2017: a year of changes, improvements for HQ RIO

  • Published
  • By Col. Kelli B. Smiley
  • Headquarters Individual Reservist Readiness and Integration Organization

Headquarters Individual Reservist Readiness and Integration Organization filled last year with changes in personnel, office moves and consolidation, new software implementation to better support our customers and the launch of a cutting-edge mobile app. In addition to providing readiness support to more than 7,000 IRs, we equipped hundreds to deploy, support as exercise leaders and respond to natural disasters.

We launched 2017 with the RIO Connect IMA Mobile Wingman App. Since its release on Feb. 7, 2017, more than 3,400 users have installed the app to access the information needed to manage their Air Force careers. We continue refining this tool to provide user-friendly information and secure access to online services such as webmail, Defense Travel Systems (DTS) and myPay. We will release more about this capability in the coming weeks.

We also implemented the myPers Console personnel program, a customer relationship management tool that empowers RIO personnel technicians to track, access and work on customer service requests while enabling customers to view their own service requests and updates. Also, the RIO website now has links to even more relevant resources and training.

In addition to these initiatives, we had several leadership changes. I assumed command as HQ RIO’s third commander on June 12, 2017, and our new director of operations, Ms. Dianne Ferrarini, who already strives to streamline and enhance our many systems and processes. 

Two major offices moved in 2017, the biggest of which was the relocation of the IR Travel Office from Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, to the HQ RIO offices at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. Ending in November after a tremendous six month effort, the move marked the first time since RIO’s activation in 2014 that all HQ functions were located under one roof.

The consolidation of RIO Detachment 8 aimed to better serve IRs stationed in Europe. The operating location at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, closed its doors in the fall and all Det 8 staff now work out of the main office at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany. Along with these milestone events, RIO professionals labored to equip IRs for their many missions and to better manage their careers. The IR Travel Office processed or reviewed more than 27,000 vouchers for payment and answered more than 50,000 phone calls and emails. The Reserve Pay Office and our orders writers likewise wrote and processed tens of thousands of orders for duty and payment.

Responsible for ensuring IRs are ready and able to support deployments and exercises, the RIO readiness section supported more than 20 deployments to six U.S. combatant commands, ensured more than 100 IRs were in place to support exercises and postured more than 70 Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers for responses to Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as to support the President of the United States.

I am fortunate to have met many of you during my 2017 detachment visits. Thank you for your time and honest feedback. I heard your concerns and want to assure you the RIO team works to improve your Airman experience. In alignment with your input, the RIO mission and vision, I released three RIO Strategic Priorities to drive our 2018 agenda. We commit to these priorities and to provide the Air Force the:

Right Airmen—Recruit, support and retain our world-class talent

Ready and Available—Exceed readiness and mobility capabilities

Relationship-minded—Connect with and deliver value to military and community partners

Underpinning each of these priorities is our focus to improve our processes and the level of customer service we provide to each Airman. We partner with Headquarters Air Force and Air Force Reserve Command to embrace new technology solutions as well as address policy and processes that need to be revisited to best support our mission.

Thank you for what you do each and every day to support our great nation. Your sacrifices are noted and appreciated. I am honored to work alongside this team of committed RIO professionals, they are committed to improving RIO operations, the IR program and our support to each and every IR. They tirelessly face tough challenges to make this program the best in the Air Force Reserve. This team is honored to serve each of you!