• Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee

Heroes of the Air Force Reserve:

As a command team, improving the lives of Reserve Citizen Airmen has been our guiding principle. To that end, we laid out our three strategic priorities: prioritizing strategic depth and accelerating readiness, developing resilient leaders, and reforming the organization. As we move into 2021, we will continue to accelerate our actions to achieve our objectives, setting our strategic priorities up for long-term sustainment.

The command chief and I are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to safely travel and see more of you throughout the year. While the vaccine rollout has given us hope that we will eventually get the pandemic under control, we must continue to remain vigilant. Letting our guard down at this point is like walking the last lap of a fitness assessment. It jeopardizes turning all of the hard work during the previous five laps into failure.

Our success in preserving readiness during the pandemic has largely been dependent on trust and open communication. We worked with our subject matter experts to get as much information as possible to each unit. Based on that information, we trusted our command teams’ ability to keep Airmen healthy by tailoring preventative measures by location, based on their knowledge of local conditions. Finally, we trusted that every Airman would remain conscientious about implementing basic countermeasures and responsibly accessing personal risks.

As leaders, trust is the currency we work with. In December, the Department of the Air Force publicly released its report on the Air Force Inspector General’s independent review into racial disparity. I encourage you all to read the report and think critically about it. Understanding the contents of the report is important for our organization. While the report assessed racial disparity exists throughout the service, it did not examine its root causes. That work is ongoing, with an additional progress check anticipated within the next six months.

Our commitment to creating a culture of diversity and inclusion remains unfaltering. Trust, between ourselves as Airmen and in our institution, hinges on our ability to learn and grow. Leaders at all levels must have the emotional intelligence to have tough conversations and learn about the individual experiences of the people they serve alongside. Learning about our differences strengthens us as a team by helping us incorporate different perspectives and experiences.

Where trust thrives, so does innovation. When Airmen are valued, they are empowered to bring new ideas to the table. By continuing to foster a culture where everyone is appreciated for what they bring to us, we reinforce the fact that we value each individual. Valuing each person is key to ensuring that everyone is able to reach their fullest potential in our organization.

Institutional trust is built through transparency. In addition to the Department of the Air Force’s Racial Disparity Review, I asked our team to complete an Air Force Reserve internal Racial Disparity Review to examine those processes we own. One of the team’s primary goals is maximum transparency throughout the review.

In January, the team completed its first major milestone, in which it identified processes that need assessment. Going forward, the team will investigate racial disparity in these process areas and develop data-driven recommendations. Our goal is to provide the information to the field on its finding along with any changes that are implemented as a result. Once our initial review is complete, we will continue to assess progress through our Diversity and Inclusion Office.

Building and maintaining trust is a commitment. It is a commitment to continually cultivate an environment in which each of our Airmen are able to maximize their potential. It is an ongoing conversation based on mutual respect. The culture of our service is one of constantly striving to improve. As we go into 2021 together, let’s recommit to making the best Air Force Reserve possible by preserving our readiness, enhancing trust and providing combat power to the nation at the best value for the American people. Thank you for all you do.