SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.--The Air Mobility Command commander, Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, was invited by Congress to speak to congressional leaders at the Congressional Mobility Air Forces Caucus Breakfast, July 12, in Washington D.C.
He traveled there to speak with lawmakers regarding worldwide mobility operations.
The CMFAC, co-chaired by U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington, and U.S. Representative John Garamendi, California, provides an opportunity for government leaders and their colleagues to discuss mobility air forces contributions to national defense. It establishes a forum for exchange amongst its members and ensures they have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information about developments in air mobility.
Rep. McMorris Rodgers highlighted the value and need for General Everhart's perspective to ensure enhanced understanding of the mobility mission set to national defense in order to fulfill its oversight role.
“Mobility airmen and aircraft are vital to our national defense because they give the United States global reach,” said McMorris Rodgers. “In today's volatile environment, with new and diverse threats all around us, it's incumbent upon us to advocate and strengthen Air Mobility Command's unique ability and mission in providing for our national defense.”
Everhart’s speech was tailored around AMC’s four mobility focus areas: readiness, growing and developing Airmen, modernization and the nuclear mission. He spoke on the capabilities of AMC and enabling joint force operations to take place, anywhere on the planet within hours versus days.
“Mobility Air Forces are the backbone of joint operations,” said Garamendi. “Rapid global mobility enables our armed forces to project American power around the world, whether for major combat operations or for humanitarian relief.”
With the Air Force being the smallest and busiest it has ever been, Everhart thanked the caucus for recognizing AMC’s mission impact and highlighted the continued partnership with Guard and Reserve forces to accomplish the command’s mission.
Readiness, Growth and Development of Airmen
AMC’s readiness is not solely reliant on modern technology to get the mission done, but also having its most valuable resource, well-trained and well-equipped Airmen, ready to go at a moment’s notice, said Everhart.
The general discussed AMC’s role in squadron revitalization and work being done to further demonstrate the value Airmen and their families bring to national defense.
“Mobility Airmen are committed, selflessly face adversity, and work diligently with fewer resources and funding, the tradeoff has resulted in manning issues such as the national pilot shortage,” said Everhart.
The Guard and Reserve are already 315 pilots short today and over the next four years there are another 1,600 AMC pilots eligible to leave the service.
Everhart spoke on how the Chief of Staff of the Air Force is committed to improving quality of life and service within the pilot force and across the broader Air Force. He added how AMC is actively investigating ways that he can enact measures within his span of control to bring about change and improvement as well. He specifically discussed AMC’s Aircrew Crisis Task Force and the over 600 responses the team processed in developing courses of action to address the top concerns.
Everhart thanked the caucus for their efforts in supporting aviator retention initiatives. He highlighted the need to ease the transition of dual-career families into communities and enhance education.
Everhart discussed the command’s look at making the mobility aircraft more survivable, aircraft availability, and creating pathways to modernize the fleet. He noted that without a stable defense budget modernization innovations are difficult to achieve.
The full funding for 15 KC-46 aircraft that happened in December helped prevent the MAF from potentially breaking its contract with Boeing, Everhart said. The Armed Services Committee has requested 17 KC-46s in the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.
He shared the importance of continually enhancing aircraft refueling capabilities and creating predictable budgetary pathways to modernize the mobility fleet.
Everhart noted the tanker fleet’s role in the nuclear mission, and how modernization and survivability of the platform ensures the nation’s ability to assure allies, and deter potential adversaries. The mission set requires the ability to execute global reach quickly and over vast distances.
“The tanker underwrites our nation’s ability to project power rapidly,” said Everhart. “It enables the ‘global’ aspect in global vigilance, global reach and global power.”
He noted AMC’s support of nuclear-capable B-2s on their way to eliminate terrorist training camps in Libya. In a 30-hour nonstop flying mission, 15 Total Force tankers from five different bases were able to make that possible.
The general concluded by informing the caucus about the inaugural Mobility Guardian exercise. The exercise is designed to test the four core mobility capabilities—aerial refueling, airlift, aeromedical evacuation, enroute support. The exercise will improve the readiness of mobility, joint and international partners to meet increasing demands of worldwide operations. He explained how this is no longer a mere skills competition, but a cutting-edge exercise that will afford Airmen the opportunity for learning and discovery in a challenging operational environment.
With the exercise consisting of more than 3,000 personnel and more than 30 partner nations, it represents the full spectrum of mobility air forces.
“Those in attendance gained firsthand knowledge of General Everhart's leadership and commitment to Air Mobility Command, and all of our servicemen and women,” said McMorris Rodgers. “General Everhart emphasized the need for a strong and ready force, the need for modernization of aircraft and equipment, and the need to honor the service and sacrifice of those who put their lives on the line every day for this country…Air Mobility Command plays an integral role in keeping our nation safe.”
Rep. Garamendi remarked on how important it was for the AMC commander to take the time to assist Congress in fully understanding the role and importance of mobility air forces to national defense.
“General Everhart made it clear he is thinking about how Mobility Air Forces will evolve in response to 21st century challenges and threats,” said Garamendi. “As the United States continues to operate around the world, the Total Force of mobility Airmen will need the support and the platforms necessary to [counter] fights from insurgents like ISIL and near-peer competitors.”