WASHINGTON, May 3, 2017 — The world is becoming ever more interconnected, and the U.S. military must be a global force to meet the challenges of an interconnected planet, the commander of U.S. Transportation Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday.
Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew told the senators that his command was “born global” and it is the glue that ties the military together, gets military forces where they must be and sustains them.
In the last 30 years the world has gone from a Cold War model to a far more complex geostrategic model, he said. The U.S. military uses the “four-plus-one” model to build strategy. “China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and violent extremist organizations continue to challenge us in new ways, ultimately demanding new and innovative solutions,” McDew said in his testimony. “As we look to the future, we expect transregional, multidomain and multifunctional conflicts will define our future operating environment.”
Transcom is a global asset, and this will be especially important in coming years, the general said. “We also expect that future conflicts will cross regional boundaries and potential adversaries and peer competitors will field numerically superior forces with near-technological parity,” he said. “Those adversaries are aware the United States has become accustomed to geographically isolated conflicts and enjoyed technological superiority over its adversaries, so we expect contested global sea lanes and air routes to a degree we have not faced since World War II.”
The command is focused on four priorities, McDew said: ensuring readiness today, building capabilities for tomorrow, advancing the command’s cyber capabilities, and championing an innovative, diverse and agile workforce.
The United States has forces in harm’s way and the command must ensure those forces get what they need, when they need it, he said. Still, forces in the future will need the same support. “In prioritizing today’s readiness while keeping an eye toward future capabilities, we are advocating for the right mix of personnel, platforms, systems and training to ensure we can provide the global transportation and logistics capabilities our Nation requires,” the general said. “By making the right investments today in enhancements for our air, sea and surface fleets, we will ensure Transcom delivers the nation’s objectives tomorrow.”
Improving cyber defense just makes sense, the general said. The cyber realm is critical for the command to operate freely and effectively.
Transportation Command is ready “to deliver on behalf of the nation today,” he said. “However, as our approach to the future operating environment indicates, there are challenges that demand our attention to ensure our readiness is never called into question. These challenges fall into the following broad categories: airlift and air refueling, sealift, surface, budget, and workforce issues.”
McDew asked the senators to consider these problems as they move forward. He asked them for budget certainty in the years ahead saying it would allow the command to plan better and procure capabilities more logically.