The Air National Guard is a lean and responsive organization, both in its mission to state governors and its federal responsibilities, but isn’t meant to be all things to all missions, said Lt. Gen. Bud Wyatt, Air Guard director. “There are some missions the Air Force is called to do that we are well structured for,” he told attendees of AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., last week. That’s because the Air Guard’s mobilization cycle and unique authorities give it a great deal of flexibility, he said. Due to the Guard’s locations and skills, homeland response and surge operations, such as last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the Haiti humanitarian earthquake response, are the sort of missions for which it is well structured, he said.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.