Air Force Reserve plans to add 4,000 airmen|
Posted 2/24/2009 Updated 2/24/2009
2/24/2009 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Air Force Reserve is set to expand its ranks by more than 4,000 airmen in the next three years, Lt. Gen. Charles Stenner, the Air Reserve chief, said recently.
A new recruiting drive, planned as part of the 2010 presidential budget, will add 4,256 more airmen to the 67,500 ready Air Reserve in the next three years.
An increase in the Reserve force would correspond to a bump in end strength for big Air Force, from about 322,000 to 330,000, that was approved by Congress in the 2009 defense authorization bill.
The 4,256 reservists have yet to be slotted for jobs, but Stenner said the bulk of the new billets would be involved in the Air Force's emerging missions, including the F-22 and F-35 fighter programs, cybermissions and unmanned aerial vehicles.
"This is what we think will work," Stenner said in an interview.
Stenner stressed that the uptick in manpower would not be a direct replacement for the personnel the Air Reserve lost in the last several years as part of the larger drawdown.
Air Force Reserve Command shrunk their force by close to 10 percent as part of a 2004 cost-savings attempt to modernize the flying feet under former Air Force chief T. Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne.
The current boost in reservists is less than the 7,000 airmen that current Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz told Congress he wanted.
In addition to the increased manpower, Stenner said the reserves also would move toward further integrating with the active Air Force and the Air Guard.
By Sam LaGrone