CSAF talks COVID operations, diversity and inclusion, readiness with Reserve senior leaders
By Sean P. Houlihan, Air Force Reserve Command
/ Published February 10, 2021
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
COVID-19 operations, diversity and inclusion, and the readiness posture of 70,000-plus Reserve Citizen Airmen were the main topics of discussion when Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. met with Air Force Reserve Command senior leaders at AFRC headquarters here Feb. 8.
During his visit to Robins, Brown met with Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, AFRC commander and chief of the Air Force Reserve; Brig. Gen. Matthew Burger, AFRC deputy commander; Chief Master Sgt. Timothy White, AFRC command chief and Scobee’s senior enlisted advisor, and several other senior leaders.
Brown learned how AFRC’s Force Generation Center postures the command to support large-scale deployments and scalable engagements to shape the strategic environment in support of the National Defense Strategy with a force that is 80% part-time.
The FGC uses Reserve Component Periods to be consistent with the Air Expeditionary Task Force construct and to provide predictability for Airmen.
“With the eight RCPS for our aviation packages, we are able to deploy for 90-day increments within the 180-day cycle to give combatant commanders the capability they require,” Scobee said. “At the same time, this gives Reservists and employers stability and predictability.”
The FGC and Reserve Citizen Airmen throughout the command answered the call during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the initial response to the global pandemic, 3,558 Reserve Citizen Airmen either volunteered or were mobilized to combat the spread of the virus, ultimately saving American lives.
The command was able to mobilize more than 90 Reservists for the initial deployment. These Reservists were in New York City within 48 hours of notification. In April, an additional 149 medics were requested. The FGC was up to the challenge and was able to deploy all of these members within 96 hours of notification. Most importantly, the Reserve was able to mobilize Reservists who weren’t involved with COVID-19 relief efforts in their civilian jobs.
“This is good context on a local level when I’m speaking to community leaders how doctors, nurses and technicians were able to support COVID operations without adverse effects to their communities,” Brown said.
When the Defense Department ordered a stop movement, more than 1,600 Reservists had their deployments extended to support combatant command operations globally.
Brown said that with all the COVID information the FGC is processing at any given time, waiting for consolidated staffing of tasks may take too long to accomplish.
“I ask that you become a voice, loudly and quickly, so we can understand who owns the moving parts and get the data and information to major command commanders to make decisions,” he said. “The past year has been a challenge. Thanks for your leadership on the pandemic.”
In the area of diversity and inclusion, Brown heard about some of AFRC’s best practices, including providing two and half days of training for deputy wing commanders who serve as program managers for their wing, and an additional cadre of three to five people to assist with diversity and inclusion at the wing level. The command is also including diversity and inclusion training in wing, group and squadron commander, and senior enlisted development courses.
“How do we develop leaders and the tools they need to lead in the complex world we live in in 2021?” Brown asked. “One thing Airmen have said they need from a leader is empathy – showing you care about them. Airmen will do everything if they know you care. The mission will get done.”
In addition to visiting AFRC headquarters, Brown met with Airmen and civilians from the 461st and 116th Air Control Wings, the 78th Air Base Wing and the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group during his visit to Robins.