Orlando, Fla.—Before deciding whether to adopt recommendations of the Air Force structure commission, senior service officials said here on Friday they want to know more about how the commission reached its conclusions. Speaking during the panel on major command priorities at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium, Air Force Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. James Jackson said he could support most of the commission’s findings, but not its suggestion to disestablish Air Force Reserve Command “and the numbered air forces and organizational structure below that.” Congress established the AFRES in 1968 “as a lesson learned” from the Korean conflict, said Jackson. In 1997, Air Force Reserve Command came into being “based on lessons learned” from Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, he said. “So in my opinion, obviously, I don’t think we should go backward in time,” said Jackson. He said he agreed with the panel that “there should be three strong components.” During the panel discussion, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh echoed Jackson’s characterization, adding that the Air Force was already implementing some of the suggested actions before the panel published its findings at the end of last month. Some of the findings “we don’t fully understand . . . until we get a brief” on the analysis underlying them, said Welsh. Until then, “we don’t agree or disagree,” he said.
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.