The Army's plan for the Guard is ill-conceived. After 12 years of combat and shifting security priorities, a comprehensive study to evaluate the structure of the Total Army before making irreversible cuts is necessary.
The Department of Defense FY15 budget proposes a reduction in Army National Guard (ARNG) end strength to 335,000, and if sequester returns in 2016 as projected, the Army Guard will be reduced further to 315,000. In addition, the budget calls for a reorganization of Army aviation, divesting all Kiowa Warriors and transferring all Apache helicopters to the Active Army. Additionally, with future sequestration cuts, the ARNG could possibly lose another 50 Lakota Light Utility Helicopters after 2016, which would be given to the Active Army for a trainer aircraft at Fort Rucker. The Active Army will replace some of the Guard losses with Blackhawks, however, they will be older variants. Given that the Army National Guard provides over 50% of the Total Army's combat power and 46% of its combat service capabilities while costing less than one-third their active duty counterparts, NGAUS believes such cuts are not cost-effective and will degrade the Army National Guard's ability to conduct to domestic and overseas missions. For these reasons, NGAUS supports Congress undertaking a comprehensive study of the structure of the Total Army to determine the proper force mixture of the active component and reserve component.
What's At Stake?
Without Congressional action, the Army's force structure decisions would result in:
- Army Guard end strength and force structure cuts to 315,000
- Reduction of ARNG Brigade Combat Teams to 22
- Loss of all Army Guard Apache and Kiowa aircraft
- Future reductions of the Lakota fleet
- Total loss of 165 ARNG aircraft
- No attack/recon capabilities for the ARNG and an inability to augment the Army as a true reserve
After over a decade of overseas and domestic operations, today's Army National Guard is a modern, accessible and interchangeable force that trains and performs to the same standards as its active duty counterpart. Numerous studies have concluded that that not only is the Army National Guard a cost-effective component, operational use of the Army National Guard remains the most effective means of employing the Army National Guard. As the United States concludes its major overseas ground operations, it makes the most sense to maintain to a strong, operational Army National Guard used as needed in peacetime and a smaller standing Army as our Founding Fathers intended.
Letters to the Secretary of Defense from Congress, the Adjutants General Association, fact sheets and briefings related to Army Guard cuts and the Aviation Restructure Initiative:
- Overview of H.R. 3930, the National Commisison on the Structure of the Army Act of 2014
- National Guard FY15 Budget Overview
- National Guard Legislative Timeline: FY15 Budget
Letters of Support
- National Governors Letter to Secretary Hagel on proposed ARNG force structure cuts, February 28, 2014
- Senate Letter to Secretary Hagel on cuts to ARNG attack aviation, February 21, 2014
- Adjutants General Letter to Secretary Hagel on proposed ARNG force structure cuts, February 14, 2014
- Senate Letter to Secretary Hagel on proposed ARNG force structure cuts, December 20, 2013
- House of Representatives Letter to Secretary Hagel on proposed ARNG force structure cuts, December 13, 2013
Links to recent articles and op-eds on the potential cuts to Army National Guard aviation and end strength:
- "Who Should Decide the Army's Future? Active vs Guard" - Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr, Breaking Defense
- "Despite 'historic' cuts, the US will still have 450,000 Active-Duty Soldiers" - Michael Cohen, The Guardian
- "AUSA Boss Takes Stand on Congress' Push to Protect Guard" - Michelle Tan, Army Times
- "The Army National Guard is About to Lose a LOT of Helicopters" - David Axe, War is Boring
- "The Army Needs a Better Argument" - Kori Schake, War on the Rocks
- "Battle Brewing over Future of Army Aviation Programs" - Valerie Insinna, National Defense Magazine
- "Budgets and 'Betrayal': National Guard Fights to Keep Apache Gunships" - Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. Breaking Defense
Take Action: Write to Congress
Please Write to Congress today and urge them to support Congressman Joe Wilson's bill H.R. 3930, the National Commission on the Structure of the Army Act of 2014. This legislation would freeze the transfer and divestiture of any ARNG aircraft, ensure the Army Guard maintains a minimum end strength of 350,000 and establish a commission to study and make recommendations on the Total Army force structure . You can e-mail the pre-written message or edit the sample letter as you desire. This is the quickest and most effective method of expressing your views to Congress. Also, contact your friends and family and urge them to use Write to Congress as well.