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USTRANSCOM Commander: Logistics is vital to securing US’ strategic advantage

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — For the United States to maintain its strategic advantage, we must invest in our military logistics, Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost told the House’s joint subcommittee today on “Posture and Readiness of the Mobility Enterprise-TRANSCOM and MARAD.”

Van Ovost, the commander of U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), testified alongside retired Rear Adm. Ann Phillips, administrator of the Maritime Administration, on the posture and readiness of the mobility enterprise and the challenges ahead.

One such obstacle is the aging fleet of large roll-on/roll-off ships, which the military would use to deliver 90% of its vehicles and equipment during a conflict.

“My highest concerns lie in reductions in capacity and readiness in both sealift and air refueling,” Van Ovost said. “We are a generation late in recapitalizing a ready sealift fleet to meet our national objectives.”

The average age of the 44 roll-on/roll-off ships the military uses to surge from the U.S. is 44 years old. In fact, 17 of the 44 ships are 50 years or older.

“I greatly appreciate your [Congress] support for stabilized funding towards our sealift recapitalization effort, and I am heartened by the current progress on the first five ships,” Van Ovost said.

Along with expanding its sealift capabilities, USTRANSCOM also concurred with the Air Force on the need for more advanced air refueling technologies.

“In the air, the air refueling fleet is the backbone of rapid global mobility — and is our most stressed capability,” Van Ovost said. “TRANSCOM supports the Air Force’s continued efforts toward ... the next generation air refueling system to ensure our capacity and readiness remain credible to cover simultaneous global requirements.”

Van Ovost ended her statement to the subcommittee by addressing USTRANSCOM’s Global Household Goods Contract (GHC), which she called the command’s “flagship transformational effort.”

USTRANSCOM is gaining momentum on its efforts to begin a phased launch of personal property shipments moving under the GHC in September of 2023.

“Just as we are engaged globally in supporting the DOD’s operations ... we owe it to our members and their families to ensure they have the best relocation experience we can provide,” 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.

Editor's note: Read the full opening statement at https://www.ustranscom.mil/cmd/2023posture.cfm

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