The nation’s governors and adjutants general have joined NGAUS in opposing cuts to National Guard funding.
In a statement this week, the National Governors Association said it stands with NGAUS in opposing a planned Defense Department reprogramming that would take more than $1 billion from the Guard in fiscal 2020 to help pay to lengthen the wall on the southern border.
In all, the Pentagon is looking to move $3.8 billion in funds previously authorized for defense programs, including new aircraft, ships and other equipment.
The Guard cuts include:
- $790 million for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA);
- $169 million for two C-130J Super Hercules cargo planes for the Air Guard; and
- $100 million for the Army National Guard High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee) modernization program.
In a separate letter signed by the three leaders of the Adjutants General Association of the United States, the most senior officers in each state Guard warned the cuts disproportionately target the National Guard and “risks diminishing our lethal capability proven necessary during these decades of conflict.”
“The recent cuts that specifically targeted accounts benefitting the reserve components place soldiers and airmen at greater risk at a time when our service members continue to support the Total Force effort,” reads the letter, signed by AGAUS president Maj. Gen. Matthew T. Quinn and vice presidents, Maj. Gen. Michael A. Loh and Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams.
Quinn is the adjutant general of Montana. Loh is the adjutant general of Colorado. And Williams is the adjutant general of Virginia.
The National Guard provides 40% of the nation’s combat force structure for less than 5% of the DoD’s budget, but AGAUS notes they are being asked to shoulder 34% of the total funds being reprogrammed.
In their statement, the National Governors Association said NGREA and investment in Guard vehicles and aircraft is critically important to ensuring the reliability of Guard equipment used both at home and abroad.
“The readiness of the National Guard is paramount to protecting the homeland,” officials said. “Time and time again, with increasing frequency, the National Guard must answer the call to protect us from wildfires and hurricanes; flooding and landslides; and threats against our global and homeland security. Governors are united in urging the Administration to reverse course on the planned reprogramming and restore these critical funds.”
NGAUS has previously sent letters opposing the reprogramming to members of Congress, defense leaders and President Donald Trump.
Last week, NGAUS requested a meeting with Trump, who in 2016 promised to give the Guard “a direct line to the Oval Office” while speaking to the 138th NGAUS General Conference in Baltimore.
Retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, NGAUS president, said the disproportionate cuts to the Guard were an example of the Pentagon using the Guard as a “convenient bill-payer.”
“Any inference that these aren’t critical needs for the Guard is false,” he said.