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View From the Top: Reserve fully engaged in overall effort to reinvigorate nuclear enterprise

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/Feb 10 -- During my travels and in conversations with senior leaders, I am repeatedly reminded how integral the Air Force Reserve is to the success of the overall Air Force. It is obvious to all that the Total Force is stronger because the Air Force leverages the strengths and capabilities of the three components.
 
The Air Force's top priority, laid out by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, is reinvigorating the nuclear enterprise. The Air Force Reserve is fully engaged in this priority. In this issue of Citizen Airman, we highlight Reservists with key leadership roles in reinvigorating the nuclear logistics enterprise.

And that's not the only impact the Reserve is having on moving this Air Force priority forward. We are currently establishing B-52 associate units responsible for both conventional and nuclear missions - just another example of the three-component Air Force meeting our nation's security requirements.

We are a full partner with the regular Air Force and Air National Guard to leverage our strengths and capabilities. Sometimes the public and the media quickly recognize our contributions to the nation's defense. For example, our deployments and sacrifices for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan often are covered on a newspaper's front page.

At other times, Reservists support Air Force priorities with less fanfare, but no less importance. For example, our significant contribution toward the Air Force's No. 1 priority, reinvigorating the nuclear enterprise, receives little fanfare, although it is vital to our nation's defense.
 
At Barksdale Air Force Base, La., the Reserve's 93rd Bomb Squadron quietly transitioned from a conventional combat-coded unit to one with responsibility for the B-52 schoolhouse mission. The 93rd, partnering with its active associate counterpart, the 11th BS, is now responsible for training 100 percent of B-52 crew members in all aspects of their duties, to include the nuclear mission. At the same time, the 917th Wing is standing up as a classic associate unit under the 2nd Bomb Wing. This combat unit will be responsible for the full range of operational B-52 missions, both conventional and nuclear.

These two units, one an active associate and the other a classic associate, are "on-target" Total Force solutions. The key principle when establishing unit associations should be increased mission effectiveness. Efficiency without effectiveness is a non-starter for our component, our service and our nation.

With the right mix of active and reserve-component Airmen, overall mission effectiveness is increased. In the case of these B-52 unit associations, I'm confident that together we are providing our country with better capability than any single component could produce. The stakes are simply too high to do otherwise, especially in the nuclear arena.

Reinvigorating the nuclear enterprise is a Total Force priority and requires a Total Force focus. Leveraging the experience, continuity and dedication of Reservists, the Air Force puts its best and brightest on the nuclear enterprise priority without regard to component.

In the B-52 schoolhouse, we leverage the experience the Reserve possesses to produce trained and certified B-52 crews to meet national security objectives on an on-going basis. The operational B-52 associate unit will capitalize on the continuity and expertise of Reservists to improve the Air Force's ability to conduct both conventional and nuclear missions.

These examples offer just a glimpse into the Reserve's overall contributions to the Air Force's No. 1 priority, and I'm proud our Citizen Airmen are reinvigorating the nuclear enterprise. We continue to demonstrate the benefits of looking to all three components for solutions to our service's needs and leveraging the best attributes of each component. That is a key to our success now and in the future.