Air Mobility After Afghanistan

Despite nearing the finish of the retrograde of people and gear from Afghanistan, an upcoming airlift study likely won’t call for reduced organic airlift, US Transportation Command chief Gen. Paul Selva said Thursday. Speaking with defense reporters in Washington, D.C., Selva said there’s already a hefty “demand signal” on airlift to support operations against ISIS in Syria and lraq, and to support the “major logistics effort” to combat Ebola in West Africa. Any one of these is “not exorbitant,” but collectively add up to a heavy operating tempo, Selva said. Since demand has “not markedly declined,” and if future war plans “demand faster movement of forces,” the airlift fleet size “is going to remain relatively constant,” Selva asserted. The “real question,” he said, is how much of the fleet has to be in the Active Duty force “for immediately ready capacity,” and how much of the balance should be in the Guard and Reserve as an “augmenting capacity.” That, and whether it makes best sense to give the iron to the reserve component or keep it in the active and build more associations is “a set of questions … we’re going to have to get at … over the next couple of years,” Selva said. “History tells us … 60 percent Active Duty, 40 percent Guard and Reserve is the right mix,” he added. He thinks there are enough people coming into the reserve component to make it work.