Released: 25 Aug 1999
"Execution of the AEF concept will require us to change the way we currently do business," Maj. Gen. James E. Sherrard III, AFRC commander, said in a recent AEF policy statement.
Before AEF, many reservists supported contingencies for two weeks as credit for their two-week annual tour. That period also included travel time. Under AEF, most minimum tour lengths will run 15 days in country plus travel. The Reserve can direct reservists to serve two-week annual tours, but will need volunteers to perform the longer tours.
All participation in AEF will be done on Military Personnel Appropriation orders, which means they are funded with active-duty MPA funds. This is done for several reasons to include status of forces agreements and more accurate accounting of the costs.
Because reservists will not be on annual-tour orders, they must request, in advance, if they want the AEF tour to be substituted for their annual-tour requirement.
To support the expeditionary aerospace force's 90-day AEF periods, Reserve planners have divided up the 90 days into six 15-day periods. Volunteers will have the option of requesting longer tours in 15-day increments in country, up to a total of 90 days plus days of travel, and will receive priority placement for volunteering for multiple 15-day tours.
"We are restricting tour lengths to 15-day increments because of scheduling. If we permit a person to volunteer an extra week, that will throw off the rotation and transportation schedules," explained Lt. Col. John Woerly, Reserve EAF projector officer.
Wings contributing volunteers outside the current 15-month EAF cycle will not receive credit for AEF participation. Except for a major theater war, reservists who have received credit for an AEF tour can expect to devote the rest of the EAF cycle to training, exercises, education and family.
"The EAF will be a scheduler's nightmare until we shake out the timing sequences," Woerly said, "but transportation will be our biggest challenge. We may have to move people by contract, commercially, military air, or a combination of these methods. We expect to have some bugs in the scheduling and transportation systems until AEF 5 and 6."
Woerly said the benefits of EAF are worth the effort. Reserve units will know well in advance what is expected of them, and reservists will have a more predictable schedule to keep their employers better informed.
"By scheduling AEF requirements in advance, none of our reservists should be telling their employer they can't do their civilian job because they are on call," Woerly said. "With reservists giving us extra days of service, we owe it to them and their employers to let them know in advance what to expect. We don't want to wipe out a mom-and-pop business because their employee is away supporting his or her country." (Courtesy of AFRC News Service)
* Air Force Reserve Command
* Maj. Gen. James E. Sherrard III