A Bite Too Big?
A number of states are challenging the Pentagon's plans to consolidate the Air National Guard
under the Base Realignment and Closure
The Rumsfeld plan includes all of the standard business reasons for downsizing: more efficiency through consolidation of similar units, reduction of overhead, elimination of duplicate services, etc. What is left out is the fact that the Guard is only under Federal control when it is called up, and is under state control at all other times.
While the regular and Reserve components are obviously under the control of the Pentagon, it is not clear that a Guard unit of one state can be transferred to another state. It is also unclear how you transfer the personnel to another state, as this may violate the enlistment contract and would certainly cause a further decline in the Guard if you tried.
This is obviously headed to court, and I doubt the courts want to see it. It could prove that the only way to consolidate is to dissolve existing units and create new ones at the point where they are wanted. It is not clear how people would be found to staff the new units.
Given the record of the Bush administration, I don't doubt that Rumsfeld has any number of legal opinions telling him that anything he decides to do is legal, whether it is or not.