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Beddown options for Air National Guard C-27J Aircraft.

Mr. John Conway's article "Beddown Options for Air National Guard C-27J Aircraft: Supporting Domestic Response" (Summer 2010) speaks to a bigger issue we could resolve with a transformational organizational shift within the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In a post-Cold War, post-11 September 2001, post-Katrina environment, we should model the Army / National Guard and Air Force / Air National Guard pairings after the model of the Navy / Coast Guard. By doing this, the National Guard and Air National Guard would each elevate to the status of separate services but simultaneously move from the DOD to the DHS. With this move, there would obviously be a shift in roles and missions, which would generate changes in force structure. However, within the Air Force, for example, you could still leverage the concepts of Total Force Integration to continue operating similar equipment (C-130s and remotely piloted aircraft come to mind) with the now-partnered DOD/DHS units. This move to the DHS would leave the Army and Air Force with active duty and reserves within the DOD (both of which are Title 10-funded components). It would also unite the National Guard, Air National Guard, and Coast Guard under the DHS for homeland security roles and missions such as augmenting border patrol and counternarcotics units; conducting search and rescue; and handling oil spills, hurricanes, and other national disaster responses. The "guards" are less encumbered with posse comitatus legal restrictions and are better suited for these roles than the active duty forces, but the current organizational construct of keeping them as components (and not services) within the DOD inhibits their ability to better serve in these roles.

Lt Col John M. Fair, USAF

Charleston AFB, South Carolina


The idea of transitioning the Air Guard and Army Guard into Coast Guard-like organizations, separate from the Air Force and Army, merits serious consideration. However, one must remember that the Coast Guard has a unique peacetime mission (transitioning to the Navy only in wartime), while the Air Guard and Army Guard--currently focused on overseas combat operations--play key roles in future war plans. To extract them from the war-planning process and--as a direct consequence--the budgetary process stemming from it would reduce their ability to acquire and maintain equipment, coordinate training, and seamlessly integrate into Air Force and Army structures in time of war.

Although there must be more focus on military support to civil authorities (MSCA), the Air Force and Army simply are not organized to divest themselves of the National Guard in order to have the Guard support a still-evolving mission (MSCA).

Col John Conway, USAF, Retired

Maxwell AFB, Alabama

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Author:Fair, John M.
Publication:Air & Space Power Journal
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Sep 22, 2010
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