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Global mission, strategic vision: SEAC Black's in-depth visit to USTRANSCOM

Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC), Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black, visited U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) on Jan. 9, 2024.

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill — Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC), Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black, visited U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) on Jan. 9, 2024, to gain a deeper understanding of the combatant command's global mission and how it supports the National Defense Strategy.

Unlike combatant commands that focus on specific geographical areas, USTRANSCOM is unique as it operates globally, coordinating military logistics and transportation across all boundaries. Black highlighted this capability, stating, "USTRANSCOM is one of the few commands that is literally looking globally — moving and sustaining our joint force worldwide. No other [nation's military] on the planet operates at the level that our U.S. military does. And seeing how TRANSCOM makes this capability possible is invaluable."

The strategic importance of USTRANSCOM is underscored by the fact that while 85% of American forces reside within the continental United States (CONUS), the command leverages its land, sea, and air capabilities to project and sustain joint combat power worldwide. In an interview with the Commander of USTRANSCOM, Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, she noted that this advantage is possible because of the "interconnection of our capabilities, the resilience of our global network, and the dedication of our people."

Echoing this sentiment, Black noted that because most of "our forces are based in CONUS, not forward deployed, [this structure] requires more from TRANSCOM. USTRANSCOM's understanding of how we would have to move people [and materiel] in a contested environment influences the planning at the other combatant commands, at the Joint Staff, [Office of the Secretary of Defense], and services. The commander and staff here operate in that global picture daily."

As global threats evolve, Black emphasized the need for modernization to deter near-peer competitors. "The speed with which the force must modernize, the prioritization of certain capabilities, is crucial," he said. This need for modernization, he continued, is more than just about equipment; it's about people.

"New capabilities mean we need to retrain and educate our service members, as well as focus on recruiting and retaining the right talent," Black said. "Aligning our human resources with technological advancements is essential. The scope and scale of warfare we must prepare for differs from what we’ve faced in regional conflicts over the past decades."

Black turned his focus to what he said is one of the most critical aspects of America's military strength: Its enlisted personnel. He expressed gratitude to Gen. Van Ovost and her staff for their engagement, emphasizing that the strategic advantage of the U.S. military lies not only in its superior officers but also in its highly capable noncommissioned officers (NCOs).

"Our strategic advantage over our adversaries is in our people," Black said. "We not only have the best officers on the planet, but we also have the best NCOs, whom I would argue are more capable than our adversary's officers.

"The leadership that we develop, the folks we bring from the streets of America into our service and train, educate, and retain those individuals, the more we can empower those enlisted to be able to take on more and more responsibility," Black continued. "It only increases our strategic influence and abilities by empowering our enlisted leadership."


U.S. Transportation Command is a warfighting combatant command that projects and sustains military power at a time and place of the nation's choosing. USTRANSCOM 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 dilemmas for our adversaries.


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