The active and reserve components stand united, along with Air Force leadership, behind the difficult decisions made regarding Air Force force structure in Fiscal 2013 and the ultimate goal of “sustaining a ready, a vital, and a viable Total Force,” said Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz June 11. That doesn’t mean, though, that Air Force leadership isn’t still open to “different perspectives” that are based on “fact” and are “unemotionally deliberated,” said Schwartz during an Air Force Association-sponsored Air Force Breakfast Program speech in Arlington, Va. In fact, “it’s in this spirit of candor and collegial discourse that reserve component leadership and I are developing the terms of reference for an independent study—the Air Force Reserve Component 2020 Study—which will evaluate our Total Force effort and work toward achieving an even more effective Total Force,” said Schwartz. However, he noted that the Air Force’s proposed study may be overtaken by the national commission that the Senate Armed Services Committee would like to see established to independently assess the Air Force’s Total Force makeup. “In the meantime, the Air Force Reserve and National Guard leadership will be involved at every step of our analysis and our decision-making,” said Schwartz.
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.