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The current strategy for our en route system is based on the results of the 1995 Mobility
Requirements Study-Bottom Up Review (MRS-BURU) with refinements by mobility
capabilities studies in 2000 and 2005. The Global War On Terror has raised questions on the
validity of the current mobility en route system’s sizing and alignment. Furthermore, the
evolution of air mobility aircraft, operations, and various stressors on the en route system
indicate a need to reevaluate the capabilities required in the en route system.
The current National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy provide the
baseline for what our mobility strategy should be capable of achieving. The Nation’s emphasis
on global alliances, economies and responsibilities mandates global access and especially access
to strategically important areas of interest. Therefore, the goal of the proposed AMC en route
strategy is global access allowing the full spectrum of passenger and cargo movement.
The Areas of Interest, defined as continuing zones of hostility or instability or areas prone
to natural disasters and having the greatest need for airlift support, are identified as Southwest
Asia, Southeast Asia, Korea, Africa, Eurasia, and Indonesia. Accordingly, the en route lay-down
and infrastructure must be able to support a heavier flow to these regions. In addition, the
resulting strategy accounted for political sensitivities and was optimized for a presumed tight
fiscal environment. Finally, while the existing strategy maximizes the operational capabilities of
our mobility platforms, the new strategy must accommodate the limitations of services and
support in those locations we could be asked to transit.
In this proposed strategy, unlike in previous en route strategies, we’ve factored in the
family of tanker assets in our approach. While A/R assets have the ability to extend airlifter’s
range, this factor was not considered in the previous en route system strategy’s structure,
primarily because the system is designed to be responsive to worst-case scenarios, i.e., A/R
assets not being available to refuel airlift assets.
The previous strategy was based on the ―lens,‖ or ―sweet spot‖, for strategic airlift
operations, describing physical and technological limitations of the strategic airlift fleet
overlayed on the geographic landscape. The lens concept will be no less valid in 2025 than it
was when it was first conceived; however, in the proposed strategy we will refine its utility. The
new strategy does break from the historical view of a ―location-centric‖ en route concept which
promotes viewing the en route through its individual locations rather than as an interdependent
system. This perspective could result in decision-making that fails to consider the effect on the
entire strategy. For example, efforts to reroute airlift flow to certain locations in order to reduce
fuel consumption fail to account for the impact on the entire en route system. Instead, the
proposed strategy adopts a system of mutually supporting routes, allowing one to more readily
see the en route as a system of interdependent capabilities rather than a loose collection of
locations. The Atlantic and Pacific route systems are described below.
The Atlantic Route Strategy: We propose that there are three primary routes for
supplying the warfighter—northern, central and southern. These Atlantic routes have the

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advantage of providing overlap for each other. This feature of the Atlantic routes leads us to
postulate an alternate name for the Atlantic strategy—―Three-Use-Two.‖ In other words, we
have three routes across the Atlantic, and for any given action in one of the areas of interest, two
of the routes are available for delivering supplies to those areas. Should one route become
restricted or unavailable for whatever reason, political, meteorological, operating hours,
saturation, etc., supplies can be diverted through the additional supporting route.
The Pacific Route Strategy: We acknowledge in the Pacific that there are two primary
routes to supply the warfighter. We expand on the original ―2-Lose-1‖ strategy by proposing a
―Two Route Plus‖ option. The strategy still utilizes the Northern and Southern routes. However,
overlap of the routes, as seen in the Atlantic Strategy, is less feasible due to the geography of the
Pacific structure. Therefore, the ―Plus‖ alludes to our refinement of the strategy and enhances
the original ―2-Lose-1‖ strategy by mitigating choke points that might hinder flow.
Next, in an effort to facilitate the flow through the route structure mentioned above,
capabilities at each en route location must be identified. Maintenance and aerial port capabilities
are combined into general definitions to capture the full spectrum of required logistics
capabilities. These definitions are categorized into a four tier system. First, Tier I locations have
both major maintenance capability and full hub/spoke distribution service aerial port capability
(may include full break-bulk operations and robust passenger handling). Second, Tier II
locations are capable of minor maintenance, minor passenger handling, and trans-load, break-
bulk, flightline-to-truck dock ―customer receipt‖ aerial port services. Next, Tier III locations
have limited maintenance and limited aerial port services, to include passenger handling and
upload/download capability only. Finally, Expeditionary locations are stood up by deployed
personnel to provide limited maintenance, and aerial port capability, that can be sized as
necessary to full distribution service capability or limited ―customer receipt‖ capability. A table
of proposed en route locations can be found at page 31 of the white paper.
It is important to note that these definitions are general in nature and only meant to
provide a guideline for determining relative size. In fact, the maintenance and port capabilities at
any given location may not neatly fall into corresponding tiers. For instance, locations like
Aviano AB would be classified as a Tier III for maintenance, but a Tier II for port capabilities.
For a strategy to succeed, it must be implemented at the operational level, which implies
occasional subordination of operational efficiencies to the greater strategic need and desired
long-term effect. What we have learned over the years is that if locations aren’t used, they will
be lost, either to budget cutting measures or to host nation designs. To secure access to locations
required during contingencies or surges, we must be willing to operate in a distributed manner,
even if this means a loss of day-to-day efficiency. Finally, the strategy cannot be static. It must
adjust and adapt to changes in the National priorities, political landscape, and fiscal constraints.
To that end, we recommend that every two years, the command undertake a comprehensive
review of the en route strategy.

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The existing en route structure is rooted on bases held at the end of World War II. In
both the Pacific and European theaters, infrastructure held at the end of the armistices form the
backbone of our en route infrastructure nearly 70 years later. The modern strategy for our en
route system is based on the results of the 1995 Mobility Requirements Study-Bottom Up
Review (MRS-BURU). This study adopted the National Military Strategy of fighting and
winning two simultaneous Major Theater Wars (MTWs) and proposed the mobility requirements
necessary to support that strategy. In 1996, AMC and USAFE, as part of an ad hoc en route
system working group, agreed that the requirements in MRS-BURU were valid and established a
requirement for six bases with sufficient capacity to allow for the loss of any one base.
Additionally, the agreement identified the need for two bases on the Iberian Peninsula, as well as
in Germany and the United Kingdom. However, in the same year, Spain denied access to
Torrejon AB and shortly thereafter, USAFE decided to end the Air Force presence at Zaragoza
AB. In 1998, USTRANSCOM and USEUCOM formalized the en route system working group
into what is known today as the European En Route Infrastructure Steering Committee
(EERISC) charged with advocacy responsibilities for mobility infrastructure in USEUCOM’s
Area of Responsibility (AOR). The EERISC then formalized the European en route basing
strategy, better known as the 6- lose-1 strategy.
In 1999, the Pacific En Route Infrastructure Steering Committee (PERISC) was stood up
as a parallel effort with the EERISC and established what’s become known as the 2-lose-1
strategy – basing along two primary routes with sufficient capacity to permit the temporary loss
of one route without excessively delaying the delivery of forces along the other.
Subsequent mobility requirements studies in 2000 (Mobility Requirements Study – 2005
(MRS-05)) and 2005 (Mobility Capabilities Study (MCS)) refined the requirements of the earlier
study but made no significant change to the en route system. MRS-05 became the justification
for a large number of infrastructure improvement projects in both the Pacific and European
theaters. As a note, the MCS stated that the overseas infrastructure, not the number of available
aircraft, remains the fundamental constraint when attempting to reduce delivery timelines
associated with large scale deployments.
In 2005, the National Military Strategy shifted from winning two simultaneous MTWs to
the 1-4-2-1+ strategy—to defend the homeland, operate in and from four forward regions, win
two overlapping campaigns, win decisively a single campaign and conduct a limited number of
lesser contingencies. Additionally, the stand up of USAFRICOM in conjunction with the on-
going Global War on Terror suggests that Africa could be viewed as a fifth ―forward region‖
which will require significant mobility capability to support the intent of the National Military
Today, the National Security Strategy (NSS) and National Defense Strategy (NDS)
emphasize the global nature of our commitments and obligations. To that end, the NDS states

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that ―The United States requires freedom of action in the global commons and strategic access to
important regions of the world to meet our national security needs.‖ (2008 National Defense
Strategy, p.22) Consequently, an air mobility strategy must be capable of providing the Nation’s
access to the strategically ―important regions of the world.‖
The evolution of air mobility and the following stressors on the en route system point to
the need to reevaluate the capabilities required in the en route system:
 The National Military Strategy has shifted from a two MTW strategy to the 1-4-2-1+
 The events of 11 September 2001, resulting in the Global War on Terrorism
(GWOT), have dramatically altered the way we employ our military’s capability in
ways unforeseen in 1998
 Significant manpower reductions driven by Program Budget Decision (PBD) 720 will
require USAF and AMC to identify efficiencies and process improvements in the en
route system to best accomplish the mission within the reduced level of manpower
 The Air Force Smart Operations for the 21
Century (a process that re-engineers the
USAF, by eliminating steps that add no value to the end product or by combining
process steps to save time) has put intense scrutiny on the en route system as the Air
Force looks at avenues to save money and increase velocity
 The military has become more expeditionary in nature stressing the mobility
capabilities on a daily basis
 The other Services have modified their future systems acquisitions (e.g., the Army’s
Stryker program) which potentially increase their airlift requirements
 The establishment of Africa Command (USAFRICOM), and its implications, were
not included in the MRS-05 analysis; it will add a new combatant commander
(CCDR), whose mobility requirements will compete with other regional CCDRs
 The airlift fleet is significantly different in composition than that assumed and
proposed in MRS-05
 The next generation air refueling aircraft is programmed to have a cargo capability
which may require an expansion of cargo handling capability at locations traditionally
dedicated to aircraft that don’t routinely carry cargo (e.g., KC-135s) as well as may
require larger parking areas than required for KC-135s. In addition, extensive fuel
hydrant modifications may need to be examined to handle the new aircraft, as well as
the requirements for airframe-specific maintenance personnel and supply stocks
 The en route system, as championed in MRS-05, is airlift centric, focusing on a
quantifiable cargo handling capability (million-ton-miles), a metric that is not always
o Cargo and passenger generation, through-put and reception requires
significantly greater infrastructure than gas-and-go operations as does
workflow generated by strategic distribution—i.e., truck-to-truck flow,
seaport-to-airport flow, and seaport-to-surface movement flow

