Increased global threats at a time when the Active Duty Air Force is the smallest it’s ever been have meant the Air National Guard is “very busy,” ANG Director Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke said at ASC15 on Wednesday. “As the Air Force gets smaller, the Air National Guard held its own,” he said, adding that the one-to-five deployment-to-home station time “doesn’t apply anymore.” The Air Force is studying the mix of Active Duty to ANG and Air Force Reserve and found USAF “is about 12 percent short of being able to provide the number of deployments” and assets required by combatant commanders, said Air Staff plans and requirements boss Lt. Gen. Mike Holmes. “The bottom line is, I’m not hearing any complaints out of the Guard, they’re very proud of what they do, they want to continue to serve,” said Clarke, but he cautioned that nothing looks to change anytime soon. “When does a big heap of money come in and grow the force structure? We don’t see that, so we’re trying to make sure we strike the right balance,” he said.
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.