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IMA working group progressing in Phase II of comprehensive study

  • Published
  • By Bo Joyner
  • Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters

Air Force Reserve Command’s Individual Mobilization Augmentee Strategic Review Team is progressing through Phase II of its thorough review of the IMA program to ensure the command’s 7,500 Individual Reservists receive proper administrative control and support to meet guidance established by the National Defense Strategy and Department of Air Force leaders.

Maj. Gen. Moe Banavige, the mobilization assistant to the commander of Air Force Materiel Command, led research on the history of the IMA program during Phase I and is now leading Phase II.

Phase I focused on three lines of effort: guidance, readiness and systems. Phase II is focusing on three different LOEs: scope, structure and resourcing.

“The Phase I team did an excellent job, and provided 28 recommendations to General Scobee (Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, AFRC commander and chief of Air Force Reserve), ranging from tactical to very strategic,” Banavige said. “At the same time, HAF/REXS (Air Force Reserve Plans, Programs and Requirements) conducted a comprehensive review of the IMA program, describing the current state, gaps and opportunities. Combining the recommendations from Phase I with the work of the REXS team led us into Phase II.”

Banavige noted that the Phase I team and the REXS team reached a similar conclusion regarding the shared administrative control model currently employed by the IMA program.

Under the current system, an IMA’s active component gaining unit and AFRC share administrative control.

“The biggest finding we had in Phase I – and REXS came to the same conclusion – is that the concept of shared adcon, which the IMA program has been operating under for a number of years, is not the best suited for the current program,” she said. “I’m sure it was the best decision for the program at the time, but currently shared adcon creates a lot of seams which present challenges for Airmen to resolve. Additionally, the active component unit can have a harder time accessing IMAs assigned. Not having shared adcon is a focus forward.”

“We’re at the point where we need to refine the structure supporting IMAs,” said Col. Kay Beigh, Phase II’s project manager. ”Current systems and processes present obstacles to those supporting IMAs and to the IMAs themselves.” Beigh, who currently serves as the IMA to the 96th Test Wing commander, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, has served as an IMA for seven years, and traditional Reservist for four years.

"We are taking a holistic approach to reviewing the IMA program, focusing on the active component demand signal, delivering unambiguous chains of command, and improving alignments of the program under law and policy,” said Senior Master Sgt. Shea Hazel, J.D., who is working on the Phase II effort. “The IMA program allows alignment of critical skills to optimize Reservist talent and deliver timely contributions to AFRC's warfighting capability." Hazel is assigned to the HQ AFRC Directorate of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and has been an IMA for 15 years.

“Per the chief of the Air Force Reserve, IMAs are the most underserved population,” said Col. Gregory Kuzma, an IMA serving on the Phase II team. “The IMA program requires numbered Air Force-equivalent leadership, funding and support structures.” Kuzma is an IMA who has been assigned to the HQ U.S. Indo-Pacific Command joint staff as the future plans director for the past three years.

Banavige said she is thrilled about the team she has in place for Phase II of the IMA program review. The scope LOE team is being led by Col. William Matney, mobilization assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force Legislative Liaison. Brig. Gen. Dave Smith, MA to the 9th Air Force commander, is leading the structure LOE team. Maj. Gen. Lee Ann Bennett, MA to the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations, is leading the resourcing LOE team.

“We have a great team in place and I’m confident we can make recommendations to General Scobee for optimizing the IMA program and improving the active component’s access to the IMA work force,” she said. “I’m especially impressed by the number of Reserve Advisors who have volunteered to be on the team. They are the bridge between the active component, the IMAs and Reserve Command, and they are in a perfect place to see where a lot of the friction points are.”

Like the Phase I team, the Phase II team is collaborating closely with a host of Reserve organizations, including the HAF/RE staff, the Air Reserve Personnel Center, Headquarters RIO and AFRC directorates and offices.

“We are truly excited to partner and explore options for improving policies, programs and processes to make the lives of IRs and their families better,” said Brig. Gen. Anne Gunter, the director of Air Force Reserve Personnel at Air Force headquarters.

“I am really thrilled about the project and in full support,” said Brig. Gen. Jennie Johnson, Air Reserve Personnel Center commander. "This is a great opportunity to pivot the program toward the near peer fight and also improve the service level for our IMA Airmen.”

HQ RIO, located at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, is responsible for managing the readiness of the Individual Reserve force and standardizing the processes associated with getting IRs to the fight.

“I applaud the teams’ efforts to get after making it better for IRs,” said Col. Amy Boehle, HQ RIO commander. “Any initiatives to make it easier for IRs to serve, especially in the pay and travel pay arenas, would be appreciated by IRs and our hardworking RIO technicians. I’m excited to see action items from Phase I and how Phase II will implement positive changes.”

“The IMA program has always been a challenge to administer, and I applaud the work RIO, ARPC and other organizations have done with some of the antiquated systems in place,” Banavige said. “It’s our goal to deliver General Scobee a number of COAs that would help the IMA program of the future best support the NDS, ensure better access to our IMAs for the active component and deliver an improved support structure for our IMAs.”