Rep. Bill Shuster (PA-09), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, worked with fellow members late into Wednesday night and successfully included language during the Armed Services Committee's consideration of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, that would prevent the Air Force from retiring any C-130 transport planes during the next fiscal year. Along with companion legislation approved in the House Appropriations Bill earlier this week, which stops the transferring of these aircrafts, these provisions would stave off the Air Force's attempts to shut down the 911th Airlift Wing.
"The 911th is strategically positioned to provide critical military support in the event of a national emergency and shutting it down would be flat out wrong. This legislation will help keep our nation safe by maintaining a necessary readiness level, while also keeping jobs in Pennsylvania," said Shuster.
The Western Pennsylvania Delegation has been working closely with Rep. Tim Murphy (PA-18) to put a stop to the closure of the 911th, as well as, supporting the neighboring 171st Air National Guard. Murphy has been working for the past year to keep these critical bases intact in his home district.
"This significant legislative achievement shows we've got a strong team working together to keep in Western Pennsylvania critical defense capabilities that serve our entire nation and our soldiers overseas," said Murphy.
The House version of the NDAA will include provisions that will make it much more difficult for the Air Force to close the 911th. After a thirteen-hour debate over the details of the bill, the NDAA includes legislation that stops the imprudent C-130 cuts that are the main reason for the closure of the 911th.
"I have long supported legislation that would require the Air Force to present a long range plan for future C-130 cuts as part of future force reduction goals by the Air Force. Until those plans are developed and presented, I will continue to work with Representative Murphy in order to protect such a critical element of our military force structure," said Shuster.
Having successfully passed the Armed Services Committee, the legislation is now headed for consideration by the full House of Representatives. This is a critical first step towards protecting the strategic importance of the 911th Airlift Wing.
"This is just the first step in a long hard fought battle to save the 911th, but it's a start. I along with the rest of the Western Delegation will continue to fight for our country's national security and for the people of Western Pennsylvania," said Shuster.