Lawmakers Likely to Address Air National Guard Basing Proposal
Lawmakers are expected to take up the Air Force’s latest plan to cut the Air National Guard in the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill in response to the Pentagon’s compromise Monday to restore some of the aircraft and personnel slated to be eliminated.
The House Armed Services Committee, which starts marking up the defense authorization bill today, is considering restoring cuts to the Air Force and Air National Guard, CQ Today reported Wednesday. Any changes made by the committee will not come at the expense of the active duty Air Force, noted committee spokesman Claude Chafin. The panel “will approach this looking at total capability needs of the Air Force and our national defense requirements,” Chafin said.
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) said Tuesday he had several concerns with DOD’s offer to restore 24 C-130s to Air National Guard bases, primarily that they are older aircraft and likely to be targeted in future budgets. He also said DOD’s offer to restore 2,200 Air Guard personnel was not an adequate compromise from what the Council of Governors — a panel created by President Obama to help coordinate a response to natural disasters — had proposed.
“No deal is likely until the Air Force is prepared to make roughly equal manpower cuts to the Guard and the active duty force as a proportion of each component’s overall end strength,” he said.
Still, Leahy said DOD’s proposal was “a constructive step forward in our ongoing negotiations. I will discuss with other senators what further changes would be necessary to reach a final compromise with the Air Force.”
The National Governors Association said the compromise offered Monday fell short of governors’ concerns and that states would now work with Congress to address the issue, reported Air Force Times.