Working group thoroughly studying IMA program

  • Published
  • By Bo Joyner

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Maj. Gen. Bryan Radliff, the mobilization assistant to the commander of First Air Force (Air Forces Northern) and the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, is leading a new working group charged with conducting a thorough study of Air Force Reserve Command’s Individual Mobilization Augmentee program.

“The group’s focus is to ensure our IMAs receive proper administrative control and support to meet guidance established by the National Defense Strategy and Department of Air Force leaders,” Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, AFRC commander, said in a memo announcing the strategic review in early March. “I look forward to receiving the results of this study as we continually evaluate processes to make the lives of our Airmen better.”

Radliff said he is excited about the research the working group is currently conducting and optimistic about the report he plans to deliver to Scobee in May.

“The IMA program presents interesting opportunities allowing Airmen great flexibility to serve at a pace that meets their family and employer obligations. That inherent flexibility presents challenges in navigating the administration and support shared by the great team at RIO (the Readiness and Integration Organization) and the active component units our IMAs support,” he said. “We have a great team and are taking a thorough look at the IMA program so we can keep all of the good things that are working well and improve on the things where we have the opportunity.”

The working group is focusing on three distinct lines of effort: guidance, readiness and systems.

The guidance LOE team, led by Maj. Gen. Scott Sauter, MA to the commander, United States Air Forces in Europe/Air Forces Africa, is reviewing laws, policy instructions and other relevant directives and documents.

The readiness LOE team, led by Maj. Gen. Lee Ann Bennett, MA to the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations, is reviewing readiness requirements for optimal IMA force presentation.

The systems LOE team, led by Brig. Gen. Jody Merritt, MA to the Combined Force Space Component Commander, U.S. Space Command, and deputy commander, Space Operations Command, U.S. Space Force, is assessing systems and processes for ease of access, data input and task completion which meet operational and personal security requirements.

Maj. Gen. Maureen Banavige, MA to the commander, Air Force Materiel Command, is a key part of the working group and is currently compiling a history of the IMA program.

“The IMA program has always been a challenge to administer,” she said. “Because parts of the program are administered by the Reserve Command and some are administered by the active-duty unit the IMA is assigned to, it makes it challenging for everybody involved – the IMA, the Reserve support folks and the active-duty folks who want to provide great service for our individual Reservists. We’re looking for ways to make the processes better for everyone involved so we provide mission ready forces to the Air Force and joint partners.”

The working group is collaborating closely with a host of Reserve organizations, including Headquarters RIO, the Air Reserve Personnel Center and several AFRC directorates and offices.

HQ RIO, located at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, is responsible for managing the readiness of the Individual Reserve force and standardizing the processes associated with getting IRs to the fight. 

“I am excited about what Gen. Radliff’s team is working towards and understanding the results of the IMA program review (Brig.) Gen. (Richard) Kemble’s team out of REX produces,” Col. Amy Boehle, the HQ RIO commander, said. “We all know the current RIO structure is under resourced to support our critical Individual Reservists and our shared administrative control with the active duty poses challenges for IRs and our staff. RIO works very hard to make it easy for IRs to serve, but there are fundamental questions surrounding the IR program that need to be answered. The results of our IR survey highlighted some of those challenges, but I look forward to seeing the innovative solutions the working group proposes and I am grateful for their time and effort to improve the purpose for and the lives of all IRs.”

“Maj. Gen. Radliff’s effort will largely inform our comprehensive look at the IMA program,” Kemble, the director of Air Force Reserve Plans, Programs and Requirements, said. “In essence, we are reviewing the current state of the program, including looking for gaps where we can more effectively improve in areas for the regular Air Force and our Reserve members. We’ll do a final exploration aligning IMA efforts under the future force framework to help re-imagine what the program will look like for 2035 and beyond so the command can pursue the correct trajectory.”

HQ RIO recently conducted a “Making it Easier to Serve” survey of IRs to identify some of the challenges of serving as an IR. The IMA working group is looking at the results of the survey, along with other documents and reports, as it works toward its final report.

“We find ourselves at a favorable time in the Department of the Air Force’s history, with many efforts in progress to bolster our readiness and improve the lives of Airmen,” Scobee said. “We are taking this opportunity to review our internal policies, processes and functions to ensure the Reserve is providing the most prepared, trained and ready force to commanders around the globe. An essential element of this force is the IMA.”