Don’t Count On It

For the last 10 years, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve volunteers have filled “20 percent of the load” of overseas assignments, said Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Hostage during a speech last week. Addressing the Air Force Association’s D.W. Steele Chapter in Arlington, Va., on April 26, Hostage said given the unending nature of deployments, he’s worried that the reserve components may not be able to sustain such a contribution after the United States leaves Afghanistan in 2014 and the immediate fight is over. “We can’t continue to count on volunteerism” to meet USAF’s deployment needs, said Hostage, and that’s why the Air Force leadership leaned more heavily on cutting Air Guard and Reserve end strength than Active Duty personnel in the service’s Fiscal 2013 budget proposal, he said. Twenty years ago, the reserve components met 20 percent of all Air Force personnel requirements, but the ratio is now 60:40, tilted only slightly toward the Active Duty force, he said. That’s out of balance for the long term, asserted Hostage. (For more from Hostage’s speech, read The F-35 or Bust and Gotta Have the Cards.)