Down in the Weeds Over JCA

Airmen and soldiers are working out the fine details that surround the shift of the “last tactical mile” supply mission from the Army to the Air Force, so says the vice chiefs of staff of the two services. Grilled by House Armed Services readiness panel lawmakers last week over the right number of C-27 Spartan Joint Cargo Aircraft and whether airmen would indeed meet the direct—and immediate—supply needs of soldiers at forward locations, Air Force Lt. Gen. William Fraser and Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli acknowledged that the two services must get the details down in writing. Chiarelli explained: “We can’t just talk direct support, because direct support is absolutely key and critical for us. … We are down now into the weeds of, you know, when the Army defines direct support for this particular aircraft, what exactly does that mean.” Fraser declared: “We are committed to this mission of direct support for the Army.” He said an Air Force team is working with the Army program office on the procurement program shift, while the Air Force is also working with Army, Army National Guard, and Air National Guard to sort out the fielding process. Fraser said he and Chiarelli also have held “several meetings” with Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley, National Guard Bureau chief. Chiarelli said, “The Air Force is fully signed up for direct support,” and he added, “We are ensuring that we go into that with our eyes open on exactly what that means to both of us.”