Air Force announcement impacts Michigan Air National Guard assets at Selfridge

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  • By 127th Public Affairs
Air Force officials announced proposed force structure changes which support the new DoD strategic guidance retiring 286 aircraft over the next five years, including 227 in fiscal year 2013. Included in this are changes to the Michigan Air National Guard at both Battle Creek and Selfridge Air National Guard Bases.

According to Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Donley, the Air Force is shaping itself for future challenges by realigning Air Force assets with the Defense Department's new strategic guidance.

The new strategic guidance requires the joint force to be capable of fighting one large scale, combined arms campaign with sufficient combat power to also deny a second adversary, and de-emphasized large-scale, prolonged stability operations. The Air Force's approach to this new strategy is to retire fighter, mobility, and ISR, Intelligence Surveillance and reconnaissance craft, which are beyond those needed to meet the capacity requirements of the new strategic guidance.

The announcement today stated that the the Air Force would eliminate the A-10 Thunderbolt II mission from the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, while the unit would also gain four additional KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft.

"Obviously the message is clear that we will continue flying operations at... Selfridge; but these changes aren't a one for one trade. We are still awaiting AF determination of non-flying mission adjustments and the next affects of the projected cuts. This is a process,and we are in the early stages. More details will follow in the coming weeks with greater fidelity on the future missions or manning for our state," said Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, Director and Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard. "We expect to get more information on the full impact of these proposals in March - that is when our leadership will be able to share specific future mission information and manpower numbers."

The AF announcement specifies the Total Force structure changes will save $8.7 Billion over the next five years via reductions across Air Force Active Duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve components.

Col Michael Thomas, 127th Wing commander, stated, "Similar to past BRAC recommendations, these initial proposals will likely change throughout the authorization process. We will remain focused on our current missions and the safety of our Airmen while these proposals are going through that process.

"We know the Air National Guard leadership is working hard to reach fiscally responsible decisions that benefit the force at large, including Airmen at this wing. However, this unit has earned more than a decade of combat experience and we want to retain that experience in the most cost effective way possible. Regardless of the final Congressional decision, the Airmen of the 127th Wing will continue to fulfill their missions with the professionalism and dedication that we've always displayed."

For fiscal years 2014-2017 the Air Force plans to reduce 50-plus aircraft from its inventory, continue to reshape the missions between the Total Force, and increase Reserve Component participation in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance as well as cyber missions.

Implementation of these actions will occur only after completion of appropriate environmental analyses. The Air Force is scheduled to announce related force structure manpower changes in March.

"There is no change to the Michigan Army Guard contemplated in the FY 13 reduction," said Vadnais. "But let's be honest, changes of this magnitude tend to have a trickledown effect, making every service member in Michigan, where unemployment numbers are already high, very nervous. I want to assure my Soldiers and Airmen that I will do everything I possibly can to ensure that the uniquely talented men and women of the Michigan Air and Army National Guard maintain their missions in service to their state and country."