Guard Bureau Counters Army Aviation Plan

NGAUS Washington Report

(Feb. 4, 2014) The Army National Guard would field AH-64 Apache helicopters in four attack reconnaissance battalions and two attack reconnaissance squadrons under a proposal from the National Guard Bureau.

The bureau is responding to a plan from the Army to remove all Apache helicopters from the Guard, as well as all OH-58 Kiowa from the entire service. The Army wants to remove half of the Guard’s LUH-72 Lakota helicopter fleet, as well.

Under the Army proposal, the Army Guard would lose more than 200 aircraft even after it was supplied with older model UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft transferred from other components.

According to Inside Defense, which reported the National Guard Bureau proposal today, “The Bureau is recommending that the Army National Guard retain six attack reconnaissance battalions and convert two to attack reconnaissance squadrons, the document shows.

The active component would retain eight combat aviation brigades. The Guard would have two CABs comprised of ARBs and ARSs with Apaches and nine combat support aviation battalions. The force structure also includes two multi-component CABs with Apache ARBs with the Guard.”

The Guard also wants to retain 212 Lakotas for security and support battalions, but the Army proposal would not leave them that many.

The Guard proposal supports a study of the Army’s aviation needs before taking any action, “due to the magnitude and enduring impact of the proposed restructure.”

Legislation recently introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., would create a commission to study the structure and end strength of the Army. If it becomes law, the legislation would prevent the Army from taking action on its proposal until the commission’s report was complete, which would not be for two years.