The Air National Guard has both a federal and state mission. The dual mission, a provision of the U. S. Constitution, results in each guardsman holding membership in the National Guard of his or her state and in the National Guard of the United States.
The Air National Guard’s federal mission is to maintain well-trained,well-equipped units available for prompt mobilization during war and provide assistance during national emergencies (such as natural disasters or civil disturbances). During peacetime, the combat-ready units and support units are assigned to most Air Force major commands to carry out missions compatible with training, mobilization readiness, humanitarian and contingency operations such as Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Air National Guard units may be activated in a number of ways as prescribed by public law. Most of the laws may be found in Title 10 of the U.S. Code.
The Air National Guard provides almost half of the Air Force’s tactical airlift support, combat communications functions, aeromedical evacuations, and aerial refueling. In addition, the Air National Guard has total responsibility for air defense of the entire United States.
When Air National Guard units are not mobilized or under federal control, they report to the governor of their respective state, territory (Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands) or the commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard. Each of the 54 National Guard organizations is supervised by the adjutant general of the state or territory. Under state law, the Air National Guard provides protection of life, property and preserves peace, order and public safety. These missions are accomplished through emergency relief support during natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and forest fires; search and rescue operations; support to civil defense authorities; maintenance of vital public services and counterdrug operations.
The primary sources of full-time support for Air National Guard units are the dual-status military technician and guardsmen on active duty. These people perform day-to-day management, administration, and maintenance. Bylaw, dual-status military technicians are civil service employees of the federal government who must be military members of the unit that employs them. Technicians train with the unit and are mobilized with it when it’s activated. Active-duty members serve under the command authority of their respective state or territorial governors until mobilized for federal duty. The Air National Guard has more than 106,000 officers and enlisted people who serve in 89 flying units and 579 mission support units.
The National Guard Bureau, both staff and operating agency, administers the federal functions of the Army and the Air National Guard. As a staffing agency, the National Guard Bureau participates with the Army and Air staff in developing and coordinating programs that directly affect the NationalGuard. As an operating agency, the National Guard Bureau formulates and administers the programs for training, development, and maintenance of theArmy National Guard and Air National Guard and acts as the channel of communication between the Army, Air Force and the 54 states and territories where National Guard units are located.