NGAUS Washington Report
(July 30, 2013) The House included several provisions to bolster National Guard readiness and capabilities in the version of the fiscal 2014 National Defense Appropriations Act, H.R. 2397, it passed July 24.
The defense spending bill provides funding over the president budget request for Army and Air National Guard operations and maintenance, including an additional $5 million for mental health care for the Army Guard.
It also includes an additional $100 million for new Humvees and an added $146 million for UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Army Guard.
Also included is an additional $130 million for the National Guard Counterdrug Program, $5 million for the National Guard State Partnership Program and $900 million in the congressionally directed National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account for the purchase of critical dual-use equipment.
In some cases, the House came up with the additional Guard funding by shifting money from Pentagon accounts.
The bill would also bar funds from being used to plan the furloughing of dual-status military technicians and would delay retirement of the Army Guard C-23 Sherpa cargo planes.
Also significant is language in the bill's final report.
It 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."
NGAUS applauded the bill, which still needs Senate action and the president's signature to become law.
Said retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the association 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."
Read the full NGAUS press statement here.