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AMC rises to increasing global tension

  • Published
  • By Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

Gen. Mike Minihan, commander of Air Mobility Command, participated in the “Rising Intensity of Competition and Conflict” panel with commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mark D. Kelly, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander Gen. James B. Hecker, and Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Kevin Schneider, Feb. 13, at the Air and Space Forces Association Warfare Symposium at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, Colo.  


During the panel, moderated by Gen. Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle, USAF (Ret.), former Commander, Air Combat Command, Minihan centered on advancements the command is pursuing in 2024 to account for rising global tensions and strategic competition. He emphasized the need for near-term investment in connectivity to improve the survivability, agility, resiliency, and lethality of AMC warfighting capabilities.


“I want to get 25 percent of my fleet connected by 2025,” Minihan said. “Connectivity and joining the DAF Battle Network allows us to maneuver the exquisite joint, coalition capabilities into the position of advantage so that they can be successful. This is not about the MAF’s survival, it is about everyone’s survival and ability to win.”


Minihan’s approach also includes his 10-line initiatives—broken down to four bins of data, decision advantage, development and discipline—aimed at creating irreversible momentum toward addressing gaps in solidifying Command Relationships, improving Command and Control, and honing AMC’s ability to Explode into Theater.


“I’ve got six months left in command and in my career, and I intend to close those gaps by the time I’m on that change of command stage,” Minihan said.


Over the course of 2023, AMC flexed to respond to contingency operations on a large scale. Across the year, the command flew over 23 thousand global missions, transporting more than 283 thousand tons of cargo and more than 705 thousand passengers. The end of the year saw the sharpest increase in tempo as the Department of Defense surged support to the Central and European Commands areas of responsibility while maintaining its global obligations. These events once again demonstrated AMC’s role as the joint force maneuver.


“It is not lost on AMC that we are the most relied upon force in the history of warfare,” Minihan said. “The reality is everybody else’s success–the Air Force, the joint force, the multiple combatant commands—is dependent on us being able to put them in position to be successful, and we take this charge very seriously.”


Even with the success the Command saw throughout 2023, Minihan recognizes there is more work to be done, including ensuring the MAF is ready for strategic competition, deterrence, and potential conflict in the Pacific. One of the major areas of improvement is optimizing human performance for aircrew conducting maximum endurance operations. To address this problem set, AMC hosted a Human Performance Industry Day in December aimed ensuring the MAF is ready for maximum endurance operations in the Pacific.


Exercises also aligned joint and allied partners to ensure the command is ready. AMC played vital roles in Exercises Bamboo Eagle 24-1 and Red Flag in January while testing new capabilities that supported Minihan’s 10-line initiatives. Examples of these capabilities include palletized effects, connectivity advancements, and maneuver battle management.


“MBM is not the fun part of battle management. It is all the things that need to happen so that we have the privilege of executing a kill chain,” said Minihan. “Do we have the gas in the right place? Do we have the munitions in the right place? Do we have everything required so that we can maneuver our capabilities to a position of advantage so that they can be lethal. Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics…victors study maneuver.”


“BE 24-1 gave us a realistic, challenging scenario to get after maneuver and what we need most to be successful is connectivity,” he continued.


Each commander expressed concern for global tensions rising, and the need to ensure forces are postured to respond. AMC is aggressively addressing shortfalls, and filling gaps that will allow the joint force to operate at the tempo and relevance to win if called upon. 


“I don’t lose sleep because of our amazing Airmen, who fill the gap between what they have versus what they need, and they do so with courage, tenacity, professionalism, passion,” Minihan said. “It doesn’t matter whether they fly, fix, or support. [Their] value to the mission is not proportional to [their] proximity to the cockpit. It takes all of us to get the mission done.”