Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) today faces a critical shortage of airlift capacity. The Air Mobility Command (AMC) system that should ideally support AFSOC's airlift requirements is saturated with the demands of the post-9/11 world, so AFSOC cannot always get airlift support when and where it needs it. Ten years ago AFSOC got almost all the support it asked for, and it was able to fill minor gaps by using its special-purpose C-130s, including its MC-130H Talon II. But these aircraft and their crews are now critically overworked at the same time, and for the same reasons, as AMC's fleet. Further, the low-density nature of AFSOC's C-130 fleet means that increased maintenance requirements affect a significant percentage of the force, thereby decreasing mission capability. Though the concept would have been doctrinally unsupportable ten years ago, it is now necessary to build organic airlift capability into AFSOC. A special operations airlifter should be able to operate from the airfields AFSOC currently uses, while giving the command increased capabilities in areas like range, speed, and payload. AFSOC could look at several aircraft as candidates, including the C-27J, C-130J, and KC-767. Analysis indicates, however, that the C-17A has nearly five times the payload and almost 13 times the ton-mile capacity of the MC-130H, and the C-17 can operate from most of the airfields AFSOC uses today. The C-17A was conceived and designed as a military airlifter; AFSOC should consider the C-17A as a suitable special operations airlift platform.