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USTRANSCOM commander stresses importance of logistical dominance

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson, Alaska, receives fuel from a KC-10 Extender assigned to Travis Air Force Base, California, over Australia, Feb. 25, 2023. The multi-unit refueling mission strengthened integrated tanker capabilities while providing transportation support to the 2023 Australian International Airshow and Aerospace and Defence Exposition at Avalon International Airport, Victoria, Australia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexander Merchak)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — Preserving our logistical dominance is key to maintaining our strategic advantage, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) Commander Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost said at the 14th Annual Defense Programs Conference March 15.

Van Ovost joined U.S. legislative and senior military leaders in Washington D.C., to discuss the National Defense Strategy and Department of Defense priorities.

“Almost every joint force mission begins and ends with USTRANSCOM,” said Van Ovost. “With the help of our commercial industry partners — our air, rail, sea and surface capabilities ensure that the humanitarian aid and combat power emanating from the United States reach their intended destinations.”

To showcase how logistics has played a critical role on and off the battlefield throughout history, Van Ovost provided a quote from Sir Winston Churchill: “Victory is the beautiful, bright-colored flower. Transport is the stem without which it could never have blossomed. Yet even the military student … often forgets the far more intricate complications of supply.”

“Regardless of the mission, success depends on a nation’s capacity to transport and supply its forces,” Van Ovost said. “Russia’s challenges clearly demonstrate Churchill’s maxim, despite their secure, interior lines.” 

USTRANSCOM has delivered millions of small arms and artillery rounds, thousands of vehicles, and other critical equipment and materiel to Ukraine, aiding in their defense against Russia’s illegal invasion. 

Additionally, within 24-hours of notification, USTRANSCOM delivered urban search and rescue teams to Türkiye following the devastating earthquakes that struck the country early this year.

“Despite the significant demands of the European theater, USTRANSCOM continues to execute our enduring global mission,” Van Ovost said. 

She also described how USTRANSCOM supports joint and combined exercises with geographic combatant commands, including bilateral, multi-domain maneuvers to increase the combat readiness and interoperability of U.S. and allied partner nations.

“Every day, from combined training to crisis, USTRANSCOM delivers all forms of power for our nation,” Van Ovost said.” In the context of global competition, the People’s Republic of China recognizes USTRANSCOM’s critical role in the American power paradigm.”

The commander also noted that with 85% of the United States’ combat forces in the mainland, USTRANSCOM must present a credible deterrent to ensure the effectiveness of the nation’s major weapons systems. “The PRC understands that for the U.S. to compete effectively, the DOD must have agile, resilient, survivable and sustainable logistics,” she continued.

“With our priorities and warfighting framework nested within the National Defense Strategy, USTRANSCOM is dedicated to ensuring the enterprise is ready to accomplish our mission,” Van Ovost said. 

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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