Air Force leaders aren’t quite sure what the 21st century Total Force will look like, but they know it will play a vital role in the future operating environment. Speaking at AFA’s Air & Space Conference Tuesday afternoon, National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Craig McKinley said Air Force leadership is reviewing several proposals outlining possible ways the Air National Guard can integrate. However, he said, “We aren’t far enough in to it to figure that out” yet. Some critical factors that will play into the decision will be exactly what can the Guard afford? How many missions should the Guard and Reserve take on in 12 to 18 months? “Those questions should be answered first because we want to make sure it’s a well informed decision and we put our capabilities on the line,” said McKinley.
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.