A Wise Choice

Keeping the National Guard strong is crucial as the nation grapples with modernizing the US military and sustaining global operations during a time of flattening budgets, says Gen. Craig McKinley, National Guard Bureau chief. “The nation must invest limited resources wisely to provide for the future security of Americans, and a wise, value-added choice is a ready, capable, and accessible National Guard,” writes McKinley in a newly issued document, The National Guard: A Great Value for America. McKinley argues that the Guard’s 460,000 members offer a unique blend of skills. They are able to carry out domestic support in times of crisis and participate in overseas missions—all cost-effectively. The Air National Guard, for example, requires only 7 percent of the Air Force budget in Fiscal 2010, yet it makes up 19 percent of total USAF personnel and maintains 30 percent to 40 percent of the service’s fighter, tanker, and airlift capacity, he notes.