Friday, August 19, 2011

Note from the AFA President: Afghanistan, PRC, TACC

AFA Members, Congressional staff members, Civic Leaders, and DOCA members, this week I ran across an interesting, but a bit long, piece on Afghanistan published in Armed Forces Journal.  It was written by MAJ William B. Taylor.  The thesis of the piece is the military has been asked to evaluate success in Afghanistan – tactically, operationally, and strategically – the latter in both the military, political, and economic areas – the latter two for which the military is not capable of doing.  (You can find the article at:  A quote to interest you in the piece:
“Expecting the military to focus on political and economic spheres is unrealistic because the military still deems nonkinetic action as lesser work; doing so also makes it much harder to demonstrate progress and success because of the inherent slowness of political and economic development. Also, because of the traditional divorcing of politics from military action, the American military is simply uncomfortable and weak at linking political repercussions to military action. In stark contrast, the insurgents see military and political action as one in the same, and consequently, are quite effective in shaping their violence to send a message.”
Secondly, a piece by Dr. Gordon G. Chang crossed my desk.  It cited People’s Republic of China threats to use US economic weakness to prevent arms sales to Taiwan.  The first sentence states:  “On Monday, People's Daily, China's leading newspaper, stated it was time for Beijing to consider using its "financial weapon" against the United States.”  The article further questions whether we should treat China more like an adversary that we have in the past.  (You can find the piece at:  

A quote to interest you: 
“Chinese officials, in recent days, have essentially declared an economic war on the United States. Perhaps it is time for us to think of China as a geopolitical adversary and not just a friendly trading partner. Beijing, by its own words, has revealed itself to be a foe. The question is whether we will recognize its hostile intent and respond.”
Thirdly, I have pointed you several times to Second Line of Defense – a website that tries to look at security issues operationally … and holistically.  Several months ago, I recommended to one of the founders of the site (Dr. Robbin Laird) that he visit the Tactical Airlift Control Center (TACC) at Scott AFB.  In today’s world, key political leaders no longer ask the question:  “Where are the carriers?”  Instead, they want to know how fast we can get our forces to a hot-spot.  It is the TACC’s job to position our airlift and tankers to provide the global mobility our forces need.  In fact, sometimes even before major events occur, the TACC is already moving assets in anticipation of their need to respond.  It is largely out of sight from even the most professional military watchers.  The TACC is truly a national asset.  You can find an interview with TACC members, at:  For a short interview with the TRANSCOM Commander on the complexities of the transportation network to Afghanistan, see:  Finally, a quote from the first piece: 
“… the demand for tankers is significantly greater than supply.  MSgt Jeremiah Love commented that: ‘We just don’t have the tankers we used to have at one point in time. Even in the couple of years that I’ve been here, our numbers of taskings have gone up that much.’ This is also due to the very different use of tankers in the battlespace.  Both lifters and tankers now enter the battlespace that was inconceivable twenty years ago.  As Col. Mintzlaff, a KC-10 pilot put it: ‘When I did Desert Storm, tankers were way in the rear.  When I was in Afghanistan, we were looking down on the battle. When you bring that many assets that much closer to the fight, you start opening up the door to other things that can go on an airplane to help the folks on the ground.  These are things like helping with the convoy and mitigation as well as communications. I think as you change the way you fight, you need to take full advantage of the assets that are there to be used and figure out how to use them.’

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn
Lt General (Ret), USAF
Air Force Association

1 comment:

acqwxman1 said...

TACC is now the 618th Air Operations Center (AOC) (TACC), and TACC stands for Tanker Airlift Control Center.