Another Mobility Study

The Pentagon is about to launch another comprehensive mobility study to provide some heavier analytical backing to the decisions to shrink the Air Force’s strategic and tactical airlift fleets, said Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. He told reporters in Washington, D.C., last week that the Mobility Capability Requirements Study 2016—the most recent in-depth mobility study, completed several years ago—established the requirement for 32.7 million ton-miles per day for airlift. “The analysis that we have done,” based on the new national defense strategy and smaller sized ground forces, indicates a need for about 29.4 MTM/D, said Schwartz. However, the actual capacity of the force that the Air Force intends to retain, “based on 275 big airplanes and 318 small ‘lift airplanes,” is about 30.4 MTM/D to 30.6 MTM/D, or, “slightly more than what we understand the demand signal to be, which is the right place to be,” he said during the media roundtable. The Air Force has recommended that the new study include new considerations, such as intratheater requirements, aerial refueling, “time-sensitive delivery to maneuver forces,” and pre-positioned equipment, because “these are factors that influence the demand signal,” noted Schwartz. (As a reminder, here’s the MCRS-16 unclassified executive summary.)