WASHINGTON, D.C. — The chief of the Air Force Reserve and the director of the Air National Guard testified April 29 alongside the other services’ Reserve chiefs and Guard directors before the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense.
With the threat of sequestration-level funding looming, both the Guard director and Reserve chief said they need the support of Congress to be ready for the fight today and tomorrow.
“Without question, our people — the men and women and their families who make up the Air Force Reserve — are our greatest strength and must be our top priority,” said Air Force Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, in his written testimony. “Yet, ongoing budget uncertainty and arbitrary fiscal constraints degrade our readiness, hurt our people, and strain our ability to properly train and equip our force.”
With approximately 5,000 Airmen from the Air Force Reserve and more than 5,000 Airmen from the ANG on mobilization orders, both have requested increases in their end strength to optimize the total force to address geopolitical realities and global demands. As part of the Fiscal Year 2016 President’s Budget Request, the Reserve is asking for an increase of 2,100 personnel while the Guard is asking for 500 more guardsmen.
“The National Guard has evolved from a strategic reserve, called upon primarily during national emergencies to an essential partner in the total Air Force,” said ANG Director Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III. “Today’s Air National Guard, in addition to providing a reserve surge capacity, contributes daily to the U.S. Air Force commitment to global vigilance, global reach and global power in five core missions.”
Likewise, Jackson said Air Force Reserve Airmen are experienced and dedicated professionals, who are always ready to support our nation when called.
“We remain an essential partner in our three-component Air Force; however, being ready for today’s fight is not enough — we must also look to the future,” he said.