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READ Congresswoman Bordallo's release in FULL below:
Bordallo Raises Air Force and Air National Guard Force Structure Issues at Readiness Hearing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 12, 2012 – Washington, D.C. –
Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo today addressed concerns about proposed disproportionate cuts to the Air National Guard, including tactical aircraft programs that support its mission requirements, at a hearing on aircraft inventory reductions in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget for the United States Air Force. The hearing was held by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, and included testimony from Terry Branstad, Governor of Iowa, and co-chairman of the Council of Governors; Lieutenant General Chris Miller, USAF, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs; and Major General Timothy Lowenberg, USAF, Adjutant General of the State of Washington Military Department.
As Ranking Member of the Readiness Subcommittee, the Congresswoman raised concerns about proposed FY13 force structure cuts to the Air National Guard, cuts to tactical airlift aircraft and the retirement of the Global Hawk Block 30 program. She asked about how to better incorporate Title 32 civil response and homeland defense requirements into the budget planning and programming with the Department of Defense. Additionally, the Congresswoman said she was not convinced with the rationale to retire the Global Hawk Block 30 aircraft in favor of extending U-2 aircraft. She requested further clarification on why the Department would choose to continue flying manned aircraft in place of the unmanned Global Hawk, especially with reductions in Air Force end strength.
“My colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee and I recognize the difficult budget constraints the Department of Defense faces,” said Congresswoman Bordallo. “However, it is important that we have a sound defense strategy that drives resourcing and requirements over the next several years. I have serious concerns about the force structure cuts to the Air National Guard and the apparent disregard for Title 32 requirements in the planning, programming and budgetary process. The civil and domestic response capabilities of the National Guard are invaluable to our national defense. Reductions in force structure to the Air National Guard do not match the broader defense strategy outlined this past January. Tactical airlift aircraft, such as the C-127J, are critical to our homeland defense and national security and cancelling the program seems to ignore the civil response capability inherent in our National Guard.
“The hearing was important to outline the process failures in the preparation of the Air Force’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget. The Council of Governors should have been involved in the process from the beginning. Further, Title 32 mission requirements need to be finalized between NORTHCOM and the National Guard Bureau so future budgets can be better evaluated by Congress. The Committee restored the force structure to the Air National Guard and prohibited the retirement of several aircraft because of strategic and process concerns. However, this was a one year decision and we will have to revisit these important issues once the process is improved.”
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