USTRANSCOM Moving into the Future.

PositionConference notes

USTRANSCOM Commander, Gen Darren W. McDew, USAF, took the stage at the NDTA-USTRANSCOM Fall Meeting to talk about the future and what impacts changes in the world today would have in the years to come. However, in order to look forward, the General said we must also look back.

He explained that throughout history "experts in their fields spent time debating why something wouldn't work. But... [others] spent more time worrying about how it would work or, even better, how it could change the world if it did. Innovation is more than just coming up with new ideas, it's having the willingness to implement them."

The concept of USTRANSCOM, which first emerged because of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, had many naysayers. Opponents of the idea said it couldn't be done and even that it shouldn't be done, including the Services. In its beginning, USTRANSCOM was only authorized to act in times of war. The commander was dual-hatted with primary duties at Air Mobility Command.

Nevertheless, the command proved itself during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, especially after its role expanded. Subsequently, there was no longer question of the command's value and it was also granted peacetime authorities.

After 9/11 everything changed again, and the command's roles and missions expanded even further. Today USTRANCOM is not just a command, not just something born out of necessity, not just a command that was tested and hardened in battle, it is much more--it is a distribution process owner because of those that had a vision of what could be.

McDew explained a sociology theory that humans are value programmed between the ages of 11 and 12 years old. Value programming is a result of a foundation built upon your education and experiences and, once it's locked in, it sets a baseline for your thoughts and behavior. The decisions you make thereafter are influenced by your past. McDew believed that in adult life people experience similar value programming--as you grow in your career you are value programmed by your career, your leaders, your successes and challenges, and your experiences.

During the Cold War, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Vietnam, and post-9/11 value programs for many military leaders and personnel have been shaped based on the circumstances of the era in which they served--but can they break free from the thinking of that era?

"We have a mix in the force today of all those kinds of generations, but what are we building in...

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