ANG’s Major Headache

Air National Guard boss Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley told lawmakers last week that the Air Guard’s “biggest problem” is recapitalizing the fleet, just as it is for the active force. However, speaking before the House Appropriations defense panel during its Feb. 28 hearing on Guard and Reserve budget issues, McKinley declared that apart from the need to just build some new airplanes, “we’ve got to look at how to do that in proportion so that active, Guard, and Reserve get those airplanes.” When asked by Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) how many new airplanes the Air Guard would get out of the Air Force’s Fiscal 2009 budget request, McKinley replied, “We won’t get any new aircraft this year.” He added that ANG has gotten some new MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles. When Dicks confirmed that Air Guard aircraft are, on average, 27 years old and heard that its tankers are 45 years old, he asserted, “We want to do something about that.” Yes, we do.