According to Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt, Air National Guard director, US Northern Command officials are “conducting a study on their current requirements” to cover the air sovereignty alert mission, currently met by 18 alert sites, 16 of them covered by the Air Guard. That study, due “pretty soon,” will be the first one conducted since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and will “determine if 18 is the required number or if it’s perhaps more or a little bit less,” said Wyatt. If the answer is less, that might solve a big problem for the Air Guard, which expects to have a significant portion of its fighter fleet reach the end of their service lives by 2017 if not sooner. However, whichever way the NORTHCOM study comes down, Wyatt told the House Armed Services readiness panel April 27, the Air Force Chief of Staff has “pledged adequate resources to make sure that [ASA] mission is covered.”
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.