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o Did not explicitly deconflict the use of airlift ramps between AMC mobility
assets and other MAJCOM or CCDR/Service apportioned assets (e.g.,
USAFE/ PACAF C-17s, tankers, fighters, USN aircraft, and/or USA aircraft)
 The increased range and payload capability from the C-5M, and the increased range
capability of the extended range tank-equipped C-17s may extend the traditional
concept of the en route system to include capabilities closer to the warfighter
Creation, approval, and implementation by USTRANSCOM, USEUCOM, and
USCENTCOM of the European Intermodal Distribution (EID) and Middle East
Intermodal Distribution (MEID) CONOPs in the 2006-2007 timeframe
Changing nature of the threat (including MANPADs) that requires Defensive Systems
use, tactical approaches and arrivals, and transload operations
Increase need for hot cargo pads to support deployment of Stryker units, FCS, and
MEFF-V with munitions as an integral part of the load
Advent of Just-In-Time Logistics concepts
 The evolving nature of the battlespace (from Cold War’s linear, contiguous
configuration to a non-linear, non-contiguous paradigm) that will likely be much
more demanding of air mobility for deployment, supply, and redeployment
These factors point to the need to reevaluate the required capabilities in the mobility en route
The GWOT has raised questions on the validity of the current mobility en route system’s
sizing and alignment. Realignment of US forces out of Korea and Japan will force changes in
OPLANS/CONPLANS, significantly expanding the role of Guam in the USPACOM AOR.
Likewise, within the USEUCOM AOR, USAFE has explored budgetary cost reductions through
base realignment, evaluated the range of the C-17/distances expected for a crew to transit, and
directed manpower reductions as a result of PBD 720. Concurrently, an increased drive to
improve velocity and precision, with decreased delivery times, has led to evaluating the current
and future force structure within the AMC En Route System.
A comprehensive study is needed to validate, modify, or recreate the mobility en route
structure. A fresh look at the en route system would first require a definition of what the system
encompasses (e.g. a shift from requirements driven modeling to capabilities based). The study
should use USTRANSCOM’s Distribution Process Owner (DPO) concept of factory to foxhole
vice Aerial Port of Embarkation (APOE) to Aerial Port of Debarkation (APOD) as a guiding
principle for looking at air mobility operations, focusing on the en route distribution portion.
The intent of this statement is not to focus on tactical-level destinations or homestation/CONUS
originating locations, but to ensure the inclusion of aerial ports that perform a substantial amount
of onward air movement, even if they also often serve as originating/ terminating locations.
Any study of the en route system capabilities should define the level of risk imposed by
fiscal realities, physical infrastructure, manpower, and supporting host unit services. It should
attempt to minimize the impact of those risks by adjusting the strategy to compensate.
Additionally, it should identify mechanisms and procedures to adjust the en route capability to
meet supported OPLAN requirements. It should also consider organizational structure impacts
on throughput capability.

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Furthermore, the reevaluation of the en route system should be strategic in nature. The
benchmark for whether a location would qualify as a strategic en route location should be based
on whether OSD (Executive Agent of USAF) would be willing to commit military construction
(MILCON) funds to, or seek Host Nation funding for, mobility infrastructure (MILCON
programming, funding and execution responsibility often falls on other services per DODI
4000.19). The commitment of these funds would signal a long term commitment to the mobility
mission at that location.
The final component of this study would initiate an established review of Cooperative
Security Locations (CSLs) identified within the CCDR Master Basing Plan. Using the en route
bases as the hubs, these CSLs would be the spokes that can be reached by each hub. More
importantly, the CSLs help to bridge the coverage gaps that exist. The CSL’s capabilities will
impact the size and location of more robust and permanent en route locations.
Millions of dollars have been invested in the current en route structure to support the
strategy laid out in MRS-05. The structure will likely remain intact; however, how the structure
will be used is a key question this study will address. At a minimum, the study will evaluate the
current en route system using the latest baseline information so it is responsive to changes in the
strategic environment.
The resulting strategy should be adopted as the minimum acceptable capability, identify
maximum allowable capability based on permanent infrastructure/equipment constraints, and
provide the basis for fiscal support from owning and using MAJCOMs and applicable services
(e.g., USN).
In 2007, in part responding to AMC’s proposal for a new study of the en route system,
USTRANSCOM began the Global Access and Infrastructure Assessment (GAIA). GAIA’s
stated purpose was three-fold:
• Examine global access and infrastructure supporting joint deployment and distribution
enterprise (JDDE)
– Access … can we reach and enter required areas
– Infrastructure … do facilities permit required operations
• Shape and inform the OSD-directed Mobility Capabilities & Requirements Study
• Develop cohesive strategy to ensure global access and infrastructure, as necessary
The results of the study would be the foundation of a strategy allowing us to provide
transportation support, whether by air, land, or sea, anywhere on the globe.
Unguided modeling of the world would have been an enormous undertaking and may
have resulted in strategic direction that might not have provided adequate support to AMC global
airlift operations. Consequently, AMC, with the support of USTRANSCOM, undertook building
a high-level strategy informed by experience and intended to narrow the focus of the GAIA
research. The ultimate goal of the strategy is global access. However, focusing solely on global
access could result in misallocating resources, so the strategy should also focus on providing
coverage of key areas. These areas (Southwest Asia, Southeast Asia, Korea, Africa, Eurasia and
Indonesia) are defined as continuing zones of hostility or instability or areas prone to natural

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disasters and have the greatest need for airlift support. Accordingly, the en route lay-down and
infrastructure needed to be able to support a heavier flow to these regions.
The goals of the AMC strategy are to fill the global coverage seams with the full
spectrum of passenger and cargo movement. The full-spectrum includes the least (minimum
required to operate an AMC aircraft) to most capability (comparable to that available at
Ramstein). This movement would be limited by political sensitivities (e.g., overflight
restrictions, etc.) and optimized for a presumed tight fiscal environment. This fiscal environment
would dictate that we optimize the use of existing infrastructure to maximize the return on prior
en route infrastructure investments while identifying the next level of investment required to
meet the strategy’s goal. The strategy should also maximize the operational capabilities of our
mobility platforms, but we must accommodate the limitations of services and support in those
locations we could be asked to transit.
A brief note on the scope of this strategy: Strategic or tactical airlift missions are
support- intensive enterprises. Large quantities of fuel are required, ramp space necessary to
handle large aircraft is often limited, and cargo handling equipment, distribution capability, in-
transit storage and the ability to handle passengers is required. On the other hand, some AMC
assets, (e.g., air refueling and DV/VIPSAM aircraft) are self-deploying requiring very little on-
site support. As long as parking space and fuel is available, they continue to operate.
Consequently, the focus of the strategy is on the basing and infrastructure requirements to
support the most demanding of the AMC assets—airlift. Finally, in order to be able to
reasonably establish military construction projects, if needed, the strategy will focus on the years
from 2015 to 2025.
Since the proposed strategy is a prelude to the analyses of the GAIA and MCRS-16, a
rather extensive set of assumptions had to be made. Some of the premises will continue to be
assumptions in the aforementioned studies, while others may be eliminated. However, the

