General Jacqueline Van Ovost, USAF, U.S. Transportation Command

General Jacqueline Van Ovost, USAF

U.S. Transportation Command

Jacqueline Desiree Van Ovost was born in September 1965 in Arlington Heights, Illinois. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy. She graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School. She also holds master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, military arts and sciences, and strategic studies from California State University, Fresno, Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College, respectively. She is a command pilot with more than 4,200 hours in more than 30 aircraft. 

Notable military assignments for Van Ovost include Vice Commander of the Air Force Expeditionary Center, Deputy Director for Politico-Military Affairs (Europe, NATO, Russia) in the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate of the Joint Staff, Vice Director for the Joint Staff,  Director of Staff at Headquarters Air Force, and Deputy Commander of Air Mobility Command. She was deployed in both the Gulf War and War in Afghanistan. 

President Biden nominated her to become commander of U.S. Transportation Command. She was confirmed by the Senate and assumed her post in October 2021. 

In the News…

Air Force General Jacqueline Van Ovost became only the second woman to lead one of the Pentagon’s 11 combatant commands, the multi-service organizations that spearhead America’s military operations around the world. 

During her confirmation hearings, she told the Senate Armed Services Committee that problems in moving household goods of U.S. troops underscored the need to finally outsource management of the moves to a private company. 

She testified that the U.S. Transport Command had to keep more than 900 companies updated on shifting health protection policies as they sent movers into military homes to pack or unload belongings amid COVID-19 outbreaks.

“Frankly, what we learned in COVID was that it really exacerbated the flaws that are in the current contract,” she said. 

A plan to shift military management of those companies and service members’ permanent change of station, or PCS, moves to a private company, or consortium, has been in the works for years, following widespread troop dissatisfaction. But a final contract remains stymied after bidders protested the initial awarding of a $19.9 billion contract last year.  

General Van Ovost said the military’s current system also makes it difficult to use movers’ capacity efficiently and keeps it from taking advantage of modern technology. She added that shifting to a single, multi-year contract with a company to manage the moves will make it easier to adopt up-to-date tech and hold movers accountable when necessary. 


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