WASHINGTON (July 26, 2013) NGAUS today released the following statement by retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the NGAUS president:
“The House of Representatives sent a clear message to the Pentagon this week in its version of the fiscal 2014 Defense Appropriations Act: Keep the National Guard an operational force, give it the resources it needs or we will do it, and you may not like where we find the money.
“The bill contains funding over the president’s budget request― in some cases by shifting money from other Pentagon accounts ― for Army and Air National Guard operations and maintenance, the National Guard State Partnership Program, the National Guard Counterdrug Program and critical dual-use equipment, including $100 million for urgently needed modern Humvees.
“It also contains provisions prohibiting the furlough of the Guard’s 50,000 dual-status military technicians, who are critical to Guard readiness, and the retirement of the Army Guard C-23 Sherpa aircraft, which are key to transporting personnel and supplies during domestic emergencies.
“Equally important is language in the report that states, ‘Significant taxpayer investments have been made to enable the Guard and reserve to become an integral part of the operational force, and they provide great value to the Armed Forces and for the taxpayer.’
“This value only increases as it becomes increasingly apparent that further reliance on the Guard, with its combination of combat experience and low overhead, is the only solution to the challenges of retaining military capabilities in an era of declining defense dollars.
“These matters now move to the Senate, where we know many members agree in principle with their House colleagues on National Guard issues. We ask for quick action as some of the provisions, such as the furloughs and the Sherpa retirement, require quick remedies to avoid an erosion of readiness. ”
Reporters, Editors & Producers: Retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr. is available for interviews or to appear as a subject matter expert on defense issues related to the National Guard. Contact John Goheen at 202-408-5882 to schedule an interview or appearance.
About NGAUS: The association includes nearly 45,000 current or former Guard officers. It was created in 1878 to provide unified National Guard representation in Washington. In their first productive meeting after Reconstruction, militia officers from the North and South formed the association with the goal of obtaining better equipment and training by petitioning Congress for more resources. Today, 135 years later, NGAUS has the same mission.