BRAC commissioners left a special hearing without resolving the dispute over DOD plans to eliminate some ANG flying units around the country. In fact, Chairman Anthony Principi declared (according to the Washington Post) that the panel’s job had been made “more difficult.” Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, joined senior USAF officials in pitching the Pentagon case, maintaining the plan would not jeopardize US air defense. State Guard representatives claim the plan would do just that and would hinder recruiting and retention. The hearing, held last Thursday, was supposed to help bring about a compromise. It didn’t.
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.