LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. â€” Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner, Commander, Air Force Reserve Command, visited the 944th Fighter Wing, April 1.
Stenner used his few hours at Luke to discuss business with Col. Jose Monteagudo, commander, 944th Fighter Wing, and his senior leadership team. Stenner also hosted a town hall meeting at Club 56 for local reservists, at which he discussed the top five priorities for AFRC.
â€œThereâ€™s no real surprise here,â€ the general said pointing up to a slide. â€œOur top priorities are the same as the Air Forceâ€™s top priorities, but what I want to explain is how Reserve capabilities fit in and support the overall Air Force mission.â€
He drew clear lines of distinction for the audience on Air Force priorities and how exactly reservists support the fight.
For the first two priorities of:
1) Continue to strengthen the nuclear enterprise
2) Partner with the joint and coalition team to win todayâ€™s fight
The general said reservists would support these areas by maintaining a strategic Reserve while providing an operational, combat-ready force. He discussed how a strategic Reserve with operational capability allows commanders to plug in forces when and where manpower is needed most and to draw down quickly when the need is over.
â€œFrom a budget perspective our Reserve is a win-win operation,â€ said Stenner. â€œHere you are, trained to the same standards as your active duty counterparts and ready to deploy at a momentâ€™s notice. I get all the benefits of your experience and the financial flexibility of calling you only when I need you. Iâ€™d be blind as a commander not to see the value in that.â€
For the third Air Force priority:
3) Develop and care for Airmen and their families
The commander pointed to the Reserve triad, the â€œthree legged stoolâ€ analogy that has often been used referencing the support structure of a successful reservist.
â€œIn this area we must continue to ensure that our triad is strong,â€ said Stenner. â€œOne leg is the unit, one is the family, and the third is our civilian employer. If any of these support structures are weak, our reservists cannot stand strong. We must know when and where to get help for our members should one of these areas need our attention.â€
For unit support, the commander reinforced supervision, training and mentorship. He went on to say knowing where to find resources is half the battle when issues arise.
â€œIf itâ€™s unit help that is needed we look to the supervisor, first shirt, and commander. If it is the family unit that needs help, we have our Airmen and Family Readiness Center and programs like Yellow Ribbon. If the civilian employer has an issue, we reach out to Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. We have these resources but they can only help if we use them and our reserve can only stay strong if we take care of the members at an individual level. If any one of these three legs is weak, our stool will wobble and thatâ€™s where we start to see problems that we have the ability to avoid.â€
The fourth and fifth Air Force priorities:
4) Modernize our air, space, and cyberspace inventories, organizations, and training
5) Recapture acquisition excellence
The commander said Airmen could support these causes by broadening Total Force Integration opportunities and championing equipment and facilities modernization.
â€œWhen you look at â€˜modernize our air, space, and cyberspace inventory,â€™ I know you think airplanes. Yes, we are going to buy new airplanes and that is important, but modernization includes our computer systems and training too. I need you to constantly be looking at ways to improve processes, yourselves, and your Airmen. We cannot afford to do things the way we have always done them. I need you to be ready to take on more responsibility and we all must be training our replacements. This is a vital part of modernizing our Air Force.â€
The commanderâ€™s final topic of discussion was what he sees as the pathway to senior leadership within the Air Force Reserve. He explained every reservist must build a foundation of expertise within their Air Force Specialty, successfully complete Professional Military Education, and pursue off-duty education. However, he added, for those who wish to become senior leaders within the command, he said reservists should seek various assignments throughout their wings, leadership opportunities, joint assignments, and become experienced within the National Capital Region.
â€œWhen it comes to doing business in Washington D.C., there is method or maybe a madness to it,â€ he joked. â€œBut I need a staff that understands how Washington works and thatâ€™s why I have the National Capital Region as part of the path to senior leadership. For the two to three percent of reservists who aspire to this level, a tour of duty in D.C. is vital. I need things to flow.â€
Stenner took questions from the audience and thanked the men and women of the 944th FW for their hard work and dedication.
â€œThere is an abundance of experienced and talented people throughout the Reserve. We bring a highly experienced force to the table which is becoming more important during todayâ€™s budget constrained environment,â€ he commented. â€œWe have a culture of excellence.â€