National Guard March 2012 : Page 10

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala Chairman of the Board NGAUS The nation is the loser if the Air Force’s proposed budget becomes reality. RANKLY SPEAKING, THE Air Force got it wrong! The Pentagon’s proposed fi scal 2013 budget includes a plan by the Air Force to cut aircraft and airmen from the Air National Guard. And I thought this was a time for saving money. The plan would retire fi ghter jets and cargo aircraft. It would eliminate complete-ly the C-27J Spartan, which is fl own by the Guard and only the Guard. The Air Guard would lose 5,100 airmen in fi scal 2013. This is more than half the personnel cuts o cials want to make across the Total Air Force. And Guardsmen are only about 23 percent of Total Air Force personnel. Yet the Air Force has labeled this plan proportional. Some o cials even called it “balanced.” I appreciate the need to consider reducing the size of the military as Amer-ica moves to a post-confl ict phase in the Middle East. But I am concerned that the Air Force plans to cut signifi cant capabili-ties from its most e cient force. Where’s the savings? The Air Force’s recommendations also don’t comply with its own study that calls for airlift requirements, including at least 335 C-130 aircraft. In last year’s National Defense Authoriza-tion Act, Congress called for the military to study the Defense Department’s recom-mendations for reducing its force structure. It’s important that policy makers and our nation’s leaders understand the costs and the risks associated with reducing the Air Guard. The Air Guard is just 6 percent of the Total Air Force budget. More importantly, because of our e ciency, we can deliver more fl ying hours per training dollar than the Air Force. We’re cheaper, yet we’re just as e ective as our active-component brothers and sisters. I propose we change the model. In-stead of cutting the Guard and calling it a money-saving option, let’s grow the Guard. F Where’s the Savings? Let’s reduce the size of the costly active component and put our capabilities where they will produce the most bang for the buck. This is our argument. The one we must make to Congress. We must make our o cials understand the dual-use nature of the Guard, that we protect the homeland and deploy abroad. Point out to your senators and represen-tatives that the Founding Fathers saw the benefi t of a militia-based national defense. They enshrined it in the Constitution. Tell lawmakers that a smaller active component backed up by a larger and more robust reserve component sacrifi ces noth-ing in the way of national security, but piles up huge savings in the budget. There are people on Capitol Hill who understand this. But not all of them. Our job is to reach them and make sure they understand how part of the answer to the nation’s budget problem exists in thou-sands of communities in every ZIP code in America. But we cannot make this fi ght a provincial one. This cannot be about self-preservation. Our concern is fi rst and foremost about what is best for the country. Throughout the 54 states and territories, some are losers and some are winners in the Air Force plan. But we must all agree that the nation is the loser if this proposal becomes reality. The nation will have lost capability and hard-earned capacity, while paying more money. We must say again and again: The Guard is the most e cient and cost-e ective op-tion for our national defense. Grow the Guard and exploit its e cien-cies and the unique skills of its citizen-soldiers and airmen that have been honed by 10 years of war. Now, more than ever, is the time for this new model for national security. We’re the solution, which is why I am proud to be a Guardsman! The NGAUS chairman can be contacted at frank.vavala@ngaus.org. 10 | N G

Chairman’s Message

Where’s the Savings?<br /> <br /> FRANKLY SPEAKING, THE Air Force got it wrong!<br /> <br /> The Pentagon’s proposed fiscal 2013 budget includes a plan by the Air Force to cut aircraft and airmen from the Air National Guard.<br /> <br /> And I thought this was a time for saving money.<br /> <br /> The plan would retire fighter jets and cargo aircraft. It would eliminate completely the C-27J Spartan, which is fl own by the Guard and only the Guard.<br /> <br /> The Air Guard would lose 5,100 airmen in fiscal 2013. This is more than half the personnel cuts ocials want to make across the Total Air Force. And Guardsmen are only about 23 percent of Total Air Force personnel.<br /> <br /> Yet the Air Force has labeled this plan proportional. Some officials even called it “balanced.”<br /> <br /> I appreciate the need to consider reducing the size of the military as America moves to a post-conflict phase in the Middle East. But I am concerned that the Air Force plans to cut significant capabilities from its most ecient force.<br /> <br /> Where’s the savings?<br /> <br /> The Air Force’s recommendations also don’t comply with its own study that calls for airlift requirements, including at least 335 C-130 aircraft.<br /> <br /> In last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, Congress called for the military to study the Defense Department’s recommendations for reducing its force structure.<br /> <br /> It’s important that policy makers and our nation’s leaders understand the costs and the risks associated with reducing the Air Guard.<br /> <br /> The Air Guard is just 6 percent of the Total Air Force budget. More importantly, because of our efficiency, we can deliver more flying hours per training dollar than the Air Force.<br /> <br /> We’re cheaper, yet we’re just as effective as our active-component brothers and sisters.<br /> <br /> I propose we change the model. Instead of cutting the Guard and calling it a money-saving option, let’s grow the Guard.<br /> <br /> Let’s reduce the size of the costly active component and put our capabilities where they will produce the most bang for the buck.<br /> <br /> This is our argument. The one we must make to Congress.<br /> <br /> We must make our officials understand the dual-use nature of the Guard, that we protect the homeland and deploy abroad.<br /> <br /> Point out to your senators and representatives that the Founding Fathers saw the benefit of a militia-based national defense. They enshrined it in the Constitution.<br /> <br /> Tell lawmakers that a smaller active component backed up by a larger and more robust reserve component sacrifices nothing in the way of national security, but piles up huge savings in the budget.<br /> <br /> There are people on Capitol Hill who understand this. But not all of them.<br /> <br /> Our job is to reach them and make sure they understand how part of the answer to the nation’s budget problem exists in thousands of communities in every ZIP code in America.<br /> <br /> But we cannot make this fight a provincial one. This cannot be about self-preservation.<br /> <br /> Our concern is first and foremost about what is best for the country. Throughout the 54 states and territories, some are losers and some are winners in the Air Force plan.<br /> <br /> But we must all agree that the nation is the loser if this proposal becomes reality.<br /> <br /> The nation will have lost capability and hard-earned capacity, while paying more money.<br /> <br /> We must say again and again: The Guard is the most efficient and cost-effective option for our national defense.<br /> <br /> Grow the Guard and exploit its efficiencies and the unique skills of its citizensoldiers and airmen that have been honed by 10 years of war.<br /> <br /> Now, more than ever, is the time for this new model for national security.<br /> <br /> We’re the solution, which is why I am proud to be a Guardsman!<br /> <br /> The NGAUS chairman can be contacted at frank.vavala@ngaus.org.

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