This article describes the history and status of the US Air National Guard. Guardsmen have a unique dual state-federal status grounded in the Constitution and America's system of divided political power between the states and the federal government. In peace-time, their commander in chief is the governor of their state or territory. The primary state missions of Guard members are to help deal with natural disasters and to restore law and order when civil authorities are unable to do so. If they volunteer or are mobilized for federal service, the president becomes their commander in chief. Air Guard members provide the federal government with a large, well-trained force equipped with modern weapons held in a high state of readiness for global military operations. Historically 75% are part-time airmen. Article documents history of the ANG, a product of WWII politics, since its inception in September 1947. With the Cold War's end and military downsizing, it appears that the US will be placing much more responsibility on the shoulders of its part-time warriors.
Airpower Journal (Winter 1996), v.10, no.4, p.59-69