The tensions between the Air Force and Air National Guard that spiked earlier this year with the release of the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2013 budget proposal actually go back to Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath in 2005, said Heather Hogsett, director of health and homeland security for the National Governors Association. The governors believed that the Defense Department was pushing too hard after Katrina for more authority over the Guard, she said on Oct. 19 during a panel discussion at the Military Reporters and Editors Conference in Washington, D.C. Those lingering tensions surfaced in February with the budget proposal’s release, as the governors and Guard supporters in Congress argued that the Air Guard would have to absorb a disproportionately unfair share of the Air Force’s planned force structure reductions—cuts that would have decimated the Air Guard, said Hogsett. However, Will Goodman, chief military policy advisor to Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), who co-chairs the Senate National Guard caucus, thinks “the Air Force and the Air Guard are doing very well now” as they come together to continue talks on future force structure. “We are trying to put the components back together,” said Goodman during the panel discussion.
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.