Gov. Terry E. Branstad today stated he intends to fight the force structure reductions as released today by the United States Air Force.
Today's manpower reductions are in addition to the equipment reductions announced last month by the U.S. Air Force. Gov. Branstad says these cuts will dramatically alter the ability of the National Guard to respond to emergencies and protect citizens, such as the levee monitoring activities last summer along the Missouri River.
As co-chair of the Council of Governors, Gov. Branstad is leading a nationwide effort on behalf of the nation's governors to ensure that the complete value of the National Guard is reflected in national policy and the Pentagon budget. Gov. Branstad is very appreciative of the initial response of the Iowa congressional delegation and will continue to work with Members of Congress, fellow governors, their adjutants general and the Air Force to find alternative solutions to maximize capabilities at the lowest possible cost.
"The National Guard is a highly experienced and capable force, essential in responding to domestic disasters and emergencies, as well as completing critical missions abroad," Gov. Branstad said. "I intend to use my position as co-chair of the Council of Governors to fight these disproportionate cuts facing the Air National Guard."
Gov. Branstad last week released a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that was signed by 49 governors, opposing the recommended cuts to the Air National Guard.
"We can best manage and execute responses to emergencies, and better protect our citizens here at home and abroad by empowering the National Guard," said Gov. Branstad. "To cut this efficient, low-cost, and effective response force in the name of cost savings is short-sighted. We should rely on the National Guard more, not less."