The CRAF is the C
leet. This is a scheme
whereby in time of war the U.S. Government
, really) can assume control of a large number of civilian airliner
s to transport troops around the world. Essentially, it's a form of insurance
or betting; the U.S. Military pays those airlines
which choose to participate. The airlines receive preferential military contracts
as well as funds to upgrade their aircrafts' cargo
and troop carrying capability (heavy duty loading gear, etc). Then, if war comes, those aircraft can be 'called up' by the military for their use. I'm not sure if that includes the use of crews for them.
This is usually a well-debated item in the U.S. military budget, since it seemed to involve paying airlines for not much reason...at least until the Gulf War, when the CRAF was actually activated. The military claims it saved a great deal of time by allowing purpose-built miltiary transports to be used solely for carrying military cargo loads the airliners couldn't have shipped.