WASHINGTON — Leaders from each branch of service spoke about their top priorities at the caucus-sponsored breakfast. Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller, the chief of Air Force Reserve and commander, Air Force Reserve Command, focused on manpower and budget as the top priorities for the Air Force Reserve.
Miller said the AFR part-time pilot force is manned at nearly 90% while the full-time pilot force percentage is lower.
Miller said that although retention is at 92 percent, the AFR had to recruit 38 percent non-prior service Airmen to meet end strength demands.
“It takes longer and takes more funding to train an Airman who comes in right off the street—about $70,000 per Airman, compared to our accessions gained from the active component” said Miller. “So we are watching our accessions and how we better go after airmen leaving active duty.”
Miller concluded with describing the impact of sequestration to the Air Force Reserve.
“We have unique challenges in managing a part-time force without a stable budgeting process,” said Miller. “Predictability in equipping and training our Airmen is key to our success when it comes to utilizing our Reserve Citizen Airmen.”
Miller said the Air Force Reserve is working with Congress, the Department of Defense and other stakeholders for the right resolution, so it will limit the impact on readiness in the future.
The NGRCC was formed in 1996 and has been active in pursuing National Guard and Reserve legislative and policy initiatives with DoD and Congress.
“For many of us of a certain age, to watch what you have done to transform this into an operational reserve that is a key component to the defense of this nation, is absolutely incredible,” said Rep. Timothy Walz, (D-Minn.), co-chair of the NGRCC.
NGRCC is sponsoring the Reserve Component Benefits Parity Act of 2017, which is designed to mitigate the benefit disparities in the 12304b mobilization authority.
The 12304b mobilization authority was established in 2012 as part of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, that allowed DoD to deploy reserve forces for preplanned missions in support of combatant commanders. Under this authority, reserve forces are not provided with pre and post-mobilization Tricare, Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, reduction in retirement age and credit for time spent deployed.
“Building this coalition over the many years, we have made progress and made a difference in national security and the warriors doing the job,” said Walz.