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Governors Urging Congress To Spare National Guard From AF Cuts

Site: dmna.ny.gov

A group of state governors is lobbying Congress and the Defense Department to move the brunt of cuts the Air Force is facing off of the Air National Guard, DoD Buzz reports.

Most of the proposed Air Force cuts are targeted toward the Air National Guard, including a proposed 5,100 Guard member reduction.

The 10-governor group, formed in 2010 to focus on disaster response, recruited all but two governors to sign a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Armed Services Committees against such cuts to the National Guard.

Panetta offered a compromise to cut fewer guardsmen and transfer 24 older C-130s from active duty to the Guard, the report said.

In response, the Council of Governors asked for the Guard’s funding to remain at fiscal 2012 levels.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told Congress that if the branch is given its structure back, it will also need funding in order to ensure the force does not become hollowed.

Officials indicated the Air Force will likely have to find a different area to distribute the cuts to since the National Guard has such a strong support group on Capitol Hill, the report said.

Greg Kiley, a defense analyst who served six years as a senior professional staff member for the Senate Armed Services Committee, noted that a group of state officials like the council has never played such a prominent role in the service’s budget.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) asked the council to aid in the battle against sequestration as well.

McKeon said he is concerned a satisfactory solution had not been reached and promised to ensure Congress considers the council’s concerns.

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