Flying Unit in Every State Under Scrutiny

NGAUS Washington Report

The desire for an Air National Guard flying unit in each state was discussed last week when the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force met for the third time.

“Why does a governor need an F-16?” wondered Les Brownlee, a former undersecretary of the Army and a commission member.

The answer, according to a report from the Air Force Times, came from Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, the Iowa adjutant general, who explained that the medical units, maintenance, security and other capabilities in a wing are crucial for such things as fighting floods.

Plus, he said, “[W]e’re the reserve of the Air Force. We have to have that same capability and capacity.”

Orr noted that state leaders are meeting with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials to determine what catastrophes are most likely and what assets would be needed. Their report in the fall will help determine Air Guard resources, he said, according to the publication.

Heather Hogsett, the director of the homeland security committee at the National Governors Association, told the newspaper, “If [governors] don’t have [the assets], they are interested in making sure that at least regionally, they can access it very quickly.”

Also at the commission meeting, Brownlee asked, “Is it time to think of a hybrid of the Reserve and the Guard?”

Orr said it was time to begin that discussion between leaders on Capitol Hill and the Pentagon.