Blum Says No Personnel Cuts for Air Guard

Army Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, director of the National Guard Bureau, told Washington-based defense reporters Tuesday morning that the Air Force’s planned reduction of 40,000 personnel will not include Air National Guardsmen. The Air Force stated late last year in announcing the reduction that it would apply to active duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian personnel. The Air Force offered the NGB the option to cut personnel as a means to reduce costs, but Blum said, he and Air Guard leaders “did not think that was the best way to do it, because we really are not sure right now exactly what capabilities need to be in the Air Guard for the future total air force.” Blum asserted that the Air Guard believes it “would be smart” to first gain “better fidelity on what mission sets the Air Force wanted [ANG] to pick up.” Blum emphasized that ANG is willing to pay its share, but has decided to reduce flying hours and invoke other cost saving measures before cutting people. Bottom line, said Blum, “There will be no dramatic reduction in manpower in the Air National Guard in the near term.”