There’s no need to increase USAF’s organic airlift capability—that is buying more than 180 C-17s—because the existing force is handling the current wartime operating tempo well and was even able to handle the no-notice hurricane relief effort with aplomb, Gen. Norton Schwartz, head of US Transportation Command, told reporters in Washington. In fact, Schwartz said the addition of the hurricane airlift requirements had little affect on deployed commanders’ needs. And, the TRANSCOM chief thinks operating tempo, while now on a wartime footing, will decline in the coming years. Others may have a different view of what the near- and mid-term future holds, he said, but that’s his “professional assessment.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.