ANCHORAGE - Gov. Tony Knowles has taken the first steps toward having the Alaska Air National Guard monitor Alaska's airspace for the next four years.
That job is now the responsibility of the U.S. Air Force and the 611th Air Control Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base. But Knowles recently signed paperwork needed to begin making the change to the Air National Guard.
"This homeland defense mission is a natural role for the National Guard," Knowles said.
The additional responsibility will require that a new unit be created within the Air Guard.
In all, nearly 150 jobs, most of them full-time, will be added, officials said.
"This will be the last NORAD regional unit to transfer to Air Guard control and we welcome the new responsibility," said Maj. Gen. Phil Oates, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard and Commissioner of the state's Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs.