SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., Feb. 19, 2008 - Through times of war and change, transportation and logistics support are critical to accomplishing the numerous missions facing the U.S. military, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a town hall meeting here today.
With an audience comprised mainly of members of U.S. Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command, and the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Mullen answered questions from the audience and spoke about the vital importance of transportation support to military operations and international relations.
"The way I describe it, what you do is like oxygen. We all need it, and we don't think about it until we don't have it. You provide the oxygen and the lifeblood of operations around the world," Mullen said. "You're creating more than logistical opportunities. You've created relationship opportunities in regards to the Northern Distribution Network," referring to military supply lines through Central Asia to Afghanistan.
Despite news of the Kyrgyzstan Parliament's vote to close Manas Air Base, Mullen maintained his confidence in the ability of USTRANSCOM to provide adaptable transportation options to Central Command. "No command is more aware of the requirements for logistics and transportation support than USTRANSCOM," Mullen said.
"In times of change and times of war, there are great challenges and great opportunities," Mullen said, referencing the relocation of SDDC, USTRANSCOM's surface transportation element, to Scott Air Force Base. "That presents tough challenges to leadership to keep accomplishing missions that continue through a fundamental change."
Continuing operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world have created a fast-paced workload for the transportation community, and that pace isn't expected to let up, Mullen said. A global financial crisis creates instability in the world, in addition to creating budgetary challenges for the military.
"Everyone needs to ask themselves, 'is this the best way to spend a dollar' Is this the best way to do what I need to do''" Mullen said. "As I look to budget pressures and change, my priority is to guarantee we get it right for our people. This is the best military I've seen in 44 years in uniform, and it needs to be, given the challenges we have."
During his visit, Mullen also visited with U.S. Transportation Command leaders, as well as the leaders from USTRANSCOM's two resident service component commands, AMC and SDDC.

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