Individual Reserve Initiatives Receive Pilot Program Approval

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Shannon Mann
  • IMA Strategic Review Team

After more than a year of research and collaboration, the Individual Mobilization Augmentee Strategic Review Team received top-level approval to proceed with piloting several initiatives that will propel the Individual Reserve program into the future.

On Nov. 14, Maj. Gen. Moe Banavige, mobilization assistant to the Air Force Reserve Command commander and senior leader of the IMA Strategic Review Team, took her team to the Pentagon to meet with Lt. Gen. John Healy, AFRC commander and chief of the Air Force Reserve. The team, comprised of IMAs from various backgrounds and career fields, shared their current research, made recommendations and sought approval for moving forward. Several innovative ideas received initial concurrence to move into testing stages.

The first approval piggy-backed on a pilot the team launched in August. For the past few months, the Individual Reservist Strategy Office pilot has been in place to provide higher-level advocacy and strategic oversight for more than 7,500 Individual Reservists, made up of IMAs and participating Individual Ready Reservists. The November meeting sought to put a part-time director at the helm of the IR Strategy Office.

“Having a small office and senior leader that oversees the entirety of the IR program is key to making sure the IR program is best positioned for the future fight,” Banavige said. “What the team found is that those 7,500 IRs need a senior leader who is responsible for strategic alignment to the National Defense Strategy, and who can advocate and affect both the mission-side of their job and ADCON (administrative control) care and feeding to represent their concerns and their voice in everything from strategic planning to interfacing with the active component.”

Banavige assumed responsibility as the IR Strategy Office’s first director while also continuing to serve as the MA to the AFRC commander.

Next, the team sought approval to align an organization construct called a bullpen in the IR Strategy Office and brand the Reserve Hypersonics Team as the first bullpen prototype.

Realizing the unique talent that many IRs bring with them from their civilian and academic backgrounds and the need to engage IRs in high-demand, low-density active-component missions sets, the Reserve Hypersonics Team Bullpen brings specialized IRs together to support National Defense Strategy objectives.

Healy’s approval allows the Reserve Hypersonics Team to align and engage in the weeks and months ahead, while the IR Strategy Office looks to prototype its next bullpen as early as next summer.

Finally, the team updated Healy on the administrative control actions for IRs and made recommendations to test some new, creative changes.

“Our IMAs frequently struggle with not knowing who to turn to when they have an administrative action request,” said Senior Master Sgt. Shea Hazel, senior enlisted leader to the IR Strategy Office. “We have identified more than 70 unit-level actions and are working with key staff members to understand and clarify roles and responsibilities for our officers and enlisted members.” 

The Headquarters Readiness and Integration Organization (RIO) oversees the Reserve side of ADCON for IRs from its offices at Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado, and its seven detachments spread across the United States and Europe.

“(RIO Commander) Col. (Ed) Segura and his team at RIO do a great job serving our IMAs, but they are constrained by inadequate manning and antiquated systems that require many manual processes,” Banavige said. “Additionally, the current structure bifurcates the mission that IRs accomplish from the ADCON that RIO administers, and that presents challenges. Our ADCON efforts seek to test the concept of an IMA section commander and postures RIO for future support.”

“With the approval for these pilots in place, the IMA Strategic Review Team will now formalize working relationships with many offices to include AFRC/A1, AF/RE, JA and HQ RIO to optimize our IR manpower for the future,” said Col. Kay Beigh, chief of the IR Strategy Office.
“This is exciting for the IR program,” Banavige said. “The projects our teams are working ensure we are ready now and transforming for the future. Foundationally, the new structure we are testing is better aligned to the National Defense Strategy, and for the first time will also establish one leader to oversee all aspects of the IR program. It’s humbling to lead this effort and help establish a structure that will take us into the future.”

Learn more bout the IMA Strategic Review here.

(Mann is a member of the IMA Strategic Review Team.)