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Air Force announces milestone in force transformation

WASHINGTON (AFNEWS) -- The secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff recently announced the completion of the next phase of Total Force Integration initiatives after discussions with Airmen from active-duty, Guard and Reserve organizations.

Total Force Integration initiatives and their changes to the Air Force are supported by Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau; Lt. Gen. Craig R. McKinley, director of the Air National Guard; and Lt. Gen. John A. Bradley, chief, Air Force Reserve and commander, Air Force Reserve Command.

"The Air Force is a team, made up of active, Guard and Reserve Airmen who work together to accomplish the mission," said Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff.

"You can't look at an Airman and tell if he or she is active, Guard or Reserve," General Moseley said. "We all wear the same uniform, do the same jobs and help make this Air Force the best in the world."

This phase of Total Force Integration, or TFI, initiatives includes nearly 140 missions and represents a compilation of all previous TFI phases and efforts. More than 90 of these initiatives are already funded with more to soon to follow; among them approximately 45 percent are associations between active-duty, Guard and/or Reserve forces. The remaining 55 percent are new, emerging or stand-alone missions.

TFI initiatives span the entire Air Force mission spectrum, including unmanned aerial systems, intelligence operations, logistics, civil support, training, myriad flying platforms, space and cyberspace. As the Air Force invests in emerging technology, such as the Predator or distributed ground systems, it will move forward with all three components playing an active role in new mission formation.

"Total Force integration incorporates innovative organizational constructs to create a smaller, more capable, force structure leveraging increased capability from new technology and capitalizing on the wealth of talent and experiences across the active duty, Guard and Reserve functions," General McKinley said. "Ensuring a seamless capability across our three service components provides America a more lethal and capable air, space and cyberspace force."

Examples of Total Force successes can be found across the country. The California Air National Guard's 163rd Air Reconnaissance Wing transitioned in just one year's time from flying the KC-135 Stratotanker to flying operational MQ-1 Predator missions from its home station at March Air Reserve Base in support of the war on terrorism. The AFRC association at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, will bring the regular and Reserve forces together on the nation's fifth generation fighter aircraft, the F-22 Raptor.

"Associate units make good business sense because they capitalize on the experience and skills of reservists, many of whom were on active duty before joining the Air Force Reserve," General Bradley said. "Through the associate unit programs, that training investment can be multiplied over and over as people come and go in a unit."

(Courtesy of Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs)