The Air National Guard likely will get smaller—just as the Air Force’s active duty component and Air Force Reserve will—due to the coming budget crunch across the Defense Department, said Lt. Gen. Bud Wyatt, Air National Guard director. It also will probably see its percentage share of the combat air forces and mobility air forces decrease, said Wyatt earlier this month at a Center for Strategic and International Studies-sponsored event in Washington D.C. “That is the direction that I have been given,” he said. “The discussions continue. We don’t know what the final force shaping is going to be depending upon the size of the budget. So that decision could change.” Such a transition would present the Air Guard with the opportunity to continue shifting some of its remaining force structure to emerging missions like cyber and remotely piloted aircraft operations and into areas “that serve our governors very well,” such as engineering, medical, and communications, noted Wyatt in his comments on Nov. 18. “So I don’t necessarily look at it as a bad thing. I look at it as a challenge and an opportunity.” (CSIS webpage of event, including video)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.