Think Big Picture

“Everyone is not going to be totally satisfied and ecstatic with the outcome,” of mission realignments, National Guard Bureau chief Lt. Gen. Steven Blum told defense reporters Wednesday morning, and the Air Guard is “going to have to make some tough choices” during the transition from old missions to emerging ones. “We’re going to have to divest of some old aircraft that are near and dear to a lot of people and a lot of communities, and [that] have a lot of tradition attached to them,” he said. Blum cited the case of North Dakota’s Air Guard, which recently gave up its old F-16s for C-21s and Predator operations. Later, the “Happy Hooligans” are expected to take on Joint Cargo Aircraft missions. The key to minimizing political fireworks, explained Blum, will be to “figure out what the nation really needs, and what the governor really needs. There is a balance there.”