WASHINGTON, D.C. --
The House National Guard and Reserve Component Caucus and The Military Coalition hosted a breakfast with Reserve and Guard service chiefs on Capitol Hill, April 13.
The senior leaders discussed their top issues and the need for budget stability and predictability. Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller, the chief of Air Force Reserve and Air Force Reserve Command commander, spoke on top Air Force Reserve issues and its capability to support the National Defense Strategy.
“In our Air Force, we are three component strong, but we fly as one formation,” said Miller. “We are lethal, privileged to defend this great nation, honored to serve alongside our Joint partners and allies, and ready for any fight, anytime.”
Miller said that recruiting and retaining full-time pilots and maintenance personnel is a challenge. She said that the AFR is competing with the airlines, contractors, and industry for the same talent, so it is a national issue.
“There’s a lot of discussion because we are all, industry and uniform, going after the same critical skills,” said Miller “Whether it is that talent on the flight line, cockpit, scientist, or space expert, we are all going after the same people.”
In the AFR, part-time manning is at 96.5 percent for pilots and 104 percent in maintenance. Full time manning in both career fields have declined, and Miller said she decided to mitigate some of the shortfalls with active guard reservists. AGR status allows reservists flexibility to serve full-time 2-3 years and return to their civilian job under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
“They love sitting in that cockpit at the airlines, but they will always come back to defend this country because they love the uniform,” said Miller.
Miller said that she seeks young Reserve Citizen Airmen to determine if there are new or better ways of doing business.
“We need to do everything we can to pull in young people and empower them to help us,” said Miller. “It is not about the money; it is about how do I serve and make a difference and allowing them the opportunity to do so.”
The NGRCC was formed in 1996 and has been active in pursuing National Guard and Reserve legislative and policy initiatives with the Department of Defense and Congress. NGRCC is sponsoring the H.R. 5121 and S.1086 to give federal employees, including 70,000 National Guard and Reserve dual-status technicians, the choice to enroll in TRICARE Reserve Select.