Capitol Hill to Hear Army Aviation Plan

NGAUS Washington Report

(Jan. 14, 2014) The Army will carry its plan to take away much of the Army National Guard’s helicopter fleet, including all 192 of its AH-64 Apaches, to Capitol Hill this week. Army leaders are scheduled to address the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on tactical air and land forces and the House Army Aviation Caucus breakfast.

Meanwhile, a proposal from the National Guard Bureau will be made public later this week in an attempt to slow the Army plan’s momentum. Several adjutants general have voiced their disapproval with the plan.

The Army plan, which would also take half of the Guard’s LUH-72 Lakota fleet and put them in the active-component Army along with the Apaches, has already been endorsed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The plan also takes away the remaining OH-58 Kiowa Warriors and some of the C-12 fixed-wing aircraft.

The chief of the Army aviation branch today explained the rationale for the move during his address to the Association of the U.S. Army’s Institute of land Warfare Aviation Symposium in Crystal City, Va. In response to a question, Maj. Gen. Kevin W. Mangum called into question the Guard’s readiness, training levels and said the Guard was not accessible when the Army needs it.

The final decision on the Army’s effort rests with Congress once the budget is delivered, which is expected to be in March. NGAUS urges lawmakers to take a hard look this plan and others affecting Guard end-strength and force structure.

The association recommends a thorough review of the assumptions, analysis and implications of the Army’s plans.