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AF Global Strike, Air Reserve Component leaders discuss ‘way ahead’

Lt. Gen. James Jackson, right, recognizes Master Sgt. James Hudson for his outstanding achievement as team chief of the Air Force Reserve’s first nuclear-certified B-52 weapons load crew, Aug. 26, 2014, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. Jackson's visit to Barksdale included a tour of the 307th Bomb Wing and then attending the Air Reserve Component focus day hosted by the Air Force Global Strike Command. Jackson is the commander of Air Force Reserve Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Greg Steele)

Lt. Gen. James Jackson, right, recognizes Master Sgt. James Hudson for his outstanding achievement as team chief of the Air Force Reserve’s first nuclear-certified B-52 weapons load crew, Aug. 26, 2014, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. Jackson's visit to Barksdale included a tour of the 307th Bomb Wing and then attending the Air Reserve Component focus day hosted by the Air Force Global Strike Command. Jackson is the commander of Air Force Reserve Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Greg Steele)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Air Force Global Strike Command hosted its first Air Reserve Component focus day here, Aug. 26 and 27.

The ARC is comprised of the Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard, and it complements the Air Force's active-duty capabilities. In a time marked by shrinking budgets, AFGSC is increasingly leaning on its Reserve components to bolster mission effectiveness.

The inaugural AFGSC ARC focus day brought together regular Air Force, Reserve and Guard leaders from around their commands to participate in discussions regarding their operations and the way ahead.

"The ARC is important because it can offer a lower-cost alternative," said Lt. Gen. James Jackson, the commander of AFRC. "We offer many of the same capabilities that the active-duty component does, but we can do it for less in some circumstances because of our lower associated manpower costs."

The ARC achieves their lower manpower costs by not maintaining full strength at all times, Jackson explained.

In the ANG for instance, members sometimes serve as little as one weekend per month and two weeks sometime during the year. During those periods, guardsmen receive training comparable to that received by their active-duty counterparts. During the rest of the year, many guardsmen work in the private sector.

Throughout the ARC focus day, attendees heard from unit representatives from the 307th Bomb Wing, 131st Bomb Wing, 102nd Air Operations Group and 219th Security Forces Squadron. AFGSC leaders including Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, the AFGSC commander, were briefed by the representatives on matters affecting their respective units such as training, schedules and manning.

"Our active-duty units need to listen closely to what their ARC counterparts have to say," Wilson said. "Many of the issues that they deal with can be found in their own units as well. It's important that we learn from each other."

In a broader perspective, attendees were presented with information on topics such as AFGSC's Force Improvement Program, the upcoming presidential budget and the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force. They also participated in open discussions on ARC initiatives and future programs.

The ARC focus day also served as an opportunity to network with peers.

"Look at the person to either side of you," Wilson said. "Chances are you'll be working with at least one of those people in the coming years. The first time you meet shouldn't be during a crisis."

As the government and Defense Department continue to cut budgets and limit spending, the total force concept will play a progressively more prominent role in the Air Force's future, Jackson explained.

"As we move forward, programs like the ARC focus day will become more important," Jackson said. "If we are to operate seamlessly together -- active duty, Reserve and Guard -- we need to stay informed on what each component has going on."

(Article courtesy of the AFGSC Public Affairs Office)