WASHINGTON (May 25, 2012) — The National Guard Association of the United States today released the following statement by retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the association president, on Senate Armed Services Committee passage of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill:
“National Guard leaders across the country are thrilled by Senate Armed Services Committee action yesterday that would halt the Air Force’s plan to cut 5,100 airman and 156 aircraft from the Air National Guard in the fiscal 2013 defense budget request.
“In doing so, Senate defense leaders have joined the House of Representatives and the nation’s governors in rejecting the Air Force’s plan to cut its most economically efficient component in these challenging fiscal times.
“The pause now supported by both chambers would preserve Air Guard capabilities to accomplish its many missions while the Department of Defense and the nation’s governors develop a process that better accounts for domestic missions in future defense budgets.
“Differences between the House and Senate remain and must be worked out in the weeks ahead, but the thrust of their respective bills is abundantly clear: The Air Force plan is ill-advised, disproportionate and potentially destructive. And it must be stopped.
“We are humbled that Congress has acted so swiftly and in such a bipartisan manner on this issue. And we hope the collective message sent this month is heeded and a repeat of this historic legislative remedy is not needed again anytime soon.”