Director of ANG visits only blended Total Force Wing

  • Published
  • By Public Affairs Office
  • 116th Air Control Wing
The director of the Air National Guard visited the Air Force's only blended Total Force Wing, Feb. 10 and 11, as a part of his initiative to visit units and get a first hand look at the missions and troops of the Air National Guard.

During his visit to the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base, Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley was able to sit down with the wing public affairs staff to discuss the current state and the future of the Air National Guard. The following is an excerpt of that interview.
Q - How is the Total Force concept changing the relationship between the Air National Guard and the active duty Air Force?

A - Our Air Force is going through a journey, a period of time in which it is transforming itself to meet the needs of the 21st century. We therefore are trying to create organizational constructs that allow us to leverage the strengths of all our components and utilize the equipment we're given in the most efficient and effective way. We will do this through the Total Force Initiative process.

Q - How vital is the Air National Guard's role in the Global War on Terror?

A - On Sept. 11, 2001 the terrorists brought the war to us. And the National Guard responded, as it always has, by leaving their families and their jobs and joining hand-in-hand with their active duty counterparts and fighting the terrorists in the away game. While, at home we continue to defend the skies of the United States of America with our aircraft and our people.

Q - How has the Air National Guard changed since the beginning of the Global War on Terror?

A - What I've seen is a very positive change in that we've brought people together with a common cause who are well trained, well equipped and well led to fight the war. What has changed dramatically is that we are asking our citizen Airman to do far more than we ever did previously. We have transitioned from a strategic Reserve to an operational Reserve and I don't see any end in sight for that. It's creating an environment by which our people have to make tough choices, because all members of the Guard have three
main responsibilities: to their families, to their employers and to their nation. We have to remember that if we get any one of those out of balance it will create problems for the member. We have to keep it in balance.

Q - What are the Air National Guard's current top priorities?

A - We have priorities just like our Air Force has priorities so I am going to start with Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. T. Michael Moseley's priorities. His number one priority is to win the Global War on Terror and the Chief of National Guard Bureau, Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum and I agree with that. We will do everything we can in the National Guard to provide trained, equipped and readied forces. The second issue is that we want to take care of our Airman. So we want to make sure we leave no Airman behind and every Airman has a chance to perform up to his or her capabilities. Thirdly our Air National Guard must recapitalize its platforms so that we can be a ready, willing and trained partner in the 21st century Air Force. All three of those priorities that Gen. Moseley has set are mine and we want to make sure, additionally, that we don't lose our cultural identity as the nation's community based defense force. We are located in most every town and every state in this nation and we give people the opportunity to serve their nation where they live and that's important for our country and for our Air Force.

Q - Define an "Adaptable Airman."

A - An 'Adaptable Airman' is an Airman who understands that the United States is great because we're able to adapt to change. They understand that nothing stays constant forever and that airman who can transform in their lives, their careers and their abilities and capabilities to meet the demands of the day are those who are going to be most effective.

Q - How is the Air National Guard continuing to support the homeland mission with constant deployments overseas?

A - In the Air National Guard we have 106, 000 members and we have plenty of forces to meet our requirements in the Air Expeditionary Force and to do those things at home, like responding to natural disaster. We also have, at the national level with our governors and adjutants general, the ability to move Soldiers and Airmen across state lines to support other states at the request of the governors. This agreement has allowed us to fill the voids at home of Soldiers or Airmen who are deployed, by members of another state.

Q - What is the difference between a platform-based Air Force and a capabilities-based Air Force and how is the Air National Guard pushing towards becoming a capabilities based Air Force?

A - Over the last ten to fifteen years we have been able to adapt with greater technology to increasing reliance on space, information and cyber operations to make our Air Force
the strongest in the World. Through the transformation and through Total Force Initiatives our units will transform, over the next several decades, to missions that are relevant and that we can be relied upon to perform effectively. Our members must be accessible and we must be indispensable to our active components and our States as we move into a new era of war fighting and protecting our citizens.

Q - What is your impression after visiting the 116th ACW for the first time?

A - It was a great opportunity to visit the 116th as director of the Air National Guard, because I've seen the great results that the wing has achieved both overseas and at home. It reinforced that the strength of this wing is its people; that it's leadership and those who follow are some of the most dedicated professional airmen that I've seen in my travels around the country.