Too Much of a Good Thing

From an Air Force perspective, having too many C-17 transports in the fleet “is a bad thing,” Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, military deputy to USAF’s top acquisition executive, said Tuesday. Speaking at an Air Force Association-sponsored Air Force Breakfast Series presentation in Arlington, Va., Shackelford said the extra C-17s that Congress is supplying the Air Force present challenges in integrating them into the force structure and paying for their operations and maintenance. Congress has appropriated funds for 223 C-17s, while the Air Force wanted to stop at 205. That bloated total, together with the 111 C-5 transports now in the fleet, places the service above the ideal strategic airlift fleet size identified in the Pentagon’s new Mobility Capabilities and Requirements Study, a number Shackelford said is “in the area of 300 large-deck cargo haulers.” (See Allow a Graceful Sunset)