The “More Pressing” Case:

National Guard Bureau chief Army Lt. Gen. Steven Blum did not mince words when he told attendees at the Guard’s Counterdrug Program conference last month that the fight against terrorism overseas takes precedence over the counterdrug effort when it comes to tasking the Air National Guard’s RC-26 aircraft, according to an April 2 NGB report. The Air Guard has 11 RC-26 aircraft, laden with reconnaissance and aerial photography equipment, that are used primarily in the counterdrug effort, but they also support overseas operations and domestic actions like firefighting. In Southwest Asia, the aircraft are supporting special forces. Blum said, “If I had a choice of National Guard assets flying around taking out criminals domestically or overseas targeting criminals going after our troops internationally, I know where I would rather see them.” He added: “Counterdrug is a big deal for the defense of this nation. It is not more or less important than the fight against terrorism. One is just more pressing than the other right now.” (NGB report by Cheryl Hackley)