From the Top: New opportunities ahead as Reserve transitions to better accomplish tasks

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/Dec. 2009 -- Happy holidays to all Air Force Reservists and their families! What a great time to be a member of the Air Force Reserve. I wake up every day excited about what we do and immensely proud of the Air Force Reserve men and women who contribute to the national security of our nation.

On a daily basis, Air Force Reservists provide combatant commanders operational capability even as we maintain the strategic reserve critical to the national security of our country. My staffs work closely with our regular Air Force and Air National Guard counterparts to maintain this intricate balance between performing operational missions in today's fight while ensuring we have the surge capability necessary to respond to any potential demands.

During fiscal year 2009, the Air Force Reserve deployed more than 8,300 Airmen to fulfill in excess of 6,000 aerospace expeditionary force requirements -- that's our direct support to combatant commanders. Additionally, Air Force Reservists provided numerous other types of support that don't show up in "deployed" numbers but nevertheless are essential to the on-going operations.

Loadmasters, aerial porters and everyone else involved in getting fellow Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Seamen to the area of responsibility contributes to on-going operations in support of combatant commander requirements -- and that's just one example of the way Reservists who don't deploy still participate in today's fight.
I appreciate everyone's contributions in meeting on-going operational demands. I especially want to recognize those Air Force Reservists who are away from family this holiday season serving our nation's needs -- thanks.

In recognition of our command's maturity and ever-increasing operational aspect, this year I moved my residence to Robins AFB to be closer to the operational heartbeat of the command. This provides me with a better feel for the pulse of the command while still enabling me to fulfill my duties as the chief of Air Force Reserve.

Like the nine other major command commanders, I now reside on the same base as my command's headquarters. I plan to maintain about the same travel schedule as when my residence was in the Washington, D.C., area with about one-third of my time at the command, one-third at the Pentagon, and the remaining third traveling to see and talk to Reservists serving across the globe.
2010 will see continued new opportunities for the Air Force Reserve. During the first quarter of 2010, we will be gathering perspectives from Reservists and regular Air Force Airmen assigned to associate units about what challenges they have experienced and what opportunities are available within the associate unit construct.
If you have the opportunity to participate in this assessment, please do so by providing constructive, honest feedback. The results from these assessments will be used to help strengthen our current associations and serve as a foundation for new associations being established.

The Air Force Reserve full operational capability initiative will continue to gain momentum in 2010 as we more fully develop the organizations, structures, and processes that will best enable the Air Force Reserve and the overall Air Force to increase combat capability and effectiveness. As I mentioned in the October issue of Citizen Airmen, the FOC initiative involves all three staffs working toward optimizing their ability to work together while concentrating on their specific area of responsibility.

During 2010, the details for how we transition the Air Force Reserve to better accomplish our tasks in the post-Cold War environment will be fleshed out. We will work with partner MAJCOMs and the Headquarters Air Force staff to be able to better prepare, schedule and deploy Air Force Reservists in support of national objectives.

Even as we look ahead, though, please take time during this holiday season to pass on my appreciation to your family. I know their support, along with that of your civilian employers, is critical to your ability to serve in the Air Force Reserve. On behalf of your Air Force Reserve family, I wish you and your family a great holiday season. Thanks for all that you do.