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AMC reorganizes to better serve warfighters

by Gen. John W. Handy
Commander, U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command

Light, lean and agile. In a word, expeditionary. On October 1, 2003 AMC will once again adapt to a changing environment. Today the world is a much smaller and dangerous place. As an organization, we must streamline operations and leverage technology to respond.

Highlighting the importance of forward operations, 15th and 21st Air Forces will be redesignated as Expeditionary Mobility Task Forces, or EMTFs, taking over the lead of AMC's four subordinate Air Mobility Operations Groups. AMC's staff directorates will transform to an "A-staff," adopting a common, joint organizational structure as they continue to focus on "train, organize and equip." And, at the heart of it all, 18th Air Force will stand up as AMC's warfighting component utilizing the Tanker Airlift Control Center as its air operations center.

This isn't the first time AMC has seen change. The activation of Air Mobility Command in 1992 was a tremendous milestone in the evolution of America's Air Mobility Team. I had the honor of serving as the first commander of the TACC and have since seen its roles and responsibilities increase over time. This restructuring maximizes those capabilities as we stand up one operations center under a single, three-star Numbered Air Force command element charged with presenting forces to our Combatant Commanders across the globe.

A three-star general will command 18 AF and a one-star general will lead the TACC, each located at Scott AFB, Illinois. Each EMTF will fall under the command of a one-star general who will report directly to the NAF Commander.

The result will be a single commander charged with the tasking and execution of all air mobility missions. AMC's wings and groups based in the continental United States, as well as the EMTFs with their subordinate AMOGs at Travis AFB, California; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; McGuire AFB, N.J. and Ramstein Air Base, Germany, will report to 18 AF.

We will retain the heritage of the 15 AF at Travis AFB and the 21 AF at McGuire AFB. The lineage and honors of these proud organizations will continue in the EMTFs, which will perform the mission of leading operations within our global en route system.

As a former NAF commander and as the AMC commander, I have watched the role of the Numbered Air Forces diminish over time. This reorganization returns them to their historical roots of executing global mobility operations and eliminates functions redundant to the AMC staff.

The activation of 18 AF takes us to the future of NAF warfighting roles. It gives us a clean reporting chain, reconnects the disconnects and puts the Numbered Air Force in operational control. It places responsibility for warfighting directly with the 18 AF commander.

This reorganization should be transparent outside of our command but will have a remarkable impact on our efficiency. The greatest effect will be on our headquarters staff, which will convert to an "A-Staff" structure. For example, the headquarters will stand up an "A-7" directorate combining both civil engineers and services. For the first time, Mission Support Group Commanders in the field will have a central point of contact in the staff for these key functions. The AMC staff will emerge as a true headquarters to train, organize and equip, leaving global operations to the 18 AF.

The time is right for this reorganization, especially as we face the demands of the Global War on Terrorism. We must have a command structure that is light, lean and more effective to meet the demands of the Combatant Commanders.

America's mobility forces are transforming and, at the same time, retaining our proud heritage.

 

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