Levin Leads Armed Services Committee to Preservation of Air National Guard Planes and Jobs at Michigan Bases

Thursday, May 24, 2012

WASHINGTON – Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced Thursday that his committee had unanimously approved an annual defense bill that rejects proposals to eliminate Air National Guard aircraft and personnel, including proposed cuts at Michigan bases.

The committee favorably reported the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, including language that prohibits the Air Force from implementing proposed cuts in Air National Guard aircraft and personnel. The proposed cuts would have eliminated A-10 fighter aircraft at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and C-27J cargo aircraft planned for Battle Creek Air National Guard Base.

"The Air National Guard performs an extremely important function, and its capabilities should not be casually or precipitously changed," Levin said. "The Air Force proposal, which disproportionately affected the Air National Guard, was ill-conceived and unjustified. Our bill rejects the Air Force’s proposal and takes steps to prevent a repeat of such poorly thought-out proposals."

Under the committee-approved bill:

  • The Air Force is prohibited from divesting, retiring or transferring aircraft assigned the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.
  • Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve personnel strength levels will increase in this bill from the budget request to reflect: (1) reversal of the Air Force’s aircraft unit proposals; and (2) acceptance of Air Force proposals to increase Air National Guard and Reserve participation in other, different mission areas.
  • Funding is authorized to maintain current Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve force structure in aircraft and personnel, including funds to cover the costs of force structure cuts the committee rejected.
  • Language in the accompanying committee report makes clear the committee’s desire that the Air Force suspend other force-structure adjustments not related to aircraft.
  • A National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force is established to report to Congress by March 31, 2013. The commission would consist of eight members, four appointed by the president (one of whom would be the chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board) and four appointed by the leadership of the armed services committees in the Senate and House. It would report on Air Force force structure requirements, with particular consideration for a structure that meets current and anticipated needs of combatant commanders; appropriately balances the regular and reserve components and maintains their unique capabilities; ensures reserve components can meet current and anticipated homeland security requirements; and maximizes cost savings.