View From the Top: Numbered air force restructuring will help command meet fiscal challenges

Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., Air Force Reserve Command commander and chief of Air Force Reserve.

Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., Air Force Reserve Command commander and chief of Air Force Reserve.

Citizen Airman/October 2011 -- The demand for Citizen Airmen to fulfill broad-spectrum mission requirements on the front line has never been greater. Through your professionalism, hard work and can-do attitude, we have successfully transformed the Air Force Reserve into an operational force that actively supports daily requirements around the world.

We consistently meet operational challenges while ensuring our surge capability is available when needed. As an effective, yet sustainable and affordable, reserve component, this diversity is absolutely essential in an era of unprecedented fiscal constraints.

One of the keys to maintaining our operational capability over the long term, particularly during a time of shrinking budgets, is to reform our organizational structure to achieve greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Accordingly, I announced changes last month to our three numbered air forces and regional support groups that will allow them to focus on their primary roles of command and readiness. I invite you to read more about these changes in a story in this month's issue titled "Restructuring: Proposed changes highlighted by leaner numbered air force structure."

Our restructured numbered air forces are the result of an extensive 13-month study and will shift functions not directly related to readiness to the appropriate Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command staffs. Manpower slots that are discontinued at the NAFs will go to other command priorities.

Streamlining the NAF management structure is part of our overall AFR 2012 Full Operational Capability effort. AFR 2012 involves a series of initiatives that are based on lessons learned from nearly 10 years of combat and surge operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. All of these initiatives are designed to make the Reserve a full-component partner and the single manager of readiness, predictability and generation of Reserve capability.

The centerpiece of this program is the new Force Generation Center at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. The FGC serves as the single organization where major commands and combatant commanders access Reserve capability to conduct emerging and steady-state missions. In operation since October 2010, the center will reach full operational capability and 24-hour continuous operations by March 2012.

As we enter a new fiscal year, budgetary constraints will remain a prime consideration throughout the Department of Defense, and innovative approaches will play a vital role in offsetting fiscal challenges. I am confident that the NAF "re-missioning," along with the other initiatives we have undertaken as part of AFR 2012, have us poised to continue moving forward.