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Gen. Van Ovost leads discussions at University of Chicago

Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, speaks with students April 11, during her visit to the Harris School of Public Policy at University of Chicago, Illinois. Van Ovost met with public policy students and faculty, and ROTC cadets about topics to include USTRANSCOM’s mission, the need for collaboration with industry partners, and the value of mentorship. (U.S. Transportation Command photo by Lt. Col. Ellis Gales)

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, commander of U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), visited the University of Chicago, April 11 for a morning of strategic discussions and mentorship with the next generation of leaders. 


During her visit, Van Ovost spoke with Harris School of Public Policy students and faculty, and ROTC cadets about USTRANSCOM’s global mission, collaboration to deter near-pear competitors, and various ways to serve the nation.


“I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to engage with you this morning,” Van Ovost said to the public policy students. “The juncture of your academic journey with that of our nation’s history couldn’t be more timely, relevant and critical.”


 
USTRANSCOM is responsible for the global movement of U.S. forces and strategic equipment, with policy playing a key role in enhancing this critical capability.


“It is fortuitous then that I can engage with you during what will likely be a defining decade for our nation,” Van Ovost said. “Our society is going through cultural change, which is natural from generation to generation, but what’s different is that cultural change is happening as our nation faces a shift in the global strategic environment.”


The general also mentioned that public policy is linked to the United States’ foreign and defense policies — vital to the nation’s strategic advantage.


“While [adversarial] threats to a stable, free, and open world loom, war are not inevitable, conflict is not imminent,” Van Ovost said. “But your military, your government, and your nation must be prepared for that possibility. A pragmatic approach and a dose of realism ensures we can best leverage our civil and military resources.


“While our military might is unmatched, it is only one lever our nation has at its disposal and by itself, is insufficient without strong institutions, a strong economy, and a strong spirit of cooperation all supported by shared understanding and public policies — an area where you will have great influence,” she continued.


Van Ovost also met with Air Force ROTC cadets from the city’s Detachment 195 and JROTC cadets from Air Force Academy High School, the only public academy of its kind in the nation. During which, she shared her experience as a military leader and encouraged them to pursue their potential.


 
“Whatever your passion or path, only you can say no,” Van Ovost said. “Our industries, our military, our country needs the talents within each one of you!” If you have the courage and commitment, you will grow wherever you find yourself planted!”


For the general’s last engagement at the university, she spoke with medical personnel from the U.S. Army Military-Civilian Trauma team. The group discussed the best ways to provide medical care and move patients. Van Ovost also proposed that combat readiness and mental resiliency are vital for civilian surgeons and medical personnel to support U.S. forces.


 
“This unique program allows for the building and honing of critical care skills — ultimately ensuring the best life-saving care possible is provided to our service members,” Van Ovost said on Twitter.


The campus engagements at the University of Chicago align with Van Ovost’s priority of empowering a competitive and resilient warfighting team. She emphasized that people are USTRANSCOM’s most valuable resource, and leaders must invest in the skills required to compete and win.


USTRANSCOM exists as a warfighting combatant command to project and sustain military power at a time and place of the nation’s choosing. Powered by dedicated men and women, TRANSCOM underwrites the lethality of the Joint Force, advances American interests around the globe, and provides our nation’s leaders with strategic flexibility to select from multiple options, while creating multiple dilemmas for our adversaries.

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