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From the Top: The Strategic Master Plan and the AFR

Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson

Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson

Citizen Airman/Aug. 2015 -- In May, the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force published their Strategic Master Plan. It is the latest in a series of documents the Air Force has released explaining who we are and what we need to do to remain the best Air Force in the world.

The Strategic Master Plan is designed to help planners integrate their efforts and work toward a common goal. The synergy achieved by using this guidance is critical for the rapidly changing future we expect to face, and it will also allow us to continue to succeed in our current resource-constrained environment.

Our Air Force Reserve is postured to play a key role in the future of our Air Force as defined in the Strategic Master Plan. The plan defines 12 strategic goals and clearly outlines how we need to prepare ourselves to deliver the capabilities combatant commanders will need in the future.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James recently stated, "Tomorrow's Air Force has to be the most agile, credible and affordable total force team capable of meeting what our combatant commanders need." It is this call for a total force team that I want to focus on.

Our nation will continue to capitalize on the strength of our Air Force Reserve. Our Citizen Airmen remain critical for performing day-to-day operations and meeting unexpected threats. In fact, the Strategic Master Plan states we are not simply a strategic reserve that augments our active-duty counterparts but rather a fully engaged and integrated total force team. This is exactly how I believe our Citizen Airmen are most valuable.

I still talk about our strength in terms of operational capability, strategic depth and surge capacity. Our ability to provide forces to combatant commanders for day-to-day operations and in surge situations is essential. The Strategic Master Plan encourages planners to leverage these AFR strengths. Only by doing this will we have the ability to meet national security demands.

As we move forward, we will continue to look for ways to grow our Reserve force in order to achieve the strategic goals set forth in this year's Strategic Master Plan. We will also continue to prioritize mission areas where the Air Force Reserve can leverage our civilian experience and provide cost-effective manning. Mission areas that allow us to fill critical capacity gaps such as deterrence, flexible intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and space and cyber operations are perfect opportunities for us to grow our force and meet the demands of global security. Our continued focus will also ensure we are ready to meet the demands of the future and build on the lessons of the past.

Our Air Force is only as strong as our Airmen and will only remain relevant if we continue to find innovative solutions to meet future threats. Your dedication and commitment make it possible for us to answer our nation's call as one of the three strong Air Force components. I appreciate your hard work and continued service to this nation. Thanks for all you do!