A ‘Global Combatant Command’
TRANSCOM PROVIDES THE FOUNDATION FOR U.S. FORCES WORLDWIDE
How has this recent gamut of continuing res-
olutions (CRs) affected your command?
McDEW: It is devastating, in the fact that we get all of
our assets through the [military] services. The services
can’t plan, the services can’t budget, the services are,
I’m told based on the testimony of the services, going
to be devastated by another CR.
Not being able to plan for it, not being able to budget for it, not being able to contract for the things that
need to be done means that you take risks. As each
service takes a risk in a portfolio, I guarantee you it’s
not in their kinetic force. It is typically in their logistics enablers, and then that is doubly compounded by
the time that all the services’ risks fall to TRANSCOM.
The Maritime Administration officials have repeatedly testified about the coming shortage of mari
ners, arguing that we are at a tipping point. Are
you concerned about that? How can government
policies help ensure a healthy mariner pool?
McDEW: I’m concerned because Maritime Administration tracks statistics for mariners, and they tell us that
we are on the ragged edge of having enough mariners.
We can get through the first fight; it’s the long-term
sustainment of a fight over a period of time. If they’re
concerned, I’m concerned. So I’m concerned.
What can we do? In the short term, we’ve got to
make sure that what we have in the way of mariners
is adequate. What we do with maintaining that pool of
mariners, we keep doing those things, but we look at all
the different things that could impact that mariner pool.
The Jones Act impacts that mariner pool. Without the
Jones Act, U.S.-flagged vessels, [we’ll have] fewer mariners. Without the Maritime Security Program and that
stipend, that’s fewer U.S.-flagged mariners that will be
on U.S.-flagged ships in service to the nation. Without
cargo preference, that is another thing. … It’s not one
thing, it’s all of those things to keep that mariner pool
going for the short term.
Long term, what do we do with technology? What do
we do with how we manage the force? What does the
maritime industry look like long term? How do we make
sure that that either enhances our ability to produce
U.S. Transportation Command
(TRANSCOM), located at Scott
Air Force Base, Ill., is one of
nine unified commands under
the Department of Defense. It
coordinates missions around the
globe using military and com-
mercial resources through the Air
Force’s Air Mobility Command,
Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.
Overseeing all of this is AIR FORCE GEN. DARREN
The TRANSCOM commander told a joint hearing of
the House Armed Services readiness and seapower and
projection forces subcommittees March 30, “We stand
ready to deliver an immediate force through our airlift
and air refueling assets or a decisive force with our
strategic sealift assets when and where needed. Our
delivery of these forces assures an unparalleled global
expeditionary capability and gives our nation options
when needing to respond to a variety of crises.”
But budget constraints, a complex operating environment and the increasing capabilities of potential adversaries are challenging the ability to sustain strategic
power projection, he said.
McDew, who has led the command since August
2015, sat down with Editor in Chief Amy L. Wittman
April 4 during his visit to the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition at National Harbor, Md., where he
was the luncheon keynote speaker. Excerpts of the
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