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Governor Pataki Joins Nation's Governors in Calling for Reconsideration of National Guard Reduction

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Governor Pataki Joins Nation's Governors in Calling for Reconsideration of National Guard Reduction

Governors Ask for President to Reassess Department of Defense Plans to Cut Forces

Governor George E. Pataki today announced that he has joined with 51 of the nation's Governors in signing a letter asking President Bush to reconsider Department of Defense plans to reduce the National Guard forces.

"We are writing to express our opposition to force reductions in the Army and Air National Guard being considered by the Department of Defense," the Governor said in the letter. "As you know, our National Guard members have provided nearly 50 percent of the combat forces in Iraq, and the bulk of the U.S. personnel in the Balkans and the Sinai Peninsula. In addition, they comprised about 90 percent of the troops on the ground in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. These men and women are demonstrating the value of the Total Force Policy that is a major part of our nation's defense strategy.

"As Commanders-in-Chief, we appreciate the need to reorganize, restructure and modernize the military to meet new threats and emergencies. We also understand the need for cost-effective means to achieve these goals. We believe that the National Guard best meets these objectives by providing a well trained and ready force able to support both foreign and domestic missions on short notice and at reduced cost.

"The vast capabilities of the New York National Guard is not only invaluable to the Empire State but provides extended capability through emergency military assistance to the entire Northeast," Governor Pataki added. "As the Governor of New York, I have found the Army and Air National Guard to be indispensable to the safety and welfare of our citizens for homeland security, not only here in New York but for our neighbors recently effected by natural disasters both at home and abroad.

The letter, which was delivered to the White House today, is part of a coordinated effort by the nation's Governors and the National Governor's Association to strongly urge the President to reconsider Department of Defense efforts to reduce National Guard forces in New York, and around the country.

New York's National Guard consists of approximately 16,000 Army and Air National Guardsmen and women, has 56 Army Guard Armories and six Air Guard bases located across the state from the eastern tip of Long Island to Niagara Falls. Nearly 5,400 New York Army National Guard Soldiers have deployed, served and returned home from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Hundreds more have served conducting, and continue to perform, homeland security missions, protecting Grand Central and Penn Stations in New York City, and nuclear power facilities across the state.

February 3, 2006

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express our opposition to force reductions in the Army and Air National Guard being considered by the Department of Defense. As you know, our National Guard members have provided nearly 50 percent of the combat forces in Iraq, and the bulk of the U.S. personnel in the Balkans and the Sinai Peninsula. In addition, they comprised about 90 percent of the troops on the ground in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. These men and women are demonstrating the value of the Total Force Policy that is a major part of our nation's defense strategy.

As Commanders-in-Chief, we appreciate the need to reorganize, restructure and modernize the military to meet new threats and emergencies. We also understand the need for cost-effective means to achieve these goals. We believe that the National Guard best meets these objectives by providing a well trained and ready force able to support both foreign and domestic missions on short notice and at reduced cost.

Fulfilling the mission of the National Guard at home and abroad requires both manpower and equipment. Unfortunately when our National Guard men and women return from being deployed in foreign theatres, much of their equipment remains behind. Attention must be paid to re-equipping National Guard units with the resources they need to carry out their homeland security and domestic disaster duties, while also continuing to fine-tune their wartime mission competencies.

Governors are extremely proud of the role the National Guard plays in protecting this nation and its citizens. The National Guard is a cost-effective, capable combat force in the war on terror and an essential state partner in responding to domestic disasters and emergencies. For these reasons, we respectfully request that the Department of Defense reconsider any proposed force reductions in the Guard and work with Governors to re-equip our returning units.

Sincerely,

Governor Mike Huckabee
Arkansas
Governor Janet Napolitano
Arizona
Governor Dirk Kempthorne
Idaho
Governor Michael F. Easley
North Carolina
Governor Bob Riley
Alabama
Governor Frank H. Murkowski
Alaska
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
California
Governor Bill Owens
Colorado
Governor M. Jodi Rell
Connecticut
Governor Ruth Ann Minner
Delaware
Governor Jeb Bush
Florida
Governor Sonny Perdue
Georgia
Governor Linda Lingle
Hawaii
Governor Rod Blagojevich
Illinois
Governor Mitch Daniels
Indiana
Governor Thomas J. Vilsack
Iowa
Governor Kathleen Sebelius
Kansas
Governor Ernie Fletcher
Kentucky
Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Louisiana
Governor John Baldacci
Maine
Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
Maryland
Governor Mitt Romney
Massachusetts
Governor Jennifer Granholm
Michigan
Governor Tim Pawlenty
Minnesota
Governor Haley Barbour
Mississippi
Governor Matt Blunt
Missouri
Governor Brian Schweitzer
Montana
Governor Dave Heineman
Nebraska
Governor Kenny C. Guinn
Nevada
Governor John Lynch
New Hampshire
Governor Jon S. Corzine
New Jersey
Governor Bill Richardson
New Mexico
Governor George E. Pataki
New York
Governor John Hoeven
North Dakota
Governor Bob Taft
Ohio
Governor Brad Henry
Oklahoma
Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski
Oregon
Governor Edward G. Rendell
Pennsylvania
Governor Anibal Acevedo-Vilá
Puerto Rico
Governor Donald L. Carcieri
Rhode Island
Governor Mark Sanford
South Carolina
Governor M. Michael Rounds
South Dakota
Governor Phil Bredesen
Tennessee
Governor Rick Perry
Texas
Governor Jon Huntsman Jr.
Utah
Governor Jim Douglas
Vermont
Governor Timothy M. Kaine
Virginia
Governor Charles W. Turnbull
Virgin Islands
Governor Christine O. Gregoire
Washington
Governor Joe Manchin III
West Virginia
Governor Jim Doyle
Wisconsin
Governor David Freudenthal
Wyoming

http://www.ny.gov/governor/press/06/0203062.html

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