DENVER -- The 54th Airlift/Tanker Association Symposium brought together nearly 1,600 Air Force senior leaders, industry partners, partner nation representatives and mobility Airmen into a single forum from Oct. 27 – 30, 2022 in Denver, Colorado.
During the event, which focused on the theme of “The Fight to Get to the Fight,” Gen. Mike Minihan, commander of Air Mobility Command, provided the “State of the Mobility Air Forces” and spoke of the need for mobility Airmen to prepare today to meet complex joint integration needs within the Indo-Pacific region.
“Victory will ride on your shoulders,” Minihan said. “And the main thing is unrepentant lethality. If we do that, America’s peace, prosperity and prestige is preserved and strengthened.”
Minihan said that requires a series of decisions that ensure the joint force can win now against a pacing competitor, including changes in current tactics, techniques and procedures; advancement in technologies; and the implementation of Agile Combat Employment and Multi-Capable Airmen concepts. He also challenged the Mobility Air Forces to adopt a Warrior Heart mindset to be prepared to face the realities of the lethality the MAF would deliver in a high-end combat scenario.
This sentiment was echoed by additional senior Department of Defense leaders throughout the conference.
“In the President’s recently released National Security Strategy, he made it clear that China and Russia are working overtime to undermine democracy and export a model of governance marked by repression at home and coercion abroad,” said Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, commander of U.S. Transportation Command during her remarks. “To meet national defense objectives, we must adopt the mentality that challenge is not synonymous to impossible and contested is not the same as impenetrable … This is the component of the Warrior Heart the AMC commander is so passionate about.”
Minihan treated the symposium as a three-day commander’s call during which he unveiled the Mobility Manifesto, a conceptual framework that focuses on how to organize, train and equip current and future Airmen and their tools to address the crisis of global authoritarian aggression. It demonstrates the adaptive nature mobility brings to the current fight and the critical maneuver force it will bring to the next, while highlighting the significant risk to the joint force of inaction.
“Without air mobility there is no meaningful maneuver,” the document said. “Without air mobility, there is no lethality. Without air mobility the joint force cannot project power and deliver deterrence.”
Two key seminars, Mobility Fight Club and Mobility Air Forces Next Generation Operations, provided a deeper look at a potential high-end fight and provided insight into how AMC will lead the way in tackling global and theater challenges in an enterprise-wide campaign to protect, connect and sustain meaningful maneuver for the joint force.
Minihan said AMC’s premiere exercise, Mobility Guardian 2023, set to occur in the Indo-Pacific region, will test the MAF enterprise’s concept of operations in a potential high-end fight.
Senior leaders throughout the Air Force stressed the success of the overall joint mission is not possible without first leveraging agile, resistant, survivable and sustainable forces of the MAF.
“Pacific Air Forces cannot do their mission without you,” said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass. “U.S. Air Forces in Europe cannot do their mission without you. Air Combat Command, U.S. Central Command, Air Force Global Strike Command, U.S. Africa Command ... Nobody can do their mission without you.”
Additional keynote speakers included Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin, Commander of Air Education and Training Command Lt. Gen. Brian Robinson, Chief of the Air Force Reserve and Commander of Air Force Reserve Command Lt. Gen. John Healy, Director of the Air National Guard Lt. Gen. Michael Loh, and AMC Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Brian Kruzelnick,
The A/TA Symposium also included representation from the Air Force Special Operations Command, which delivered two seminars on AFSOC and AMC partnerships.
International representation came from military departments of the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Netherlands, Italy, Australia and Romania.
Videos of the keynotes and select AMC seminars can be downloaded and viewed in full at the following link: https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/2022ATASymposium