Wisconsin Air National Guard learns effects of Air Force structure realignment plan

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  • Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office
The U.S. Air Force today (March 6) released information on manpower impacts resulting from its proposed force structure realignment plan. If the proposal is approved by Congress, the Wisconsin Air National Guard's net loss would be 114 positions - including 16 full-time positions.

The manpower reduction would amount to approximately 5 percent of the Wisconsin Air National Guard's authorized end-strength of 2,290 Airmen and must be implemented by Oct. 1.

"This announcement is sobering," said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, noting that the announced cuts were larger than anticipated and are expected to be implemented in only six months. "However, we will continue to accomplish our mission safely and effectively.

"We cannot ignore that these proposed reductions have real, significant, life-changing impact on our men and women in the Wisconsin Air National Guard," he continued. "I will work closely with my commanders to minimize the impact to our Airmen and families."

Dunbar's goal is to handle any cuts from the Air Force proposal through attrition to lessen the impact on Wisconsin Air National Guard members and families.

The personnel cuts are in response to the Air Force realignment proposal, announced Feb. 3, which would reduce by two the Milwaukee-based 128th Air Refueling Wing's fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers, and retire the Madison-based 115th Fighter Wing's RC-26 airplane.

State adjutants general and governors have expressed their concern with the disproportional scope of the cuts. In a Feb. 26 letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the National Governor's Association "strongly opposed" what it described as "disproportionate cuts facing the Air National Guard." And in a Feb. 27 letter to the Senate Armed Forces Committee, all 54 adjutants general asked Congress to delay implementing the proposed plan until a proper review was conducted.

The Air Force's proposals are aimed at meeting the President's Budget for fiscal year 2013, which calls for reducing Air Force military end strength to 501,000 - with net reductions of 5,100 Air National Guard members and 4,800 Air Force federal active and reserve positions. Nearly one quarter of Air Force personnel are from the Air National Guard, but collectively provide 35 percent of Air Force capability for only 6 percent of the total Air Force budget.

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