September 16, 2014, WASHINGTON (AFNS) – Senior Department of Defense and industry leaders gathered at the Air Force Association’s 2014 Air and Space conference and technology exposition Sept. 15 to discuss the future of the Air Force and Air Force Reserve.
More than 5,000 U.S. and allied-nation Airmen, corporate and media representatives attended the annual event to discuss countering global uncertainty and how it starts with the Air Force.
Delivering his State of Air Force Reserve address, Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, Chief of Air Force Reserve at the Pentagon and commander of Air Force Reserve Command at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., described the role of America’s citizen airmen and how the Air Force Reserve fits in with the strategic agility concept.
Strategic agility is defined in the strategy document America’s Air Force: A Call to the Future and outlines the attributes of flexibility, adaptability and responsiveness, Jackson said.
“The world is a very uncertain place – quite a few hot spots out there,” Jackson said. “Any given day, there are around 5,000 citizen airmen either supporting active duty or mobilized.
“We’re a 75 percent part-time and a 25 percent full-time force. We are providing operational capability daily.
“This is where surge capacity comes into play,” Jackson said. “When the Air Force needs more capacity, we turn up the dial.”
“When it matters most, those units are 100 percent cost efficient and mission ready.”
“Our Reserve Component programs retain the Air Force’s investment,” said Jackson. “Retaining ‘Airmen for Life’ saves recruiting, training and education dollars. The most important thing we have is our Airmen.”
As senior leaders make structure and budgetary decisions, they will adjust the Active Component and Reserve Component mix.
“I do feel quite certain that the next 30 years of our Air Force will not look the same as the previous 67 years have looked,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “For one thing, our Air Force will be smaller. Our Air Force is already smaller. Tomorrow, we will rely more on our National Guard and the Reserve than we do today. And by the way, that’s a very good thing.”
The Air Force Reserve is part of every Air Force core mission. The future roles and missions of the Reserve Component will be a key part of leveraging the cost efficiencies while keeping the right balance of Air Force capability and capacity.
“Bold leadership from our Airmen and Congress will also help us fully integrate our components across the force – our active duty, our National Guard and our Reserve,” said James. “Determining a right mix of these components will be key to our success in the future. As many of you know we have committed to develop 80% analysis by the end of this year where we will go mission by mission to determine if we can put more capability into the National Guard and Reserve.”
In many cases, the Reserve Component reduces life-cycle costs to the Air Force by recruiting and retaining Reservists who have leading-edge, high-tech skills that they use in their civilian jobs. Reservists bring valuable insight and innovation to military programs.
“Citizen Airmen want to serve,” Jackson said. “They want to put their combat-tested operational experience to use and leverage their civilian expertise.”
“When the Air Force fills combatant commander requirements, every single one of our Airmen are included in the planning,” he said. “We are now using all of the Total Force to support the warfighter and that is a good thing.”
“We are a combat-ready force with operational capability, strategic depth and surge capacity,” said Jackson. “We will continue to leverage our skills, talents and expertise by providing combat-ready Airmen.”