Weathering the Perfect Storm
The shape of things to come: interaction
between the Air Support Operations Squadron, Army units, air support
and their targets.
Winds of change are making their presence felt throughout the New Jersey
Army and Air National Guard. In light of this, each Air and Army Guard
member needs to be familiar with our Total Force Initiatives (TFI), and
the new opportunities which lie ahead.
The Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), Quadrennial Defense
Review, Program Budget Decision 720 and Vanguard are several of the outside
forces which led up to creating our current TFIs. These programs culminated
together in June to create a “Perfect Storm” in terms of missions,
manpower and budget across the entire Air National Guard. For New Jersey,
however, the storm broke in May 2005 when BRAC announced the loss of 16
KC-135E aircraft from the 108th Air Refueling Wing.
Everyday since then our leadership, the New Jersey Congressional Delegation
and the National Guard Association of the United States tenaciously and
skillfully maneuvered the NJANG through the storm. And in the end we are
not only keeping our flying missions, but we brought two new exciting
missions requiring an additional 160 positions to New Jersey as well as
an opportunity to augment the Air Mobility Warfare Center with an Intel
Fighter Training Unit.
The first mission is an Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS). This unit’s
mission is to provide air liaison to ground forces and Tactical Air Attack
Control parties. The New Jersey ASOS will link up with the 1st and 3rd
Brigade Combat Teams of the 29th Infantry Division, an Army National
Guard unit with elements in Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey
This joint mission completely embodies the battlefield Airman concept.
It will bring more than 60 positions to New Jersey. The ASOS is scheduled
to be located at the 177th Fighter Wing at Atlantic City International
Airport with its air to ground missions to be performed primarily at the
Warren Grove Range.
The second mission is a Contingency Response Group (CRG). This unit is
the leading edge of USAF global mobility operations. The CRG provides
the Air Force with a rapid entry force designed to assess and open an
airbase. The CRG bridges the gap between airfield seizure forces and expeditionary
combat support units. Due to the mobility orientation of this emerging
mission the unit will be assigned to the 108th Air Refueling Wing at McGuire.
It will associate with the active duty 621st Contingency Response Wing
with a structure and concept of operations that are still being designed.
The first installment of manpower positions for the CRG, which consists
of more than 100 positions, is programmed to begin in FY08.
Additionally a large part of our TFI/BRAC directed changes are the conversions
which upgrade both the KC-135 and the F-16. The NJANG will continue to
pursue additional TFI missions including a follow-on Air Sovereignty Alert
aircraft for the 177th, possible associations with the Air Mobility Warfare
Center and follow-on Replacement Tanker Aircraft at the 108th.
We are no longer the strategic reserve of years gone by. Our missions
and airmen are relevant and actively engaged in supporting combatant commanders
all around the world. I need each of you to take the attitude of the battlefield
Airman to heart as we pursue excellence in our current missions and stand
up these new Total Force Initiatives.