• Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee

“It doesn’t do any good to fake a thing, to fake an ill or a benefit. We have to face the facts the way they are, not the way we wish they were. If we start with a false situation, then we’re getting off on the wrong foot to begin with. A clear concise awareness of the exact condition, the exact problem which faces an individual, is his best weapon for coping with it.”

- General Curtis E. LeMay

Heroes of the Air Force Reserve,

As we look over the horizon of 2022, we see a new year with new and more lethal threats.

Our strategic competitors are relentless in their efforts to negate our advantages. Last summer, China tested a long-range missile from a hypersonic launch vehicle. The weapon circled the planet and subsequently impacted a target in China. The speed with which they developed and tested this new capability is concerning. China has rapidly modernized its forces across all domains. This modernization has emboldened them to build bases in Africa, threaten our allies and partners in the maritime domain, and brutally suppress dissent in Hong Kong.

In November, Russia tested a direct ascent anti-satellite missile which destroyed one of its own satellites. The test generated more than 1,500 pieces of trackable space debris and hundreds of thousands of smaller pieces. The threat from the debris cloud caused astronauts on the International Space Station to shelter in place. As a nation, we are still recovering from the SolarWinds supply chain attack first reported in December of 2020, and Russia continues to escalate tensions in both Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

As a nation, we recognize these threats and acknowledge there will be difficult choices in how we invest our resources to successfully compete. While our adversaries may be relentless, we remain a highly competent force that is accessible, cost-effective and experienced.

We are a highly accessible force. Reserve Citizen Airmen are consistently ready, willing and able to overcome any challenge. More than 500 Reservists spent the holiday season activated supporting Task Force Holloman and Task Force Liberty, providing for the basic needs of more than 13,000 evacuees from Afghanistan, about half of whom are children.

Our cost-effectiveness is indisputable. Because we are a predominantly part-time force we have significantly lower personnel costs. We are able to provide nearly a quarter of the Total Force’s mission capacity on only 3% of the budget with lower operations and maintenance costs.

We make outsized impacts because of our experience. We meld the best of the private and public sectors – utilizing best practices from our military and civilian careers.

Our experience also comes from our diverse backgrounds. Senior Airman Kalmullah Ghobandi and Airman First Class Ahmed Sofizada, who were both Afghan translators, were invaluable to Task Force Holloman’s mission with their cultural knowledge and language skills. Senior Airman Ramandeep Kuar, a defender who grew up in India and speaks Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi, was invaluable in helping the Office of Special Investigation’s Locally Employed Persons Screening Team at her deployed location.

Every Reserve Citizen Airman at every level brings unique skills and perspectives that make us a more capable organization.

The challenges we face in the coming year are daunting. However, as a team, we stand ready to meet them with Citizen Airmen who are accessible, cost-effective and experienced.

I am proud to serve with each of you.