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proposed strategy could not have progressed to this point without the following assumptions in
The global political landscape in 2025 is similar to the landscape today
There will be no significant change in overflight restrictions
In 2025, the strategic airlift fleet will consist primarily of C-17s
A C-17s unrefueled out-and-back radius is 2,000NM
A C-17s point-to-point distance is 3,500NM
Since the airlift capability of the new air refueling design has not been fully vetted, its
capability was not considered.
Every attempt will be made to maximize existing infrastructure within the strategy. In
other words, as long as existing infrastructure can fit into the new strategy, the strategy
should take best advantage of it
In accordance with the President’s statement and the statements of member nations, no
permanent basing was planned on the African continent, except at Camp Lemonier,
Djibouti. However, an Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron (EAMS), while not
specifically recommended anywhere in Africa by the strategy, should not be ruled out
except by robust analysis of requirements and routes
CONUS locations and end of the strategic airlift routes were not considered part of en
route system. Some locations, Al Udeid for example, serve dual roles as APOEs and
APODs. In these cases, we will treat them as en routes
Every attempt would be made to maximize throughput while minimizing risks to mission
The strategy should maximize global coverage while concentrating on areas of concern
The strategy would feed USTRANSCOM’s GAIA which would provide the analytic
underpinning and Joint Staff’s MCRS-16
Finally, a quick look at a globe will reveal a basic geographic fact-of-life—90 percent of
the world’s landmass is north of the equator. Not surprisingly, 90 percent of the world’s
population lives north of the equator. These two facts drive the east-west orientation of this
strategy. While not ignoring the existence of the 10 percent in the southern hemisphere, the
proposed strategy is heavily weighted toward the northern hemisphere.
The en routes are logistics-oriented organizations of aircraft maintenance and
transportation (freight, passenger, and aircraft comfort servicing) activities. To define the size of
an en route location, the size of the two logistics areas need to be scoped.
To that end, all references to maintenance capability conform to the definitions in the
AMC Supplement to AFI 21-101. En route maintenance capability falls into three categories:
major, minor and limited. AFI 21-101 AMCSUP 1 defines them as:
―Limited maintenance capability consists of general servicing tasks only. Minor
maintenance capability consists of general servicing tasks, and 2-level maintenance
component troubleshooting and remove/replace actions commensurate with MDS
Minimum Equipment List (MELs). Major maintenance capability consists of all items

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listed above, in addition to more in-depth troubleshooting for problem systems, and some
backshop level tasks. Level of backshop capability will be determined through host
tenant agreements/command to command agreements.‖ (A14.4.2.)
Aerial port capability is also broken into three categories, though they are not defined
with the same rigor as the maintenance capability. Port capabilities are described as large,
medium and small. They largely describe the manpower and facilities necessary based on
passenger, cargo and aircraft fleet servicing requirements.
Therefore, combining the maintenance and aerial port capabilities into a single definition
that captures the full spectrum of logistics capabilities results in the following definitions:
Tier 1 = En route location with major maintenance and full service capabilities
Tier 2 = En route location with minor maintenance and in-transit port capabilities
Tier 3 = En route location with limited maintenance and limited port capabilities
Expeditionary = En route location where all maintenance and port capability is provided
as the mission dictates and by deployed personnel
Tier I
Tier II
Tier III
24/7 w/ AMCC
24/7 w/ AMCC
Less Than 24/7,
AMC Permanent
No Enduring AMC
WMOG = 3 Or
R&R, Predictive Mx,
Limited Backshop,
2 Or More MDSs,
=> 15 Acft/Day
WMOG = 1 Or
R&R For 2 MDSs,
5-14 Acft/Day
WMOG = 0 – 1,
0-4 Acft/Day
As Mission Dictates
Rotational Forces
20 WB W/in 24 Hrs,
Demand =
600K Sustained,
1M Surge
3M Gal Store
10 WB W/in 24 Hrs,
Demand =
300K Sustained,
500K Surge
1.5M Gal Store
5 WB W/in 12 Hrs,
Demand =
150K Sustained,
200K Surge
750K Gal Store
As Mission Dictates
Aerial Port
WMOG = 3 Or More
Wide-Body Acft
Full hub/spoke
services and
passenger handling,
provides full-
spectrum to limited
distribution services
(multi-modal) in
support of DPO
mission, may include
full break-bulk and
cross-dock operations
WMOG = 1 Or
More Wide-Body
Provides in-transit
aerial port support
and passenger
handling, to include:
moderate break-
bulk, flightline-to-
truck dock
“customer receipt”
aerial port services
WMOG = 0 – 1
Provides limited
aerial port services
and passenger
handling, to include:
capability only--can
expand services as
required with
As mission dictates
rotational forces
initially established
with Air Mobility
Response (port
opening) capability.
Can be sized as
necessary to meet
full distribution
capability or
limited “customer

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24/7 ops, 2 or more
24/7 ops, single
less than 24/7 ops
As required
As can be seen, classifying locations by Tiers is not an entirely clean process across all
functional areas. The most obvious problem lies in trying to fit aerial port capabilities into the
Tier definitions. Classifying a location for port capabilities results in a significantly different
picture of the en route than classifying for operations and maintenance. For example, compare
the table on page 33 with the table at Appendix 3. However, while we recognize the differences
between port capability and operations and maintenance capabilities, the differences are not
significant enough to change the outcome of this paper.
The proposed global strategy that resulted from MRS-BURU provided an excellent
baseline for continued reviews of the en route strategy. In the European theater, it identified the
six locations for the first leg from the CONUS that proved crucial to continuing support to the
warfighter at more distant locations. In the Pacific theater, the 2-lose-1 strategy recognized the
lack of available real estate on which to establish a network of mobility support stops by
focusing on locations lying along routes.
The primary drawback to this ―location-centric‖ en route concept is that it promotes
viewing the en route through its individual elements rather than as an interdependent system.
This, in turn, can result in decision-making that fails to consider the effect on the entire strategy.
This becomes particularly evident during periods of constrained resources and efforts to extract
savings. For example, recent efforts to place Moron in a turnkey status focus solely on the
historical use of the airfield. Additionally, efforts to reroute airlift flow to reduce fuel
consumption fail to account for the impact on the entire en route system.
Consequently, this effort attempted to redefine the en route as a system of interdependent
capabilities that, taken as a whole, help meet the nation’s inherent interest in global influence and
It was determined that the strategy established in the Pacific theater actually did an
excellent job of framing the en route capabilities as a system. In the Pacific, the en route strategy
is based on the availability of two routes to the area of interest. The two routes are
interdependent and mutually supporting and it allows one to more readily see the en route as a
system of capabilities rather than a loose collection of locations.
To that end, this global strategy adopts the Pacific theater model of a route-based strategy
in the European theater and continues the model in the Pacific. The strategy abandons the
moniker of ―6-Lose-1‖ that was focused on individual locations in favor of a three route strategy.
The three routes are designed to service different areas of interest. Yet, they are mutually
supporting so that the airlift requirements in a given area of interest can be supported from any
two routes. This effort is intended to move the European en route from its location-centric focus
toward a holistic and systematic view.

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The Air Force’s air refueling capability provides the nation an amazing capability to
extend its reach to all segments of the globe. As stated in the 2008 Air Mobility Master Plan
Air refueling is an important part of air mobility and serves to enable and
multiply the effects of airpower at all levels of warfare. The Mobility Air Forces’ air
refueling (AR) capability makes possible the intertheater air bridge operations
needed to support large deployments, humanitarian assistance, global strike, or the
long-range airdrops of paratroopers and their equipment without reliance upon
intermediate or in-theater staging bases [Emphasis added]. Air refueling provides
the nuclear-equipped bomber force with the ability to deliver its payload to any
location in the world and recover to a suitable reconstitution base. Combat
operations require air refueling to extend the persistence and endurance as well as
range of all aircraft.
This range extension capability has tremendous potential to enhance the Mobility Air
Force’s velocity supporting the warfighter. The need for this capability was clearly seen during
the historic Nickel Grass operation where C-141s and C-5s delivered weapons and supplies to
Israel enabling them to prosecute and win a war before the first supply ship arrived. As a result
of the experiences in Nickel Grass, the Air Force sought to expand its air refueling capability.
The capability was crucial to the success of Desert Shield. It was the availability of air refueling
that allowed many airlifters to operate at their maximum wartime gross weight that would
normally limit their range.
Given the range extension advantage offered by A/R for a C-17, the following map
shows how much of the globe can be reached from the CONUS in a basic crew duty day. Only
the Indian Ocean region from southern/eastern Africa to Australia is outside the aircraft’s reach.
This is a powerful warfighting capability that must remain in the MAF’s arsenal for use.
Accommodating the range extension capabilities afforded by A/R entails accepting a
level of risk in airlift operations. These risks include the airlift asset not being air refueled due to
weather (turbulence, clouds or icing), airspace limitations, mechanical malfunction, or tanker
availability forcing the airlifter to land short of its intended destination. Furthermore, providing
air refueling of airlift assets is intrinsically inefficient and should only be used to meet

