U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a "strategic pause" for the C-27J program in the six-month budget deal passed by Congress this week. The measure, expected to be signed into law by the President, will preserve the C-27J flying mission at the Mansfield Air National Guard Base (ANGB) for at least the next six months.
"This bill will ensure that the C-27J aircraft at the Mansfield Air National Guard Base, along with the 800 men and women in uniform who operate them, are protected for at least the next six months," Brown said. "This flying mission is vitally important to our national security. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and as a Mansfield native, I have been proud to vote to secure the strategic pause for the C-27J program. The Ohio Congressional delegation, Democratic and Republican alike, must work together to save this vital base in the months and years to come."
Brown has consistently stood against the proposals to eliminate the C-27J program, which would affect hundreds of National Guard positions in Mansfield. In March, he visited the Mansfield Air National Guard to stand with the Ohio Air National Guard and the greater Mansfield community in opposition to the proposed elimination of the C-27J program, and convened a meeting between Members of the Ohio Congressional delegation and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley.
In January, Brown urged President Obama to reject proposals to eliminate the C-27J program, and in December, wrote to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, urging him to delay a decision on the future of the C-27J program until Panetta meets with all relevant stakeholders and fully considers the ramifications of ending the C-27J procurement. In April 2012, Brown wrote to Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) urging preservation of the C-27J program.
Brown visited the base in October 2011 to tour the new Armed Forces Reserve Center and Rapid Engineers Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineers (RED HORSE) facility. He also visited the base in August 2010 to celebrate a new mission for the 179th Airlift Wing. The 179th Airlift Wing recently became a Joint Air-Army base with the addition of the Army Ohio National Guard's new fire station in May 2010.
In 2005, the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) recommended that the 179th Airlift Wing be dismantled. The base's service record, along with actions taken by the Ohio Congressional delegation, kept the base open and transformed it into a joint base. Brown has worked with the White House, Administration officials and Air Force and National Guard personnel to secure the new mission for the Mansfield ANGB.