NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. --
The new chief of the Air Force Reserve and commander of Air Force Reserve Command highlighted his two strategic priorities – Ready Now and Transforming for the Future – during the fall 2022 Air Force Association National Convention here Sept. 19.
Lt. Gen. John Healy joined Lt. Gen. Michael Loh, director of the Air National Guard, and Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, president of the Adjutants General Association of the United States, during the hour-long panel, focused on the Guard and Reserve. The three senior leaders discussed the importance of a strong Total Force and the unique capabilities the Reserve Component brings to the fight, along with challenges they will face in the near future.
“The Reserve has the capacity, capability and accessibility to carry out its missions at speed and with experience,” Healy, who became the AFRC commander in August, said. “The secret weapon of the Air Force Reserve is its members. Air Force Reserve Airmen bring a unique perspective from the private sector, which makes them extremely valuable to the Air Force the nation needs.”
Healy introduced his two strategic priorities in a task order he released immediately after assuming his new position to assure all Reserve Citizen Airmen know what is expected of them.
“This will create accountability at every echelon of leadership to ensure each level is doing the things that help those below them to be actively trained and resourced,” he said.
Healy also addressed the fiscal challenges the Reserve is facing and will continue to face in the future, and highlighted three focus areas for meeting these challenges – managing human capital better, being better stewards of America’s money and collaborating with the other major commands.
“There is an issue throughout the Reserve where we have the wrong people in the wrong spaces and not enough of the right people in the right spaces,” he said. “The Reserve needs to make sure our manning documents are correct, each unit type code is properly aligned and every unit is built correctly.”
In the area of finance, Healy said, “We developed some powerful tools using some systems and business analytics that allows us to see what our dollar amounts are all the way down to the wing level. The tool manages a $1.25 billion portfolio on a day-to-day basis and allows us to execute at speed to make decisions and understand the ramifications of those decisions. We need that kind of detail to be better stewards.”
The AFRC commander said cooperating with the Air Force’s other major commands is critical during a constrained fiscal environment.
“We need the collaborative efforts between the MAJCOMs to ensure what we are doing solves an enterprise problem going forward as opposed to protecting what was ours because that’s what we have always done,” he said. “We’re taking a proactive approach to ensure we are part of the Air Force our nation needs as opposed to continuing what we have done in the past.”
Healy said another challenge facing the Reserve is its reliance on legacy weapon systems.
“The Air Force Reserve will need to transform through divestments and reallocation of legacy aircraft and missions so the Air Force can be postured for the future,” he said. “Without change, the current programs will become more expensive and could forfeit future opportunities to modernize and transform.”
The general closed his remarks by saying he is excited to build on the legacy left by his predecessor, Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, while working new initiatives to make sure the Air Force Reserve can provide the tools and resources to ensure all Reservists are properly trained.
“I’m looking forward to getting a ‘Ready Now’ force and ‘Transforming for the Future,’” he said.