Bigger Roles for Air Force Reserve, Air Guard

Lower defense budgets and Active Duty Air Force reductions will mean a greater reliance on the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said. As Air Force leaders conduct a mission-by-mission analysis of what can be moved from the active component to the two reserve components, James said, “We are going to lean forward and place as much as we possibly can in the Guard and Reserve.” Speaking during a recent visit to Robins AFB, Ga., and the Air Force Reserve Command headquarters there, James, who served as assistant defense secretary for reserve affairs from 1993 to 1998, said, “no one has to convince me” about “the value the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve bring to our Total Force.” James said the increase in the Reserve share of Air Force missions will include further growth in associate units, which have increased from 102 to 124 in recent years, according to a recent release. “I think we need to kick it up a notch and do more,” she said. James also said the Air Force is seeking changes in laws and policies that would make it easier for airmen to shift from one component to another.