The Arizona Air National Guard has activated the 214th Reconnaissance Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., culminating a two-year effort to incorporate the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle into Arizona ANG operations, reports Capt. Gabe Johnson. Airmen of the new unit actually began flying MQ-1 Predator in combat operations over Southwest Asia in July, operating the UAVs remotely from ground stations in Tucson. The group plans to complete construction of permanent ground control facility at Davis-Monthan in 2009 and hangar facilities at Ft. Huachuca in 2011. Arizona ANG commander, Maj. Gen. Michael Shira, calls the effort just the beginning. He said: “There are things we can do with this airplane that we haven’t even thought of yet. This is the future.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.