This morning, U.S. Congressman Marlin Stutzman issued the following statement ahead of today's House vote on the Conference Report for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. The Conference Report left unchanged key elements of the U.S. Air Force's November proposal that kept A-10 fighters in the Indiana Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing, which is based in Fort Wayne.
"This Conference Report is a victory for the people of Indiana and the citizen soldiers who fly the A-10 with the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana National Guard in Fort Wayne," said Stutzman. "These men and women provide outstanding service for our country and state and deserve the certainty of knowing their assignments in Fort Wayne are secure. I will continue working to ensure that the Air Force abides by this agreement.
"The 122nd, known as the Blacksnakes, is a battle-tested force and its strength is matched only by its efficiency. Taxpayers expect Washington to make every penny count and it makes sense to fully employ a base that operates at just 28 cents on the dollar when compared to active duty forces," said Stutzman.
"In addition, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 gives our men and women the support they need to defend our nation," said Stutzman. "Given the fiscal situation facing our country, this bill provides for the common defense in a fiscally responsible way. As an advocate for our 122nd Fighter Wing, I strongly support keeping A-10s in Fort Wayne. As someone who will always look for more savings, I would like to see the Air Force more fully employ the capabilities of the Air National Guard."
On May 4, 2012, Congressman Stutzman led a bipartisan coalition of 60 Members of Congress in advocating for an alternative to the President's Fiscal Year 2013 Air Force Budget that more fully employs the proven capabilities of the Air National Guard, including the 122nd Fighter Wing.
On May 18, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, by a vote of 299-120. Section 1076 prevented any change in personnel and aircraft during Fiscal Year 2013. On December 4, the Senate passed its National Defense Authorization Act, which included a nearly identical prohibition in Section 1708.
On November 2, the Air Force proposed changes to the original Fiscal Year 2013 budget submission. The revised proposal kept 20 A-10 fighters stationed with the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne Indiana.
On Tuesday evening, the Conference Committee filed a Conference Report which amended portions of the Air Force's November proposal but did not alter the Air Force's determination to keep A-10 fighters in Fort Wayne for Fiscal Year 2013. The House expects to vote on the legislation this evening.