Belgian Brigadier General Patrick Mollet, Deputy Commander, will leave EATC in January 2024. During his many years at EATC, General Mollet headed successively EATC’s three divisions before becoming Deputy Commander and Director of Operations. We look back with General Mollet at EATC’s operational strain.
“…EATC allows us to be more performant
for our member nations when used to its
full capability as a multinational HQ…”
General Mollet, how has EATC’s operational business developed in the past years?
EATC’s operational business has evolved in three major domains in recent years.
The first domain is fleet transition, where we have seen a re-dimensioning of the EATC fleet towards mainly three aircraft types: the A400M which can now be considered the backbone of our business, the A330 MRTT as a multirole platform and the C-130J.
The second domain is the integration of multinational units (BELUX A400M, BATS, MMU) in our processes. We had to learn on how to plan and use those new platforms which are not just a copy-paste of legacy platforms and we have to adapt to the challenges that come with multinational units (specifics related to diplo clearances, mission prioritization, waivers , etc…).
The third domain is to open EATC’s activities to support Crisis Response Operations when asked by our member nations. Events in the world today show there is a grey boundary between peacetime and time of crisis. Therefore EATC evolved to be ready for both, with specific measures to be activated related to Crisis Response Support.
Where do you see EATC’s challenges in the operational domain?
Our member nations are and will be coping with complex challenges: economical, geographical, environmental, political, military, etc... Crises have become omni-present and it is very difficult to define a common position even if our member nations are partners in many multinational organisations (EU, NATO, UN,…). Furthermore, the boundaries between crisis support and routine support are becoming more and more vague. Just to give one example : how to consider a redeployment from Mali or Niger.
Recent crises have shown that national reflexes are very much present which leads to national planning and a pure national use of the fleet to support a crisis. This is of course understandable and the sovereignty of the nations is key. But we must remember that EATC allows us to be more performant for our member nations when used to its full capability as a multinational HQ, planning the fleet from the multinational perspective, to support all member nations.
The national reflexes, although important must be overcome. EATC is willing and must use opportunities to convince the member nations.
What is EATC to you in one sentence?
EATC is a multinational team bringing Air Mobility expertise to a level so that 1 + 1 = 3 to the benefit of the Air Mobility demands and challenges of its member nations.