Finding the Right Mix of Military and Civil Airlift, Issues and Implications

Volume 2. Analysis

by Jean R. Gebman, Lois J. Batchelder, Katherine M. Poehlmann

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Intertheater airlift provides the Department of Defense with the ability to deliver combat forces or humanitarian relief rapidly anywhere in the world and to respond quickly to changing circumstances. But the national security strategy is being adapted to fit a changing world, and budget constraints are increasing. Military airlift is more costly than civil airlift, but military airlift has advantages that civil airlift cannot provide. Given the various advantages and disadvantages of different military and civil aircraft, what combination would most cost effectively meet the intertheater airlift needs of today's Air Force? To maintain necessary capacity, there is a need for some shift in the mix toward the civil-style transport. To maintain necessary flexibility, there is a need to limit the amount of that shift and, at least initially, a need for the Air Force to be the operator of any civil-style transports that might replace retiring C-141s. Another important dimension, however, is to use the chosen mix to its fullest potential. The study and its findings are summarized in Volume 1; Volume 3 provides supporting appendixes.

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