Reserve readiness for today and the future

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Miki Kristina Gilloon
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

With more than 70,000 Reserve Citizen Airmen operationally integrated with the active component, “Our Airmen must not only be ready for today’s missions, they need to be prepared for the future operating environment and for the high-end fight,” said Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, chief of the Air Force Reserve and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, during a panel at the Air, Space and Cyber Conference here Sept. 18.

The panel, “Using the Competitive Edge to Train How We Fight,” was led by Lt. Gen. Marshall “Brad” Webb, Air Education and Training Command commander, Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, and Scobee. The dialogue focused on enhancing and employing the strength of Airmen to maintain a competitive edge.

The reemergence of long-term strategic and great-power competition necessitates that the Air Force Reserve grow its capabilities to meet the demands of the future operating environment while integrating with AETC and the Air National Guard.

To prepare for the high-end fight, the Air Force Reserve’s focus on readiness through training ensures Airmen are combat-ready, interchangeable and interoperable with the Total Force, joint partners and partner nations.

With 80% of the force serving in a part-time capability, “We have to ensure our Airmen – all our Airmen – are prepared for the job they will do tomorrow,” Scobee said.

He said AFRC is focusing on three priorities to ensure combat readiness:

• Prioritizing strategic depth and accelerating readiness. “The Air Force Reserve is tasked with providing 20% of the Air Force’s capabilities on approximately 3% of the budget,” Scobee said. “The only way we can do this is through robust and detailed training.” The general said Reservists need to get as much hands-on training as possible and seek ways to make training more realistic.

• Developing resilient leaders. “We need to grow our personnel,” Scobee said. “Today’s senior airman is tomorrow’s technical sergeant and the future’s chief master sergeant. We have a responsibility to ensure they are able to fill that role when the time comes.”

• Reforming the organization. Scobee said one way the Air Force Reserve is doing this is by recruiting new talent through the ongoing initiative of building an integrated Total Force recruiting service.

Scobee commended AETC’s posture in optimizing the Total Force so the Air Force can expand its competitive edge. “It’s essential we leverage our competitive edge in regards to training,” he said. “We must ensure we are able to provide combat-ready forces for the joint fight in every domain.”