In the 21st century, our ability to quickly and decisively deliver combat forces and equipment is of the utmost importance in achieving our national security objectives. The swiftness and flexibility of the US Air Force’s mobility airlift fleet is the key to executing a rapid global mobility strategy. The operational effectiveness and efficiency of military air transportation relies on the expertise and intuition of Air Mobility Command’s (AMC) mobility planners. Working in coordination with the United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) and geographic combatant commands (GCC), AMC is responsible for the tasking and tracking of almost 900 daily mobility sorties worldwide. Using a hub-and-spoke model, mobility planners conceptualize airlift requirements and routes as either tactical or strategic in nature. Airlift assets are also considered this way. Tactical aircraft (usually C-130 variants) are smaller and are used primarily for intratheater airlift within a defined area of responsibility (AOR). Strategic aircraft (C-5B/M, C-17A) have larger payload capacities and extended ranges, making them useful for intertheater transportation between two different AORs or GCCs.
Air & Space Power Journal
Maywald, J. D., Reiman, A. D., Johnson, A. W., & Overstreet, R. E. (2017). The Myth of Strategic and Tactical Airlift. Air & Space Power Journal, 31(1), 61–71.