New Illinois Air National Guard Leader to Continue Focus on Mission Readiness, Cyberspace

ILLINOIS (IRN) — The acting head of the Illinois Air National Guard isn’t planning any significant changes as he steps into his new role – and he hasn’t been asked to send Illinois guardsmen to the southern border.

Illinois has around 3,000 air guardsman at its three air guard bases: Scott Air Force Base in Southern Illinois, a wing in Springfield and in a C-130 unit in Peoria. After a swearing-in ceremony at the Military Academy in Springfield where he was elevated to acting Air National Guard director and brigadier general, Peter Nezamis said don’t expect much to change.

“All three of our wings are practically 100 percent if not over, most of them, so we do very well in the state of Illinois with our recruiting,” Nezamis said. “There’s really no changes at this point until we can sit down to analyze things to see where can make improvements here and there.”

While his units continue to focus on defending air space, he’ll work with the Army on cyberspace defense strategies.

“Our airwings both have different things that they do to support those cyber missions with their trained personnel,” Nezamis said. “It’s a different level of qualification, army and the air, so we kind of partner, that’s where we have a joint staff, we kind of partner on both sides.”

One area that won’t be focused on, because they haven’t been called out, is border security.

“Right now we’re more focused readiness toward other mission sets because we’re ongoing on the airside deployed around the world so we have not been asked to support border security,” Nezamis said.

That would ultimately be up to the Brigadier General if a request were to come in from the White House, Nezamis said.

Nezamis has more than 30 years in the service. He served overseas several times. He replaces the retiring Maj. Gen. Ronald Paul.