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By Chris Erbe
| February 10, 2017
Air Force Individual Mobilization Augmentees with the DLA Joint Reserve Force staff at the IMA All-Call event Feb. 3, 2017. (Photo by Teodora Mocanu)
DLA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch addresses Air Force Individual Mobilization Augmentees and the DLA Joint Reserve Force staff at the IMA All-Call event Feb. 3, 2017. (Photo by Chris Erbe)
The DLA Joint Reserve Force hosted 45 Air Force Individual Mobilization Augmentees for a weekend of training, networking and team building at DLA Headquarters, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, on Feb. 3-5.
Attendees were part of a special group of reservists who work for DLA part-time in locations where they are often the only Air Force representatives. The IMAs came from all over the United States to attend the “All-Call” event, with some joining from overseas by video-teleconference.
“We’re focusing on our Air Force IMAs to make sure they’re connected with the DLA mission,” said Navy Rear Adm. Deborah Haven, director of the DLA Joint Reserve Force. “We also want to provide them some professional and leadership development and to help them navigate issues of readiness.”
The IMAs face steep challenges balancing their civilian and military careers, a subject DLA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch addressed.
“It’s hard to walk away from your civilian job to perform your uniformed duty and then jump back into civilian life,” he said. “It’s hard to manage all of the expectations that we have of you for your military education and development. I recognize your challenge from a resiliency perspective and I very much appreciate your contributions.”
The IMAs are different from the other reservists in that they do not report to a traditional reserve unit. Instead, they are responsible as individuals for ensuring their own readiness. “They’re citizen airmen, if you will, just like other reservists.” Haven said. “But they don’t have a unit structure. The other services offer development opportunities through their units. Our IMAs are required to be uniquely resourceful and the DLA Joint Training Team is one avenue they use to connect with readiness support.”
Networking was an important aspect of the weekend since most of the reservists work in singles or pairs. Organizers wanted to show attendees that they are not alone, but are part of a larger community of fellow IMAs and present the tremendous opportunities at DLA.
“You never know whether someone sitting next to you might be your lifeline for your next assignment or mobilization, so make sure you are introducing yourself to everyone in this room,” Haven said. “Put yourself out there, and you’ll learn what a powerful and professional group your fellow airmen are.”
DLA uses IMA assistance to support day-to-day operations and additional roles such as disaster relief, humanitarian crisis response or some other contingency requirement. DLA assigns them to posts throughout the agency, often performing services for one of the primary level field activities or the Joint Logistics Operations Center.
Part of the mission of the DLA Joint Reserve Force is to match the agency’s needs to the skill sets of reservists. The challenge for the IMAs is to make the necessary adjustments in their lives to fit their reserve service into their schedules.
“They have families, they have civilian jobs, [and] many of them are leaders in their communities,” Haven said. “So they’re doing lots of things, but if we can let them know well ahead of time, they’ll make it work for their schedule.”
During remarks to the group, Haven related her own experiences as a reservist, saying that her military career pushed her to do things she never dreamed she would be able to do. Her service added a dimension to her life that she could not have gotten anywhere else.