Degrading America’s Ability to Defend Against the Incursion of Russian Military Aircraft in Alaska

Image: Wikimedia Commons (F15 escorts Russian aircraft in Alaska)

Several key responsibilities of the Alaska Air National Guard will suffer at the behest of the National Guard Bureau, which is essentially taking away those qualified to conduct their mission to protect the United States.

In January, the director of the Air National Guard sent an email to the 54 individuals that form the Adjutants General Association of the United States (AGAUS) who are tasked with bolstering state and national military security.

The email announced “a cross-leveling” of all Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) positions in every state. The total number of AGRs across all states has been capped at 25,333 by congressional mandate for the past four to five years.

The Gateway Pundit spoke to Alan Brown, who currently serves as the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Alaska National Guard and Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Brown retired from the Army in 2020 after 23 years of active-duty service.

He said that while the cross-leveling will unfold across the country, Alaska will be “the hardest hit.” According to him, “Alaska is by far the most operational Air National Guard unit.” While he is “not discounting the harm that will be done to brothers and sisters-in-arms in the lower 48,” he said their “operational tempo” is not the same as Alaska’s. “The odds of another state having the same op tempo and the same number of 24/7 alert missions is very, very slim.”

By September 30, Brown said 88 of the state’s AGR positions would be forced to convert to the status of a dual military technician, which is essentially a GS government employee. Dual-status technicians “take a very significant pay cut,” while their pay also becomes taxable, he said. They are not eligible for TRICARE, the healthcare program for service members. And they lose the ability to collect an active-duty pension after 20 years of service.

“On paper,” Brown said, “it looks like we’re not losing any capability of our military force, but a dual-status technician is prohibited from conducting many necessary federal missions.”

The Alaska Air National Guard is the only air refueling wing in the region, as well as the only trio of combat search and rescue squadrons. Brown said they also assist North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) with their mission to provide aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and protect the continental United States and Canada.

“We enable U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) with their missions,” he added. “We track ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) if they’re launched, and we detect aircraft or foreign objects coming into our airspace all across the entire region.”

While NORAD and NORTHCOM are “ultimately responsible” for the West Coast’s homeland defense mission, Brown said, “[The Alaska Air National Guard] are essential enablers to that mission.”

And with each mission, he said, “there is no room for failure and no room to be left short-handed.”

“Based on conversations with the squadron commanders and the leadership within the air guard wings,” Brown said, “we expect that our ability to execute our four central missions is going to be severely degraded.”

By June, a 40 percent degradation in air defense and a 60 percent degradation in combat search and rescue capabilities are expected. Apart from their responsibilities to the military, he said search and rescue teams conduct an average of 100 to 150 civil search and rescue missions across the state every year.

By October, a 40 percent reduction in air refueling capability has been predicted. And for their space warning mission, a 50 percent degradation is possible.

For Brown, the nine-month notice is “a very short notice” to make the required personnel changes. “At the same time,” he said, “we have to continue our various missions and continue to train our people to perform these missions with fewer people able to participate in them.”

Brown said, “Alaska will be the state that’s affected the greatest [by the cross-leveling], and the irony here is that we’re in one of the most strategic places in the world to provide security to our nation.”

He proposes a minimum two-year pause on AGR conversions to allow for thorough operational, personnel, and legal analysis of the National Guard Bureau’s decision to shake up the force. “Ideally, we want to raise awareness at the most senior levels that leads to an increase of AGR authorizations across the National Guard Force,” Brown added.

The National Guard Bureau didn’t respond by press time to requests by The Gateway Pundit for comment.

The post Degrading America’s Ability to Defend Against the Incursion of Russian Military Aircraft in Alaska appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *