ANG Tells Murkowski It Supports Added Staff and Equipment for 168th Refueling Wing

Senator: With North Pacific Activity Rising, Active Association Staffing Could Boost Capability

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today received a response indicating support from the Director of the Air National Guard for added staff and equipment for the 168th Air Refueling Wing through an Active Association with the United States Air Force – saying it would increase its ability to be the “mobility backbone” of the Air Force.

Active Associations are partnerships where National Guard operations share supplemental staff and equipment with the United States Air Force.  Murkowski took the opportunity in a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to assess the Air National Guard’s current stance on such a possibility for the 168th ARW, especially amid rising threats and activity from rogue governments like North Korea.

(Senator Murkowski questions A.N.G. Director Lieutenant General Stanley E. Clarke III – CLICK to view)

Sen. Murkowski: “I think it is very clear that the 168th [ARW] has more work to do in the North Pacific than it can reasonably accomplish given the personnel, given the equipment, that they have assigned to it. They’re clearly eager and anxious and ready to take up the challenge of the expansion. But I don’t see any progress in responding to this request. Can you give me an update on that?”

Lt. General Clarke: “The 168th, as you mentioned, does a wonderful job supplying – quite frankly – the mobility backbone for Air Force with tankers that we have in that area. In the Air National Guard, we’re in favor of the Active association there, I think it would obviously give us the opportunity to associate with active airmen, but also beyond that it increases the capability of the unit to provide tanking for the Joint Force.”

Lt. General Clarke concluded that the United States Air Force will make a final assessment of the worth and merit of such a proposal, but that the Air National Guard will work with their mobility command to advocate for an Active Association.

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