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Mobility Plan For Xmas

FL_c17Come December anyone wanting to know how the Air Force intends to meet its global mobility mission over the next half dozen years or so may finally get a chance to see the plan in writing.

That’s when the Mobility Capability and Requirements Study is slated for release, said Gen. Arthur Lichte, commander of Air Mobility Command.

“We are in the process of looking at [a study] now that looks out to 2016,” he said today at the Air Force Association’s Air & Space Symposium in Maryland. The new study will incorporate some of the assumptions from a previous study, but also will include new missions, including Africa Command.

The new study will be the first look many will have in years at the assumptions the Pentagon, especially the Air Force, uses to justify or recommend what the mobility fleet should look like. The Mobility Capabilities Study that has been the bases of mobility projections for the past several years has been kept under wraps long after it was supposed to be released in 2005.

A number of former senior mobility command officials have criticized the MCS, saying the plan was based on poorly thought out assumptions that would not have withstood serious scrutiny.

The General Accountability Office, Congress' watchdog agency, said the Defense Department admitted to "methodological limitations" in the study, but did not disclose who the limitations could affect the study's conclusions and recommendations. GAO said there was no transparency in how the study was done, which raised questions about the report's adequacy and completeness. The agency advised Congress to "exercise caution in using the MCS to make investment decisions."

Under MCS, the Air Force planned for major re-engining and avionics upgrades to the entire C-5 Galaxy fleet, while capping C-17 Globemaster buys to 180 planes.

Today, the Air Force is talking about 205 C-17s and 52 upgraded or modified C-5Bs. The 59 C-5As are not scheduled for upgrade and Lichte has said Air Mobility Command is examining its options on the older planes, with any decisions on them based on what comes out of the MCRS.

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