An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Our people -- Our Foundation

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. John P. Healy

Air Force Reserve Command is the most diverse major command in the Department of the Air Force with approximately 80% of our force serving in a part-time status. We execute the full spectrum of Air Force missions, providing strategic depth and maintaining operational readiness to deter our adversaries, defend the United States, our allies and partners, and respond to any contingency – at a fraction of the cost of the full-time members of the U.S. Space Force and regular component of the U.S. Air Force.

Our success with these mission capabilities rests on one foundation – our people. With emerging threats, the retention and development of an experienced, accessible and ready force underpins my priorities of Ready Now and Transforming for the Future.

But recruiting and retaining our Airmen is no easy business. We are challenged by a national military recruiting crisis, competitive job market and other factors which resulted in the Reserve falling short of its Congressional end strength six out of the last seven fiscal years.

However, through collective and innovative efforts, the Reserve is starting to see a positive trend in our manning. For the first time in more than 24 months, our end strength gains exceeded our losses in March 2024. Contributing to this, our 367th Recruiting Group exceeded its monthly recruiting goals for four months in a row, achieving a year-to-date accession rate of 101% of its goal.

Additionally, HQ AFRC recently established a Recruiting and Retention Division, AFRC/A1Y, in the Manpower, Personnel and Services Directorate to focus on programs that attract and retain our most talented Reserve Airmen.

Our doubled-tired fiscal 2024 retention initiatives broke down barriers to reshape reenlistment incentives and travel reimbursement for our enlisted force. A first for the Air Force Reserve, reenlistment-eligible Airmen with five to 10 years of service in the grades of E-5 to E-7 could be qualified to receive a lump sum incentive between $5,000 and $7,500 for a three-year commitment. This transformative effort targets more than 4,000 Airmen who were otherwise ineligible for an incentive.

A first since its inception in 2008, AFRC reformed its Inactive Duty Training Travel Reimbursement program to grant eligibility by grade rather than career field for E-1s through E-7s, while maintaining eligibility by Air Force Specialty Code for other grades.

Most notably, this change was driven by Airmen feedback that stability and predictability were needed. With this transformation, more than 13,000 Reservists can now pursue career-enhancing assignments across the command while minimizing out-of-pocket costs for travel to drill weekends. These initiatives, combined with expanded incentives for pilots and increased affiliation bonuses to retain experienced Airmen in service, are only a few examples of what we’re doing to recruit and retain the talent needed to maintain our competitive edge.

As we confront the challenges of the Great Power Competition, Reserve Airmen will continue to leverage our unique blend of military and civilian experience to bring outsized impact to the Air Force’s operational imperatives.

Our people are our greatest asset, and our recent gains are only a start. With this, I challenge every Reserve Airman to be our advocate – tell your story to your friends and neighbors, connect with your fellow Airmen, be involved in your community, connect your key support network to your unit and simply do your job. We are our own best recruitment and retention tool. Thank you for what you bring to the Air Force Reserve.