Washington D.C. --
Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, chief of Air Force Reserve and Air Force Reserve Command commander, testified on the status of the Reserve and the fiscal year 2020 budget request before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee, March 26, on Capitol Hill. Counterparts from the Army, Navy, and Marines joined Scobee.
The hearing began with remarks from Subcommittee Chairman Pete Visclosky (D- Ind.) and was followed by opening statements from each Reserve service component senior leaders.
In Scobee’s opening remarks, he thanked the subcommittee for the opportunity to discuss the readiness of America’s Air Force Reserve and introduced Chief Master Sgt. Timothy White, the new senior enlisted advisor to the chief of the AFR and Command Chief Master Sgt. of AFRC.
“As a critical component to the total force, the Air Force Reserve provides cost-effective strategic depth, rapid surge capability, and operational support for our joint force,” Scobee said. “Our 70,000 Citizen Airman are both interchangeable and integrated with their active component counterparts. We fly as one, we train as one, and we fight as one.”
In alignment with the National Defense Strategy, Scobee discussed three priorities: to prioritize strategic depth and accelerate readiness, develop resilient leaders who can generate combat power, and reform the organization to optimize warfighting capabilities.
Scobee highlighted significant progress the Air Force Reserve has made during the past year.
“We are better prepared at the unit level, and our individual readiness has also increased. Our nuclear deterrence forces are mission ready, and we expanded our mission capabilities by activating our first cyber wing and our first intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance wing,” he said. “Additionally, we are aligning our space units to meet future Space Mission Force requirements.”
Scobee also discussed personnel programs and end strength.
“We are targeting full time manpower shortages with a variety of initiatives including converting approximately 1200 full time authorizations from Air Reserve Technicians to Active Guard Reserve positions over a three year period.”
Scobee asked for support from the committee members to help improve the quality of life for Airmen. He encouraged support for Dual Status Technicians to receive medical coverage under Tricare Reserve Select healthcare plans and emphasized the improvement this would make for Reservists and their families.
In response to the subcommittee’s questions, Scobee explained how a return to sequestration would erase the gains the AFR has made over the last three years. He also discussed the plan for C-130H modernization and acknowledged the importance of aerial spraying and firefighting special missions.
In closing, Scobee said one of the biggest successes of the year for the AFR was improving the medical readiness.