WASHINGTON — Upon assuming command of U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, August 26, Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew expressed faith in TRANSCOM’s ability to sustain rapid, global response for the Defense Department in the air, at sea and on land.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter presided over McDew’s assumption-of-command ceremony.
With 33 years of military service under his belt, McDew said he’s “energized” to familiarize himself with TRANSCOM’s joint team of active duty, Guard, Reserve, civilians and commercial industry partners who help operate the world-renowned deployment and distribution enterprise.
“We are global logistics ambassadors, providing full-spectrum solutions and enabling capabilities,” the general said. “We make executing national priorities in peace and war a reality. In its 28-year history, TRANSCOM has always kept its promise to deliver, and that will not change.”
Still, McDew acknowledged, the command’s ability to execute its global responsibilities will face challenges: evolving security threats from state and nonstate actors, contested space and cyber domains, fiscal uncertainties, and negative economic trends around the globe. “To ensure the command is always ready, we must recapitalize our air, sea and surface assets,” he said.
He cited examples of aging assets, such as aerial refueling tankers, sealift capabilities and rail cars.
“We must have the KC-46 [Tanker] on time,” McDew said. “One million square feet of surge sealift ‘roll-on, roll-off’ capability will be aging out in the next decade, and a significant portion of our rail car fleet is nearing the end of its service life.”
Other challenges include unforeseen developments in technology that may limit global access, the general said. “We need the agility, the flexibility and the resiliency our teaming with other government agencies and industry partners brings to bear — now more than ever,” he added.
Recognizing his friend and mentor who preceded him as TRANSCOM commander, McDew said Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, now the 10th vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, focused the command on readiness and growing the customer base. “Without that direction in this pivotal time in the command, we wouldn’t see the readiness levels we have today in TRANSCOM,” he said.
Personal, Military Family Support
In addition to numerous professional successes, the general noted that he’s enjoyed personal blessings, specifically through the support of his family, including his wife of 32 years, Evelyn. Their daughter Keisha, son Keith, and daughter-in-law, Becca, still call and visit, he noted.
Appreciating the gravity of TRANSCOM’s role, the general praised the “extraordinary men and women who selflessly, methodically, and transparently serve the eight other combatant commands around the clock” each day.
The nation, the Defense Department and the command are no strangers to these challenges, daunting as they sometimes seem, the general said.
“We will prevail, because we must,” he said. “Our mission underpins our national security.”