As much expertise as the National Guard has compiled in homeland defense missions, Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley, National Guard Bureau boss, said he is not receptive to suggestions that would separate the Guard from the total force to serve solely in domestic missions. “This heads you down the road of being a constabulary force and won’t serve the nation as effectively,” McKinley said Tuesday at AFA’s Air & Space Conference. To dedicate the Guard—Army or Air—to domestic missions would erode capability across the total force.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.