DoD Executive Secretariat Process for Military Aircraft (MILAIR) Requests


“Government aircraft transportation is a premium mode of travel involving high costs and limited resources.  All DoD employees at any level including commanders and airlift authorizing officials shall restrict travel based on considerations such as purpose of the trip, method of transportation required, and priority of travel.  Every effort shall be made to minimize travel cost.” (DoDD 4500.56)  Senior Travelers’ staff will ensure review of applicable Directives and Policies prior to submission of MILAIR requests.


On behalf of the Secretary of Defense (SecDef), the DoD Executive Secretary is the approval authority/responsible for:

·         Non-DoD Officials pursuant to the Economy Act or as directed by the President via White House Support Mission requests.

·         DoD Senior Officials within OSD and Defense Agencies, excluding requests delegated to the Secretaries of the Military Departments, the CJCS, and the CCDRs.

·         Rotary-wing requests within the National Capital Region (NCR) for all DoD Senior Officials.

·         Prioritizing travel when requests exceed available executive airlift capability.

·         Exception-to-Policy (ETP) requests for SecDef or DepSecDef approval.

·         Required Use Traveler Designation requests for SecDef approval.

Submission Requirements

In order to ensure requisite processing and ExecSec review/decision, final requests must be submitted accordingly:

·         14 business days prior for stateside or overseas travel.

·         21 business days prior for team travel (nine or more persons).

All requests for military air transportation must:

·         Meet the requirements as specified in DoD Directive 4500.56, DoD Policy on the Use of Government Aircraft and Air Travel, and other DoD policies and directives.  [DoDD 4500.56]

·         Be staffed through one organizational level above the senior traveler to the Executive Secretary. 

o   An ACTION MEMO is not required.  Supporting documentation (e.g., agendas, conference approval paperwork, sub-component requests, etc.) may be required/provided.

o   Exception:  Senior traveler reports directly to the SecDef (i.e., an ASD submits a request through USD for endorsement, to ExecSec for decision; an USD submits directly to ExecSec). 

o   Note:  Per DepSecDef memorandum, transportation requests require component Principal/Deputy validation as “Mission Critical.” 

·         Be signed by the senior traveler, no exceptions.

·         Clearly compare transportation costs (military versus commercial air).

·         Include detailed justification for a compelling operational consideration.

·         Changes to itinerary dates, travel locations, or passenger list will require resubmission of a revised request.

After the Executive Secretary disapproves, or approves and tasks, a travel request:

        Requesters will receive a copy of Executive Secretary approval or disapproval notification.

        Airlift planners will contact the POC listed on the MILAIR request memo.

Additional Considerations

Rotary-wing aircraft – Rotary-wing is costly, and will only be used when ground transportation would have a significant adverse impact on the senior traveler's ability to effectively accomplish the official purpose.

Cost Consideration – MILAIR will not be used if commercial aircraft (including charter service) are reasonably available. Government and DoD policies define reasonably available as meeting the itinerary within 24 hrs. Government and DoD policies direct senior travelers to adjust their itinerary, whenever possible, to allow for commercial travel.  This includes leaving the day prior and/or departing the day after events.

Operational Consideration – There may be compelling operational considerations that make the use of mil air justified even if not cost effective.  Include the as justification.  Merely stating, "secure communications are required" or "MILAIR required due to security concerns" will not suffice. Attach supporting documents as needed.  Some potential operational considerations are:

Secure Communications- Although secure communications are desirable for many senior travelers, it is rare that they are required for a non-tier 2 (Required Use) traveler, and should be based on the SecDef’s need to communicate with the senior traveler enroute.

Scheduling Conflict- A scheduling conflict prevents the use of commercial air.  The conflict must be outside the control of the senior travel and of a nature that appropriate to request SecDef approval for the use of a military aircraft (i.e. meeting with the SecDef, meeting at the White House, Congressional testimony).

Security Concern- An appropriate agency (i.e. DIA) must formally document the security concern.  The existence of a credible threat does not automatically prevent the use of commercial air.