DLA Aviation commander attends Eastern Europe conference

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs

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Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Commander Brig. Gen. Linda Hurry traveled to Warsaw, Poland. in late December to represent the United States at the inaugural 2018 Air Power Eastern Europe conference.

The conference held at the Hotel Novotel Warsaw Airport gathered NATO senior leaders to examine the importance of air power in delivering collective security for NATO, and the associated demands of delivering readiness for air power operations in a congested and contested operating environment.

Participants discussed and shared experiences helping to:

- define a logistics and support model, which could support rapid maneuverability for air and joint force operations,

- integrate updated capability alongside a legacy aircraft fleet to support enhanced mission readiness and interoperability,

- address the training shortfall to support pilot readiness for complex operations and optimize the live training balance to take account of a multi-platform fleet.

As a visiting nation, Hurry’s keynote address focused on the U.S. National Defense Strategy and covered how the Department of Defense is working with European allies to ”set the theater” with prepositioned material, develop infrastructure and deployable air base systems, and create an advanced logistics network designed to enable future air operations.

Hurry stressed that logistics is a team sport. “In today’s environment, none of us can afford to go at it alone.  As logisticians, our task is simple:  support warfighters across the globe.  Success, however, can only be achieved by building strong relationships across the services, our allies and industry.  The best way to increase warfighter readiness, affordability and speed is through these partnerships — so that together we can build the logistics infrastructure necessary to enable global operations for the U.S. and our allies.” 

Hurry highlighted that the United States’ greatest source of strength is our network of allies, and success in today’s warfighting environment will require our collective team to work together to overcome the tyranny of distance, cyber threats and sustainment challenges to include: aging aircraft, cold supply chains, obsolescence and unstable demands.  She also highlighted the importance of our joint and coalition exercises to test different operational schemes of maneuver.  In doing so, Hurry emphasized the need to truly test the logistics capabilities during each of these exercises.  “None of us can afford to assume that all of the support required will be exactly where we need it, nor can we assume that our logistics infrastructure and information technology systems are safe from attack,” she said. “We must think through these challenges together.”

Hurry also participated in a senior leaders panel focused on the changing character of European air operations with Csaba Vezekenyi, deputy state secretary for Defence Policy, Hungarian Ministry of Defence; Wing Commander Andre Adamson, European Bilateral Relations and European Exit, United Kingdom, Minister of Defence; and Col. Danius Guzas, Air Force commander, Lithuanian Air Force. 

As the panel discussed the increased likelihood of sustained air operations in the European theater, Hurry highlighted how the U.S. would provide logistical support to their own air assets and potentially to those of their NATO partners.  She re-emphasized that our collective logistics success is based on the capabilities of not only the U.S., but also our allies and commercial industry as well.

“The U.S. will continue to focus on its global positioning strategy so that we set the theater appropriately, but will also rely on one of our greatest strengths:  our global reach,” she said. “Our ability to project and sustain military power across trans-oceanic distances at a time and place of choosing provides a significant competitive advantage.”  Likewise she said, we must continue to ensure our logistics network consists of routes, modes, nodes, global suppliers, geopolitical access, information and distributed command and control.  Each of which are meant to provide multiple options for our leaders while creating numerous dilemmas for our adversaries.  Because the next fight will likely require us to deliver and sustain a decisive force despite the likelihood of long and contested lines of communication, Hurry said, today’s leaders need to adapt, innovate, and critically think through the challenges of tomorrow to preserve a resilient and relevant joint logistics environment and protect our competitive advantage.   

Hurry closed her remarks by reminding conference participants that “we have a once in a generation opportunity to fundamentally change logistics and air operations...Our focus must be to create an allied team that is designed and able to outthink, outmaneuver, and outfight any adversary under conditions of disruptive change, but to do that we all have to think differently.”