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Rahall Sponsors Bill to Halt Proposed Cuts to Army National Guard
"Under the Army's budget proposal, our State's Guard is slated to take a big hit, which means job losses, aircraft being transferred out of State, and a reduction in our Guard's overall capability to respond to emergencies and natural disasters. In this era of budget cuts across all the military services, we must look for cost savings to be sure, but we must also ensure that cuts are not undermining the readiness of our military personnel, including the Guard," said Rahall.
Under the Army’s budget request for the coming fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2014, Army National Guard personnel would be reduced by ten percent nationwide to the lowest level since the 1950s, and with 35,000 fewer soldiers than pre-9/11 levels.
Along with Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, Republican on the Armed Services Committee, Rahall introduced H.R. 3930, the National Commission on the Structure of the Army Act, which prohibits, through September 30, 2015, the retirement and transfer of any aircraft assigned to Army National Guard units, as well as the reduction in current end-strength levels for the Army National Guard. The bill would also establish the National Commission on the Structure of the Army to undertake a comprehensive study of the structure of the Army to determine the proper force structure of active and reserve components to best fulfill mission requirements.
"We owe much to all who serve in uniform. Rather than cutting personnel, I think the Army should be looking to increase cost-effectiveness in ways that do not shortchange our military readiness. The men and women of the Guard have served admirably alongside their active-duty counterparts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and proven themselves, time and again. Our Guard's level of readiness has never been higher, and so I think the Army should be ensuring that the Guard can more effectively carry out its mission requirements -- my bill aims to ensure that happens," said Rahall.
Recently, Rahall led a bipartisan letter to the Secretary of Defense warning against excessive cuts to the Army National Guard. Last year, he worked with House Members in blocking similar cuts to the Air National Guard.