From the Top – AMC Welcomes New Commander

By Staff

AMC is the backbone of global joint force power projection and the linchpin to worldwide humanitarian aid and disaster response efforts.

Commander Gen Jacqueline D. Van Ovost

Recently, in a joint effort with Commander’s Action Group, The Mobility Forum asked new Commander Gen Jacqueline D. Van Ovost for her thoughts about Air Mobility Command (AMC) and her vision for the future.

Question: How do you think your experience in the Air Force has prepared you for the role of the highest-ranking woman in the U.S. military?

Answer: It is my privilege to build upon the legacies of many trailblazers who have demonstrated incredible leadership and excellence and opened doors for all members of the joint force, including:

  • Gen Ann Dunwoody – first female 4-Star General and first female 4-Star General in the Army
  • Gen Janet Wolfenbarger – first female 4-Star General in the Air Force
  • Admiral Michelle Howard – first female 4-Star Admiral in the Navy and highest ranking female African American
  • Gen Lori Robinson – first female combatant commander
  • Gen Maryanne Miller – first female pilot 4-Star General and first Reservist to command AMC
  • CMSgt JoAnne Bass – first female Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

I am honored to stand in such a distinguished line of exceptional joint female senior leaders.
Growing up, I never imagined I would be a 4-Star General, much less the commander of Air Mobility Command. I knew I always wanted to fly, and as a young officer, after each leadership opportunity, I always took the time to consider: Is the mission better? Did we inspire and provide opportunity to make our people better? The answers to those questions remain the essential definition of what I consider success, and is what I have dedicated myself to getting after with each assignment.
I have had the tremendous opportunity to serve in numerous organizations within the Air Force and the joint community. Each assignment significantly increased my perspectives and enhanced my understanding of how each service integrates its unique capabilities to produce the world’s greatest military force.
Operationally, I learned firsthand how critical our rapid global mobility capabilities are to the success of the joint force, our partners and allies, and diplomacy. I also learned the vital importance of modernizing our weapon systems to address emerging threats and to arm our Airmen with the most effective tools to get after the mission.
My command experience in Air Education and Training Command cemented the importance of forging foundational skills into our Airmen to ensure the success of our force. Developing character, leadership, and competency through high-quality training and education programs marked one of my most rewarding experiences.
Serving in United States Transportation Command (USTC) and as the USAF Expeditionary Center Vice Commander, I witnessed the key role our global enroute Airmen play in the Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise and was in awe of the life-saving and mission-assuring capabilities of the Air Force’s only Contingency Response Wing.
As a senior leader on the Joint Staff and at Headquarters Air Force, I witnessed the incredible leadership of our Total Force Airmen and took note of how each of the services’ capabilities— underpinned by the agile mobility capabilities of USTC and AMC—fused into a joint military force that deters and defeats on a global scale. I watched with pride as AMC Airmen always delivered on their promise!
I bring these experiences, but alone I do not have all the answers. I am excited to work with the incredibly talented and dedicated Airmen of AMC to ensure the command continues to meet the challenges of today and the future.

Question: Your recent service has been outside of Air Mobility Command. In your view, how has the command changed?

Answer: When I look at the command today, I see incredibly smart Total Force Airmen who embrace full spectrum readiness and innovation. They are more technologically advanced and inquisitive. I see commanders fully embracing the authorities pushed down to their level. I see a command pivoting into a warfighting-focused component MAJCOM that is in many ways leading the Air Force in the development of enhanced capabilities for the high-end fight. AMC Airmen are developing new concepts of operation and getting after how they will execute them in contested environments. The criticality of the 618th Air Operations Center has never been clearer as assured command and control, from the most forward echelon back to the headquarters, is paramount to delivering rapid global mobility effects. I have admired our MAF Airmen and their tremendous accomplishments from afar. Now I am excited to return and lead the dedicated and courageous men and women of AMC!

Question: What do you see as the greatest opportunities for AMC to continue to excel?

Answer: AMC is the backbone of global joint force power projection and the linchpin to worldwide humanitarian aid and disaster response efforts. While we meet these requirements, we must continue to build credible capacity within the command. We must adapt to the threat and develop a sufficient amount of expertly trained Total Force Airmen operating capable and reliable weapon systems to meet the high demand required by the joint force.
Credible capacity is all-encompassing, but it starts with our Airmen. We must continue deliberate development of our Airmen to become courageous leaders of character leading AMC into the future. We must ensure they are, as Gen Mattis would say, “brilliant at the basics,” and challenge them to be disciplined risk-takers and joint force leaders in a dynamic and ill-defined high-end fight.
We also have to continue to work with our combatant commands to develop new warfighting concepts and innovative ways to negate adversary advantages. As we lean forward into a new joint warfighting design, we have to continue to adapt to ensure we meet our mission of being the most agile arm of United States Transportation Command—delivering, sustaining, maneuvering, and reconstituting the joint force. We have to recapitalize and modernize our weapon systems to ensure we can continue to deliver. Bringing the KC-46 to full operational capability and continuing to ensure our crown jewel, the 618th Air Operations Center, is enhanced with the latest technological capabilities to command and control through contested domains will be among our top priorities.
Success will require difficult choices. We will make tough decisions on where we prioritize our resources and time to ensure we can build the advanced capabilities required for the high-end fight. As always, AMC will meet these challenges head on.

Question: You recently spoke about the importance of ensuring the success of the air mobility enterprise. Can you describe what your vision of success looks like?

Answer: A successful air mobility enterprise delivers agile mobility capabilities to United States Transportation Command and the joint force in order to meet our national security objectives. It is comprised of Total Force Airmen—from the flight line to the front line, from the cockpit to the clinic—who embrace the new realities of the contested environment. They are leaders and innovators, questioning how they can do the mission better. They are strong and resilient, because there will always be another COVID, hurricane season, or threat that challenges our ability to project decisive strength and deliver hope. Above all, they are leaders of character, treating others with dignity and respect. Airmen are the foundation of our success.
As an enterprise, we employ accelerated learning and agile capability development that arms our Airmen with enhanced capabilities faster than our adversaries. Our Airmen embrace the idea that innovation is the foundation, not the goal.
I am humbled by the many sacrifices our Airmen make and their dedication to our air mobility mission. I am excited to command and serve beside the incredible Total Force Airmen of Air Mobility Command.