News: McKinley: Relationship between National Guard, parent components strongest ever
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
WASHINGTON - The relationship between the National Guard and its parent components has never been stronger, the Guard's top officer said Wednesday.
"I don't think I've seen relations between our parent services and the Guard be any better," said Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, while addressing representatives from various industries as part of a panel discussion at the Reserve Officers Association of America.
"Right now, the United States Army and the Army National Guard is as close as they've ever been in history, and the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard have always been close."
McKinley added that closeness has largely come from nearly a decade of the Guard supporting operations overseas, and maintaining a strong relationship is a vital part of his job.
"That relationship has to be strong and it has to be enduring," McKinley said. "My role is to make sure that the secretaries of the Army and Air Force and the National Guard are synchronized."
That includes support for the Guard's domestic mission, McKinley said.
As budgets tighten over the next few years that means constrained resources and finding new ways to accomplish the mission, including the domestic one.
"In this new budgetary climate, it's going to be difficult for all of us to have the kind of support that we've had over the last eight to 10 years," McKinley said. "So, we're going to have to learn to live within a new set of means. We really haven't seen what that new bottom line is going to be."
However, those budgetary changes are largely not going to affect the way in which the Guard is equipped, where in years past the Guard and reserve components often got outdated or cast-off equipment from the active component.
"We know that the big savings . is not going to come from weapons systems or equipment," McKinley said. "We do have to have a degree of modernization for all our services."
That is going to mean, said McKinley, revamping the way that day-to-day business within the Guard is done.
"I've suggested to the adjutants general that we take a deep dive just to see how efficient we in the National Guard are, how much more efficient we can become and how much more value we can bring to the United States of America, to our governors and to our Department of Defense."
Ensuring the domestic response mission is met may mean a greater partnership with other agencies.
"It takes everybody - all of our voices - to make sure that we have adequate resources expended on the types of things we are going to be expected to perform," McKinley said.