U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10) today made the following statement regarding the provision protecting the A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base (ANGB) from untimely retirement was included in the House and Senate conference report for H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. This past year, Miller has advocated against the unfair elimination of Air National Guard personnel and assets, specifically at Selfridge ANGB. The measure will be voted on for final passage by both the House and Senate this week and then to the President's desk for signature. Miller said:
"It has been a very long and difficult year as we fought the cuts proposed by the Air Force that would have eliminated the 107th Fighter Squadron based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. I am pleased to report that with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 that the 107th, Michigan's Red Devils, will continue to serve.
"Early this year the Air Force put forward a plan that not only would have called for the elimination of the 107th, but many other Air Guard units across the nation. These cuts made absolutely no sense to me from a budgetary or readiness perspective because the Air National Guard currently represents 35% of the Air Force's flying capability at only 6% of the budget. I believe strongly that the Air Guard offers the Pentagon and American taxpayer a very cost effective way to provide for our national security.
"I am very pleased that this legislation creates an independent commission to advise Congress and the Pentagon on the best way forward for our air power that will add some transparency to how these plans are developed and allow all voices to be heard, including those of our nation's Governors and the National Guard. This is an important step forward.
"This commission will issue its report by February 2014. I strongly believe that the Air Force should not make or propose any additional dramatic cuts to the Air National Guard in advance of the issuance of that report. If such cuts are proposed I will continue to work in a bipartisan fashion with my colleagues who are strong advocates of the National Guard in both the House and Senate to fight those cuts.
"The passage of this bill is certainly a victory for Selfridge and those men and women who serve so bravely in defense of freedom, but this fight will continue. I am thankful for those from our community who stood up and made their voices heard on this issue and I have no doubt that they will continue to be engaged as we move forward. Those who serve in the National Guard in defense of our nation deserve no less than our full advocacy on their behalf so that they can continue to protect our nation."