Military Readiness: Civil Reserve Air Fleet Can Respond as Planned, but Incentives May Need Revamping, Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Military Readiness, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives [open pdf - 2MB]
"In the event of a national emergency, the Department of Defense (DOD) can use commercial aircraft drawn from the Civil Reserve Air Fleet to augment its own airlift capabilities. The Civil Reserve Air Fleet is a fleet of aircraft owned by U.S. commercial air carriers but committed voluntarily to DOD for use during emergencies. This sparked concern about the fleet's ability to respond, if activated, and prompted the Subcommittee to ask GAO to determine whether the fleet could respond to an activation with the required number of aircraft and crews and in the required time frame. Civil Reserve Air Fleet participants can respond to an emergency or a war with the required number of aircraft and crews and within the required time frame. Currently, there are more aircraft committed to the fleet than are needed to fill the wartime requirements identified in the DOD Mobility Requirements Study 2005, which determined the requirements to fight and win two major theater wars. The incentives currently in place to encourage participation in the program, especially the incentive to participate in DOD's peacetime business, might be losing effectiveness and could become disincentives in the future. Some participants are not able to bid on peacetime cargo business because their fleets do not include B- 747s, the predominant aircraft DOD uses for peacetime cargo missions. Using smaller aircraft would provide more peacetime business to a greater share of program participants, thus enhancing current incentives."
Government Accountability Office (GAO): http://www.gao.gov/