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NEWS | Sept. 12, 2013

The Importance of logistics in the modern Air Force

By Maj. Christopher Carmichael 437th Aerial Port Squadron commander

I get that a lot, usually right after someone asks me, "What do you do in the Air Force?"

Simply stated, in the Air Force, logistics is the procurement, distribution, maintenance and replacement of materiel and personnel. Our Air Force relies on logistics like no other military in history. In the past, a military force may have relied on the railroad to transport their material and personnel across the country side or even a ship to transport their material and personnel across an ocean. While we still use these methods of distribution, the U.S. Air Force, like no other nation, has mastered rapid global mobility. Our fleet of mobility aircraft is second to no other nation and allows us to move our material and personnel anywhere on the planet in hours versus days or weeks. This rapid global mobility capability changed the world and how American's view our role on the planet.

The Air Force has an extensive logistics system. This system includes many functions, vehicle transportation, aircraft and vehicle maintenance, air transportation, supply, acquisitions, fuels, logistics planning, traffic management and much more. These functions are held together by a solid supply chain management system which includes the Defense Logistics Agency and the U.S. Transportation Command. All the functions of our logistics system are interdependent and equally important to the success of our rapid global mobility. No one function is more important than the other. Just as important are the support systems such as force support and civil engineering.

Just as the telephone, the automobile and the internet have changed the world, it's fair to say that rapid global mobility has done the same. It's changed how we travel, how we view distance and how we wage war. It's also adjusted our countries old tendency toward isolationism and made us a global force for change critical to the successful influence of liberty around the world. Without our Air Force's logistics capability to bridge world we would most assuredly be living in a much different world today.

All of us in the Air Force logistics community, the pilots, the supply clerk, the refueling truck driver, the loadmaster, the mechanic, and yes the Port Dawg, can all count ourselves as Airman logisticians. We all contribute to the success of the nation's armed forces and the pursuit of global liberty. So the next time someone asks me or any Airman logistician, "what is logistics," I might alter my answer slightly. Logistics is the procurement, distribution, maintenance, and replacement of materiel and personnel ... in the pursuit of global liberty. All the members of Joint Base Charleston play a critical role in this pursuit and should be proud of their contribution to our Air Force's rapid global mobility.