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Demand for Transportation Command Assets Not Dropping

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2014 – “Demand signals” on the U.S. Transportation Command have not decreased with the change in mission in Afghanistan, Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva told the Defense Writers’ Group here today.

Missions to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and to support efforts to combat Ebola in West Africa mean the command remains busy, he said.

The drawdown in Afghanistan is moving according to the plan laid out a year ago, Selva said. About 9,800 Americans will remain in Afghanistan when the combat mission ends Dec. 31. Transcom will ship needed materials to those troops as well as helping supply Afghan forces, which totally take over the security mission from NATO. Transcom will also help supply coalition forces remaining in the country.

“We’re almost finished with the drawdown so we will see the demand signal stabilize,” the general said.

ISIL Threat

But while getting personnel and equipment and other materials out of Afghanistan was occurring, ISIL became a growing threat, Selva said. The command, he added, had to add extra air-to-air refueling capabilities for the operation and is doing more airlift to Iraq.

U.S. airmen are delivering supplies to Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga formations in Baghdad and Irbil, the general said. Some of the supplies and equipment come from the United States and some comes from other nations.

“Working that entire process has placed a demand on our fleet. Not an exorbitant demand, but a demand nonetheless,” he said.

West Africa

Added to these operations was the decision to use U.S. military personnel to help nations in West Africa in the fight against Ebola, Selva said. “There are another 2,000 service members deployed to West Africa in support of a health crisis that is a major logistics effort, but not a major combat effort,” he said.

Selva said his command activated two ships out of the surge fleet to move elements of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division into Monrovia, Liberia, to help combat Ebola.

“We’ve also been flying personnel and equipment into Liberia and Senegal to establish the staging base and support facilities that will let us build the Ebola treatment facilities,” he said.

Selva said he does not see Transom’s mission demand changing much. The command, he added, also must be ready to confront humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations as they arise.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @garamoneDoDNews)

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Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva

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