Governors, DoD Agree on National Guard Budget Process

(Feb. 28, 2013) An agreement between the Council of Governors and the Pentagon should eliminate the messy budget disagreements from one year ago.

The plan was hammered out this week and will give governors a greater voice in the budgets that impact the National Guard in their states. It was called a “remarkable achievement” by Gov. Terry Branstad, R-Iowa, a co-chair of the Council of Governors.

The Council of Governors is a bipartisan group of 10 governors that meets with federal officials regarding the Guard and other issues of homeland security. They met this week with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Ashton Carter, the deputy defense secretary.

Under the plan, governors and adjutants general will have the opportunity to discuss budget proposals before they are implemented. Governors also will receive regular updates on strategic budget matters affecting the Guard.

Branstad said, “This agreement will help us avoid future unannounced spending changes that affect the safety and security of our citizens.”

Last year, the Air Force presented a budget that sliced more than 5,000 airmen from the Air National Guard and retired nearly 200 Guard aircraft. Governors were caught off guard by the proposal, which was finally beaten back by Congress after lobbying by governors and NGAUS.

“Improving collaboration and communication with the states and the U.S. Department of Defense is a significant step forward,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., the other co-chair of the Council of Governors.  “This agreement on the budget consultative process will help us foster an ongoing dialogue so that working together, we can build a more resilient nation.”