Gen. Duncan McNabb, AMC commander, says he views a new tanker—with floors, doors, and defensive systems—that he can use for either aerial refueling or cargo-hauling missions “to hedge” those cargo missions that the Civil Reserve Air Fleet cannot fly, specifically the ones destined for forward locations in an area of operations. Right now, AMC has to shift some CRAF loads to C-17s, or in some cases to C-5s, because those aircraft have defensive capabilities. He believes it would be more useful to use a hybrid tanker with those same defensive systems to back up the CRAF. Under review now, said McNabb, is the appropriate mix for tactical air, including C-130s, “maybe” C-17s, and the new joint cargo aircraft. He added, “That’s something that we’re sorting out, so I think there’s a lot of opportunity there.”
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.