Lt. Gen. James Jackson, Air Force Reserve chief, said on Monday he is trying to answer the question: What is the Air Force Reserve? “There are a lot of mission areas that the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard are involved in, but is it the right amount? And, is it the right mission areas for the nation?” asked Jackson during his speech at AFA’s 2013 Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. The Total Force Task Force and the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force, as well as other leaders inside the service, are trying hard to answer those questions for the President, Congress, the Air Force Secretary, and the Chief of Staff, said Jackson. It is clear that the Air Force Reserve has a “diverse portfolio of capabilities and missions” and is cost effective with airmen working both locally and abroad, he said. The biggest challenge, though, is funding. Jackson said his organization is focused on keeping its airmen “tier-one ready.” However, the budget sequester is making that difficult. “Right now, we’re in a hole,” he said. “We have to dig our way out of it, but I don’t see a lot of money to do that.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.