The National Commission of the Structure of the Air Force is weighing a proposal to merge the US Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard, but hasn’t found much support from the leadership of either branch.
An Oct. 24 hearing was focused on a proposal from five retired Air Force major generals, two from the Reserve and three from the Guard, which would essentially combine the duties of the two arms of the service into one command structure. A white paper outlining the group’s ideas has been circulated around the Pentagon since 2011, but the commission represents the most likely chance it could be adopted.
The five retired generals — Tommy Dyches, Bugs Forsythe, Andy Love, Dick Platt and Frank Scoggins — submitted testimony to the commission in August in support of their white paper.
“We believe the new organization will provide greater safety for the people of America in their homes and communities, significant cost savings through the elimination of redundancies and a more efficient vehicle to fulfill the needs of the USAF, the combatant commanders and the nation,” the men wrote in their August testimony.
Supporters of the plan say it could save the service money, eliminating redundancies without a loss of capability. But opponents contend it would lead to a lesser force and argue that the duties performed by the Guard and Reserve are simply too different to successfully integrate — and that real world politics in Washington would render such a suggestion dead in the water.
As the article says, the idea makes budgetary sense, but it would be political suicide for the politician that would ever vote for this. But it does raise the question; why do individual states need their own separate air forces? I can see a need for various states to have ground forces for perform certain law enforcement and civil duties such as disaster relief.