Air Force senior leaders are looking at ways to balance the ratio of regular and Reserve Component Airmen to create the most effective and efficient combat capability in austere budget times.
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley is leading collaborative efforts between active, Reserve and Guard leaders to find the right force composition that will ensure the total force remains healthy and viable.
“Finding the right balance of regular, Reserve and Guard forces is the key to maintaining future Air Force capabilities during dramatic period of budget austerity,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz.
Of the forces serving on active duty today in the combat air forces, 58 percent are active-duty Airmen and 42 percent are from the reserve component – made up of Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard – according to Donley in a speech to the Air Force Association in September.
The total force leaders are working together closely to determine the right mix for the active and reserve components which is economical, sustainable and meets the nation’s and combatant commanders’ requirements.
“One of our biggest lessons learned is that we do have access to reserve component Airmen on short notice,” Schwartz said. “They have stepped up to the plate every time we’ve called to perform both daily operations, as well as strategic surges.”
Another key link to maintaining the right mix of regular and reserve component Airmen is to make it easier to move in and out of active-duty status so our Airmen can serve our country, retain successful careers and still save taxpayers’ money, Schwartz said.
“Our Reserve and Guard programs are exceptionally efficient and cost-effective,” he said. “Twenty years of combat have taught us that we rely on Reserve Airmen to answer the call of service when our nation needs them.”
At a recent meeting at Bolling Air Force Base, Md., Donley conferred with Schwartz as well as Undersecretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Daniel Ginsberg, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Phillip M. Breedlove, Gen. Craig R. McKinley Jr., the chief of the National Guard Bureau; Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., the chief of the Air Force Reserve; and Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, the director of the Air National Guard.
“We need to capitalize on the incredible synergy we gain from reserve and regular Air Force Airmen working as one team,” Schwartz said. “With the proper balance, I know we can create the strategic depth and an immediate-response force that is efficient, effective and has a combat capability second to none.”