Plans are progressing well toward the standup of the National Guard’s first two homeland response force units in this fiscal year, according to Gen. Craig McKinley, the Guard’s top boss. “I was briefed by my team last week, and this effort is on track,” stated McKinley during a speech this week at the 2011 National Guard Bureau domestic operations workshop in National Harbor, Md. He added, “I’ve heard from the states involved. They’re confident and ready to perform.” These first two HRFs will be in Ohio and Washington. The Guard announced these plans last June. An HRF unit will provide a self-deployable capability to respond domestically to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield-explosive incidents. The Defense Department intends to establish one unit for each of FEMA’s 10 regions nationwide. (NGB release by TSgt. John Orrell)
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.