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OUR PLAN AHEAD

The pandemic has hindered General Scobee, shown here meeting with Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 908th Airlift Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, in early March, from doing his favorite part of the job - spending time with Reservists at their units. (Senior Airman Shelby Thurman)

The pandemic has hindered General Scobee, shown here meeting with Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 908th Airlift Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, in early March, from doing his favorite part of the job - spending time with Reservists at their units. (Senior Airman Shelby Thurman)

Heroes of the Air Force Reserve,

I want to share our plan ahead for the Air Force Reserve as we help our country respond to and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. As you know, the president announced a national emergency on March 13, due to the Novel coronavirus. As your commander, I want you to know my commander’s intent going forward.

My first priority is to take care of you - our Airmen, civilians and families. First and foremost, we must take preventive measures to protect our personnel from COVID-19 and minimize the spread of illness. In situations such as these, it is important for every Airman to maintain strong situational awareness, keep calm and make sound, rational decisions.

Second, is to ensure information flows quickly to arm you with the facts, guidance and actions at hand so you can make decisions for your unit and your family. This is critical to calming nerves and meeting our mission success. All Reservists should educate themselves on both the disease and the conditions in their local area by gathering information from reliable sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and state health agency websites.

Next is reserving decision space for our commanders in the field. It's essential to have flexibility in this dynamic environment we face. Now more than ever, I need commanders to command. I need our leaders to lean forward, while erring on the side of caution, to balance our operational requirements with the safety of our people.

This pandemic demonstrates the criticality of empowering local commanders to act independently. The severity of the outbreak has varied greatly from region to region. Some locations have been hit hard while others have not. Therefore, the risk to our wings and unit personnel varies with geographic location. This scenario is further complicated by the differences in mission requirements between units. Certain tasks can be completed from anywhere with ease, whereas others can only be accomplished at certain locations.

Through this crisis we will continue to execute our mission-essential operations and wartime missions which are vital to our national defense. Balancing risk with readiness will be tough as this dynamic environment continues. The command is here to help and will continue to support you through this event.

Preserving the force and taking care of Americans is our ultimate mission. Stay the course and watch out for each other. Ask for help when you need it. Be proud of the task put in front of us and continue to serve with professionalism, integrity and service before self.

Force health protection is critical in our ability to accomplish the mission. I'm empowering local and base commanders to assess their community environments, work with local and state agencies, and make smart decisions affecting their Reserve Citizen Airmen, families and communities. Our overall strategy is to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system by slowing the rate of spread of this virus. We do this by making smart decisions for our Airmen and families.

In closing - let me share this with you: What we are facing will test our readiness. It will test our resiliency. It will test our organizational processes and resources. And it will test our resolve.

Help our Air Force Reserve family stay flexible, proactive and healthy - we will come out a stronger, more confident and successful team in the end. Our nation needs us, and I empower you to lead your people and families through this evolving environment with confidence, calm and care. Aim High, Airmen!