WV Governor: National Guard: Best Value for America
We have asked the National Guard to fight our wars, protect our homeland and respond to natural disasters and emergencies. Citizen soldiers and airmen have done so with extraordinary honor and courage. Now, the Pentagon is trying to balance the defense budget on the backs of the Air National Guard, and we must fight so that Congress does not diminish the capability of America’s most economical military force, the National Guard.
Simply put, the National Guard is the best value for America. The Air National Guard provides 35 percent of Air Force capabilities for only 6 percent of the Air Force budget. However, the fiscal year 2013 Air Force budget proposal disproportionately impacts the Guard by requiring it to absorb 59 percent of the aircraft reductions and about six times the per capita personnel reductions.
While the Air Force proposal did not drastically impact the Air Guard Bases in Charleston and Martinsburg; reductions in 27 other states weaken the Air National Guard and make it more difficult for the Guard to fulfill its dual mission at home and abroad. That is why we are working with members of West Virginia’s Congressional delegation and all of West Virginia’s elected officials in a bipartisan effort to rectify this situation.
In July of 1775 a militia company mustered at what is now Shepherdstown, West Virginia and marched 600 miles to serve as one of the original companies of the Continental Army. That company maintains its lineage as a part of the West Virginia National Guard. Our State must again lead the charge and the fight to return the Nation to the cost-effective militia construct envisioned by our Founding Fathers.
Recently 49 governors sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta opposing the cuts. Given the threats we face and the vital need to reduce our national debt we understand the need to reorganize, restructure and modernize the military. But the Pentagon wants to take more than its fair share out of the Air National Guard. The proposed drastic cuts to equipment and personnel fail to recognize the Guard’s importance to national defense, especially its ability to sustain military power and capabilities at a fraction of the cost to taxpayers.
Please join us in leading the effort to reduce defense costs and maintain capability by better leveraging the National Guard. The Guard is a cost-effective operational force that is critical to national security and our ability to respond to domestic emergencies. It is a highly trained, highly capable force that provides the same protection and service as the active military at a fraction of the cost. We must have the right balance.
Let Congress know you support a proposal that recognizes the National Guard as a vital component of the Nation’s armed forces and the best value for America. The safety and security of West Virginia and our Nation depend on it.