US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States
Tactical airlift forces have largely become conditioned to the conduct of limited contingency operations consistent with the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is applicable to all airlift processes including command and control, command relationships, execution and risk. The re-focus on Large Scale Combat Operations present in todays military highlights the need for airlift forces to perform across the range of military operations. An evaluation of current processes and capabilities against the anticipated operational environment of Large Scale Combat Operations reveals that airlift forces are not well positioned for success. Large Scale Combat Operations present significant challenges including rapid tempo, increased lethality, and uncertainty. Effective tactical airlift support in Large Scale Combat Operations can respond to user requirements within 48 hours of execution, is continuous to meet increased demand, and persists to overcome the high threat environment. Airlift forces must improve in these areas to meet the increased demand, variable requirements and inherent challenges of Large Scale Combat Operations. To meet the requirements of Large Scale Combat Operations, tactical airlift forces must align planning horizons with the supported force, effectively force package, and increase direct delivery and dynamic airdrop capacity.