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US National Guard

Kirkhill

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I thought the US National Guard deserved separate consideration.


The Guard .... provide 20 percent of the joint force at about 4 percent of the budget — now, it’s not really four, because we use the current service schools and stuff like that, so you know, you could argue what that is in a total amount. But what we have to do is we have to find that balance to where our guardsmen can do their civilian career, they can have their guard career, and frankly, balance that with their family.

at the end of the day, we’ve got an incredible responsibility as 20 percent of the joint force to have ready and capable units when they need them. But we can’t have that if we take so much from people that they end up departing the organization.

You know, like [making the Guard into] school bus drivers during COVID. I totally got it, there was a significant concern, you looked at the demographics, so we were there for the emergency. But once the emergency is over, then, you know, let’s get that back to the people [for whom it’s their] livelihood.

I totally forgot about the bus driver thing. Also a lot of teaching, right?

Interestingly, some of our guards went, “Actually, wow, I love teaching. I want to become a teacher.” So now they have a new civilian job teaching, and they’re still in the guard. And, you know, like many of them, they leverage that skill set, and you never know where it’s gonna lead.

a lot of the state partners (Edit: countries), they’re watching [what is happening in Ukraine]. And of course, each of their countries has their own different view and intelligence service, or just their relationship to what’s going on Ukraine with their respect to their part of the world. And so they’re looking at what can they learn from that or what lessons may be applied to them. And I think it’s causing all of them to, you know, take a look [and say] “Okay, we didn’t think that there’ll be another major war in Europe. And now there is and so, okay, where are we right now?” Recently, we signed a partnership with Austria, a neutral country, and they saw value in a partnership where we trained together, we learn from one another.

For guardsmen, it makes us a lot better, too. Because now you take some of our young men and women that go from their state to a foreign country, they get to help learn the language, they see the environment that they operate in. And then they also get an appreciation for the global environment or the regional issues that they face. So when I was the adjutant general of Oregon, our state partnership was with Vietnamflooding, wildfires, tsunamis, very similar disasters that we faced, but we shared what we learned from each other. And they said, “Hey, here’s what we do in the Mekong Delta, when we have annual flooding.” We gained a lot from that, and then we talked to them about, “Hey, we have forest fires almost every year in the northwest, here’s how we fight those.” And so by being a two-way relationship, both the state and the country get great buy-in. And in many cases, [the size of a state’s] National Guard is probably equivalent to the size of the military of their partner nation. And so in many cases, it’s almost a peer-to-peer conversation.
 
25 Air National Guard squadrons all needed.


“We have 25 fighter squadrons in the Guard right now. And when I look at the global demand, my personal view is I think we need to keep all 25 of those. I think our nation needs that capability,” he said.

Hokanson acknowledged calls to retire the A-10 and echoed remarks from Kendall about the need to retain similar missions for squadrons impacted by cuts. As F-35s and F-15EXs are delivered, he said the Guard is working with the Air Force to “cascade the planes that are still good into Guard units” until all that exists are F-35s, F-15EXs and newer F-16s. He then added that “if Congress ever added a few extra fighter jets every year, we could get there faster.”

After warming up to the Air Force’s plans to retire the A-10 fleet, some lawmakers are still skeptical of the service’s overarching divestment strategy. Under its authorization language, the House Armed Services Committee would prevent the Air Force from retiring older F-22 Raptors that service officials emphasize are not combat coded. And Rep. Don Bacon, a Nebraska Republican and retired one-star Air Force general, has proposed a mandate to keep a minimum of 25 Guard fighter squadrons.

“I think what’s a little different is that the Air Force has the strategy behind it,” he said. “If you believe that we should structure our forces for high-end, peer combat, particularly with China, that would incline you to get rid of a lot of the older aircraft.”

However, Cancian said he would favor the United States maintaining a “global capability,” including by retaining older jets for conflict in less contested environments. “I think it is possible to moderate some of the cuts,” he replied when asked where the Air Force could find the budget space to hold on to older platforms, suggesting that some procurement of jets like the F-35 and certain R&D efforts that “won’t see the light of day” could be slashed.
 

Lighter and mobile: Army trains first National Guard unit with new network equipment

“So what this does is allow us now to move and be more mobile on the battlefield and get out of the way [of] adversaries capabilities to take out our command post," Brig. Gen. Jeth Rey said. "So this is really going to enhance what we’re doing, making this lighter, mobile, less detected.”​

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I'm going to guess that that type of gear could come in handy domestically as well.
 
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