Today, Congressman Marlin Stutzman (IN-03) led a bipartisan coalition of 60 Members of Congress in advocating for an alternative to the President's FY13 Air Force Budget that more fully employs the proven capabilities of the Air National Guard, including the 122nd Fighter Wing. Republicans and Democrats from across the country joined Stutzman in sending a clear and unified voice to the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard McKeon (CA-25), as he begins work on the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act.
"The Air National Guard is a proven, effective, and lethal fighting force," said Stutzman. "They provide 35 percent of the Air Force's capabilities for only 6 percent of its budget. Unfortunately, the President's budget calls for disproportionate cuts to what is a real cost-saver for the American taxpayer. This letter asks Chairman McKeon to look at the facts as the committee takes up the National Defense Authorization Act. I'm glad to be joined by such a committed and bipartisan coalition."
Stutzman's letter, which can be found here, is the latest in his ongoing defense of the 122nd Fighter Wing.
On April 17, 2012, Stutzman submitted testimony on behalf of the 122nd Fighter Wing, as the House Armed Services Committee began preliminary consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY13.
Stutzman, a member of the House Budget Committee, worked to build consensus on the Budget Committee that the National Guard plays a critical part in our national defense. The committee report which accompanied H.Con.Res. 112, the budget for FY2013 which the House passed on March 29, 2012, included language that expressed the committee's belief that the National Guard supplies a cost-effective and integral part of the nation's defense.
On March 23, 2012, Stutzman led a CODEL to the 122nd Fighter Wing. Congressman Stutzman was joined by Congressman Joe Donnelly (IN-02) for meetings with General Martin Umbarger and Colonel David Augustine.
On February 29, 2012, Stutzman pressed Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on the unbalanced cuts to the Air National Guard. Secretary Panetta expressed a willingness to come to the table, saying he has "asked the Secretary of the Air Force to do everything possible to try to mitigate the impact of those reductions with regard to some of those planes--to see what we can do."
On February 3, 2012, Stutzman led the Hoosier Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to General Norton Schwartz. From the beginning, Stutzman demanded specific information on any proposed reductions and the timing of their execution.
"I will continue to do everything in my power to be a strong, vocal advocate for the Air National Guard," said Stutzman. This is the right thing to do for taxpayers. It's the right thing to do for our national defense. We owe it to the men and women who serve our nation, state, and community."