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operationally necessary timelines or conditions. It’s far more costly in terms of fuel expenditure
to launch a tanker than it is to schedule an en route stop along the airlifter’s route. While we can
certainly consider/plan for the use of A/R in extending the range of airlifters, we certainly cannot
discount the possibility that A/R will not be available. If the en route system is not structured to
accommodate this possibility, we risk that our airlift assets may land at a location where there
may be no support. This was not a risk the original strategists were willing to assume.
However, when one looks at the most notable uses of A/R through history, the focus
tends to fall on range extension for the bomber fleet in operations like Operation EL DORADO
CANYON (F-111s attack Libyan targets) and the first combat sorties of DESERT STORM when
Barksdale AFB B-52s departed Louisiana on 35-hour non-stop, round-trip missions to launch
cruise missiles. The other high-profile mission for A/R assets is extending loitering time for
fighters engaged in tactical operations. Additionally, during the Kosovo war, Air Force tankers
provided ninety percent of all A/Rs for the NATO forces. These operations highlight the
competition for limited A/R resources.
Employment of the A/R assets is directed by an entirely different set of requirements than
the employment of airlift assets. Rather than being dictated by the point-to-point delivery of
cargo and passengers, tankers receive their requirements from the needs of those they intend to
serve—receivers. In their primary role, tankers need to be responsive to when and where
receivers require refueling. This could mean their primary mission is loitering over the ocean to
permit fighters to fly non-stop from their CONUS base to an overseas location. Or they could
orbit in the AOR affording attack aircraft added patrol time. Or they could be at locations
strategically placed to allow heavily-laden airlifters the opportunity to deliver their cargo non-
stop from the factory to the foxhole.
Consequently, designing an en route system for tankers operating in their air refueling
role would entail knowing where the tankers would be expected to provide air refueling.
Admittedly, this is a very operations-dependent determination and difficult for a strategy to
anticipate. However, we can suggest likely locations to ensure they are capable for tanker
operations based on historic use and known air refueling tracks.
Because the requirement for tankers operating as air refuelers is based on where the
receivers are when they need refueling and not on the great circle range of a point-to-point
mission, the decision matrix for where to locate them is fundamentally different. Helping us
with the decision matrix is the fact that in many places of the world, air refueling is tightly
controlled and the airspace strictly bounded. When an aircraft is planned to receive air refueling,
it’s typically within the confines of an established reserved airspace. Consequently, we should
look for tanker en route locations in the proximity of these reserved air refueling areas.
In the Atlantic region, there are numerous areas reserved for air refueling off the west
coast of Great Britain, France, and Spain. There are also A/R routes in Germany (though these
are primarily for training and supported with USAFE assets), through the Mediterranean and
near the Azores Islands. Fortunately, there are existing Tier III en route locations very near each
of these regions. These Tier III locations by definition expect little airlift throughput. Therefore,
provided adequate parking space is available, they would be ideal locations for self-deploying
tankers to recover to or launch from in support of A/R missions. The locations we would suggest
then as A/R tanker mission en route locations are Mildenhall, Fairford, Moron, Sigonella or

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Souda Bay, and Lajes (Sigonella will be discussed further below as a potential tanker task force
location). Each of these locations has more than adequate parking for tankers operating as A/R
A limitation at Sigonella is runway length. Presently, Sigonella has an 8,000 foot
runway. As long as we maintain KC-135s in the inventory through the strategy period, which is
expected, the temperature and runway length will be a limiting factor (primarily for emergency
returns). Therefore, we recommend and support a runway extension of 2,000 feet at Sigonella to
the Navy and Italian government before using Sigonella as a primary TTF location.
In the Pacific region, tankers suffer the same constraints that airlift aircraft have—lack of
available real estate, especially along the Southern route. Should tankers perform A/R for
aircraft transiting the Southern route, they have no choice but to use the same en route locations
as identified for airlift aircraft. Hickam, Andersen and Kadena are all key locations for tankers.
With the buildup of forces at Andersen during the strategy period maximum use of the
anticipated tanker task force should be planned. However, should this task force be unavailable,
planner should consider avoiding Andersen with transiting tankers due to the potential for
On the other hand, the Northern route offers Tier III location well suited to tanker en
route operations. In Alaska, the use of either Elmendorf or Eielson would allow tankers to refuel
aircraft over the Aleutians and using the Tier III location at Misawa would allow access to A/R
routes near the Japanese islands.
Finally, U-Taphao and Diego Garcia are ideal locations for aircraft heading west or for
operations in their areas.
Historically, the use of tankers in their cargo mode has been limited. Approximately only
10 percent of air refueling missions have operated in a cargo-carrying mode. However, with the
shift towards capabilities-based planning, the airlift role of air refueling assets is expected to be
emphasized in the future.
The cargo capability of KC-135s is minimal—6 pallets or 18 short tons. The capability
of KC-10s is more extensive—23 pallets or 60 short tons. Certainly the cargo capacity of the
limited number of KC-10s is a considerable capability that the mobility system relies on. In
addition, the future cargo capacity of the KC-X promises to be extensive. Their ability to
augment the organic airlift fleet should be planned for and incorporated into any airlift strategy.
When integrating tankers into the airlift strategy, it must be recognized that neither of the
present-day aircraft have roll-on/roll-off capability and require specialized material handling
equipment to reach the side door. Furthermore, when these aircraft do operate in a cargo mode,
the air refueling capability is reduced due to weight restrictions.
Nevertheless, the demand for their air refueling capability, coupled with the
aforementioned weight limitations while in the airlift role, means that the opportunities for
tankers to haul cargo are minimal. Even robust forecasts plan on approximately 20 percent of
total air refueling missions to operate in a cargo role. Given these indicators, we recommend that
tankers, when operating in the airlift role, operate through the en route locations most appropriate
for the cargo movement. Consequently, tankers operating in a TWCF airlift role, controlled by
618 TACC, use the en route system just as the C-17s or C-5s would. Neither manning nor
infrastructure would need to be increased to accommodate the expected minor increase in flow
this capability represents.
There are locations where basing a unit of tankers would not only serve heavily used air
refueling routes, but also provide freight and passenger capabilities should that role be assigned

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to the tankers. These locations would represent the most efficient basing of tanker assets. In the
past, a deployment of a quantity of tankers to support an air refueling operation was known as a
tanker task force. We recommend redefining this term to include the basing of tanker assets at a
deployed location for the purposes of either or both air refueling and airlift operations.
Consequently, a TTF could be employed to provide air refueling to a given operation or to fulfill
a known airlift need or in support of both operations.
The parameters used to determine the optimal location for a tanker task force are
relatively straightforward—1. Proximity to established air refueling tracks, and 2. Proximity to
major airlift routes. Given these parameters, there are a large number of air refueling areas
around the United Kingdom, Germany, and extending from east of Crete to Sardinia in the
Mediterranean. Mildenhall, which is already configured to bed-down a tanker deployment,
would have ready access to the UK and German air refueling areas for use by either eastbound or
westbound mobility aircraft using the North Atlantic route. In the Mediterranean, Souda Bay,
Crete, Sigonella, Sicily, Incirlik, or Moron, Spain, from which the Mediterranean A/R routes
could be accessed, could provide support to the Central Atlantic route.
One location, in particular—Sigonella—provides us unique capability options and
efficiencies the other locations do not. Because the Defense Logistics Agency has established a
major warehouse capability, supplies destined for Africa may be congregated at Sigonella. We
can, then, easily imagine a scenario where on a day-to-day basis the TTF could refuel aircraft
entering or exiting the SW Asia AOR. Should a situation arise that small quantities of cargo
need to be airlifted to an African operation, the tankers in the TTF could then be pressed into
their dual role and carry the cargo onto the African continent (provided high-lift capable MMHE
is available at the APOD). Or, if the quantity of cargo to be moved is large, provide infil/exfil air
refueling for the African bound airlifters. Furthermore, the ability to resupply the fuel stocks via
sea LOCs from the Mediterranean could ensure more reliable supply of fuel in greater quantities.
Given this type of capability, we find the location of a TTF at Sigonella most reasonable.
As a side note, in the Mediterranean we have the option of seeking synergy with NATO,
who is also reviewing locations for their Air Refueling Capability Package. Consequently, we
suggest that any TTF location in the Mediterranean be predicated on the results of the NATO site
selection and that AMC be a strong proponent of a NATO Air Refueling Capability Package
located at Sigonella.
A TTF along the southern airlift route would help ensure that airlifters could deliver their
cargo on the continent without requiring fuel at the APOD. As will be discussed in the en route
strategy, the quality or availability of fuel on the continent is often questionable. Therefore, a
TTF located to provide air refueling for airlifters during either infil or exfil could maximize the
range of cargo delivery. To that end, we recommend that when a large airlift operation is
expected along the southern Atlantic route, an expeditionary TTF be deployed to Ascension
In the Pacific, we do not recommend a mobility TTF located at Andersen AFB once the
GIMDP relocations are complete. The congestion anticipated at the base, especially in the event
of a contingency, will render parking a TTF difficult. Instead, we suggest that any TTF for the
Southern route be sited at Hickam and/or Kadena with Hickam as the preferred location. A
Northern TTF could be sited at Eielson.

