January 27, 2014
Credit: MSgt Marvin R. Preston/U.S. Defense Department
The National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force is due to report a long-awaited, congressionally charged set of recommendations Jan. 30. While proponents of the National Guard are sure to get a lift from the blue-ribbon panel's findings—a key reason why it was established—a major revamp of how active-duty and reserve USAF forces and Air National Guard are structured, equipped and funded does not seem to be in the government's flight plans.
To be sure, the National Guard—a large wing of the total U.S. military that answers to state governors until activated by the U.S. president—could see recommended increases in cyber and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions and manpower in coming budget cycles. Likewise, homeland defense missions such as domestic air patrol, disaster response and aerial refueling capabilities will remain key duties of the reserve components.