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The command's top priorities.

For more than 16 years, the Air Force has been at war, and for 16 years the Air Force Reserve has been an integral part of our nation's combat capability. In spite of the sacrifices of families, employers and our Reservists themselves, we remain dedicated and committed to the same priorities as the regular Air Force: winning the Global War on Terror; developing and caring for Airmen; and recapitalizing and modernizing our aging aircraft and equipment.

Fight and Win the Long War

I am proud to say that our Air Force Reserve is playing a vital role in the GWOT. We have flown a total of 101,480 sorties logging 430,768 hours of flying time in most weapons systems, with crews both mobilized and performing volunteer man-days. As of last month, we had 14 C-130 crews on long-term military personnel appropriation orders. This is amazing considering that just last year these crews completed two years of mobilization.

Our strategic airlift wings have stepped up as well by providing 75 C-17 and 22 C-5 crews on long-term MPA orders. Additionally, we have 12 KC-10 crews on active-duty orders supporting the air bridge, Northeast Tanker Task Force and other aerial refueling requirements. Behind every crew there are numerous support folks working just as hard to enable mission success.

Having maximized the use of the 24-month mobilization authority in some of our critical skills (C-130, MC-130, B-52, HH-60, HC-130, E-3 and security forces), we rely more heavily on volunteerism than mobilization to meet continuing requirements. The operations tempo remains high and is not expected to decline significantly in the near future. Your continued willingness to volunteer is key to our success.

The key to increasing volunteerism and enabling us to bring more to the fight is flexibility and eliminating barriers to volunteerism. Developing policies that maximize Reservists' ability to volunteer provides more control for military members, their families, employers and commanders. Your continued service is vital because the Air Force cannot meet the requirements without you.

Develop Airmen

The backbone of the Air Force Reserve is you, our people. Unlike our regular component counterparts, who have service commitments, our Reservists are volunteers every day they serve. Therefore, we must continue to care (or and provide a relevant mission for your service.

The coming years will bring increased challenges for our Airmen. The implementation of Base Realignment and Closure, Total Force Integration and personnel reductions will ail have an impact on many of you and your families. Approximately 8,000 people will be directly impacted by BRAC alone.

Recruiting may become more difficult, making it more critical than ever to retain our highly trained Airmen. It is imperative that we are granted additional legislative authorities that enable us to develop policies to better meet the needs of our Reservists affected by these challenges.

There is no pleasure in cutting positions and potentially taking away a person's opportunity to serve. I wish we didn't have to. but it is one of the many tough decisions facing the Air Force in order to transform us into a force that better meets the needs of our future. My staff and I are working hard to minimize the impact to those affected so everyone who wants to continue to serve may do so.

Recapitalize and Modernize

The Air Force Reserve stands in total support of the Air Force in its efforts to recapitalize and modernize its fleet of aircraft and space systems. Weapons systems such as the KC-X, C5AR-X, F-22A, F-35 and the next-generation bomber are critical to secure the advantage essential to combating future threats. The Air Force Reserve will directly benefit from this modernization since we fly the same aircraft.

Today, the average age of our fleet is 24 years old. That's up substantially from when I first joined the Air Force, when the average age of our aircraft was only 8 years old. Many of today's aircraft first came into service during the 1950s and 1960s and will continue to fly for another 30 years.

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Today's budgetary constraints require us to take the painful steps mentioned above if the Air Force is to remain a dominant air and space power for the 21st century. As always, I thank you for your continued support to our Air Force and for helping us realize our vision of being the Air Force's unrivaled wingman.

By Lt. Gen. John A. Bradley

Commander, Air Force Reserve Command
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Title Annotation:From the Top
Author:Bradley, John A.
Publication:Citizen Airman
Date:Apr 1, 2007
Words:740
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