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NEWS | Aug. 24, 2023

Air Guard Leaders Emphasize Priorities at NGAUS Conference

By Master Sgt. David Eichaker, Air National Guard

RENO, Nev. - More than 1,800 Air and Army National Guard members heard from senior leaders about Guard priorities and contributions to the National Defense Strategy during the National Guard Association of the United States’ 145th General Conference and Exhibition Aug. 18-21.

Top Guard officials discussed the Air National Guard and what airpower brings to the joint fight.

“All of us together deliver combat airpower for America, and it is about combat air power,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Loh, director, Air National Guard. “It is about deterring, defeating, dominating (and) doing what we need to do for our joint force to get out there and compete and deter.”

The National Defense Strategy directs the military to sustain, strengthen and reinforce robust deterrence in the face of aggression while mitigating and protecting against threats from adversaries and violent extremist organizations. With more than 108,000 Air National Guard members, the ANG’s top general outlined how the organization contributes to that concept.

“Win the first fight of the joint warfighting concept — the fight to compete and deter,” said Loh. “It’s about projecting air power, defending our homeland, and it’s about projecting our power overseas — not in a rotational model, but as a collective air power.”

During a breakout session, the top Air Force official, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall III, discussed how the Guard contributes to the NDS.

“Your value is not going to be diminished by any of the things I’ve been talking about — it’s going to go up,” Kendall said. “We need a deep set of capabilities that can be brought to bear very quickly.”

Kendall said change is necessary.

“We have to accelerate change. … We’re going to have to let go of the old things that we’ve had that are increasingly obsolete,” he said. “We try in the Air Force very hard to protect the units that we have … so when we look at what to do, we modernize, we change the mix of the force — we are trying to retain the same kind of capabilities that we have already where we can.”

“All of you … are enormously valuable to us and we want you there doing your job to be part of our overall one team,” he said.

Other priorities laid out included recapitalizing the force, transitioning to new missions, managing over 25 of the 90 wings in transition, getting out of legacy platforms, and continuing to deliver air superiority.

“How do we make sure that when we said to the great state of Ohio that your C-130s are no longer valid and here’s a cyber mission — but not just any cyber mission— here’s the highest end of that cyber mission,” said Loh. “How are we going to operationalize the cyber mission in the great state of Ohio to deliver air superiority — that’s what we’re doing.

“Those are the modernization efforts that we’re going through across the entirety of our National Guard that will get us both the capability and the capacity to fight and win our nation’s wars — and deliver airpower anytime, anywhere,” he said.

In closing, the ANG director recapped the ANG’s three priorities.

“Recapitalize, innovate, engage. Continue to do those three things, and we’ll build the strongest Air Force we can,” said Loh.



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