According to the head of the National Guard Bureau, the Guard is in “very serious negotiations” with the Air Force over the proposed personnel cuts to the Air National Guard. As part of its five-year plan to cut some 40,000 airmen, USAF said it wanted to cut ANG by around 14,000. Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, NGB chief, recently told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the Air Force has been unable to “adequately describe” how they reached that number for the Air Guard. “They realize that there is a flaw in the calculation,” asserted Blum, adding that USAF is working with Guard officials to “determine exactly what that manpower bill needs to be.” Blum did not rule out the possibility of ANG reductions, however, he agreed with earlier testimony by the outgoing ANG director, Lt. Gen. Daniel James III, who said a recent manpower study showed ANG needed to grow to accomplish all its missions. Blum testified that the study indicated ANG needed 12,000 to 19,000 additional airmen.
Changes are coming this year for Airmen taking professional military education (PME) distance learning courses. Closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone course, and more feedback on test performance are meant to improve the overall experience for distance learning students, who often include members of the Air National Guard.