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The African strategy is a work in progress. To date, USAFRICOM has not developed a
long-term strategy from which airlift requirements can be derived. This is despite the fact that
senior USAFRICOM officials are convinced that support for their efforts will require extensive
strategic airlift. General Ward, USAFRICOM Commander, has stated ―Predictable, reliable
inter- and intra-continental so important for us today, as we then are postured and in a
stance that will enable us to lead activity that helps to assure stability, as opposed to just reacting
to a crisis," Clearly, there is the expectation that airlift support will be crucial.
However, infrastructure on the African continent for supporting strategic airlift
movements is noticeable in its absence. Coastal locations, such as Dakar, Senegal, often have
infrastructure capable of handling strategic airlift, but the infrastructure in the continent’s interior
is either absent or seriously degraded. Additionally, the coastal infrastructure is suffering. A
recent USTRANSCOM survey of select African airfields revealed that infrastructure is degraded,
poorly maintained or inadequate for sustained strategic airlift movement. Probably the most
disturbing limitation is in the quantity and quality of aviation fuel. This limitation was
highlighted during a spring 2008 POTUS trip on the continent. Considerable air refueling assets
had to be used to offset the lack of fuel in sufficient quantities or of acceptable quality.
Further complicating the problem are statements from senior government leaders
pledging that there will be no permanent basing on the African continent. While this doesn’t
seem to preclude an expeditionary presence, the net effect seems to be that anything more than
transient and infrequent strategic airlift will be difficult or impossible to sustain from an African
location. Fortunately, there is already an established base on the continent at Camp Lemonier in
Djibouti and it appears to be enduring.
A promising method of delivering cargo by airlift is relying on the range of unrefueled
strategic airlifters. As was previously mentioned, a C-17 can travel 2,000 NM, perform an
engine running offload at the destination and return to the original departure location without
refueling. Consequently, if a C-17 departs from a location on the perimeter of Africa, it can
cover a rather large area of the continent. In fact, if one draws a 2,000 NM arc from some key
locations, nearly the entire continent, with the exception of the southern tip, falls into one of the

Page 16
(This, of course, is a rather simplistic view of achieving coverage of the continent. It
does not account for known restrictions to aerial delivery, such as overflight restrictions and
minimal air route structures.)
Consequently, the southern route of the Atlantic en route strategy seeks to take advantage
of locations on the perimeter of Africa by using the unrefueled range of a C-17. The southern
route shares many of the locations with the central route, in particular, those on the
The proposed European strategy should be more appropriately called the Atlantic
strategy. The names of the routes that define the strategy are based on their relative position over
the Atlantic Ocean. Renaming also limits the notion that a regional command owns a portion of
the en route system.
The ancestor strategy in this region was known as ―6-Lose-1‖ and ―Global En Route
Strategy, USEUCOM.‖ The strategy was based on a ―lens,‖ or a ―sweet spot‖, for strategic
airlift operations (see map on page 20). Given a 3,500 NM point-to-point range of a C-17, the
right-hand side of the lens defined the distance strategic airlift could fly from a mid-Atlantic
CONUS location while the left-hand side of the lens defined the distance from a south-west
Asian location. The area bounded by the two range rings is the lens—locations that could be
reached from either the CONUS or SW Asia. To maximize the functionality of this concept, the
6-Lose-1 strategy focused on making the six primary locations in the lens region as strategic
airlift-capable as possible.
The lens actually describes physical and technological limitations of the strategic airlift
fleet laid on the geographic landscape. Those limitations have not changed, and given the pace
of fielding technological advances, they will not have changed by 2025. Consequently, the
concept of the lens will be no less valid in 2025 than it was when it was first conceived.
Therefore, we are not abandoning the lens concept. Instead, we will refine its utility.
The following graphic depicts the airlift workload in 2007. The majority of the workload
that crossed the Atlantic on its way to the warfighter passed through Ramstein AB. Ramstein
represents the most capable en route airlift throughput location in the eastern hemisphere. Not
only does it have the most advanced and thorough capability, but it’s also ideally situated along
the great circle route to the USCENTCOM AOR and is centrally located within the lens. Paired
with the relief location of Spangdahlem AB, it makes an ideal location on which to base a
northern routing across the Atlantic.

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If one looks at pure great circle routing from the east coast to Baghdad, Djibouti, or
Ghana, one will begin to see the genesis for the routing strategy we propose to adopt. We
propose that there are three primary distribution routes for supplying the warfighter—northern,
central and southern routes. These Atlantic routes have the advantage of providing overlap for
each other. In other words, should the northern Atlantic route not be available for weather,
political or saturation reasons, supplies en route to southern Eurasia or southwest Asia can be
routed through the central route. The central route also provides access, with the southern route,
to the African continent. This feature of the Atlantic routes leads us to postulate an alternate
name for the Atlantic strategy—―Three-Use-Two.‖ In other words, we have three routes across
the Atlantic and for any given action in one of the areas of interest, two of the routes are
available for delivering supplies to those areas.

Page 18
The most direct routing (and the most fuel efficient routing) to southwest Asia or
Southern Eurasia, carries us across northern and eastern Europe. Mildenhall, Spangdahlem,
Ramstein, Constanta, and Incirlik all lie within close proximity of this northerly route. These
bases possess the most robust existing infrastructure in the entire theater. However, the northern
route is hindered by poor weather and limited operating hours at nearly all locations, which make
planning and scheduling across international boundaries problematic. This latter issue includes
rerouting to accommodate political sensitivities.
Along the northern route, our most capable location with the greatest throughput
capability is Ramstein AB. Its massive mobility ramp, state-of-the-art freight facility, and C-5
capable hangar make it Europe’s only Tier 1 location at present. Its paired location,
Spangdahlem AB, has lesser throughput capability, but is robust in its own right. We suggest
that to provide adequate throughput along the northern route, Spangdahlem should remain a Tier
II location and should be considered an essential pairing with Ramstein.
RAF Mildenhall remains a strategically crucial en route location. Located on perhaps the
most politically friendly country in Europe, it will be valuable for basing mobility operations
should operations become politically more problematic across the European continent (an
example of which was Operation EL DORADO CANYON, the bombing raid into Libya). The
base has a robust passenger and freight handling capability we should not abandon. It is also a
valuable resource should mechanical problems force an aircraft to stop short either east- or west-
bound. However, as velocity has driven consolidation of organic airlift assets for efficiency,
Mildenhall has increasingly been overflown by our organic fleet in favor of the locations in
Germany. Recognizing this fact, we recommend that Mildenhall downsize to a Tier III location.
In the British Isles, a more central location on the great circle route between the east coast
of the US and the Persian Gulf is Shannon, Ireland. Presently, AMC contract commercial
carriers use Shannon as a fuel stop as they return to the CONUS. Due to its central location, it
would be an ideal gas-and-go location. However, any AMC presence there would be duplicative
of the presence at Mildenhall and fails to recognize the existing efforts to consolidate throughput
for efficiencies. Consequently, we recommend that the Tier III presence at Mildenhall be
capable of moving TDY personnel augmented from CONUS locations to man the expeditionary
gas-and-go capability at Shannon.
Our experiences during Desert Shield/Storm and OEF/OIF have highlighted the
importance of en route locations subsequent to the first leg en routes. Both Incirlik AB and Al
Udeid AB are crucial as transload locations—a transition from intratheater to intertheater. As
such, their throughput capability is crucial to ongoing operations. Additionally, both have
proven their value during OEF/OIF. With continued areas of interest in this region, transload
capability will continue to be crucial. Consequently, we recommend that both Incirlik and Al
Udeid be upgraded to Tier II locations.
Air mobility operations at Al Mubarak AB, Kuwait, have endured since the end of
Operation DESERT SHIELD. This large capacity aerial port provides a vital distribution link in
support of CENTCOM operations and is tied directly into the Defense Distribution Depot
Kuwait-South West Asia (DDKS) and the Theater Consolidation and Shipping Point (TCSP).
Based on the historical workload and its key multi-modal distribution capability, we maintain Al
Mubarak as a Tier II location.
Southern Eurasia is a developing area of interest and USEUCOM is already establishing
a presence in Romania in response. US Army Europe (USAEUR) now has a major training

Page 19
range and center of operations in the area around Constanta, Romania. Mobility will be required
to support these and developing operations in the area. A number of options for a Tier III
location appear suitable to take advantage of the seaports on the Black Sea. They include
Odepeni, Romania, Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport, Romania (LRCK), Varna, Bulgaria (LBWN)
and Burgas, Bulgaria (LBBG). All have runways that are more than 8,000 feet in length, are in
close proximity to sea ports (with the exception of Odepeni), and would require some degree of
repairs or construction to make them suitable for transiting MAF aircraft.
A second Tier III recommendation is for Bagram AB, Afghanistan. We anticipate that
our need for a mobility throughput location in the region will endure well past 2025. Military or
stability support will be a hallmark of the region. Despite its high altitude and dangerous
topography, the current infrastructure and planned infrastructure by USCENTCOM makes
Bagram an ideal location for mobility operations. Based on its current and projected distribution
mission, Bagram’s port throughput more closely resembles a Tier II location.
Along the northern route there are numerous locations that support mobility operations,
but are closely tied to existing operations. These locations are essential, but may, in fact, be
temporary and only needed during contingency/wartime operations. RAF Fairford, Kuwait-Ali
Al Salem, Kandahar, Papa Hungary, and Bahrain fall into this category.
The most direct routing to the Horn of Africa and eastern African locations is across the
Iberian Peninsula and through the Mediterranean. Rota, Moron, Sigonella, and Souda Bay lie
close to this central Atlantic routing. While not the most fuel efficient, this central routing
through the Mediterranean has advantages over the northern route. The weather is more
consistently conducive to flying operations and there are fewer international overflight issues.
These advantages make it an ideal route for northern route overflow or restrictions. It is also the
ideal route for commencing operations on the African continent. For instance, the air distance
from Rota direct to Djibouti is slightly over 3,000 NM, easily within reach of all our strategic
airlifters. After a refuel stop in Spain, a C-17 or C-5 could reach to south of the equator in
Africa, as long as fuel is available at their destination.
NAVSTA Rota, paired with Moron AB, provides the anchor for the central Atlantic
route. Presently, Rota is our only European base with 24/7 operations and represents a
tremendous capability for the timely movement of supplies to Southwest Asia. Rota also has the
unique attribute of having a seaport attached to the airfield which allows multi-modal operations
to occur within the perimeter of the base. For these reasons, and because we anticipate an
increase in mobility operations destined for Africa, we suggest that Rota be upgraded from its
Tier II status to a Tier I location by enhancing the maintenance footprint. In essence, this would
entail an enhancement of the maintenance capability (backshop).
Moron AB represents tremendous capability with the largest parking ramp in theater and
no threat of noise-restricted hours. Therefore, we recommend that Moron continue as a Tier III
location. To further enhance its capability, we recommend returning Moron to a 24/7 operation
at least during the summer tourist season. Ensuring unrestricted operations at Moron will mean
splitting the traffic destined for the Iberian Peninsula between the two bases.
Sigonella and Souda Bay present unique issues for the central route. At 4,100NM and
4,500NM respectively, they are too distant for a first leg from the CONUS. However, they are
well within C-17 range from both Afghanistan and Qatar. The real value of Sigonella and Souda
lies in their location in the Mediterranean, extensive Defense Logistics Agency’s warehousing
infrastructure in Sicily, and their proximity to Africa. Access to both locations can be achieved
via relatively unrestricted overflight of the Mediterranean. The Headquarters Defense Logistics

