"Aerial refueling capabilities are an essential enabler of U.S. power projection and other critical national missions. OPERATIONs ENDURING and IRAQI FREEDOM (OEF and OIF) could not have happened without these aerial refueling capabilities. Aerial refueling makes possible rapid deployment of forces to contingencies and the elective employment of those forces in the contingencies. In OIF there were over 8500 aerial refueling sorties flown and about 450 million pounds of fuel offloaded. In addition, aerial refueling remains a critical element in supporting the bomber leg of U.S. nuclear forces and other special national security missions. The task force was charged to evaluate current aerial refueling capability and to identify and evaluate alternative means of meeting future aerial refueling requirements."
Defense Science Board: http://www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/