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Reserve Advisors bridge gap between commands

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Individual Mobilization Augmentees fulfill unique roles in the Air Force. Instead of being assigned to traditional Reserve units, these Airmen work directly for active-duty organizations. For this unique type of assignment to be successful, IMAs and their active-duty counterparts need to understand each other's worlds. That's where Reserve Advisors can help.

Reserve Advisors work full time as Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) members in major commands, combatant commands, defense agencies and other large organizations. Their position is the focal point for communication and collaboration between the Air Force Reserve and the active-duty command leadership, explained Col. Austin A. Moore, Reserve Advisor to the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.

"It's really about advising each organization - Air Force Reserve Command and SOCOM, or AFRC and whatever organization that Reserve Advisor is at - on policy, guidance and resources relative to Reserve forces," Moore said.

Moore is one of more than 60 Reserve Advisors in the Air Force Reserve. They advise the commanders on all aspects of the Reserve's integration with the active component, including mobilization, Military Personnel Appropriation orders, Inactive Duty Status, and IMAs who are assigned to their respective organizations.

In addition to their core duties, the RA may provide mentoring, evaluation, promotion and career development guidance for IMAs.

"I rely on my Reserve Advisors to serve as the connective tissue between the Air Force Reserve and the active component," Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, AFRC commander, recently said about the importance of RAs. "This program is instrumental in maintaining the effectiveness of the Total Force and ensures synchronization between the two components."

As a prior enlisted Airman himself, Moore said he would have loved to have an officer he could call for help.

"I'm in SOCOM every single day, so I'm able to act as that barometer for change to give early warning for changes that might affect AFRC and the IMAs that are supporting," he said.

Prior to working as a Reserve Advisor, Moore was a pilot for SOCOM. He said this is an added benefit because it allows him to "speak the language" of the command, and easily relay information as it comes.

Additionally, Moore talked about how his position benefits Reservists in a more individualized manner. While IMAs should always seek assistance from their unit Reserve coordinators and detachments first, the Reserve Advisor can offer IMAs perspective and explain the bigger picture from the standpoint of national defense.

"It's important to know how you [the IMA] contribute to the grand strategy and how you can offer some ways you can contribute more," the colonel said.

"I'm not a commander; I am not the IMA's supervisor or manager, so I can simply be there to leverage my experience and my rank in support of the Reservists," he said. "If I can now, from my position, be that person that is able to support our IRs, I'm happy to do it."

Col. Amy Boehle is the commander of HQ RIO, the organization that supports IMAs with Reserve-specific finance and personnel functions.

"The Reserve Advisors provide an invaluable conduit between the Reserve leadership and the active component," she said. "Their work is critical to the active component's mission and it's important for our IMAs to know they're there as an additional resource."

Moore said it is extremely rewarding to provide guidance to IMAs and is proud to be able to do it. His advice to the Airmen is simply one of encouragement for growth.

"Seek out mentoring. Ask questions. If you don't understand where you fit in to the big puzzle, ask your Reserve Advisor. They should have the operational relevance to answer that question for you. Don't hesitate to do that. Make the Reserve Advisor a part of your professional development." #ReserveReady

(Abrahams is assigned to the HQ RIO public affairs office.)      ■