Page 20
Agency is building a regional headquarters logistics supply stores on Sicily, which will result in
greater cargo generation for delivery to or from Sigonella. Finally, due to the extensive
European colonial history in sub-Saharan Africa, access to the African continent may be
politically untenable from any number of locations depending on the overflight routes and
destination (Greece, and so Souda Bay, is not among the African colonial powers). Having
alternative locations from which access to the African continent is possible becomes increasingly
important. Consequently, we recommend Sigonella become a Tier II location with the addition
of an air mobility squadron and Souda Bay become an expeditionary location capable of
becoming a Tier III location requiring parking ramp expansion and mobility operations
capabilities. We make this recommendation recognizing that interest in Sigonella as a location
for basing UAVs is increasing. Therefore, we will work closely with USAFE and the Navy to
determine the ability of Sigonella to handle an increased mobility mission.
The central Atlantic route shares many second leg locations with the northern route. For
example, Incirlik and Al Udeid would be second leg Tier II locations while Bagram would be a
second leg Tier III location. A second leg location unique to the central route would be Aviano,
a Tier III location primarily to support Army units in that region.
In addition to those locations mentioned for the northern route and previously mentioned
Souda Bay, another expeditionary central route location would be Cairo West, which is a key
location for numerous USCENTCOM exercises.
Finally, the southern Atlantic route is designed solely to provide mobility support to the
African continent. As previously mentioned, the proposed strategy takes advantage of locations
on the perimeter of the continent. In this regard, the southern route shares many locations with
the central route—Rota, Moron, Sigonella, Souda Bay, and Cairo West.
An additional location, not mentioned as part of the central route, but could be considered
part of that route, is Lajes Air Field. Again, Lajes is a location that fighters find crucial for
crossing the Atlantic; however, due to its proximity to the CONUS, it is infrequently used by
mobility aircraft and only then primarily to support the airfield. Additionally, the Azores are
frequently battered by strong winds during the winter that effectively shuts down operations.
With the anticipated increase in African mobility requirements, Lajes’ role as a portal onto the
African continent may increase. Additionally, since Lajes is an island situated in the Atlantic, it
makes an ideal divert location for aircraft crossing the Atlantic. Consequently, we do not
recommend abandoning Lajes. Although there are locations from which African access is easier
and more effective, Lajes is an important backup location and we recommend maintaining the
option for its use, but downgrading Lajes from its current status to an expeditionary location.
Two locations, unique to the southern routing and essential for airlift coverage of Africa,
are Ascension Island (Wide Awake Field) and Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. Ascension is a British
owned island in the south Atlantic. Its location south of the equator and midway between South
America and Africa makes it ideal for access to west and southwestern Africa. US military
aircraft have used Ascension in the past, and we anticipate no problems for continued use.
However, the increased traffic to support USAFRICOM could involve an expanded parking
ramp and fuel storage. These enhancements, as well as increased use, would need to be
negotiated with the United Kingdom.
Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, is the only permanent infrastructure on the African continent
that this strategy assumes. As such, its importance can’t be overstated. Of all the locations on
the southern route, Djibouti provides the single point of greatest coverage. Using the 3,500NM
point-to-point C-17 range, the entire continent can be accessed. Using the 2,000NM unrefueled

Page 21
range, two-thirds of the continent can be accessed. Currently, the airfield has limited mobility
aircraft servicing capability. An enlarged parking ramp and freight handling capability would be
required to establish a Tier III capability as we envision. (Should analysis of the evolving
requirements (to include responsiveness, timeliness, and MHE/personnel required to provide the
needed capability) dictate and political dialogue permit an expeditionary location on the west
coast of Africa, options do exist and will be evaluated.)
The following map graphically depicts the Atlantic ―three-use-two‖ route strategy
described above:
Including South America in a global en route strategy accomplishes two results: it helps
achieve the regional engagement strategy and assists with the mobility routing to Africa.
Unfortunately, a South American engagement strategy that tasks airlift assets is not available.
Until recently, security concerns in South America have focused on the counter-narcotics
mission. That mission has not required the use of strategic airlift in its prosecution.
Recently, USSOUTHCOM has become interested in establishing a location on the South
American continent that could be used both for counter-narcotics operations and as a location
from which mobility operations could be executed. Consequently, with the assistance of AMC

Page 22
and USTRANSCOM, USSOUTHCOM has identified Palanquero, Colombia (German Olano
Airfield (SKPQ)), as a cooperative security location (CSL). From this location, nearly half of the
continent can be covered by a C-17 without refueling. Should suitable fuel be available at the
destination, a C-17 could cover the entire continent, with the exception of the Cape Horn region
in Chile and Argentina. Until such time that USSOUTHCOM establishes a more robust theater
engagement plan, the strategy to place a CSL at Palanquero should be sufficient for air mobility
reach on the South American continent.
In conjunction with the aforementioned CSL, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands offer
viable en route locations capable of supporting theater mobility requirements. Both San Juan
and Henry Rohlsen International Airports have resident Air National Guard facilities that
currently support mobility operations into South America. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin
Islands have two of the largest sea ports in the Caribbean, minutes away from their respective
international airports facilitating intermodal operations. Neither location requires international
agreements, customs, or diplomatic clearances for overflight. These two airfields offer ideal hub
locations to support emerging contingency and humanitarian relief operations. Finally, AMC
should work closely with USTRANSCOM to establish contracts or agreements with commercial
concerns for contingency fuel and aircraft support at airfields in more southern reaches of the
Previously, we discussed using Ascension Island as a portal for access to the African
continent. Routing to Ascension, though, requires an intermediate fuel stop and that stop would
be in the Caribbean or South American region. The distance from Charleston AFB to Ascension
is over 5,100NM, well outside an unrefueled C-17’s range. In the past, AMC aircraft on their
way to Ascension stop in Antigua (V.C. Bird International) to refuel. The distance from
Charleston AFB to Antigua is nearly 1,600NM with the remaining distance to Ascension being
cut to 3,600NM.
USSOUTHCOM, in an attempt to assist with access to Africa, has postulated that
Cayenne, French Guiana, could serve as a possible CSL for an intermediate fuel stop between
the CONUS and Ascension. The distance from Charleston AFB to Cayenne is 2,600NM and the
remaining distance to Ascension is only 2,400NM. USSOUTHCOM has also considered access
to the airport at Recife, Brazil. A C-17 could depart from this location and, provided fuel is
available when they land, cover approximately the same area as an unrefueled C-17 from
Ascension. However, the political relationship with Brazil is not conducive to the necessary
agreements. Furthermore, Recife is 4,100NM from Charleston AFB placing it just outside the
point-to-point distance for a C-17. Therefore, we recommend that USSOUTHCOM continue to
pursue access to the airfield at Cayenne, French Guiana.

Page 23
As discussed, the limited availability of real estate in the Pacific allows few options for
en route locations. Fortunately, the location and political affiliation of Pacific islands provide en
route strategy options to prevent reliance on a single route to the warfighter.
This fact was clearly recognized in 1999 when the PERISC first postulated the ―2-Lose-
1‖ route strategy. Recognizing that one of the routes may be temporarily unavailable due to
inclement weather, the PERISC recommended sizing the locations on the two routes such that
one route could handle the temporary surge of the other being unavailable. Given the limitations
of the region, we agree that this strategy is sound and should be continued.
However, since 1999 the focus areas in this region have expanded to include the
Indonesian islands as a source of political turmoil and geologic instability. Furthermore, the
existing en route locations are subject to refinement to make the system more responsive and
capable. Consequently, we now refer to the strategy in this region as the ―Two Route Plus‖
strategy. The strategy still refers to two primary routes, the Northern and Southern routes. The
―Plus‖ alludes to the fact that our refinement of the strategy enhances what the PERISC
originally proposed in 1999.

