Wilson Ensures National Guard Readiness
Chairman Joe Wilson (SC-02) of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel issued the following statement after the House Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment into the National Defense Authorization Act. Wilson and Representative Bill Enyart (D-IL) were successful in inserting a provision that supports the National Guard’s readiness and leaves vital capabilities intact.
The Army’s current aviation restructuring plan dramatically reduces the National Guard’s ability to maintain combat capability by transferring all of the AH-64 Apache helicopters to active duty. The amendment largely mirrors H.R. 3930, the National Commission on the Structure of the Army Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Wilson earlier this year that has 198 cosponsors. Instead of developing a commission, the adopted amendment requires the Government Accountability Office to study the Army’s force structure and report back to Congress by March 2015. It also addresses readiness by increasing shortfalls in funding and freezing end strength for the Active Army and Guard at 490,000 and 350,000 respectively.
“Apart from assisting the States when disaster strikes, the National Guard serves as the combat reserve force for our active duty Army and Air Force when resources become scarce," Chairman Wilson stated. “Our military’s accomplishments are only possible because the National Guard willingly fought alongside its Active Duty brothers and sisters. At times during Operation Iraqi Freedom, these brave men and women in uniform represented over fifty percent of the Army’s total combat power in Iraq. Their commitment to uphold our freedoms has allowed the United States to maintain an all-volunteer force.
“As defense sequestration threatens our military’s overall readiness, eliminating the National Guard’s capability to effectively defeat our nation’s enemies is the worst possible scenario. Such a substantial policy change undermines the security of American families and must be carefully examined. I am very grateful that the House Armed Services Committee believes appropriate resources should remain with the National Guard to ensure our troops remain properly equipped. I look forward to this bill’s passage on the House floor in the days ahead.”
Note: By reversing the Army’s current policy, McEntire Joint National Guard base will remain properly equipped and ready to answer the call of duty. Transferring these aircraft to the active Army would significantly reduce personnel on military installations, thus negatively impacting local economies. Up to 6,000 highly trained individuals could be forced out of a job across the country.