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September 17, 2009—Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told reporters Sept. 15 at AFA’s Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C., that he supports in principle the Air National Guard leadership’s calls for concurrent and proportionate fielding of the new equipment that the active duty gets.

But Schwartz also said he regards this approach as touching not just upon recapitalization but also on the Air Guard’s willingness, along with the entire Total Force, to adopt new roles and let go of others.

“If the Air Force is changing and we’re adapting and we’re doing less of some things and more of other, I think concurrent and proportionate applies equally to the National Guard,” said Schwartz.

ANG Director Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt has been using the example of the F-35 to make his case for modernization, arguing for the Air Guard to get the F-35 from the start in numbers consistent with the Air Guard’s size and contribution to the Total Force, particularly its role as primary strike provider for the air sovereignty alert mission. (See Wyatt’s comments from Monday.)

Schwartz said, “The bottom line is I understand [Wyatt’s] point with regard to the tactical issue of F-35. But it is really a broader question of are we as a Total Force going to add or we are going to try to hold on to the missions with which we were comfortable.”

Schwartz said he thinks “the clear mandate is to look forward and not back.”