Recently, President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced proposed restructuring and cuts by the U.S. Air Force to the Air National Guard.
Gov. Tom Corbett and I are deeply concerned with the proposed cuts to our Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 171st Air Refueling Wing in Pittsburgh -- which recently won the 2011 Air Force Association Outstanding Air National Guard Flying Unit Award -- and the 258th Air Traffic Control Squadron in Johnstown, and on a much grander scale, to the Air National Guard nationwide and its effect on homeland security.
Over the past decade, the National Guard has evolved into an extremely cost-effective operational force that is critical to our national security and our ability to respond to domestic emergencies.
The Air National Guard provides 35 percent of the U.S. Air Force capability, for only 6 percent of the budget. To say the National Guard is "cost effective" is a gross understatement.
While we appreciate the need to reorganize, restructure and modernize the military to meet new threats and economic realities, we must heed the need for cost-effective means of achieving these goals.
Given these realities, proposing that the Air National Guard absorb 59 percent of the total aircraft budget reductions and approximately six times the personnel reductions, is nonsensical, inefficient and imprudent.
Simply stated, the National Guard is the only military component that can serve the president and our governors and is underwritten by shared state-federal cost arrangements. Because of that, we are uniquely positioned to respond to state and local emergencies and bring to bear the forces needed to defend and secure land.
Be assured, Gov. Tom Corbett and I will stand on the front line to fight for Pennsylvania.
Maj. Gen. Wesley E. Craig
The Adjutant General
Pennsylvania National Guard