Page 24
The Northern route more closely follows the great circle routing to the Korean peninsula
and China Sea areas of interest, making it the more fuel efficient routing to two of the three areas
of interest. However, due to its northern orientation, the impact of winter weather is severe and
requires locations along the route to be adequately supplied with deicing and snow removal
equipment. Furthermore, because the Northern routes depend on the Japanese locations of
Misawa, Yokota, and Iwakuni for its second leg stop and that Japan is close to both northerly
areas of interest, the threat from battle damage on Japanese locations is proportionately higher
than at more outlying locations.
The Southern route, on the other hand, is far less fuel efficient and represents an actual
increase in distance to the areas of interest. For example, the distance from Travis AFB to Osan
AB, Korea, using the Northern route is approximately 5,300NM. From Travis to Osan using the
Southern route it is 6,000NM if flying direct from Hickam to Yokota (2 additional flying hours)
or 7,100NM if routing through Guam (4 more flying hours). Typhoons are a threat in many
locations, but particularly at Guam.
Nevertheless, when not threatened by typhoons, the Southern route boasts far more
predictable and favorable flying weather. Support to the Navy is crucial at many of the Pacific
island locations and the threat from enemy action is more remote along the Southern route.
Historically, the flow of Pacific airlift is through the Southern route due to these very issues.
Due, in part, to the basing of C-17s at both Hickam AFB and Elmendorf AFB, the Pacific
has the luxury of two Tier I locations, one on each route. Hickam is manned and has the
infrastructure to provide Tier I capability. This is a crucial capability to mitigate the chokepoints
along the Mid-Pacific route.
Chokepoints are points along the route where there are few, if any, available alternates
should the single location be unavailable. In nearly all instances, a primary location on a route is
paired with a location of lesser capability that can serve as an alternate. For example, Elmendorf
is paired with Eielson, Rota with Moron, and Ramstein with Spangdahlem. However, on the
Southern route, Hickam AFB and Andersen AFB are not paired with alternates. While alternate
locations exist in the Hawaiian Islands for diversion, Hawaii isn’t frequently threatened by
inclement weather and there is very little threat from enemy attack. The need for an alternate
location is less compelling. Consequently, it is prudent to ensure that Hickam maintains a Tier I
capability. Proposed alternate locations for Andersen AFB will be discussed later in this
Elmendorf currently possesses the infrastructure for Tier I capability, but it is not
currently manned to accomplish Tier I activities. Since Eielson is used as an alternate location
and there is a greater likelihood that Northern Pacific routing will not be used due to inclement
weather, the need for Tier I capability is not critical at Elmendorf. Consequently, we suggest
that Elmendorf maintain Tier I infrastructure while maintaining its current manning.
The second legs in the Pacific strategy are considerably more controversial. On the one
hand, the second leg locations on the Island of Japan are somewhat fixed and their tier sizes seem
driven by momentum rather than strategic importance. On the other hand, the second leg
location at Andersen AFB represents perhaps the most significant air mobility chokepoint on the
entire globe.
Currently, there are four en route locations on Japan—Misawa in the north, Yokota near
Tokyo, Iwakuni on a deep-water bay in the south of the main island, and Kadena on the island of
Okinawa. Each has varying degrees of capability with Yokota and Kadena representing the
greatest throughput capability. At the locations other than Yokota, mobility operations are

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considered an adjunct mission to the primary missions. In fact, Iwakuni is a Marine base. AMC
operations at Iwakuni are minimal and are frequently supported with TDY personnel from the
AMS at Yokota. At other times, Marines provide transient aircraft servicing.
Yokota was established post-World War II and maintained as a forward base. Since
WWII, Tokyo has become among the world’s largest cities and the urban sprawl has engulfed
the base. Still, of the four Japanese locations, Yokota’s primary mission, for both PACAF and
AMC, is mobility operations. PACAF maintains C-130 and operational support airlift units at
Yokota and synergies are achieved with AMC mobility throughput. In FY09, construction will
commence on a new mechanized materiel handling system funded nearly entirely by the
Japanese government. Additionally, the base holds a number of USPACOM/PACAF/Joint
Japanese Defense Force headquarters.
However, many challenges exist at Yokota. First, Yokota AB is centrally located in
Japan, but is surrounded by high-density civilian population. In many areas there is no buffer
between the perimeter fence and the civilian population. Additionally departure obstructions
plague the airfield. Second, the regional government routinely makes concerted efforts to
transform Yokota into a joint military/civilian airfield, which would permit civilian use of the
field for freight and passenger service. The US has been successful in staving off these
proposals and, to date, the national government has not supported the prefecture governor’s
proposal for military/civilian dual use. Finally, and most significantly, fuel delivery to the base
is accomplished via railcar. This overland delivery of the airfield’s lifeblood is fraught with
vulnerability and subject to environmental concerns that may make it increasingly politically
unsustainable. Because of these geographic and political constraints, it is prudent to plan for an
alternate location in Japan in the event Yokota become untenable.
An ideal alternate location for Yokota is Iwakuni. Iwakuni’s location on an island
extending into the deep-water Sea of Aki means that only one section of the base perimeter
experiences civilian encroachment, while the rest of the base is surrounded by water. Although
the water boundary limits civilian encroachment, it also limits the ability to expand the base.
Nevertheless, there is a land reclamation project currently underway to build a second runway.
The new 10,000 foot runway is expected to be operational by 2010.

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Perhaps the most promising and useful feature at Iwakuni is the deep-water port attached
to the base availing multi-modal capability comparable to that found at NAS Rota, Spain. This is
a key advantage for any operating location. The ability to trans-load from ship to aircraft or
aircraft to ship maximizes the limited space available in the theater. Furthermore, fuel for the
base is delivered from ship within the confines of the base perimeter, significantly reducing force
protection concerns.
Iwakuni is not without limitations. The most obvious limitation, when compared with
Yokota, is that construction would have to occur to enhance its throughput capability to a Tier II
level. While a new 4,000 square meter passenger terminal is under construction, there is
inadequate freight handling capability. Additionally, the ramp available for mobility aircraft is
limited in size and should be expanded. It is currently capable of only accommodating three
large aircraft. All proposals to expand capability on the base, either with infrastructure or
personnel, would require agreements with the Marines and the Japanese government.
Consequently, we recommend putting the necessary infrastructure in place at Iwakuni to
make it a Tier II location in the event that we can no longer maintain Yokota at that level. At
present, we do not propose drawing down Yokota to a Tier III location. Rather, we suggest that
Yokota remain Tier II subject to continuing reviews. We do not recommend changes to Misawa
or Kadena.
Andersen AFB, Guam is a Pacific chokepoint of key concern for numerous reasons.
First, it tends to be a common target for Pacific typhoons. Second, the entire island will soon
experience an expanded military presence under the auspices of the Guam Integrated Military

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Development Plan. Third, with the addition of new flying missions, there will be an increased
demand on fuel, which originates at the naval port on the opposite side of the island. Fourth,
should a large-scale regional conflict arise, Guam could very well be subject to battle damage
threats, especially given the confluence of military units gathered on the island. The impact of
these concerns is an increasing threat to airlift throughput at Andersen AFB.
Several issues arise when considering this threat. The existing infrastructure at Guam is
inadequate to support the expanding missions. A new freight terminal to be constructed in the
AMS Campus is currently programmed and will need proper advocacy to compete for MILCON
funds and remain in the FYDP. A new passenger terminal to replace the woefully inadequate
existing terminal is planned and coordinated with the host wing, though it, too, will require
command advocacy to compete in the POM. The current terminals are capable of handling 100
passengers and one C-17 cargo load. Also, the mobility parking ramp should be expanded to
permit additional parking and an accessible footprint for performing required or preventative
Still, these enhancements won’t obviate the concerns raised by weather, encroachment,
fuel delivery, or battle damage. Consequently, we believe it is prudent to seek a paired location
for Andersen—a location close enough to allow continued mobility throughput to Guam during
periods when the base is unavailable during weather, high ops tempo, or fuel demand.
Available airfields in the region are few and far between. Fortunately, at a little over
100NM north of Guam lie the islands of Tinian and Saipan. These islands are in the
Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, which are US possessions. Both islands have
airports, though Saipan’s is the larger of the two. Saipan’s international airport has an 8,700-foot
runway and adequate contingency parking area for wide-body aircraft (two wide-body and three
narrow-body spots). It is close enough to Andersen that if mobility operations needed to be
diverted, they could continue at Saipan, perhaps with a transload to another aircraft to ferry their
cargo to Andersen.
Locating an expeditionary capability at Saipan would require conducting negotiations to
secure guaranteed access and potentially constructing the necessary infrastructure to ensure the
ability to service mobility aircraft, e.g., enlarging the fuel storage capacity. We don’t
recommend a permanent manpower presence at Saipan. Rather, should Saipan be necessary due
to the loss of Andersen for mobility aircraft, personnel from Guam could deploy to Saipan to
establish satellite operations, thus allowing mobility operations to continue on the Southern
route. We will work closely with PACAF to secure access to Saipan or a different, more suitable
Finally, the areas of interest in the south China Seas and Indonesian/Philippine
Archipelago are currently covered by several small locations—Clark, on the Philippines, U-
Taphao in Thailand, Singapore, and Richmond, Australia. The capability inherent in these
locations is based on small throughput and infrequent use. Based on anticipated interest in the
area and seemingly routine natural disasters requiring extensive humanitarian relief, we
recommend establishing a location in the region with more robust capabilities than
The most robust of these locations is currently the detachment at Singapore’s Paya Lebar
airport. The key mission for this AMS detachment is to service airlift transporting supplies and
support to the large naval port on Singapore. Air access to Singapore is relatively benign from
the east. However, due to overflight restrictions imposed by numerous countries in the region,
departures from Singapore heading westbound require circuitous routing to avoid country

