A U.S. Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III landed at Indianapolis International airport in Indiana on May 22 loaded with a 78,000 pounds of infant formula from Switzerland, enough for half a million baby bottles, said the Air Force. The formula was transported from Zurich to Ramstein Air Base in Germany on trucks, then loaded onto 132 pallets for the flight, according to the Pentagon.
The Operation Fly Formula relief effort was managed by the Transportation Command of the Department of Defense (USTRANSCOM). The commander of USTRANSCOM, Air Force General Jacqueline Van Ovost, said, “Whether the needs are in Ukraine, India, or even right here at home, from deploying combat-credible forces, to providing vaccines, food, water and supplies during a pandemic or natural disaster, USTRANSCOM will deliver.”
Typically, the military does not conduct what are normally considered commercial operations. But as of May 18, President Biden invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act (DPA) in response to the formula shortage. The law gives the government authority to direct private companies to act during a national crisis. The DPA allows the president to identify businesses capable of producing critical or scarce material and mandate that they do so under contract. Recent years have seen the law invoked due to hurricanes, the COVID-19 pandemic and other civil disasters.