Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced legislation last week that would give the National Guard a larger presence within the Pentagon and enhance its ability to respond to its domestic responsibilities and deploy abroad. The two are co-chairs of the National Guard Caucus, and the bill—the National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act—would elevate the commander of the National Guard to a four-star position on the Joint Staff, as well as give the National Guard Bureau more authority to research, validate, and procure equipment essential to its mission. Leahy said that Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) would introduce identical legislation in the house.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.