Air National Guard - Overview

Overview

Established under Title 10 and Title 32 of the U.S. Code, the Air National Guard is part of the state National Guard and is divided up into units stationed in each of the 50 states and U.S. territories and operates under their respective state governor or territorial government. The Air National Guard may be called up for active duty by the state governors or territorial commanding generals to help respond to domestic emergencies and disasters, such as those caused by hurricanes, floods, fires, and earthquakes.

With the consent of state governors, members or units of the Air National Guard may be appointed, temporarily or indefinitely, to be federally recognized members of the armed forces, in the active or inactive service of the United States. If federally recognized, the member or unit becomes part of the Air National Guard of the United States, which is one of two reserve component of the United States Air Force, and part of the National Guard of the United States. Because both state Air National Guard and the Air National Guard of the United States relatively go hand-in-hand, they are both usually referred to as just Air National Guard.

Air National Guard of the United States units or members may be called up for federal active duty in times of Congressionally sanctioned war or national emergency. The President may also call up members and units of state Air National Guard using a process called "federalization", with the consent of state governors, to repel invasion, suppress rebellion, or execute federal laws if the United States or any of its states or territories are invaded or is in danger of invasion by a foreign nation, or if there is a rebellion or danger of a rebellion against the authority of the federal government, or if the President is unable to execute the laws of the United States with the regular armed forces.

The United States Air National Guard has about 110,000 men and women in service. The ANG is often described as a "reserve" force of "part-time airmen," although the demands of maintaining modern aircraft mean that many ANG members work full-time, either as full-time Military Technicians or Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) personnel. Even traditional part-time air guardsmen, especially pilots, navigators/combat systems officers, air battle managers and enlisted aircrew, often serve 100 or more man-days annually. As such, the concept of Air National Guard service as representing only "one weekend a month and two weeks a year" is not necessarily valid.

Many ANG pilots work for commercial airlines, but in the ANG they may train to fly any of the aircraft in the USAF inventory, with the current exception of the B-1B Lancer bomber and the AC-130 Gunship. The Georgia Air National Guard and the Kansas Air National Guard previously flew the B-1B Lancer prior to converting to the E-8 Joint STARS and KC-135R Stratotanker, respectively. In addition, the 131st Fighter Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard recently transitioned from flying the F-15C/D Eagle at St. Louis International Airport/Lambert Field Air National Guard Station to the B-2 Spirit.

In 2012, General Norton A. Schwartz defended cutting nearly twice as many service members from the air guard and reserve as from the active duty USAF, in order to maintain the service's surge and rotational capabilities.

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