“Strategic Agility” Coming Soon

The Air Force will roll out “the final piece” of its new strategic plan by the end of the month, and it will reveal how the service plans to size and use its reserve component, Air Force Reserve chief Lt. Gen. JJ Jackson said Monday. Addressing a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies audience in Arlington, Va., Jackson said the “Strategic Agility” paper will call for more career mobility between the Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve. The aim, he said, will be to achieve “the most capable Total Force at the lowest possible cost.” He hinted there could be some manpower puts and takes between them, and said the Active and Reserve will trade some missions. The strategy seeks to codify how much the reserve component is an “operational capability … or a ‘surge’” capability. It has been both for many years, he said. Jackson noted that occasional missions—aerial firefighters, or hurricane hunters, which are seasonal, or satellite launch—are most cheaply met with ARC capabilities, such that “you only pay for it when you use it.” He also said cyber is a growth market for the Reserves, and called for treating cyber professionals “like doctors,” bringing them in as senior NCOs or direct-commission captains and giving them more flexibility so they’ll find Reserve duty more appealing.