U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10) today announced that a provision which suspends all of the proposed changes to the Air National Guard aircraft, including the retirement of the A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft, has been adapted into H.R.4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013 during the markup in the House Armed Services Committee. Miller personally advocated for the inclusion of this provision in the House version of the NDAA which will directly allow Selfridge Air National Guard Base (ANGB), which is home to the 107th Fighter Squadron, to retain the squadron's 24 A-10s for the following year. The NDAA now heads to the House Floor for a vote expected the week of May 14th.
"Since the President introduced his budget calling for draconian cuts to the Air National Guard, including the elimination of the 107th Fighter Squadron of the Michigan Air Guard based at Selfridge ANGB, I have been working with my colleagues in Congress to reverse those proposed cuts," said Rep. Miller. "While I believe we need to look for savings everywhere in the budget, including the Department of Defense, it simply made no sense to me to look for those savings in the Air Guard which is the most cost effective part of the Air Force providing 35% of the air capability for 6% of the budget. As a member of the House National Guard Caucus, I was pleased to work with Caucus Co-Chair Representative Duncan Hunter (CA-52) to build a consensus to adopt provisions to the NDAA which will protect the Air Guard across the nation from any aircraft or personnel reductions for one year while a fact based cost benefit analysis is completed. I am certain that analysis will show the bang for the buck the taxpayers receive from the Air Guard."
"As a Marine combat veteran, I understand the vital support the Air Guard provides to our troops in the field," said Rep. Duncan Hunter. "This is particularly true of those who fly A-10s, such as Michigan's Red Devils of the 107th Fighter Squadron, who provide close air support for those engaged in ground combat. I have been proud to work with Representative Miller on our shared commitment to protect the Air Guard across our nation from these unreasonable proposed cuts, as we both share a deep gratitude and respect for the service and sacrifice of members of the Air Guard."
"I am thankful for the great leadership of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (CA-25) and all the members of the committee for their outstanding work on this important issue. Next week, the full House will consider the NDAA which now includes these important protections for the Air Guard. This measure is a double win for Selfridge ANGB, military bases around our nation, and the communities which support them because the committee voted down an attempt to move forward on another domestic Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process," Rep. Miller said. "As a committed fiscal conservative I think it is important to note that this rescission of the cuts to the Air Guard also does not mean there was new spending added to the bill. Savings were found elsewhere in the bill to avoid these cuts while keeping the overall cost in line with the amount allocated within the House budget passed last month. I also note that the total cost of keeping the Air Guard planes flying is a little more than 1/10 of 1 percent of the overall cost of the bill. I believe this is a measured approach that ensures that the men and women of our military are fully supported, that will maintain a strong national defense, while in turn making well thought out cuts in overall spending."
"Some have indicated that we shouldn't be parochial when making these decisions. Well I make no apology for being parochial when it comes to the Michigan Air National Guard. I have met the brave men and women who serve in defense of our freedom. I have seen their dedication to their mission. I have heard the reports of their brilliant service and sacrifice in combat. I have seen the sacrifice borne by their families. If it is parochial for me as their representative in Congress to defend their interests then I am guilty as charged. And I do so with a completely clear conscience because I know their service also adds greatly to our national security. While I am pleased for the protections in this bill for the 107th Fighter Squadron, I am equally pleased that it also protects the great American patriots who serve in the Air Guard across the nation. I am confident that my colleagues in the House will join me in supporting this important legislation next week but that is just the first step. In order for this to become law, the Senate must include the same protections in their version of the NDAA. It is my sincere hope they will do so," Rep. Miller concluded.
Note: In H.R. 4310, NDAA for FY2013 -- the bill section reads:
None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2013 for the Air Force may be used during fiscal year 2013 to divest, retire, or transfer, or prepare to divest, retire, or transfer, any aircraft of the Air Force assigned to the Air Force as of May 31, 2012. This includes the aircraft assigned to the Air National Guard and Reserve.