The Air Force, from the beginning of standing up its cyberspace capabilities, has sought out Air Force Reserve participation and expertise, AFR Chief Lt. Gen. James Jackson told reporters on Wednesday. The service is set to broaden and deepen that participation in the coming years, said Jackson during his meeting with reporters at AFA’s Air & Space Conference outside Washington, D.C. Another “growth area” for the Reserve is the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance realm, he said. Air Force Reserve Command currently has 10 units dedicated to the cyber mission and has established a cyber operations group in San Antonio, co-located with 24th Air Force, the Air Force’s cyber operations arm, said Jackson. AFRC also has 11 units participating in the ISR mission, not only flying MQ-9 Reapers, but extensively involved in the processing, exploitation, and dissemination of intelligence products, said Jackson. AFRC is also collaborating with Air Combat Command as it stands up 25th Air Force and reorients ISR, he said. AFRC has also stood up an ISR group. “We are trying to put the runs on the ladder for both mission sets, and I’m pretty happy with the progress so far,” said Jackson.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.