Why Is There a Separate Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard?

Why is there a separate Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard?

I remembered something I read in G2MIL a year or two ago:

The Air Guard has no state function whatsoever. It slipped into existence in 1947 when the US Air Force was established and grew into a separate entity; it even has 11 musical bands. The USA has no Navy National Guard or Marine Corps National Guard, and if someone proposed the idea it would be rejected as unneeded, costly, and redundant. There is no need for an Air National Guard; it should be absorbed in the Air Force Reserve. How many times has the Governor of Missouri called upon its F-15 fighter squadron (right) to help in an emergency? How many times have Governors called up a B-1 bomber squadron, or a KC-135 tanker squadron? There are cases were Air Guard C-130s assist state governments, yet there are also cases where Air Force Reserve C-130s assist as well.

If that’s true, then Air Guard should be folded into the Air Force Reserve.

He then writes:

There is no need for an Air National Guard; it should be absorbed in the Air Force Reserve.[…] This is not a proposal to downsize Air Guard assets or personnel, although it will eliminate the 50 state Air Guard headquarters, plus the four in Puerto Rico, Guam, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. These headquarters serve no function in the defense of the United States or the US Air Force. They are merely a jobs program which allow Governors to promote political supporters who in turn politicize the promotion and assignment process within the Air Guard. Experienced Air Force pilots often find it difficult to secure a slot in the Air Guard because “they don’t know anyone”. In addition, training of Air Guard units is often disrupted by demands to support state events and provide expensive “joy rides” in military aircraft for state leaders and political donors. In many smaller states, the state Air Guard headquarters has just one unit to “command”. Eliminating the 54 Air Guard headquarters will free over 1000 airmen for real duties.[…] It merely recognizes that the Air Guard command and administrative structure is unneeded, and that state governments, the US Air Force, and the American people will benefit if the Air Guard is absorbed into the Air Force Reserve. This will free a thousand headquarters airmen for duty in squadrons, allow the needed consolidation of some units, and permit airmen to fill reserve positions anywhere in the nation.

It sounds right to me.

I guess I should go over the archive of G2MIL again. The sites has good ideas. It also sometimes has crazy ideas and borderline conspiracy mongering. I’ll try to post somethings this week.


3 Responses

  1. Air defense of the continental U.S. was its main mission.

    Redundancy in command & control elements is a feature, not a bug, of state forces.

    Take Carlton Meyer seriously at your own risk.

  2. Thanks for the heads up. Could you elaborate?

  3. I had never heard of the guy until about 4 years ago when Strykers were new. He didn’t like them, and he wrote a lot of stuff that turned out to be wrong. He’s usually described as a “dissident.” In my opinion he makes his living trying to convince the gullible that the defense of the Republic is in the hands of fools and everything would be so much better if we all did it his way.


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