Why does the Air Force want to consolidate Air National Guard squadrons? One answer: to gain efficiency. USAF believes the most effective size for a C-130 squadron is 16 aircraft. Because of the ANG’s stability and experience, Guard C-130 squadrons can make do with 12. The problem is that, as the graph shows, a typical ANG unit today has eight C-130s, and, without intervention, the number will fall to 6.7 per squadron by 2011. That, Maj. Gen. Gary Heckman told BRAC commissioners, makes the enterprise very inefficient. USAF wants to fix the problem by cutting ANG squadrons and consolidating aircraft into fewer, bigger units. This, of course, has caused a political explosion in the states.
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.