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Why we constantly prepare to fight and win wars

  • Published
  • By Col. David Almand
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing vice commander
Why do we practice going to war when we're already fighting several? Because the American people are counting on us. Our civilian leaders depend on us to plan, fight and win wars. They trust us. We have the privilege of serving in the best-trained, most-educated, capable and lethal military in the world. This privilege bears tremendous responsibility. We must always be ready.

What we are good at: executing: AEF taskings. We are well versed in filling requirements for current combat operations with Airmen in their deployment cycle. We anticipate force rotations and meet emerging needs of the combatant commanders. It's now our daily routine in preserving America's security.

What we need to practice: recalling our forces on short notice and deploying them en masse for major combat operations. Successfully demonstrating this capability is a critical deterrent. Our enemies must know we will always have the ability to strike with vengeance and extract victory. Fortunately, we do not face this challenge often.

Unfortunately, our AEF deployment process can conflict with our ability to rapidly deploy en masse. Many of our training requirements are fine tuned to our daily deployment routine and adapted to ensure proper training is received just prior to an AEF deployment. This can lead to difficulty executing a short-notice, en masse deployment. Nevertheless, we must be sure our people and processes enable rapid deployment for all our tasked missions, even the ones we hope to never execute. The American people are counting on us. That's why we practice.

As leaders we have an additional, sacred responsibility to all the parents, siblings, spouses and children of our military forces. When we send their husbands, wives, daughters, sons, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers into harm's way, we have the responsibility to ensure we have trained and equipped their loved ones for the job we have asked them to do.

In his farewell speech delivered at West Point, Gen. Douglas McArthur aptly summarized why we must continually prepare for wars that may never come, and do so tirelessly, "Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be duty, honor, country."