(May 20, 2014) The White House does not approve of an effort in the House version of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act to save the A-10 fleet from retirement or prevent the Army from removing all AH-64 Apache helicopters from the Army National Guard.
A policy statement posted on the website of the Office of Management and Budget caught the attention of The Arizona Star newspaper, which reported the news Monday evening. Those are just two of several provisions in the massive bill President Barack Obama finds unacceptable. A veto is possible if the final bill from Congress does not meet White House approval.
“The bill does not include meaningful compensation reforms and other cost saving measures, rejects many of the department’s proposed force structure changes and restricts DOD’s ability to manage its weapons systems and infrastructure,” the statement from OMB says in part.
The statement includes a laundry list of items opposed by the administration, from the bill’s effort to retain missile silos to its hindrance of the use of alternate fuels.
The House version of the bill left the House Armed Services Committee and should reach the floor this week. The Senate continues to work on its version of the bill.
The Air Force is trying to retire all A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter aircraft as a cost-cutting matter. The Army says it can save money by moving Apaches from the Guard to the active component. The National Guard would be affected by both moves. NGAUS opposes them, especially the Apache removal because it would not save money and adversely impact the Army Guard. The association is supporting the efforts in the NDAA to counter the moves by the services.
According to the newspaper, Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., introduced an amendment to the House version of the bill that would prevent the A-10s from going away. They are considered by supporters to be the best close-air support aircraft in the world and their loss would put at risk ground troops in combat.
The statement from the administration said: “The Administration strongly objects to provisions that would restrict the Department’s ability to retire weapon systems and aircraft platforms in accordance with current strategic and operational plans. These divestitures are critical and would free up funding for higher priority programs.”