Retooling the Reserve

The Air Force Reserve will soon have to grapple with many of the force structure issues that have been at the heart of the debate between the Air Force and Air National Guard, said Lt. Gen. James Jackson, new Reserve chief. “We need to have an honest discussion about what we need to provide to our combatant commanders,” Jackson told the Daily Report in a Sept. 19 interview at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. That will mean some frank talk about missions and movements of personnel and platforms in the coming years, he said. There are some mission areas where the Reserve would be better suited than others, he said, and Jackson wants to expand “carefully” in the cyber mission—even though the Air Force’s reserve components are often touted as a natural home for this mission. As the combat air force shrinks, the Reserve would be a good home for the formal training units of some legacy platforms, particularly the A-10 and F-16, said Jackson. He noted the experience that Reserve crews and pilots have with those platforms.