Mobility Challenges for Afghanistan

As the US moves more forces into Afghanistan, Air Mobility Command is taking a fresh assessment of the infrastructure and basing arrangement needed to fly personnel, materiel, and fuel into the country, the command’s top airman told the audience at a panel on expeditionary operations at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando Thursday. AMC Commander Gen. Arthur Lichte said he, along with US Air Forces Central boss Lt. Gen. Gary North, have dispatched joint assessment teams to all bases in Afghanistan to evaluate their capacity and capability. One big problem in Afghanistan is lack of fuel, Lichte said. Getting enough supplies to certain areas can be tough by land, so AMC has taken a snapshot of situations going back to the Berlin Airlift to see what kind of capacity they would need to support an expanded basing infrastructure. Lichte also said that Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan “is very critical to us” but that AMC and US Central Command are continuing to press and examine a range of options that would be utilized in the event of the facility’s closure. (At last word US officials were still talking with the Kyrgyz government over its recent decision to close the base.)