The Reserve component is the “cost-effective means” to mitigate the risks to the US defense strategy resulting from “inevitable” large-force reductions in Active component end strength discussed in the Pentagon’s Strategic Choices Management Review, said Paul Patrick, deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. Speaking at the Reserve Officers Association’s National Security Symposium on Aug. 8 in Washington, D.C., Patrick said relying more on the Reserve component as part of the operational force makes “business sense” as it preserves capacity and capability at a reduced cost. “If potential RC force reductions are envisioned to simply achieve required savings to meet a budget number . . . I only hope that programmers consider that the individual costs of a Reserve component service member [are] about one-third of an Active component service member,” he said. Shrinking the Reserve is “not an optimal way to reduce costs and preserve capability and capacity,” he said. (See also The Trade-Off.)
Changes are coming this year for Airmen taking professional military education (PME) distance learning courses. Closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone course, and more feedback on test performance are meant to improve the overall experience for distance learning students, who often include members of the Air National Guard.