The Air Force’s Individual Mobilization Augmentee Program: Is the Current Organizational Structure Viable?

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Air & Space Power Journal

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The Air Force s individual mobilization augmentee (IMA) program provides trained, equipped, and ready reservists when the service needs them to support an operational requirement. A significant change to the Reserve brought about by Operation Desert Storm continues to affect this program. These reservists are assigned to active duty rather than Reserve units, so their program s organizational structure is unique and often confusing. Since an organization s configuration can significantly influence its ability to support the mission, one may reasonably inquire about the viability of the commandstructure of the Air Force s current IMA program. This article uses Stafford Beer s viable system model as an analytical tool to examine that structure. The evaluation presented here focuses on optimizing the management of IMA forces to ensure increased operational readiness in times of crisis; it also addresses the need to meet reservists reasonable expectations that the Air Force use them in roles for which they are well suited and well trained, as well as roles consistent with an integrated All-Volunteer Force.