Guard, Army Offer Two Plans for Future

NGAUS Washington Report

(Dec. 3, 2013) The National Guard and the Army have come out of discussions with different views of the service's future. Both aim to save money in this time of required budget cuts, but the Guard plan would keep 30,000 more soldiers in the Army Guard than the Army plan.

The talks are about how to absorb $1.7 billion in cuts the Army Guard must absorb annually under sequestration.

Under a proposal from the National Guard Bureau that has the concurrence of the Adjutants General Association of the United States, Army Guard end strength would be 345,000 troops. Under the Army's plan, which has been explained to Congress at hearings of the House and Senate armed services committees, the Army Guard would shrink to 315,000, a level it has not seen since 1954 and is 35,000 below its pre-9/11 level.

The Army plan would reduce the active-component Army to 420,000, a loss of 60,000 troops.

The Guard proposal would provide the Army Guard with 26 brigade combat teams, a loss of two, eight combat aviation brigades and six attack aviation battalions, a loss of two.

Annie Lively, the NGAUS senior legislative affairs manager for Army programs, says, "The Guard plan will receive greater attention in Congress because it meets the budgetary and strategic requirements with less turbulence than the Army plan."

The Guard plan maintains tens of thousands of soldiers more than the Army plan in the Total Army. It also offers more opportunities to serve in the Guard for soldiers released from the active-component Army.

Also, the Council of Governors has weighed in with the Defense Department expressing its concerns about being left out of the budget consultative process. The process, established earlier this year, encourages the Pentagon to include state governors, through the CoG, when ongoing discussions include topics that would impact Guard forces.  

NGAUS has also learned that Army officials are preparing an aviation reorganization plan that would take all of the AH-64D Apaches and OH-58D Kiowa Warriors and approximately 100 UH-72A Lakotas from the Army Guard. They would be replaced by a smaller number of older UH-60 Black Hawks.