New Reserve Boss Looking to Invest in Future

The new commander of Air Force Reserve Command is looking forward to gaining back some 7,000 positions, which apparently is in the works along with the active duty end strength boost from 316,000 to 330,000 directed in a June 10 memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England. (Defense Secretary Robert Gates first declared he would halt airmen cuts following his ouster of the service’s two top leaders.) Lt. Gen. Charles Stenner, speaking with reporters at the Pentagon on June 23, the day before he assumed command from Lt. Gen. John Bradley, emphasized, however, that he would not be restoring old billets. (AFRC had begun cutting more than 7,000 positions under earlier force shaping and budget-cutting plans.) Stenner said, “This is not a buyback of something that was divested earlier.” Stenner explained that fighter missions are going away and emerging mission areas— such as unmanned aerial vehicle and cyberwarfare realms— are areas that will be expanding in the near future and noted that the Reserve is very much a part of the process. He said, “This is an investment in the future.” Stenner noted that the Reserve positions would be “complimentary” in a range of mission sets to help USAF needs for the global war on terror. He said he anticipated that plans for the personnel plus-up would be worked out by this fall’s program and budget review.