Air Force Finally Admits Fault & Lawmakers Dispute Guard Pay Cuts
Air Force Backpedals on Air National Guard Cuts
Should we get our ears checked!? Are we hearing that correctly?\
Well, it appears it's not all just a dream after all. In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, Air Force Chief of Staff nominee, Gen. Mark Welsh III, admitted to Congress that the service screwed up not including National Guard Bureau and Council of Governors in budget talks.
“I think there is a trust problem that the Air Force must address and improve,” Welsh said commenting on the reaction he received when meeting members of Congress and discussing the Air Force’s budget proposals ahead of his nomination hearing.
Welsh admitted to the committee that the service’s budget proposal has no chance of being executed in the face of fierce opposition to the unbalanced cuts levied at the Air National Guard. The plan was to cut 5,100 Guard, 900 Reserve, and 3,100 active duty personnel.
|Gen. Mark Welsh III|
After Schwartz and Donley repeatedly told Congress their proposal had the support of the Guard and its lobby (i.e. us, and that's a big YEAH RIGHT!), Welsh admitted that was as much of a farce as everyone in the room already knew.
Finally! It's typically not our style to call people out, but admittedly it's frustrating when the current leadership has not acknowledged, and probably never will acknowledge, that the FY13 Air Force budget was a mistake. Maybe it's poor PR advice. Maybe they honestly don't believe they were ever wrong, but we always believed that at some point, for the sake of your good name and the trust Congress puts in you, you have to come forward and say, "We screwed up, and we're going to fix it."
Gen. "Breath-Of-Fresh-Air" Welsh, immediately, before Congress and the American public, did just that. We applaud his candor, and we look forward to rebuilding that relationship with the Air Force.
Lawmakers Call "Foul" in Guard Pay Cut Recommendations Sent to President
Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), House Armed Services Committee member and noncommissioned officer in the Mississippi National Guard, on Friday sent a bipartisan letter signed by 28 Members of Congress to top Department of Defense officials stating opposition to recent National Guard drill pay cut recommendations. The letter was sent to Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Craig McKinley, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.
“These citizen soldiers have been at war for more than ten years now,” Palazzo stated. “Many of these men and women have spent multiple tours fighting the War on Terror overseas. To even suggest a pay cut of this magnitude is a slap in the face to the Guard and to all who wear the uniform.”
The letter signed by a bipartisan coalition of 28 Members of Congress, stated:
“To enforce a cut in reserve duty pay by half would be an insult to every National Guard Service Member and Reservist serving this nation. To consider a proposal of this nature is not only unreasonable, it is irresponsible. In a time where our active component is being downsized, we should be doing everything we can to increase recruitment and retention in the reserve component among those who have a desire to continue serving our great country.”
The letter addresses recommendations made in the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC), released every four years. If implemented, the QRMC’s recommendations would affect drill pay for all Reserve components, which includes: the Army and Air National Guard, as well as Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard Reservists. NGAUS recently expressed opposition to the QRMC’s proposal. The letter also asserts that QRMC’s attempt to “ensure equitable pay for similar service” is flawed because “comparing active pay to National Guard pay is in many ways comparing apples to oranges.”
We want to hear what you think! What do you think of Gen. Welsh's comments? What are your thoughts on the QRMC's recommendations for the Guard? Tell us in the comments section below!