The Air National Guard will slash budgets for flying hours and other activities to meet $1.8 billion worth of cuts from Fiscal 2008 to 2013, said CMSgt. Richard Smith, ANG’s top enlisted man, at a recent enlisted symposium in Bismarck, Ark. He emphasized the Air Guard’s plan to sustain its current manpower level. Smith also noted that these actions and the undertaking of new Air Guard missions such as Predator operations, space and intelligence activities, and Joint Cargo Aircraft operations will transform ANG in the next five to 10 years. Of course, new missions mean new training, but with school slots at a premium, Smith acknowledged, “I don’t get a warm, fuzzy answer when I talk to folks on the Air Staff about school dates.” He is concerned that in its personnel downsizing move, the Air Force doesn’t forget that the Air Guard and Reserve need training slots to re-mission.
A majority of panelists convened by the Atlantic Council to assess the situation in Ukraine believe that Russia will have enough forces—and recent practice in Belarus—to invade Ukraine within a month. A senior Air Force official concurred, saying the service expects the conflict soon.