Governors Weigh in On Army Guard Cuts: Don't Squander a Great Investment

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Seeking to put more civilian oversight in civil-military relations, the National Governors Association weighed in on the proposed cuts to the National Guard recommended in the fiscal 2015 Defense Department budget request.

In a letter to the president, all 50 governors expressed their strong opposition to Army Guard cuts and restructuring of Army Guard aviation assets.

The NGA praised the Guard as a "cost-effective and invaluable force" for protecting the United States at home and abroad.

The letter stated the cuts outlined by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would "squander the investment and value of the Guard." The governors request that the Army Guard end strength be preserved at 350,000 and call for an independent commission to review the Army's force structure and active/reserve component mix.

Hagel's defense budget priorities announcement highlighted several major changes to Guard end strength and equipping: 

  •  Reduction of tactical air squadrons to include the entire A-10 fleet.
  •  Retire 80 more aircraft, including the entire KC-10 tanker fleet and the Global Hawk Block 40 fleet if 2016 sequester goes into effect.
  • Reduction of Army end strength to a range of 440,000 to 450,000 soldiers; if the 2016 sequester goes into effect, it will force the Army to reduce to 420,000.
  • Reduction of Army National Guard end strength to 335,000; if 2016 sequester goes into effect, it will reduce the ARNG to 315,000.
  • Transfer Army Guard Apache attack helicopters to active-component units. 
  • Transfer active Army Black Hawk helicopters to the National Guard.
  • Retire all Kiowas and the “JetRanger” helicopters used for training at Fort Rucker.
  • Sustain light utility helicopters and use them for aviation training at Fort Rucker.

The full roll-out of the president's fiscal budget  is expected Tuesday.

Stay tuned to our website and social media outlets for more information and in-depth analysis of the President's Budget request.

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