The Air National Guard (ANG), often referred to as the Air Guard, is an air force militia and a reserve component of the United States Air Force. Air National Guard organizations are organized by each of the fifty U.S. states, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia of the United States. Each state, the District of Columbia and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico each have a minimum of one ANG flying unit with either assigned aircraft or aircraft shared with a unit of the active duty Air Force under an "Associate" arrangement. The ANG of the territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands have no aircraft assigned and perform ground support functions. Air National Guard activities may be located on active duty air force bases, air reserve bases, naval air stations/joint reserve bases, or air national guard bases and stations which are either independent military facilities or collocated as tenants on civilian-controlled joint civil-military airports.
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 recognizedmembers of the armed forces, in the active or inactive service of the United States. If federally recognized, the member or unit becomes part of theAir 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. Like the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), the ANG is often described as a "reserve" force of "part-time airmen," although the demands of maintaining modern aircraft mean that many AFRC and ANG members work full-time, either as full-time Air Reserve Technicians (ART) 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 at Whiteman AFB as an "Associate" unit and re-designated as the 131st Bomb Wing.
In 2012, General Norton A. Schwartz, the then-Chief of Staff of the Air Force, defended cutting nearly twice as many service members from the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve as from the active duty USAF, in order to maintain the service's surge and rotational capabilities in the active duty Regular Air Force.
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