Letter to Rumsfeld Critical of Proposed National Guard Cutbacks
40 Members Send Letter to DOD Questioning Cutbacks in Time of War
Washington, DC - Congressman Bill Shuster sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld today urging him to reconsider cutbacks in both equipment and manpower for the National Guard. Joining Shuster on the bi-partisan letter are 22 Republicans, including Majority Whip Roy Blunt, and 17 Democrats. Eleven of the co-signers sit on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC).
Letter to Secretary Rumsfeld
The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld
Office of the Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1000
Dear Mr. Secretary:
The United States has the strongest military in the world due in large part to our commitment to an all-volunteer integrated force structure. The National Guard is an integral and vital component of our Global War on Terror. Anything less than a fully manned and equipped National Guard is unacceptable and during a time of war is perilous.
Approximately 25 percent of United States troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are members of the National Guard or Reserve. Cutbacks in current manpower or equipment levels would be detrimental to our military's ability to continue carrying out their missions and will inflict additional and unnecessary stress on our troops. Reducing National Guard numbers and levels of equipment during a time of war requires a comprehensive examination and justification.
In addition to the National Guard's significant role in defending the U.S. overseas, they are also tasked with an essential part of our response to domestic crises and natural disasters. We have grown to rely on them during our times of need. Our response, recovery and protection of our citizens would be significantly hindered should their numbers and equipment be reduced.
We are seriously concerned that the proposed cuts do not take into account our current operational and strategic needs. We ask that you reassess these proposals and present Congress with necessary justification before any decision to draw down National Guard manpower or equipment is finalized. We look forward to a continued dialogue on this important issue.
Member of Congress
The letter was sent to Secretary Rumsfeld today and included the following co-signers:
Republican Reps. Roy Blunt (Majority Whip), Rodney Alexander (LA-5), Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6, HASC Member), John Boozman (AR-3), Dan Burton (IN-5), Shelley Moore Capito (WV-2), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), Jim Gerlach (PA-6), Virgil Goode (VA-5), Sam Graves (MO-6), Walter Jones (NC-3, HASC Member), Ron Lewis (KY-2), Tim Murphy (PA-18), Tom Osborne (NE-3), Butch Otter (ID-1), John Peterson (PA-5), Todd Platts (PA-19), Rob Simmons (CT-2, HASC Member), Mike Simpson (ID-2), Curt Weldon (PA-7, HASC Member), Joe Wilson (SC-2, HASC Member) and Don Young (AK-At large).
Democrat Reps. Neil Abercrombie (HI-1, HASC Member), Robert Brady (PA-1, HASC Member), Donna Christianson (VI), Jim Costa (CA-20), Susan Davis (CA-53, HASC Member), Rahm Emanuel (IL-5), Bob Etheridge (NC-2), Rush Holt (NJ-12), Darlene Hooley (OR-5), Paul Kanjorski (PA-11), Ron Kind (WI-3), Jim McDermott (WA-7), Mike McIntyre (NC-7, HASC Member), David Price (NC-4), Allyson Schwartz (PA-13), Ellen Tauscher (CA-10, HASC Member) and Chris Van Hollen (MD-8).