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IMAs play critical role in our success

CMSgt Ericka Kelly

Command Chief of Air Force Reserve Command, Chief Ericka Kelly, meets with civil engineer airmen before they start their duties for the day during her tour of Camp Kamassa in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, July 16, 2018. Camp Kamassa will be the states first fully handicap accessible, year round camp facility for children and adults with special needs, that is being built on 326 acres spearheaded by the Department of Defense's Innovative Readiness Training program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Stephen D. Schester)

CMSgt Ericka Kelly

Command Chief of Air Force Reserve Command, Chief Ericka Kelly, meets with civil engineer airmen before they start their duties for the day during her tour of Camp Kamassa in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, July 16, 2018. Camp Kamassa will be the states first fully handicap accessible, year round camp facility for children and adults with special needs, that is being built on 326 acres spearheaded by the Department of Defense's Innovative Readiness Training program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Stephen D. Schester)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- As I travel across the command and spend time with our Airmen, I find that Individual Mobilization Augmentees consistently experience unique challenges.

From my perspective, many of these challenges stem from the fact that IMAs are not connected to the rest of the command in the same way as other statuses.

One reason is the shared operational and administrative control. Other challenges arise because of the lack of understanding on how our IMAs fit into the overall strategic mission of Air Force Reserve Command. I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the work that is being done to support our IMA program.

First, let’s talk about connectedness and relationships. About four years ago, the Headquarters Readiness Integration Organization aligned under the Air Reserve Personnel Center, which also realigned some personnel and processes.

While it has taken time to grow into the new structure, listen to feedback and identify opportunities to improve, I am happy to say that today there is an unprecedented collaborative and synergistic relationship between HQ RIO, ARPC and all levels of AFRC.

For our enlisted, one opportunity for colloboration is at the Air Force Reserve Senior Enlisted Council. One of the council’s primary goals is to ensure all of our Reserve Citizen Airmen have opportunities to broaden their skill sets and expand and further develop the capabilities they bring to the fight.

With the support of ARPC and HQ RIO, we increased participation of our IMAs on enlisted boards across the spectrum, to include the Command Development Team, Enlisted Development Education Board, Stripes for Exceptional Performers II Board and functional developmental education boards.

We have also streamlined the force development application process for our enlisted IMAs, so they are connected to the Reserve chain of command and have representation similar to that of our Airmen who are assigned to a numbered Air Force or headquarters.

In addition, we expanded nominative course positions for senior enlisted leaders. We still have work to do to integrate our IMAs into our enlisted grade structure, but I am extremely pleased with the progress we have made this past year.

HQ RIO is implementing innovative new means to connect the IMA community. The RIO Connect IMA Mobile Wingman app gives IMAs easy access to the tools and information they need to manage their careers.

It allows users to access content from the HQ RIO website on their mobile devices and receive critical career impacting information, such as Outstanding Airmen of the Year and STEP II nominations. Another new platform in development is Desktop Anywhere, which will increase connectivity by giving Airmen access to personnel services from their home computers.

Additionally, IMA pay processes are moving to myPers, which will increase much needed transparency in tracking and accountability, ensure timely pay, and make submissions more efficient and accessible.

Reserve Citizen Airmen are key to our nation’s success. We are always there, in every mission and every domain, and our IMAs are an integral part of that mission. Be assured your voice is being heard and together we will continue to strengthen our Airmen and our missions.

I would like to thank Chief Master Sgt. Jeannette Masters, ARPC/CCC, for helping me understand the important value of our IMA community. The support her staff exhibits on a daily basis is integral to the overall mission readiness of all Reserve IMAs.