Adjutants General Defend Guard Position

Washington Report

(April 29, 2014) The adjutants general came to Washington, D.C., last week and made their case with Congress for stopping the Army plan to cut the end strength of the Army Guard and take away its AH-64 Apache helicopters.

According to Breaking Defense columnist Sydney J. Freedberg  Jr., who has reported frequently on the Army's plan, the adjutants general distributed a letter and a slide presentation to lawmakers pointing out falsehoods in the Army's argument and making the case for an alternative plan proposed by the National Guard.
 
"Our court of last resort is Congress," Maj. Gen. Ed Tonini, the Kentucky adjutant general and president of the Adjutants General Association of the United States, told Freedberg.
 
Tonini's letter takes apart the Army's points about the Guard, everything from its supposed unwillingness to accept budget cuts to its accessibility to the savings the Army says will result if the Apaches are removed from the Guard.
 
"The Army is now attempting to sell its plan on the Hill with a communication campaign that uses blatant falsehoods to devalue the National Guard's ability to contribute to the Army of the future," Tonini wrote.

Tonini asks Congress to support a commission to study the Army structure, an idea that is in legislation introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and now taking shape in the Senate.

Tonini also blasts the inability of the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Frank J. Grass, to act as a channel of communication from the states. He is referring to a recent hearing in which Grass failed to endorse the Guard plan and seemed to indicate an acceptance of the Army plan as a done deal.

Tonini told Freedberg, "The fact is, you will see us be significantly more aggressive now that we've seen the ability to speak honestly and straightforwardly taken out of the hands of our leadership."