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overflight. Furthermore, the ability to transit hazardous cargo through Singapore is very tightly
We presently have an expeditionary location at U-Taphao, Thailand. This location has
more than double the wide-body, narrow-body, and hazardous cargo parking spots than
Singapore and has seven fuel hydrant parking spots. Westbound overflight from U-Taphao is
essentially unrestricted. The capacity to handle large airlift flows to the region far exceeds that
available at Singapore. The infrastructure required to establish U-Taphao as a Tier III location
would be minimal.
Another location in the region to consider is Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam (VVCR).
Relations between the US and Vietnam have warmed significantly over the years. It may now be
possible to pursue negotiations with the Vietnamese for use of an airfield and basing of
personnel. Cam Ranh is a joint use, military and civilian, airfield with 10,000 foot runway and
considerable parking apron space. Arrival at Cam Ranh from the east involves no overflight
restrictions while movement to or from the west involves only minor restrictions. The area of
C-17 coverage in the area is comparable to that available from U-Taphao. Based on these facts
and given the warming relations with Vietnam, we believe that Cam Ranh presents an ideal
opportunity for future basing should the need arise.
Consequently, we recommend keeping Singapore as a location for support of the Navy
port while establishing U-Taphao as a Tier III location to serve as a central location for access
into Indonesia and the South China Sea. Furthermore, we believe that Da Nang airport should be
held in reserve as a potential resource should the need arise and recommend continued
diplomacy with Vietnam for that purpose.

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An issue related to the en route, but not technically considered part of it, are those
locations most prominently used for fighter ferry missions—Coronets. The most obvious
location is Wake Island Airfield. This location is strategically located for fighters transiting the
Pacific. Without it, they would need to change their routing and would require additional A/Rs
to maintain minimum fuel levels in flight. This fact elevates the importance of Wake for AMC.
Very likely, without it AMC would be required to devote more tankers or risk longer boom times
to these fighter ferry missions. Admittedly, AMC aircraft do land at Wake. For example, from
1 Dec 07 through 30 Nov 08, three C-17s, eight KC-10s and fifteen KC-135s transited Wake
Island. While this does not rise to the level of an en route location necessitating AMC manpower
or equipment, it does not diminish the importance of the island airfield for AMC. Consequently,
maintaining Wake Island as a key Coronet mission location represents a cost and safety risk
avoidance for AMC.

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While much of this strategy uses existing infrastructure in its present configuration, the
strategy does recommend enhancements and reductions around the globe. To better understand
the recommended changes, we must first clearly understand today’s en route system as it’s
structured in the tier definitions. The following table classifies each of today’s en routes
locations with the most appropriate tier.
Today’s En Route System
(See the appendices for a complete list of en route locations including sites for which there is
contract oversight.)
Now, given the proposed strategy, the en route system in 2025 would be structured as
depicted in the following table:

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2025 En Route System
Tier I
Tier II
Tier III
Al Udeid
Papa, HGY
Cam Ranh
Souda Bay
Cairo West
Diego Garcia
Kuwait-Al Mubarak
Kuwait-Ali Al Salem
In the Atlantic ―Three-Use-Two‖ strategy the following highlights the proposed changes
that will require dollars or manpower investment:
Reduce Mildenhall to a Tier III location (an action already planned under the approved
21 EMTF Transformation Plan)
Establish Bagram, Afghanistan, as a Tier III location; support USCENTCOM plans for
strategic airlift ramp expansion and permanent infrastructure
Expand ramp and fuels infrastructure at Ascension Island
Invest in permanent infrastructure at Al Udeid
Expand ramp and establish permanent infrastructure at Djibouti as a Tier III location
Plus-up maintenance capability at Rota to elevate it to Tier I capability
Establish Tier II capability at Sigonella
Build wide-body capable ramp at Souda Bay
Establish expeditionary capability at Papa, Hungary

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The changes and required enhancements resulting from the Pacific ―Two Route Plus‖
strategy are as follows:
Stand up Tier II infrastructure at Iwakuni by expanding the airlift ramp and Material
Handling Capability, but don’t man at Tier II capability (similar to Elmendorf)
Establish Tier III capability at U-Taphao
Establish expeditionary access and capability at Saipan
Undeniably, our commercial partners provide a tremendous capability to our mobility
system. Their role in carrying both cargo and passengers frees our organic fleet to carry the
outsized cargo needed by the warfighter. Also, since user’s airlift requirements far exceed the
capacity of the organic fleet, the commercial carriers are often able to help AMC fulfill its
highest priority movements while providing the capacity to move lesser priority requirements.
So, it would seem obvious, given the critical nature of commercial airlift, that the en route
system should accommodate the commercial capability.
However, by agreement, the commercial carriers contracted to AMC only use military
facilities under strictly controlled circumstances. For the most part, commercial carriers use
civilian terminals of their choosing when possible. This is to their benefit, since it is far more
likely for commercial terminals to have some maintenance capability for like aircraft.
Additionally, commercial carriers require FAA-certified parts available at commercial airports.
For a strategy to succeed, it must be implemented at the operational level, which implies
occasional subordination of operational efficiencies to the greater strategic need and desired
long-term effect. Among the things learned over the years is that if locations aren’t used, they
will be lost, either to budget cutting measures or to host nation designs. For example, the closure
of Zaragoza AB in Spain in 1996 by USAFE to meet budgetary constraints, and the Spanish
decision in the same year to deny the US access to Torrejon AB. The natural inclination, for
ease of operations and to minimize costs, is to consolidate operations in as few locations as
possible. We see this inclination reflected in the fact that approximately 75 percent of today’s
Atlantic operations flow through Ramstein AB. The notion is that even though the planners want
the other locations for contingencies and surges, the fewer locations they have to plan to, the
better. This, unfortunately, opens the other locations to scrutiny from those looking for
budgetary savings today instead of looking at the strategy and needs of the future. Consequently,
to secure access to locations required during contingencies or surges, we must be willing to
operate in a distributed manner, even if this means a loss of day-to-day efficiency. This requires
exercising the assets at those locations deemed necessary in the strategy. Should we not
distribute our flow through all the en route locations and subsequently lose access to them, we
have hindered our own ability to operate and have short-changed what the national defense
expects of us.
To a large degree, any en route strategy will rely on the hospitality and support of
regional services, MAJCOMs, and CCDRs. It is imperative that these services, MAJCOMs and

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CCDRs agree with and support the strategy. Furthermore, the strategy should be shared with
NATO for the purpose of coordination with NATO Capability Packages (CP). Should NATO
see benefits for their CPs, the possibility exists for NATO funds to help secure some of the
recommended enhancements. Consequently, it is crucial that this strategy be ―taken on the road‖
to both inform and secure concurrence from the regional players.
The strategy will also involve Host Nation Notification to those nations where changes
are being recommended. In some instances, host nation funding may be secured for some of the
enhancements. In others, host nations are sensitive to changes in US military presence. A
comprehensive diplomatic engagement strategy is necessary to ensure the ability to prosecute the
Access to many global locations will occur via commercial concerns. For example,
South America and Africa, with little or no enduring US military presence, will rely on
commercial airports to service AMC aircraft. AMC should support USTRANSCOM efforts to
secure cooperative security location agreements with these and other countries and cooperative
commercial contracts around the world.
Finally, the strategy cannot be static. It must adjust and adapt to changes in the National
priorities, political landscape and fiscal constraints. To that end, we recommend that every two
years, the command undertake a comprehensive review of the en route strategy. The results may
be to continue with this strategy, an adjustment to these recommendations or a complete
overhaul based on changing requirements.

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Appendix 1
Existing Atlantic En Route Capabilities
WB Spots
NB Spots
Haz Cargo
(and) 12
2 C-5/4 C-17
(or) 8
1 C-5/2 C-17
(MRT only
after 1 Oct 08)
Al Udied
12 (C-17s)
1 C-5/4 C-17
2 WB/4 NB
(or) 20
Souda Bay
Al Mubarak
Cairo West
* The 521 AMOW also provides oversight of contracts and air mobility operations
at Fujairah, Tel Aviv, Naples, Bahrain, Jebel Ali, Manas and Ali Al Salem.

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Appendix 2
Existing Pacific En Route Capabilities
WB Spots
NB Spots
Haz Cargo
1 w/TA assist
Diego Garcia
* The 515 AMOW also provides oversight of contracts and air mobility operations
at Pago Pago, Fukuoka, Alice Springs, Atsugi, Don Muang, Jakarta, Kwajalein
Atoll, Wake Island and Zamboanga.

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Appendix 3
Aerial Port Tier Classifications - 2025
Tier I
Tier II
Tier III
Al Udeid
Tel Aviv
Souda Bay
Kuwait-Ali Al
Ali Al Salem
Diego Garcia