and it's
Q: Can you comment at all about the AMC mission in Africa?
A: The AMC mission in Africa I can divide into three areas, depending upon what part of Africa you
want to talk about. If you're talking about the Horn of Africa, that's part of CENTCOM's area. We have a lot of
C-130 operations supporting that effort as you might imagine because of what's going on there in support of the
global war on terrorism.
As far as the rest of Africa is concerned, there's not, quite frankly, all that much going on that we're
involved with on a direct basis unless EUCOM asks for us.
Q: Do you envision just-in-time air delivery to frontline combat troops, especially the Army, in the
future? And in what timeframe will we see UAVs as airlifters?
A: I don't think that we are talking about UAVs as airlifters at this point in time, much like the
CAF is not talking about UAVs doing close air support right now.
We are talking about innovative ways to deliver troops to the forward lines. We've been working with NADIC,
the Army, extensively. There are some very imaginative things out there that would allow us to drop something
out of an airplane from a reasonably high altitude, and you'd be amazed how far it can go before it hits the
GPS-guided, controlled … it's phenomenal what we can do these days with the technology that's out there. In
fact, some of the parachutes that NADIC has tested in the Army, the material is made out of recycled plastic coke
bottles, believe it or not. So recycling is alive and well in the Army, in case you didn't know it.
So there are a lot of efforts going on out there.
We also are looking, quite frankly, like I indicated earlier, 15-20 years out. We know we're going to have to
look at another kind of airlift aircraft. We're working in cooperation with AFSOC as well to look at something,
like I said earlier, that's between a C-130 and a C-17. To try to make it a reduced signature aircraft would
maybe be a road too far, but we would like for it to be able to land on very short, austere runways.
So yeah, we're looking at a lot of options.
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