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General Outlines Transcom's Mission, Challenges

Providing global logistics to sustain the force and provide humanitarian aid over air, land and sea is a capability the Defense Department enjoys, unmatched by any other nation, said Air Force Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, commander, U.S. Transportation Command, who spoke yesterday at a McAleese-sponsored event in Washington, D.C.

"Mission success depends on the nation's capacity and capability to transport and supply its forces," she said.

Airmen work to get a large pallet of supplies off an aircraft.
Emergency Support
Air Force airmen assist humanitarian relief efforts by offloading a 52-bed emergency field hospital tent at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Feb. 10, 2023. The hospital components will be transported commercially to Antakya, Turkey, to provide medical support for victims of the country’s massive earthquake.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Winn
VIRIN: 230210-F-DS607-0648A

In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Transcom has delivered large quantities of munitions and weaponry to Ukraine from the U.S., allies and partners, she said.

"The entire enterprise proudly continues to enable Ukraine's national defense, and that in turn delivers success for our allies and partners," she said.

Despite the significant demands of the European theater, Transcom continues to execute its global mission in support of joint and combined exercises with geographic combatant commands, she said. 

An air force general speaks with a major at a desert air base.
Prince Sultan Air Base Visit
Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, U.S. Transportation Command commander, speaks with Maj. Cynthia Lete at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 6, 2023.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Stephani Barge
VIRIN: 230206-F-UO935-1054

Global power projection relies on accessible basing and overflights overseas, she said, requiring diplomatic alignment with allies and partners. 

Within the United States, mobilization and logistical movement depends on a good network of highways, railways and pipelines, she said. 

"The combination of our organic logistics and commercial capabilities must continue to present a credible deterrent for delivering," she added.

Achieving this requires proactive effort, she said. "In 10 years, more than 50% of the U.S. government's sealift ships will reach the end of service life. For this reason, Transcom supports the Navy's strategy to recapitalize the fleet by acquiring used sealift vessels on the commercial market, and to provide the secretary of defense discretionary authority to purchase new ships."

A female uniformed service member speaks in front of a large crowd.
Group Photo
Air Force Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, commander, U.S. Transportation Command, speaks at a McAleese-sponsored event in Washington, D.C., March 15, 2023.
Photo By: David Vergun, DOD
VIRIN: 230315-D-UB488-023

Joint force global projection also relies on air refueling as the backbone of rapid global mobility, she said. To meet this requirement, Transcom supports modernization of the tanker fleet, along with upgrades to existing aircraft. 

Transcom is also embracing secure artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to accelerate decision making in the transportation space, she said.

Van Ovost noted that the Indo-Pacific region is the most challenging theater, with vast ocean distances to be crossed and a scarcity of logistics hubs.

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