Proceedings of the
Second International Energy 2030 Conference,
November 4-5, 2008, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
Energy and Reason:
Securing and Sustaining Global Reach for the US Air Force
Dr. Donald R. Erbschloe
US Air Mobility Command, USA
The Air Mobility Command (AMC) is one of the U.S. Air Force’s major operational commands. The command’s role is Global Reach—using aircraft to deploy America’s armed forces anywhere in the world and to sustain them with a ready stream of supplies and equipment. The very first major airlift operation, conducted when the Air Force was only a few months old, was the Berlin Airlift. During this humanitarian effort, over 2.4 million tons of food, coal, fuel and other vital supplies were delivered to Berlin's 2.2 million inhabitants. Air refueling aircraft, called “tankers” are force multipliers—extending the range, payload and mission versatility of other Air Force platforms. Any AMC aircraft can perform the critical role of aeromedical evacuation—moving patients out of harm’s way, be it in the Global War on Terrorism or in response to natural disasters such as the tsunami in Asia or the recent hurricanes, Gustav and Ike in the United States.
The command has over 140,000 military and civilian personnel, who operate, maintain, and support a Mobility Air Force’s fleet of nearly 1,500 aircraft which fly airlift, aerial refueling, and aeromedical evacuations across the globe. On a typical day, U.S. air mobility forces fly about 900 sorties and move nearly 2,000 tons of cargo and more than 6,000 passengers. This incessant tempo equates to a mobility aircraft departure, somewhere in the world, every 2 minutes.
The capability to deliver “anything, anywhere, at any time” exacts an enormous fuel and energy price. Within the U.S. government, the Department of Defense is the largest consumer of petroleum-derived fuels.