What the Numbers Show and Don’t Show

According to GAO’s analysis of nearly 15,000 strategic airlift missions for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, AMC underutilized C-5 and C-17 aircraft on more than 97 percent and more than 81 percent of their missions, respectively, based on DOD’s standard payload planning factor. While the data would seem to indicate a glaring misuse of airlift capability, GAO emphasized that had AMC collected data on operational factors, these payloads might “indicate efficient use of an aircraft’s capacity.”