Air Reserve Technician Program

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Air Reserve Technicians, commonly referred to as ARTs, are a nucleus of uniformed U.S. Air Force leaders, managers, operators, planners and trainers in what is known as the Air Reserve Component (ARC) of the United States Air Force, the ARC consisting of both the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard.

ARTs have expert knowledge and proven expertise to maintain the operational combat readiness of Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) and Air National Guard (ANG) units and smooth the transition of Air Reserve Component units and both their full-time and traditional part-time military personnel from a peacetime environment to a contingency or wartime environment. They also provide leadership and management continuity, equipment maintenance, and training support to help keep their units combat ready.[1][1]

Air Reserve Technicians carry a dual status, working as both full-time civil service employees and as uniformed USAF military members in the same AFRC or ANG units where they work as Department of the Air Force civil servants (DAFC), performing the same job function whether in a DAFC or a military status.[2][3] ARTs are unique among DoD civil servants in that all commissioned officers and all enlisted personnel are required to wear their uniforms and utilize their rank titles at all times, whether in a DAFC civil service, regular drill, additional drill, or active duty status. The full-time use of military titles reduces confusion, especially in interaction with Active Component personnel and particularly in the cases of those AFRC and ANG units located on Active Component air force bases, naval air stations, army air fields or joint bases.

In their technically "civil service" role, Air Reserve Technicians are physically located at their AFRC or ANG unit and provide full-time day-to-day support for their units throughout the year, be it at the squadron, group, wing, numbered air force or major command (MAJCOM) level. Because uniformed military reserve status is a pre-condition of their employment as DAFC civil servants, ARTs, especially senior officers, are typically exempt from the mandatory retirement dates for their military pay grades and are retained in uniform until reaching civil service retirement eligibility at age 60.

Air Reserve Technicians also participate with other traditional reservists (TR) in AFRC and traditional guardsmen (TG) in ANG during weekend unit training assemblies (UTAs), additional weekday or weekend drills (to include Additional Flying Training Periods, or AFTPs, for aeronautically rated officers and enlisted aircrew), annual training (AT) active duty tours and additional active duty tours for training or operational support (ADT / ADOS), or active duty special work (ADSW) "man days" in both the Continental United States (CONUS) and outside the Continental United States (OCONUS).

ART personnel are also subject to mobilization/recall to full active duty with the Regular Air Force pursuant to Title 10 U.S.C 12301 and 12302 and subsequent assignment to Regular Air Force or joint U.S. military organizations. In this instance, they may be "mobilized" as individuals and assigned to other units, or as part of their parent AFRC or ANG unit being "mobilized" (to include "federalized" for ANG) all or in part for duty in CONUS and/or OCONUS, to include designated combat zones.[4]

ART personnel are predominantly assigned to operational AFRC and ANG flying units at the wing, group and squadron level, with a lesser number assigned to MAJCOMs, numbered air forces (NAFs), non-flying units and staffs. Their jobs span a broad spectrum within these organizations, including commander at the squadron, group and wing level, as well as various other Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSCs).

For commissioned officers, these AFSCs include, but are not limited to, Pilots and Navigators/Combat Systems Officers in nearly every USAF Mission Design Series (MDS) aircraft, flight instructors, tactics instructors and standardization/evaluators in those aircraft, aircraft maintenance officers, intelligence officers, logistics officers, nurses (including flight nurses), meteorologists, space operations officers, and administrative and personnel officers.

Enlisted ARTs are composed of enlisted aircrew positions such as flight engineer, loadmaster, pararescueman, air refueling boom operator, as well as non-flying enlisted positions such as aircraft maintenance technician, avionics maintenance technician, air traffic controller, fire fighter, Security Forces, airfield operations, communications, logistics, medical technician and administrative personnel. ARTs comprise approximately 17 percent of total AFRC and ANG unit manpower, with aircraft and avionics maintenance employing roughly 60 percent of the enlisted ART work force, where they average 17 years of job experience. Security Forces personnel also comprise a significant number of the enlisted ART force.

The ART program was first implemented in 1958 as the result of an Air Force study which showed that Air Force Reservists and Air National Guardsmen could be trained, and their operational readiness maintained, by fewer full-time Air Reserve Technicians than by a larger number of full-time active duty Regular Air Force personnel. The Air Reserve Technician program saved the Air Force $13 million (in 1958 $USD) during its first year of operation.

As of 2012, Air Reserve Technicians comprise over 10,500 of all personnel assigned in the Air Force Reserve Command, or approximately 15% of total AFRC manning. ART manpower in the Air National Guard comprises a slightly higher percentage, numbering approximately 18,000 personnel or +/- 17% of total Air National Guard personnel strength in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.[4]

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This article contains information that originally came from a US Government website, in the public domain.