General Schwartz Talks about the Future of the Total Force and...Sponsored Reservists?
General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, has sure had a lot to say these days. For the past few days the Air Force Association has put out a few blurbs from Gen. Schwartz’s exit interview, many of which strike us as strange. Subjects have ranged from the future of the Total Force, to his legacy as Chief of Staff.
The first head scratcher comes from Gen. Schwartz discussion of “sponsored reservists.” Citing the British, Gen. Schwartz elaborated further on this concept, stating Britain’s armed forces “have a contract for their refueling where their contractor provides both the platform and some of the crews. And, while some of the crews are active duty, some of them are sponsored reserves.”
Gen. Schwartz describes these ‘sponsored reservists’ as “employees of the company...who can flip from their civilian certification to military credentials...simply by appropriate authorities executing the right orders."
This seems a bit odd considering that traditional Guardsmen and women clearly fit this definition. So, why is Gen. Schwartz talking about experimenting with ‘sponsored reservists’ when, technically speaking, it already exists in the U.S.? In fact, the Guard does a pretty great job balancing both civilian jobs and transitioning to active duty.
Future of the Total Force
As we all know, there has been a lot of tension surrounding the FY13 Air Force budget proposal. Yet, Gen. Schwartz is quoted in his interview saying there will “continue to be a place” for both the Active and reserve forces. In one last shout out to current events, Gen. Schwartz talks about the future of the Air Force:
"When emotions subside a bit and we're able to approach this in a more dispassionate way, we'll have the opportunity to collectively, collaboratively, collegially adjust our force mix in both traditional...and imaginative ways...We will have to continue to make the argument that we cannot have 50 air forces. We are one Air Force...The country is asking us to execute the missions we've been assigned with fewer resources. And our view is the way to go about that is by getting smaller and maintaining quality in all three components."
For an exit interview, Gen. Schwartz looks to be leaving us with more questions than answers. But as we look towards new leadership of the Air Force, once General Welsh is confirmed, NGAUS is hopeful that the opportunity to work together does come to fruition.