Canada a leader in the International Air Reserve Symposium

Magazine Article / July 8, 2020 / Project number: RCAF-Excelsior-Summer-2020-4

Established in 1992, the International Air Reserve Symposium (IARS) is a valuable forum for Senior Air Reserve representatives from global air forces and their Air Reserve components to discuss common Air Force Reserve topics and facilitate the sharing of experiences and information on common themes. Countries currently participating in IARS are Australia, Canada (represented by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)), Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States (represented by its United States Air Force (USAF) Reserve and United States Air National Guard).

IARS 2019 was hosted by the Royal Danish Air Force at the Frederiksberg Palace, home of the Royal Danish Military Academy, in Copenhagen, Denmark from 11 – 14 September 2019. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) was represented by Colonel Shawn Marley, Director Air Reserve, and Major Warren Hruska, 17 RCAF Reserve Flight Commander.

The Danish Air Force Reserve provided attendees an overview of its own current and future operating pictures as well those of their Air Force Home Guard, Specialist Reserve, Artic Region, and the Ministry of Defence. In addition, the USAF Reserve Command briefed on the issues it faces, and the Royal Australian Air Force presented the total workforce system they now utilize. These briefings provided the necessary background information for the attendees to break into groups to discuss attraction, employment, retention, and work-life balance of their respective Air Force Reserve personnel - topics that are common to all. IARS-related presentations were provided by the Secretary of IARS, Committee of Leadership Development (COLD) and host of IARS 2020. The symposium concluded with a Mess Dinner hosted by the Commander of the Royal Danish Air Force, Major-General Anders Rex.

As a sub-committee of IARS, the COLD is established to provide oversight and conduct of international leadership courses. Although named as a committee, there is only one appointed position, that of COLD Secretary, through which the RCAF’s own Maj Hruska is charged with overseeing and administering the training on behalf of IARS. An Air Logistics Officer by occupation, Maj Hruska joined the RCAF Reserve in 2001 and has since held various positions at 15 Wing in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and in Winnipeg at 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters (Cdn Air Div HQ), Directorate Air Reserve, 17 Wing and 2 Cdn Air Div HQ.

The two courses sponsored by IARS are the International Junior Officer Leadership Development (IJOLD) and International NCO Leadership Development (INLEAD). Provision of these courses are not limited to one country, as the location and conduct of training is rotated throughout the participating countries annually. This year, IJOLD was hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force in Canberra, Australia and INLEAD was hosted by Switzerland in Stans. Plans are underway for the United Kingdom to host IJOLD and United States Air Force Reserve to host INLEAD in 2020.

Watch future issues of Excelsior for news on these courses and the specially-selected RCAF reservists who attend them!

Quote from Colonel Shawn Marley, Director RCAF Reserve

IARS provides an opportunity to share lessons and best practices amongst Allies. Each nation is able to build from the successes others. For example, the USAF have modelled their US Space Command reserve from the Australian experiences with their Total Workforce System – something which we are watching with interest in the RCAF. The participating IARS nations have expressed strong interest in our Air Operations Support Technician occupation, many with plans to implement a similar low-investment, high-return employment concept in their own reserve elements. The exchange of ideas and results from practical experience at IARS strengthen each of our nations and reinforces our international partnerships.

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