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Maj Gen Carpenter
Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, acting director of the Army Guard, speaks to a panel of industry leaders at the Reserve Officer Association building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Dec. 8, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Darron Salzer) (Released)
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Directors: Air Guard, Army Guard are cost-effective forces

Posted 12/13/2010   Updated 12/13/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Army Sgt. Darron Salzer
National Guard Bureau


12/13/2010 - WASHINGTON (12/13/10) -- We are trained to the same standards of the active duty Air Force, we are available and on call 365 days a year, and it doesn't cost the taxpayer a thing until the governor picks up the phone, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry "Bud" Wyatt, director of the Air National Guard.

"I think that's a great value."

Wyatt said 70 percent of the Air Guard is made up of drill-status Guardsmen, "not employed by the federal government, which means that the Air Guard is a cost-effective force, and a value to America as we go through these tough economic times."

Like Wyatt, Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, acting director of the Army National Guard, also said the Army Guard is a cost-effective value for the United States, "but the national leadership has got to figure out how much belongs in the Army Guard and how much in the active component."

Speaking with a panel of industry leaders at the Reserve Officer Association here on Dec. 8, both directors agreed that personnel are the key to the value of both components.

"With about 106,700 Airmen in the Air Guard, we form about 20 percent of the total uniformed personnel of the U.S. Air Force." Wyatt said. "And what this all means is that any cuts in the Air Guard force structure would severely limit the capabilities of the Air Force."

"If we didn't have the people - and the right people - that we do today in the Army National Guard, then the rest of what we do today would not matter," Carpenter said.

"End-strength, and the recruiting and retention of our Soldiers have been to key where we're at now and will be for where we're going."

It's not just our personnel that make us cost effective, it's also our partnerships that we have with civilian airports, Wyatt said.

"We have about 75 percent of our wings co-located with municipal or city airports, which allows us access to about $12 billion in infrastructure for about $4 million a year," he said.

"For as little as the Air Guard is represented in the Air Force budget, we provide about 35 percent of the Air Force's combat capabilities. So as far as cost effectiveness goes, the Air Guard is a great investment."

As the Air Guard moves forward, it will be able to meet the challenges of the future, but recapitalizing the fleet will continue to allow the Air Guard to be a capable force, Wyatt said.

"The older these aircraft get, the more costly they will become to maintain. Another thing to consider is that with the change in the threats we face today, even maintaining these aircraft will not keep them as combat-ready," he said.

"It should come as no surprise that the Air Guard faces the same challenges as the active duty Air Force when it comes to modernizing our fleet, as [most] of our stuff is old and out of date."

Carpenter agrees that business and civilian partnerships have also helped the Army Guard achieve the successes that it has today.

"In the last five years, our equipment-on-hand percentages have risen from about 34 percent to about 89 percent," Carpenter said. "That is a tremendous [achievement] not only for us, but also for our business partners.

"However, as we continue to meet mission requirements at home and abroad, we need to ensure that we are putting our resources in the right places and to be provided services at the right cost and value that makes sense for us.

"If we can achieve this, then we can continue to be a cost effective National Guard."



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