National Guard January 2011 : Page 10

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala Chairman of the Board NGAUS I have concerns that changes will be made without full dialogue between service leaders and the Guard. HE OPENING OF the 112th Congress this month will likely usher in a new era of fiscal constraints and efficiency drills. d The Defense Department is not going to be exempt from unavoidable budget cuts. I b recognize that each service component will r h have to look hard at its programs to ensure t that they are essential and necessary for our n national military strategy. I am a realist. I know that the National Guard will have to pay its share. But as we G strive to make these changes, it is impor-s tant that we remain smart about how we t m manage our resources. However, I have concerns that some programmatic changes will be made with-out full dialogue and discussion between service leaders and the Guard. For example, the Air Force says it must cut personnel days from the Northeast Tanker Task Force. Among the 400 people in that program are Air Guard airmen from units in Maine, New Hampshire, New Jer-sey and Pennsylvania. The Northeast Tanker Task Force has been flying aerial-refueling missions since 2003 in support of our ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. It performed far beyond 1,000 missions in 2010, and I don’t see that number shrinking in 2011. Some airmen on extended active duty have already been cut from the program and more may follow. I’m not sure of all the funding rational behind the Air Force’s recent action, but I do know that this is a vital mission and the need is not going away. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, thinks the Air Force plan makes no sense, and said, “This is a clear example of the right hand not knowing what that left hand is doing.” As members of the Guard, we should not react in a kneejerk fashion and cry T “foul” at every budget decision that may negatively affect us. However, it is critical that we are en-gaged in meaningful dialogue to ensure that the Guard is fully manned, trained and resourced so that we can continue to do the nation’s business of national defense. We cannot risk returning to a strategic reserve. My concern is that because of the sig-nificant budgetary pressure, there will be a desire by some to look for the Guard to pay a disproportionate bill. We would feel a lot more reassured about the cuts in the tanker task force, as well as future programmatic decisions, if the governors, adjutants general and states affected had been consulted during the decision-making process. My point is simple. I acknowledge we are in troubled financial times, and the Defense Department and the Guard will have to make difficult decisions that will inevitably effect our bottom line. However, it is essential that the Guard have a voice in this process to ensure we are a viable, strong and full partner in the nation’s defense. Remember, we all have access to our members of Congress and we all have the opportunity to let them know what we do for our country every day. NGAUS is ready, willing and able to take your concerns to Capitol Hill. Be involved. Be aware. And be ready to support your National Guard. Remember, your voice has power. Just last month, the Post 9/11 GI Bill was amended to include Title 32 service. Together we will continue to ensure that the Guard remains a strong partner in national defense. I am proud to be a Guardsman. Let’s Talk 10 | Na tional Guard

Chairman's Message

Let's Talk<br /> <br /> THE OPENING OF the 112th Congress this month will likely usher in a new era of fiscal constraints and efficiency drills.<br /> <br /> The Defense Department is not going to be exempt from unavoidable budget cuts. I recognize that each service component will have to look hard at its programs to ensure that they are essential and necessary for our national military strategy.<br /> <br /> I am a realist. I know that the National Guard will have to pay its share. But as we strive to make these changes, it is important that we remain smart about how we manage our resources.<br /> <br /> However, I have concerns that some programmatic changes will be made without full dialogue and discussion between service leaders and the Guard.<br /> <br /> For example, the Air Force says it must cut personnel days from the Northeast Tanker Task Force. Among the 400 people in that program are Air Guard airmen from units in Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.<br /> <br /> The Northeast Tanker Task Force has been flying aerial-refueling missions since 2003 in support of our ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. It performed far beyond 1,000 missions in 2010, and I don't see that number shrinking in 2011.<br /> <br /> Some airmen on extended active duty have already been cut from the program and more may follow.<br /> <br /> I'm not sure of all the funding rational behind the Air Force's recent action, but I do know that this is a vital mission and the need is not going away.<br /> <br /> Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, thinks the Air Force plan makes no sense, and said, "This is a clear example of the right hand not knowing what that left hand is doing."<br /> <br /> As members of the Guard, we should not react in a kneejerk fashion and cry "foul" at every budget decision that may negatively affect us.<br /> <br /> However, it is critical that we are engaged in meaningful dialogue to ensure that the Guard is fully manned, trained and resourced so that we can continue to do the nation's business of national defense.<br /> <br /> We cannot risk returning to a strategic reserve.<br /> <br /> My concern is that because of the significant budgetary pressure, there will be a desire by some to look for the Guard to pay a disproportionate bill.<br /> <br /> We would feel a lot more reassured about the cuts in the tanker task force, as well as future programmatic decisions, if the governors, adjutants general and states affected had been consulted during the decision-making process.<br /> <br /> My point is simple. I acknowledge we are in troubled financial times, and the Defense Department and the Guard will have to make difficult decisions that will inevitably effect our bottom line.<br /> <br /> However, it is essential that the Guard have a voice in this process to ensure we are a viable, strong and full partner in the nation's defense.<br /> <br /> Remember, we all have access to our members of Congress and we all have the opportunity to let them know what we do for our country every day.<br /> <br /> NGAUS is ready, willing and able to take your concerns to Capitol Hill.<br /> <br /> Be involved. Be aware. And be ready to support your National Guard.<br /> <br /> Remember, your voice has power. Just last month, the Post 9/11 GI Bill was amended to include Title 32 service.<br /> <br /> Together we will continue to ensure that the Guard remains a strong partner in national defense.<br /> <br /> I am proud to be a Guardsman.<br /> <br /> I have concerns that changes will be made without full dialogue between service leaders and the Guard.<br />

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here