In Episode 136 of the Aerospace Advantage, It’s Time to Reset the Force: Leadership Conversation with Lt Gen Mike Loh, Director of the ANG, Doug Birkey explores the modernization challenges facing the Air National Guard and the Air Force as a whole with Lt Gen Mike Loh, along with Mitchell Institute’s Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.) and Heather Penney.
The Air Force’s fighter inventory is too small and too old to meet demands placed upon it. Aircraft are now physically worn out and must be retired, but the Air Force lacks the necessary funding to procure a sufficient volume of new fighters to ensure the outflow of aging aircraft is matched by new replacements. We saw this in the fall of 2022 when F-15s stationed at Kadena were retired without direct, permanently assigned backfills—the aircraft were simply not available. This will be repeated absent a significant boost in the scale and scope of new aircraft buys. The modernization imperative disproportionately impacts the ANG given that those units generally possess the service’s oldest equipment. Force structure realities see the ANG necessary to meet COCOM demands, especially those tied to homeland defense. It’s time to focus on solutions.
Host: Douglas Birkey, Executive Director, The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies
Producer: Shane Thin
Executive Producer: Douglas Birkey
Guest: Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.), Dean, The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies
Guest: Heather Penney, Senior Fellow, The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies
Guest: Lt Gen Michael Loh, Director, Air National Guard